"Who’s Your Best Friend?"
I have lots of friends. But what does it mean to be friends with the world, and what does it mean to be friends with God? Let's examine God's Word for the answers.
Who’s Your Best Friend?
A. Read Matt. 3:7-10. John the Baptist got his nickname because he was the “voice of the one calling in the wilderness, make straight the paths.” John’s message was one of repentance from sin. It called for a moral change that started in the heart of mankind. John’s message was harsh to those who needed “tough love.” He spoke the message of God in humility but boldly.
B. His message today would not be received well by many. Most who like his message think that is great for “someone else to hear” and not take it personally. Yet, the people who took it personally came to John to be baptized admitting their sin and seeking a life of repentance.
C. Many Christians want their preacher to preach about sin to the lost, helping them see the error of their ways and drawing them to God to lean upon Savior. As Christians we know the need to face that sin in order to take hold of salvation. But what about saved? How bold should the preacher be to the local church?
D. The Jews saw themselves as the children of God, saved by faith, a part of the covenant through circumcision. Yet it was to these people that John came preaching. Many heard and some responded. The ones who didn’t, were what we call the religious teachers. They did not like being called a “brood of vipers.” They resented the idea that the axe of God was laid at the foot of their tree. Yet John would not back down, and eventually it cost him his life after he confronted the political leader of his day.
I. Church Fights
A. Listen again to what James says after telling us about wisdom that comes from above. James 3:18-4:3.
B. The church is in conflict because we as members of the church hold on to our own earthly desires. We are seeing the sad result of human wisdom. Disorder, chaos.
C. Take a look at that wording. James places the problems of these dispersed Christians right at the feet of the Christians themselves. Very few church problems are over doctrine or even seeking to understand meaning of scripture. Many church problems are over conflicts of personality, personal desires, and even jealousy of fellow Christians. James is speaking to Christians and telling them the problem is YOU. Your passions, your covetousness, your desire for you to have what God has not given you.
D. There are times when we as Christians must face our sinful desires and repent. Until we as a church continuously seek first the kingdom of heaven and God’s righteousness, the only thing added to this body is conflict. Now James is going to label them in a way that has not been done for a while.
II. Friendship With The World
A. READ James 4:4. How much more bold can a preacher get than to call fellow Christians “adulteresses?” James is not talking to people outside the covenant of Christ. James is calling fellow Christians spiritual adulteresses.
B. Paul put it this way in 2 Cor. 11:2-3.
C. Spiritual adultery is when we as individual Christians or we as a collective church live counter the teachings of God willfully and without repentance. That, James says, was happening at the time of this writing.
D. James calls it “friendship with the world.” I have thought much about friendship in connection with this sermon and the one tonight. This sermon centers on what it means to be a friend to the world and tonight we will study by looking at what it means to be a friend to God.
E. On Facebook the connection between people is called “friends.” You “friend request” someone on Facebook to be able to communicate with them. You “unfriend” someone whom you no longer have a relationship with. James twice uses the idea of being a friend to the world. The object of my friendship is the world and the object of my enmity is God. I don’t put it in that blunt of terms.
F. You cultivate friendships. If you want a friendship to grow or become strong, you intentionally work at it. You spend time with your friend. You love that friend deeply. You find yourself sacrificing on behalf of that friend and it brings you pleasure. Friendship with the world is a decision I make. I am not forced into it. I do it because the world won’t tell me I’m wrong for acting upon my desires. The world won’t judge me on my behavior as long as society deems it acceptable. But friendship with the world produces a result that as a Christian I don’t want.
III. Enmity With God
A. READ James 4:5. James makes it clear that God hurts when we as Christians or we as a church, desire to live in friendship with the world. God have you His Spirit to claim you and empower you. James says that God hurts, that he is “jealous” that we would choose something other than him after what He has done for us.
B. “Enmity with God.” As the word implies, it makes me an “enemy of God.” In his commentary on James, Barnes’ writes, “This is a most solemn declaration, and one of fearful import in its bearing on many who are members of the church. It settles the point that anyone, no matter what his professions, who is characteristically a friend of the world, cannot be a true Christian.” (from Barnes’ Notes)
A. So who is your best friend? If you have to choose between God and the world (which, by the way you do have to choose), whose friendship do you desire?
B. John also warns us about what it means to be in relationship with the world. READ 1 John 2:15-17.
C. John tells us, “Whoever does the will of God abides forever.” What can the world offer you or us that can compare to that promise? Let’s us be a church made up of Christians who are friends of God. If we can encourage that walk with the Lord, then come as we stand and sing.