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Does God Notice Your Friend Group?

Updated: 7 hours ago

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Sermon Transcription:


The title of the word today is "Does God Notice Your Friend Group?" Let's start with Malachi 3:1-16. "Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord listened and heard them; so a book of remembrance was written before him for those who fear the Lord and who meditate on his name." This is talking about a man, a woman, surrounded with people who can't stop talking about the Lord. When things go south in this world, this group of people comes together, and they're talking about the Lord—how He has promises for these situations, how He has solutions on the cross given unto us for our time and everything we face. This is a man, this is a woman, who has gathered around themselves people that, when squeezed, whatever happens in their life, like a new ketchup bottle, only goodness comes out.


The same is happening with people full of the spirit of God. Whatever pressure life throws at them, no matter how hard they get squeezed, what comes out of them is from the spirit of God. If the spirit of God is not inside and people get squeezed, all kinds of ugly stuff comes out. But when you become saved and the spirit of God begins to live inside of you and change everything, and you get squeezed, kindness, gentleness, patience begin to come out. All of a sudden, the fruits of the Holy Spirit begin to come out of you. This is a changed man, a changed woman, who gathers around themselves people full of the same thing.


Now, why will this prophetic word come to pass? Why will the True Believer have a friend group of men and women who just can't help themselves but always speak about Christ, about the things of the Lord, about the name of the Lord? How do we know that this prophecy is about us, that it will come to pass in our time? Let me read to you Luke 6:45. "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good, and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks." When the spirit of God has taken up residence in the heart, the language changes, what comes out begins to change.


So, here's the question: who have you picked as your friends? Think about that for a moment. Who have you chosen to surround yourself with? Is your friend group noticed by God? Who a man picks, who a man chooses as his friends is unmistakably important to God. Let me tell you something about influential people. There were 43 rulers over Israel and Judah, starting with Saul, the first king, all the way to the Exile of both kingdoms. Out of the 43 rulers that both Judah and Israel had, only seven Kings finished strong according to the word of God. Out of 43, only seven finished strong. Let's look at someone who did very well. Let's look at David and what did he do that was so different? How come he was the first king to finish strong? And how come that he finished strong while his son Solomon, wisest of all, did not finish strong?


Let's read 2 Samuel 7:1-13. "Now it came to pass when the King was dwelling in his house and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies all around that the king said to Nathan the prophet, "See now, I dwell in the house of Cedar, but the Ark of God dwells inside tent curtains." Then Nathan said to the king, "Go, do all that is in your heart, for the Lord is with you." But it happened that night that the word of the Lord came to Nathan, saying, "Go and tell my servant David, 'Thus says the Lord: Would you build me a house, a house for me to dwell in? For I have not dwelt in a house since the time that I brought the children of Israel up from Egypt, even to this day, but have moved about in a tent and in a tabernacle. Wherever I have moved about with the children of Israel, have I ever spoken a word to anyone from the tribes of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, saying, "Why have you not built me a house of Cedar?" Now therefore, thus shall you say to my servant David, 'Thus says the Lord of hosts: I took you from the sheepfold, from following the sheep, to be ruler over my people, over Israel. And I have been with you wherever you have gone, and have cut off all your enemies from before you, and have made you a great name, like the name of the great men who are on the earth. Moreover, I will appoint a place for My People Israel and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own and move no more; nor shall the sons of wickedness oppress them anymore, as previously, since the time that I commanded judges to be over My People Israel, and have caused you to rest from all your enemies. Also, the Lord tells you that He will make you a house. When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.'"


Here we have David. He has chosen Nathan as a friend. Nathan is in the palace, dwelling with David, friends with David, close to David. When David gets a thought or wants to talk about something, Nathan is right there. David had brought him near in his life, brought him around him into his circle, and what that provided in David's life was direct access to God's heart. It also provided instant correction from the works or thoughts of works back to the New Covenant. David gets this thing in his heart, what he wants to do for God, and Nathan brings him back and reminds him, "No, no, no, that's not what God is like." God is actually going to do something by promise that is going to bring glory to His own name. You're even going to be a portion of the recipient of that blessing of the Lord. But He's not looking for you to impress Him. He's not looking for you to do something for Him. An instant correction from the works of the flesh back to the New Covenant, both in action and in thinking.


From what man can do for God back to what God is going to do for His own glory. He shares with David that his seed, who will come from his body, shall build a house for my name. He's pointing forward to Christ, the savior. He wasn't talking about Solomon; he was talking about the Christ, the Son of David. That's why the New Testament always refers to him as the Son of David. He points forward to Christ who would come, the Son of David, who would begin to build God a house that would bring glory. And prophetically, He's pointing forward. God is pointing prophetically at every single one of you.


