August 7, 2016
First Presbyterian Church – Coeur d’Alene
Message Series: Letters from Home
Message: Part 5
Scripture Text: John 13:23,34
1. Sign up to receive letter from home next Sunday. Pick yours up after worship if you
singed up last week (extras available).
a. Getting a personal letter – or even an email, text or Facebook message- from a family member is great, but its even better if it comes from a close friend.
Family members have to be in relationship with you. Friends choose you.
b. How about this for a definition of a close friendship: when two people share
unconditional love, loyalty, and find it makes them a better person.
c. So here’s a question: can you be a true friend with Jesus?
I’ve had many people tell me they do.
So let’s apply our definition to Jesus and see if it fits.
2. Unconditional Love
a. The other day I was driving toward Downtown on 3rd street and my 1995 Chevy Silverado pickup came alongside a brand-new Jaguar F-Type sportscar.
I gazed at that sleek car through my cracked windshield, over my broken side mirror, got jealous of someone who was such a ‘have’ to my ‘have not.’
Then I had to laugh – both vehicles had four wheels, an engine, seats; he couldn’t go any faster than me
because of the speed limit. $70,000 didn’t change that we were essentially the same cars going in the same direction.
b. Great friends understand this. I have a close friend still in Florida who at the time owned three Mercedes dealerships, two houses, could buy anything he wanted. But
we were two people headed in the same direction – that was what was important and what made us friends.
c. The passage (John 13:23) says that Jesus was reclining at table, and the literal way of translating the passage is that one of the disciples is so close that his head is
laying in Jesus chest.
It’s how everyone sat at a dinner table in
those days, laying down, propped up on their left arm, eating with their right hand, side by side.
And that’s the point – Jesus, the Son of God, was on the same level as his friends the disciples, not feeling he was above such familiarity. They were all headed in the same direction together.
a. Keep in mind, this meal was taking place in a time of crisis and betrayal of friendship. Just a couple verses earlier in Chapter 13 you’ll read about how Judas Iscariat, at
this very meal abandons Jesus’ friendship and begins to conspire in Jesus’ arrest and execution.
Judas probably felt he had good reasons for doing this. But the key is that those reasons took priority over his loyalty to Jesus as a true friend.
b. I’ve had both kinds of friends, and
have probably been both kinds of friend: the friendship based on something the friendship gives you which you need, versus the friendship that is based solely on itself.
c. Proverb 17:17 says that “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
Jesus, 2 chapters later, says, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)
Which kind of friendship does Jesus offer?
4. The final part of our definition is that true friendship makes you a better person.
a. I’m blessed with a long list of friends whose influence has shaped and molded me over the years.
I think of a friend in Nebraska who was a few years older and had been married longer. I was 4 years in, and he saw I needed help! So he befriended me and taught me what its truly like to have a good marriage.
He said, “Being married is to be a student of my spouse, and I love my teacher!”
b. In vs. 34 takes an Old Testament commandment – “love others as yourself” and rewords it to “love one another just as I have loved you.”
Why is Jesus-love an improvement over self-love? It is forgiving, redemptive, healing and transforming.
I spent many years being my own best
friend and nearly destroyed myself. Jesus’ love has set me free, and is every day making me more peaceful, joyful and love to others.
c. And now Christ calls me to carry that love into all my relationships, to truly LOVE1st
5. So can I be friends with Jesus? My answer, I’m grateful to say, is a resounding YES.
a. But now I have a vision of becoming a friend as Jesus has been my friend – a friend of God, of those I’m closes to, and really anyone I meet.
To let Jesus’ unconditional love, loyalty and transformation flow through me.
b. It’s also a vision for 1stPres – for all of us in this church – to experience God’s
friendship from each other, and be focused about offering true friendship in our mission field.
6. Where can that start? Maybe a quote from Mother Teresa will inspire you: “Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.”
a. Show each other your best smile!