You guys may already know this, but Americans absolutely have a friendship problem. University of Kansas professor says it like this, he says, hey, it takes 200 hours over at least six weeks, okay, more than six weeks to create a friendship.
Here's the problem, we already know what's coming. Most Americans spend about 41 minutes a day socializing, and that is, now compare that to how much Netflix gets watched, okay? 41 minutes a day socializing, most of that happens with people that we already know, okay? So we have a friendship problem. Actually, some people have said that our 30s, that decade of your life, is the decade that friendships go to die, okay?
As the scorecard of life is increasingly characterized by, you know, career success, and it's characterized by family success, and educational success, and everything other than a thriving social and friendship circle, every single year of our life it gets a little bit harder and a little bit harder. Now, some at Mercy, a lot of our college students are gone already for the summer, okay? They're home, maybe you guys are seeing this online.
For them, they're like, man, what's the problem, okay? I'm living in my prime, I'm 20 years, some of us in high school or whatever. Well, there's some pressures that come from living through that era of your life and maybe not realizing the friendships that you quote unquote should, but even if that's where you are as you get older, what is the strategy that we have for combating loneliness? You guys have got to understand today, and I bet you do, it is not only introverts that deal with loneliness, right?
Every year as we increase, it gets harder and harder and harder to find relationships. I think one person said it like this, it was kind of funny to me. They said the greatest miracle Jesus ever did in his life was to have 12 good friends in his 30s, okay?
Now, maybe that's not literally true, all right? But it is kind of interesting is that we all understand as we get older, this is a problem, and the Scripture says a lot about friendships and a lot about relationships, but what I want to talk to you about today is about the greatest friend that we need and the greatest friend that we will ever have. You have a copy of Scripture, I want you to take it out and turn with me to Matthew chapter 11, all right? We are going to talk about the most shocking title that Jesus ever took upon himself, all right?
And that is that Jesus said, can you believe this? Jesus said he was a friend of sinners. I want to talk to you guys this weekend about the greatest friend that we'll ever have. Man, a friend that will never leave us, a friend that knows us, a friend that loves us, a friend that wants to have a coffee meeting with you for the rest of your life every single morning, okay? A friend that will be the first one there and the last to leave in the hardest, darkest seasons of your life. Jesus Christ has come and said, I want to be your friend. This is the big idea this weekend. Can you believe this?
Can you imagine it? Heart of Jesus, you ready? That Jesus desires to be our friend. We understand God as Father. Do we understand Jesus as friend? I think many of us who grew up in church might understand. Well, I get that Jesus is King.
No, no, no, not just King, but Jesus also wants to be your companion. What is a friend? Here's a quick definition of friend.
Friend means someone who wants to associate with you and has affection for you. Can you imagine that? We think about Jesus. Yeah, sure, He saved me, but some of us still have it in our mind that Jesus Christ came reluctantly on a mission that He didn't really want to come on to save people who He's secretly annoyed by. But what does the Bible say today? Jesus is a friend.
He wants your association and He is affectionate over you. It's a radical picture of Jesus that comes from a radical part of the Bible in Matthew chapter 11. Let's dive in together. We're going to spend most of our time just breaking this down, but then I do have kind of three applications at the end, three rocks that we'll try to pull out to make sure that we get some stuff real practical that might help us with our daily life and friendship and all that kind of stuff. Right, here we go. Matthew chapter 11, starting in verse 16.
But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their playmates. We played the flute for you, but you didn't dance. We sang a dirge and you did not mourn. For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say he has a demon. The son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, look at him, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.
Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds. I've wanted to preach on this passage for a while. Okay, so if I seem a little excited, all right, I want to preach on this.
And now here's the deal. I want to get into this idea of friend of sinners, but to get there, we fully have to understand these three verses, and that means we got to really do some work to break them down. Okay, so let's just kind of walk through this and make sure that we understand kind of what Jesus is getting into here. Now, the first thing he says is this.
To what shall I compare this generation? And then he says, it's like children sitting in a marketplace. I want to teach you something about reading the Bible extremely quickly here. Y'all, Jesus is filled with illustrative material.
