Formations lesson for Oct. 23: No Longer Servants : Friday, Oct. 7, 2005
October 7 2005 by Reese Blanchett

Formations lesson for Oct. 23: No Longer Servants : Friday, Oct. 7, 2005
Friday, Oct. 7, 2005

Formations lesson for Oct. 23: No Longer Servants

By Reese Blanchett
Focal passage: John 15:14-15, 20-25

A minister was preparing a man for his impending death.

Whispering firmly, he said, "Denounce the devil! Let him know how little you think of him!" The dying man said nothing. The minister repeated his order. Still the dying man said nothing. The minister asked, "Why do you refuse to denounce the devil?"

The dying man said, "Until I know where I'm heading, I don't think I ought to aggravate anybody."

There's a mistaken notion that Jesus was simply a friendly and loving fellow who was easy to get along with. Under this mistaken notion, Jesus is much like a politician lobbying for votes - shaking hands, always smiling, and friendly to all. But Jesus was far from easy going.

It was true that Jesus attracted large crowds when He was feeding or healing, but if He was convicting sinners and calling for repentance, they got cold feet. In fact, He condemned unbelief, He criticized those who sought signs and wonders, and He especially criticized the religious establishment.

Early in the gospel of John we observe how the severity of His message caused some to desert Him: "From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. 'You do not want to leave too, do you?' Jesus asked the Twelve." (John 6:66-67).

A Redefined Friendship

John 15:14-15

Notice how Jesus redefines friendship. He doesn't call us friends if we are friendly, nor does He call us friends if we are obedient occasionally.

In an ordinary friendship we enjoy similar likes and dislikes, we enjoy a reciprocation of feelings, or we enjoy planning and conducting activities together.

But Jesus looks at friendship differently. For Him, friendship is about obedience to His commands, because He knows that it is only in relationship with Him that one finds God.

Moreover, His friendship is the only relationship that can give us access to God. That's a true friend. It is not a worldly relationship but an eternal, spiritual relationship, as James describes, "Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God" (James 4:4b).

A Resisted Friendship

John 15:20-22

Jesus says sinners resist the gospel because of ignorance; they don't know God. In fact, no one can know God unless Jesus intervenes. Yet when we introduce sinners to Jesus there will be resistance and persecutions.

Practical experience bears this out. If you work for God for any period of time Satan will attack.

You will be accused unjustly, you will be treated unfairly, you will be insulted, and criticisms will be leveled against you, both personally and professionally.

But being a friend of Christ means standing in the gap between rescue and attack. In effect we become a living sacrifice, one who brings Christ to the sinner, "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23).

Therefore, experiencing resistance is not the exception, but frequently the rule.

A Rejected Friendship

John 15:23-25

Talk about hate! Despite all the good He did, Jesus only ministered three years.

We forget that Jesus was called a liar, a blasphemer, demon-possessed and mentally ill. Moreover, He was yelled at, spit at, stripped, whipped, ridiculed and beaten into a bloody rag. And if that wasn't enough rejection, He was nailed naked on a cross to suffer a slow and extremely painful death.

Have you ever experienced that degree of rejection? Jesus was a despised man by the end of His ministry, and He says there will be people who will hate you too because of Him.

By taking a stand for Christ you automatically take a stand against several things: Satan and his works, the world and its ways and sin in all its forms. Additionally, we will experience aggravation, rejection, and resistance.

But by taking a stand for Jesus, He sees to it that we graduate from servant to friend. Are you Jesus' friend?

10/7/2005 12:00:00 AM by Reese Blanchett | with 0 comments




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