Let me show it to you in the word. 1 Corinthians 15:33. "Do not be deceived: Evil company corrupts good habits." 100% of the time, when you keep company with evil, it will corrupt good habits. If you are one of the people that say, "I can have friends around me that are not saved, not filled with the spirit of God," they open their mouth, living water does not come out. They open their mouth, I'm not corrected from works to the new. I can have that. Question is, is God still answering your prayers? James 4:3-4 says this, "You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God." This is James speaking to the church. Church, we are not trying to be friends of the world. If you haven't gotten this until this point in your journey, get it now. You will never be accepted if you follow Jesus Christ.


John 15:19. "If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you." It's not because you're talking about Jesus. It's not because of the way you live your life. It's not because you say, "Well, I can't make it because I have worship service to attend." That's not why the world hates you. The world hates you because Christ took you out of the world and He told you the world is going to hate you because you no longer belong to this world, church. The true believer does not seek selfishly to be friends with people in this world. The true believer will never do this. We are seeking to save people, proclaiming forgiveness, proclaiming repentance in the name of Jesus Christ. And those who believe and repent and become followers of Jesus now also can become our friends. We can walk with them. What does the Bible say? How can two walk together unless they are in step? The world understands this concept. A lot of the church doesn't, but the world does. The first thing that they will teach you if you ever take suicide prevention training, the first thing the world teaches you is that you can be someone's friend or you can save their life. Choose. You can either be someone's friend or you can save their life.


If you are called after the name of the Lord, you have been saved and forgiven, the Spirit of God has come to live in your heart, you can either choose to live to save people in this world or you can be their friends. You cannot do both. If they become saved and repent and lay down their life and begin to follow the same Lord you follow, of course, you're going to have great friends with these people. But if you value friendship over their salvation, how can you ever proclaim that you love people? How can you ever claim that you have people's best interest at heart? How can you stay quiet when people are committing spiritual suicide, and you go, "I'll just be your friend while you go to hell. I'll walk with you. I'll have some good times with you. I'll even get some stuff out of your life unto my life that blesses me, strengthens me, that I enjoy, but you, I'm going to let you go slide off slowly but surely into hell. Too inconvenient to pursue your salvation. I'll just be friends." We need to choose, church. Are we a part of the people of God that is burdened with seeing people become saved from hellfire? Is that who we are? Or do we just want whatever friends we want, and we don't want to be bothered with following Christ?


But if you are open to the Spirit of God, then He is stirring your heart. He's giving you the desires of the Father, the desires proclaimed from the word today, the desires that He shows you in prayer, the desires of the Father that He shows you when you open your Bible at home. The true believer always wants to finish strong, just like David did. The true believer always rather sees people saved from hell than to just have friends and be comfortable. Church, by the blood of Jesus Christ, you have become a stranger in this world, but you are filled with love for each person that lives in this world.


Lets read 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 and 20-21 "For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." Church, this is the heart of the true believer. The heart has seen that Christ gave His life that I may be saved eternally. I can no longer live for what I want to live or how I want to live. I need to lay that life down, the same way Christ showed me that He laid His life down. I need to lay it down in my small way that someone may become saved. It may cost me some friends that someone may become saved for eternity, just like Christ did for me when I cared nothing about Him laying down His life. In the very same way, in a very small way, He calls us to lay down our life for someone that does not care that maybe, just maybe, someone may become saved.


How do I know then, who should I choose to have around me? How do I recognize them? They're not all perfect. How do I gather people around me like David so that I may finish strong? I'll give you what the Bible says. John 15:14. "You are my friends if you do whatever I command you." This is what Jesus said. Jesus told them, "You are my friends if you do whatever I command you." Church, I can always recognize a friend of Jesus. It's very easy to recognize a friend of Jesus because for that person, every single word, every single thing that God wrote in His scriptures, every single word written down, it determines how they make choices in their life. When they need to make a choice, they run to the word. When they need to be corrected, they run to the word. When they need to form an opinion, they run to the word. They're easy to recognize. "You are my friends if you do whatever I command you". Church, I want a lot of friends in my life that are friends with the Most High. That's a good people group to have in your life.


Here's the second scripture, Luke 6:45. We read it earlier. "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good, and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks." Church, listen. Let them talk, and if the spirit of Christ is in the heart, sooner than later, the conversation will always come back to the Lord Jesus Christ. The conversation will always come back to the name of the Lord, which is their strong tower. This is where my safety comes from. This is where my direction comes from. This is where my strength comes from. This is where my protection comes from. If the spirit of Christ is in the heart, you can tell because out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.


