John 15:14
Human friendship is both beautiful to perceive and precious to enjoy. If affection and sympathy were thrust out of life, and if interest alone bound men together, how uninteresting and dismal would this world of humanity become! Every instance of friendship has its charm. The young, who share their pursuits and confidences; the middle-aged, who are guided by the same tastes, or principles, or occupations; the old, who interchange their recollections of bygone years; - all furnish examples of the power and the beauty of friendship even amongst faulty and imperfect beings. Who is not grateful for friends? Who would be without them? Who has not found friendship a charm, a stimulus, a power, in life? But whether earthly friends are few or many, faithful or unkind, there is a Divine, a heavenly Friend, whose love is declared to us by his own language, and proved by his own acts and sufferings. Christ deigns to call his disciples friends!

I. CHRIST'S FRIENDSHIP TOWARDS HIS PEOPLE IS A WONDERFUL FACT, DECLARED BY HIMSELF. The wonder is apparent when we consider who we are; when we reflect that we are poor, sinful, and helpless beings, who could not, apart from his assurances, venture to claim or to hope for the friendship of Christ. For who is he? Jesus is not merely the best of beings; he is the Son of God. It is hard for us to realize that "God is Love." But in the Person of Christ the eternal and supreme Lord comes down to our level, walks our way, dwells on our earth, reveals to us his love. He is the friend, the Well-wisher, of sinners; he is the Friend, in a fuller sense, of those who know and love him. If this is a wonderful truth, it is also a delightful truth.

II. CHRIST'S FRIENDSHIP IS PROVED BY HIS INTIMACY AND HIS CONVERSATIONS. Men's talk with one another often indicates their relationship. There is conversation which is ordinary and casual, and there is conversation which is confidential and intimate. There is the speech of acquaintances, upon common subjects; there is the speech of the master to the servant, conveying orders; there is the speech which is distinctive of close and affectionate friendship, upon matters of personal interest and concern. Now, the intimacy between the Divine Father and the Divine Son is of the most confidential and unreserved nature. The Son is "in the bosom" of the Father, i.e. is in possession of the counsels and feelings of his mind; he is "one" with the Father. it is very observable that, according to our Lord's own declaration, he, having perfect knowledge of the Father's thoughts, communicates those thoughts to his people. As the Father has no secrets from the Son, so the Son has no secrets from his disciples. This is a conclusive proof of our Lord's friendship for us. He makes known to us "all things" which the Father purposes that bear upon our salvation and eternal life. This accounts for the unexampled power of our Lord's language, its sublimity, its tenderness, fits authority. The words of the Redeemer are the communications of his friendship, the tokens of his brotherly love. To the unspiritual and unsympathetic, Christ's words are now, as they were when they were first spoken, uninteresting and without value. But the true friends of Jesus feel their sweetness and their might; applied by the Spirit of God, they are the lessons, the counsels, the promises, of a Divine and faithful Friend. How could he better prove his friendship than by revealing to us in his words the thoughts and the purposes of the Father's heart? There is one way even more effective, and this our Lord describes.

III. CHRIST'S FRIENDSHIP IS FURTHER PROVED BY HIS SELF-SACRIFICING BENEVOLENCE. Self-denial is a recognized element in true love and friendship. Men are found willing to give up money, time, rank, etc., for the benefit of their friends. But it is the highest proof of love when one is found ready to resign life to secure the life of a friend. "Peradventure for a good man one would even dare to die." This is the proof of self-sacrificing friendship which the Lord Jesus was resolved to give. He laid down his life for the sheep. "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." Jesus not only gave us knowledge by his teaching; he gave us salvation by his death. This willing sacrifice was in order to win our hearts, to make us his friends indeed, to bring to bear upon our nature a spiritual, principle and power, to bind us to himself for ever by the chains of gratitude and devotion.

IV. CHRIST'S FRIENDSHIP IS PROVED BY HIS WHOLE DEMEANOR AND HIS WHOLE TREATMENT OF US NOW THAT HE HAS ASCENDED. In his ministry he taught us, by his death he saved us, in his mediatorial life he blesses us. He is a sympathizing Friend, touched with a feeling of our infirmities. He is a forbearing and patient Friend, who is not repelled by the imperfect response he meets with on our part. He is a practical and helpful Friend, who expresses his friendship in deeds and spiritual ministrations. He is an unchanging and eternal Friend. "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?" - T.







