Looking into the friendship we have with God, what does it mean and what should be our priorities?
[Ken Martin] This afternoon, everyone, what I’d like to do is to carry on the thought and the concept that we discussed last time when I talked with you about the blessing of having friends – how important friendship is in terms of the biblical explanation of human beings, how they operate, how they function, what they were intended to do. And God gave us marvelous instruction in the Proverbs, and the Psalms, and other areas, to guide us and help us in our interface with other human beings. And that’s why, again, we, as human beings, have been hard-wired to have friends. We want to have friends. It’s wonderful to be able to sit down and discuss things, and share things. And, you know, if you were bowling, would you like to go bowl alone? No! You want to have your friends with you. And everybody gets out there and bowls. And when you get a strike, what do you do? “Yeah, I got a strike!” And everyone’s clapping and everyone’s happy for one another. It’s fun to be with friends. And God says, “Live with your fellow man as best you are able.” Because there are some people out there, frankly, that don’t want to be your friends, and may never be your friends no matter what you do.
But there’s one person who has always been our friend. So God has told us what we have to do to maintain friendship among the human factor. And God reveals Himself, from a divine point of view, as to the fact that He is our true divine friend. And we’re going to look at that today from God’s point of view, and we’re going to ask a few questions. And what we’re going to ask…. Basically, the title of the sermon is, What It Means To Be a Friend of God . What It Means To Be a Friend of God.
Because you certainly – I certainly – don’t want to be an enemy of God. If you’re an enemy of God, you’re in terrible, terrible state of affairs, because the scriptures tell us in Hebrews, our God is a consuming fire! Nobody can stand against God. If a person tries to go contrary, that person courts death. And God is a God of life. He’s not a God of death. He’s a God of the living. And he wants to teach us how to live, how to enjoy this gift of life, which is only a foretaste and a forerunner of a far greater life that He has ordained for us through Christ Jesus His son. It answers the questions of why we are alive, why we are male and female. It tells us why all these things are like they are, why the world has gone crazy, and why they can’t seem to get it together. But God has shown us a way how it is all going to come together.
This is our hope. This is our future. This is what we’ve got to focus our minds on, lest we become discouraged, disheartened, and want to give up. And of course, that’s what the adversary wants. He wants us to give up. He wants us to quit. And we’ve come too far and too long, by the calling of God, to give up and quit, what I call, a chance of a lifetime – to get in on the ground floor of the greatest transformation that is going to take place on this earth – not done by men, but done by the sons and daughters of God, where the whole world, according to Paul in the book of Romans, is just waiting. It’s just moaning and groaning, and kind of in a state of agony, waiting for the birth of the sons and daughters of God. The world wants to change! And we’re part of the calling that God is going to use to make that change a reality.
Well, friends are a very special, special item. They’re dear to us. We love our friends. And friendship, being a special thing, has certain identifying marks. And those marks are, for example, companionship. It’s nice to have companions, friends that you can share life with, that you can talk with – male and female friends – and just to enjoy the things that God has so graciously bestowed upon all mankind. But not everybody understands in this world the kindness that God has demonstrated. He is a loving Father, looking down upon all of us as His children. And he reveals that through Jesus, when He came – as we heard in the sermonette – John 3:16 John 3:16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
American King James Version×, that powerful scripture that most people will recognize, but they don’t realize the far-reaching ramifications of that – what God had to plan and what God had to do in order to provide our salvation. Because you can’t save yourself, folks. I can’t save myself. Nobody. And yet, we want to be saved! We don’t want to be lost. We don’t want to be discarded. We want to live forever. Why? Because it’s in our hearts. God has placed eternity in our hearts. But unless we comply with the Master, or, as I would use the term, He is the coach who’s got the plan, and we are the players on the team who’ve got to do what? Follow the coach’s instructions in order to make a score and to achieve God’s purpose in our life. So that becomes very important. And so, companionship. Not only do we have human companionship, but God wants us to have divine companionship with Him and with Jesus Christ.
