From servant to friend of God in five steps

Friends of God … The Bible mentions quite a few. But is this still possible today? It is a question of proximity to God or remoteness from Him. Here is how to become a friend of God—not only for the ministers.

The ministers and teachers from Lithuania and Latvia had gathered for a divine service on Saturday, 18 August 2018 in Šiauliai in Lithuania. The sermon was based on John 15: 15: “No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.”

God is the boss

“We see ourselves as servants of God, not as a boss,” Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider said. “It is not humiliating that we are servants of God. In fact, it is an honour for us. Jesus Christ described Himself as a servant.”

“God is the boss, Jesus is the master. He tells us: ‘Go and serve your neighbour and I will decide who your neighbour is.’” The Chief Apostle went on to explain that only God can bring about salvation: “We are only tools.”

Friends come to our aid

In our Bible text, Jesus tells His disciples that they are no longer just servants but also friends. What does that mean? The Chief Apostle found an answer with Abraham, who was called the friend of God. He also referred to Moses, with whom God spoke as a man speaks to his friend, and to John the Baptist, who called himself the friend of the bridegroom.

The friends of the Lord are therefore servants who understand His intentions, fulfil His will, and prepare for His return, the Chief Apostle continued. “He told us about His plans: eternal life so that mankind will be close to God.”

Contributing to His plans

“The service we perform is to contribute to these plans,” Chief Apostle Schneider made clear and mentioned five aspects.

  • “The goal of our ministering is bringing human beings close to God and having them stay close to Him through good times and bad. Blessing is not to become rich or healthy, but to be near God. Those who are close to God have peace in their hearts. They have a balanced spiritual life, feel and know that they are loved, and have security.”
  • “Let us make sure that our faith in Jesus Christ becomes stronger and stronger. Our ministering is to reveal Jesus Christ to our brothers and sisters so that they get to know and understand Him better and better, and understand that God loves them.”
  • “Our service is to help the Apostles in preparing the bride. The bride must be comprised of souls who love Jesus with all their heart and who share the spirit of Jesus Christ: they love all human beings and want all to be with God forever.”
  • “The Lord will not return and take one from here and another one from there. He wants to take His people with Him: the faithful who believe in Him, who love Him, who serve one another, who love their neighbour, and who are united in Jesus Christ. That is why our service has to ensure that this unity is preserved.”
  • “It is also part of our mission to explain to the brothers and sisters that if there are trials, it does not mean that God has forgotten you. On the contrary, He will make sure that you can continue to come to Him and remain with Him.”

“This is the kind of service we want to perform upon our own soul and the soul of our neighbour,” the Chief Apostle concluded. “We are talking about proximity to, or remoteness, from God: being with God or being far from Him.”

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Andreas Rother
Lithuania, Chief Apostle, Divine service