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Keys To Friendship

John 15:8-17
8 This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
9 "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.
10 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love.
11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.
12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
14 You are my friends if you do what I command.
15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.
16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit--fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.
17 This is my command: Love each other.

When we answer the question, "What was Jesus' mission?" we must conclude this . . . To lay down his life for his friends. He laid down his life for us his friend. The irony is that we put friendship aside to "crank the ministry." Friendship IS the ministry! Jesus died for people, for friends, for family. Our mission is a mission of friends, a mission of family. When we get to heaven, we're gonna look around and say, "Where's the cranking?" There won't be any evangelism in heaven. The mission will have been the friends.

John 13:34-38
34 "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
36 Simon Peter asked him, "Lord, where are you going?" Jesus replied, "Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later."
37 Peter asked, "Lord, why can't I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you."
38 Then Jesus answered, "Will you really lay down your life for me? I tell you the truth, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!

1. Friendship Means "No Fear"

John 18:25-27
25 As Simon Peter stood warming himself, he was asked, "You are not one of his disciples, are you?" He denied it, saying, "I am not."
26 One of the high priest's servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, challenged him, "Didn't I see you with him in the olive grove?"
27 Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow.

John 21:15-17
15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?" "Yes, Lord," he said, "you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my lambs."
16 Again Jesus said, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me?" He answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep."
17 The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my sheep.

Peter had his chance to lay down his life for Jesus his friend, but he failed. Why? He was afraid of being crucified. Fear is a big factor even in this room tonight. Jail, maybe . . . All of us have felt afraid of relationships, though. Let's talk about our first key.

2. Friendship Means "No Sale"

Matthew 26:45-50
45 Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
46 Rise, let us go! Here comes my betrayer!"
47 While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people.
48 Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: "The one I kiss is the man; arrest him."
49 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, "Greetings, Rabbi!" and kissed him.
50 Jesus replied, "Friend, do what you came for." Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him.

The Bible calls him "betrayer" twice, but Jesus calls him "friend.".

Proverbs 17:17
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

We've sold out commitment in relationships because we're weary of conflict. This happens in marriage, in parenting, in leadership groups that are divided at the top. There's too much conflict, so we just give up because it's too hard and we can't handle it.

A brother loves at all times. Does God love us only because we return his love?

1 Corinthians 13:7-8
7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. Mark 10:45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

Romans 5:7-8
7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.
8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

1 John 4:19
We love because he first loved us.

Are we greater than Jesus, in that we can choose whom we love? I don't think so Marriage isn't designed to meet our needs, but to refine our character by loving our spouse. There's nothing so hypocritical as a person who is sure you are the unmerciful servant. We need to give with the hope that the other person gives back, but without expectation. We give without expecting anything back. We initiate forever, even when we are hurt. It may be difficult, but that's what makes it great.

It's hard, but if you'll do it unconditionally God will bring home the prize in your relationships "No Sale" in family, "No Sale" in friendships, "No Sale" when it comes to the mission.