Also, it is communication. Communication. What do you do when you get together with your friends? You talk about this, that, and everything. You communicate . And today, it’s a kind of a shock because today, people don’t seem to communicate with each other except through technology. If you see two people sitting at a table, they don’t look at each other eyeball to eyeball and say, “Hi, how are you?” They text a message to one another, looking down at this little thing in their hands, which is wonderful. Technology is great. But who wants to look at an iPhone and happy Apple here, whatever this thing is I’m looking at, and say, “Hi, how are you?” and you get a “Hi” back and a little smiley face thrown back at you. I’d rather see a real smile coming from the face of a person, not a little smile on a screen that I have to look at. But that’s the kind of crazy world we live in today. We have lost the art of communication.
And that’s why today it’s become difficult, even though there are so many technological breakthroughs, people are not really friends with one another. And it’s an artificial type of friendship. But God wants a genuine friendship with each and every one of us. He’s not going to talk to us through technology. He’s going to talk to us through His Holy Word. And He wants us to know what this Word is all about, because if we don’t know this Word, how are we going to be able to sort the wheat from the chaff, and who’s telling the truth, and who’s got a spirit of error? You’ve got to be able to see what the Scripture says and let God reveal to you, through His Spirit, this type of communication. So He communicates to us through the Bible, and how do we communicate to God? Prayer. Vital, vital key.
Jeremiah, I believe, was the prophet who made a statement back there – talked about his people Israel at the time. He says, “My people have forgotten Me days without number.” In other words, They don’t talk to Me! They forget about Me. They just go about their business.” You and I cannot afford to forget our God. He will not allow Himself to be put on a back burner. He’s got to be first and foremost in our minds and our hearts. This is what Jesus constantly emphasized – , that we are to love God with all our heart, all our soul, all our strength, our mind - in other words, He’s got to be priority one in our life. Anything else becomes a false God –,a violation of the first commandment. You can’t allow that to happen in your life, my life, or any of us called of God at this time. This is fundamental, because the world is being flooded with false gods, and people are being misled into idolatry, and they don’t even comprehend they are guilty of idolatry. And you and I are commanded, “Flee idolatry!” Now how do you flee idolatry when you’re living in a world filled with idolatry? Well, you’ve got to have a close friendship with your Creator, and your Father in heaven, and Jesus Christ your Savior. That becomes paramount. And because God is dependable, and He’s honest and truthful, that’s a friendship you can count on. A like people say, “You can take that one to the bank,” because that is as good as gold is going to get. You’ve got your hand right there where it belongs.
So while friendship with human beings is desirable, we all need it, it’s not good to isolate yourself. You know, people do that. They isolate themselves because they think everybody out there is bad, and yeah, there are a lot of bad people, but there’s a lot of good people too out there. They just don’t know what they don’t know. And we were in that state until God called us. We were just like that – trying to be good, but we didn’t know how to be good. And then when we found out, our good was not good enough – that we needed the mercy and the forgiveness of God’s grace to bring us around and to bring us to the true understanding of our purpose in life.
No, we find that while friendship is important and desirable – listen carefully – friendship with God is essential for our salvation. Friendship with God is essential for our salvation. If we don’t know who God is, and He’s just out there somewhere, and He doesn’t care, and we’re just busy here – and this is what you read there in Romans 15:4 Romans 15:4For whatever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
American King James Version×, where it says, “all the things written are written for our learning,” and you go back there and study the behavior of the peoples that are recorded, and what do they do? They say, “Well, God’s gone way off somewhere. He doesn’t care, He doesn’t know about us.” He knows everything about us! He knows our risings, our sinning, our comings, our goings. He knows everything about us, and we sometimes forget that. He sees it all! He sees the good, He sees the evil that human beings do. That means we’re all under the microscope, so to speak, folks. And God is watching to see, which way do we choose to go? Because He’s given us the choice every day.
