God wants me to know that I can trust Him all the way. And He says, "That's my friend." Would you rejoice in that today, beloved?
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Doing alright today? Well, I trust so, bless your heart. I’ve lived long enough to know that some days are better than others and some are not as good, and sometimes you just wish you didn’t have to get up. [chuckle] And of course, some of you are listening at the midnight hour or nearly so and you’re just finishing the day, and you may be sound asleep before I’m finished speaking. Don’t let that worry you. I’ve preached in many people’s sleep. [chuckle] So go ahead and get your rest. Well, it’s your friend Bob Cook and I’m glad to be back with you. I’ve just been praying that God would give me His love and His truth and His blessing and His comfort and inspiration and practical help for you, beloved, this very day, in what comes from His inherent, inspired Word, the Bible.
We’re in John 15. We talked about abiding in Christ and I got to ask the question what this matter of abiding really involved. Jesus said, “Abide in me and I in you.” So it involves fruit-bearing, it involves answered prayer, it involves defined love as the atmosphere of your life.
When you meet somebody else, God’s love needs to spill over and it will if you’re full of it. Romans 5:5 says, “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost who has given unto us.” Sincere, un-calculated, non-manipulative regard for the value of another person’s life, God’s love, Christ’s love, the love of the Holy Spirit, spilling out of your life. That is one of the results of abiding in Christ. Then there’s obedience to His commands. No double talk in the Bible, we tend to try to get around some of these things. I know I have different times in my life, haven’t you? “Yes, Lord. I know that’s what I ought to do but… ” Well, He doesn’t work that way. He said, “You’re my friends if you do whatsoever I command you.” Then, of course, there’s this matter of joy unspeakable and full of glory. “These things have I spoken on to you that my joy might remain in you and that your joy might be full God’s joy in your life.” “In whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing,” says Peter, “Ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.” Paul says in Galatians 5 that the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering.
What is joy? Well, joy is that ineffable sense of well-being that goes way beyond happiness because happiness depends on circumstances, joy depends on a relationship with your blessed Lord. You can be joyful in the midst of tribulation so the Bible says, “Joyful in tribulation.” “Wherein ye greatly rejoice,” says Peter, “though now for a season ye are in heaviness through manifold testings.” They didn’t feel very good, they were in heaviness. That phrase “in heaviness” means they felt bad. But he said, “You rejoice in the Lord Jesus Christ.” Do you know that secret? Somebody’s lost a wife or a husband and the waves of loneliness sweep over you from time to time, and the well-meaning efforts of friends and acquaintances don’t seem to take that away. And you think, “Oh, if I were a better Christian, I wouldn’t feel so bad.” Nonsense, you’re a human being. Your feelings may be one thing but you can rejoice in the Lord Jesus even though your tears might be falling. “Joy even in the midst,” as Peter said, “Of heaviness.” You may feel down in the valley, you may have the blues, you may feel lonely, and desolate and almost forsaken, but you turn to your blessed Heavenly Father and all of a sudden in that right relationship that obtains between you and Him through Jesus our Lord, there’s joy. And you can whisper, “Thank you, Father.” Isn’t it true?
Get away from the idea that because you’re a Christian everything oughta be coming up roses, life isn’t that way. Jesus our Lord said, “In the world ye shall have tribulation.” But he said, “Cheer up. I’ve overcome the world.” “I will be with Him in trouble,” says the Psalms. See, God lets us go through things so that He can prove how wonderful He is. “Therefore will the Lord wait,” says the Prophet. “Therefore will the Lord wait, that he may be gracious onto you.” You’ve had children of your own and grandchildren, some of you. You know sometimes that you’ve delayed giving a present until the child was able to appreciate it, haven’t you? Of course, that’s happened to all of us as we brought up our children. There is a time, there’s a right time to do things. And so you wait until the child can appreciate certain things, then you provide them. Therefore will our Lord wait, that he may be gracious unto you. And God lets things happen in our lives, I’m convinced, in order that He might grow us up a little and then show how wonderful He is to us. Seek your Heavenly Father’s face even today and let Him whisper His love to you and relax in the joy of a right relationship with the Father through Jesus our Lord, wonderful joy in Christ.
