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How to Be God's Friend - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
October 30, 2020 2:00 am

How to Be God's Friend - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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October 30, 2020 2:00 am

We've discovered who God is, what He is like, and how to relate to Him, but we must go beyond gathering information about Him. Join Skip as he wraps up the message "How to Be God's Friend," sharing how you can know God personally.

This teaching is from the series The Biography of God.

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Website: https://connectwithskip.com

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When you're God's friend, you got to trust Him and you got to obey Him. I know we love the text.

I quoted it at the beginning. We love it. Jesus said, I'm not going to call you servants anymore. I'm calling you friends. We love that.

We just don't finish the whole thought. Here's the rest of the story. John 15, 14. You are my friends if you do whatever I command you. The more you get to know someone, the more likely you'll be their friend.

It's no different in a relationship with God. Today on Connect with Skip Heitzig, Skip wraps up our series, The Biography of God, sharing more encouraging insight on how you can be God's friend. But before we begin, we want to let you know about a resource that will help you get to know God personally so you can experience a richer faith. Thomas Jefferson, Martin Luther King Jr., Winston Churchill, C.S. Lewis, all are outstanding men with amazing life stories.

But in all of history, one biography stands out above the rest. I'm excited to announce the release of my new book, The Biography of God, which gives an in-depth look at God's character and nature, diving into the theological and personal profile of our Heavenly Father. I invite you on a journey to search the Scriptures to discover who God is and how sensitive He is to the human condition.

This process will both lift you up and humble you. Here's how to get your copy of my newest book, The Biography of God. Skip's new book is our thanks when you give $35 or more today to help keep this ministry on the air.

Call 800-922-1888 or give online securely at connectwithskip.com slash offer. Okay, we'll be in Genesis chapter 18 for today's study. So let's join Skip Hyten. If I'm truly worshiping, my focus is not on me. How do I look?

How do I sound? It's on Him. I'm worshiping Him. But how many times have we caught ourselves, even in a worship service, when we're supposed to be thinking about Him and all of our attention is on Him? We're very distracted by personal thoughts that steal away our minds.

Or we just mouth the words and our minds in neutral. Charles Spurgeon wrote, I believe a very large majority of churchgoers are merely unthinking, slumbering worshipers of an unknown God. But when I remember God's in the audience, in fact, when I remember God is the audience, I bow. The natural response is humility. Humility comes from two things, recognizing who God is and recognizing who I am.

And I might think, and I might think I'm pretty great. And then God steps in the room. He shows up.

And it's a change, right? Isaiah the prophet, he was a prophet. He was Isaiah till he saw a vision of the Lord high and lifted up. And what did he say?

Woe is me. That's the proper response, humility and worship. Since we're on the topic of worship, and since worship is a key ingredient in the friendship that we have with God, I'd like to give you what I consider a biblical definition of worship. It's just one sentence.

It's a one long sentence, but I'm going to give it to you in four stages, and we'll put it all together. This is what worship is according to the scripture. Number one, worship is a response to God.

It's nothing you have to drum up. It's you responding to God. First John chapter four, verse nine, we love him because he first loved us.

So he initiated it. Our response to him is worship, love. We love him. We worship him. So number one, worship is a response to God. Number two, worship is the proper response to God, not just a response. It's the right response. Romans chapter 12, verse one, the apostle tells us, I beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.

It's the proper thing to do. So worship is a response to God. Second, worship is the proper response to God. Here's the third component of the definition.

Worship is a proper response to God from the heart. See, it has to be real. It has to be authentic. It has to come from in here. It's not outward. It's not just mechanical. It's not going through the motions.

It has to be from the heart. That's what Jesus said in John chapter four. He spoke to the woman at the well of Samaria, and he said, the father is looking for those who will worship him in spirit and in truth, authentic from the heart worship. So worship is a response to God. It's the proper response to God. It's the proper response to God from the heart.

Here's the fourth component, and we'll put it all together. Worship is the proper response to God from the heart whereby I place God above every thing and every one else. That's a biblical definition of worship.

