Apr 18 16

Faithful Friends

vmsmith

 

Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me. (Psalms 41:9)

As I read the 41st Psalm, I am reminded of John’s words in 1 John 2:5-6: “But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” Psalm 41 is another psalm that gives a glimpse into events in the last week of Jesus’ life. Perhaps we can call it coincidence that we would read so many psalms like this that so closely parallel our Sunday morning series in Matthew.

The connection between 1 John 2 and Psalm 41 becomes apparent to me as we see the integrity of Christ despite the false actions of His friends. In verse 7, there are whispers and plots of harm. In verse 9, a trusted friend who sat at Jesus’ table turned against Him and betrayed Him. This is an obvious reference to Judas who received only goodness and love from the Lord. Judas brought Him down, or so he thought. However, as we saw in Psalm 40 last week, the resurrection was Christ’s triumph. In this Psalm He says, “Mine enemy doth not triumph over me” (v. 11).

Where do we find the 1 John connection? In verse 12, Jesus said: “And as for me, thou upholdest me in mine integrity, and settest me before thy face forever.” Those that truly love the Lord have this same kind of integrity. As John said, we desire to walk as He walked. If we do, charges of evil against us are always false charges just as they were false when hurled at Him. When betrayed by a friend, which sometimes happens, it is not because we deserve it. We have kept God’s word by loving our brother as we do ourselves.

In the last week of Jesus’ life, He was set upon by those who had no real cause against Him. The constant questions intended to entrap Him, the denial of His authority and earlier claims that the good deeds He did were actually works of Satan, were so outside the pale of reason that the most skeptical should have said, “Look for something else. We know this cannot be true.” Nevertheless, the charges stuck in their mind and when the betrayal of the trusted friend came there was no doubt as to the outcome of His trial.

His integrity didn’t really matter to them. No matter how justly He walked they were going to crucify Him. This would be a major concern if it was the accusers that were the final judge. They were not. Jesus stood justified before God because of His perfect obedience to His Father. God would cause Him to triumph in that integrity.

This is what I am saying to you today. When you walk the way Christ walked and you know you have been obedient to His commands, how people judge you does not really matter. God will vindicate you at the last day because you stand in the perfect righteousness of Christ.

As a pastor that must preach on unpopular topics, I think about things like this. I will be accused by some who do not like what I preach. If I do not compromise the truth, I have no fear because God will stand by me. I do not want to be overly cryptic, so let me just conclude by saying, I hope faithful friends remain faithful friends even when telling them the truth is unpopular.

Pastor V. Mark Smith