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What a Friend we have in Jesus!


Judah Smith, pastor of The City Church in Seattle, WA, shared the following as part of his message entitled, “Jesus is Your Friend”, at the 2013 Hillsong Conference.


One of the most fascinating things about Jesus was how much time He spent with people. Jesus made friends with disreputable sinners, people that society rejected: Zacchaeus, Matthew, the woman caught in adultery, the thief on the cross. He made friends with invisible people, those that society ignored or undervalued: Peter, James, John, and the rest of the disciples. He reached out to the blind and lame and lepers, and He healed them with no strings attached.


Keep in mind that Jesus came to show us the Father (John 14:9). In other words, how He dealt with people was exactly how God deals with us. Jesus smiled at people because God smiled at them. He healed people because God wanted to heal them. He hugged people because God longed to hug them. He ate fish and chips with alcoholics, He played hide-and-seek with kids, He cracked corny jokes, and He forgave sins left and right because that’s what God would have done in His place.


We have to grasp this truth. Jesus didn’t come into the world to condemn it. He came to save it. He wasn’t out to highlight His holiness and shame those who didn’t measure up. He came to find sinners and offer them a way out. He came to give hope to desperate, lonely, hurting people. He came to replace our quiet desperation with righteousness and peace and joy.


So what does this mean for us? It means that regardless of our past or present, in spite of our weaknesses and failures, Jesus is our friend, too.


Sometimes we have a hard time believing that. We look at ourselves through the filter of our failures and we lose heart. How could God love us? How could we ever be successful? How could we ever help other people?


But Jesus looks past our sin and loves us for who we are. Death and Resurrection dealt with sin once and for all. They made a way for our relationship with Him to be restored to what it was meant to be.


We are His focus. We are what He thinks about all day long. Jesus is obsessed with loving us, with spending time with us, with knowing all the mundane details of our lives. We are His favorite. We are His friends.


We can understand being a servant of God, or even a slave of God. But isn’t it amazing that we can be a friend of God? He doesn’t just want to be aware of your existence or even just know about you. He desires to be in an intimate relationship with you. He knows every detail about you – even the very number of hairs on your head (Matthew 10:29-30). (And in my case that number is getting smaller every day.) The Lord knows you inside and out (Psalm 139:1-3). He is thinking about you all the time (Psalm 139:17-18). He loves you with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3).


Too many people have a distorted view of God. They see Him as a menacing Cop ready to arrest them for even the slightest infraction. He’s the Hanging Judge whose only verdict is Guilty and can’t wait to throw them into Hell for all eternity. But Jesus loves you so much that He left Heaven’s splendor to suffer and die on a cruel cross to take our place of punishment for sin. (It wasn’t nails that held Him there on the cross; it was His love for you and me.) Thankfully He rose again triumphant on the third day and He is preparing a place for us to be with Him for all eternity.

 

This Sunday, April 7, we will begin a new teaching series that asks the vital question, “Who is Jesus?” The first answer? “Jesus is Friend!” Isn’t that amazing? He calls us friends (John 15:12-15). Please invite someone to join you at 10:35am in the building or online for the Live broadcast on either Facebook (HonoluluAG) or our YouTube channel (Honolulu Assembly of God). We livestream every Sunday to both locations and would love to have you join us. The worship service will be followed by a Fellowship Lunch (potluck) so bring your favorite foods to add to the table. It will be “ono-licious” so please plan to join us and bring your friends with you!


Our next “Drive-Through Prayer” outreach in the church parking lot is this Saturday, April 6, from 11am-1pm.


Aloha ke Akua!


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