Study Guides

← Back to Study Guides

Standalone Sermon | Year End Reflection: Friendship

June 17, 2024
John 15:12-17

12“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17These things I command you, so that you will love one another.”

Download study guide icon Download .pdf


To discover and experience Jesus Christ in our midst

To cultivate mutually encouraging relationships

To participate in God’s mission to the world 

Summary and Connection

Tim Keller once said that in the Bible, the two features of real friendship are constancy and transparency. “Real friends always let you in and never let you down.” And the definition of a true friend perfectly describes the one who made us his friends: Jesus.

First, Jesus brings us all the way in. He holds back nothing of God’s ultimate plan for us, and he leaves no questions unanswered about whether we are loved, whether we are saved, whether we are his. Nothing that we truly need to know remains unsaid between God and us. Jesus said to his disciples: “I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.”

Second, Jesus never lets us down. He lived for us, died for us, rose again for us, and is coming back for us. He has covered our past, our present, and our future, and he gives his Spirit to be with us until he returns. That’s never letting us down. And he calls us to be his friends. Only two people in the entire Bible prior to Jesus were called friends of God: Abraham and Moses. In John 15, suddenly there are twelve friends of God. Now, there are billions.

Your community group is filled with friends of God! This is all because our friend — the one who always lets us in and never lets us down — chose us. Jesus chose us and gave us a mission: to love one another and to bear fruit that abides. “These things I command you, so that you will love one another.” Where does this love come from, so that we will love one another? From Jesus, our friend. He is the friend who makes all other friendships possible. In friendship with God we are blessed to have these friendships with one another.


How can we give thanks to God for his friendship in this group? How can we celebrate the friendships that we have with each other in this group?

How can we give thanks to Jesus for his friendship with us?

Think about fruit. It is organic, cannot be forced, and is part of the integrated life of a plant. How can we draw others into friendship with God — not with programs or challenges or methods, but as part of bearing fruit? Remember that we do this with the promise that, “You will love one another.”

In light of all of this, take time to discuss your group’s successes and highlights from the year, as well as challenges experienced and expectations for the future. 


God’s word is a lamp to our feet. Christ’s teachings are a light to our path. May God’s word take root in our lives. May Christ’s love nourish and sustain us. Amen.