Okay, that he, because he's a master teacher. I've seen mature Christians sometimes critique preachers where they say, why do they do so many illustrations? One answer, because Jesus did. Okay, we're not trying to be more spiritual than Jesus. What is Jesus doing? He's trying to make sure that we understand. If you haven't read a lot of the Bible, I want you to understand, Jesus is wanting you to understand. And one of the ways that he gets you to understand, you know, the author of Storyteller's Secret Gallo, he says it like this, and trying to get things to stick.
He says, illustrations are simply talking about things that you don't understand by using images of things that you do understand. Okay, that's all Jesus is doing here. Now, beautiful thing for us, Mercy Hill, is the imagery, the illustration here is all about kids. And this is something that should be right in our wheelhouse. I mean, every single campus, every single Sunday morning, all you see is just the minivans just lining up, coming in, okay. And that's because the age of our church and the kids and all that. I mean, some of the people I've seen at Clifton, and even here at Regional, have just gone straight 15 passenger van now, all right. And they're bringing the kids in.
We got some friends that just bought one, they named it the struggle bus, okay. So, you know, I, but it's a kid thing here. We got Kids Week coming up. I mentioned this last week, more kids than ever the last three weeks.
This is a beautiful illustration for us because it should be sort of right in our wheelhouse. So let's get into it. What does Jesus say? He says, okay, how do I compare this generation? I compare them to a bunch of kids who you would walk by in the marketplace and they're playing a game. Now, you guys have seen kids play games where they say, let's play dress up, or let's play school, right. Let's play doctor, let's play whatever.
And so here's what he says. He says, these kids are sitting in the marketplace and what they're doing, flute and dirge, flute is celebratory, dirge is a mournful song. What the kids are doing is they're sitting there and they're saying, hey, let's play wedding, or let's play funeral. Now, I've never seen kids play funeral, okay.
So I don't know, that's a little dark to me. You know, I've seen kids say, let's play doctor. Never seen the kids say, let's play mortician, okay.
That'd be a little odd. All right, but apparently back in the day in village life, they're looking around and they're seeing what adults are doing and they say, let's play, let's play wedding, let's play funeral. Okay, let's play wedding. Well, how do you play wedding? Well, how about this?
I'll play the flute and you guys dance. Now, this is the part of the illustration that anybody hearing Jesus that has been around kids, any of us that have been around kids, you're going to immediately go, I got it. You know why? Because what he's getting at here is that these kids in this illustration are obstinate. They are recalcitrant.
They have this attitude of no, I'm not going to do it. Well, do what? Whatever. Well, let's play wedding. I don't want to, it's boring. I'll play the flute. You dance. No, I'm not going to dance.
Well, okay, let's do everything you want to do. Let's play funeral. I'll sing a dirge. Not going to mourn. I'm not playing funeral. Why?
Because funeral is boring. Okay, well then what is it that you've got? I've all been here with kids, right? What is it that you want to do then? I want to do whatever it is that you don't want to do. That's what it is. Whatever you say you want to do, I don't want to do that. That's what I want to do. I want to sit here and I want to be the person that says no to how many people have been in a situation some of you I'm looking around you're like that ain't my kids but it is my husband okay that's kind of what you're you're thinking right now right but I think like how many of us have been in that situation where you're like man the child is crying of hunger here eat this I don't want it here eat this no here we'll have to no matter I'm hungry but I'm not willing to eat anything I'm actually wanting to be hungry and cry right now right how many of us have been in that situation with a kid hey I'm bored okay well let's do this no no there's no activity under the sun that you could put in front of me that I will engage in what I actually want to do is sit here and be bored what what what you know one commentator said it like this it's it's like they are kind of just personifying what it means to be kind of spoiled and kind of whiny and sort of set in their ways and what Jesus is saying here is hey this general and he's getting at this generation is viewing the kingdom of God through my preaching and through the preaching of John in that way where it doesn't matter if you play the flute they're not going to dance and if you sing a dirge they're not going to mourn what they want to do is sit there and say no no no no no you know what Jesus is saying here is something that we talked about at Mercy Hill many times people believe what they want to believe and these were people who sat there and when they saw John and we're going to get into friend of sinners but you got to understand all this to really even understand kind of what this phrase means okay these are people who when they saw John and his ascetic lifestyle and his rejection of the world and his constant calling out of sin they said no and when Jesus comes and he's healing people and he's saying hey man it's a party and it's a wedding and I came to bring the kingdom they say no what do they want they have it in their mind what they want and they're not going to be moved they're obstinate they're not going to be moved we want a political leader that frees us and institute a religious system that rewards the rich and the