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October 29, 2020 2:00 am
How can a human be friends with the almighty God? As Skip begins to study Abraham's life in the message "How to Be God's Friend," he shares how you can deepen your personal friendship with the Lord.
This teaching is from the series The Biography of God.Links:
This week's DevoMail: https://connnectwithskip.com/devomail
A friend in the Bible is a whole lot more than just a blinding hang where it's deeper than that. It speaks of a close and trusted companion. So though on one hand, the concept of being God's friend. The mind is an oxymoron. The lights are with love. That concept is that I call you not serve friends no matter how many friendships you have one friendship that rises above the law. Friendship with our powerful creator today on connect with Skip Heitzig Skip shows you how you can follow Abraham's example when it comes to being God's friend and at the end of today's program Skip and his wife Linda share practical insight on how you can cultivate friendship with the Lord. I would also recommend personal retreats. I've had a few of those were. I remember early on her marriage. Can I go camping overnight my backpack up in the mountains of mystified camping anyone closer to God that you been doing it lightly and I enjoyed Thanksgiving when you be sure to stay tuned. After today's message to get the full conversation.
Now we want to tell you about a resource that will help you get a full picture of God's character and nature so you can draw closer to help you imagine reading a biography about your life, only to find details about your life that were wrong felt it would be frustrating, wouldn't God's nature, character and motives have often been poorly portrayed, and even intentionally misstated. That's one of the reasons I decided to write the book, the biography of God to open your eyes and heart to a larger picture of God. I hope you will go on this journey with me as we ask and answer the universal question. Can we know God. Here's how to get your copy of my newest book, the biography of God. The biography of God is our way to say thank you you give $35 or more today to help expand this Bible teaching outreach. The more people request your copy when you give online securely connectwithskip.com/offer or call 800-922-1888 okay Genesis chapter 18 skip. I took starts today study sometimes you hear a statement or phrase that is arresting stops you and you ponder it because it doesn't seem to make sense words put together though they are together seem contradictory. Recall that an oxymoron when you have words in combination that are contradictory or incongruous a self-contradiction is an oxymoron. And I have a list of what are called 35 top oxymoron. Some of them are true, some of them I think were workplace and therefore fun. For example, legally drunk. That's an oxymoron and exact estimate another one, act naturally found missing resident alien genuine imitation is an oxymoron airline food government organization sanitary landfill alone together small crowd plastic glasses terribly pleased, political science, type slacks pretty ugly rap music.
No comment working vacation in the number one top oxymoron Microsoft Works. I just love that part the jab. I know it, but perhaps the top of top oxymorons is this phrase God's friend will follow me here friends enjoy mutuality commonality when you're a friend with another person.
You're on that same level with that person help. Could we possibly be on the same level with God. What do we share in common.
What do we add to the relationship we studied the attributes and the characteristics of God for the last several weeks, we discover that he's in a class all by himself is very unique. He's uniquely holy, is the only one who's omniscient, knows everything omnipresent everywhere present is omnipotent, all-powerful, all sovereign, what we have in common with that.
And yet in some way. We are called to be God's friends, Jesus said, no longer do I call you servants but I call you friends. There is only one person in all of Scripture that is actually given the title friend of God and that is the one were studying this morning, Abraham three times in Scripture that title comes up for this individual alone. He is the friend of God first appearances second Chronicles chapter 20 when King Jehoshaphat is facing the impending invasion of the Moabites and ammonites, he calls Abraham God's friend. Another time is in the book of James chapter 2 verse 23 and the third is to me the most significant, it appears in Isaiah 41 when God himself uses the title about himself. In Isaiah 41 verse eight the Lord says you Israel are my servant, you are descendents of Abraham. My friend, God calls himself the friend of Abraham.
Abraham, my friend, but something you want to know about biblical friendships. A friend in the Bible is a whole lot more than just a buddy. You just hang with, it's deeper than that. It speaks about a close and trusted companion. So though on one hand, the concept of being God's friend boggles the mind. It's an oxymoron. It delights our hearts. We love that concept the Jesus that I call you not servants, but friends, in fact, if you think about it. If God is your friend, you don't really need a whole lot else in life if you can get your heart around the concept that God is my friend and I am his friend and he invites me into this relationship. This ultimate knowledge. It would just carry me through so much in fact think of it this way when you rather have God as your friend and everybody else is your enemy, rather than everyone else is your friend and God is your enemy.
It's the ultimate possible friendship and relationship when Mark Twain was traveling through Europe was at the peak of his career. Everybody knew this great author Samuel Clemens a.k.a. Mark Twain and wherever he went, whatever country he was in whatever city dignitaries royalty people from the Who's Who recognized him and wanted to get close to him, it impressed his nine-year-old daughter was traveling with them and at the end of this European tour.
