The Bare Soul - January 24, 2010
Jesus Likes Me, This I Know ...

The following Bare Soul is part two of a two part series on God's heart toward the believer. The attached audio recording is a sermon titled "Yes, Jesus Likes Me" delivered to the homeless at the Kansas City Rescue Mission Chapel on January 14, 2010. This recording is also included in part one of The Bare Soul - January 17, 2010 - "God's Pleasure".

Yes, Jesus Likes Me ... - January 14, 2010

John 15:13 - Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.

Jesus likes me, this I know,
He is with me where I go,
Everyday, thru thick and thin,
Our friendship will never end.

Yes, Jesus likes me,
Yes, Jesus likes me,
Yes, Jesus likes me,
He’s with me where I go

Most people who believe in God, when asked the question, "Do you believe God loves you?" will invariably answer in the affirmative. However, if you pose that same question in a bit different way asking, "Do you believe God likes you?" then the answers will vary. Some might say haltingly, "I hope so" or "I guess He does", but in most instances there isn't that same conviction in their answer as when asked whether God loved them. The truth is, it is easier to believe that an all-loving God loves us all then to believe that He actually likes us and desires to be with us. I mean, you get the chance to pick your friends, but you're stuck with your relatives, right? Honestly, we may be sons and daughters of God but does He really want to "hang out" with us as friends? Not only does He desire our company, but He is committed to a friendship that is so perfectly loyal that such fidelity is beyond our mortal comprehension. In addition to God loving us is the fact that He likes us. And the reason He likes and loves us is because He first loved and liked His Son.

In so-called love there is oftentimes a sense of obligation and duty -- in liking someone, there is no sense of “having to” but “wanting to”. Liking someone is often times easier to understand than loving someone because when we love a person it usually involves a plethora of emotions, primarily because humankind does it so imperfectly. A person may be hurt when a loved one lets them down. Another may feel wronged because their wife or husband did not love them with the same earnestness that they first showed toward their spouse. People will always disappoint us in the arena of love because we all hold our own ideals toward this most perfect notion in our respective minds. However, "liking" someone is different. Liking a person often is divorced of pre-conceptions of how we should behave toward that other person -- it is merely a show of affection that is most often demonstrated by a desire to spend time with their "friend". God the Father demonstrated this most poignantly when Jesus was water baptized and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him. The Father stated first that Jesus was indeed His "beloved Son", but then He states His pleasure that His Son's relationship with Him invokes. The Oneness of the Father and the Son (John 10:30) pleased the heart of the former in ways that we can only speculate. When the Heavenly Father spoke the words, "You are my beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased" (Luke 3:22) it must have created a holy stir of rejoicing in heaven and a trembling of the demons on earth. This was a oneness of relationship that we all can hope to attain.

Beloved, God our Father in heaven has given us the same relationship to Himself through the blood of Jesus. Through His competed work on Calvary, we are not only loved by God (as much as He loves His Son Jesus) but we are also liked equally as much as sons and daughters of the Most High. If God loves and likes His Son, most assuredly He feels the same way about the "brothers of Christ". For Jesus said He was not ashamed to call us brothers (Hebrews 2:10-11) and God is overjoyed to call us His children, heirs with His Son (I John 3:1). Furthermore and in agreement with the Father, Jesus understood the importance of friendship. In the Old Testament, only those who were the "special" and set apart individuals could be "friends of God". Abraham had this distinction (Isaiah 41:8) as well as did Moses (Exodus 33:11). However, the new covenant by His blood allows ALL to draw near the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16), allowing us all access to our God-friend! Even Jesus, the Second Person of the Trinity, calls us friends as stated in our opening verse. Let me pose a question: Do you make friends with people you don't like? Of course you don't and neither does Jesus! He is thrilled to be our friends as we should to be His, as we obey and walk with Him. Just because we're "spiritual relatives" doesn't mean that God is somehow obligated to be nice to us. Some may have memories of their earthly fathers or mothers in this regard -- that their parents felt obliged to spend time with them as children because that was what was expected. However, when it came down to it, there was just too much insecurity and dislike in many parents toward themselves that they couldn't effectively love nor even like their own children. This has never been the case with the Heavenly Father. While there will always be things that we do that He may not like (e.g. selfishness), He will never associate the behavior with our person. He only sees our mutual friend Jesus within us, living ever to make intercession and to come speedily to our defense (Hebrews 7:25).

Once we truly understand that God not only loves us but that He likes us and desires our company, then we in turn will grow in our desire to spend time with Him. If we know that there is a Loving Father in heaven and a "Friend that sticks closer than a brother" who dwells within us (Proverbs 18:24), then we will continue to grow in that knowledge that He desires us, above all things, to be our closest friend. There is no one who will pursue us, will need and love us and who will even like us as perfectly as the Triune God. He desires our company like no other. Let us all come at His beckon for He cares for us with a love and also a liking that no other can begin to attain. He is our Friend and we are His companions, a band of brothers and sisters that is bound together for eternity! Amen.

Lord God Almighty, thank you that your love is so complete that you care for us as friends. You like us, Lord, and You desire to spend eternity with us. Thank You for this incredible love which You have given all who call upon Your Name. We give You the glory for You are worthy! In Jesus Name, Amen.

Jesus likes me, this I know,
He is with me where I go,
Everyday, thru thick and thin,
Our friendship will never end.

Yes, Jesus likes me,
Yes, Jesus likes me,
Yes, Jesus likes me,
He’s with me where I go

Your Barefoot Servant,

Rick

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