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How To Be A Friend Of God James 2:23

(JAS 2:23) AND THE SCRIPTURE WAS FULFILLED WHICH SAITH, ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS IMPUTED UNTO HIM FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS: AND HE WAS CALLED THE FRIEND OF GOD.

There is a tremendous principle and challenge in this passage of God's Holy Word. This tells us of the greatest characteristic of Abraham. Abraham is the patriarch of the Jews. God called him to be the father of the nation of Israel. We can also see that Abraham was a great military man. He took on the five armies of the north and defeated them. (Gen. 14)

In James 2:23 we see one of the highest titles, if not the highest, that can be given to an earthling. "He was a friend of God." In Exodus 33:11, we read of Moses. "And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend...." However, only Abraham is referred to as a "friend of God" in the entire Bible. This morning I would like to examine Abraham's life to discover why he was called the friend of God.

(JOHN 15:13-15) "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."

Our Lord used the term "friend or friends" in the N.T. He told His disciples that they were no longer slaves, or servants, but were His friends. I believe it is a great privilege to be called the "Friend of God, or Friend of Christ."

(PROV 18:24) "A MAN THAT HATH FRIENDS MUST SHOW HIMSELF FRIENDLY: AND THERE IS A FRIEND THAT STICKETH CLOSER THAN A BROTHER."

Friendship in this connotation is speaking of intimacy. More than just a close acquaintance. "One who is attached to another by affection." So, we must understand that there was a reason why Abraham was called "The Friend of God." It is possible to be a child of God and not be a friend of God.

It is possible to be saved and not have that intimate relationship with God that would qualify us as His friend. Let's examine why Abraham carried this title. In Genesis we will see four characteristics that he possessed and why he was called the Friend of God.

I. He Submitted To The Direction Of God cf . Ge. 12:1-4.

      • What is Abraham to do?
      • Pull up stakes and leave his home.
      • In doing he will enter a complete new lifestyle, a new occupation, a new land of sojourning.
      • Abraham didn't even know where he was going.
      • How many of us would accept that same call from our employer?
      • Monday morning the boss calls us in and says, "We are going to transfer you."
      • We say, "Where will I be going?"
      • The boss replies, "I cannot tell you yet, but just have your bag packed by tomorrow and I will take you there."
      • How many of us would go?
      • Notice Vs. 4, "So Abraham departed..."

A. It Didn't Make Sense To The Natural Mind.

1. He was to forsake every security he has enjoyed.

2. He did not know his destination.

3. He didn't know how far he was going.

4. v1 says, "...unto a land where I will shew thee."

5. Abraham was submitted to God's direction.

(HEB 11:8) "BY FAITH ABRAHAM, WHEN HE WAS CALLED TO GO OUT INTO A PLACE WHICH HE SHOULD AFTER RECEIVE FOR AN INHERITANCE, OBEYED; AND HE WENT OUT, NOT KNOWING WHITHER HE WENT."

6. Abraham didn't questioned God.

7. To the human mind this just doesn't make sense.

a. Where are we, today, in this matter of the call of God upon our life?

b. Have we obeyed?

c. For most of us, we have questioned and argued with God.

d. We have set certain conditions or certain salaries, or benefits. "God, if you will first promise me this, then I will go."

e. That's not submission to God's direction.

8. We cannot be called the "Friend of God" as long as we question or resist God's direction in our life.

B. It Did Mean That He Would Be A Servant.

1. God had a great mission in mind. Vs. 2. "I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:"

2. Notice one phrase in this verse. "...and thou shalt be a blessing."

3. Notice the servitude that is expected in that thought.

4. Not, "Lord, will you BLESS ME, if I go?" or "Lord, what is in this for me?"

5. God said, "Abraham, you will be a blessing."

C. There Are Three Reasons Why Abraham Obeyed.

1. Because of his confidence in God's will. (that's faith)

2. Because of his conscienceless of God's will. (that's submission)

3. Because of his commitment to God's will. (that's obedience)

D. Abraham Did Not Demand An Explanation.

1. Faith does not need an explanation. He obeyed. He submitted to God's direction.

2. If we study the various victories that are recorded in the Bible we will find that each victory was a result of the obedience of the Children of Israel rather than their mightiness or their ability.

3. God wants those who will follow Him without reservation.

II. He Separated From The Godless Crowd. Gen. 14:21-23.

A. Note the impact of these verses.

1. Abraham had defeated these five kings of the north, and the king of Sodom, out of appreciation, wanted to give him a reward.

2. Abraham would take nothing from him.

3. Abraham is on a long journey.

4. He doesn't know how far he will be going because he is obeying God.

5. Now he is faced with a circumstance that if he will allow the king of Sodom to reward him for his victory Abraham can profit financially if he will just be a little flexible.

6. But Abraham was the friend of God, and he did not want it to appear that he was endorsing the ungodliness of Sodom.

(1 TH 5:22) "ABSTAIN FROM ALL APPEARANCE OF EVIL."

