Today I will present the third and final message of a three-part series about the greatest title that any human being can possibly receive: the designation “friend of God.” These three messages are all rooted in these words of Christ, as recorded in John’s gospel:
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. (John 15:12-15)
On Monday we saw the dignity of being called a friend of God; on Wednesday we discussed our duty as friends of God; today we’ll wrap up with His declaration over all those whom He calls “friend.”
Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends!” Jesus, the Lamb of God, accomplished something that all the Old Testament lambs could never do: He laid down His life for us so that we could be called friends of God. And as He hung on that cruel cross and cried out, “It is finished” (John 19:28), He meant what He said! The payment for the penalty of our sin has been paid in full by the sinless life, sacrificial death, and supernatural resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Do we have a duty to obey God? As we saw on Wednesday, the answer to that question is most certainly “Yes!” But we are not friends of God because of anything we do. Our good works do not make us friends of God; our church attendance does not make us friends of God; our spirituality does not make us friends of God. Nothing we do or say can make us friends of God. Jesus made us friends of God by what He did on our behalf.
Let me make one final point about being a friend of God. That exalted appellation does not mean that you are now “perfect.” Perfection will not happen until you get to the other side of the grave. Remember, it is not perfection that makes you God’s friend. Moses was a friend of God, and he was far from perfect. Abraham was a friend of God, and he too was far from perfect. If you have placed your trust in the atoning work of Jesus Christ, you, beloved, are a friend of God, and you are far from perfect. It’s not our perfection, but the perfection of the Prince of Peace that makes us friends of God.
It is my prayer that you will be greatly encouraged by the incredible title you have been given by our Lord Jesus Christ. Even if all your friends forsake you, make no mistake, you have one friend who will never leave you or forsake you; He is the friend who sticks closer than a brother; His name is Jesus Christ. Let that truth set you free to be the friend God has called you to be!
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!