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Good morning, friends. How you doing? Well, come to church, the Super Bowl Sunday. I’m glad to see as far as I can see, everyone’s resisted the temptation to wear any Kansas City cheap car or anything like that, and this is a Tom Brady church, nothing to do with a brush… Never you’re doing today, and whoever you’re cheering for, enjoy the game and have an in if you’re watching later on the line because you went skiing ’cause the 60 Ines have powder up there then… Good for you. Well, let’s get on with this. We’re talking about friendships, and I wanna start off by asking a question, How many of you would describe yourselves as technologically deficient… Okay, there’s some good honesty there, some of you are like, No, I’m a tech person, I’m great at it. Some of you are like, No, I’m gonna own this tech and I… No, we don’t go together. And that’s fine. What I wonder though, is this, whether it’s not that there’s everyone who’s just technologically deficient, what I wonder if is if it just depends on what tech we’re talking about, because there’s some technology from years ago, the people of today seem to struggle with a lot more and a lot clocks might be one example of this, just some people of a certain age that struggled with analog clocks, and about a year ago, the TV show host Ellen decided to take some millennials or Gen Z people and see how they handle some of these older pieces of technology.
So what she asked this young lady to do, she’s about 17 years old, and she’s so endearing about it, she said, What I want you to do is I want you to look up Golden buffalo in the phone book yellow pages, and I want you to place a call to them on a rotary phone, and this is what it looked like. So… She’s so endearing, right? And just the optimism with which he picks up the phone and just everyone laughing. I just like, Hello, and there’s nobody there. Of course, now, a reasonable question to this point might be, I thought we were talking about friendships and not technology, but as I watched this clip, I was like, This seems to me like a metaphor for some of our experiences with friendship, we feel like we’re working really hard, those loads of drama, those loads of activity, there’s all these different things and yeah, actually, that doesn’t seem like there’s many connections being made, there’s that kind of question like, am I connecting with anybody? Does anybody care or is everyone actually just like the audience, just pointing and laughing as I struggle to make my way through the world and to build these kind of relationships.
We looked at these three ideas last week that says that all say that the friendships are important, we started with this group of wisdom literature from the Bible, this was a guy called Solomon, the wisest man of His time, friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family, and we said that when you look through the Bible, there’s all of this language about friendship is important, it is necessary, and it’s not just the Bible, our own heart seem to say that I long for deep friendship. We looked at these wonderful TV shows from the last 50 years, and every one of them, they talk about friendship, but they don’t mirror our society, they reflect a deep longing for real friendships, we have shows like friends like… No, I like, I Love Lucy, like Cheers. Because we say, Well, that’s what we want. Not necessarily, because that’s what we have. And then finally, we talked about how psychologically there’s this crisis going on in America right now, so the average American has only two close friends, 20% of millennials age sort of now, 20 through to 38, say they have no friends, one out of three expressed regular feelings of loneliness, 87% said they made most of their friends in high school, the longlist group of men over 60 who had lost their spouse and social media was referenced as the main corporate does this tension that we observed that we long for deep friendships.
We see it in the Bible, we see it in our own hearts, we see it psychologically, and yet we find friendship, real friendship, to be a deeply difficult thing to navigate some of these sort of problems that I sort of observe… I observed as I was thinking this week, we are working hard but not creating or developing friendships, we are unsure which friendships to invest our time in, and we have good surface friendships, but few of those deep connections. I was chatting to a guy in his 20s this week, and this was the sort of the quote that he sent me, people are terrible at asking or even reciprocating a question I ask and honestly don’t think it’s their own fault. I think social media and social or socially cultural constructs have just made people batter conversation and intimacy, and most people don’t even realize it. If anything, as a nation, we don’t reflect the most popular animal in our nation, we reflect the second most popular animal in our nation. What’s the difference between cats and dogs? Dogs are deep and they are devoted to you and cats a surface and they are not devoted to you, a dog sees these people that look after it, that care for it, that love it, and they look at you and they say, These people are incredible.