It's not just singing songs once a week. It's the proper response to God from the heart whereby I place God above everyone and everything else. What did Jesus say is the greatest commandment and the first commandment? That you love the Lord your God with all the heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.

What does that mean? It means if we worship God, we have to place God above all our hobbies. If we worship God, we have to place God first above our occupation. If we worship God, we have to put God above every other friendship.

We have to put God above television and sports and even, listen up, even our own families take second and God takes first. In fact, what did Jesus say? He spoke about this. He said that even the greatest human family or the greatest example of human love, he said, he who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me. So true worship in humility, and that is demanded in a friendship with God, is humble worship. The proper response to God from the heart whereby I place him above everything and everyone else. Here's the third characteristic of being God's friend. Ministry, ministry, service, service, ministry or activity, verse three. And he, Abraham, said, my Lord, if I have now found favor in your sight, do not pass on by your servant.

Listen to this invitation. Please let a little water be brought. Wash your feet and rest yourselves under the tree, and I will bring a morsel of bread that you may refresh your hearts. After that, you may pass by in as much as you have come to your servant.

They said, do as you have said. So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah and said, quickly, make three measures of fine meal and knead it and make cakes. And Abraham ran to the herd and took a tender and good calf, gave it to a young man, and he hastened to prepare it.

So he took the butter and the milk of the calf, which he had prepared, and set it before them, and he stood by them under the tree as they ate. There's something here that you might not know. And just reading this story, if you place it all together, you'll understand. But in chapter 18, you know how old Abraham is? He's 99 years old.

Just keep that in your mind for a moment. Here's a 99-year-old man with three visitors in the heat of the day, and Abraham invites them in his tent, and he commences to serve them, to minister to them. What I'd like you to notice about his ministry to them, to the Lord, is it was personal.

It was personal. He served personally. Now he's 99. He has how many trained paid servants?

318. That's on his payroll. That's on his staff.

Couldn't he go like this and have any one of them come and say, look, you guys, go out and do this for these visitors? He does not do that. He serves personally.

He gets personally engaged. He doesn't pass the buck to somebody else. What an example for us.

What an example. Every Christian has a ministry. In fact, I'd say a Christian without a ministry is a contradiction, because the idea of a Christian is that I'm a servant of Christ, not just a follower of Christ, a disciple, a servant, and I serve personally. And I know that we are in uncertain and tough economic times. And maybe you're unable to financially do what you would like to do for the Lord, but you can always serve.

You can always give time and talent. So he served personally. The other thing I want you to notice about his ministry is that he served immediately. Look at verse 2. He ran from the tent door to meet them. Verse 6, he hurried and told Sarah, quickly.

Verse 7, Abraham ran to the herd, got a calf, gave it to the young man who hastened to prepare it. OK, how old is he? 99, and he ran? That, to me, that's striking. He must have been striking. He must have been in great shape.

He didn't say he used a walker. He ran. He hurried. There was an immediacy about his service. In fact, as I go through the story, I watch this quick movement until verse 8. He doesn't stop until they are served, and it says he stood by them under a tree.

Question, what if Abraham would have based his service to the Lord and these two angelic buddies if he would have based that upon how he felt? I mean, he could have said, it's hot outside. There is no AC in the tent here.

It's hot, and I'm 99. I just don't feel like it. Probably wouldn't have done it. But he did it personally.

He did it immediately. And the third thing I want you to notice about his ministry is he served generously. Notice that Abraham gave to God the very best that he had. You'll notice in verse 6 that Sarah baked bread from fine meal. Verse 7, the meat came from a tender and good calf. And that's filet mignon.

That's the best. He didn't say, yeah, we got that beat up old cow out back. God's here. Give it to him.

And that leftover food, bring it out. We'll give it to God. He didn't give God leftovers.

He gave him the best. Serving God should cost something. Remember when David wanted to build a temple? The first thing he had to do was secure a plot of real estate. So he went to the guy who owned a threshing floor in Jerusalem named Arana.

It is now the Temple Mount. He offered to buy it. And Arana said, buy it? I'll give it to you. You're King David.

And you want to do this for God? It's yours. David goes, oh, no, no, no. I'll buy it.

