What a friend we have in Jesus! Today, Dr. Don Wilton's message is called, God's Friend. Let's open the encouraging word together. As we head to the book of Hebrews in just a moment, Dr. Wilton's message, God's Friend, helps us understand not only the choice that God would want us to be His friend, but that there's so much more that we can do as we extend that friendship with those around us by being the men and women of God we are called to be. As we open the word together, know that we're opening the phone line as well. We'd love to pray with you at 866-899-WORD. That's our phone number. Jot it down. Store it in your cell, 866-899-9673. Or you can meet us online as well at www.tewonline.org.
That's www.tewonline.org. Now today's great teaching from Dr. Wilton, the message called, God's Friend. If I was to ask you this morning to take out a pen and paper, you don't have to do that, I want you to do this in your hearts. And I was to ask you to write down the name of your absolute best friend.
Whose name would you put on there? Now I know that we've got lots of friends, we do, I've got lots of friends. But you know, don't you love the way children do. Children seem to know. I tell you, children will come up to mom and dad and say, you know, she is my absolute bestest friend in the whole wide world.
That's what I'm talking about. I'm talking about your best friend. I wonder if you could put someone's name down right now.
Just write a name down. Now once you have written that down, I would like you in your heart to ask this question, why is this person your best friend? What is it about this person? What is it that qualifies a person to be your best friend? Someone who is so close to you, why? What is it? What could you write down there? What are the reasons?
I wouldn't be surprised if all of us here today can write down, if not one name, we could probably write down a lot of names. But I'm talking about just your absolute best friend. I want to tell you something this morning.
It has been my personal experience. The Bible tells me about it, but I've experienced this personally. That God has not only given me a best friend on this earth, the Bible has shown me and I've experienced that Jesus Christ is the best friend that I could ever have. And something else that's really remarkable about this, the Bible tells us that all those who love God can have that kind of relationship with Him. But I want us to look at this a little more closely, so I want you to turn with me in your Bibles to the book of James chapter 2. But in James chapter 2 and verse 23, we find a remarkable statement.
I want to read it for you. James 2 and verse 23. And the Scripture was fulfilled that says, Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness. And then comes a statement that I just love. And he was called God's friend.
Can you believe that? Abraham was called God's friend. I began to ask myself this question. What is it that qualifies a person to be my best friend, to be your best friend? What is it about friends?
Now I'm going to give you a couple of suggestions and you will probably have a thousand others that you can write down as well. But I think that someone is a best friend because they care for you. They just, they care for you. That word there, care, is a very special word. It means that their consideration is put in your direction.
They seem to be concerned about everything related to you and to me. Why is a person a best friend? Perhaps because you can confide in a best friend. Now that word, confide, of course is a derivative of the root word to have confidence in. Now folks, that's very important in today's day and age.
A best friend is someone that you can trust. You can confide in them. You can go up to them. You know you've got to be very careful about the things you say today, don't you? About the things, that's how gossip starts. That's how rumors start and innuendos and all those stories that break people down and so on. There are private things and personal things. One thing about best friends is you can go and confide in a best friend because of the confidence factor. You just know that when you talk to them, they take it and they apply it to their hearts. You see friends, a best friend is someone who has been transferred from the head to the heart. There are many people that we know in terms of acquaintances. We know them in our heads.
We know who they are, but we haven't transferred them from our heads to our hearts. You know, it's like when you first spot that young lady and there's just something about it. I mean, you just cannot stop thinking about her and so you go and invite her to go out on a date and eventually the two of you become friends and you go out and you do things together and all of a sudden, uh oh, something's happened. And what has happened is that your friendship has changed from your head to your heart.
All of a sudden your relationship transcends anything that you can readily or easily describe. What is a best friend? A best friend perhaps is someone who loves you even when you're not lovely. Huh?
Isn't that true? A best friend is someone who knows that even when you're down in the dumps or you're depressed or you say unwise things or you do something or you're ugly or you're unkind or whatever it might be, a best friend is someone who is going to love you even when you are unlovely. There's something special about best friends.
I think a best friend is someone who wants to do things with you. You know, you know when you say, you know what am I going to do today? I just think I'll call him. Hey, what's up? I love that great American phrase that our young people, I can't get it right. What's up? Did I say that right?
Seth says it so well. What's up man? That means what are you doing in English? How are you?
It's a whole, it's just the whole constellation of the stars all together. What's up? And a best friend is someone that you can just go over and pick up the phone and say, what you doing? Hey, why don't you come over, man? And you know when you come over, you don't have to do anything either with a best friend.