powerful in the ways that is they're already being rewarded now that's what they wanted and any version of the kingdom that came to him to them in any way other than that they were going to sit there like a bunch of kids and say we ain't dancing and we're not mourning we're not playing we're not playing we're just going to sit here and be obstinate people believe what they want to believe they will stay in that mindset and that's what Jesus is getting at here and actually it gets even deeper look what I already kind of signaled to where this is going but the illustration is very layered look what Jesus says for John came neither eating nor drinking and they say he has a demon the son of man came eating and drinking and they say look at him a glutton and a drunkard a friend of tax collectors and sinners yet wisdom is justified by her deeds now one of the things you got to understand when you read the scripture sometimes the there's patterns okay so here's what Jesus does he goes wedding okay flute dirge but then he goes John the Baptist Jesus okay so it's like this we would expect sometimes that things would go a b a b but sometimes in the bible it goes a b b a okay that's what he does here it goes flute dirge John who goes with the dirge and Jesus who goes with the flute so the first thing he's saying is this hey John the Baptist came and what was his message his message was you better repent because the first thing you got to know about the gospel is that there is an absolute funeral coming okay our sin is so great that we will I mean we're already dead spiritually we will our bodies will follow that means hell forever he was saying to the people you better repent and that bring the first thing that sin brings is mourning right at least it should sin should bring mourning and this is what Jesus is saying hey John came out in the wilderness he was trying to tell you you better mourn over your sin but you didn't want to you didn't want to mourn you didn't want to play you would not be moved from the way that you were thinking about the kingdom so what did they do they attacked John right and they said oh well look at him he's so prophetic and wild and the camel's hair and the locust and the honey and he's living out in the what he's a crazy man right he's wild he's he's must have a demon he this is the point he is so otherworldly he is so separated from the world that he cannot be from God and it cannot be from the kingdom he must have a demon okay so then Jesus says okay all right so that's what you said about John he's too separate from the world well what did they say about Jesus Jesus comes preaching the good news of the kingdom Jesus comes like a flute player at a wedding Jesus comes saying I'm healing people I'm bringing good news to the most broken and sinful in all of our society I am coming and I'm hanging out with the outcasts and the down-and-out I'm coming to show them that there is a kingdom coming blessed are those I'm coming in that way and what did they say about Jesus well sin should make us mourn y'all our Savior should bring a celebration it's like a wedding it's not like a funeral but what did they say about Jesus they said to Jesus no no we're not going to dance you're bringing the celebration but we don't we don't we don't play by that by that flute we're not and so what did they do to these they attacked him the same way John the Baptist was too separate from the world Jesus wasn't separate enough to them well they said is look at him he's hanging out with prostitutes and tax collectors I mean they they they pitched Jesus as being an animal house frat boy who's who's who's walking around drunk and hanging out and rabble rousing and that's how they're painting him here it's like hey John was too separate from the world Jesus for them is not separate enough from the world and that all of that is where we end up with this phrase that Jesus was a friend of sinners can I say two things before we get in a friend of sinners okay I don't want to get way off topic I want to answer the question that we've raised but let me say two things about this the first is this are you in this camp that has the heart of the posture in your heart of the same posture that these children have in this illustration you can say like this is the posture of your heart that this is tough okay is the posture of your heart that of an obstinate child here's what I mean by that is there anything that God would do or could do that would open your eyes or or is it like no I don't care I'm not dancing I'm not mourning you could play the flute no you can sing the dirge not happening is that where you're at today is there anything that God could do in your life to open you up or are you just going to continue to believe the things that you already believe I pray for an open mind for many in our congregation those at our campuses as well this weekend hey but second well let me say this if you're like man I'm kind of wrestling with that okay maybe I mean I'm here I'm listening to a sermon maybe all right you know what it says listen yet wisdom is justified by her deeds you know what that means here's what it means did John have a demon no was Jesus an animal house frat boy no you know how we know because wisdom is justified by her deeds look at the movement that was sparked and kicked off for the last 2,000 years it is the most diverse philanthropic life-oriented movement that has ever been is it perfect absolutely not man I could I could point to 17 different things okay there is it perfect no do we have miles to go yes but is it a movement that is like no other on the face of the planet absolutely wisdom is justified by her deeds take a look at the church if you're trying to figure out whether you will open your mind to what Jesus is saying or not hey but secondly quick application then we're