B. Abraham was called the "Friend of God" because he was willing to be separated from the ungodly city of Sodom.

1. If only his nephew Lot had chosen to do so.

2. But, He chose just the opposite.

3. We see his progression in sin as he first pitched his tent toward Sodom.

4. Then later becomes identified with that wicked city.

5. He lost his possessions, and his family!

C. If we expect to be the "Friend of God", we must follow the example of Abraham.

1. We cannot be the friend of God and the friend of the world at the same time.

2. We are in this world, but we do not have to of the world.

3. We can choose to serve God even though the godless world is all around us.

III. He Was Willing To Stand On The Dependability Of God Gen. 15:1-6.

A. God's promise to Abraham was to bless all the nations of the earth.

1. Abraham did not have an heir.

2. The circumstances were against him.

3. Yet, Abraham stood on the dependability of God.

4. He placed his full trust in what God said.

B. The true friend of God is the Christian that is willing to stand on the Word of God.

(ROM 4:20-21) "HE STAGGERED NOT AT THE PROMISE OF GOD THROUGH UNBELIEF; BUT WAS STRONG IN FAITH, GIVING GLORY TO GOD; {21} AND BEING FULLY PERSUADED THAT, WHAT HE HAD PROMISED, HE WAS ABLE ALSO TO PERFORM."

1. Abraham stood on the promise of the dependability of God.

2. Let me assure you today that you can also stand on promise of God.

3. What He has promised, He will do.

C. Consider God's promises.

1. He has promised to save all who will call on His name.

(ROM 10:13) "FOR WHOSOEVER SHALL CALL UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD SHALL BE SAVED."

2. He has promised to care for us in the deepest hour of sorrow.

(1 PET 5:7) "CASTING ALL YOUR CARE UPON HIM; FOR HE CARETH FOR YOU."

3. He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us.

(HEB 13:5B) "... FOR HE HATH SAID, I WILL NEVER LEAVE THEE, NOR FORSAKE THEE."

4. He has promised to meet our needs.

(PHIL 4:19) "BUT MY GOD SHALL SUPPLY ALL YOUR NEED ACCORDING TO HIS RICHES IN GLORY BY CHRIST JESUS."

IV. He Was Willing To Sacrifice His Dearest To God Gen. 22:1-6.

A. The Test.

1. A faith that has not been tested is faith that cannot be trusted.

2. Twenty-five years had passed between the promise of God and the actual delivering of that promise.

3. Now God says, "Sacrifice him."

4. Abraham was the friend of God because he allowed nothing to shake his confidence in the love of God.

5. Abraham was willing to sacrifice that which was dearest to him.

6. He was going to literally kill Isaac, his promised son.

B. Abraham passed the test.

1. God had to stop him.

(HEB 11:17) "BY FAITH ABRAHAM, WHEN HE WAS TRIED, OFFERED UP ISAAC: AND HE THAT HAD RECEIVED THE PROMISES OFFERED UP HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON."

2. He had that kind of faith in God.

3. Abraham's intention was to plunge the knife into the heart of his dearest son, prepare him for the burnt offering, and then burn him on the altar of God.

C. Would we pass the test?

1. God expects you and I to surrender all that you have or own to Him.

a. Our home.

b. Our business.

c. Our children

d. Our plans and future.

2. God expects you to sacrifice all that we count dear and precious to Him, or else we can forget about being the friend of God.

3. Remember, He has already done all of that for us.

a. He has already sacrificed that which was the dearest to His heart on Calvary's cruel cross so that you and I may have eternal life.

b. He has already shown Himself a friend to us.

c. Now when are we going to show ourselves to be friends of God?

        • Begin first of all by accepting Him as your Savior.
        • Trust Christ for your salvation.
        • Trust Him with our lives.
        • Be willing to follow His direction.
        • Totally surrender to Him.

A friend places no boundaries on his heart, but places everything upon the altar of sacrifice for God. Abraham was the friend of God. How about you and I today? I wonder how close we can come to being classified as the "Friend of God."

 

Jesus As A Friend

 

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Luke 11:13 ESV / 21 helpful votes

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1 Corinthians 6:11 ESV / 18 helpful votes

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Matthew 5:24 ESV / 17 helpful votes

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John 4:1-54 ESV / 14 helpful votes

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Hebrews 10:19-25 ESV / 13 helpful votes

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Proverbs 18:1-24 ESV / 11 helpful votes

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Matthew 26:50 ESV / 10 helpful votes

Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you came to do.” Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus and seized him.

Psalm 36:5-12 ESV / 10 helpful votes

Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mountains of God; your judgments are like the great deep; man and beast you save, O Lord. How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights. For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light. ...

Romans 6:23 ESV / 9 helpful votes

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Luke 19:1-10 ESV / 7 helpful votes

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Luke 10:38-42 ESV / 6 helpful votes

Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

John 15:13-17 ESV / 5 helpful votes

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Matthew 2:1-11 ESV / 5 helpful votes

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: ...

Psalm 34:8 ESV / 5 helpful votes

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!

John 3:22-30 ESV / 4 helpful votes

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Matthew 16:21 ESV / 4 helpful votes

From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.

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2019-05-23
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