God sought friends among us. The wealth of care and love brings many friends. Are we wealthy enough to pray for enemies and turn them into friends? Friends do not impute trespasses. (2 Timothy 1:15-18; Proverbs 19:4)
Speaker(s): Pastor Thomas Schaller, Pastor Jim Lewis
Sermon # 11619
6:30 PM on 1/27/2019
Tonight we have our subject. It is on friendship. We did that this morning. Friendship is our theme. Christ is our friend. God is our friend. Abraham was a friend of God. We have P. Jim from Saugus who will share and P. Jerry Roberge will do the offering. I’m going to sing for the offering. Don’t even go there!
Do we have the teachers for MBC&S here tonight? Would you come up on stage? Keep Philippe in prayer. He’s sick. Here are some of the mighty men that will be teachers at MBC&S. Look at that. Men of God. Men of the word. Friends. Question: Will a friend tell you the truth?
Is P. Ray a friend? Do we always like the truth? You know some people don’t want to be around because maybe the truth will hit me. Jesus is grace and truth. He doesn’t tell us the truth without also loving us and giving us grace.
If you’re going to be a student at MBC&S this semester – classes are free this week – you plan to be a student, then stand up where you are. (He’s naming students). Luke, do you want to stay standing? He’s from China and this is God’s plan but last semester probably. Has anyone ever met Billy Graham? Mark this down. Today you met Luke! How about if you are new at the Bible school, would you stand up? Fanny is from Hungary and Ester from Finland and Maureen right here and Emily. Thank you so much.
How many remember the story from P. Teplov who lives in Russia went outside his apartment door into the hallway. There was an electric box with skull and bones on it. It couldn’t be clearer it was a dangerous box. He told the story that because of some electrical problem in his apartment, he decided to take it in his own hands. He got a big screw driver and opened the door and stuck it in. The flash blinded him. He couldn’t see. He made his way into his apartment.
A friend will tell you the truth. Friendship is important. You may not like it but friendship is important in life. Some people you should stay away from and others you are drawn close to. Our semester will be drawing close to people like these and get involved in your heart and thinking. God calls us friends. We will have a great semester by God’s grace. Thank you so much. We’ll have a good one.
I love it down here. This is so good! Ed Bednez was saying it’s like home week for us. P. Cannon, P. Mark, the Hadley pastors, Annette and Ed, and Dan Eaton I taught in Sunday school. They all look the same except Dan. That was 40 years ago we’ve been friends. It’s amazing.
2 Cor. 5, Prov. 17:17 says a friend loves at all times and a brother is born for adversity. I have a little hard time with that because I have seven sisters and no brother. I know what seven sisters is like. Don’t feel bad for me. I never wore hand me downs! I was my mother’s favorite son. She always told me that. Then I realized later on, I have seven sisters. A friend loveth at all times. Think about that in relation to these few verses here.
2 Cor 5:14-15, 19, thing about friends I was thinking about is friends see many times your trespasses but they don’t impute them to you. They know of them and might counsel you like Job’s friends a little bit about what you did wrong. Many times they know you did wrong, are aware of it, but don’t impute it to you. Christ came into the world and did not impute our trespasses to us.
I was thinking of how easy it is to do that without realizing it. It can be a little thing. Someone cuts you off on the road. I was sharing this the other night and you don’t know them but you have passed a sentence on them that is not good. You imputed a trespass to them. They did something wrong to you and now are your enemy forever. One time somebody cut somebody off at a rotary. They got so angry at the person. I can’t believe they did that. Shooting out at them while they are driving. The person is driving and kept going and turned into the church where the person was going. What do you do with that? My brother! You were born for adversity but I love you at all times. But back there, oh no! We do this many times in our lives.
People sometimes do serious things to us that are wrong or offend us or wound us. We can’t get over the wound. It takes a long time. Maybe we don’t outwardly do anything but inwardly it’s there like a cockatrice egg. Jesus Christ came, God in Christ in his Son came to the world. If anyone could impute trespasses, it’s God. All of them. He came not to impute trespasses. Not that he didn’t know about them. He died for them. Not to impute but to reconcile us to himself. A friend loveth at all times even when they know you are wrong and off. They still love you.