So have you chosen the right friends? Does God notice your friend group? Are you on track to finish like David? Or are you on the side of the majority of the other rulers? Paul lost a lot of friends as he became a follower of Christ, but he made a great difference in my life. He lost everyone that trusted him and walked with him, and still today, he's making a difference in my life. Galatians 5:11, he writes this, "And I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why do I still suffer persecution? Then the offense of the cross has ceased." It was his peers, it was the people that he used to worship with, it was the people that used to walk with him, it was the people that he worked with while he was persecuting the church, the people he grew up with at the feet of Gamaliel as he was being taught in school. It was those people that were leading the persecution on Paul's life, and he explains to us, the only reason that they do not like, that they do not want to be my friends, that I cannot be friends with them any longer, it's because there's an offense in what I preach. Says if I would preach circumcision, I would not have persecution. The offense of the cross would have ceased because men would be able to add something again, the flesh, the works of the flesh would be able and allowed to add something again, keeping the Ten Commandments, all of a sudden means something again, and God values or respects all of the effort that I put into life to do good, and all of the effort I put into my life to abstain from some stuff that really I would like, just like other sinners, but I am abstaining from this stuff.


When none of what you do means anything to God anymore, your good works do not matter, what you have done wrong does not matter. Offended by that cross. So many believers today are offended with the cross, the cross that gives free righteousness, yet it will cost you all things to follow after Christ. At the cross of Christ, He forgives us freely, makes us a new man, sets us free from sin. And that same Jesus that went on that cross commands in Mark 8:35, "For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's will save it." The offense of the cross. Forgiveness is free. No works can attain it. Nothing you've ever done made God pay attention to you and go, "Now you deserve salvation. You are going to be saved in your lifetime." And nothing you will ever do or abstain from makes God go, "Now this, I haven't seen before. Your prayer life is going to work." Nothing will ever add to your standing with God. The forgiveness, the justification is free. But following Christ will cost you everything. You don't get to spend your life. You have to lay it down.


Offensive, the cross of Jesus Christ, an offense to many. But that same cross gives us boldness to simply let you know today, if you call with all of your heart on the name of Jesus Christ, He will meet you, He will speak with you, He will wash away all of your sins, and He will make you a new man from the top of your head to the bottoms of your feet, changed, forgiven, set free. Then follow Him. If you do, you're going to run into people that are already following Him, that are also counting the cost and following Him. When you see those people, choose your friends, gather around yourself some friends, and set yourself up to finish strong and stay the course of Christ Jesus, just like David did until the end. If you believe and you follow and you choose together followers of Christ around you as your friends, you will always have the prophetic voice around you, right close in your life, and you're going to have testimony all around you so that you never become discouraged or defeated when the enemy has plans or rises up against you. And when you spend time with those kinds of friends, the name of the Lord will always be the center of the conversation.


You won't have to try. It won't be church. It won't be a doctrine. It won't be anything on the sidelines of Christianity. It won't be miracles. It won't be manifestations. It will be my Jesus, how He speaks with me, how He sets me free, how He walks with me. And God will begin to take notice of your friend group. Let me read to you Malachi 3:16-18. "Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord listened and heard them. So a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and who meditate on His name. They shall be Mine," says the Lord of hosts, "On the day that I make them My jewels. And I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him. Then you shall again discern between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him." Church, do you see the promises that the word foretells over the people groups, the friend groups that are like this, that draw together because of who their Lord is? He says, "The Lord listens and hears them. I want to be in my friend group. When they get together, the Lord listens and hears them." He says, "They shall be Mine. I want my friends to be with me forever in glory, bringing praise and honor to the name of the Lord Jesus Christ." He says, "I will make them My jewels. I'm going to show them off. This is how I present myself at the wedding feast. They will be My jewels, the very ones that I cherish, that I show off." He says, "I'm going to treat them as My own son. God says He will treat them as His own son who serves Him." Look at the promises when you gather friends around you and you let go what God is taking you out of.


I need the support system that I lean on when I am weak or broken or about to go down for the count. My support system that I lean on. I want my friends to be noticed by God. I want my friends to be friends of God. I want to finish strong like David. I want to learn from this word and finish the race. I don't want to have all these stories of all of these kings that did it wrong their entire life and got away with it until it was written for eternity. They did not do what God pleased. They did not follow the Lord. They did not serve the Lord. They had the temple. They had their services. They had their sacrifices. But they did not serve the Lord.


The final verdict came down. It all looked good. I want to learn from this word. Look into their life and say, "God, why did you have this written down? What could I learn from this for my own life?" I don't want to miss it. I want to finish strong like David. I want to finish like Paul. I want to do what the Bible commands. How can you choose the right friends? How can you make sure you do not do life on your own, but do it in the company of those that are there to correct you, to encourage you, to give testimony, and let you know that you're not alone, that God is with you? You do what Jesus did. You choose friends that do whatever Jesus commands. You do what the word says. You choose friends that have the spirit of God inside of them. You look for fruit in their lives. You listen to their conversation. You let go of what God is taking you out of. You trust God for the people that you do not have in your life, and you gather to yourself people that have already done this, to be your support system, to be your encouragement, to be your walking company on the road to glory.


-Pastor Stan Mons

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