The Friend of Sinners

Proverbs 18:24, “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.”

A good friend. What an incredible blessing. Many of God’s children long to have a good friend. Some understand the importance of a friend. But few have the scriptural knowledge of how great a friend Jesus Christ is to His people. In Matthew 11:19 the Lord is declared to be the “friend of publicans and sinners.” The good news of the gospel proclaims, if you feel to be a sinner, it is evidence that God is your friend. If someone were to ask you to describe a good friend, what would be your answer? What are the characteristics of a good friend? Every characteristic of a good friend is found in Jesus.

(1) The Lord never forgets about His friends. I remember years ago a friend of mine and I had planned a fishing trip. When the morning arrived for us to leave, I learned he had forgotten about me and our planned trip. Jesus Christ will never forget His Children. He knows where they are and everything they face at all times. In Isaiah 49:15-16 we read, “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.” Notice that the children of God’s names are NOT just merely written on His precious hands, but the children of God themselves are graven, “I have graven THEE upon the palms of my hands” (emphasis mine). John 10:27-30 teaches us that we cannot be plucked from His hands, so we can be assured that we are ever on His mind. Psalm 40:5, “Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.”

(2) The Lord always listens to His children! How many times have you, dear reader, ever had a heavy heart without a person to talk to. Oh dear child of grace, it’s so important to remember, when the world will not listen, Jesus Christ has time for you. In Jonah 2:2 we read, “I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the Lord, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice.” In Mark 10:49 we read where Jesus Christ, on His journey to Jerusalem to give His life on the Cross of Calvary, “stood still” for a crying, begging child of grace. By this recorded truth I believe He will always have time for His children. Maybe that’s why the hymn writer said; “What a friend we have in Jesus, All our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry Everything to God in prayer ! O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry Everything to God in prayer!”

(3) The Lord is a friend Who laid down His life for us! In John 15:13 Jesus said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Jesus Christ loved His friends (who by nature were His enemies, Romans 5:10) so much that He laid down His precious life for them. When you look at the love manifested at Calvary, how can you not understand His love for you dear friend of God? The hymn writer said,

I have found a friend in Jesus, He’s everything to me. He’s the

fairest of ten thousand to my soul; The Lily of the Valley,

In Him alone I see All I need to cleanse and make me whole.

In sorrow He’s my comfort, in trouble He’s my stay.

He tells me ev-’ry care on Him to roll;

He all my griefs has taken, and all my sor-rows borne, In temptations

He’s my strong and mighty tow’r; I have all for Him forsak-en,

and all my i-dols torn. From my heart, and now He keeps me by His pow-r

Tho all the world forsake me, and Satan tempt me sore,

Thru Jesus I shall safely reach the goal;

He will never, never leave me, nor yet forsake me here; While I

live by faith and do His blessed will; A wall of fire a-bout me,

I’ve nothing now to fear, With His manna He my hungry soul shall fill.

Then sweeping up to glory to see His blessed face,

Where rivers of delight shall ever roll;

He’s the Lily of the Valley, the Bright and Morning Star, He’s the fairest of ten thousand to my soul.

(4) The Lord loveth at all times! I know many of us have had some ‘Fair Weather Friends’, but Jesus Christ is an all weather friend. Through the valleys, through the wilderness, through the storms and everything else, Jesus Christ loves at all times. Proverbs 17:17, “A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” Even when Lot had lived such a disobedient life, according to 2 Peter 2:7-9, it didn’t change Jesus Christ’s love for him. In Romans 8:38-39 we read, “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Yes, dear child of grace, Jesus loves His children all the time. The devil, according to Revelation 12:12 “knoweth that he hath but a short time” to torment God’s little children wih his fear tactics and efforts to convince the mind of the elect that they have sinned so much that God doesn’t love you anymore, but these are all lies. There is no sin; there is no mistake; there is no wrong doing that will ever separate one of God’s little children from Him that loved you before the foundation of the world. And one great and glorious day, because of His unchanging love, we all will gather around His throne praising and glorifying Him Who came into this world and Won the Victory of salvation. The Friend of Sinners, Jesus Christ our Lord, the King of Israel! Amen!

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