going to get in front of sinners a little more okay hey if you are a Christian we talk about this a lot at mercy hill we talk about third way and I want you to make sure you understand third way doesn't mean middle it doesn't mean centrist third me third way means different okay Christians are radical no matter where they land all right okay but it means different let me ask you a question are we being accused of being too worldly and at the same time being accused of being not worldly enough is that the life that we're living where it's like man we are confusing to the world because of how we enter in and care for the world and befriend the outcast and yet we're confusing to the world because we can befriend someone and enter in and while at the same time not be drug in to the sin that they have or or not not not lay down on truth and all that kind of stuff right are we are we intriguing to the world in that way you know I thought about this because I was specifically thinking about high school and college age you know when my right before right before the start of my senior year of high school all right there was a uh there was man there was this big party that was going on and um me and a buddy of mine we went to the party and man this was exactly what you think of okay I want you to think the Friday night lights crazy parents are out of town just everything that comes with that okay all types of debauchery and sin and so we we go to this party and we know every we're all ballplayers we know everybody there and we you know we go in and here's what we did man we've been praying for these guys all summer we had just been we had just come out of student camp all right can't wait for our kids to go to camp I mean you talk about getting fired up for Jesus get away from the phones for a week and all that man we had just come back from camp and all that kind of stuff we've been praying for these guys on our team and so we went to that party and we walked in and we dapped everybody up we hugged everybody there we talked to everybody for one minute and we walked up to where the source of the sinning problem was okay and and we said hey and I went to the guy that was that was throwing the party and I said hey man man can we leave this flyer here our FCA which is called Fellowship of Christian Athletes okay our FCA starts next Thursday morning man do you care if I leave this here for all the guys we're just you know we want to invite you guys or whatever man yeah no problem put it put it down man we put it put it down on the table you know and left all right we we were there for I bet you we were there for 12 minutes we were there for 15 minutes tops okay the next Thursday when school started man we walked into the weight room we had never seen the FCA more than 15 or 20 people 80 100 kids showed up busting all right and I thought I thought about that and I said man I've gotten it wrong so many times in my life but I wonder if in that instance we may have kind of gotten it right where it's like man and I'm not listen I'm not parents are going to say well is that okay is it not okay that's for y'all to decide okay what I'm saying is that idea of saying man we are not going to be taken in by the world but we want to be confusing to the world and we want to love people that are in the world all of that kind of swirling together now I did find out later that about an hour after we left the cops showed up broke up the party and they used the flyer to say it was a fellowship with Christian athletes event oh my okay so they may they may have been they may have been coming because they uh were it's you know saying thank you I don't know okay but I just think about that story and I'm like man do we have a bunch of stories that are kind of that way where it's like man I'm I'm loving on the world and yet I'm not I'm not in the world in that way all right so here's the thing well you should be confusing man not too separate not to end Jesus shown the Baptist there's a ton of stuff we could talk about in that but here's what I want to get into it is all of that that brings out this phrase look at this phrase again with me in verse 19 the son of man came eating and drinking and they say look at him a glutton and a drunkard a friend of tax collectors and sinners yet wisdom is justified by her deeds friend of sinners how can it be that the son of God is a friend of sinners savior of sinners got it king over sinners got it friend of sinners what is a friend a friend associates with and has affection for and that's Jesus Christ church sometimes we take the view that Jesus is high lofty which he is but then we take that next step and say condescending and exasperated that he came on a mission that he was reluctant to come on he's saving a people that he's secretly annoyed by man it really wasn't his idea he loves us but he doesn't like us I mean how many of us say that kind of thing right where we even up saying that and we're like you know somebody brings up somebody's name we're like man I love that dude okay I love that dude from a distance right but this what this is saying is like no no he yes he loves us but he wants an association with us us failures and sinners and broken people he wants us and he has affection over us and he wants to spend time with us don't the misconceptions we have about the posture and heart and the expression and the look on Jesus's face don't they crash against this one phrase friend of sinners now we see him high and lifted up and reigning over our lives which is true that's all true okay I'm not saying it's not true Jesus is the king but can we not see that Jesus is both king and companion you know I have rail against this sometimes the old the old t-shirt Jesus is my homeboy you know and I said that in a couple weeks ago and I'm railing against it but in this