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Tag Archive | "friends"

Promoted to friends


Pastor Craig Carter

North Kent Community Church

1480 Indian Lakes Rd. NE

Sparta, MI 49345

 

“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 15:13-16 (NIV).

A few weeks ago, while on vacation, the Lord led me to this passage. In fact, it was on the first day of vacation, during my personal time of reading. I was touched by verse 15 where Jesus said he “no longer called his disciples servants but friends.” I felt like He was saying to me, “Craig, I want you to be my friend, not my servant.” This simple, yet profound truth has done so much in my heart and life in a few short weeks. You see, I have for most of my Christian life, strived to be a very good servant of the Lord. At times, even trying to be the best servant possible. I have preached many sermons on being a good and faithful servant for Jesus. I never recalled a sermon on being Jesus’ friend; after all, He is God. Servanthood is important, and yes biblical, but if not careful, servanthood alone can become your sole source of purpose and identity. It can rob you from your intimate relationship and friendship with Jesus. It steals your joy and your ability to really hear from and follow Jesus. It can leave you empty, tired and worn out. Once rested, we tell ourselves, I have to do a better job of serving him, not be a closer friend of Jesus.

The first thing I noticed is that Jesus says that the disciples were only his friends if they did what He commanded! Then before they could ever fulfill a command as his servants, he says, I NO LONGER call you servants! What? Wow! He promoted them. In one statement, he changed the status of their relationship. They were just invited into His inner-circle. Why? The reason is simple, because servants do not know their master’s business. Servants are limited in their information access. They are limited in their understanding of their master’s heart and decision-making process. Often, they are the last to know anything. You see, masters and bosses do not reveal major decisions and important plans to their servants, but friends do! Think about it, everything important, any valuable or intimate piece of information you ever received from anyone, you received based on your friendship with him or her. So, it is with Jesus.

For example, those of us who are married realize we do not know the personal, intimate and important things about each other based on serving one another, but on our friendship. You open your heart to friends. It’s been said, “people want to know you care, before they care to know.” As a pastor, I do not strive to build a church based off servanthood, but friendship. The Heart of God is the same. Jesus is not building his family, the church, off servanthood, but friendship. If Jesus is your Savior, you are His friend and He is yours! Plain and simple. You have access to the intimate things of His heart before you ever do a thing for him. Jesus holds no secrets from you. Verse 16 states, everything His father shared with him, He shares with you. Learn to be a friend of Jesus. Slow down, even stop your serving long enough to hear what He has to say. How he loves you and cares about every about you. Many people think if no one serves in the church, our families or jobs, nothing will get done! This is simply not true! People are not motivated by servanthood. A servant’s mentality alone will never sustain anything of value or importance. Great example from Luke 10:38-42, is the story of Martha and Mary. Martha was so busy serving, she never heard Jesus’s heart. Her serving distracted her. If Jesus wanted a clean house and a sandwich he would have said so, and Mary would have made him one. Martha, on the other hand, just cleaned the house and made five sandwiches just because. She made them just in case Jesus needed or wanted them. Many Christians are like this. We create unneeded work for ourselves, even doing things that were never asked or desired of us.

In hopes of helping you develop a better friendship with Jesus, I would like to leave you with four things to consider. They contrast the difference between a Servanthood vs. Friendship mentality. One is freeing and empowering, while the other leaves us empty and requiring more.

Friends live from His presence, not his commands.

Friends find value in relationship, not assignments.

Friends work “with” God, not “for” God.

Friends live “from” God’s favor, not “for” God’s favor.

Brothers and sister in Jesus, Friends of God, cultivate your friendship with Jesus. It is the key to knowing His love and heart for you.

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