14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. (John 15:14-15)
Do some of the promises Jesus made in John 14-17 seem too pie-in-the-sky to be real to anyone else? Some of His statements in these chapters boggle my mind. I think we don’t fully think through, or consider the rammifications of many passages in God’s word, so much of these things pass us by completely (or largely) unnoticed. Maybe they’re good preaching points, or interesting thoughts to make us feel good… they even wrote a song about this one: “I am a friend of God”
But there is a living reality of this verse far deeper than the surface level warm-fuzzies we get thinking about God calling us His freind. First of all this passage doesn’t really apply to everyone… Jesus said: “Ye are my friends IF ye do whatsoever I command you.” It applies to those who are willing to obey Him 100%.
That means it not only doesn’t apply to non-believers, but that there are many ‘Christians’ to whom this does not apply… that is, a True Christian SHOULD obey Christ 100%.
Wait! Isn’t that ‘works based righteousness?’ some theologian may demand. Well, Jesus is the one who made the statement, and I daresay, Jesus’ plain statement is more true than a Calvinists interpretation of Paul. Yes, we have no righteousness of our own, for our own righteousness is as filthy rags. But if we woukd be friends of God we must give Christ our full obedience.
Yet once we’ve determined to whom this applies, the further statement in this passage which is completely mind-blowing is this: for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.
Jesus’ promise to His friends is that ALL knowledge (even all the knowledge of God) is at the disposal of His friends. Jesus was glorified with he Father before the foundation of the world; all things were made BY HIM, AND FOR HIM, and in Him all fulness consists, and here in this passage, He declares that He reveals all things that He has ever heard from the Father are made known to His friends.
Like I said, if we actually consider what He is saying (which I don’t think most of us do in any real depth) this would be a complete mind-blow.
Jesus Christ promises us that if we obey Him, we have access to all knowledge. Now if this statement from the mouth of Christ seems too good to be True, lest we be mistaken; misunderstanding what He is saying, Paul affirms this teaching in 1 Corinthians 2, declaring that in times past under the prior dispensation much was hidden even from God’s people, BUT in the days of Christ God has revealed all the mysteries of God to us through His Spirit:
1 Cor. 2:9 & 10
9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
For, as Paul declares with he last words of the chapter, we have the mind of Christ.
Now, most Christians I know who believe the bible don’t believe these things. I mean, in theory we believe it, but in practice do we believe it? Do you expect that God reveals to you EVERYTHING that He knows? That’s pretty much what these verses are saying He will do.
Now, there’s a lot going on right now politically, economically, socially, etc. in the world. Does anyone else want to know God’s mind about all these things? God wants to reveal it. Not only because God only works in the world in collaboration with man (Amos 3:7), but also because He entrusts these things to His friends.
Again, here is the basis: ‘Ye are my friends IF ye do whatsoever I command you.’ Have you done everything the Lord has commanded you?
Now, don’t take a legalistic approach to that, God knows your heart even if you fail to accomplish His will in some areas, or fall into sin. Actually ‘sinning’ per se is not what this is talking about, but an active pursuit of completing His will. Sin may be an active, or inactive deviation from God’s directive, but active obedience to His voice is what He’s looking for.
Now, the sequel part that I had to learn the slow way is that God is not necessarily interested in the same things we are. That means that the things that He reveals to us are far different than what we may seek to get an answer about; we need to adjust ourselves to be able to hear from God. Let me share an anecdote as a quick example of what I mean.
A minister friend of mine tells a story about how he caught himself looking at some girl, and realized that was a problem, he immediately started repenting and praying God would help him overcome any carnal thoughts or motivations. (Its not necessarily a sin to be attracted to someone, btw.) But while he was berating himself for his attraction t o this girl, God spoke a life changing revelation to his soul. But that revelation had NOTHING to do with his prayers in that momment. God spoke to him something entirely different that seemed way out in left field from what he was praying. Its great that he didn’t want to sin in his mind – and that’s a perfect starting place but, as the word also declares:
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Is. 55:8 & 9)
God had to change the course of his thinking in order to speak to him. God spoke to him in spite of his internal struggle against sin, didn’t seem too concerned about his thoughts in the momment (perhaps it was no sin in the first place, as I said being attracted to someone is not necessarily a sin), and when God spoke it changed the course of his thoughts. Like God just completely changed the subject on him.
It will be far easier to hear from God if He does not have to divert your attention from whatever it is you are thinking about first.
This above quoted passage from Isaiah is often used to declare the opposite of what Christ declared in John 15:14 & 15. We are often taught that we can never truly understand the depth of God’s thoughts, His will, or His plan. Of course God is smarter than we are, and we could never contain all His intellegence, but we have clear New Testament promises (and from the mouth of Christ, Himself) that we CAN know all things that the Father has revealed to Christ.
What these verses in Isaiah show us is our natural condition. We are so far from having any comprehension of the least of God’s thoughts until we have become His friends. Our minds are full of the temporal, of the carnal, of our own little experience and perspective, BUT when we begin to abide in fellowship with God, our thinking begins to change. In fact it has to. If you want to be prophetic, and hear the voice of God, you need to fill your mind with His word. That will cause you to BEGIN to think like He does.
We may get pre-occupied, for example, with our government’s elections and with its possible place in prophecy (I use this example not to offend anyone or stand on any human side, but because its recent prevalent), and want to hear from God about how it fits in to the bigger picture of the last days. That’s not a bad thing to seek the Lord about… but its coming from the wrong perspective. We are not trying to attain God’s mind first, we are starting from our own perspective which will be chaulk full of our own opinion, theology and bias perspective. (Then we’re also likely to decieve ourselves and others, thinking that anything we assume in prayer was revelation from God; which is likely why so many were prophesying a certain result in the recent election that did not materialize.)
Our ways are not His ways, neither are our thoughts His thoughts. This is why we must obey everything He commands us in order to be His friends.
If we want to get the right prophetic perspective even on modern events, we need to take further steps back… further steps into the Lord rather. We must meditate on God’s word and be changed by it so that we can begin to understand the revealed mind of God.
One of the most vital things about learning to hear God is to understand we may not always like what He says, or agree with it. So… will we obey?
The other verse that comes to mind right now is this:
For who hath despised the day of small things? (Zech. 4:10a)
Learning to hear from God means we become disciples of His word, and allow it to change us: to change our perspective until we think like God. As we hear God’s voice, we must also obey it. These are the very mundane, and practical things we must do if we seek to be prophetic.
There be many in these days who arise with lots of impressive intellectual thoughts, with great personal pizzaz, and church theatricality who claim to be prophets. But if you are a friend of God… actually, you’ll be able to discern both through the Spirit, and by your knowledge of the word whether these have any merit or are decievers – and to what degree. What’s more, you will hear the mind of God, yourself.