Becoming God’s Best Friend
In this sermon about being a friend of God, we are reminded to prioritise the most important relationship in our lives. Is it your number one priority?
Is it time for a declutter?
There are times when our relationship with God needs decluttering. Over the past few months we have thought about different relationships we have that are worth fighting for: relationships with our spouses, our families and our friends. As we come to the end of our series, this morning's sermon on being a friend of God focuses on the number one relationship for us as a Christian: our relationship with God himself.
God reveals himself to us so that we can know him. He wants us to get to know him. He wants us to identify with him. He wants us to find our security in him. As Paul reminds us this morning, this is a privilege for all believers that calls us to set aside anything else we value, to declutter our lives of anything that might block or damage our relationship with God:
7-9 The very credentials these people are waving around as something special, I’m tearing up and throwing out with the trash—along with everything else I used to take credit for. And why? Because of Christ. Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant—dog dung. I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him. I didn’t want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ—God’s righteousness.
10-11 I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself. If there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead, I wanted to do it.
God wants to be our friend
Romans 5:10–11 NLT
For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.
But Jesus changed the situation. In fact, he changed it so radically, that when he died on the cross and paid for our sins, the change was illustrated by the Temple veil between the Holy of Holies and the outer court that was ripped in two from top to bottom, signifying that the separation between God and humans was now over, once and for all. Jesus was the bridge between us. Now there is no separation. Everyone has access to God. Everyone can be a friend of God. Everyone can know Christ personally.
Philippians 3:10 The Message
I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself.
And in the light of this good news, Paul says he has done some decluttering. He’s thrown away any sense of relying on his religious credentials. He’s let go of any idea of relying on his achievements. He’s got rid of any pride. And not only has he thrown them away, he’s come to see them as losses. All of these things no longer matter because of Christ. He’s given them all up so he could know Christ personally. Paul saw everything as loss compared to knowing Christ. The Greek word Paul uses for “knowing” here speaks of a relationship that is personal. It’s something that’s experienced. It’s more than simply reading about Christ. It’s more than hearing about Christ from other people. It’s more than knowing the facts about Christ. It’s more than knowing what we believe about Christ. It’s the experience of knowing Christ. And it’s a progressive knowing. We speak of getting to know someone better and better. That was Paul’s experience of knowing Christ. He had come to know him deeper and better every day.
Paul speaks about Jesus Christ my Lord
Philippians 3:8 ESV
Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ
So for the only time in all of Paul’s writings in the New Testament, Paul calls Jesus by the intensely personal “Christ Jesus my Lord”. Paul has explained in the chapter before how Jesus has been given God’s name of Lord, and that one day, every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. And here he makes the astonishing claim that this same Jesus is “my Lord”. Paul knows Christ Jesus in close intimate relationship that supersedes everything else.
Make knowing Christ our first priority
Matthew 6:33 ESV
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
In the light of Paul’s example, where is our relationship with Christ today? Becoming best friends with God is not something we can do in our spare time. Knowing God has to be our first priority. Experiencing a personal friendship with God has to be our number one priority. Seek first the kingdom of God, Jesus says. Do it first.
Jeremiah 29:13 ESV
You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.
That’s God’s promise to each of us. If we seek him, if we seek him with all of our heart, then we will find him. The simple question from this sermon about being a friend of God is: are we doing that? Are we seeking God with all of our heart every day? That’s the one relationship worth fighting for. That’s the way to become best friends with God.
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Why not check out these posts from around the blog?
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- Thankful for God's Goodness
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