It is H.O.P.E. (Hour Of Power and Encouragement) Wednesday and I am excited because in a few hours, I will have the opportunity to gather with all of you who choose to come and gather together.
In our coming together, we will find greater relationship, kinship, and friendship.
As it is said, "Birds of a feather flock together." We are a flock and we should be together.
In what we find in coming together, relationship, kinship, and friendship, the foundation is all found in our friendship with Jesus.
We sing in the gospel hymn, "What a friend we have in Jesus. All our sins and griefs to bear. What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer."
Beloved, while the privilege of going to God in prayer in the name of Jesus is real, it is not why Jesus is our friend, at least not from His perspective.
Jesus had an expectation for who He would call His friends.
He expected us to pray. But, more than that, He expected us to love. Love who? Each other.
John 15:12-17 reads,
"This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends. YOU ARE MY FRIENDS IF YOU DO WHAT I COMMAND YOU. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I HAVE CALLED YOU FRIENDS, BECAUSE I HAVE MADE KNOWN TO YOU EVERYTHING I HAVE HEARD FROM MY FATHER. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another."
Wow! Talk about clarity.
We sing about why Jesus is a friend to us. Jesus explained why we are a friend to Jesus.
Do the two definitions meet in our lives on a daily basis?
Do we love one another on a daily basis?
Do we love all our brothers and sisters in Christ on a daily basis?
On the internet, you can friend or unfriend somebody on social networks like Facebook by the click of a button.
With Jesus, there is a little more to friendship than that.
When we pray in the name of Jesus, do we pray to our friend who we trust, love, and follow with evidence by our obedience?
Or, do we simply pray to the one who has paid it all, done it all, and bears it all, so that we do not have to do anything at all?
I think Jesus has made it clear. We do our part and He does His part.
And, our part is quite simple. We love.
Love yourself and your church family enough to come and meet with some of Jesus' friends this evening. And, invite others too. Some may be friends of Jesus as well and some may need to make Him their friend.
Do know this, my church family and friends, I love you!
See you soon.