passage it's like actually that's kind of true too right it's like yes he is king but he's also companion yes Jesus actually is a friend of us and a friend of sinners you know I've met people before that when they pray the first thing out of their mouth here's what they say you've seen this before probably where they say hey God or they say hey Jesus okay and I've heard people pray like that before and something in me kind of honestly something to me like cringes a little bit because I'm just like man I can't get there because I have this big reverence thing and all that and then I'm thinking about this and I'm like man sometimes that may be exactly right sometimes it may be exactly right that we would say hey why because Jesus is a friend you know this phrase originally was given to Jesus as did you realize did you know this the the idea originally was that it's kind of a slur it's kind of a way of them saying look at him how could he be this way how could he be a friend of those people wrong side of town wrong profession prostitutes tax collectors sinners broken people he's a friend of that's the way it was intended he's a friend of sinners you know Charles Spurgeon said it like this to this day the savior is adored by the title which was minted as a slur it was designed to be a stigma that every good man would shudder at and shrink from it has proved to be a fascination which wins the heart and enchants the soul of all the godly you know I think about I think about it like this what was meant to be an insult ended up becoming a badge you know when I was a kid there was nothing worse under the sun than being called a mama's boy okay it was just like man that's we're just gonna have to fight right now right I mean it's like that's just kind of how it was back then but now what I've seen is like in culture that's been spun a little bit where somebody says you're a mama's boy and they're like yeah you're right on my mama's why I love my mama right like that's fine like it's kind of been spun it's almost like hey what was meant as an insult has been spun to say yes I love my family that's fine like keep heaping it on keep calling me that you see this sometimes now with the term geek okay like people people even say this all themselves like man I'm geeking out what does that mean it means they're doing something that's probably gonna eventually make them a lot of money right they're doing it's become a thing where it's like that was meant as an insult you know in the 80s or whatever and now it's become a thing where like no no I voluntarily I'm geeking out because I'm learning how to do this and I'm gonna be your boss one day ha ha ha you know it's real funny that's the idea it was meant to be something that was an insult ends up being a badge ends up being our only hope that Jesus is a friend of sinners three rocks all right number one is this be grateful that Jesus wants to be your friend can we be blown away over this can we just be blown away for a moment and can we just say hey the first thing that we need to see this weekend church is that Jesus was not accused listen of being a glutton and a drunkard because he was willing to hang out with them he was accused of being a drunkard and a glutton and a friend of sinners because he was willing to hang out with you and with me and there may be sometimes there may be sociological factors that come in that make some of our sins seem more evident in life than others but let's make no mistake about it when Jesus decided to take on associating association and affection man he was a friend of sinners in us before we think about it for anybody else man we're all broken and in need of a savior sometimes i think we see people that we have compassion on listen but we do we think to ourselves i'm compassionate for them i see someone on the street corner or or you know i see someone that maybe is homeless or i see someone who is an orphan or i see someone who has severe special needs and i can get to the place of compassion over them but does the thought of being their companion come into my mind affection and association right i think sometimes we think that way about Jesus praise God he doesn't look at us the way we look at others he didn't just come in with a compassionate heart he comes in with a companion's heart i mean think about us man spiritually broken spiritually fatherless you know i mean just thinking about as in our sin we were orphans we were child after wrath this is what Ephesians 2 tells us we were people that were severely in spiritual need of somebody to come and he comes to us and he is our companion i hope that we can just pause and realize today that it's us before anybody else and then we can maybe get to that heart posture of gratitude and praise over the fact that he is not just king but he is also companion you know proverbs 18 24 tells us there is one who sticks closer than a brother this is this is Christ this is Jesus in our life that he comes in to be our friend you know a lot of times friendship is about gain it's really not friendship but we call it that you know what we say what we say is yeah i want to be your friend but really i have already decided there's something in you that will benefit me and it's really not friendship it's commoditization of people it's saying like man there's a transactional thing going on i think you're good for me i want you in my life i want you to think about Jesus and his pure and perfect friendship this is a man a god man who becomes poor so that we can be rich who leaves heaven and comes to earth who gives his life so that we can live it's not benefiting him we weren't created because god was lonely okay he's done these things for us this is true friendship association and affection you know what i think this is this is kind of the illustration that we came up with this