What greater friend do we have than God? He came and would not impute our trespasses to us. Instead, he reconciled us to God. He has given to us that same ministry. We think only God can forgive everyone like that. Do we have God inside of us? Yes, I have Christ inside of me. God has given me a ministry of reconciliation, not imputing trespasses to people. Someone has wronged me. What can I do to make it right? A friend loves at all times. Someone wounded me and I have trouble forgetting it. Go to the cross and recognize what God has forgotten about you. You don’t impute the trespasses. Then you have a ministry of reconciliation to that person. How can I make things right with us? How can I make things right with you and God? It’s not about flesh and blood. It’s about hidden things, spiritual things, keeping people from God. Keeping the people of God where they are so wounded and infected they begin to impute trespasses. Maybe you don’t do it to anyone else but they do it to themselves.
I’m a terrible Christian. I shouldn’t have done that. You begin to impute and condemn yourself. We forget God has given us the same ministry he had of reconciliation.
The love of Christ constrained us. It’s shed abroad in our heart. If the love of Christ isn’t constraining me, what is? The trespasses people do against me many times and it comes out. Constrain means to press together. Take a sandwich and press together and it oozes out the side all this good stuff. Take a wound or an offense and compress it inside of you and it begins to ooze out. The love of Christ is what is constraining us tonight. When we operate in the love of Christ, we meditate on the love of Christ, it is the only thing that matters. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks and the love of Christ is in me and I meditate on it and rehearse it and think about it and I come to hear messages and that’s all you hear and get build up. I’m like the woman in Song of Solomon. I’m sick of love. No, I’m not sick of love. It overwhelms me. I’m never tired of hearing about it, never tired of receiving it, never tired of showing it to people. Nothing else matters. Wounds, offenses, and trespasses. It doesn’t matter. A friend loves at all times. I know you did something wrong. I know people have wronged me but I love you because of Christ. Because of his love for me, I can love you with his love. It turns into a ministry to people. It might be to one person, one family member or a whole church or community.
God truly is our friend and he does love us at all times and calls us to do the same.
There’s so much possibility of us being divided. There’s so much possibility of saying you’re not like me. Or we’re not from the same place. There’s so much room for division and misunderstanding amongst people.
Turn to your neighbor and say it’s very difficult to be with you. How come when we say that this room exploded with noise? We know how true it is. It’s very difficult to be with you except there is a mystery amongst us. It’s amazing.
How many Gods do we have? One. How many persons? Three. Is this a mystery? Yes. Each of the persons is fully God but he is one. How many people here today? One. How many? Many persons. But there is one. One Body.
We are very complicated people. We are very sensitive. We have an antenna. Perceptions. I think women are the most intelligent between men and women. The women know what’s going on. The guys are dumb. Huh? It’s simple. The woman goes no, it isn’t. It’s deep and complicated. You hurt me. The man is saying, huh? I am sensitive.
Wait a minute. Let not get off here. Father, bless these thoughts.
Prov. 19 Boy did we enjoy P. Ben. I don’t think we could have had a guest speaker that could have drawn more Body members and built us up in such a gentle and sensitive way than he did. It just touched us. We are very thankful for this week of convention. It was convention in one package.
Prov. 19:4 think of the NFL contract of a young man in Baltimore city that signs an NFL contract and how many friends will he have after it’s signed? How about it? P. Barry Quirk doesn’t play the lottery but let’s pretend he won. How many friends does he suddenly have in this room?
vs. 4. When you have money, you have a lot of people that seem to be very friendly to you. I suppose. I’ve never been in that situation.
vs. 4. Poor people need help, but sometimes they are the last people that people look to help. Mother Theresa said that famous sentence. Many talk about the poor but few talk to the poor. Can you go in the woods and talk to the poor or go to the city and talk to the poor. Can we discover a friend by discerning their heart, their potential? Can we recognize that this person actually needs a friend? God looked at the human race in his great compassion and care and he wants to be a friend.
Abraham my friend. James 2:23.
In Ge 18, that amazing story when God is going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah and he says can I do this and not tell Abraham, my friend? God wants to tell secrets to his friends.
