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From the Pulpit

Friendships

Wouldn’t it be great to have a special friend, someone who truly knows you and likes you anyway?  A friend who can lovingly accept your faults and baggage?  Someone you can confide in with your intermost thoughts and feelings, totally confident of their discretion?
The bible gives us many examples of close friends. Mary and Martha with their brother Lazarus of Bethany were special friends of Jesus; while the Apostle John was referred to in the Bible as the Disciple whom Jesus loved; and in the Old Testament we read about King David and his friend Jonathon.  The Apostle Paul had Barnabas and Silas as close friends, along with his spiritual son Timothy, just to name a few.

We read in John’s gospel the words of our Savior “(13) Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (14) Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. (15) Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you” (John 15:13-15).

There is no doubt that it would take a true friend to actually lay down his life so that you and I may have the full joy of the Lord.  Our problem is that we so often fail to act like the friends that Jesus says we are to him, and we fail to share that friendship with others.  One of Jesus’ promises to us is found in John 14:23 “…If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.”

This is pleasant to focus on, that God dwells with us in love and seeks to literally take up his “home” within us, but with Jesus indwelling us in love, comes great responsibility.  Jesus rightfully commands us and expects us to love one another as he has loved us, even when our natural inclination would be to treat others as they have treated us.

This means no matter how we feel, no matter what the circumstances, we are to share one another’s burdens as well as joys, we are to overlook each others weaknesses and forgive each other as Christ has forgiven us.  Now we’re talking super-human responses, and if we are relying totally on ourselves we will fail.  We don’t have it in us naturally to show the love God wants us to show.  When Jesus promises his indwelling presence, we must continue to remember that his presence is our strength, as the Apostle Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ which strenghteneth me.”

I know Jesus is the most special friend I have and even though I oftentimes fail him, I still have confidence that he loves me anyway and is lovingly leading me in his path. Paul wrote “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” (Philippians 1:6)..

For everyone who is privileged to be a friend of Jesus, the responsibility to share that friendship with others who he leads into our life, is not a burden but a way of life. How about you, do you know Jesus Christ as your Savior and friend?

Pastor Dick Nichols
Cedar Creek Community Church
2969 14 Mile Rd, Sparta

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2 Responses to “From the Pulpit”

  1. Jim says:

    The Bible vs. Tradition: When the Bible urges the readers of scripture to “prove all things” it certainly was not suggesting that they should look to the hearsay of men as their standard of truth but, rather, in accord with Ps. 118:8 they should look to scripture and trust the authority of God’s word — and not the traditions of men which may be added to that word. With that in mind, what happens when one subjects this claim from the article above to biblical scrutiny — Claim: “the Apostle John was referred to in the Bible as the Disciple whom Jesus loved” — will it hold up?

    The truth is no one has ever cited a single verse that would justify teaching that the unnamed “disciple whom Jesus loved” was John — not those who originated this unbiblical teaching and not those who repeat their error to this day. (And that is also why no such verse was cited in the article, nor is one ever cited by those who promote the man-made, unbiblical John tradition, because no such verse exists.)

    But one thing can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, the biblical evidence actually can prove that WHOEVER the unnamed “other disciple, whom Jesus loved” was he could not have been John — because that idea forces the Bible to contradict itself, which the truth cannot do. Those who are interested can see the presentation of Bible evidence on this question in the free eBook that is posted online at thegospelofjohn.com — just scripture, no hearsay from non-Bible sources.

    Two good rules of respect for the authority of God’s word: A) One should not be presenting an idea AS IF IT WERE BIBLICAL if they cannot cite a single verse that would justify teaching that idea – and – B) If the facts in the plain text of scripture prove that an idea is false, then those who love the truth will reject that false idea — no matter how many people believe it, no matter how loud some may shout it, no matter if a big-wig so-and-so believes it, no matter how long the false idea has been around, etc.

    Still, while there is not a single verse that would justify teaching the idea that John was the unnamed “other disciple, whom Jesus loved”, people continue to make unbiblical claims and use non-Bible hearsay and circular logic to sell idea that the unbiblical man-made John tradition can be made to fit with scripture. But that idea simply comes from men adding to the scriptures (the title Gospel of John was never part of the original text – it was added by men long after the anonymous author’s death), and from others assuming that the men who added the John title to the fourth gospel cannot be wrong. This is why repetition of hearsay from non-Bible sources must be used to sell the John tradition, because the Bible proves the John tradition is false. One can pick and choose their favorite non-Bible source to cite as a reason why they believe the idea that the unnamed “other disciple whom Jesus loved” was John. But what no one has ever done is cite a single verse that would justify teaching that this person was John — not those who originated this unbiblical teaching and not those who repeat their error to this day.

  2. admin says:

    Thanks for the comment Jim, but in the future please keep the post length down to a few sentences or a paragraph.

    Thanks!

    -Site Admin

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