Friendship with God

6.21.15 | REV. John Orlando | Genesis 18:1-21

On Jun 21, 2015, pastor John preached from Gen 18:1-21, Friendship with God.    Scripture calls  Abraham a friend 3 times. A friend is someone with whom there is a deep relational bond marked by mutual affection, loyalty, communion, and commitment.  And that’s what we find in our text with Abraham as the Lord, with 2 angels, visits Abraham and Sarah. The.main idea of text: as God’s friends we must long for communion with Him, trust in Him, and keep His ways.

 

1. God’s friends must long for communion with the Lord

  • Through Abraham’s extravagant hospitality we see he longs for communion with God.
    • He runs and pleads for the Lord to stay. He longs for communion.
    • He has urgency to be with and serve God (does things “quickly”) Application: What distract us from communing with the Lord and serving Him with our talent, time/treasure?
    • He is lavishly generous toward the Lord: provides a feast! Application: after being circumcised (corresponding to baptism), this meal may foreshadow Lord’s Supper: we have communion with the Lord through faith in death of Christ. We feast with our King.
  • It’s from this text that Heb 13:2 tells us to show hospitality to strangers.
    • We don’t always have to prepare a feast for our guests! But we want to receive guests/strangers in a friendly, generous way to serve them, and possibly share Jesus with them.
    • We show hospitality because God so loved a world of strangers that He gave the best He had—His only Son—so that we might have communion with Him forever.
  • Friendship with God comes to us entirely by God’s grace alone. In vv. 17-19, the Lord reveals His plans to Abraham because “I have chosen him…”  Divine election: God chose Abraham and sovereignly entered into friendship with him.  Application: like Abraham, we are friends with God by God’s grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

2. God’s friends must trust in the Lord:     

  • The Lord, knowing that Sarah is eavesdropping, declares that Sarah would have a son! What’s being suggested is impossible, so she laughs and talks to herself.
  • The LORD knows she laughed, and the substance of her inner dialogue! He asks: “Is anything too hard for the LORD?” Sarah is afraid, denies that she laughed. Applications:
    • What’s your reaction when you’re confronted with sin? Is it denial like Sarah? Is it the blame-shift?: You can’t hide from God, so openly/honestly confess sin to the Lord.  
    • “Is there anything too hard for the Lord?” As believers in Christ, we have much more to anchor our faith on than Sarah did: all of redemptive history culminating in the empty tomb which stands as an enduring testimony to the power of God to do the impossible.

 

3. God’s friends must keep the way of the Lord (vv. 16-21)

  • God reveals His plans: covenant relationship marked by deep personal bond/friendship.

  • V. 19: stipulations on this covenant relationship: justification is by a living faith, not a dead one (James 2). True faith shows itself by the way we live our lives.

    • esus alludes to this in John 15:14-16. Many parallels to Gen 18:16-21.

      • Jesus says: “You are my friends if you do what I command you.” In our text, Abraham and his descendants get the promises if they keep the way of the Lord.

      • Jesus says: …I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you…” In Gen 18, God makes known to Abraham His plans.

      • Jesus:  “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit.” God tells Abraham He chose him/to keep His ways (bear fruit).

  • We see this connection between faith and works. And the manner that we are to keep the way of the Lord, the text says, is “by doing righteousness and justice.”

    • To do righteousness means to do what’s right before God, and to do justice, as Tim Keller put it, “includes not only the righting of wrongs, but generosity and social concern, especially toward the poor and vulnerable.”

    • One example of doing justice is related to the idea of racial injustice. The church needs to confess it’s wrongs and show the world our unity in Christ.

    • Only Christ perfectly kept the way of the Lord and is the true covenant keeper. On the cross He bore the covenant curses for our disobedience so that we who were God’s enemies could be reconciled to Him forever, and like Abraham, could be called the friends of God who, through faith in Christ keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice.

 

Conclusion

In Christ we have God’s eternal friendship! As we walk through this barren wilderness of the world, our Lord says, “Do not fear, I’m you’re friend. I will walk with you upon every bright and glorious mountain top and through every dark and gloomy valley. I am a friend that sticks closer than a brother.” You can share your most intimate thoughts with Him, and rejoice and mourn with Him. You can bury your head in His sovereign shoulders and sob and He won’t let you go. He’ll reassure you of His promises and that nothing is too hard for Him, and that somehow, He’s working all things together for our good. Jesus, what a friend of sinners!