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Sermon 145 – FRIENDS?

I was counselling a young man who was struggling with the unfair behaviour of his friend. I confirmed that he was right that his so-called friend was behaving badly, but I then suggested he was having a mood because his ‘friend’ box was humanly defined to suit his selfishness. Seeing he was able to hear the truth, I went on to say, that if you’re a friend of God, friends might hurt your feelings, but they won’t drive you into a mood. There’s something wrong with your friendship with God.

What’s a friend?

I’ve asked this question on many occasions, and the general response is … ‘someone who is kind to me’, ‘someone who listens to me’, and ‘someone who makes me feel good’.

All humans are designed to want and need friends. It’s normal and it’s natural. But, there’s a problem. Our definitions and expectations are all about what someone should do for ME.

Jesus said … you are my friends if you do what I command you, John 15:14. This is the opposite to the human definition above. God expects you to keep Him happy and do what He wants; not the other way around. It’s pretty clear that the other way around is just a Satanic plot to trap humans in the fairness argument and divert them from doing it the way God says.

Jesus didn’t accumulate friends. He didn’t do good deeds to give Himself self-value and followers. More often than not, He lost friends (John 6). That’s because He was only interested in doing the will of his Father. If God is your friend, you won’t need friends to prop up your self-value, so if a friend does wrong by you, it might hurt your feelings but it won’t hurt your spirit.

Why do we have to do it God’s way?

The issue is spirit. God’s way usually doesn’t make sense, but If you don’t do it the way God says, and you do it the way of fairness, Satan will take power over your thinking. Satan will control your will and manoeuvre you away from God. This is confirmed in 2 Timothy 2:24-26 KJV.

Friendly vs friend

There’s a vast difference between being friendly with God, and being a friend of God. Friendly infers an expectation that God will look after me and care for me. That’s the human expectation of friendship and it’s contaminated by selfishness. On the other hand, if you want to be a friend of God, you have to give up your human right of fairness and trust His judgment and do what He wants; that is, not expect Him to serve your needs and wants, or be obligated to keep you happy.

You can’t be friend of God and a friend of the world at the same time, James 4:4. They are opposites. And you can only be a friend of God if you aren’t a friend of the world. The world is friendly with God, and therefore, the world expects to go to heaven if they’ve been good. But, they are not friends of God, and they won’t go to heaven. It’s the direct opposite for a true Christian; if you’re a friend of God you can be friendly with the world, but you can’t befriend the world. As soon as you try to collect worldly friends you threaten your friendship with God.

Irony

Under human friendship rules, no one has real friends. The reality is, everyone is just using and collecting other people for their own self-value status. However, if you’re a friend of God, you can have friends, because it doesn’t matter if they’re using you. All that matters is what God wants. However, if that friend opposes or challenges your friendship with God, you are required to separate. They should no longer be counted as a friend.

Example

Because God is my friend, and because my wife supports that friendship, then my wife is my friend, too. In fact, she’s my best-friend. It’s my friendship with God that sustains and uniquely blesses my relationship with my wife. If she opposed my friendship with God, how could we be friends?

How do you keep the laws of God?

This question may not sound related to’ friends’, but it is. Most people, even non-Christians, recognise that it’s good to try and keep the Ten Commandments. Everyone tries to do what’s right by the commandments, but it’s humanly impossible. God, Himself, has given us a simple instruction that doesn’t require you to be ruled by rules.

It’s found in Matthew 7:12 and it’s simply … treat others as you would like to be treated, because this fulfils all the law and the prophets, and it’s re-confirmed in Matthew 22:37-40. This means you don’t keep the laws of God by trying to be good and obey the rules, but rather, you can only keep the laws of God by first, being a friend of God and, second, by obeying his two directions towards other people. Those two instructions are … treat others as you would yourself, and hold no grievance against your friend or enemy, but instead trust His plan and purpose. Impossible to do unless you’re a friend of God.

If you walk in His love, you automatically keep the rules. If it’s not His love, the rules will give you a boundary of safety from the suction of worldly evil, but they won’t save you.

From God’s perspective, everything is measured by your relationship with your fellowman. Love is measured by relationship, not by rules. If you practice love to your neighbour with the secret expectation that ‘you get back more than what you give up’, it’s breaking the commandments of God. Be as nice as you like to your fellowman and then have a mood and hold a grievance when he hurts your feelings or attacks you without justification, and it simply means you are running by the friend rule, not the God rule.