Ye are My friends if ye do whatsoever I command you.
Notice —

I. WHAT CHRIST'S FRIENDS DO FOR HIM (ver. 16). In the former verse, "friends" means chiefly those whom He loved. Here it means mainly those who love Him.

1. He lingers on the idea, as if He would meet the doubts arising from the sense of unworthiness, and from some dim perception of how He towers above them. How wonderful that stooping love of His is! Every form of human love Christ lays His hand upon. "He that doeth the will of My Father, the same is My brother, and sister, and mother." That which is even sacreder, the purest and most complete union that humanity is capable of, receives a new sweetness when we think of the Bride, the Lamb's wife. And, passing from that Holy of Holies out into this outer court, He lays His hand on that more common and familiar, and yet precious and sacred, thing, the bond of friendship. The Prince makes a friend of the beggar.

2. This friendship lasts today. The pecularity of Christianity is the strong personal tie which binds men to this Man that died nineteen hundred years ago. We look back into the wastes of antiquity: the mighty names rise there that we reverence; there are great teachers from whom we have learned, and to whom we are grateful. But what a gulf there is between us and the best and noblest of them! But here is a dead Man, who today is the object of passionate attachment, and a love deeper than life to millions of people, and will be till the end of time.

3. There are no limitations in that friendship, no misconstructions in that heart, no alienation possible, no change to be feared. There is absolute rest for us there. Why should I be solitary if Jesus Christ is my Friend? Why should I fear if He walks by my side? Why should anything be burdensome if He lays it upon me, and helps me to bear it? What is there in life that cannot be faced and borne — aye, and conquered — if we have Him, as we all may have Him, for the Friend and the Home of our hearts?

4. But notice the condition, "If ye do what I command you." Note the singular blending of friendship and command, involving on our parts absolute submission and closest friendship. For this is the relationship between love and obedience, in regard to Jesus Christ, that the love is the parent of the obedience, and the obedience is the guard and the guarantee of the love.

II. WHAT CHRIST DOES FOR HIS FRIENDS (ver. 15) The slave may see what his lord does, but he does not know his purpose in his acts. "Their's not to reason why," If the servant is in his master's confidence he is more than a servant. But, says Christ, "I have called you friends"; and He calls them so before in act, and and He points to all His past relationship, and especially to the heart outpourings of the upper room, as the proof.

1. Jesus Christ, then, recognizes the obligation of absolute frankness, and He will tell His friends everything that He can. When He tells them what He can the voice of the Father speaks through the Son.

2. Of course, to Christ's frankness there are limits. He will not pour out His treasures into vessels that will spill them. And though here he speaks as if His communion was perfect, we are to remember that it was necessarily conditioned by the power of reception on the part of the hearers.

3. That frank speech is continued today. By the light which He sheds on the Word, by many a suggestion through human lips, by many a blessed thought rising quietly within our hearts, and bearing the token that it comes from a sacreder source than our poor, blundering minds, He still speaks to us, His friends.

4. Ought not that thought of the utter frankness of Jesus make us for one thing very patient of the gaps that are left in His communications and in our knowledge? There are so many things that we should like to know. He holds all in His hand. Why does He thus open one finger instead of the whole palm? Because He loves. A friend exercises the right of reticence as well as the prerogative of speech. "Trust Me! I tell you all that is good for you to receive."

5. And that frankness may well teach us the obligation of keeping our ears open and our hearts prepared to receive the speech that comes from Him. Many a message from your Lord flits past you like the idle wind through an archway, because you are not listening for His voice. If we silenced passion, ambition, selfishness, worldliness, if we took less of our religion out of books and from other people, and were more accustomed to "dwell in the secret place of the Most High," and to say, "Speak, Friend, for Thy friend heareth," we should more often understand how real today is the voice of Christ to them that love Him.

III. HOW CHRIST'S FRIENDS COME TO BE SO AND WHY THEY ARE SO (ver. 16)

1. In all the cases of friendship between Christ and men, the origination and initiation come from Him. "We love Him because He first loved us." The apostle said," I was apprehended of Christ." It is because He lays His seeking and drawing hand upon us, that we ever come to love Him. His choice of us precedes our choice of Him. The Shepherd always comes to seek the sheep that is lost. We come to be His friends: because, when we were enemies, He loved us, and gave Himself for us, and ever since has been sending out the messengers of His love to draw us to His heart.

