10-13-2018 SERVANT, SON/ BROTHER/JOINT-HEIR, FRIEND, COMPANION
In John chapter fifteen, Jesus starts telling us the parable of the vine. He describes the Father, as the husbandman who purges unfruitful branches so the good branches will have more nutrition so they can grow strong. Jesus goes on to tell us that we are nothing without Him yet everything IN Him where Father brings forth much fruit. As we live in Jesus, Father provides even our heart’s desire so He says continue living in God’s love and we do that by keeping His commandments. His commandments are to “love”. Jesus says that there is no greater love than to love God above all else and then to express that love by sharing it with our friends.
We know that in expressing our love for God, we serve Him. But Jesus says that He calls us His ‘friends’ (John 15:14) so we are called to be more than ‘just’ a servant.
A servant might know the comings and goings of his Master, but the master doesn’t share intimate or close things with his servant. The master does share with his servant what has to be done and how he (the master) expects it to be done. “Come.” “Go.” “Do it this way or that way.” (Matt. 8:5-13) However, the master does share the deeper things of his life with his friends and the closer the friend, the deeper the sharing. Remember David and Johnathan had a friendship closer than brothers (1 Sam. Chpt. 18). And what did Jesus tell His disciples? “I have called you friends because everything I have heard from My Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15). He shared everything with His disciples. Who, at the last supper, laid his head upon Jesus’ chest (John 13:23-25)? The disciple who wrote the gospel of John (John 21:20-25). The apostle John loved Jesus and Jesus seemed to show a deeper love, a closer relationship, for John than the others. John was close to Jesus. Very close. How close do we want to get? How close do we dare to walk with Jesus?
But this is a process. We have to move from being ‘just’ a servant to being a friend and that movement includes becoming a son, a brother and a joint-heir. Or should I rather say coming to realize our status in each of these areas. Coming to realize our relationship with the Lord through each of these phases.
Paul and Silas were in the area of Philippi when a damsel possessed by a spirit of divination set upon them calling them the “servants of the most High God” (Acts 16:17). Now even though she was mocking them, she spoke the truth. Paul and Silas were indeed servants of the most High God, doing as He had commanded them. A servant does as his master commands. Paul and Silas were about their “Master’s” business – spreading the gospel (Acts 1:8). They were functioning as servants of the Most High God.
As servants of the “Most High God”, we too, should be sharing our faith with those whom we encounter. Do we have to “preach” the gospel to everyone we meet. Of course not, but our lives should be a living, visible, testimony of our Love for Jesus. People should be able to see God’s love emanating from our being. They should be able to experience God’s love working through us.
Honeytree, a singer from the “Jesus movement” of the 1970’s, performed a song called “I am Your Servant.” Though weak an imperfect, she realized that God was molding her and letting her know that He was with her. That no matter how she was in each stage of her life, He loved her, as He does us. Yet, all the while, He was bringing her to where He wanted her. Even the child who is heir to an estate is no better than a servant (Gal. 4:1-3). But when he has become of age, he inherits all. We are servants as long as we are children. We are not ready to move into “sonship” or beyond until we reach maturity.
Becoming a son is realizing who our Father is. When we confessed Jesus as both Savior AND Lord, we have taken the first step in becoming true sons of God. We have to learn to be like our Father as we become heirs (with Isaac) according to the promise (Gal. 3:16-29) and that promise is eternal life in Jesus Christ. When we confess Jesus, Father puts His Spirit in us and through that Spirit we cry “Abba, Father.” Though adopted through faith, we are the ‘sons’ of God.
My dad was an alcoholic and left our home before I was nine years old so I didn’t have much of an role model to follow in my youth. PTL, he found the Lord, sobered up and became a good man later in life. Often I have wished that (in the natural) I had that man of his later years influencing my younger years. It wasn’t so, but Father knows best.
Jesus tells His disciples that what he has received from His Father, He has shared with them (John 15:15). Jesus did what His Father showed Him.
Country singer Rodney Adkins, published a song in 2006 titled “Watching You” after he realized his son was singing one of his songs. Rodney’s son was doing what he saw his daddy do. As those of us who had an earthly father to raise us, we did as we saw our father do, good or bad. Even though we might have been told “Do as I say but not as I do.”, we still mimicked what we saw daddy do.
We learn from our heavenly Father by observing Jesus and we observe Jesus by reading the scriptures. There was a campaign back in the ‘90’s call “WWJD”, what would Jesus do? We should do what Jesus did. We read the scriptures, then do what Jesus did. Father showed Jesus, Jesus shows us then we do.
We move closer to Father by entering “sonship”, not leaving servanthood behind, but adding to it with that closer walk with the Lord. But as sons, do we have any brothers and sisters?
Those who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God (Rom. 8:14). As we serve God, we learn how to be led by the Holy Ghost. How to yield our lives over to Him, by confessing and repenting our sins as we become aware of them. Of course ‘repent’ means to turn away, that is make the decision to make every effort not to do it again. We learn that as we submit ourselves to God, we become more and more able to resist the devil so he will flee (James 4:7). We take on Jesus’ yoke (Matt. 11:29-30) for God will fight for us (Exod. 14:14) and if God is fighting for us, who can stand against us (Rom. 8:31)?