Then this matter of permanence, it has to do with his choice of us. I made a little list of the things he said he had done. Verse 15, “I have called you friends.” I have called you friends. Whatever Christ calls anything, that’s what it is. Names in the old days of course used to have far more significance than they do today. People were named for their character, they were named for their looks in some cases, and they were named quite often for their occupation. So today we have Mr. Baker and Mr. Schumaker, and Mr. Banker, and Mr. Cook even. [chuckle] But Jesus said, “I called you something because that’s what you are. I have called you friends, not servants, not slaves. The slave doesn’t know what his master is doing, but I’ve called you friends, phileos.” Phileos, that’s a noun which is related to the verb ‘phileo’ which has to do with sheer, warm brotherly love. He said, “I called you that because that’s what you are.” My heart breaks with gratitude as I think that the Lord Jesus, who was absolutely pure and holy, because he gave himself for me and paid the price for my salvation with his shed blood on calvary, and reached down and look at me and say, “There’s my friend Bob Cook.” I don’t know how he does it but he does. He said, “I called you friends.”
They had their share, those disciples did. They had their share of faults and foibles, didn’t they? So severe in one case in the case of Judas that he was gonna sell out his Lord. And in the case of Simon Peter he was gonna deny that he even knew the saviour when under pressure of those who were gathered in Pilot’s judgment hall. And others were gonna run away and hide, a fine bevy of friends that was. But you see, the friendship of the Lord Jesus doesn’t depend on your performance, it depends on his purpose. Thank God for that. It doesn’t depend on your performance. “That the trial of your faith being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, might be found unto praise and honor and glory. Count it all joy,” says James, “when you fall into different kinds of testings knowing that the trial of your faith worketh patience, and patience experience, and the experience and hope. And hope maketh not ashamed.” God wants me to know that I can trust Him all the way. And He says, “That’s my friend.” Would you rejoice in that today, beloved? Do you feel comfortable with Jesus? The way to feel comfortable with God is to level with Him. First John 1:9, “If we confess our sins,” that word confess is a Greek word homologeo which means to say the same thing, agree.
Just agree with God about yourself, He knows it already. The first thing is then to agree with Him, confess your sins and shortcomings, and failings, and fears, and hang ups, bring them all to Him and agree with Him about ’em, and then trust Him to work His wonderful work in your life. To be comfortable with God, that’s what abiding in Christ really means. To let Him feel at home in your heart and you feel at ease in His presence, because there’s nothing to hide. When you’re in the presence of someone from whom you’re hiding something, you’re uneasy. It’s just bound to be the way it is. But when you come to Jesus, you better let him know it all because he already knows it but he wants to hear it from you. And then you can rest serene and blessed in the presence of your friend. Evelyn Christenson says in one of her books that there was a time when she was going through so many troubles that she really felt so sorry for herself and a bit resentful toward God. There’d been a number of a painful experiences having to do with her work and her family, and there’d been some surgeries through which she had to go. And so on one occasion as she retired, she said she just… As she lay in bed looking up into the darkness, she was complaining to God.
And then the Spirit of God began to work in her heart and she began to see that God had been indeed gracious to her, and He began to fill her heart with love and joy. And she began to ask His forgiveness for some of the bitterness that she had felt. And by little little, little as the moments went by there in the darkness, she said God did a wonderful work in her heart. And suddenly, she broke off her praying, she said, “Hey, God, I like you.” [chuckle] That’s the difference, isn’t it? Oh yeah. Now, let me quote it again for you, Romans 5:5. We started these few moments with that verse as I recall, “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost who is given unto us.” You wanna feel comfortable with God? Let it, as the kids say, all hang out. Just let Him know it all and then commit yourself to Him in complete surrender. He knows. He knows where you’re weak. He knows where you hurt. He knows what you long for, and He’s got a plan for your life. Yes, He has. You trust Him. Trust Him. Trust Him. “I’ve called you my friends,” He said. “My friend,” that’s what he calls you. Live your life with Him today by faith.
Father God, today may we live and pray and surrender so we could be Your friends, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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