April 9, 2000 Greatest Friend John 15
By Ronald E. George Jr. at the Fayetteville Baptist Church
Scripture Text: John 15:11 (KJS) These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and [that] your joy might be full. 12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. 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. 16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and [that] your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. 17 These things I command you, that ye love one another.
The Need of Friendship:
The neighborhood bar is possibly the best counterfeit there is to the fellowship Christ wants to give his church. The bar is an imitation dispensing liquor instead of grace, escape rather than reality, but it is permissive, it is accepting and it is an inclusive fellowship. It is unshockable. It is democratic.
You can tell people secrets and they usually don't tell others or even want to. The bar flourishes not because most people are alcoholics, but because God has put into the human heart, the desire to know and be known, to love and be loved. And so many people seek a counterfeit at the price of a few beers.
What is a Friend?
Friendship doubles our joy and divides our grief. (Anonymous)
A friend is one who knows you as you are, understands where you've been, accepts who you've become and still gently invites you to grow. Lawrence Peters has noted that you can always tell a real friend by the fact that when you've made a fool of yourself he doesn't feel you've done a permanent job.
Jesus is the Greatest Friend!
I had to write to tell you how much I love you and care for you. Yesterday, I saw you walking and laughing with your friends; I hoped that soon you'd want me to walk along with you, too. So, I painted you a sunset to close your day and whispered a cool breeze to refresh you. I waited -- you never called -- I just kept on loving you.
As I watched you fall asleep last night, I wanted to touch you. I spilled moonlight onto your face -- trickling down your cheeks as so many tears have. You didn't even think of Me; I wanted so much to comfort you.
The next day I exploded a brilliant sunrise into glorious morning for you. But you woke up late and rushed off to work -- you didn't even notice. My sky became cloudy and My tears were the rain.
I love you, oh, if you'd only listen. I really love you. I try to say it in the quiet of the green meadow and in the blue sky. The wind whispers My love throughout the treetops and spills it into the vibrant colors of all the flowers. I shout it to you in the thunder of the great waterfalls and compose love songs for birds to sing for you. I warm you with the clothing of My sunshine and perfume the air with nature's sweet scent. My love for you is deeper than any ocean and greater than any need in your heart. If you'd only realize how I care.
My Dad sends His love. I want you to meet Him -- He cares, too. Fathers are just that way. So, please; call on Me soon. No matter how long it takes, I'll wait -- because I love you. (Your Friend, Jesus)
Prov 18:24 (KJS) A man [that hath] friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend [that] sticketh closer than a brother.
Ten Commandments of Friendship
1. Speak to people -- there is nothing as nice as a cheerful word of greeting.
2. Smile at people -- it takes 72 muscles to frown, but only 14 to smile!
3. Call people by name -- the sweetest music to anyone's ear is the sound of their own name.
4. Be friendly and helpful -- if you would have friends, be friendly.
5. Be cordial -- speak and act as if everything you do were a real pleasure.
6. Be genuinely interested in people -- you can like everyone IF YOU TRY.
7. Be generous with praise; cautious with criticism.
8. Be considerate of the feelings of others -- it will be appreciated.
9. Be thoughtful of the opinions of others.
10. Be alert to give service -- what counts most in life is what we do for others!
He has chosen you will you choose Him to be your friend?