Growing up, I knew two brothers who would fight amongst themselves like cats and dogs, but don’t let anyone jump on one of them for then he had the other to contend with as well. Jesus is our “big brother” and He stands up for us because we are His brothers (and sisters) (Col. 1:18). Then, as brothers and sisters we are joint-heirs with Him.
We are then joint heirs with Jesus (Rom. 8:17). He has returned to heaven to prepare a place for us (John 14:3) so we can be with Him – throughout eternity. Let’s think natural for a minute. Had I come from a rich family and my parents owned billion dollar businesses and had millions of dollars in investments, when I became of age, I would receive my share of that fortune. However, when my parents passed away, unless otherwise stated in a will, I would inherit everything. Our heavenly father, of course, will never pass away (Psalms 90:2), but when we ‘become of age’ we shall surely receive what He has for us (2 Corinth. 5:10). And just as a child can receive a portion of his inheritance before he comes of age, we don’t have to wait for eternity to receive everything. Father is more than willing to give us some, here and now. Healing, direction, prosperity (money and otherwise). When Israel wandered the desert for forty years, before entering the promised land, their shoes and clothes never wore out (Deut. 29:5). They experienced a form of prosperity before entering the promised land (for us, heaven). We give our jobs to Father and He opens the doors making us successful. He will do the same with any and/or all phases of our life. So Father gives us a taste of what an eternal relationship brings. Why? Father encourages us. He wants a closer walk with us. He wants us to be more than just a servant, more than just a son or daughter or an heir. He wants someone to commune with. Someone to share His thoughts and feelings with. A companion with whom He can walk on a moonlit beach or with whom to feel the breeze upon our faces as it flits though the trees in the forest. He made Adam and Eve for companionship. Not just for between themselves, but a companion on whom He could pour out His love.
Paul tells us in the book of Romans chapter eight (Rom. 8:1-39) that this relationship goes even deeper than a ‘friend’ or even a ‘best friend’.
Paul speaks about the difference between carnally minded (man living for man) and spiritually minded man (man living for God). He speaks to how the flesh and the spirit war against each other – continually (a battle we face as long as we’re in this world). He goes on to explain how Jesus is the first fruit of those who are spiritually reborn (having given our hearts to Jesus and in receipt of the Holy Ghost). That Jesus is the first born of many brothers (and sisters) (Rom. 8:29). But he also tells us that as we live for/in Jesus we become more than ‘just brothers and sisters of our Lord Jesus Christ, but in fact ‘joint heirs’ with Jesus (Rom. 8:17), looking forward to all the eternal benefits of being with the Father.
He also relates advantages of walking with the Lord. That as we ‘stick’ with our heavenly Father through Jesus Christ, our Lord and big brother, through good times and hard times that He is with us (all the way) and that no one, nor anything, can separate us from His love! Nothing can separate us from the love of God (Rom. 8:38-39). We are signed, sealed and delivered, lock, stock and barrel. Better than flypaper. Better than super glue. All we have to do is love back – with all that we are.
As Jesus tells His disciples (John 15:15) “… but I have called you friends for all that I have heard of My Father, I have made known to you. (KJV)”
Companions, bests friends know each other – deeply. Father knows us deeply and His desire is that we come to know Him deeply.
We serve God? Praise the Lord! But Jesus raises us above servant status by sharing things from the Father with us (John 21:25) and He shares with us through the scriptures. Do we have all the information that the early disciples had? Of course not. John tells us that if everything Jesus said were written down, the world couldn’t contain the volumes (John 21:25). However, we are not limited to just the exact words in the scriptures because the Holy Ghost reveals the deep things of God to us (1 Corinth. 2:9-12). He will lead us into the deeper meaning of the words written down in scripture and that revelation will always be consistent with the truths contained in the bible. As we see, after His resurrection and before His ascension, Jesus walked and talked with His disciples for forty days telling them even more about the kingdom of God (Acts 1:3). The Holy Ghost may not reveal ‘new’ things to us but He will surely give us that deeper understanding of what Father wants us to know as we commune with Him (reading and praying).
Don’t be fooled. Companionship is not just ‘learning” about someone. It is getting to “know” them. We read to understand but we pray to communicate. I speak, then I listen. When Father speaks to me with that small, still voice, it is always consistent with His truths in scriptures.
Do we talk “with” Father or just “at” God? Companionship and communication are a two-way street. Yes we talk, but we also have to listen. I can’t hear the voice of God. He’ll reveal His end of the conversation through the reading of scripture until you learn to hear His voice. Remember Jesus says “My sheep hear My voice and I know them and they follow me. (John 10:27).
And bear in mind, that to us sometimes things may seem new, but as they come by ‘revelation’, they are not ‘new’, they are just a deeper understanding of the words we do have before us (in the bible).
Are we servants of God? Yes! Again, praise the Lord! But Father (what did I say “Father”) wants more than just servants. He wants sons and daughters, brothers and sisters to the first-born, Jesus Christ that are joint-heirs with Him. Abraham was called the friend of God (James 2:23). Moses communed with God on the mount (Exod. 3:1-6). Moses communed with God in the tabernacle after which, as the glory of God shone in him, he had to put a veil over his face for the people’s sake (Exod. 34:28-35). And Father communed with Moses as a man with a friend, face to face (Exod. 33:9-11). And John laid his head upon the chest of Jesus. This is what Father wants with each one of us who has received Jesus into our heart. He wants a friend. A companion. If we dare walk that close. How close do we dare?