June 2, 2024

Jesus Equals Peace and Friendship

Jesus extends a hand of friendship and peace

Worship Service on June 2, 2024

Peace

Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God. God’s peace cushions the soul during difficult times. God’s peace can remind us of the cushion of the sea. The ocean surface is often sometimes treacherous with high waves and high winds. But as you descend into the ocean, the water becomes increasingly calm as you get deeper and deeper. At its greatest depths, the ocean is virtually still. That is why they refer to it as the cushion of the sea. Over the years, oceanographers that have dredged the ocean bottoms have found animal and plant remains that have appeared to have been undisturbed for hundreds of years. 

Like the cushion of the sea, Christians can experience a cushion of peace in their souls when experiencing trouble in their daily surroundings. The reason they receive a cushion of peace is because they belong to God who is the source of peace and Christ who is the Prince of Peace and the Holy Spirit who is the Agent of Peace. Galatians 5:22-26 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, or envying one another.”

Everything God does is marked by peace. 1 Corinthians 14:33, “for God is not a God of confusion, but of peace as in all the churches of the saints.”

The Lord is Peace

Remember, He’s not here to confuse us, he’s here to bring us peace. Judges 6:24 calls God Jehovah Shalom, which means that the Lord is peace. The Trinity is a total absence of conflict, perfect oneness, perfect righteousness, and absolute harmony. It is impossible for God to be at odds with himself. God wants everyone to know peace. He created the world with peace and then sent his son Jesus to offer peace. When Christ returns and establishes his kingdom, we will reign in peace for eternity. 

Peace – A Cushion for Your Soul

Turmoil exists in our world today, especially for those who don’t know Christ. They have no cushion for their souls. Christians, however, have peace with God through the death of Jesus Christ. He tells us, if we obey him, his peace will remain in our hearts always. We as Christians have to be careful that we do not let sin rob us of that peace cushion. When sin entered the world, that cushion of peace was threatened, but God sent Jesus to give us back the cushion of peace. We need to remember that amid difficult circumstances that we face in our lives.

The Savior that God sent us, Jesus, is also our friend. The wicked people of this world will never know peace, and because of that, they will never know Jesus as their friend. The meaning of friend is a person who knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, one attached to another by affection or esteem. Most of us, when we think of friendship, we think of it to include honesty, loyalty, respect, a place where we can feel taken care of, where we can build trust, be heard, but also listen, share, Allow to receive space, but also give space. And finally, where we can apologize and forgive. That’s a tough one. That’s a tough one to apologize and forgive. A true friend may be someone who accepts you unconditionally, helps you grow, supports you in tough times, and increases your ability to love yourself. And in turn, you do these things for your friend. Proverbs 27:6, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend but deceitful are kisses of the enemy.”

Friendship

In that Bible passage it’s telling us that a friend will stand by our side when others would leave. They care about us holistically and help us when life gets hard. Proverbs 2:26, “The righteous is a guide to his neighbor, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.” That means that we as Christians need to choose our friends carefully and not to let the wrongdoers lead us astray. 

Genesis 2:18, “Then the Lord said, it is not good for man to be alone. I will make him a helper suitable for him.” God created us with the need for community, a desire for connection. We have a great community right here. 

Proverbs 27:9 tells us, “oil and perfume make the heart glad. The sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.” The Bible is full of examples of people who held a special bond with each other, whose relationships were marked with warmth and affection. Elijah said to Elisha in 2 Kings 2:2, “Stay here, please, for the Lord has sent me as far as Bethel.” But Elisha said, as the Lord lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you. So they went down to Bethel.” And if you remember about 6 months ago we talked about Naomi and Ruth. True friendship. Ruth was a true friend to Naomi. She said, “where you go, I will go. Where you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people. Your God will be my God. When you die, I will die. And there I will be buried.” 

Friendship in the Bible

Jonathan, another example, loved David as himself. What better example of a friend than Jesus? He laid down his life for us and took on our sins. Jesus is always seeking the highest good for us. He is always putting us first. We need to cherish our personal friendship. That’s okay. We need to cherish our spiritual friendship. It is a friendship that is rooted in Christ for the purpose of growing in Christ. The basis of our spiritual friendship is a shared relationship with Jesus Christ. Our purpose of spiritual friendship with our brothers and sisters is a common commitment to help one another grow in Christ’s likeness. Jesus always welcomes sinners to come to him for salvation. He is our moral compass. He didn’t discriminate who he hung out with, but he didn’t condone bad behavior either. We must not assume that we have the same ability as Jesus to stay holy when confronted with bad company. Sin originated in the heart of man and Christ had no sin. 

So what would Jesus do? That’s a tough statement isn’t it because he had no sin. So we need to follow his example. We mustn’t put ourselves into temptation just because Christ is our friend. Hebrews 13:5-6, make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have for he himself has said, “I will never desert you nor will I ever forsake you, so that we confidently say, the Lord is my helper. I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?”

In speaking to his disciples, Jesus talks about their motivation for obedience, but he doesn’t talk to them as servants. He refers to them as friends. John 15:14, “You are my friends if you do what I command you. If Jesus has the right to demand obedience, how is he a friend? He is in two important ways. First, Jesus calls us friends because he reveals important things to us. In verse 15, he says, “No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing, but I have called you friends for all things that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” We are not called to blind obedience but to understand God’s mission.

We Have a Friend in Jesus

Number two, Jesus laid down his life for us, John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than that one laid down for his life, for his friends. No friend we have is closer, more caring, more truthful, more patient, or more faithful than Jesus Christ. Jesus truly is our friend, but how can we be a friend to Jesus? Think about the song from Toy Story, “You’ve got a friend in me”. Does Jesus have a friend in me? Am I a friend to Jesus? To be a friend of Jesus is to share and bear the ultimate knowledge of God’s love and passion for the world. And that’s how we can be good friends to people around us. We need to follow Jesus’ example when being a friend to others. 

The following is a great example, and it hit home with me as we can be friends to others. When a flashlight grows dim or quits working, You don’t throw it away. You change the batteries, right? When a person messes up and finds himself or herself in a dark place, do you cast them aside? Of course not. You help them change their batteries. Some people might need double A – “attention and affection”. Some might need triple A, “attention, affection and acceptance”. Some people might need C batteries – “compassion”. And some people might need D batteries, “direction”. And if they don’t seem to shine, simply sit with them quietly and share your light.

Amen.

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