Give me a fair price and I'll give you fair market value. Oh, no. He said, I'll just donate it. David said, you will not donate it. And here's what David declared. I cannot present burnt offerings to the Lord that have cost me nothing. David believed that if he's going to give to the Lord, he has to give generously and it's got to cost him something.

John Henry Jowett said, service that costs nothing accomplishes nothing. Hear about the farmer that had two cows? And he'd always say, my cow has had birthed two calves. One of them is mine. I'll keep it. The other one, I have dedicated it to the Lord. He'd always say that.

That was his spiel. I'll keep one. One belongs to God. One's mine.

One's God. But he never said which was which. Until one night, both of them were in a sickened state. And he quickly went out to the barn to watch over them.

Later on after midnight, he came in. One died. And he hung his head and he said, honey, I have bad news. God's calf just died.

So he never said which was which until that happened. Then all of a sudden he designated which belonged to God, the dead one, the live one I'll keep. I just want to encourage you to be generous in your giving. Not because I say so, but because scripture tells us that you can't outgive God. In fact, the only time we're called to test the Lord in the scripture is in the area of tithes and offerings. And if you remember a few months back, I said that God has been so good to us and we're going to be paying off the debt to the church in 50 months. We're going to make double payments. And we started doing that. But that was, of course, before the economic hard times.

Now we're also down 30%. I just want to encourage you not to ever beg. I never will do that because God is fully in charge. But just to tell you, given it will be given to you, press down, running over, good measure. I don't know how it works. I just know that it works. I just know that it works.

So Abraham served personally, immediately, and generously. Here's the fourth component of friendship. Conformity. Conformity.

You know what I mean by that? Conformity includes trust. I trust in Him, loyalty. I'm loyal to Him, and obedience. I'll obey Him.

It's part of being God's friend is conformity. Okay, Abraham was God's friend because he believed God. He believed His promises. He trusted Him. He conformed to that. God said, Abraham, I know you're an old guy, but you're going to have a child, a natural child.

Okay, I believe that. That's why James referred to being God's friend as believing God. Here it is, James 2, I forget exactly. I think it's verse 23. And the scripture is fulfilled that says, Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness. And he was called the friend of God because he believed and conformed to his promises. Sarah, on the other hand, does not believe and does not obey, does not conform.

Let's look at it. Verse 9. Then they said to him, where is Sarah, your wife? And so he said, here in the tent. And he said, I will certainly return to you according to the time of life, and behold, Sarah, your wife, will have a son.

Look at the parenthetical statement. Sarah was listening in the tent door, which was behind him. Now, Abraham and Sarah were old. The Bible is just very honest, well advanced in age, and Sarah had passed the age of childbearing. Therefore, Sarah laughed within herself, saying, shall I have, after I have grown old, shall I have pleasure, my Lord, being old also? And the Lord said to Abraham, why did Sarah laugh, saying, shall I surely bear a child since I am old? Is anything too hard for the Lord?

At the appointed time, I will return to you according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son. But Sarah denied it, saying, I didn't laugh, for she was afraid. And he, the Lord said, no, but you did laugh. There's different kinds of laughter, right? There can be the lighthearted laughter of joy.

There can be the lighthearted laughter of joy. There can be kind of an arrogant, sneering, scornful laughter, the laughter of unbelief. I think that was her laughter, because the Lord rebuked her for it. Now remember, Sarah was the one who, two chapters before, came up with the brilliant scheme of not obeying God, not believing God's promise, but she said, take Hagar, my handmaiden, Abraham, buddy, honey, you take her and have a child through her.

So she wasn't inclined to obey. Chapter 17, God says to Abraham, you're going to have a son, he laughs. God doesn't rebuke him. Chapter 18, Sarah laughs, God rebukes her.

Two different kinds of laughter. One was out of joy, that was Abraham, like wow, cool. But not Sarah, not yet. Now she will come around, but at this point, this was not conformity. She's not trusting, she's not conforming, and she certainly did not obey. When you're God's friend, you got to trust him, and you got to obey him. I know we love the text, I quoted it at the beginning, we love it. Jesus said, I'm not going to call you servants anymore, I'm calling you friends.

