The Gospel of John: Friends!

“You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” (John 15:14-15).

One of the most popular songs Michael W. Smith ever wrote was entitled Friends. It is hard to believe now, but it was sung so often in churches and played on Christian radio so much that it soon became annoying to some people. Its popularity was based on the song’s theme of lasting friendships and the pain of saying goodbye to a dear friend. It also contained a singable melody.

When my wife and I were attending and serving at our home church in Southgate, MI, I often sang duets with a mutual friend of us both. My friend and I sang together in Christmas cantatas and provided special music sometimes for Sunday evening services.

When Diana and I left to serve in West Michigan, the farewell service held in our honor featured my friend and me singing, or at least me attempting to sing, the song Friends. While separated by the years and miles, social media enables my lifelong friend in Christ and me to still communicate and maintain our friendship.

As one pastor writes, “Friendship truly is one of the great joys of life. Everyone wants at least one good friend with whom to share joys and sorrows. Friends encourage us when we are down, and we encourage them when they need their spirits lifted. We work together with friends on common aims and interests. Whether we are rich or poor, young or old, male or female, we all treasure friendship.”

A friend is one with whom one associates and for whom there is affection or personal regard. This is what Jesus meant when He said to His disciples that they were His friends. Friendship with Jesus, and the mutual affection or personal regard we have for Him and He for us is demonstrated by our obedience to Him and based upon His substitutionary death on the cross for us.

Dr. John MacArthur writes, “Just as Abraham was called the “friend of God” (2 Chronicles 20:7; James 2:23) through God’s revelation to him, which he believed, so also those who follow Christ are privileged with extraordinary revelation through the Messiah and Son of God and, believing, become “friends” of God also. It was for his “friends” that the Lord laid down his life (John 15:13; 10:11-17).”

Show people today that you are their friend as you show them that you are the friend of Jesus Christ. Oh, by the way, here are the lyrics to an old song about Friends.

Packing up the dreams God planted
In the fertile soil of you
Can’t believe the hopes He’s granted
Means a chapter in your life is through
But we’ll keep you close as always
It won’t even seem you’ve gone
‘Cause our hearts in big and small ways
Will keep the love that keeps us strong

And friends are friends forever
If the Lord’s the Lord of them
And a friend will not say never
‘Cause the welcome will not end
Though it’s hard to let you go
In the Father’s hands we know
That a lifetime’s not too long
To live as friends

With the faith and love God’s given
Springing from the hope we know
We will pray the joy you’ll live in
Is the strength that now you show
But we’ll keep you close as always
It won’t even seem you’ve gone
‘Cause our hearts in big and small ways
Will keep the love that keeps us strong

And friends are friends forever
If the Lord’s the Lord of them
And a friend will not say never
‘Cause the welcome will not end
Though it’s hard to let you go
In the Father’s hands we know
That a lifetime’s not too long
To live as friends

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

 

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