They must be gods. And a cat, it seems this person that’s devoted to it, that looks after the car and it looks at itself and says, I must be a God, there’s something about cats and dogs that are wired differently, and so often we as people, we reflect cats with surface… Not necessarily committed to people or not able to find people necessarily that I committed to us, and so one of the desires behind the short three-week series was, How can we build deep friendships first, how can we start creating more of them, how can we remove some of those blockages create some pathways that would say, We can actually build some friendships, but then also how can we start to go to deeper levels of friendship, and so this week we’re gonna spend some time… Last week, we looked at this wisdom literature, this week we’re gonna spend some time learning from Jesus and wrestling with what he has to say about friendship, Jesus, example of friendship and his offer, a friendship ceramic ally alter how you pursue friendship with others. If you wanna write that down again, if you wanna take a picture, Jesus example, friendship and he’s offer a friend, it can radically alter how you pursue friendship with others.
As we wrestle with how Jesus interacted with people, my hope is that one, that you would know that he longs for friendship with you, but two, I hope that we would learn some principles that would help us to build some of those deep friendships that we’re talking about so let’s start here. How does Jesus describe? Friendship never uses the word a ton, but in this instance, we’re gonna start late in his story with people on earth, his friendships with people, and we’re gonna sort of track back to see where they come from. So this is John Chapter 15, Verse 15. We looked at it briefly last week, but we’re gonna get into it a bit deeper today. I no longer call you servants. Because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I’ve called you friends. For everything that I learned from my Father, I have made known to you. I no longer call you servants. Because a mass seven does not know his master’s business. Instead, I’ve called you friends. For everything that I learned from my Father, I have made known to you. This whole passage takes place right at the end of Jesus time in if he’s sitting down for a final conversation with his closest friends and he’s starting to out-pour everything that’s going to happen to him over the next week, Crucifixion resurrection.
One of those things, he has been journeying with these people for three years at this point, they’ve developed a relationship, but it’s only at this point that Jesus says, No, I now call you friends. This passage, it sort of works around these three very important words, and what we said last week is, nobody talks about Jesus miracle having 12 close friends in his 30s, and yet there’s a step further, I would take that if you are struggling with friendship, if you have questions about how you’re doing… Just know this, Jesus only had 12 friends, one of them wanted to kill him, and they constantly misunderstood everything that he said, So if your friendships reflect that, you’re doing okay as well. So these three words first, the word servant, he talks about, I no longer call you do less a servant with no ownership rights. Now we’re gonna talk about how we can copy Jesus in his friendship, little word to the wise, Do Not Call your friends servants, that does not go down. Well, Jesus could get away with some stuff that you don’t get to get away with that I don’t get to go to get away with, but then he talks about, now you no longer…
These do as you are now, fill us a friend. I invite you into this relationship of deep, personal connection, you are starting to understand me, I’m starting to understand you, and then this word in the middle… I no longer call you servants. And now call you friends. Because of this, the O, the business, the doing the work to Jesus, the difference between someone that he called friends and someone that he called servants, was that these guys now, they had a picture of what his heart was, you might say that this word PO at its casts, knowing the why behind the what, knowing the heart, these guys, after three years and now finally other point, but they actually understand what Jesus is all about, or getting close to it at least because as I said, there’s been three years of them constantly misunderstanding almost everything, that he was doing, they were always sort of behind what was going on, he knew them, he understood everything about them, but the… He was still a mystery to them, This is the calling. And we’re gonna look at a couple of these passages where Jesus picks up these guys, friends for the first time, he starts this journey with them, this is a guy called a fail, Philip found arterial and told him, we found the one Moses wrote about in the law.