2. And the purpose is two fold —(1) It respects service or fruit. "That we may go." There is deep pathos and meaning in that word. He had been telling them that He was going; now He says them, "You are to go! We part here. My road lies upward; yours runs onward. Go into all the world." "That ye may bring forth fruit." "Keeping His commandments" does not explain the whole process by which we do the things that are pleasing in His sight. We must also take this other metaphor of the bearing of fruit. There must be the effort; for men do not grow Christlike in character as the vine grows its grapes, but there must be, regulated and disciplined by the effort, the inward life, for no mere outward obedience and tinkering at duties and commandments will produce the fruit that Christ desires and rejoices to have. "That your fruit should remain." There is nothing that corrupts faster than fruit. There is only one kind of fruit that is permanent, incorruptible. The only life's activity that outlasts life and the world is the activity of the men that obey Christ.(2) It respects the satisfying of our desires, that "whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My name He may give it you." Make your desires Christ's, and Christ's yours, and you will be satisfied.

IV. THE MUTUAL FRIENDSHIP OF CHRIST'S FRIENDS (ver. 17) This whole context is enclosed within a golden circlet by that commandment which appears in ver. 12, and reappears here at the close, thus shutting off this portion from the rest of the discourse. Friends of a friend should themselves be friends. We care for the lifeless things that a dear Friend has cared for. And here are living men and women, in all diversities of character and circumstances, but with this stamped upon them all — Christ's friends, lovers of and loved by Him. And how can we be indifferent to those to whom Christ is not indifferent? We are knit together by that bond.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

There is no title surely that excels in dignity that which was worn by Abraham, who was called "The friend of God." Lord Brooke was so delighted with the friendship of Sir Philip Sydney that he ordered to be engraved upon his tomb nothing but this, "Here lies the friend of Sir Philip Sydney." There is beauty in such a feeling, but yet it is a small matter compared with being able to say, "Here lives a friend of Christ."

I. Note — WHAT OBEDIENCE CHRIST REQUESTS FROM THOSE WHO CALL THEMSELVES HIS FRIENDS. It must be —

1. Active. "If ye do." Some think it is quite sufficient if they avoid what He forbids.. Abstinence from evil is a great part of righteousness, but it is not enough for friendship. It would be a poor friendship which only said, "I am your friend, and to prove it, I don't insult you, I don't rob you, I don't speak evil of you." Surely there must be more positive evidence to certify friendship. In that memorable twenty-fifth of Matthew nothing is said about negative virtues; but positive actions are cited and dwelt upon in detail. Fine words, again, are mere wind, and go for nothing if not backed up with substantial deeds. Friendship cannot live on windy talk, it needs the bread of matter of fact.

2. Continuous. He does not say, "If you sometimes do — if you do it on Sundays, in your place of worship"; no, we are to abide in Him, and keep His statutes even unto the end.

3. Universal. "Whatsoever." No sooner is anything discovered to be the subject of a command than the man who is a true friend of Christ says, "I will do it," and he does it. He does not pick and choose which precept he will keep and which he will neglect. The smallest command of Christ may often be the most important. Here is the proof of your love. Will you do the smaller thing for Jesus as well as the more weighty matter? The reality of your subjection to your Lord and Master may hinge upon seemingly insignificant points. A servant might place the breakfast on the table, and feel that she had done her duty, but if her mistress told her to place the salt at the corner, and she did not, she would be asked the cause of her neglect. Suppose she replied, "I placed the breakfast before you, but a little salt was too trifling a matter for me to be troubled about." Her mistress might answer, "But I told you to be sure and put out the salt cellar. Mind you do so tomorrow."

4. To Christ Himself. Put the emphasis on the I. We are told to do these things because Jesus commands them. Does not the royal person of our Lord cast a very strong light upon the necessity of obedience?

5. Out of a friendly spirit. Obedience to Christ as if we were forced to do it under pains and penalties would be of no worth as a proof of friendship. He speaks not of slaves, but of friends.

II. THOSE WHO DO NOT OBEY HIM ARE NO FRIENDS OF HIS. A man who does not obey Christ —

1. Does not give the Saviour His proper place, and this is an unfriendly deed. If I have a friend I am very careful that, if he has honour anywhere, he shall certainly have due respect from me.