You don't have to be entertained. Sometimes you just sit there and look at each other and your best friend says, you know, you've got a black head right on your nose. And then you look back and say, you know, your ears are getting bigger. You just talk about nothing and you're just best friends. You just do things together. What is a best friend? A best friend is someone who knows when you have needs. Have you ever been down or depressed or in a circumstance and you can't describe it and all of a sudden the telephone rings?
And it's your best friend. And they just simply say, just calling to see how you are today. And what you want to do is you want to say, well, how did you know? Who told you? Nobody told them. They're just your best friend. They don't have to be told.
They don't have to be given an agenda. A best friend is someone who wants to share experiences with you and keep company with you, perhaps travel with you. You know, when you say, listen, we just want to do things together. You know, you just kind of come on over and sit down, man, let's have a jolly good cup of tea together and you know what happened and I, you know, and we just, you know, I did this and did that and the friend just sits there and sometimes doesn't say a word, just listens. And if your friend doesn't like what they're hearing, they'll say, you're just a dummy. And you can call each other dummy because you're best friends.
It's not offensive. You're not, whereas if somebody else called you dummy, you dummy, you calling me dummy? But your best friend can call you dummy and you say, I'm a dummy, okay, I'll be a dummy just for five minutes. That's what best friends are all about. They share things.
They listen. They are people that you have fun with. You know, we use the phrase where you can let your hair down. You can just do things and you can be together. A best friend is someone who corrects in love. Best friend will never hesitate to say to you or to me, you know, I don't think that's a good idea.
Well, I think you're making a mistake. A best friend is someone who cares so much about your own well-being that they will never hesitate to tell you what they think you need to do and you're going to listen to them. A best friend will listen to the truth and will hold the truth in their heart and you'll have no fear of reprisal.
You know they're not going to come back at you. You know that three months from now they're not going to suddenly dredge this thing up and try and stab you in the back with it because they are, they're best friends. But you know what I love about best friends more than ever?
Best friends are people who love you so much that they're willing to point you in the right direction. That's why we're here today and that's why we have a friend day here at First Baptist Church because we love you, because you're very special to us. You know First Baptist Church, we're a family together. We've got people of every persuasion and every shape and size. We've got people from all corners of God's vineyard. Young people and older folks, little ones. We've got people in every kind of work situation and circumstance. We've got people who've got great jobs and people who have no job.
We've got people who live in big houses and people who live in little houses. We've got people of all persuasions but we're friends together. You know it seems remarkable that God would have said of Abraham that Abraham was the friend of God.
What a designation. What an unbelievable thought to think that this man Abraham who left everything in Genesis chapter 12 and even adopted his nephew Lot and they went down to Cana and they put their roots down and all the ups and downs. You know Abraham was a man who achieved and accomplished great heights but he also sank to unbelievable lows.
I began to ask myself this question. What is it that qualified Abraham to be called a friend of God? Let me share some thoughts with you. How can I become a friend of God? Let's look at it together in the light of God's word. Well I think that a friend of God first of all knows God personally.
I love that word personally. Now folks I know a lot of people personally. I've come to discover the longer that I'm privileged to live here that more and more people know me personally than I know them personally. My favorite president of all and I pray that the day would come that our great nation would turn back to these values and these moral principles and standards and the ethics that we found during President Ronald Reagan's administration. But I'm going to tell you that I know President Reagan. When he was president I know his wife as Nancy. I even know about his children. They wrote and told me all about themselves. They even put it in a book.
I know all about their acting days. But folks if I went up to the White House in 1982 and knocked on the door and said hello my name is Don Wilton and I've just come to see President Reagan I'd have a little encounter with the security police. You know why? Because President Reagan doesn't know me personally. Folks listen to me when you give your heart to Jesus you come into a personal best friend relationship. You share the birth of your babies together. You stand in one another's weddings together. You graduate from high school together.
You go through kindergarten together. You play ball on the mound together. You score touchdowns together. You sit in the stands together.
You cheer for one another together. You build one another up together. You go out to eat together. You go on trips together.
You spend vacations together. I think perhaps that God called Abraham his friend because he knew him personally. Please forgive the interruption. We'll be back in just a moment with the rest of today's message God's Friend by Dr. Don Wilton. But as Dr. Don was just challenging us to think about how God called Abraham his friend because he knew him personally.