You don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Nobody does. All you know is a general picture of the future. All you’ve got is today. And today is a day to glorify God. We’re here to worship God in spirit and in truth, and to make this day separate and special in our friendship with God, as opposed to the other six days where we do our thing. God says, “You’ve got six days to do your thing, but that seventh day, I want you to take time to be holy. I want you to know about Me. I want you to know about My Son and about the salvation I’ve got planned for all of you.” Because without this salvation, you’re not going anywhere, except back to the dust, and you’ll be blown away. And you and I don’t want to end up like that. That’s not in our hearts. Our hearts want to obey God, and that’s why God has brought us to repentance. He’s shown us our ways are not right. And we’ve made that change. But you know, there are other people who don’t take it seriously, and these are the people that come and go, and like the Scripture says, “if they were of us, they would have stayed with us, but because they were not of us, it had to be made manifest, and they go chasing off here, chasing off there, for various things and various reasons.”
What causes us to be friends of God? This is what we want to explore in the time we have here today. And that’s why, again, the title of the sermon – What It Means To Be a Friend of God . It’s important that we understand what it means, and make sure we’re doing what it means, so that we can, conscience-wise, go to God and know that He’s not only our friend, but what? That we are God’s friend. We know He’s our friend. Does He know about us ? Are we His friends? How does He view us?
Well, the very first point…. There are four points we’re going to cover in the time that we have. And these four points will tell us basically some things we need to know about this relationship and what it means to be a friend for God. The first one means we’re friends of God when we reverence Him – when we reverence Him. That is very important, because we live in a world of irreverence. They make fun of God. They take His name in vain. People who reverence God don’t do that. People who reverence God love God and give glory and honor to Him.
Let’s go to Psalm 25, verse 14 - Psalm 25 and verse 15. In Psalm 25, verse 14 we have the following:
Psalms 25:14 Psalms 25:14The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will show them his covenant.
American King James Version× - The secret of the LORD – the Eternal – is with them – notice – that fear Him, and He will show them His covenant.
You and I have been blessed to see the covenant that God has made with us. He made a covenant with ancient Israel. It’s called the Old Covenant. He made a covenant with us in the Church of God. It’s called the New Covenant, made through the blood and sacrifice of Jesus Christ which makes us blood relatives and kin to Jesus Christ, our elder Brother, and our Heavenly Father in the heavens above.
Now when we understand this attitude of reverence, we realize that we are developing an intimacy with God. He wants us to be intimate, close – you know, where He feels close to us and we feel close to Him. If we have the idea that God is way out there somewhere – that, you know, He doesn’t really care – He’s way out there and, you know, we’re just…we’re here, and he’s way there, that’s not going to cut it. We have to know He’s right here! And I’ve often wondered about that scripture in Isaiah – I believe it’s 66 – where it says that God is the God in heaven, it says, and the Earth is His footstool. Now might I suggest to you, how far – if you’re in heaven – how far you’re sitting where you’re sitting…how far is your footstool from a chair that you’re sitting on? You keep it close, don’t you? Not way out there somewhere. The point being, maybe heaven and God, and all that dimension in which God lives, is a lot closer to us than any of us can understand. Maybe it’s just maybe (whoosh) you go from one dimension into another. It’s food for thought. These are marvelous things that God talks about to stimulate our mind and make us think and use the mind that God gave us.
Now we are to have this wonderful relationship with God. We are to stand in awe of Him. You know, when you watch a hummingbird fly, and here comes another one, and they’re all fighting for that little drink of water – that little sugar water that they get – you see them swarming around, and they all…that is something that only God can do – make those marvelous little helicopters flying around. We call them hummingbirds. Did you know there’s one down there in the…I believe it’s the…I want to say the South American mountains down there, where there is one hummingbird, believe it or not, that is twelve inches long. It’s the biggest of the hummingbirds. And it’s supposed to be something like…. This guy collected all this data on hummingbirds around the world, and he discovered them down there in South America. Can you imagine a hummingbird, like a ruler, flying past you – like little airplanes? Incredible! But see, God loves to make big things. He likes to make small things. He just loves doing things and creating things! That’s what makes Him the wonderful God. And we are to be in wonderment.
