Vintage message from April 14, 2002.
[Jesus] died to offer you and I this great opportunity: to be His bride! To be in eternity with Him, and we reach out our hand, “Well, I’ll be Your friend.” He desires much more with us than just friendship… God is willing to come to us. He did it once. He became a Man. He came to us while we were completely and totally separate from Him in sin. He didn’t allow that sin to stop Him when we hated Him, as the Bible says. Separation from God is hatred. It’s death. He’s willing to come and be our friend even though He desires so much more…
Look at the “fish” in your life: that that you have depended on to meet your needs. Your strength. Your ability. And the question has rung throughout the centuries that was asked of Peter. “Do you love Me? Do you love me more than these?” What job do you have that takes priority over what God has called you to? What obstacle is in your life — home, family, friends, TV show — I don’t care what it is. We all have that something in our life that we look to, that we’ve learned to trust, that we’ve learned to depend on, and Jesus would ask us, “Do you love Me? Do you love Me more than that?” He knows the answer for most of us is, “Well, Jesus, to be honest, I want to be your friend.” I don’t know what it is to love, I don’t know how to love. But guess what? God doesn’t wait for us to love Him back. He’ll ask us to love Him, but He doesn’t wait for us to love Him. He makes the step to be our Friend. He desires, at least, friendship with us, and then will make the changes in our hearts as we go. We’ll grow old knowing Him, and if we will take His call to our life seriously, He will draw us into that deep, abiding love. But you know what? You may have to sacrifice that that you love more. You may have to give up the job that you’ve depended on and begin to depend on Jesus. You may have to give up your own ability, your own strength… My strength will fade, my flesh will abandon me, but I know that when I am facing that last breath in my life, my Lord and my God will be there saying, “Friend, it’s time to come home. I love you regardless of what your flesh has done to you, regardless of what this life has offered you, I was there.”
He wants to be our Husband. He wants us to be His bride. He desires a close, intimate, love relationship. One that is pure. One that is fulfilling. One that offers us everything that we could ever imagine, but He’ll give us friendship, too, if that’s what we want. He wants to be our friend. He wants us to at least be His friend… So I’ll ask you today, do you love the Lord? Do you desire to have that love relationship with Him? What obstacles do you have in your life that would hinder you? Maybe you need to deal with those obstacles. Maybe you need to get the road block out of the way. And while you’re doing it, that’s what hindering you from having that deep, abiding love that comes from the Spirit of God, I’ll ask you this question: will you, at least, be His friend? Too often we won’t even be His friend. Too often we allow for this flesh and the desires of this flesh and His enemy who influences this flesh to have its way. We walk away from even that friendship that we can have with God.
Pastor Dave Elkins