The people we know personally are the people we spend extended time with. Are you spending time with God every day? We have a wonderful resource called the Daily Devotional from Dr. Don Wilton that can be a tool in your email box every morning about 6 a.m. that will help you spend time in God's Word. You can sign up on our website at www.tewonline.org. That's www.tewonline.org. You can sign up not only for the email, but if you prefer, we even have a quarterly version of it. You can sign up again right there on our website at www.tewonline.org. Or if you want a call to sign up, you can do that with our friends taking your calls right now at 866-899-WORD. Jot the number down, store it in your cell. It's available 24 hours a day and we'll connect you with one of us happy to talk or listen or pray or connect with resources at 866-899-WORD.
That's 866-899-9673. Now back to today's great teaching with Dr. Don Wilton. But there's a second reason why I believe he was called the friend of God.
I think it was as simple as this because he loved God. You see, a best friend loves. I want to tell you something this morning. I want to tell you who my best friend is.
Can I do that? Now folks, I know that Jesus Christ is my best friend in all of the world. But you know, He also gave me a best friend on this earth. Do you know who that is? It's my wife Karen. In fact, I'm going to walk over there and I'm going to give her a kiss right now. This is my best friend. Stand here with me. She'll talk to me about this later. I tell you, come all the way, aren't you?
She got to get under the lights, you know? I tell you, this is my best friend, folks. I just love her.
I love you. Do you know that I've been married to her for 21 and a half years and she is the best thing that ever happened to me. And I just love her with all of my heart. I don't know how else to say that. She's my best friend.
You know, during the day, many times I'll be at the office or I'll be down the hospital and all kinds of stuff. Man, I'll pick up that phone and I'll say, Duck, I call her Duck by the way. I'll say, Duck, can we meet down at the sandwich factory and have a jolly good cup of latte or something, you know?
Or could we go down to Barnes and Noble or could we do something together? I love to be with this girl, man. You know that I met her when she was 16? She had bobby socks on. She did.
She had bobby socks on. And I just fell out of my seat. I went drooling all over the place. I just love her so much. Not only that, this beautiful lady is the mother of my next three best friends, my two sons and my daughter. I tell you what, folks, I'm going to let you go back down there. I'm going to let you go.
You know, there's something about best friends. You know, I have the privilege of marrying a lot of couples in our church and I usually end up somewhere in that time saying to them, folks, I may be the most old-fashioned, out-of-date, square-headed preacher you've ever met, but you know something? I just believe in marriage and I believe in families. I believe in love. I just believe in getting into that backyard and playing games together and burning chicken on my barbecue. Nothing gives me greater joy. I can't wait to go on vacation in the middle of July, be with my family, play golf with my sons and my daughter. To me, that's the stuff.
Those are the things. I can't wait to be with my best friend. I tell you, I would rather be with my wife than anybody in this place today. And I tell you, I couldn't describe the love in this place. You know the ministers in this church? What a joy to be able to love one another.
Why was Abraham called God's friend? What is this? It's the kind of thing that we have together. When I look at you today, I feel friendship. I feel warmth. I look up and down these rows and these aisles.
I see a Mr. Dick Littlejohn. I just love you, sir. Love you in the Lord.
Ron Vegas. Folks, let me tell you, Frank Dillard, thank you for what you mean to me and to us in Spartanburg. Thank God for you. Larry, brother, we are going to go fishing together. I'm just telling you that if we will do that, I'm going to catch far more fish than you've ever caught. Because I talked to the Lord, and if you put your net on this side, and if you lived for the Lord like me, you'd catch... No, I'm just kidding you now. Folks, what is this all about? Do you know what it's about? Friendship. Do you know what the Bible says?
The Bible says that Abraham was God's friend. There was something very deep and very personal. There was something that you cannot describe. It gets down into the very depths of your being.
You cannot get a hold of it. It is so special. It's love. Why was he called God's friend? Perhaps because he knew him personally. Perhaps because he loved God. Perhaps because he was interested in the things of God.
Look at Abraham's life. He was interested. You know, God is interested in us.
He's interested in every detail of our lives, but God says that when we become his friends, we in turn are interested in the things of God. Paul tried to say it like this. He said, let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus. What he was saying is simply this, that when you come to know Jesus Christ, you come into a mind relationship. And the word mind in the Scripture is not talking about your head. It's talking about the seat of your heart. It's talking about the blood flow. It's talking about the umbilical relationship between Almighty God through Christ Jesus and every person who has been born again of the Spirit of God.
What a wonderful privilege. Oh yes, he was interested in the things of God, but let me give you a final one. Perhaps he enjoyed fellowship with God. You see, it's that togetherness. It's just wanting to be around with one another. Just wanting to be around with one another. Wanting to be in one another's company.
