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Becoming God’s Friend. Servant, Steward or Son. How Does Your Relationship With God Make You Feel? . Secure or Fearful? Limited or Limitless? Worthy or Unworthy? Trusted or Suspected?.

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becoming god s friend

Becoming God’s Friend

Servant, Steward or Son

how does your relationship with god make you feel
How Does Your Relationship With God Make You Feel?
  • Secure or Fearful?
  • Limited or Limitless?
  • Worthy or Unworthy?
  • Trusted or Suspected?

The bond you have with God is intended to lift you up and make you more than you could be without it. If understanding God’s presence in your life fills you with guilt and shame and doubt, there is some more that you need to know about God.

a starting question
A Starting Question

“What is God’s plan for me?”

  • You can ask this question out of hope.
  • You can ask this question out of fear.
perception is reality
Perception is Reality
  • This weekend is about your perception.
  • The reality of God’s blessings and His disposition toward you is of little tangible benefit until you accept them.
  • When your perception changes, what you believe is possible changes.
our premise this weekend
Our Premise This Weekend

Faith Fulfilled Ends in Friendship

friendship defined
Friendship Defined
  • Friendship is trust.
  • It is a mutual trust that is reciprocated with every positive interaction.
what is your relationship with god like
What is Your Relationship With God Like?

I am God’s ______________

i am god s
I am God’s _________
  • Servant
  • Steward
  • Son
  • Friend
i am god s servant1
I am God’s Servant
  • We all men are servants of something.
  • “Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?” (Romans 6:16)
  • We are given the choice of whom we will obey.
choosing to serve god is the harder choice
Choosing to Serve God is the Harder Choice
  • Matthew 7:13-14 – “. . . And those who find it are few.”
  • Why choose to serve God?
  • For the servant the choice is easy: Life is Better than death.
traits of servants
Traits of Servants
  • Serve their masters out of obligation.
  • Motivated by self-preservation.
  • Controlled by fear.
  • Always feel the threat of punishment (Matthew 18, 24).
  • No rights in the home.
  • Highest goal is to “do the job just like the master would” (Matthew 10:25).
  • Success does not mean promotion or intimacy with the master (Luke 17:10).
identifying christian servants
Identifying Christian “Servants”
  • Always active, but never feeling like they have done enough.
  • Fear of failure fuels the engine of their spiritual life.
  • Are you saved?
    • “If I remain faithful”
    • “I’m working on it”
    • “I hope (think) I am”
the faith of a servant
The Faith of a “Servant”

For the servant, his hope for Heaven is tied directly to his faith in himself. His hope can only be as strong as his faith in his own abilities to keep his master’s commands.

i am god s steward1
I am God’s Steward
  • “oikos” – House | “nemo” – Manager
  • Joseph in Potiphar’s house (Genesis 39:6)
  • New Testament Stewards – Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25) | Unjust Steward (Luke 16)
  • Stewards are trusted servants. They are servants with an opportunity to advance and grow in the master’s house (Matthew 25:21).
traits of stewards
Traits of Stewards
  • Separated from servants by the promise of remuneration.
  • Invested in the process of growth.
  • Accountable only to the master (1 Corinthians 4:1-6).
  • All men are stewards of God and trust by Him (Psalm 8:4-6).
identifying christian stewards
Identifying Christian “Stewards”
  • Focused on Heaven over Hell.
  • “Why do you serve God?”
    • No tears….No death…No pain…
    • I want to see _______ again.
the faith of a steward
The Faith of a “Steward”

The service of the faith of a steward is still based on accounting principles. “I serve God so that I will receive” is the metric of a steward.

traits of sons
Traits of Sons
  • Emulate servants and stewards as they grow in the home.
    • Galatians 4:1-2
    • Remember the process of raising your own children.
      • They serve first to avoid punishment.
      • Then they serve for rewards.
      • Then they serve to honor.
  • “Remember Who You Are” (Luke 2:49).
i am god s son1
I am God’s Son
  • Love is what separates servants and stewards from sons.
  • A son has a birthright. The father is obligated to care for him in ways that do not apply to even the best servants.
  • A son obeys, but that is the beginning of his relationship, not the end.
identifying christian sons
Identifying Christian “Sons”
  • They praise the nature of God.
  • They serve freely.
  • They long to exalt God.
  • Reward and Punishment are in the backgroud. In the foreground is only God.
  • “Am I Saved?”
    • Yes, because God is so good.
the faith of a son
The Faith of a “Son”

A son knows that no matter how he fails or struggles; he is still a son. Even if he turns, denounces his father, and walks away, like the Prodigal, he can come back. A good father always loves his son…….