See, people today are not in wonderment of the creation around us. We’re all going to stand in wonderment here in the month of August very shortly, in what is called a solar eclipse that is going to come – something that God has put up there where a moon that is created is going to come in front of the sun and all of a sudden the corona’s going to be flashing around there. It’s something you don’t see everyday, so people are rushing out, getting glasses. Be sure you get the real ones and not the counterfeits and hurt your eyes. Be sure – there’s a lot of phony stuff there going out. They’re warning everybody. But see, who made those things? It’s like when the Scriptures tell us in, I believe, Psalm 8, where David is sitting out there, looking up in the heavens at night…. You can imagine him taking care of his dad’s sheep. He’s on the hillside protecting them from wolves, and he looks up, and he says, “Who has made all this?” You know, it’s the handiwork of Your hands. And he says, “What is man that You are mindful of him?” And that You stop and You look at a human being – all they are are just creatures of the dust.” And God took a bunch of dust and put us together miraculously, and then created all these systems that make us what we are, and then puts something in our brain, called a spirit in man, and suddenly we are way above the animals of this world. And we’re able to communicate, not only with one another, but with God Himself. And all of that is revealed in Scripture to us. No wonder we stand in awe of God.
Honor and respect for Him – Psalms 22:23 Psalms 22:23You that fear the LORD, praise him; all you the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all you the seed of Israel.
American King James Version×– Psalm 22, verse 23. These are examples, I won’t go through each scripture – just to give the reference for you. And it’s also a fear of God to displease Him. You don’t want to do anything that displeases God. You know, God is a dreadful God! If you’re on the wrong side of it, boy, you don’t want to be…. Remember what happened when God came down on the Mount Sinai, and the Israelites were standing there? They were so scared to death when God revealed Himself, and the smoke and the fire, and the lightning and all the other things going on? What happened? They said, “God, don’t talk to us. Moses, talk us.” They’d rather have a man talk to them than God. Well, they had to learn some lessons, and we have to learn some lessons as well. And that is the fact…let’s look at Isaiah 8 and verse 13. Scripture is given to us to help us understand the wonderful God that we worship and serve. It says in verse 13:
Isaiah 8:13 Isaiah 8:13Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.
American King James Version×– Sanctify the Lord of hosts Himself; and let Him be your fear…. Well why do you want Him to be your fear? Because He’ll keep you from getting in trouble. Because see, if you don’t do what God says, you can get in trouble. The Bible makes that clear. The wages of sin is death. And, notice: …and let Him be your dread.
Dread. In other words, it’s a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. So this is, again, part of our understanding of Scripture. And you remember Ecclesiastes 12 and verse 13 and 14, in which it says, “Let us hear the conclusion of the matter - we are to keep the commandments, do those things that God has commanded, and all of that – because He says why? – “because everyone will be brought into judgment. Everything will be brought and made clear.” Nobody can hide anything from God.
So when we look at this thing of being a friend of God, reverencing God in your mind and your heart becomes number one priority. Because if you disrespect God in any way…. And to question God is to disrespect Him. We don’t think about that sometimes. We have to be careful how we question the things. Do you remember Job? He started questioning God, and what happened? Did he get any answers to his questions? No. Why? Who are you to question God? Who are you to ask questions of this and that in that magnitude? And when Job saw himself in that picture and in that setting he says, “Oh! Please” – in essence – “I repent, being dust and ashes. I was way out of line. Who am I to question God, who has all wisdom, all knowledge and understanding. It is I who am delinquent. It is I, as a human being, who do not know.” And what I know is only what God shows me in the Word of God, and you as well. And we should rejoice in that.