Jn. 15:16, I told the story about working at the McDonald’s over here and the manager says to the worker, sweep the parking lot. Why? Do you want to work here or not? So he goes out and sweeps it and wonders why he’s doing it. Jesus said you are no longer slaves but you are my friends because I tell you my secrets. When you work at McDonald’s, you might not be told a secret. You might be told to do. You got to clean the parking lot. The manager is a friend and could call you in his office and say I know something. The owner is coming at 4 and he has a problem with us and it’s our parking lot. I want you to know if we clean this parking lot, I’m on the inside and I can tell you there will be a great benefit. So let’s clean the parking lot.
This is how I feel in life. I kind of feel Jesus isn’t telling me what to do without telling me what is going on. He’s inviting me into his heart and teaching us love. He’s telling us that relationship with God is so important and so much the meaning of life that we become wealthy in another way. When you are wealthy, the proverb says wealth makes many friends. Not money wealth but another wealth. Being a friend, you become wealthy and others become friends to the wealthy person.
Remember David was in the cave and the people came to him, 400 men in debt, distressed and discouraged and they came to the cave. They felt David is wealthy, not with money but with mystery. This is what we felt about P. Ben. He lives and walks with God and speaks in a way from the heart and from the Spirit and Scriptures and we are attracted to not anger and bitterness.
Let me share a little point here. I’m going to say two names. I said this in the rap. Both names could affect you emotionally. We could be emotional when we hear these two names. President Obama, President Trump. You know you and I are called not to be emotional but we are called to be spiritual. When I hear the name of the president, whatever name it is, I have in my heart affection for God. I think of prayer. Presidents need prayer. They don’t need hatred. Presidents need grace, love, friends, truth, and wisdom. What’s the point in this world? Hatred? I’ve never heard the word hatred more in my life than I have in the last couple of years. Is that fashionable now to be hateful, revengeful, unforgiving, and angry. It’s all around us. It shouldn’t be. We should be wealthy in a way where people are drawn to us because we teach love and faith and prayer and ministry. If we hate people, we love no one. If we are hateful, we don’t know God.
1 Jn 3. If we know God, we will have love. Love is different. Love is not natural. Love is spiritual. Love is the Holy Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is love and joy and peace.
I have a piece I want to read to you regarding Abraham Lincoln. He’s one of my guys I’m fascinated with. “The Civil War had just ended the opportunistic scalawags were busy lording it over their fellow Southerners, a hot blooded contingency if diehard former rebels gained an audience with President Lincoln. His gentle friendly manner soon thawed the ice and the Southerners left with a new respect for their old enemy. A northern congressman approached the president and criticized him for befriending the enemy suggesting that instead of befriending them, he should have had them all shot as traitors as they were. Lincoln smiled and replied, am I not destroying my enemies by making them my friends?” Wow!
You know, we are Body members. P. Lewis said if a Body member hurts me I don’t quit being a friend. I let it go. I’m not overly sensitive. I want to be Spirit filled and Spirit minded. In Europe, I teach because I have experience there where people borrow money and don’t pay it back. In the church, someone from the third row borrows from the 17th row. Eventually, he leaves and they leave the church. He leaves because he can’t see him anymore and can’t pay him back. He is angry he’s in the church and never paid him back. This should not be. Don’t loan money. Give money. If you can’t give it, don’t loan it unless you can take it and kiss it goodbye. If you loan it and they don’t pay it back, you’ll have to walk over to the other person and say I made a mistake. I loaned you the money and should have given it to you. It’s over and gone. I’ve seen it happen. Friendship.
At the end of Jesus’ life, he made a dinner for twelve, no, eleven friends. No, twelve friends. Judas, also. He made a dinner. When you are going to die, the only thing that really counts is your friends. David at the end of his life writes a list of 37 mighty men. These are my friends. Were we wealthy enough to make friends?
Were we wealthy enough to forgive enemies, to pray for our president whoever he may be? Were we wealthy enough to pursue someone I haven’t seen?
2 Tim 1, I love you guys. You’re here in church tonight. It means a lot to me. You are my friend. We are friends. We get addicted to it. The music may not be your preferred style but your preferred style goes to the cross and listen to what Jesus is saying to us. The church style may not be your preference but you can be here because of the deeper elements of life. How about being offended or ashamed of the apostle Paul?
vs. 15. Asia was a part of Turkey. They’ve all turned away from me. He mentions two heretics. They turned away from the apostle Paul. When I was visiting Dr. Stevens at the end of his life, I was thinking of this verse. How many turned from him? I wasn’t counting and don’t really care. We are not greater than our master. Jesus on the cross. There can be confusion and trouble at the end of someone’s life.