And God is THE good Father.

god s sons know this
God’s “Sons” Know This

The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

John 8:35-36

remember perception not reality
Remember, Perception not Reality
  • From the moment we are saved we become God’s servants, stewards, and sons.
  • This study is not meant to tell us to leave those thoughts behind.
  • It is designed to help us see beyond where we are to where we can go.
becoming god s friend1

Becoming God’s Friend

Friendship: Faith’s Journey

a son vs a friend
A Son vs. A Friend
  • What is the difference between a son and a friend?
  • To help answer that question, consider these:
    • When was the last time your father disciplined you?
    • When was the last time you feared he would?
    • When was the last time he had a reason to disciple you?
  • Why did his active discipline stop?
    • Did you become perfect?
    • Did he lose his moral authority?
you re a man now son
You’re a Man Now, Son
  • Fathers, which of the following to wish for your sons:
    • Permanent Dependence
    • Like-minded Independence
permanent dependence
Permanent Dependence
  • The son never leaves the home
  • The son never takes responsibility
  • The son never learns from the negative consequences of his actions
  • The son needs constant supervision, guidance, counsel, etc.
  • The father’s work is never finished

Is that why you had a son?

like minded independence
Like-minded Independence
  • The son carries on the family values
  • The son expands on the work of the father
  • The son can begin to teach another generation the values and principles of the father
  • The father has replicated himself in another person
  • The father’s work with his son is complete. He is free to begin another work.
  • The father has a companion which to share the joys and heartaches of life

Is that why you had a son?

friendship is a like minded independence
Friendship is a Like-minded Independence
  • When the son begins to make the same judgments as his father, the father offer himself to his son in more intimate ways.
  • There is no fear of spoiling the son or enabling bad behavior.
  • They walk together in the natural agreement of their values, not by any compulsion or fear of disappointment.
  • The son has become his father’s friend.
you re a man now church
You’re a Man Now, Church
  • God’s work was to create a full-grown, adult and like-minded church in this world.
  • The growth and maturation of His saints is of utmost importance to God’s plan
you re a man now church1
You’re a Man Now, Church

. . .until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children . . .

Ephesians 4:13-14

you re a man now church2
You’re a Man Now, Church

You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature . . .

Hebrews 5:12–14

you re a man now church3
You’re a Man Now, Church

. . . and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.

Colossians 2:19

like minded with god
Like-minded with God

“But the Bible says we can’t ever think the way God thinks and act the way God acts!”

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,

neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth,

so are my ways higher than your ways

and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah 55:8-9

like minded with god1
Like-minded with God

Read the verses before it!

“Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

Isaiah 55:6–7

like mind with god
Like-mind with God
  • God, through Isaiah, is rebuking Israel for not having His mind and ways, not informing them they cannot be like Him.
  • How does God tell them to discover His thoughts and ways?

. . . so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

Isaiah 55:11

the path to like mindedness with god faith
The Path to Like-mindedness with God: Faith
  • The word that goes forth from the mouth of God accomplishes that for which it is sent (Isaiah 55:11).
  • It was sent to allow men to grow up in His knowledge and grace (1 Peter 2:2; 2 Peter 3:18).
  • When men forsake their thoughts and ways and replace them with God’s thoughts and ways, they become of one mind with Him.
  • The Bible word for that process is “faith” (Romans 10:17).
  • Faith is a process that has both a promise and a fulfillment.
the promise and fulfillment in faith
The Promise and Fulfillment in Faith
  • Abraham is praised for and counted as righteous for his faith in Genesis 15:6.
  • Notice James’ words about the promise and fulfillment of Abraham’s faith:

Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God.

(Jas 2:21–23)

the promise and fulfillment of faith
The Promise and Fulfillment of Faith
  • Abraham is counted as righteous at 75 years old (Genesis 15:6).
  • James states that the scripture (Genesis 15:6) praising his faith was fulfilled when Abraham’s works completed his faith in his offering of Isaac. Abraham was well-past 100 years of age by then.
  • At least 30 and maybe as many as 50 years separate Genesis 15 from Genesis 22. It took that long for Abraham’s faith to be “fulfilled.”