Wanting to be with that person. Abraham wanted to be with God everywhere he went, everything he did, every turn he took, he went out of his way to try and be with God. He wanted to speak to God.
He wanted to feel God. Even when he took detours and went down to Egypt. Even when he sinned. Even when his life fell apart. He knew that his best friend was always there. Do you know this Jesus?
That's the key question. Do you know this Jesus? Perhaps during this teaching today from Dr. Don Wilton, you've been stirred by your heart of knowing that God loves you. He has a plan for your life and he's even using this teaching to let you know it's time for a course correction, a time for an adjustment. You've heard Dr. Wilton has been preaching, but now as he steps into the studio, would you open your heart to what he wants to share next? Are you ready to give your heart and life to the Lord Jesus Christ?
I'm so happy to hear that. Why don't you pray this prayer with me today? Dear God, I know that you love me very, very much and I know that the Lord Jesus Christ came and died on a cross so that I might be forgiven of my sin. Today, I repent of my sin. I confess my sin to you and I invite you to come into my heart and into my life by faith. In Jesus' name I pray. If you've prayed that prayer, let me be the first one to welcome you to the family of God.
This is wonderful. I hope that you know how much I'm going to be praying for you and how very important this is for me. Call us so that we can talk to you and connect you in the right place so you can begin this wonderful journey. And in just a moment, I'm going to come back with a final word. What a glorious day for a new beginning, a fresh start with God. Perhaps moments ago, you prayed along with Dr. Wilton to give your life to Jesus for the very first time. If so, welcome to the family of God. We're excited to see what God's going to do in and through you as you move forward from this moment, or perhaps you rededicated your life to Christ. And we're equally excited to see what God is going to do next in helping you not only bear fruit for him, but also just live the life you were created to live in Jesus. We have wonderful resources to help you grow in your faith.
Absolutely free. Dr. Wilton wants you to have if you just gave your life to Christ or rededicated your life to Jesus, give us a call. Our number is 866-899-WORD. That's 866-899-9673. We would love to pray with you to connect with those resources. If you'd rather go keyboard to keyboard, let's meet on our website. It's www.tewonline.org.
That's www.tewonline.org. Just know that we're here for you and we're here to see you grow in your faith and strengthen your faith. If you haven't heard about Fortified and the Strategy of Satan, a book and a DVD series available from Dr. Wilton, you can take a look on our website at www.tewonline.org or his Liz with all the details on how you can receive your copy. Are you spiritually dressed for today's battles? As Christians, the Word of God equips us on how to prepare and fight spiritual battles.
The Apostle Paul reminds us in Ephesians 6 and 12 that our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, spiritual forces of evil and heavenly places. Join Dr. Wilton as he unpacks Fortified, a powerful four-message series to help you understand the spiritual battle we are in and teach you how to put your spiritual armor on. Plus, to further equip you, you will receive the bonus book, Strategies of Satan, How to Detect and Defeat Him by Warren Wiersbeek. Call us at 866-899-WORD. That's 866-899-9673 and request Fortified and the Strategies of Satan for a gift of $25.
Thank you for supporting the encouraging Word as we continue to proclaim the life-changing gospel of Jesus Christ around the world. Again, the number to call is 866-899-WORD. Whether it's for that particular resource or so many are asking about the book, yes, Dr. Wilton's book is still available. The one he wrote about his time with Dr. Billy Graham called Saturdays with Billy. Take a peek at our website, TEWONLINE.ORG or call about getting your copy at 866-899-WORD.
That's 866-899-9673. Before we get away, closing thoughts of encouragement from Dr. Don Wilton. You know, before we go today, what a day of worship we've had. You know, you and I have in the middle of our hearts our beloved nation, don't we? How much I love America.
I'm so proud to be an American. And you know, this broadcast is seen by so many of our armed forces across the world, and we hear from many, many of them. And we love them. We admire them.
We respect them. They are our real heroes. And I want you to join with me as we are praying for them, that God would protect them and their families and loved ones.
Let's do that right now, shall we? Just before we go, why don't you join with me? Lord Jesus, I'm joining with thousands of people right now and praying for our members, our brave, brave members of our community and our world who are in uniform.
Many are overseas in strange and difficult places, families left behind. Lord Jesus, bless them. Keep your hand upon them in every way in Jesus' name. Amen. It's been a great day, and we have much to look forward to tomorrow. We'll head into Luke chapter two and talk about a message Dr. Wilton's preparing called Why Go to Church? That's coming up on the next edition of The Encouraging Word with Dr. Don Wilton. Between now and then, let's stay connected on our website. It's T-E-W online dot O-R-G.
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