2. Is not of one mind with Christ. Can two walk together except they be agreed? Christ is for holiness, this man is for sin.

3. He may be a very high and loud professor, and for that reason be all the more an enemy of the Cross. Through the inconsistent conduct of our Lord's professed friends, His cause is more hindered than by anything else.

4. A disobedient friend would be a great dishonour to Christ. A man is known by the company he keeps.

III. THOSE WHO BEST OBEY CHRIST ARE ON THE BEST OF TERMS WITH HIM.

1. You cannot walk in holy converse with Christ unless you keep His commandments.

2. Some Christians will never get into full fellowship with Christ because they neglect to study His word and search out what His will is. Half the Christian people in the world are content to ask, "What is the rule of our Church?" That is not the question: the point is, "What is the rule of Christ?" Some plead, "My father and mother before me did so." I sympathize in a measure with that feeling; but yet in spiritual things we are to call no man "father," but make the Lord Jesus our Master and Exemplar. Take your light directly from the sun. Let holy Scripture be your unquestioned rule of faith and practice.

3. Under all the crosses, and losses, and trials of life, there is no comfort more desirable than the confidence that you have aimed at doing your Lord's will. Losses borne in the defence of the right and true are gains. Jesus is never nearer His friends than when they bravely bear shame for His sake.

IV. THE MOST FRIENDLY ACTION A MAN CAN DO FOR JESUS IS TO OBEY HIM.

1. Rich men have thought to do the most friendly act towards Christ by building a church, or founding almshouses or schools. If they are believers, and have done this thing as an act of obedience to Christ's law of stewardship, they have well done, and the more of such munificence the better, but where splendid benefactions are given out of ostentation, or from the idea that some merit will be gained by the consecration of a large amount of wealth, the whole business is unacceptable. Jesus asks not lavish expenditure, but ourselves. "To obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams."

2. Others have imagined that they could show their friendliness to Christ by self-mortification. Jesus Christ has not demanded this as the gauge of friendship. He says, "Ye are My friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you," but He does not command you to starve, or to wear sackcloth, or to shut yourselves up in a cell, pride invents these things, but grace teaches obedience.

3. Certain persons have thought it would be the noblest form of holy service to enter into brotherhoods and sisterhoods. But assuredly in the New Testament you shall find no foreshadowing of and . All godly women were sisters of mercy, and all Christlike men were of the society of Jesus, but of monastic and conventual vows we read nothing.

4. Some think it a very friendly act towards Christ to attend many religious services in a consecrated building. They are at matins, and vespers, and feasts and fasts without number. Ye are Christ's friends, if ye do whatsoever He commands ye: that is a better test than early communion or daily mass.

5. It comes to this, that we must steadily, carefully, persistently, cheerfully, do the will of God from the heart in daily life, from the first waking moment till our eyes are closed. Say concerning everything, "What would Jesus have me do about this? What is the teaching of Christ as to this?"

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

If we are friends of Christ —

I. WE SHALL BE FREQUENTLY THINKING OF HIM. His image will be often in our minds. Almost all remarkable occurrences, at least, will suggest Him, in one way or another, to our hearts. In common life you could scarcely be regarded as being a warm-hearted friend of that man, of whom there had not been a single thought in your mind during the course of the day. And, yet, are there not a few in our churches who, from one Sabbath to another, have their thoughts wandering in every direction but toward Christ.

II. WE SHALL SEEK HIS COMPANY, and embrace opportunities of meeting with Him. When, and where do we find Him?

1. In the reading of the Word.

2. In prayer.

3. At the prayer meeting.

4. At His own house, amid the ordinances of the Sabbath.

5. In His sacraments. How easy, then, is the application of the test?

III. WE SHALL READ WITH INTEREST THE LETTERS HE SENDS US AND DELIGHT IN CORRESPONDING WITH HIM IN RETURN. On being asked, When you heard from an attached friend? were you to reply, "Some days ago, but! have not yet found leisure to open and read it" — what would be the inference? Well, is not the New Testament literally an epistle which Christ has sent us? And ought not a Sabbath's sermon to be waited on expectantly as containing some message from Him? And is not the return of correspondence on our part exemplified specially by prayer? How, then, do our professions of friendship for Him stand this test?