Question: When was Abraham ready to be called the “friend of God?”

the promise and fulfillment of faith1
The Promise and Fulfillment of Faith
  • AFTER he offered up Isaac.
  • Nearly 50 years fill the gap between the promise of Abraham’s faith and the fulfilled, perfected faith we associate with him.
  • Abraham’s journey from Ur to Moriah was a journey of faith, that ended in his friendship with God.
  • Just as with Abraham, your journey with God is a journey for a lifetime that has one goal in mind: Friendship.
friendship faith s journey
Friendship: Faith’s Journey
  • “Funny, the older I get, the smarter my dad gets.”
  • What we are acknowledging in that statement is that the truths that our fathers taught us (and, as young people, we tried to reject) were true all along.
  • We got to that point by testing those truths and finding out they were indeed truth.
  • We learned to trust them. We adopted them as our own. Our thoughts became just like our fathers thoughts.
  • We then had faith (trust) in the power of the same principles.
  • There is the process of faith.
friendship faith s journey1
Friendship: Faith’s Journey
  • Friendship is a mutual trust, deepened by positive interactions.
  • Faith is trust deepened by the testing of true values and principles.
  • It is the process of testing inherent in faith that leads to friendship.
  • Our Father has told us His mind. He has shared His values with us and has encouraged us to test His principles.
  • As we do, we find them to be true. We trust them. And so we trust Him.
  • In time we adopt His values. We no longer need to ask, “WWJD?” We already know. We are His friends.
friendship faith s journey2
Friendship: Faith’s Journey
  • The more nearly we learn to trust His word and not to lean on our own understanding, the closer we come to realizing a true friendship with God.
  • We cease to serve to avoid punishment, receive a reward or even simply to honor God.
  • We make the choices in life that we do (the same ones God would make), not just because He wants us to, but because we want the same things. We value the same truths.
  • We are His companions in faith. We are His friends.
living by faith
Living by Faith
  • If faith’s journey is what brings us to friendship, should we not live by faith at all times?
  • But what does it actually mean to “live by faith?”

Question: Did Abraham leave Ur and go to the Promised Land by Faith?

Question: Did Lot leave Haran and go to the Promised Land by Faith?

faith needs a hearing
Faith Needs a Hearing
  • Since Faith comes from the hearing of God’s word (and not other source), one must act on the word of God to live by faith (Romans 10:17).

Question: Did God’s word tell Abraham to go to the Promised Land? Yes!

Question: Did God’s word tell Lot to go to the Promised Land? No!

  • Both men took the same action. Only one was living by faith.
your faith needs a hearing
Your Faith Needs a Hearing
  • You can only live by faith on the things about which God has spoken to you.
  • James 1:5-6 needs Proverbs 2:6.

Has God spoken about ______________?

you re lot not abraham
You’re Lot, not Abraham
  • Abraham’s faith is the prototype of your faith. But his life is not the prototype of your life.
  • Only Abraham was called out of Ur and then Haran.
  • If you had been in either place, you could have left with Abraham or stayed behind and God would have been equally pleased with you. Only Abraham had to leave.
be careful how you study
Be Careful How You Study
  • Among the (if not “the”) biggest mistakes Bible students make is to identify themselves with the main characters of the Bible.
  • Unless God has appeared and talked to you:
    • You’re the sailors, not Jonah.
    • You’re Adonijah, not David.
    • You’re a slave in Egypt, not Moses.
  • Much of modern preaching and teaching, in an effort to make the Bible “relevant,” has not bothered to instruct about how to think critically about the Bible.
  • What that has created is an impression that God is more concerned about “our” things, than “His” things (2 Corinthians 5:18-19).
when you re not abraham
When You’re Not Abraham
  • You live by principle and preference, not edict.
  • Remember, except in regard to his coming to Canaan, even Abraham was not Abraham.
  • A model that is helpful in understanding how this kind of life functions is “The Good” vs. “The Best.”
the good
“The Good”
  • For the Christian, always consider “the good” as what you have right now. It is the condition of your faith now.
  • For example, for Abraham in Genesis 11, his “good” was to live in Ur.
  • In Ur, he was undoubtedly a good man with a good life.Likely, there was very little he needed to change in order to live in God’s good favor.
  • This condition is the state of most Christians. Your life is good and pleasing to God. Until something changes, you need to change nothing to please God.
  • You can live in “the good” for a long-time. In fact, you may have need to leave the good.
the best
“The Best”
  • Consider “the Best” to be the thing that you realize that you can, should, or must do.
  • For Abraham, his “best” came to him when God placed a specific call upon him. Once he saw the “best” he could no longer linger in the “good.” In order to continue his journey of faith toward friendship, he had to leave the “good” behind.
  • Again, you will not hear the voice of God call you to the “best,” but from time to time your conscience will pull you to the best.
  • Hypothetical Case Study: Doctor in the Book.
the good vs the best
“The Good” Vs. “The Best”
  • The “good” is holy. God is pleased with you in the “good.”
  • Without a prophetic calling (which you do not have), the “good” is always left voluntarily. You never have to leave it.
  • However, once you see the “best,” if you choose to stay in the “good,” your faith’s growth will be negatively affected.
  • Each time we exchange one “good” for another “best,” we take another step of faith toward friendship.
  • Since each exchange is a voluntary act, each exchanges demonstrates our willingness to sacrifice comfort for service (Philippians 2).
the best is really the better
“The Best” is Really “The Better”
  • In truth, we never will reach the “best.”
  • As we grow, our faith sees more opportunities than ever before.
  • In the end, each one of us will settle down in some “best.” Maybe we simply run out of time or energy in life.
  • However, sometimes we stop because we fear the loss of the “good” we have.
  • Remember: God always cares for the good. What once was your good, will become some one else’s “best.”
becoming god s friend3