And a bathroom, the prophets also wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph, Nazareth. Can anything good come from there? And the fan you’ll ask a family is very skeptical that Jesus could be anything like as great as Philip has described to him, but he is still willing to give him a chance. And this is the introduction. Demons said, feline, Jesus Santana approaching. He said of him, here truly isn’t is related. In whom there is no deceit. How do you know me? The fund you asked, Jesus answered, I saw you while you were still under a fig tree Before Philip called you, Jesus had this instinctive knowledge of everything about Nathaniel before they’d even encountered each other, but to defend your… Jesus is still a mystery. They still uncertainty, you’ll make this incredible faith statement in the next passage, you’ll talk about You are the Messiah, the Son of God, but then he’ll go back and doubt it, as they all did at different points, this three years is this passage way, this journey of Jesus revealing His heart to views, follow us, they start to get to know who he is on a deeper level, this is a passage in John chapter 6, where he’ll start to unpack some of just who He is aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them? Does this offend you? Then what if you see the son of man ascend to where he was before? The spirit gives life, the flesh counts for nothing.
The words I have spoken to you, they are full of spirit and life. Jesus has unpacked his mission and packed his goal, and I also talked about some of the cost of following him as well, and it’s at this point that this bigger group of disciples starts to kind of question what we carry on, is it really worth the cost of following Jesus and the things he’s saying really true, some of the things are… Are pretty outlandish. He says things like, my body is real food, my blood is real, drink stuff that, again, most people don’t get away with, and it’s at this point, there’s this to decision moment, Jesus starts to reveal His heart, starts to review more about his identity, and this huge group of disciples say, No, you’ve gone too far. Jesus vulnerability, you self-reveal to them, It’s too much I can’t… I can’t handle this. And they go. From this time, many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed Him. You do not want to leave too, do you, Jesus, as the 12st answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have comfortable even to know that you are the holy one of God, the small group of disciples sees something in Jesus and say, As I have Landis, as the statements are as over the top as they might seem, the only thing…
The only conclusion I can draw is this you are who you say you are. The statements are fine, if they are true, if they’re not, it’s the language of a crazy person, the language of an insane person does this divide and most of the people land on no, Jesus, you’re out of your mind, you’re crazy, and they go… And then the smaller group stay, it’s this moment of vulnerability and moments like it that make the difference between the servants that Jesus described and the friends that he’ll follow this journey with later. And I would say this, we can learn this from Jesus, a journey of friendship, it always requires some vulnerability, if you want friendship, if you wanna go deep into friendship, you have to reveal something about yourself, surface level relationships will stay surface, unless we get to reveal some of that heart, some of that heartbeat, some of that who we are, the way we described it earlier was that the why behind the what? Knowing the heart somewhere to go deep into friendship, we have to start to become a little more vulnerable, and that’s scary, that’s intimidating, especially if you’ve been through a journey where friendship has hurt you before, any time you start to show more of yourself in a relationship, it’s difficult, and here’s what I would say as a generalization.
And I love generalizations. Girls are better at this than guys, guys, as a whole struggle with vulnerability, you cannot use silence as like a spiritual gift, it doesn’t clerk that way, there is this journey of relationship that requires us as guys to reveal more of ourselves, to become more vulnerable, and that’s difficult for me. I know that there’s times where I come back from work, I come back from a day in the office, I come from a day of planning and praying and thinking and all these different things, and actually I just wanna sit and do nothing. And my wife wants to unpack the day with me, and I resist because I just want to stop and rest, and there’s this tension to be managed there as well, because my needs are important too, but I know that she needs me to reveal something, and I had this wonderful story that AR and I worship, shared with me the other day that just defines me or unpack some of guys struggle with this is a wonderful comedian story about a couple that are friends with another couple who have just gone through a divorce, which is always sad and heartbreaking, and finally, after a six-month gap, the guy happens to go and play golf with a guy that has become divorced, and he comes back after six months of neither of them seeing this other couple, and his wife obviously is hungry for information, so she says, Well, how’s he doing? And the guy says, Well, what do you mean by that? He says, Well, Nick.