IV. WE SHALL HAVE RECOURSE TO HIM FOR SYMPATHY AND HELP IN SEASONS OF AFFLICTION. Friendship is often manifested and proved better by applying for aid than by bestowing it. If you have two friends of whom you cannot at present tell who is the more endeared to your heart — watch, when some Evil may befall you, and see whose image presents itself first to your mind. In applying these principles for the determination of the question of your friendship for Christ, observe, that there are two classes of evils, for deliverance from which you need friendly help.

1. Your sinfulness, with its two-fold evil of guilt and servitude. To whom, then, do you apply for deliverance? Now Jesus is the Friend of Sinners; and that, too, in the sense of His being "the only Mediator between God and man;" and in the sense of His taking the penitent by the hand, and leading him up to the throne of grace. Can that, then, be a friend of Christ, who, as He stands, inviting the guilty to come unto Him, passes Him by.

2. There are your temporal wants, difficulties and distresses. How many, who ween of themselves that they are good friends of Christ, have yet much of the lesson to learn of giving Him the dependence of their hearts, without exception or reserve!

V. WE SHALL BE THE FRIENDS OF HIS FRIENDS.

1. We will take a friendly interest in them, for His sake. I should feel there was a want of entireness in the friendship of that man who treated with negligence even the dog in which he saw I delighted.

2. For their own sakes, as bearing a resemblance to Him, and possessed of properties which we admire in Himself.

VI. WE WILL BE FRIENDS OF HIS CAUSE — interested in the welfare of His Church: will grieve for its losses; rejoice for its gains; plead for it, spend for it, work for it, and, if need be, suffer for it.

VII. WE SHALL NOT BE ASHAMED TO CONFESS HIM (Romans 5:5). There is nothing by which friendship, in common life, is better manifested, than by avowing yourself a friend of your friend. But —

1. Friendship for Christ does not require that we be always obtruding on our company professions of love for Him, and His claims on their embracement of His cause.

2. When challenged and accused for your declared or suspected faith in Christ, by either the magistrate or the mob, though it might imperil your life to confess Him, it would imperil your salvation more to deny Him.

3. There are manners, customs, and fashions of the world which are inimical to Christ's honour and interests, compliance with which His friends will refuse and resist.

VIII. WE SHALL BE SCRUPULOUS IN OBEYING HIS COMMANDMENTS.

(W. Anderson, LL. D.)

I. YOUR FRIENDSHIP IS SOUGHT BY JESUS CHRIST. That He might win it, He declares His own friendship. No matter how meanly you think of yourselves, there is One who seeks your friendship. Think who this One is. In His presence Socrates and Plato pale. The greatness of Alexander, of Hannibal, of Caesar, of Napoleon, of Washington is feeble indeed in comparison with His.

II. THE GROUND UPON WHICH THIS FRIENDSHIP CAN BE BUILT UP.

1. By mutual confidence. This is a law of friendship. To strengthen their confidence He reveals the secrets of His heart to His disciples. He makes confidants of them.

2. By gratitude. Christ says, "All is thine." We answer back, "All that we have is Thine."

III. THE FORMS OF THIS FRIENDSHIP.

1. Intercourse. We do not desire to be separated from our friends, but to be near them.

2. Remembrance. The human heart craves to be remembered. Is not this the meaning of tokens, even of the writing on gravestones? Friendship ministers to this want. It is met in the friendship of Christ. We are told that we are in His thoughts, that our very names are written on His hands. Is there anything more touching than Christ's desire to be remembered by His disciples after He would be gone? At our communion seasons we comply with this desire of Christ.

3. Desire to please. Hence, if our friends are below us we sink to their level. If Christ is our friend, we rise to Him, and become more and more like Him. Hence, not anything tends to such purity of life as love for Christ.

4. Mutual care. Christ cares for us, for our interests, protects us, and we care for His interests. If, as a scientist, I am set for the defence of the law of gravitation, I arrange my arguments and endeavour to convince the understanding. But when our friend is attacked then it is that the lip quivers and the blood boils. When Christianity is assailed it is more to us than the assailing of a system of principles; the interests of our dearest Friend are involved, and we are ready to make any sacrifice, even to the laying down of our lives, in their defence.

IV. THE PROOF OF THIS FRIENDSHIP. Friendship does not spring from obedience, but obedience from friendship. What should we think of an admiral who would say, "I will take advantage of the fact that the President of the United States is my friend and will disregard his commands"? That would be unspeakably mean. The Christian does not presume on the friendship of Christ. That friendship holds him but the firmer to what is right. Note some of the characteristics of Christian obedience. It is —

1. Active and positive. The best way to meet the importunities to do wrong is to be fully occupied. "I have a great work to do. Why should I come down?"