Becoming God’s Friend

God Loves His Friends

god is righteous god is just
God is Righteous. God is Just.
  • Every person who has become aware of his own sin is aware of the righteousness and justice of God.
  • Without the sense of the morality inherent in those traits, we would never learn to discern between right and wrong.
  • We learn those traits of God first just as we do with our earthly parents.
  • It is easy to confuse the sequence of learning with the basis of relationship. Since we learn about righteousness and justice first, those things must be the basis of our relationship with God.
  • When we do, the commands of God’s law become the end of the law instead of means through which the law’s point is communicated.
the pharisees were righteous
The Pharisees Were “Righteous”
  • They were careful in their keeping of the law (Matthew 23:23). Jesus even commends them for their careful adherence.
  • Yet, their good intentions devolved into self-righteousness (Luke 18:9-14).
  • In seeing the keeping of the law as the end of their relationship with God, they lost sight of the law’s message:

For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness.

abraham was righteous over sodom
Abraham was Righteous Over Sodom
  • Abraham was disturbed by the news of Sodom’s impending judgment. He called upon God to act on his understanding of God’s nature: Righteous and Just.

Far be it from you to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?”

Genesis 18:25

  • Abraham knew that it was not right for the righteous to fare as the wicked. So intently did he believe that he was willing to confront God over it.
abraham s standard of righteousness
Abraham’s Standard of Righteousness
  • 50 righteous can’t die – “Far be it from you!”
  • 45, 40, 30, 20 . . .
  • 10? – “Oh let the Lord be not angry . . .”
  • How many righteous were in Sodom?
    • 4 – Lot, Lot’s wife, two daughters.
  • Why did Abraham stop at 10? Why not 5? Why not 4? Why not 1? Is it right for one righteous man to die with the wicked?
  • God did not stop Abraham’s questions. It was Abraham who said he would only ask one more time.
  • Abraham stop at 10 because in his mind to ask more was asking God too much.
what was god s number
What was God’s Number?
  • How many righteous would God allow to die while judging the wicked?
    • 0!
  • Note Genesis 18:22 – “So the men turned from there and went toward Sodom . . .”
  • Before Abraham ever asked about the righteous in Sodom, God has already dispatched His messenger to collect righteous Lot and his family from Sodom.
  • Abraham’s concern was unneeded. God was never going to allow even one righteous man to die in Sodom.
  • What is important to see that Abraham’s respect for righteousness allowed him to de-value the righteous. In that one respect, he foreshadowed the mentality of the Pharisees.
there is still something missing
There is Still Something Missing
  • Who did Abraham not ask about in Sodom that God was concerned about?
  • Hear God’s own words about why he was there:

Then the LORD said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave, I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry that has come to me. And if not, I will know.”