God blesses those that revere Him. Psalm 112 – the 112th Psalm, and verse 1. He is pleased to bless us. He loves to show mercy to us. Psalm 103, verses 11 through 13 – that’s one of my favorite psalms, because God is so kind and so loving. It says He remembers that we are just like the grass – that we’re just here and gone. And He very much loves each and every one of us.
In Acts, chapter 10, and verses 34 and 35, Peter recognized something when he had the dealing with Cornelius, and he had the vision of the things coming down on a cloth, and it was all unclean things. And then he said – he learned the lesson of it – he says that God accepts all who do righteousness. And Cornelius was exactly the first one to be called. He was a Gentile. And yet there you have the example. When we do right, we will be accepted. Even God told Cain that, when he told him…he says, “If you do well, won’t you be accepted? Received?” But Cain got mad. He blamed his brother. And that’s what people like to do. When they’re deficient about things, they’d rather blame other people than to acknowledge, “Hey, I blew it.” We all blow it, dear brethren. We all blow it. Maybe we all blow it a lot more than we even realize. And we need to just thank God for His mercy – that He doesn’t just throw us away, that He lovingly works with us to develop us as the Master Potter that He is.
The second thing we need to understand to become a friend of God, and that is, we have to have faith in Him . Faith is an element of required necessity in our relationship with God. Now faith can be translated another way. This is a spiritual term that most of us here have grown up with or been exposed to. Faith can translate into, again, you’ve got to trust God. People don’t trust God today because they don’t know God. And you know, if you don’t understand something, you tend to fear it. You fear what you don’t understand. People fear death. Why? They don’t understand death. And they want to know what’s on the other side. And so what they do, they go to séances, and they say, “Can I talk with my Aunt Sally,” or something, “who’s gone? Will she tell me what it’s like on the other side?” Well the Scripture makes it very clear. The living know one day they are destined to go to sleep in the grave. But the dead know not anything. They don’t talk back. And yet, that kind of stuff today is making foolishness out of a lot of people who think they can talk to the dead. And one time I even saw one lady, who purported that she had the ability to talk to the animals. And that she said, “Your dog really loved you. It just really didn’t have the chance to tell you that before it died.” I’m sitting there, I can’t believe people are listening to this stuff and believing it! But that’s what they do. They’d rather go there than listen to the plain straight word of God.
And God tells us very plainly that we are required to have faith in Him, to trust Him, to believe in Him. Why? He can’t lie! Titus 1:2 Titus 1:2In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;
American King James Version×. The Lord – the Eternal – cannot lie. He’s promised us eternal life. And if we say, “Well, I don’t believe that.” Any time we use that term, “I don’t believe,” be careful, because the sin of unbelief is what’s going to get a lot of people in trouble. People need to just acknowledge, “There’s things I don’t understand. Lord have mercy on me,” but don’t ever take a position and say, “Well, I don’t believe that.” And there are people, when you tell them the truth, they’ll look you right in the eye, and say, “I don’t believe that.” That’s their choice. They have a right to disbelieve it. But, if you have unbelief in your heart, you will not have a relationship or a friendship with God.
Notice Hebrews 11, and verse 6. This is very serious with God, and He wants us to take it serious in our relationship with him. Hebrews 11:6 Hebrews 11:6But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
American King James Version×:
Hebrews 11:6 Hebrews 11:6But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
American King James Version× – Without faith…. In other words, if you remove this article of faith – trust, belief in God – I’ll wrap it all together – because it all ties together, and how it comes out is this: without this element, it is impossible – it means, it ain’t gonna happen. …it is impossible to please Him, for those that come to God must believe – must have faith – that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him – that you have to know and believe and understand He’s a good guy! He wants the very best for every aspect of it, even though you don’t understand at that moment. He still wants the best. And sometimes we draw a blank. We just can’t figure out. “Well, God, why this? Why that?” And God says, “Don’t worry so much about the why . What I want you to do is, how are you going to respond to what I’ve asked you to do?” That’s the important thing. How are you going to react? Are you going to react in disbelief, just because you don’t understand? Or, are you going to have confidence in God and believe. “It doesn’t matter whether I understand or not. If God is the One who is in charge….” No wonder the psalmist says, “Be still and know that I am God.” If we don’t know that, we’re in trouble. The world’s in trouble because it does not know it.