2. Cheerful. The Christian has the friendship of the most powerful and beat Being in the universe; why should he not be cheerful in his obedience to that One? What parent would wish to see his child surly in his obedience?

3. Without reserve: "whatsoever." I know no earthly friend to whom I would say, "I will do whatsoever you command me."

(John Hall, D. D.)

I. WHAT THIS PRIVILEGE IS IN THE GENERAL.

1. The friends of Christ, whereas naturally they were in a state of enmity with God, are now in a state of peace with Christ, and God through Christ (Ephesians 2:14).

2. Whereas they had divided interests as to heaven, now there is an unity of interests betwixt Christ and them (1 John 1:3).

II. HOW THIS FRIENDSHIP IS MADE UP.

1. The first spring and source of it is everlasting free love (Jeremiah 31:3).

2. The plot for compassing it was laid from eternity between the Father and the Son (Titus 1:2).

3. The foundation of it was laid in the blood of Christ, in the fulness of time (Galatians 4:4, 5).

4. It was moved to them in the gospel (2 Corinthians 5:20).

5. They are won to it by His own Spirit (Isaiah 44:3, 5).

6. By faith they go into the friendship with Him (Ephesians 3:17).

7. The friendship is sealed by the sacraments, particularly that of His body and blood. It was an ancient custom to confirm a covenant of friendship with a feast (Genesis 31:54; John 15:13).

III. WHAT A PRIVILEGE THIS IS! Men nor angels cannot fully express the value of it, for it is of infinite value (1 Corinthians 2:9).

1. It is an honourable friendship. Their Friend is the Prince of the kings of the earth; and through Him God is their friend.

2. It is a beneficial friendship. The friendship of many in the world is no more but an empty name. But Christ's friendship, the benefits of it who can tell?

3. It is an intimate friendship. There is no such close and intimate friendship betwixt any relations on earth (1 Corinthians 6:17).

4. It is an universal friendship, of universal influence. There is no friendship in the world but it is limited. But from the greatest to the least of the concerns of His friends, Christ interests Himself.

5. It is a sure and lasting friendship. The friendships in the world are very uncertain (Job 19:14; Psalm 38:11). But Christ's friendship never dies out (John 13:1; Isaiah 49:14-16).

IV. IMPROVEMENT. See —

1. The wonderful condescension of heaven. We are rebels against God naturally, but may become friends through Christ.

2. They that are Christ's are most happy.

3. Jesus Christ is the best and most generous of masters. He makes all His servants friends.

4. Friendless persons, who have none to regard them, may best bestow themselves and get a friend, that will be better to them than all the world.

5. Let sinners seek this friendship.

6. Ye that profess to be the friends of Christ, walk worthy of your privilege.

(T. Boston, D. D.)

I. INQUIRE INTO THIS CHARACTER OF THE FRIENDS OF CHRIST.

1. The friends of Christ are doers of His commands. They are all His servants (Luke 6:46). Christ is their Lord and Lawgiver, and they do His commandments (Revelation 22:14).(1) Their lusts are not their domineering lords, to whom they yield themselves to obey (Romans 6:18, 14; Galatians 5:24).(2) The course of the world is not their rule (Ephesians 2:2).(3) But as they look for salvation by Him, it is the business of their life, to please, serve, and glorify Him, to walk worthy of the Lord, unto all pleasing (Colossians 1:10). There are two works seriously plied by all Christ's friends.(a) salvation work, that they may be saved from sin and wrath, and set beyond hazard of eternal ruin. This is done by faith.(b) Their generation work (Acts 13:36; 1 Peter 2:9). This is done by obedience. In the former they look for their own safety, and in the latter for the honour of their Saviour.

2. The friends of Christ are doers of His commands, because they are His commands (Colossians 3:17).(1) Out of respect to His authority (Psalm 119:4; Hebrews 11:8).(2) Out of love to Him (Hebrews 6:10).(3) As sons redeemed by His blood, not as bondservants working for their own redemption; to please their Benefactor, not to render themselves accepted by their own obedience (Romans 8:15; Colossians 1:10).(4) With heart and good-will (Ephesians 6:7; Isaiah 64:5).

