“I like your Christ, it is your Christians I don't like.” Gandhi. The word christian means to be “Christ like”. Which all of us may strive for but we fall miserably short. So to say we are is to be hypocritical. I feel it is past time that we get away from calling ourselves something we are not and get back to what we are called to be. Back to being friends of Jesus. In John 15:15 Jesus says, “I no longer call you servants, because a servants doesn't know his master's business. Instead I have called you friends, for everything I have learned from my father I have made known to you”. In verse 14 he says, “You are my friends if you do as I command”. In verse 17 he gives us his command, “This is my command, love each other”.
The purpose of this newsletter is to get away from dogma, and organized religion, and words like Christian, and get back to the teachings of Jesus and to being friends of Jesus.
Jesus continually railed against the “Organized Religion” of his, the Pharisees. He called them hypocrites, and white washed tombs, full of evil on the inside. What does Jesus tell us about going to church, nothing! What he does say though is “Where two or three gather in my name, there I am with them”Mathew 18:20. We are called to gather in his name and to fellowship, but he does not say were. In fact most if not all of the early “Churches” where just small gatherings in peoples homes.
The other thing about friends with Jesus is when you are someone's friend you are their friend seven days a week, 24 hours a day, not just forit does nit a few hours on Sunday. The dictionary defines friend as an “intimate companion or associate; one attached to another affection or esteem.” We are called to be intimate companions with Christ. He wants to be our friend and confidant. To be his friend however we must know him. How do you get to know him, by studying what he taught and how he lived.
Most of Jesus' key teachings dealt with how to treat other people for example in Mathew 7:1-2 “Do not judged, or you to will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you to will be judged, and with the same measure you use, it will be measured to you.” To judge means to “To pass sentence, punish or condemn.” Jesus says we should never do this to others. He goes on even further to say that if we do will find ourselves judged.
We are told to love our neighbor as ourselves in many places in the bible. In Corinthians 13:4-7 we read, “Love is patient, Love is kind, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self seeking, it is easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always, perseveres.” Ask your self do you love your neighbor or are you judging them? Jesus said “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” John 13:35.
Jesus was asked once what the greatest commandment was once and he responded “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. The second is like it: love your neighbor as yourself. All the law and prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40. Love is defined in the dictionary as “strong affection , desire, or devotion.” So if we truly love something or someone we are devoted to it wholeheartedly. Jesus said that if we loved him we would obey his commands.
So lets look at another of Jesus' major commands. The last thing he said to his disciples before ascending to heaven, was “The Great Commission.” It is found in Mathew 28:18-20. Jesus said, “All authority in heaven, and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the father and of the son and of the holy spirit, and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always to the very end of the very end of the age.”
So it comes down to this we are called to be friends of Jesus to love and fellowship with him. As his Friends he calls us to love and fellowship with one another and to tell the world about him.
I hope you will join me today in becoming a true friend of my lord and savior Jesus Christ. Join me next week for more of the teachings of Jesus.