God doesn’t say … hold a grievance when your friend hurts your feelings and turns against you. On the contrary, He actually commands us to pray for our enemies, Matthew 5:44. That takes faith and trust.

You can’t practice this strategy unless you’re a friend of God. You can try but it won’t work.

What’s LOVE?

Love = giving up something for someone else. The opposite to love is pride. Therefore, PRIDE = expecting someone to give up something for ME. This definition is confirmed in Matthew 7:12, John 6:38 & 8:29. Good friendship may look like love, but If love is motivated by pride, then it’s not love, it’s pride, no matter how it looks.

Contamination

You wouldn’t serve an omelette with 5 good eggs and one rotten egg. The omelette would be rotten. When you do a good deed for someone, that’s love, but as soon as you expect a good deed back, that’s pride. Counting up your good deeds and ignoring your pride deeds and ignoring your secret selfish motivation, does not equal love, but selfish usury. You can argue with God about your good deeds, but He’s measuring your love by the contamination.

Example

Greater love has no man than he lay down his life for his friend (John 15:13). That’s love, but it’s not love if it’s contaminated by self-value. This is confirmed in 1 Corinthians 13, where the Word of God also states that you can give your body to be burned but it will profit you nothing if it isn’t love. These statements seem contradictory but they’re really saying the same thing. That is, nothing’s genuine uncontaminated love unless you’re a friend of God, because if you’re a friend of God, then it’s His love that flows, and His love is not contaminated by pride.

Gratitude or attitude

Jesus proved Himself as love by dying for the human race. He did lay down His life for His friends and it worked because He didn’t do it for Himself but for His Heavenly Father. He did it the Father’s way, and rejected the ‘self’ way. Have you responded with a gratitude of commitment of being His friend, or like the selfish majority, are you friendly with God so that He’ll be friendly with you? One is death to self, the other is get for self.

If you have a mood or hold a grievance because someone hasn’t done right by you, you’ve got a friendship with God issue.

There’s a price to pay to be a friend of God. A Christian cannot accumulate worldly friends for their own status and self-value. A genuine Christian is someone who is a friend of God and not a friend of the world, James 4:4.

 

May God open our eyes to our selfish fairness that believes we’re Godly when it’s really just living for our own image, instead of for God’s.

 

Pastor Samuel Abbel

 

 

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2020 in friends

 

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Sermon 137 – What’s the Right thing to do?

I’m frequently asked this question when people aren’t sure which way to go. The answer is … it doesn’t matter what you do; it matters what spirit you do it in. It’s never the do; it’s the spirit of the do.

The Pharisees couldn’t grasp this. As far as their judgement was concerned, they deduced they were good and therefore Jesus was evil. What most Christians don’t realise is that they operate under the same spirit of pride-analysis as the Pharisees.

“I think I’m pretty good, or at least, not too bad” … are actually thoughts directly from Satan, not Holy Spirit. Everyone has these thoughts and everyone thinks they’re normal thoughts, but they’re actually primed to lead you into pride. If you base your judgments on these thoughts you will always make your decisions out of pride and therefore everything you do that you judge as good, is actually judgment from your own selfish evil.

A committed Christian doesn’t listen to those thoughts; rather, his thoughts are … thank you Father for your mercy and grace. How can I serve my Lord? How can I live for Him?

Whatever is not of faith, is sin … Romans 14:23

Every judgment you make out of pride, is sin. Every judgment you make out of faith, is God.

The disciples asked Jesus the question … ‘what shall we do?’, and Jesus replied … believe on the Father (John 6:28). It’s not the ‘do’, it’s the faith that counts. ‘Faith’ first, ‘do’ second.

If you want to change your pride to faith, you have to face the demonic

As much as we hate hassles and evil, they are actually God’s tools to shake you from your pride. You actually need evil to challenge your pride and force you to yoke to Christ. You can never do it with your own mind or will. Only God, Himself can change your pride to faith and He uses evil to do it.

If you want to truly know Christ and serve Him with all your heart, your pride, which you don’t think you have, has to be broken, and the only way it can be broken is by confrontation with evil. It’s evil that forces you to give up your pride and trust the Creator.

Christians aren’t born to have; they’re born to serve. If in that service you get things, that’s God’s blessings for furthering your service for Him.

Ephesians 6 … We’re not fighting flesh and blood, but principalities and powers and darkness

It’s a journey and everyone’s path is different

No one knows they’re selfish. Everyone thinks they’re not too bad. So, God uses incidents, accidents, failures, relatives, fake Christians, sickness, employers, work mates, friends, family … in fact, any process necessary to expose you to your pride and crack it, so you become faithful to Him. It’s our own lustful stubbornness that hinders or even blocks this process.

