Key Text: John 15:12-17

Close friends impact our lives far more than the thousands of other people we come into contact with. Psychologists have noted that there are many ways we mutually benefit from the relationships with our close friends. Having good friends who love and support us for what we are, leads to greater happiness and emotional well-being. Research shows that having at least one and preferably more than one confiding relationship is a key ingredient of mental health and resilience

Have we ever thought about what it means, that we have the opportunity to become friends with God, the Creator of the Universe?

King David said: When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him and the son of man that you care for him? Psalm 8:3-4

As vital as human friendship are, there is an even more important relationship. Because it is possible for Jesus to consider us as His friends?

Proverbs 18:24 A man of many companions may come to ruin but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Not everyone is a friend of God Romans 5:9-10 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by His blood, much more shall we be saved by Him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. We do not start out as friends with God and it would literally be a ‘grave’ mistake to assume that we are.

James 4:8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

Okay, so we may not be a friend of God but ‘I thought God was a friend of everyone?’

Psalm 25:14 The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear Him and He makes known to them His covenant.

Two things here, fear of God and His covenant.

We talk about relationship with God but that could mean different things to different people friend, teacher, Father but the Bible talks about a particular kind of relationship that we see all through the Bible and it’s the idea of a partnership with God. The idea of working alongside someone to achieve a goal. Because of sin in the world and us wanting to do our own thing, the Bible talks about a broken partnership

The New Covenant in Jesus is the promise that God makes with humankind that He will forgive sin and restore communion with those whose hearts believe in His Son, Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 9:15 Therefore He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.

Jesus defeated death by His resurrection and restored life for those who believe in Him.

We can fear many things in life, fear causes us anxiety, depression, health problems and fear binds us.

 Proverbs 29:25 The fear of man is a snare but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.

Psalm 25:14 The Friendship of the Lord is for those who fear Him…

Jesus friendship is reserved for a particular kind of people.

In Exodus 20:20 Moses said to the people, “Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of Him may be before you, that you may not sin.”

Moses did not use two different words for fear but did refer to two kinds of fear. (Being scared and revering) Moses told them don’t be scared.

 A wrong understanding of the fear of the Lord drives us away and causes us to hide. A right understanding of the fear of the Lord draws us to Him and causes us to abide. John 15

So the fear of the Lord begins with knowing who He is The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding Psalm 111:10 To fear the Lord is not to be scared of Him but to revere Him.

Fear of the Lord is the key to knowing God and knowing what pleases Him.

God hates all things that are evil Proverbs 8:13 The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate. We must therefore, learn to hate the things that God hates, learn to not tolerate them in our lives. Have a deep regard (hold in high esteem) of what He approves and disapproves of.

Psalm 19:9 the fear of the Lord is clean enduring forever… (In awe of His majesty)

The fear of the Lord compels us to not sin against Him but those who do not fear God have no reason to refrain from doing wrong and evil. Instead our fear of the Lord should cause us to seek Him, confess our sins and live lives in obedience to Him

To fear God is not living a cautious lifestyle of not wanting to offend Him but adopting a lifestyle that is sensitive, considerate and mindful toward Him because love is hand in glove, linked with respect.

Fear of the Lord is practical part of our identity and it affects every aspect of our lives, speech, conduct, habits and behaviours, even our relationships with other people.

Let’s come back to where we started friendship with God. Psalm 25:14 The Friendship of the Lord is for those who fear Him…

John 15:14-16 You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.You did not choose me but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, He may give it to you.