RECAP–JESUS OUR FRIEND based on Isaiah 41:8-14 and John 15:13-17
#10 Hymn–WHAT A FRIEND WE HAVE IN JESUS
Context for the Hymn (from staugustine.com)
That looks like a sober man, I think I’ll hire him to cut wood for me.” That was said of a man on the streets of Lake Rice, Canada, as he walked along carrying a wood saw and a sawhorse. The response from a man nearby was, “That’s Joseph Scriven. He wouldn’t cut wood for you because you can afford to hire him. He only cuts wood for those who don’t have money enough to pay.” That seemed to be the philosophy and attitude of Scriven, a devoted member of the Plymouth Brethren Church. He had a sincere desire to help those who were truly destitute.
Joseph was born on Sept. 10, 1819, in Ireland. His parents had financial means enough to afford a wonderful educational opportunity for their son. He was enrolled in Trinity College in Dublin where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree.
In this young man, Ireland had the prospect of a great citizen with high ideals and notable aspirations. He fell in love with a young lady who was eager to spend her life with him. However, on the day before their wedding, she fell from her horse, while crossing a bridge over the River Bann and was drowned in the water below. Joseph stood helplessly watching from the other side.
In an effort to overcome his sorrow, he began to wander. By age 25 his travels had taken him to an area near Port Hope, Canada. He became highly regarded by the people of that area. He tutored some of the local children in their school work. It was there he met a wonderful young lady, Elisa Roche, and again fell in love. They had exciting plans to be married. However, tragedy reared its ugly head once again and she died of pneumonia before they could wed.
As indicated earlier in this story, he labored in Port Hope among the impoverished widows and sick people. He often served for no wages and even shared his clothes with those less fortunate than himself.
On an occasion when Joseph’s mother became ill, a friend who was visiting with him discovered a poem near his bed and asked who had written it. Scriven said, “The Lord and I did it between us.” He thought the poem would, perhaps, bring some spiritual comfort to his Mom, who still lived in Ireland. Scriven had not intended that anyone else should see it. That poem became the hymn.
A true friend is very difficult to find–especially a lasting friendship that stands the test of time. What allows for a friendship to become that strong? It is a friendship forged by fire and the most difficult of circumstances. It is in the tough times you learn how strong a friendship truly is. Joseph Scriven, the author of the poem that became the hymn What a Friend We Have in Jesus, knew much hardship. But he was able to endure because of his deep friendship with Jesus! What does it mean when we say Jesus is our friend?
1) God believes in us. In Isaiah 41, God calls Israel “my friend” (41:8). But this friend in Israel abandoned God; they had become prone to sin and wandered off, even into exile. Yet despite the constant failure of the nation, he still called them, chose them, and believed in them. The same is true with us. We fall short and fail. We even sometimes push God away. But he never stops believing in us, even when we stop believing that we could ever be worthy of God’s love!
2) God stands by us. For Israel, he would be their strength and their help and remain with them. Even when Israel rejected him, he refused to give up on them and was right there beside them. He even promised as soon as they turned to him, he would be there. The same is true for us. He will be our help and remain beside us, no matter how we treat him (think Footprints poem or Sam’s loyalty to Frodo). The Scriptures promise that when we seek him we will find him, and if we draw close to him, he will draw close to us. He will remain by our side, no matter what we go through or how much we push him away.
3) God fights our battles. In Isaiah, God promised to take care of their enemies so they could live in peace. He would be their help. God promises to fight our battles for us. After all, he has already defeated Satan once and for all, as well as death, hell, and the grave. Yet we often find ourselves in spiritual skirmishes. Instead of turning to the one who has already won, we struggle on our own. Turn to the one who has your back and can take care of any obstacle in our path!
4) He died so we could live. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down your life for your friends. It is much easier to lay down our lives for our family, but what about a friend? Would you bail a friend out of jail, if it meant financial ruin? Would you sacrifice your hopes and dreams so your friend can live theirs? Would you give up your very life so your friend with a fatal condition could have a chance of life, living off of your organs? The truth is as humans, true sacrifice for another is rather rare and unlikely. Yet Jesus sacrificed himself for us, giving his own life so we could have another chance at life with God and eternal life! And he did so willingly!
