FRIENDSHIP WITH GOD
· Rev. 4:11 - We are created to bring pleasure, enjoyment to God.
· Man - only creation of God capable of intimate relationship with Him.
· Desire of God is for relationship, friendship, intimacy.
· That desire is built into every human being - desire for friendship, intimacy.
· Jn. 17:3 - This is eternal life that they know thee and the one you have sent. Know - 1097 = Experiential knowledge. Eternal life is a consequence of an intimate relationship with the source of life.
· Relationship with God differs from any other relationship.
i) God is a spirit (Jn. 2:24)
ii) God is great (Is 57:15)
· Can only know God if he reveals himself.
· God reveals himself to all who are hungry for relationship with him.
· Matt 16:17 - Blessed are you - my Father has revealed it to you.
· Can know about God - but not know him personally.
· To know God personally He must reveal himself.
2. THE GOAL OF OUR RELATIONSHIP IN FRIENDSHIP
· Relationships develop through stages = know about - know personally - friendship
a) To know God personally must come on terms God sets.
· Jn. 1:12 To as many as received (Christ) he gave power to become children.
· Foundation for relationship with God is faith in Christ and the work he did on the Cross.
· Jn. 2:23-25 - Believed because of miracles - no depth of relationship.
b) To become a friend of God - must fulfil the conditions He sets.
· Mt. 11:19 - Friend of publicans and sinners.
· Jesus was friendly to publicans and sinners but called few his friends.
· To become a friend of God requires we meet the conditions He sets.
· Jn.15:14-15 You are my friends if you do whatsoever I command you.
· Spirit of obedience is essential to friendship with Christ = Faith
· Must have a respect for him that results in heart obedience.
E.g development of child to adult.
· Goal of the development is friendship
· Stages of the development = child - teen - adult
· Key issues: obedience/respect - responsibility/faith - Friendship
· Friendship becomes familiarity unless the conditions are met.
· Jesus disciples grew to point of friendship with Him.
· Mt. 28:18-20 Great commission = train people to point of friendship with God.
· Benefits of friendship is that God reveals his heart, his secrets.
· God does not reveal his heart to casual acquaintances.
3. FRIENDSHIP WITH GOD IS BIRTHED IN OBEDIENCE AND RESULTS IN REVELATION
· Ps. 25:14 The secret of the Lord is with those that fear Him.
· Secret = People in close discussion, intimacy, sharing personal things.
· E.g. Abraham: Called the friend of God = Is. 41:6 Abraham my friend/ 2 Chron. 20:7 Abraham your friend
· Ja. 2:21-23 Abraham faith - obedience - called friend of God!
· Abraham withhold nothing from God - God was first in his affection
· Gen.22:12 Fear God, not withheld son, only son whom you love.
· Abraham had deep respect and fear of God and obeyed Him and put Him first.
· Gen. 18:12 Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do.
· God revealed what about to do - Abraham able to forsee judgement to come and intercede with God for release of Lot and family.
· Lot: Righteous man with totally compromised life. (2 Pet. 2:8)
· Ja. 4:4 - Friendship with world is enmity with God. Whoever will be friend of the world is the enemy of God.
Enemy = 2190 = to hate, to be hostile, to be an adversary especially Satan.
Friend = 5384 = To be fond of and associate with.
Friendship with God is compromise by friendship with world.
· E.g. Moses: Called the friend of God. (Exod. 33:11)
· Ps. 103:7 - He made known ways to Moses, acts to people of Israel.
· Israel saw acts - what God did, miracles.
· Heart motive in serving God - “what can I get out of it?”
· cf Prov. 19:6 Every man is a friend to him that gives gifts. All brethren of poor hate him - his friends go far from him. He pursues them with words but they are wanting to him.
· Prov. 17:17 A Friend loves at all times.
· When serving God seemed to disadvantage Israel they complained. Num. 14:1-3 Were it not better for us to return to Egypt.
· People who do not know heart of God and the character of God, misinterpret difficulties and hardships as signs that God is against them.
· Moses walked in obedience - paid price to put God first (Heb 11:24-26)
Result - friendship with God and revelation of his ways.
Ways - methods, motives, desires of his heart.
· Friendship with God grows out of respect for Him that results in heart obedience in him and giving them first place in affection.
Prov. 22:11 - He that loves purity of heart and has grace on lips - the kings shall be his friend.
· Do not attempt to answer all the questions.
· How would you describe the difference between an acquaintance and a friend?
· What qualities would you look for in a friend?
· What failure would most commonly injure a friendship?
· Have you ever been betrayed in a relationship by a friend?
· What did you experience? How did you handle it?
· What makes that betrayal of Jesus in Mt. 26:47-50 by Judas so serious?
2. Friendship Developed
· Read Jn. 15:14-15
· What conditions does Jesus require of those who are friends to Him?
· Why does Jesus require a spirit of obedience in people?
· What difference does Jesus make between a servant and a friend?
· What condition must he have seen in their lives that caused him to elevate their relationship from servants to friends?
· Comment on the statement: “The goal of discipleship is friendship”
· Parents are the primary agents responsible for discipling their children. There is a progression in development.
Stage: child - youth - adult
Development: Obedience/Repect - Responsibility/Faithfulness - Friendship
· Why is it so important that children learn obedience and respect?
· Why is it so important that teens learn to assume responsibility and to be faithful (reliable) in fulfilling them?
· How does failure at either of these stages affect the relationship with the parent?
· Read the Great Commission in - Mtt. 28:18 - 20
· When people are trained to obey Christ what does this qualify them to become?
· Why is obedience the first most crucial lesson a New Christian must learn?
3. Abraham’s Friendship with God
· Read Ja. 2:20-24
· What would you consider your most loved possession? How readily could you let it go?
· Why is it so important that our faith (trust) in God be accompanied by actions?
· What minor struggles must Abraham have faced in letting go the only son he loved and had waited so long for?
· His willingness to obey was evidence of what quality? (v 22)
· What quality did Abraham have in his relationship with God apart from his faith? (Gen. 22:12)
· What does it mean to ‘fear God’?
· Why did God call Abraham his friend? (Ja. 2:23)
· Abraham’s nephew Lot once walked with him but later separated from him and lived in the city of Sodom where his life and values were corrupted.
Read Ja. 4:4
· What does it mean to be a ‘friend of the world’ practically?’
· How does this affect a persons relationship with God?
· Why does God call such a person an adulterer?
· Do you know people who once walked close to God but have now compromised and become a ‘friend of the world’?
· What is their condition before God?
· What is the heart of God in this matter? Gal. 6:1; Ja. 5:19,20
· Are their any areas of your life that are compromising your relationship with God? What are your going to do?
· How would you rate yourself in the two areas God requires as foundations for friendships with Him?
2. Faithful service