You got divorced six months ago. How is he? A man says, Well, I don’t really know. I mean, he shot a 74, if that tells you anything, it seems like he’s doing fairly well, and she’s like, You is seeing anybody using easy dating anybody? I don’t really know, it just… Just didn’t come… You dip golf. We’ve Mike, didn’t you for four hours today you were in the same golf cart up… I was in the same golf cart, I know he has a new driver that seemed pretty nice, it was working out pretty good for him, and so in four hours, you didn’t ask a tool… Is he dating anybody? Now, I just don’t see how that would have come up during a golf game, it’s just… If you see some of the tension, we are wired differently often as men and women, but relationships take this movement into vulnerability, they take this willingness to reveal some of your heart, it takes vulnerability, and as we said last week, and this will be a constant refrain throughout these three short weeks, friend making is risk taking, the start of friendship involves risk, to deepen that friendship involves risk, if you were to say that friend making is risk-taken, you might say that deep friend making is therefore deep risk-taking, it requires going to another level of vulnerability.
So a question as we move on, how does pursuing friendship with Jesus alter our friendship, because that is the wonderful sort of truth that we always come back to every week itself, you are invited into friendship with Jesus, all of the needs of friendship that we talked about all of the importance of it is true, whether you are following Jesus on that, better friendships will help you in your life, it will help you on your journey. It’s good to have good friends. And yet you’re also invited into this wonderful friendship with Jesus, the joy of friendship with Jesus is that He is wonderful. When we are vulnerable all through these biographies of Jesus life, you see these moments where people come to human vulnerability, and every single time he makes them feel valued, he receives them well, he treats them well, Jesus invites you into that relationship of friendship with him. But as well as that, I would also see a friendship with Jesus, but it also, it informs and interferes with how we do friendship as well, we get to learn some stuff, we get to see some of the ways that he is vulnerable.
We just talked about that, but it also messes with our friendships as well, I’ve known so many people over the years that have made a decision to follow Jesus and started to develop different kinds of friendships, and then there’s this tension when these two worlds merge, what happens when my world outside of the church starts to merge with my world inside the church, what happens when these two communities… Crime collide. And so for the next few minutes, we’re gonna take a look into another story of Jesus first encounter with one of his disciples, a guy called Matthew. As Jesus went on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. So automatically that tells a discerning audience something about… Matthew, I pick this picture because it was just the one that was available online. Everything looks better when you do it in LEGO, we have Batman and Robin and Snoopy and all at earlier. Now, we’re talking… Let go for a second, Jesus approaches Matthew and says, Come with me, but he approaches him at a tax collector’s booth. Automatically, that tells us this, Matthew is an outcast. Matthew is not wanted by his own Jewish community, Matthew is someone who has chosen to side with his invading army, these Romans that have been dominating Israel for some years, Matthew is somebody that is not desirable, not wanted by his own people, and Jesus causing…
Anyway, As Jesus went on from there, He saw remained Matthew sitting at a tax Leeds booth. Follow me, He told him, and Matthew got up and followed Him. Now, this whole process is fascinating because this is very much a traditional Rabbi practice, these rabbis would wander around the country side and they would collect, follow us, but most of the time, rabbis chose like the cream of the crop, they chose the best people. So as a young Jewish person, you would go through education, you would go up to the age of 11, and then they would do like the classic school sports system of cuts, so they would say for certain group you guys, no good… You didn’t even make JV, you go and you do your thing and a trade be with your parents, and then the next cut would happen somewhere around to the 16, 18, another group. No, you’re not quite gonna make it, you’re not smart enough, you’re not the best, so you go off and you do your thing, and then finally the very best students would get to continue to pursue education until about 30, at which point they would start calling students of their own Jesus, when he starts his ministry, is it exactly that age, he’s probably been through some classical rabbinical education and he’s now calling his own disciples, that he goes and pick guys that have already been come, he picks guys that nobody else wants it.