3. The friends of Christ are doers of His commands universally and without exception (Psalm 119:6). They are universal —(1) In their desire to do all His commands, saying, as (Psalm 119:5).(2) In respect of their endeavour (Philippians 13, 14).(3) In respect of their willingness to know all that Christ commands, that they may do it (Psalm 139:23). The reasons why Christ's friends are universal in their obedience, are —

(a)Because the grace of God inclines them to do what Christ commands, because He commands it (Psalm 119:4). The law of Christ is a chain of many links, and he that truly draws one to Him, draws all.

(b)Because the whole law is written on their hearts in regeneration, and not scraps of it here and there (Hebrews 8:10).

(c)Because Christ hath the chief room in their hearts beyond all competitors (Luke 14:26).

(d)Because He is jealous, and the least command of His that is slighted is displeasing to Him (Matthew 5:19).

(e)Because their hearts are reconciled to the whole law, and every part of it (Psalm 119:128).

II. WHY THIS IS MADE THE TRYING AND DISTINGUISHING CHARACTER OF THE FRIENDS OF CHRIST.

1. Because this hits the point in which the sincere and hypocrites differ.

2. Because the reality of friendship to Christ does without controversy appear here. "Show your faith by your works. Love not in word only but in deed."

3. Because where Christ's friendship to a person takes effect, it certainly has this effect (Ephesians 5:25, 26; Titus 2:14).

4. Because though the free grace of God tends to holiness (Titus 2:11, 12), yet there is a disposition in the children of men to turn it to licentiousness (Jude 1:4). Therefore the apostle cautions the Galations (Galatians 5:13).

III. USES.

1. Of information. This shows us —(1) What the life of a Christian is. It is a life of doing whatsoever Christ commands. And so it is —

(a)An active not an idle life (Philippians 2:12; Revelation 14:13).

(b)A well doing life (1 Timothy 1:5).

(c)A watchful life (1 Corinthians 16:13).

(d)A resolute life (Ephesians 6:15).(2) The doctrine of free grace gives no encouragement to looseness of life: for there is no separating of faith and holiness. If ye be Christ's friends by faith, ye will be His faithful and tender servants in obedience.

2. Of exhortation. Show yourselves Christ's friends by doing whatsoever He commands you. And do ye what Christ commands you, if you would show yourselves His friends.(1) In a time of general apostasy and blacksliding from the ways of God (Genesis 6:9).(2) Even when it must be your temporal loss (Hebrews 11:85).(3) When His hand is lying heavy on you by crosses and afflictions (Job 1:9, 10).(4) When sin comes with a seen advantage in its hand, as in the case of Moses (Hebrews 11:24-26).(5) When the sin that most easily besets you comes in competition with your obedience to the commands of Christ (Psalm 18:23).(6) When there is nothing to keep you back from sin, but pure regard to the command of Christ.

IV. MOTIVES.

1. Because all His commands are those of an absolute Lord, to whom we owe obedience in all things (Exodus 20:2).

2. All His commands are just, righteous, and reasonable (Psalm 119:128).

3. We are all of us under covenant engagements to do whatsoever He commands us. We have all avouched Him for our Lord (Luke 6:46).

4. Christ has been the best friend ever mankind had (John 15:13; Romans 5:8)

5. It is necessary to evidence your sincerity (Psalm 119:6).

6. The glorious privilege of those who do whatsoever Christ commands them.

(T. Boston, D. D.)

At Federal Hill, Baltimore, Colonel Warren gave orders to his guards that only officers in uniform were to be admitted to camp. One bright morning General Dix, who commanded the troops guarding the city, walked over from Fort McHenry in undress. Attempting to pass the line of sentries in company with an aide, the old general was amused at finding a musket barring his passage, while the aide, with his glittering shoulder straps, was permitted to enter. "Why do you stop me, my man?" inquired the general, quietly. "My orders are to admit only officers in uniform," was the reply. "But don't you see that this is General Dix?" exclaimed the aide, angrily. "Well, between you and me, major," said the sentry, his eyes twinkling with amusement, "I see very well who it is; but if General I)ix wants to gets to get into this camp he had better go back and put on his uniform." "You are quite right, sentry," remarked the general. "I'll go back and get my coat." The incident increased his admiration for the entire command.

(H. O. Mackey.)

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