We love that, but we just don't finish the whole thought. Here's the rest of the story, John 15, 14. You are my friends if you do whatever I command you.

Well, that puts it in a whole different light, doesn't it? You can tell if you're my friends, you do what I say. And by the way, in Greek, it's the present tense. A better translation, if you keep on loving me, you'll keep on obeying me. So here's the thought, friendship with God includes the long obedience, the continued obedience and conformity over the long haul, in all areas. You can't say, well, I'll obey God in my business, just not in my marriage. You can't say, I'll obey God in my marriage and my business. But when income tax disclosure time comes, I might not fit in there, or I won't obey God in my leisure. The key is keep falling in love with Jesus, and you'll keep on obeying him.

And you'll prove that you're his friend. I want to close with this question. Let's consider the question God asks, and let's answer it for ourselves. Is there anything too hard for the Lord? Is there? So whatever you're dealing with, family trouble, marriage issue, teenage stuff, economic hard times, plug this verse into your heart. Is there anything too hard for the Lord?

No, there isn't. I want to close with a letter, a supposed letter. I had to write to tell you how much I love you and care for you. Yesterday I saw you walking and laughing with your friends, and I hoped that soon you'd want me to walk along with you too. So I painted a sunset to close your day and whispered a cool breeze to refresh you. I waited, you never called, so I just kept on loving you. As I watched you fall asleep last night, I wanted to touch you. I spilled moonlight onto your face, trickling down your cheeks as so many tears have. I wanted so much to comfort you. The next day, I exploded a brilliant sunrise into a glorious morning for you.

But you woke up late and rushed off to work, and you didn't even notice. My sky became cloudy, and my tears were the rain. I really love you. I try to say it in the quiet of the green meadow and in the blue sky. The sand whispers, or the wind whispers my love through the treetops and spills it into the vibrant colors of all the flowers. I shout it to you in the thunder of the great waterfalls, and I compose love songs for birds to sing for you. I warm you with my sunshine and perfume the air with nature's sweet scent. My love for you is deeper than any ocean and greater than any need in your heart, if you'd only realize how I care. My dad sends his love. I want you to meet him. He cares too.

Fathers are just that way. So please call on me soon, no matter how long it takes. I'll wait, because I love you, your friend, Jesus. It's just a beautiful way of saying Jesus loves you, no matter what you're going through. And he reminds us of his love.

It's crowded in around us in nature and in circumstances every day. But here's the deal. Here's the deal. Those three people, God and the two angels, did not come into the tent until they were invited. That's how God works. He only works by invitation, right? He'll never barge in or force himself in on you, but he will show up, and you invite him. You invite him in. Jesus said, behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone will open the door, I'll come in and fellowship with him.

That's how he works. If you haven't done that, if you haven't allowed him into your life as Lord, please do that today. Please do that today. Give your life to Christ today. And if, as a Christian, you haven't invited him into your circumstance, invite him in. That concludes Skip Heitzig's message from the series, The Biography of God. Now, if you want to help keep these messages going strong to connect more people like you with God's truth, here's Skip to tell you how you can do just that.

Isn't it amazing that our sovereign God who created the universe longs to be our dear friend? We want many more people to enjoy this friendship with God, and we would love for you to be a part of making that happen. Your gift today not only helps this ministry reach more people with God's word, it also keeps these messages that you love coming to you.

Here's how you can give a gift today. where you'll find even more of Skip's messages, over 3,500 teachings that unpack the Bible verse by verse to help you tackle life's toughest issues. Once again, that's connectwithskip.com. And just a reminder, you can watch Connect with Skip Heitzig on the Hillsong Channel on Saturdays at 4.30 p.m. Mountain or catch it on TBN on Sundays at 5.30 a.m. Eastern. Check your local listings and be sure to come back again next week as Skip Heitzig begins a series called Playlist and shares with you what it takes to experience true happiness. Connect with Skip Heitzig is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-31 13:29:42 / 2024-01-31 13:39:04 / 9

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