THE FRIEND OF GOD
JAMES 2:23 PRINCETON CHRISTIAN CHURCH 17 JULY 2022
The poorest man on earth is the man who has no friends. We would feel very bad if we had to look out on the world and say, “I don’t have one single friend anywhere.”
Friendship is a beautiful thing.
One of the most well-known friendships recorded in the Bible comes to us from 1 Samuel, chapter 18. This friendship is between David and Jonathan, son of King Saul. David and Jonathan were great close friends. When Jonathan’s father, King Saul, wanted to kill David because he was jealous of David’s strengths and abilities in conquering the enemy. Jonathan knew his father was out to kill David. So, Jonathan took David aside and helped him escape.
Another great friendship we see in Scripture is that of Naomi and Ruth. Naomi was Ruth's daughter-in-law. But they were also great friends who shared their joys and sorrows together.
Earthly friendships are wonderful and very valuable to us. But there is something more wonderful. That is the friendship we can share with God our Father and Jesus Christ our Savior.
In the Old Testament, we find a man by the name of Abraham. God called him out of his everyday existence to give his life in service to the Lord.
Many years later James wrote about him and called Abraham “the friend of God.” Wouldn’t it be great if God were able to say about each of us, “He, or she, is my Friend? And, as we live our lives, living as God directs us, I believe He does regard us as His friends.
I want us to take a closer look at the friendship between God and Abraham and see what we can learn about Godly friendship.
First, we will look at the foundation or the grounds of this friendship. What was the friendship between God and Abraham based on?
The foundation of their friendship was based on the reality that they trusted one another.
Abraham trusted God completely. God called him into service. Abraham went without delay. Abraham had no clue what was out there waiting for him to do.
In our humanness we might have hesitated a while, asking – why should I go? I have life pretty well in place. We might ask, “what is in it for me?” “How long am I going to be gone?” “When will I be back to my normal life?”
God promised Abraham a son. Abraham continued his faithfulness to God, trusting Him for 50 years before he received the son. But, God, the friend that He was of Abraham, was faithful to His promise.
After Abraham’s son, Isaac was born God tested Abraham’s faithfulness. So, Abraham had to exercise trust in God when God told him to take this promised son and make him to be the sacrifice. This son was promised to become the beginning of a great nation.
As Abraham trusted God wholly and completely, God also trusted Abraham. He knew Abraham. He knew Abraham would obey and teach his children to obey the way of the Lord.
Children may forget what we say as we are bringing them up – but they do not forget what we do. If we are critical before them about God, Jesus Christ, or the church, most likely children will be critical as well.
God and Abraham’s friendship was also strong because they communed with each other. They walked together and they talked together. In Genesis 18:17 we see God considered not revealing everything to His friend, Abraham. But, because He knew of Abraham’s trustworthiness and his loyalty, He did reveal His plans to His friend.
It is a fact that no friendship can survive and grow without communication. I am sure we all have friends we are in contact with very often. But others we may not see so often. With all the methods of communication available to us, though, we can keep in contact with our friends who may live a great distance from us.
We must live daily in communication with God to strengthen our friendship with Him. We do that, of course, through prayer. Our conversations with God are vital to our maintaining our relationship with Him. It is through prayer that we can enjoy a healthy and happy spiritual relationship with Him who is our best friend.
Another aspect of the friendship between God and Abraham was that they served one another.
Abraham did not hesitate to be willing to give up his only son – the one promised to him by God – as a sacrifice for God.
And God, in turn, didn’t hesitate to give His only Son as a sacrifice – not only for Abraham but for all the peoples of the earth.
On one occasion, recorded in the New Testament, the disciples said to Jesus, “We have left all to follow you. Our homes, our families, our businesses, our friends. What are we going to get out of it?”
Jesus answered them, “Follow me and you’ll never lack for anything. I will repay you a hundred-fold in the world and in the world to come, life everlasting.”
If you are God’s friend, you will serve Him, and He will serve you.
What Jesus was assuring His disciples of there was the guarantee of His friendship. As He was calling Abraham to His service He says, in Genesis 15:1, “Do not fear, Abram, I am a shield to you. Your reward shall be very great.” By saying this, He was promising protection to Abraham, and He did so for a hundred years.
God has made the same promise to us today. He promises to protect us – if we trust Him.
This friendship guarantees success. Abraham trusted. He followed God and God prospered him. But Abraham didn’t immediately see all that God was going to give him through his family.
At the time Abraham died, he only had one son and two grandsons. 400 years later his family was as the sands of the sea. He would not be able to count all of them.
Here is what we should learn from the friendship between God and Abraham.
The person who follows the Lord faithfully never fails; riches may come and go – or they may never come. But all our needs will be supplied.
The Psalmist (37:25) puts it like this: “I was young and now I am old. Yet, I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.”
We can look at the glory of this friendship between God and Abraham. There was nothing hidden, nothing secret between them. This made their friendship a beautiful thing. When sin gets in the way of a friendship, fellowship is broken.
Look at another friendship that experienced some brokenness. Peter and Jesus were close friends. One night Peter sinned against Jesus. He denied even knowing Jesus. At that moment, the bond of friendship was broken. When Peter saw his sin and repented of it, the bond was healed, and the friendship continued.
Today, is there anything between you and your friend – any sin that is separating you? Peace can only be found if something is done about it. Is there something keeping you away from a close friendship with Jesus Christ? He is waiting to renew – or begin – that friendship with you.
As we walk and talk and live close to our friends, we tend to become more like them, and they like us. And, as we walk with Jesus daily, talk with Him, and live close to Him, we must become more like Him.
To be like Jesus! More like the Master would I be” should always be our aim, our prayer, and our goal.
Someday, if we remain faithful in our friendship with Him, we shall be like Him. See 1 John 3:2 – “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been make known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” Nothing else, in this life, compares to that glorious day when we can see Jesus face to face.
The Christian’s life may not be beautiful now. There are too many sins, too many flaws too many stains in the best of us. But, when God finishes with us, we will be complete, and share the beauty of the Kingdom of God.