The World

The world is opposite to faith. It’s numbers and money before principles. It’s grace and compromise before obedience. It’s the economy before morality.  It’s business with China before human rights. It’s animals before humans. It’s women’s rights before male authority. It’s fornication before marriage. It’s image before one’s neighbour. In fact, the modern church sounds very much like the world.

Friend of the world = enemy of God … James 4:4

Yes, we live in the world but we are not to be comfortable living here. The world should disturb our spirit, and our hearts should crave heaven, not the goodies of the world. We can enjoy them but we can’t love them. We should be disturbed by the evil that’s growing in the world, but we should not be overcome with it. We all want the comforts of this world, but Jesus prophesied the time is coming when His elect will all be hated for his sake (Matthew 24). We should be consolidating our faith in Him, we should be disturbed about the sickness of the world, but not worrying or fearful, but rather letting that sickness drive us further to His bosom.

You can’t seek FIRST the kingdom of God if you think you’re ‘not too bad’ … Matthew 6:33

Whether you agree or not, the truth is, you can’t seek first His kingdom if you seek first your own kingdom through pride-judgment and being comfortable with the world. Double-mindedness = comfortable with the world + comfortable with God, and double-mindedness is confusion. It’s either the world or it’s God; you can’t have both (Matthew 6:24), and if it’s God, you’ll know because the world will hate you.

Separate and live, or conform and die

We live in the world, but you have to be separate from the world to be saved. You can’t get comfortable with abortion, or fornicators, or homosexuality, or divorce, or pornography, or adultery, or covetousness. If your family members or friends are practicing it, your heart has to be separate from them, and if they object to your heart then you will need to separate from them, physically (Ezra 9). If you don’t separate, you’ll compromise and conform and become comfortable with the world and lose your salvation. Cool is not acceptable with God (Revelations 3:16).

Unless you hate the works of your father, mother, brother, sister etc. you CANNOT be My disciple (Luke 14:26). You are called to be separate from anyone or anything that would entice you from obedience to Christ. If you won’t pay the price of conceding to this instruction, then don’t kid yourself that you’re obedient to God’s instructions. The modern church teaches that love is being nice to everyone and not offending anyone, but that’s a lie from hell. Jesus spoke the truth and offended many. The modern church teaches ‘grace’ so you can be comfortable with the world, but it’s a deception of God’s truth. Grace only applies to those who’ve separated themselves from the world (1Peter 5:5). Humility isn’t being nice to everyone; it’s separating from the world to be separated to Christ.

Separation sets you apart from the world

Without the principle of separation set in your heart, you’ll never find the right way to go. You’ll never make a faith decision. Your thinking will always be contaminated for self.

‘I think I’m pretty good’ might get you position and friends, but it won’t get you heaven

‘I think I’m pretty good’ is just a comfortable way of being accepted by the majority. It’s just a comfortable way of not stirring up trouble. It’s just a comfortable way of defending your rights. It’s just a comfortable way of justifying wrong actions and thoughts. It’s just a comfortable way of convincing yourself that you’re a Christian. It’s just a comfortable way of being comfortable with the world. It’s just a comfortable way of resisting correction and not being told you’re wrong. It’s just a comfortable way of being liked and protecting your image; but it will be exposed as fraud the moment someone offends you and you judge them as ‘not good’, or the moment someone becomes more happy than you. You’ll never find happiness if you can’t be happy for someone else to be happier than you.

Repentance

If you truly want heaven, give up your goodness and trust His faith … Father, have Your way with those who offend me and have Your way with me, and help me to be grateful for someone else’s happiness.

 

Pastor Clive Douglas

 
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Posted by on July 6, 2019 in Guidance

 

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Sermon 68 – WHICH CAMP?

In 1 Samuel we recognise there were 3 distinct camps … the camp of Saul, the camp of David and the camp of the Philistines.

Clearly the camp of the Philistines is the camp of the heathen … those who don’t want to bend the knee to God.

But the defining line between the other two camps is blurry. Both these camps worship the same God and carry out the same ceremonies. They are both Israelite camps yet they are enemies. The same was true of Jesus and the Pharisees; they both worshipped the same God but they were enemies.

What are the real defining differences between the camp of Saul and the camp of David? Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on February 11, 2014 in Elevation, Envy, Fake Christian

 

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