In Pastor’s case, there was trouble because of Alzheimer’s and confusion.
Paul is in trouble. He’s in adversity. Paul is in trouble.
vs. 16. I don’t want to sound like a hero. I don’t think any of us are talking about being a hero. I don’t care about that. I care about day to day living with fellowship with the God that loves us. He has put love in our heart for people. They may never know how much we are for them or how much we pray for them but it is in our hearts. Whether it is president Obama or Trump. It is an issue of love, of faith, of God in us, of our communities, our friends, people that don’t know or understand us, people that are very close to us. He oft refreshed me.
I’ve been thinking how many friends does a person need? You know my answer came I think in my heart. One. I think I need just one. I need one. I think it’s one. A very good friend. A real friend. Because Adam had Eve. Paul had Timothy. Elijah had Elisha. Moses had Joshua. It seems to me it’s not numbers. Where two or more are gathered in my name, there I am. When those two are firing on all cylinders, when they are in fellowship with God and each other, there is a satisfaction that comes. Paul has found it in this man. This man has often refreshed me. He often cared about me.
Like P. Satellite in China. I heard about him and never met him for 22 years. Finally, I went to China and met him for the first time. He said I have been listening to you for 22 years. We are friends. I go, I think so too. We are the same. We are friends in the Spirit. Seven years passed and I didn’t see him but know about him. That happens in the work of a ministry.
I think this happened with Paul in the prison. Let’s change the word. He was not ashamed of my lousy reputation or crippled disposition. He wasn’t ashamed I was eating out of the dumpster. He’s not ashamed I have sores on my arm and that I’m in and out of the hospital. He’s not ashamed of my grades at school, my last name, the color of my skin, my reputation or family or part of town I’m in. He’s not ashamed of my chain.
vs. 17. Rome is a big city. It was at this time about a million people. No busses, not metro, no subway and he tried to find Paul. I’m looking for one called Paul. He’s from Tarsus. He’s been in the church in Antioch. Have you heard of him? No. Onesiphorus is looking for him. No GPS or email. He’s trying to find him. Diligently he sought me out. He was looking for me and he found me. My friend found me. We sat and we talked and I listened and he listened. I heard news from a far country and I was encouraged in Jesus. You need someone like this. You need a friend. You need someone in your life that will be there.
You and I need somebody. I don’t mean they will run around doing favors for me. This is a casual friendship. They may not be able to do it but when I’m with them, I can open my heart to my wife and whisper and she listens and understands. I want to say my wife has been so important in my life because in those times she was there to say the things that help me believe I can do this or believe this is okay. I needed someone to understand me, love me and encourage me when nobody was there but she was there. In the ministry when a pastor is being used by God, it’s very possible his wife is one of the main reasons why he is being encouraged and making decisions. You need to go there she may say. Don’t think about me. This is bigger. This is God. God is in life. We need to do this or this is how I see it. This is an amazing blessing. Aquila and Priscila were like this for Apollo and the Apostle Paul.
He said in vs. 18.
Our prayer this spring is God would put people together in marriage in the plan of God without pressure but in guidance and wisdom and love.
Our prayer is that God would bless our Bible college and learn not to forsake Paul in Asia. All those in Asia turned away from me, have forsaken me. We want to be a loyal friend in times of adversity, in times of need.
Also, that we would have new Bible studies this coming spring. I ask you as a church. We have Owings Mills. We have good things going on. We are sowing the seed.
God would raise up people and put in their hearts regarding countries. What parts of the world, Lord, you want us to go too and send teams and see you do this work that we are called to do because we are friends of God he will tell us. He will. He will speak to us and guide us.
Please enjoy these sermon notes from the messages preached at Greater Grace Church in Baltimore. These notes are provided to aid in your study and understanding of the Word. Note that these notes do not represent complete, word-for-word transcriptions. Also, they may contain omissions as well as some errors in spelling and structure, etc., as we attempt to provide them as soon as possible. Our hope is that these notes serve as a way to help you search and connect with messages on related subjects and passages. Thank you for your interest in the ministry of Greater Grace.