Now why is God going to come back, and He’s going to shake this world from one end to the other? Now the saints of God have nothing to fear. Why? Because we’re not appointed unto wrath. We’re under the divine protection of God, as long as we stay with Him and believe in His power, in His might, in His ability to save us. Now if we don’t, where are you going to run for protection? There’s no place to run! And no place to hide! But the Psalms tell us that, if we run – in the nineties – I think it’s the 91st Psalm – if you run to God, He is our high tower, our strength. He’s the one that can take care of us, even when everything else is shaking all around us. We have an unshakeable sovereign God, and He can keep us from all danger.
So again, we have to know , and have faith in God. Abraham…Abraham’s example was an element of friendship with God. God asked him to do something, and he believed God! And it was accounted unto him for righteousness. And every time we believe God and act accordingly, it’s accounted unto us for righteousness. You accounted something today. God says, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy,” and here you are, coming to worship God on the Sabbath. It’s accounted to you, because you exercise faith so to do this, and be here, to hear the word of God. And we go through this together as a group – minister and lay people – and we are all together to hear this Word of God expounded. And it stimulates us. It inspires us, and gives us the hope that all of us want, for much better things to come. And like Abraham, we have friendship with God because we believe and obey Him. That’s why we keep the Feast of Tabernacles and the fall festival. We believe in that! There are other people that say, “Well, I know about that, but I don’t believe that.” It doesn’t matter what they believe. It matters what God says we should believe. And the choices are: whether we want to obey or not. Our faith enables us to have a fruitful relationship with God. And that is one of the things that God wants us to deal with. 1 John, chapter 3, verses 23 and 24 reference some of that about Abraham.
So we have the first two. We find that, number one, we’ve got to constantly remember in an irreverent world to reverence God. Number two, we have to remember, without faith it’s impossible to have a friendship relationship with God. You have nothing to fear from God if He’s your friend. But if He’s your enemy, you’ve got every reason to be fearful. But we weren’t called to be enemies. We were called to be saints – sons and daughters of God – and in a relationship with God and Jesus Christ.
The third area of what it will require is that we have to live to the best of our ability in righteousness – in other words, by keeping God’s commandments, by walking in those commandments – following them. Because, again, the New Covenant is what? Writing the laws of God in our minds and in our hearts. And once they’re in our minds and in our hearts, they become a way of life. And we live accordingly. We follow those first five that do what? Tell us how to love God. What about the last? Tell us how to love our fellow human beings. And what did Jesus say? What defines love? “ This is the love of God, that you keep My commandments. And they’re not grievous.”
In Proverbs, chapter 3, verse 32…let’s go to Proverbs, chapter 3, verse 32. It says:
Proverbs 3:32 Proverbs 3:32For the fraudulent is abomination to the LORD: but his secret is with the righteous.
American King James Version×– The froward is an abomination to the Lord, but his secret is with the righteous.
In other words, God continues to develop our relationship and strengthen us because He’s our friend, and He wants us to be – the best way I could put it – He wants us to fulfill our destiny. Every one of us have a unique destiny in God’s plan. That’s why Jesus could say, in the book of John, “I go to prepare a place for you.” There’s a place ordained by God for you, for me, for all who love God and want to walk in His ways. What a fantastic plan and purpose! This is what young people need to understand. This is not Mom and Dad’s religion. This is the truth of God that affects older folks, middle- aged folks, and young folks. It affects everyone. And this is your church too, young people. Just remember, it’s not Mom and Dad’s church. It’s your church, too. You were called to see and understand – to become God-conscious - maybe not converted yet not receiving God’s Spirit, but you’re being exposed to the Word of God. And you’re being brought up God-conscious, because there are people today who want to erase God from their conscience. In fact, He was erased from the platform of the Democratic Party of the United States. So that tells you where they’re coming from. And, they’re very bold about what they say.