5) He answers your prayers. He is at the right hand of God, interceding on our behalf. And as we draw close to God, he hears our prayers. Abraham, Moses, and Elijah were all able to dialogue with God; we too can dialogue and know our prayers are answered.
In light of our great friend, how should we live?
1) Be faithful. Jesus gave everything for you; we should live with him as our greatest priority. Let us not half-heartedly follow our friend, or welcome him only when convenient; rather, we should follow in his way without having any rival for affection.
2) Bear fruit. Those who have been called and appointed as friends are called to bear fruit. This fruit is the evidence of a life that has Christ in it. It is a fruit not just of character but spreading the message of hope.
3) Love each other. God loved us; love should flow out from us into a world needing to know the love of God.
Questions for reflection
1) What is one thing you have done that you believe God could never forgive? How does it feel to know he always believes in you?
2) What is one circumstance in your life right now or recently that you need to know the presence of God is with you?
3) What battle are you facing that you could use the help of your friend Jesus?
4) When people see your life, what fruit will they see? Will it reflect a life that knows and follows Jesus?
This Sunday Pastor Ryan continues the Favorite Hymn Series with our #9 hymn. The sermon will be titled, “On the Rock,” based on Matthew 7:24-27. How are we anchored on the Rock? And what is our #9 hymn? Come or tune in Sunday to find out.
Daily Bible Readings for April 20 – 26
April 20: Exodus 33:12-23 How do we know God considered Moses a friend?
April 21: 2 Samuel 7:5-16 How do we know God considered David a friend?
April 22: 2 Kings 2:1-11 How do we know God considered Elijah a friend?
April 23: John 17:6-18 How do we know Jesus considered the disciples friends?
April 24: Revelation 3:20 What do we need to do to become a friend of God?
April 25: Psalm 1:1-3 How can the Word help us grow?
April 26: Matthew 4:1-11 How can the Word help us become victorious?
This Week’s Events:
Saturday, April 24–Virtual Spring Festival for Brethren Woods
Saturday, May 1–SNL event @ Brethren Woods from 2 PM – 5 PM
Tuesday, May 4–Women’s Fellowship @ 6:30 PM
Wednesday, May 5–Worship Team @ 7:30 PM
Saturday, May 8–National Day of Prayer event @ 6:30 PM
Friday, May 21 & Saturday, May 22–Disaster Auction
Call for Worship Leaders and Children’s Story
As we look at the ability to reopen in the coming weeks, we are in need of both worship leaders and children’s story. We are looking for one person each week, rather than a month at a time. If you would like to serve, contact Alice Over (worship leading) or Tammy Stine (children’s story).
Call to Prayer–National Day of Prayer Service
Let us continue to pray for our nation in the following ways:
1) National return to God
2) Repentance of personal sin
3) Repentance of corporate sin
4) Healing for the brokenness of relationships
5) Our leaders
6) Restoration of the national church
We will have a National Day of Prayer Service on Saturday, May 8 @ 6:30 pm. If you would like to assist by leading a station of prayer, please let Pastor Ryan know. We would love to have six volunteers willing to lead a prayer station.
Misti Wheelbarger is looking for volunteers for the nursery during the Sunday School hour for next year. If you are willing to help, even if it is just for a Sunday, please reach out to her and let her know.
Four Ways to Give!
1) Mail your tithe into the church office
2) Drop it by the church office on Tuesday, Thursday or Friday, 9 am – 1 pm
3) Our online giving platform: https://beavercreekchurchva.churchcenter.com/giving
4) Drop off in the offering plate at the main entrance as you enter for church
Continue to Keep in Prayer our members in Skilled Care Facilities: Mary G Miller, Shirley Miller, Stanley Suter & Carolyn Wine
John Bennington (health)
Sam Carr (health)
Elijah Tucker Dean (health)
John Fix (hospitalized)
Janet Good (health)
Cindy Heatwole (health)
Shannon Hollen (health)
Shirley Holland (health)
Heath Kimmell (health)
Larry LaPrade (COVID)
Lent family (work)
Ella Makely (health)
Alda Miller (health)
Diane Miller (health)
Mark Milstead (health)
Tami Plaugher (health)
Evy Kaye Sandin (health)
Chris Shirk (health)
Ann Simmons (health)
Crystal Smith (health)
Mary Whitmore (health)
Charles Wright (health)
Owen Wright (health)
Pastor Ryan Cooper
Beaver Creek COB