She just blurted out. Daddy, you seem to know everybody but God. What good does it do if you know everybody but God but for us today. What is a friendship with God look like, how could we possibly become his friend. What are the characteristics of this divine friendship I give you four characteristics based on the life of Abraham and the first is spontaneity spontaneity. Look at chapter 18. This is look at the first few verses then the Lord appeared to him by the terebinth trees of memory.
As he was sitting in the tent door in the heat of the day, so he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing by him when he saw them, he ran for the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the ground and said, my Lord, if I have now found favor in your sight, do not pass on by your servant but I like you to notice is verse one and the Lord what he just appeared, he just showed up unannounced. He was just there in verse two says behold or hate. Check it out. Three men were standing by him by Abraham. The text tells us it's the heat of the day, said the time when no one travels in a Middle Eastern summer travel early in the morning or late in the afternoon so Abraham was not expecting anybody to be traveling and showing up in his tent just suddenly was there unannounced. Sarah didn't have enough time to vacuum the tent door cleanup Abraham and Ishmael's dirty socks just there.
They are unannounced spontaneously appearing now really quickly and we discover this and move on. Some see in this text, a picture of the Trinity have three persons with her dressed as one. That's why the Church of England, the Anglican denomination every year on Trinity Sunday reads Genesis chapter 18 because they see this as a shadow or prefigure meant of the Trinity in the Old Testament, even its best to see this as God and two angels a theophany some sort of human apparition God in the flash one is addressed as the Lord and the other two seem to be angels.
If you notice in verse one. The word Lord is all capitals LORD whenever you find out in the Old Testament. It's the covenant name of God is not just Sir Lord is not our term of respect like it is done in verse three.
This is the covenant name Yahweh.
One of them is the Lord in itů Follow this good on verse 22 then the men the plural turned away from there and went toward Sodom. But Abraham still stood before the Lord, Yahweh. So those two men turned away, leaving Abraham and the Lord conversing these two men must've been angels because chapter 19 verse one.
Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening I read this passage I can't help but think of that tremendous encouragement in Hebrews 13, where we really don't forget to show hospitality to strangers because some have entertained angels without recognizing maybe they were referring to this very story in Genesis 18, but Abraham was, not just entertaining angels, but God, by the way, how do you what you feed an angel.
I know you miss angel food cake.
The point is God just showed up unannounced and friends can do that friends can be spontaneous they can to show up without announcing themselves in a good friendship can withstand that kind of spontaneity. I had a friend years ago. Actually, I had a few friends like this, but one in particular who would just show up at my door anytime he felt like it there be a knock at the door, sometimes even go all the way around back and find wherever I was just showed up. He was a good friend he could do that the friendship allowed for that kind of spontaneous behavior. When my son was growing up here in this church year after year. He was my little buddy. He was my friend and I told him Nathan because we have a special friendship that means you can come to me any time. No matter what I'm doing even barged right in and will hang out and he took me up on. Sometimes it barged right into a counseling session.
Nathan in his dinosaur and the person could be crying and carrying on.
All he knew was that he had access he could spontaneously enter at any time, and even Jesus gave a great analogy of spontaneous friendship and one of his parables, he said. Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and he says friend, lend me three loaves of bread talk about spontaneity knock at the door. It's midnight here and bad in your buddies got hey your name Brad.
I'm hungry I want some sandwiches friendship can withstand that with your God's friend get used to this.
You cannot always predict his visitations, his appearing his testings, his changes, he doesn't always warn us first on the come next week.
Get ready. He just shows up spontaneously. Acts we've all heard of Isaac Newton a great scientist in his era great mind, and Isaac Newton. Besides being a great scientist was a great Christian man, a great believer and one of the things he added to the body of knowledge were the laws of motion and listen to the first law of motion, and apply this to the friendship in just a minute. But here's the first law of motion. According to Isaac Newton. Everything continues in a state of rest. Unless it's compelled to change by forces impressed upon it.
The first law of motion that could easily be the first law of friendship with God everything disorder continues in a state of rest. Unless it's compelled to change by forces impressed upon it. We like that in science we do so like that in our personal lives, but how many times have we made our plans had her feet up were at rest were relaxing. We got it all wired. And God does not think so and shows up and provides a testing a good beatitude to remember those not in the Scripture. I think it's wise.
Blessed are the flexible, they shall not be broken.
I think that's good to be God's friend is to be open and willing to change to avoid ruts is a Mandana Nashville who bought a radio to get home to got a box plugged it in and put it on his refrigerator tuned it to W asked him if you're from the Nashville area, you know, that is.
That's grand old Opry radio to return to the WS M grand old Opry. Then he pulled all the knobs off the radio and threw them away.
You know what he was doing right.