week i want you to think about this um this idea of a magnet right i think that many of us kind of think to ourselves that we think in our mind man what what does jesus think about us what is his heart saying when he looks upon us and i think many of us kind of get the idea of a magnet right that's that's turned the polarity it's actually being it's actually being repelled like i can't you know it's it's it's pushing against each other when what we've got to realize is no no in the gospel jesus christ demonstrates what he actually wants for us and going to the cross dying for us raising for us raising us to spiritual life so he can bring us into relationship with himself and he does these things because he loves us it actually isn't that our sin and brokenness puts us in a situation where he is repelled from us actually it's the other way where he is drawn he is drawn into us in our sin in our brokenness his heart leaps after after us because he's a true friend i mean is it not friendship that is defined by knowing you the worst things about you and still deciding to enter into relationship with you we call friendship some of the other things where it's really about what i can get but that is the true nature of friendship and that's how jesus was he comes for us it's powerful it should change us it should change the way that we look at others when we see the way that jesus looked at us number two i want you to interact with jesus as a friend you know some of us this is this is hard getting into this mindset of saying okay what does it look like to interact with jesus christ well i will tell you one of the ways that we can think about this is just through gathering and group all right when we come to gather what are we doing a gathering what am i doing right now man we sing we're in relation with one another we open the word we hear from it we apply it to our life it's meant to be a model of how we can read the bible on our own meant that we read it and we apply these things to our life and we see what god has for us this is interaction this is interaction the word of god this is getting into proximity association having a heart that ends up being affectionate over i think about our groups guys we're halfway through groups for this uh this this session okay and if you're new to groups at mercy hill i want you to know when you signed onto that group it's a sprint not a marathon okay uh it's not it doesn't go on indefinitely forever man there's about a 10-week cycle and we're halfway through that right now are you leaning in to group dozens of people have jumped into our discovery groups what are we doing there man we're going deeper into the word we're doing practical application with one another we are being pushed into interaction with jesus as a friend what friend do you have that you never text you never meet for coffee you never read their emails you never go to the gym with them you never took a trip with them you never take them to lunch what what friendship is that you know friendship is is never static it is always either growing or shrinking kind of you know it's not just this static kind of thing are we cultivating are we moving and putting ourselves in proximity you know some of us i would just call you to do this today all right some of you guys are like man you started this sermon a little hook you know 30s of the decade that friendships go to die and and some of us some of you in here and especially on our campuses depending on the ages might be like man i'm living that right now i've had great friendships my whole life i've been i've been in a relationship but again in my 30s and all of a sudden there are a few things going on career mostly career advancement for a lot of people it ends up being families that kind of get started kids their stuff and and it's like man there's a few things that are going on and i feel like i'm beginning to get lonely or maybe there was a move you know maybe it's like man you just moved and you moved away from a bunch of friendships and you're here and you feel lonely introverts are not the only people that feel lonely extroverts are not the only people that feel lonely man people can feel that loneliness maybe you're a college student and and i i'm sensitive to this maybe you're a college student in your 20s maybe you're high school student and you're thinking to yourself like man you're talking about the 30s being hard but man i i'm feeling the anxiety and the pressure of feeling like i'm supposed to be in the prime of my relational life and yet i'm not developing the friendships that maybe i thought i was going to if anybody here is struggling with loneliness if anybody at our campuses are struggling with loneliness i think the biggest thing you got to see in this passage today is this hey commit to interact with jesus as a friend cultivate your relationship with your greatest friend a friend that sticks closer than a brother a friend that will never leave you you know the proverbs talk about how wealth draws in friends and poverty separates friends but jesus became poor so that he could be your friend he he became poor i mean he gave his life to bring you into relationship with himself would you cultivate that friendship by diving all the way in and you know what happens in your life when you do that actually it's going to make you the type of person that can be a good friend because i'm going to tell you something this is hard but this is true lonely people make bad friends because you take the weight of all that loneliness and you throw it on people and you and you grab on to them and you kind of are are drifting in a sea of loneliness and then all of a sudden you see a friend and you grab them like they're a life preserver and and man they can't they weren't made to handle it but if we don't feel the loneliness because we