Key Passage:  John 15:14-15


What is the reason some people succeed and are promoted in God and others aren’t?


1.    What does it take to become a friend of God?


§  Like Him.  Do you come to love God?


§  Aware of His presence.  Do you know when He’s here and not here?


§  Have common interests, ie kingdom orientated in values and thinking.  If all your interests are shaped by the world, you will not have a lot in common.


§  James 4:4  If you are a friend of the world, ie fond of its values and ways of doing things, you are an enemy of God (enmity = hostility, opposed, hate, adversary).


Serving = the pathway to friendship with God – it’s in the way we live our life.



‘henceforth’ – progressive development in relationship with the Lord.


 ‘servant’ – advances the cause of his master by hearing and obeying what he’s asked to do (without arguing).  He doesn’t know why he does some things.


‘friend’ – positioned in relationship to receive insight and understanding.  He gets told things others don’t get to hear, because he’s laid his life down to follow.


‘if’ – conditional.


There was a change in the disciples relationship with Jesus from this point on.  Servanthood qualified them for becoming friends.  They were not self-directed but their eyes were on the needs of others, what would bless and help another person.


We can never be a great church by just worshipping/praying.  We need to walk right.  If we embrace the same value system as Jesus has, if we look at life as He sees it, if we have the same attitude toward His Father as He has, we can be friends.


2.    What is a Servant?


Definition:  servant = a person who serves another person, not his own master.  He exists to fulfill the will and desires of another.


§  Every person serves some master, ie advances the will and cause of another.


§  Rom 6:16  “Whoever you yield yourselves servant to obey, his servants you are”





§  Whatever takes up most of your time, energy, money, affection, attention – is what you serve.


§  We serve God through obedience to His will.  We become united with Him, what He’s interested in, and want to accomplish His desires.  2 Cor 5:17 – our lives are centred in Christ.


§  Following our own will and desires is following the spirit of the age or the course of the world (Eph 2:2 ie, the devil).  The world never promotes God’s interests.  “Nobody tells me what to do”, “Do my own thing”.  A life centred in yourself – get self ahead, self advancement, self centeredness – is a characteristic of fallen man and is contrary to the principle of the cross.


Example – Jesus:

§  Was motivated by serving His Father and lay down His life for another.

§  He lived life to the full and made more impact than any other.

§  Matt 20:25-28  Jesus was a man who lived for a cause.

a)    World values:  exercise dominion – lord over, controls people

                              exercise authority – wield privileges (status symbols) over people

b)    God’s value:    greatness found through serving, not through position


v26  “will be great” – megas – make your life count.

v26  “be your minister” – diaconos – run errands, wait on tables.

v27  “servant” – doulos – bond slave, person without rights.

v28  “give life” – yield spirit to the purpose of God.


Example – Moses:

Ex 33:11 – God spoke face to face, as man to friend.

Heb 3:5 – Faithful as a servant.


Moses built the tabernacle exactly like God told him.  He didn’t deviate one little bit, even though he didn’t have an understanding of it all.


Example – Abraham:

James 2:15 – Called the friend of God, after he offered Isaac.

Gen 26:24 – My servant Abraham.


Abraham qualified himself to be called the friend of God by his actions.  He did something.  He offered his only son.  (OT – pattern, shadow).  Abraham trusted God because He had a promise.  It was painful, but he laid down his son’s life, because he loved God.









James 2:17 – faith, if it has not works, is dead.


There needs to be a practical outworking in our life.

Work – something you do for God.  Done in response to Gods revealed will in your life.


For the unsaved, the key question is “What will you do about salvation”?

For the saved, the key question is “Were you productive as a servant of God”? or was it all a one-way street.  Were His interests, my interests?


There is a reward for service.  We become the servant of God when we act on His interests.  Like Abraham, we become a friend of God when we give our life to serve the purpose of God in the day we live.  We are not here for no purpose.


A servant discovers the purpose of God for His life.  A servant looks after the interest of someone else.  As we yield to what God wants and serve Him, we discover who we are and develop our full potential.


Today’s generation is self-centred, serve themselves and evaluate everything on how it feels to me!  (2 Tim 3:1-4)



1 Cor 9:19 – “made himself a servant”, by choice, because he understood the path to friendship, advancement, greatness in life.




§  Jesus could do miracles and take on any job, but He chose to wash the disciples feet.  It is nothing about position, but the way we think.


§  If we are doing what God wants us to do, His grace and power is on it.  If not, we are missing our destiny.


§  Don’t compare with others, just follow His leading.




Great people have great serving hearts.





§  We have many acquaintances.  When does acquaintance become a friend?


§  Why/when did Jesus call His disciples friends?  John 15:14-15


§  Describe what serving is.  How do we recognise what we are serving?  Rom 6:16



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§  How does the relationship of ‘friend’ differ from ‘servant’?  Name a friend of God in the Bible, what qualified him for friendship?


§  Do you think you qualify to be called a friend of God?  What would have to change?


§  What does the Bible say today’s generation would be like?  2 Tim 3:1-4


§  In what ways have your values changed?

                              Self centred Þ God centred

                              Advancing your interests Þ Advancing God’s interests


§  How do we make our life count, or ‘be great’ for God?  Matt 20:26



Pair up:

Is there any area you feel God has been speaking to you about where He wants you to put His interests first?