In essence, if the varsity coach went back and he found all the guys that have been cut in the first stage of the tray out and said, No, I’m gonna take you guys… You guys come with me. He goes in picks. No other Rabbi was going, picking people like Matthew, Matthew is an outcast. And what the rabbi would do is he would go and he would say this phrase that was something like this in English, Take My yoke upon you, and the guy would say either yes or no, and they would begin this journey, so picture this classic set of old school farming technique, this is an Open O, and what would happen in the farming world is this, they would put a strong ox with a weaker Act, so the strong or would control where the week oxen, He would learn this process of being an action, what it was to farm and all those different things from the stronger as… This is exactly what happened in this rabbinical training process. When it says, Take My yoke upon you it, follow me, do the things I do. Copy me with my other followers, Jesus gathers this group of followers and they are all copying him, but they are all doing this together.
0That means the Matthew now… Well, he has two communities, he has two groups of people, he has this one group of people is invited into a new community of Jesus followers who will instinctively despise him and with whom he has very little commonality, they have nothing practically in common other than the fact they were born Jewish. These guys are… Some of them are zealots, they’ve sort of stood up to this Roman army, these guys are… Some of them are fishermen, but most of them have stayed pretty faithful to this Jewish community, Math used the traitor Matthews the outside, Matthew is the one that said, I can make some extra cash if eye sided with the Romans, who’s the one that’s gone against everybody else. So he now has this community that Jesus invites him into, and yet instinctively they were despise him, instinctively, he’s not welcome, and then he has this other community of people exactly like him, he has a pre-existing community that may not reflect the way of Jesus, but with whom we share great commonality, they have all of the same things in common, and that tension is present all over the world, when we decide to follow Jesus, you have this movement from a…
Now, have a community of people. South is your community of people… Now, some of you may have been here so long that you have most of things in common with the people here, but if you’re new, does this tent moment where you start to spend time with a community of faith, and you say, This is now my community, but really practically, what do we have in common? We like different things, we have different backgrounds, different experiences. All of those things going on, and then we probably have, hopefully have this other group of friends, maybe work friends may be old school friends, and with them we have a ton in common, and yet there’s this new thing that we get to share with this community of faith that is bigger than all of those things. We, Jesus in common, this huge thing that over-arches everything, so let’s leave a… Look what happens. How does Matthew deal with this tension? Because it is a tension. While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with Him and His disciples. Mathews new community is Jesus following community, is cyclades with his old community.
He just invites them all in, it just says, Come and join it, when the Paris… You saw this, they asked His disciples, Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners? And hearing this, Jesus said It’s not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick, but go and learn what this means. I desire mercy, not sacrifice. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners. And this is the version in the New Living Translation, for I have come to call not compile those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners, Neither Jesus or Matthew appears slightly concerned when both communities lie… Both. Communities are important and have value. I remember this incredibly honest conversation I had with a friend of mine, I was running a small group, and one of the young guys in the small group said to me this, I have no desire to bring friends that don’t know Jesus to church with me. It’s just awkward when I do. There’s this tension between the people that are following him and the people that aren’t, and when I’m at church, I just wanna be with my church friends, I just wanna be with that community, and when I’m out doing other things, I wanna be with those guys and I don’t want to bring the two together.
And yet, it seems in this story, Jesus ideal is that the two communities, eventually they have to fly it, Jesus is pretty open about the fact that his desires, but everybody to be in relationship with him, that doesn’t play particularly well, maybe in a modern world that says Everyone just gets to decide from themselves, you get to decide what has value in, and for the most part, you do get to decide, but Jesus is pretty unashamed of the fact that he says, You all need this relationship with me, I’m inviting everybody into a relationship with me, and he’s fairly unapologetic as well, in the method by which he’ll do that, which is you and his eye… It doesn’t seem like Jesus is a particularly big fan of plan Bs, it seems like plan A is that I won’t show people my way in my heart, and then you’ll go and show it to other people, that’s been the plan from the beginning, and that’s the plan that we see in effect with Matthew, which raises a tension point for me because we talked last week about the value of good friends… This is a quote, create Grace.