Genesis 18:20–21

abraham saw the righteous god saw the wicked
Abraham Saw the Righteous. God Saw the Wicked.
  • God already knew that no righteous soul would die in Sodom.
  • God was visiting Sodom to see if any way existed not to destroy the wicked in Sodom – “If NOT I will know.”
  • Abraham never asked about the wicked.
  • It is interesting that the first time God is ever called merciful in the Bible in his destruction of Sodom (Genesis 19:26).
  • Abraham did not understand the mercy of God. Often neither do we.
hear god s description of himself
Hear God’s Description of Himself.

Exodus 34:6-7 – Nine statements of mercy before the first statement of judgment.

  • A God merciful
  • Gracious
  • Slow to anger
  • Abounding in steadfast love
  • Abounding in faithfulness
  • Keeping steadfast love for thousands.
  • Forgiving iniquity
  • Forgiving transgressions
  • Forgiving Sin.
  • Who will by no means clear the guilty.
the basis of friendship
The Basis of Friendship
  • On what basis do you maintain your relationships with your friends? Spouse?
    • Perfect Action or Perfect Heart?
    • Competency or Loyalty?
  • Do you love them because of their actions or, at times, in spite of them?
  • If friendship is trust. Is not a trust in the loyalty of your friend’s heart the foundation of the relationship.
a love that trusts
A Love That Trusts
  • A love based on trust is the biblical model of love.

It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful

1 Corinthians 13:5

  • “Resentful” – “Does not count up wrongdoing.”
  • Abiding love cannot exist when a relationship is formed on accounting principles (Servant/Master). If you keep track of another’s faults sooner or later, they will fail you.
a love that trusts comes from god
A Love That Trusts Comes from God
  • Did we learn that kind of love from God or Satan?
  • It comes from God and is the same love that he shows to the man of faith who is His friend:

And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”

Romans 4:5-8

the man protected from his sin
The Man Protected From His Sin
  • He is the man who has removed guile and deceit from his heart (comp. Ps 32:1-2 and Romans 4:7-8).
  • He is the man who sees God for who He is (Matthew 5:8). He is a single soul with God.
  • He has learned to trust that His friend takes pleasure in their friendship:

His delight is not in the strength of the horse,

nor his pleasure in the legs of a man,

but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him,

in those who hope in his steadfast love.

Psalm 147:10–11

becoming god s friend4

Becoming God’s Friend

Am I God’s Friend

two reminders
Two Reminders
  • This weekend has been about perception not reality. The servant, steward, son, friend model is only a tool. If pressed too far and too hard it loses it power. The faithful Christian is perfect before God no matter his personal view of his relationship to God (Hebrews 10:14).
  • See God clearly. The one-talent man was wrong that God is a “hard-man” (Matthew 25:24-25) and his wrong view paralyzed his service of the Master. God is tender to His people.
five questions
Five Questions
  • Do I Know His Will for Me?
    • You can order off more than the dollar menu.
    • John 15:15

Servants need direction.

Children need experience.

Friends take responsibility.

five questions1
Five Questions
  • Do I Obey His Will?
    • Faith is the basis, but action is important.
    • Action follows heart.
    • John 15:14

Servants rebel and seek to escape when they can.

Sons need correction and to have each choice explained.

Friends walk with each other because they are united in judgment.

five questions2
Five Questions
  • Why Do I Obey Him?
    • The servant fears punishment = “I don’t want to go hell.”
    • The steward longs for reward – “I can’t wait to go to Heaven.”
    • The son longs to honor the father – “I want to give glory to God.”
    • The friend has been transformed to be like Him – “It is just who I am.”

Servants and stewards think of obedience’s impact on themselves.

Sons think of obedience’s impact on God.

Friends see the worth of obedience in its power to proclaim truth.

five questions3
Five Questions
  • Do I Feel Unworthy?
    • “I just want to be a janitor in Heaven.”
    • There are none. God does not need you to pick up His garbage. You get a ring and robe.
    • Luke 17:10 is only one picture.

Servants fear rejection.

Sons fear disappointing the father.

Friends trust for help in times of trouble.

five questions4
Five Questions
  • Am I Afraid to Dream?
    • Ecclesiastes 5:2-5
    • “Better safe than sorry” is not the motto of the abundant life.

Servants say, “If I fail, I will be punished.”

Sons say, “If I fail, seeing my Father disappointed would hurt too much.”

Friends say, “If I fail, I will learn my lesson and try again.”