Only one frequency we need in this house and at the grand old Opry. It's great in your kitchen, but you cannot do that in life with God. You cannot tune into a frequency i.e. your plans, your direction, because as we said last week, God has editing rights. He has the right to barge in and to change our plans as one wisely said God speaks to us through the regularity with which he disappoints our plans. I've had that I've had God disappoint my plans change my course. Anybody else have that.
That's friendship, spontaneity, the Lord appears seven, the second in verse two is humility. Watch Abraham so he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing by him when he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and he bowed himself to the ground focused on the word bow right now shahada in Hebrew shock to incline the body to pay homage to get face down, prostrate before why did Abraham do that well. It was a typical Middle East greeting, but especially reserved for royalties somebody's higher than you are and you recognize that the proper response is humility. You bow it was. There was even a protocol you get on your knees, you gradually incline the body to the four head touches the ground, hands on the ground and that was humility.
Notice in verse three he refers to them as my Lord L small ORD Adonai you are my Lord and I am your servant, and also in verse three and five. He calls himself a servant here's something you should know about Abraham to make an impact here Abraham was a wealthy, powerful statesmen he had on his payroll 318 paid trained service.
He was the CEO of Abraham, Inc., with payroll of 318 people he would be known today in the Middle East as a shake.
The ruler of a tribe, the ruler of a client. Somebody really important and yet this really important guy realizes I'm in the presence of somebody really really important so the responses humility about always love the story about the preacher who survived the Johnstown flood of 1889 Johnstown, Pennsylvania if you know anything about that. It was horrible event that that took out the whole region destroyed it. I've seen old photographs of that from that era when he survived the Johnstown flood and he loved to tell the story of how he survived the Johnstown flood in one people would get together and they tell their stories. He would always pull out this one sort of. You can't top this kind of a strategy how I survived the Johnstown flood was old guy died, went to heaven and in heaven after he was there a few days.
Peter announced that it was in the get together and share their life experiences. He runs up to Peter. Peter got the coolest story how I survived the Johnstown flood. It's like the greatest story ever hurt can I share that today Peter hesitated.
He said yes but just remember you will have no one in the audience today. You can't top Noah story. I don't care how good a survivor of whatever flood you have. Here's Abraham he's great. He recognizes God's in the audience. Proper response bow worship. Worship is the proper response to a divine friendship because worship is a selfless act 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 were supposed to be thinking about Hammond. All of our attention is on him were very distracted by personal thoughts that steal away our minds or we just mouthing the words and arm 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.
Back 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 I'm pretty great.
Then God steps in the room.
He shows up and it's a change right Isaiah the prophet. He was a prophet. It was Isaiah until he saw a vision of the Lord. I am lifted up what he say whoa is me proper response. Humility and worship that Skip message from the series the biography of God. Now let's go in the studio with Skip and Linda as they share practical insight on how you can cultivate friendship with the Lord today we learned about several qualities that will help us grow listen to the Lord so that we can know him as our friend help our listeners what are some practical things that you've learned and applied over years to cultivate In your relationship with God. First of all, I've had a morning routine for years getting up in the book in the morning coffee is being made or I purchased it somewhere and I have my Bible so I used to do that at the beach when I lived there ice every morning to the same spot sit down with coffee.
Looking at the ocean and I would pray and I would read so I don't have a notion as much anymore but.I do keep that routine up. Another thing that I find helpful all walks. I like to pray while I walk sometimes out loud, sometimes privately, I would also recommend personal retreats. I've had a few of those were. I remember early on in our marriage. I said Lenny can I go camping overnight in my backpack up in the mountains and I you know I'm mystified, camping can take anyone closer to God. That's Not could you been doing it lately and I've been enjoying it, but does so those personal little retreats of getting away and intentionally trying to hear his voice. Another thing that's helped me is reading older books, you know, I call them all dead guys did Pastor society. I love reading what people who walk with the Lord a century or two ago said and did when they were unencumbered with modern society and then a final one is journaling, though I'm not great at all confess that I know I do it very very sporadically and very inconsistent, but when I do it.
It helps clarify what God is doing. You know somebody said that reading makes a man broad writing makes him an exact so it helps me exactly formulate what I'm feeling or doing well. So when you keep a journal you don't remember every prayer that you've prayed at least dine out and demo.
My prayers are spontaneous. When I write them down. I can go back and got goodness Nardi answered that prayer and so that friendship I can trust him more and then I want to talk to Mark. Thank you Stefan Lanyon. We hope this conversation with Stefan Lanyon encouraged to anything that is not only your staffing creator truly wants to be a friend sent him to his radio ministry city style and type of teaching for friends like you support his ministry to help keep these messages is not on call right now to get hundred 9292 or visit connexus.com/connect.com/down tune in tomorrow Skip wraps up our series, the biography of God surely more encouraging insight on how you Skip presentation of connection communications through