No, we have to live as best we can. And that means to live by God’s truth. And God’s truth is very, very important. In Ephesians 6, and verse 14, God’s protection is given to us to protect us from sin that is in this world. And boy, it is growing more and more so in the end time as Jesus said it would be. He says, “As it was in the days of Noah….” It’s definitely the days of Noah all over again, and it’s intensifying. And in Titus, chapter 2, verses 11 through 13, we are commanded to live in righteousness, looking for Christ’s return. That’s what we’re looking for. And we strive to live as righteously as we can. We obviously can’t do it perfectly. And when we stumble and falter, God commands us to go to Him and ask for forgiveness. And He will, because He wants to bury all sin and leave nothing but the righteousness of Jesus Christ in our life. And of course, in Philippians 4, verses 8 and 9, it says, “The God of peace shall be with you.” Notice: the God of peace shall be with you.
Now that brings us to the fourth and final area we want to touch on. What allows us to become a friend of God? It’s when we obey Jesus’ words – when we obey the words of Jesus. He is the missing link that everybody is looking for. It’s not Dr. Leakey, who was a gentleman who was exploring, looking for a bone, Zinjanthropus africanus , down there in South America, and, supposedly this was the link between – the, jump between – the animal, apehood or whatever you want to call it, into humanity. I believe it was found out to be a hoax after a period of time. I haven’t studied that in a long time, but nevertheless, the true link between God and man is Jesus Christ. And Jesus Christ came to reveal what God desires of all of us. And he set that example for us.
And there’s a whole lot of that today. It’s called professing Christianity – people who profess Christ, but don’t believe Christ, and don’t put their faith in Christ to do what Christ says. But they believe sincerely, in their own minds, that they’re Christians. And because they supposedly believe that they love Jesus, they’re all going to go to heaven. And they’ve never discovered in the Bible, uh-uh. Jesus said, “Pray, ‘Thy kingdom come,’” not “Thy kingdom stay where it is and I’m coming up there to meet you.” We’re not going to heaven in that way. If there is a time in the future we’re go to heaven, that will be revealed in the time and place that God ordains. But there are people…got all kinds of crazy ideas today, and we’ve got to be very careful about what we’re listening to.
God wants us to develop a life that is based on sacrifice . God’s sacrificed to give us life, and we sacrifice for one another. This proves our love for one another. Giving our time, our effort, our days to one another, to help one another, to make another person’s life happier and meaningful. Husbands want to serve their wives, and wives want to serve their husbands, and parents want to serve their children, and we’re all called to serve the living God. No greater honor can be bestowed upon you – that you are a man and a woman of God. You might have some kind of honor from a plumbing company, but that doesn’t do a whole lot for you. Or, you are a carpenter, and you’ve got some honors from carpenters…. But to get an honor to be a servant of the living God? Look what Abraham bears. He is now recorded in the Word of God that he was a friend of God. That’s why we’re giving this message – because you and I want to be a friend of God, too, right along there with father Abraham. We want to be right there. We don’t want to be on the outs of this one.