Show me your friends and I will show you your future. I think that’s truth in that… We talked about the Jim Rowan idea that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. You become like them, you’ll be somewhere in the middle of them in terms of their health, in terms of their… Well, for those different things, I believe that this truth in that my sister humorously, she text me after I said that and she said, Well, how does that help me at the people I spend the most time with, my three kids who are all under the age of 10 and my husband who acts like a kid under the age of 10, so what does that do for me in terms of my future, but there is this idea that surround yourself with people that are going where you want to go, and you’ll probably get there in this incredible value, and yet what happens to the fact that in this Matthew story, Jesus cause Matthew to bring his friends along on this journey of leading them into a relationship with him, this is imperative on that, that says, you have a method by which I will reach the world, you have to get involved.
If you just ditch these friends because they might all do want a journey that is unhealthy, what happens to that group of people? If Matthew just says, You guys, my tax collector friends, you’re not gonna get me where I need to go. If I spend time with you, then I’ll become the average of the five of you. And that’s not where I want to be. What happens to those guys if that’s the decision-making process. Fortunately for us, Matthew seems like he makes a good choice, but this idea that the one who has unreliable friend students come to ruin, but there… Is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. This Proverbs idea, we talked about last week, it at least has some tension to it, show me your friends and I will show you you your future. I would put a big question mark over that, because I think you need friends outside of self, that’s the method by which Jesus said he would reach the world. And if your only friendships are here, then how does that happen? If my only friendships are in this building, then how does that happen? It seems Jesus has always used friendships outside of the church community to reach those outside the church, can you…
Now, let me just give a little caveat to that, I’m not saying for a second that you should only have friends outside of church for that reason, in actual fact, I think there’s this definite idea that Jesus enjoyed relationships with people outside of his own little community and that they enjoyed time with him as well, so I would say that it’s not the only purpose, but I think fine, pursue deep friendships with those who will lead you into good future pathways, that’s the JIM Ron idea. Find friends that will help you move towards this preferred future. That’s great. But think about all of those relationships that you have outside of here, that I hope that we have outside of here, maybe we’re supposed to pursue good future pathways for those with whom we have a friendship. Maybe the thing is that, yes, the five people that you spend the most time with is true, but maybe also you get to be the one that influences the direction of the group, maybe God has a calling for you, there maybe there’s this purpose with richer, you get to live with friendships or over the place, and you’re constantly gonna be doing that thing that Jesus has built his church on all along, my dream for self is that we become a place that reaches people that don’t know Jesus.
That’s what we are here for. Yes, it’s great that we get to learn together and grow together and be together, yes, it’s great that we get to develop this hard and way of Jesus… But I would suggest that when we look at that Matthew story, Jesus reveals his heart there. I have come from the sick, not the healthy, I have come from those that know that they need a doctor, that has always been his purpose, if we have gotten to a point where all of our friendships slowly become only in this place, and something’s gone wrong, friends, our calling has always, always, always been to those that are outside, always been to those that are in need, so I have a couple of questions for reflection, I’m gonna invite the worship team to come back up on stage. My first question is this, How is Jesus calling you to pursue friendship with others? We’ve talked about the tension and maybe that the step for you is to create new friendships, to step out and start some new friendships, but it may also to be asked to be to ask, who am I building deeper friendships with over this next season of life.
Who can I take on this journey with me? Who can I walk alongside? Who can I make myself vulnerable to, who can I show my heart too? And who can I grow in? A friend making is risk-taking, then deep friend making will feel like deep risk-taking, but without those risks, I wonder if have friendships just always stay where we were with that phone call, we stay at that point of… Feel like I’m making a lot of effort, but maybe I’m not building the connections that I want to build. How is Jesus calling you to pursue friendship with others. Friendship is this wonderful gift to the world that provide support as we walk through this journey of life are… And the team are gonna lead us in this song, and then I’m gonna ask you a second question after the song.