do have a companion that will never leave us all of a sudden it puts us in a place that puts us in a healthy position to begin to interact and engage man i would call you think about interacting with jesus as a friend and thirdly and finally all right i would say this hey be a friend like jesus be a friend like jesus a friend of sinners okay if you're gonna be a friend you are going to be a friend of sinners that's just how it works all right because everybody in our life is just like us they're broken they're beat up they're sinners they're sufferers so we've got to learn to be like this you know i i have four kids so i've seen the movie aladdin a lot okay you ain't never seen a friend like me you ain't never had a friend like me you guys remember that song here's the thing there should be people in our lives they say man i ain't never had a friend like you and you know why because you ain't never had a friend like jesus that's why they ain't never had a friend like you because you ain't never had a friend like him and that's where we got to get listen when jesus is filling that place of loneliness and we are accepting that that he is a friend of sinners and that we are known and that we are loved and when we go deep there it gives us the ability to do that for other people in their life this is why some of the strongest friendships on planet earth are forged in church they're forged in groups i see it all the time at mercy hill i can't believe it it's a miracle at mercy hill when i see people in their late 20s 30s 40s that get in a group commit to one another and then they end up for years man going on vacations together raising their kids together and i've been around long enough to see a bunch of this kind of stuff happening it will not happen if people keep planting seeds and then two months later decide it's not working and rip that thing right out of the ground never happened it's like in a garden people plant the seed and within four weeks they're like it's not bearing fruit they rip it out they go somewhere else they try to plant it again man there are people that do that for decades in their life and they never reap the fruit of true friendship i would call you away from that i would say anchored in the friendship of jesus now all of a sudden you can begin the process of being a friend like jesus in community bearing the weight of one another's sins mourning when people mourn joyful when people are you know rejoicing with each other i mean we have the opportunity to live life together i wanted to show you guys this and i'm really doing this even in some ways even for the parents that are congregation although it doesn't have to be that but i want you guys to see this picture these four guys not a great shot okay i am one of those in those guys y'all that picture is literally 30 years in the making these these are brothers that know i mean they know the worst things about me and they i mean they you know hopefully they wouldn't tell you those things but they know them okay two of those guys i met when we were five six years old in sunday school why do you think i set it up last week man circle of christian friends parents put them in let them ride for the next decade they've got it we have the opportunity we have our hand on that lever it ain't gonna be that way forever but we have it right now of who they're gonna associate with but i think about that and i'm looking at that picture and i'm like man those guys know so much so much about me and then i thought wait a minute no no i know a bunch of junk about them right and yet i know this from across the country wherever they are if i needed them i would call them today and they would be on a plane or be in a car no questions asked and i would do it for them as well where did we learn that it was no coincidence that those things are learned in sunday school or in a kids week right or in or or in mercy hill kids or whatever they're based in the gospel we can only be a friend like jesus we experience the friendship of jesus and the experience of the friendship of jesus friend of sinners is that he meets us where we are jesus was accused you're hanging out with them too much broken people sinners sufferers you're hanging out with prostitutes you're hanging out with tax collectors how could you be around those people because there was an association and affection i know you and i still love you that's what friendship really is and so i would say hey man this is how we learn to be friends we learn to be friends in the way that jesus was a friend to us at all of our campuses i'm gonna ask you to bow your head and close your eyes for just one minute all right bow your heads close your eyes for just one minute and then we're gonna pray we're gonna go into a uh man you just bow your heads close your eyes we're gonna we're about to go into a video to close this hey if you're watching this online you're not gonna see the video okay uh sorry i just want to tell you that it's a man it's a sensitive video we're only doing this kind of an in-person um but just close your eyes for one minute all right be a friend like jesus man who is the spirit bringing to your mind that needs a friendship like the one you've experienced in the gospel is there somebody coming into your mind right now known and loved man who needs that from you father we come before you right now we thank you so much for the friendship of our savior jesus christ lord we thank you that you sent christ to us that he's affectionate that he desires association with us lord we are eternally grateful we are eternally blown away lord i pray right now that you would change us into the type of people who can be a friend to them like you have been to us in christ name we pray amen
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-23 23:56:48 / 2023-02-24 00:13:06 / 16