I think the secret is out of the bag… God made us social creatures. From the very beginning, God has wanted us to share life and its experiences with godly friends. He wants to have someone to weep with and rejoice with, to share life with. To be friendless, to have no one to share life with, is a sad existence is it not? The Teacher in Ecc 4:10 said, “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. Woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up.” May I tell you about someone who wants to be your friend? He’s a friend in a high place. He’s Jesus the Christ and the great thing about this friend is that He has told us exactly how to be His friend and it’s found in Jhn 15:14:
“You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.”
Let’s see what it means to be Friends of Jesus but building an acrostic off the word friends. Each one of these words is a commandment of Jesus that will help us learn what it means to truly be Friends of Jesus:
Friends of Jesus are – Faithful
Friends of Jesus are people who are faithful with what has been entrusted to them and friends who are full of belief in their unseen Savior.
Jesus wants His friends to be faithful, or trustworthy, in carrying out the duties of the faith (Luk 16:10-12). Jesus wants friends who are not only faithful in the “big things” of the faith (assembling regularly, taking the Lord’s supper, contributing, etc.) instead He wants friends who are faithful in the “small things” of the faith (daily prayer, bible study, fellowship with other Christians, etc.). Because if we are faithful friends in the “small things” then we’ll be faithful friends in the “big things” but it doesn’t work the other way around.
But being faithful friends of Jesus also means that we are friends who believe in Him. This was Thomas’ problem was it not? He proclaimed that he wouldn’t believe that Jesus had been raised from the dead until he saw His hands and the print of the nails. In Jhn 20:27 Jesus reveals Himself to Thomas and called for him to be a faithful friend by being a friend who believed in Him. The word translated believing (Jhn 20:27) is the same word translated faithful in Luk 16:10-12.
If we’re friends of Jesus we will be faithful friends who are trustworthy and who believe in Him, thou we have not seen Him.
Friends of Jesus are – Ready
Friends of Jesus are to be people who are ready. Ready to meet the Lord when we depart from this life. James, the brother of the Lord, reminds us that life is “a vapor that appears for a little while then vanishes away.” (Jms 4:14) As friends of Jesus we need to be ready for our departure from this life.
Ready to meet the Lord when He returns (Mat 24:44). The Lord has given us a glorious promise, a promise that should bring us hope, joy and comfort, the promise that He is going to return and call us home to be with Him (cf. 1 Ths 4:16-18). We don’t know when His return will be so we ready ourselves in the present by being about His work, ever watchful for the master’s return, ever ready to answer the door when He knocks and ready at whatever time the master comes (Luk 12:35-36).
If we’re friends of Jesus we will be friends who are ready to meet Him. Whether we meet Him in death, or in the sky we will be ready.
Friends of Jesus are – Intense
Friends of Jesus are people who are intense when it comes to the practice of their faith. Being a friend of Jesus means forsaking the world to follow Him. How intense was the dedication of the apostles in following Jesus? It was very intense because they “had left all” and followed Him (Mrk 10:28). When we read about Jesus’ calling of Peter, Andrew, James, John and Matthew we see that they had indeed left all to follow Christ (Mrk 1:16-20; 2:13-17).
When we couple this example with Jesus’ teaching in Luk 14:26 and Mat 22:37 a picture of intensity begins to take shape. We begin to see Jesus demands 100% percent of our lives.
If we’re friends of Jesus we will be friends who are intense in our relationship with Him. Willing and ready to forsake all, and give all because our friend did the same for us.
Friends of Jesus are – Enduring
Friends of Jesus are people who endure life’s trials with the Lord’s strength. Jesus tells us in Mat 10:22 we “will be hated by all for [His] name’s sake. But [the one] who endures to the end will be saved.” The question is often asked, why do we suffer? Why is this happening to me? Jesus tells us that people will hate us because we’re friends with Jesus. And as a friend of Jesus you will be hated and you will suffer even thou you are doing the right thing (1 Pet 2:20) but this is commendable before the God. And the promise is that if we endure life’s trials then we will reign in heaven with Jesus. But if we deny Jesus during our trials, then He will deny us before God (2 Tim 2:12).
If we’re friends of Jesus then we will endure the trials of life, we’ll lay hold on the promise of victory to those that overcome with patience.
Friends of Jesus are – Neighborly
Friends of Jesus are people who are neighborly to all men not just to those who are like them. Is this not the meaning of the parable of the Good Samaritan? (Luk 10:25-37) In this passage Jesus affirms that if we want to inherit eternal life then we love our neighbor as love ourselves (vs. 27). He then uses the parable of the Good Samaritan to show us that our neighbor is anyone who is in need of anything, not just those who are like us, or we might say not just those who are Christians.
As we have opportunity we are to do good to all men, to the sinner and saved (Gal 6:10). Because if we only do good to those of the “household of faith” then we are not like our Father in heaven. The Father does good not only for the saint but also for the sinner (Mat 5:46-48). The Father is the true neighbor because He does good for all men and if we want to be like Him then we are called to do the same.
If we’re friends of Jesus then we will be neighborly, not only to the saints, but to all men.
Friends of Jesus are – Doers
Friends of Jesus are people who are not only hear His word but they are doers of His word. At the conclusion of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount the text tells us that “the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority.” (Mat 7:28b-29a) He had taught them a whole catalog of commandments from hating one’s brother, to the marriage relationship, to loving enemies, to praying, to not worrying. But He ends His sermon by saying that those who hear His words and do them are wise men whose life will be able to withstand the storms of life (Mat 7:24-25). But to those who only hear and do not do they are fools whose lives will crumble and their souls will be washed away (Mat 7:26-27).
The real blessings of this life and the life to come do not come by simply knowing what Jesus teaches, the real blessings come by doing what Jesus taught (Jhn 13:17). And when we do what Jesus taught we can know that we are abiding in “the truth” of His word. (1 Jhn 3:18-19)
If we’re friends of Jesus then we’ll be doers of His word not merely knower’s of His word.
Friends of Jesus are – Servants
Friends of Jesus are humble servants to God and to others. We know that Jesus said in Mrk 9:35 that if anyone will be first in the kingdom he must be a “servant of all.” The reason that Jesus can so confidently call us to a life of serve is because His life exemplified serve to His friends. Paul reminds us that Jesus came in “the form of a bond servant” (Php 2:7). Jesus wants His friends to be servants to all just as He was. Paul also says that we are to “count others as more significant than ourselves” and to “look out for the interest of one another.” (Php 2:3-4) These are the things that servants do. These are the things that friends of Jesus do for each Him and for each other. Because they are the ways that Jesus has already served us.
If we’re friends of Jesus we’ll be servants just like Him.
The question for you this, are you a friend of Jesus? Are you doing whatever He commands? If not then sadly you are no friend of Jesus and on the day of judgment he will say to you, “I never knew you, depart from Me.” (Mat 7:23) But you can change that today by obeying His commands and becoming His friend.
I would love to hear from you on your journey of being a friend of Jesus. Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me your story.