So, wrapping this thing up, it’s important that everyone here today…we all want to be friends of God. But what does God ask of us? We’ve got to reverence Him. We’ve got to reverence Him. We’ve got to put faith and confidence in Him. We’ve got to understand that it requires a certain way of living, so we have to live a righteous life . And fourth and last is that we’ve got to obey the words of Jesus as best we can, asking God for help so to do. Because, in Galatians 2:20 Galatians 2:20I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
American King James Version×, what did Paul say? And he was imperfect. You know the struggles he talks about in the book of Romans – he had it just like we do. And he made this statement very clear. He said – when it comes to obedience to God – he says, “Oh wretched man that I am.” He said, “Who’s going to deliver me from the body of this death? How do I get out of this dilemma? I thank God, through Christ Jesus, that with my mind I serve the law of God. With the flesh, it’s the law of sin in my members.” He’s showing, again, it’s – we’ve got to keep our focus and realize – sacrificing, putting God first in all that we say, think, and do, will do what? It will bring us into a friendly relationship with our Creator, and it will also allow us to enter into a friendship with God and Christ, and enjoy all the benefits and all the blessings that God has promised in His Word. And remember, He can’t lie! He’s duty-bound by it. But He can’t administer it until we are in compliance and do our part.
That’s where God gives us this wonderful opportunity. He says, “I want you to choose. I’m not going to force you to love Me. I want you to voluntarily embrace me.” And that’s, you know, that’s kind of true. People can do things to make you hate them. But you know, you can’t make people love you. You really can’t. They have to want to love you. If they don’t want to love you, nothing in God’s green creation is going to make them love you. They have set their mind, they’re not going to love you. And that’s why God, if you know God, God is love. And He says, “My whole Kingdom operates on love. I don’t want anybody to be hurt. I want everybody to have a part in it. I want everyone to believe and follow My instructions. And I will lead you through eternity, with eternal life, and experiencing some of the most wonderful things, you can’t even begin to imagine.”
What a fantastic future! We don’t hear that today! All we hear is the same old, same old – “just love Jesus and everything’ll be all right.” We have been given a wonderful thing. We can obey the gospel of God and become a friend of God.
You know, there was a Christian song years ago – I call them Christian classics. People back there, at the turn of the century, used to sing these kinds of songs. And they had more of an impact. People were more religiously oriented. But there’s that one song that’s called What a Friend We Have in Jesus . And how sad it is that we waste so much time when we should be talking to Him in prayer each and every day.
Well, dear brethren, I just want you to know that you have the greatest opportunity – I have the greatest opportunity – on a day-to-day basis, to talk with our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ – not just because He’s out there and we’re here. We talk to Him just like we do with any of us. It’s because He’s our beloved friend in heaven above, watching out for us, for everything, the ups, the downs, He’s going to be there for us. That’s what He told his disciples. And you and I are His disciples in this end time. “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” This world is wrapping up, getting ready for a new world to come. We’re going to go to the Feast of Tabernacles. We’re going to hear more about it. We’re going to see some of the things that God has in mind for mankind.
But there’s going to be some dark days before that can happen. And you and I need to have a close, intimate relationship with God, so that we don’t focus on the bad. You see, bad things are going to come, but God does not want us to think about those things, where we’re fearful and dread. Why? Because fear has torment. If you’re worried about the tribulation more than you’re worried about your salvation…. And you don’t have to worry about your salvation. If you believe in Jesus Christ, and you’re lock-solid in His hands, it says, nothing can take you out of His hands, if that’s what you believe. But if you don’t believe that, yeah, you can jump out of His hands. He’ll let you go. But if you want to stay in His hands, He’s not going to let you go. He’s going to hang on to you, because He says, “I won’t lose anybody that has been given to Me.” Isn’t that comforting? That just, to me, that’s the most wonderful thing that you can run through your mind – just to know – because this world, people are going to be fearful because they’re unbelieving. You and I are believing, and we don’t have to be afraid. We know that, what does the Scripture say? That “perfect love casts out all fear.” The more we let God come into our life with His Spirit and give us that love, that is shed abroad in our hearts, then we’ll not only love our God and our Creator, but we’ll be able to love one another and understand how to do that in a balanced, in a sound, in a God-fearing way.
God be with us all in our battle of overcoming.