Sun am 23 September 2018 – Johan Esterhuizen

James 2:23; Deut. 34:10-12; Ps. 103:7; John 3:27-30; (John 1:29); (John 15:16-KJV); Ps. 8:3-9; 2 Cor. 5:18-21; Mark 16:15-18; John 3:16-18); (Gal. 5:22-24); (1 Thess. 4:7); (Ex. 20:20-2); (Rom. 12:1-2); (Matt. 28:19). 

I want to speak this morning to you on friends of God“And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of God(Jas. 2:23). It is possible to known and to become a friend of God. I looked up ‘friend’ in the Strong’s commentary: “it is an associate, a companion, one of the bridegroom’s friends who on his behalf asks for the bride’s hand and rendering him various services in closing the marriage and the celebration and the nuptial”. The closest that we have got to the understanding of this friend of the groom is the best man. The best man that we have in our weddings today is actually an anaemic presentation of what it used to be. Marriages were arranged in those days, and one would do well to have a good friend. He would get the best deal for you! Marriages were arranged because the concept was that love comes after marriage. Today we fall in love and we fall out of love. We fall in love and we get married, then we fall out of love. Actually love has nothing to do with the emotions. Love is a decision that we make, the emotions will follow. A friend who attends the bridegroom negotiates on behalf of the prospective bridegroom with his father and the representative of the bride’s father. He brings the groom and the bride together. Arrangements are made for compensating the bride’s family. 

I am going to unfold something for you this morning about being a friend of God. Abraham was called a friend of God. Why? Since that time no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, for all the signs and wonders which the Lord sent him to perform in the land of Egypt…(Deut. 34:10-12). God confirmed the sending of Moses with mighty signs and wonders. Notice God knew Moses face to face. He was a friend of God. They saw the mighty acts of God but Moses knew the ways of God (Ps. 103:7). 

A man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven. John was given a message from heaven to prepare the way (John 3:27-30). He was the voice in wilderness crying. When Jesus came to be baptised, he said: “Behold the lamb that takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29). He was a friend of the groom; he was negotiating on behalf of the groom. 

Moses was a friend of God. Abraham was a friend of God. Each one of them received a great commission. Each commission was accompanied by mighty signs and wonders. The bride is somebody special. Do you know a fact that God the father loves you so much that he sent the Holy Spirit to negotiate and to draw you to his Bride! “You have not chosen me. I have chosen you!” (John 15:16-KJV). God wants to be our friend and He want to call you His friendWe somehow could lose the reality of the love that God has for us. 

God has given us dominion (Ps. 8:3-9). Everybody has a call on his life. Everybody has a gift and an ability to gain resources to become the person God has designed you to be. 

God is reconciling the world to Himself(2 Cor. 5:18-21). This is the ministry of reconciliation; we are Christ’s representatives. God is pleading through us to reach the lost. What a great commission, what responsibility that God has placed on each person’s shoulders, each child of God. If you are reconciled to Christ then God has given you the ministry of reconciliation. In other words, He has given you responsibility and He is calling you His friend. I want to personalise this; I want to put the personal pronoun in: And He said to me, “youGo into all the world and you preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. These signs are accompanying me because I am a believer: in the name of Jesus I cast out demons, I speak with new tongues; should I pick up serpents, and if I drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt me; I will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover. I go everywhere preaching the Word and Jesus confirming the Word with signs and wonders”(Mark 16:15-18). I think if we get up every day and say that, with purpose and meaning, we will see something happen. Somehow, we became an anaemic form of what the Church should be. 

We are praying for revival and we are trusting God for revival and it is going to come with a resurgence of joy and excitement about evangelism. You cannot preach the kingdom message and be part of the kingdom if you are not born-again. Flesh gives birth to flesh and spirit gives birth to spirit. Why is there a lack in the daily programme of a child of God regarding being a witness for Christ? I have listed five core values: 1)A personal commitment to Christ in which we acknowledge Him as our one and only Saviour (John 3:16-18). 2)A personal commitment to holiness best defined by the Apostle Paul as the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-24 & 1 Thess. 4:7). 3)A personal commitment to pleasing God, bringing Him glory and honour and pleasure through obedience to his commandments (Ex. 20:20-21 & Rom. 12:1-2). 4)A personal commitment to performing unselfish acts of service for others motivated by exemplary love of Christ and conduct that reflects our love for God and His creation (John 13:1-17). 5)A personal commitment to share the good news of Christ’s sacrificial death and resurrection (Matt. 28:19). Abraham was given a commission, Moses was given a commission, John the Baptist was given a commission, and we have been given a commission. We need to evangelise again and lead people to Christ. We must not just tell people to evangelize; we must equip them to do it. In closing I want to ask you 2 questions: Are you confident in your heart that you are secure in your relationship with God? If someone comes to you and asks “How can I find God?” what will you say? You have to be born-again! Let us get our core issues right.