“Friend Day” is always such a special day for us at Britton Christian Church. I think one of the main reasons why “Friend Day” has grown to be so important for us over the past several years is because it is good to share good gifts with our friends. Just as Philip shared the Good News of Jesus with Nathanael in John 1:45, we want to share the Good News of Jesus with those of you who we call friend.

There are a lot of things friends share today — secrets, tickets to a ballgame, notes for a test, cars, time, a shoulder to cry on, a warm handshake of welcome, and much more; but the greatest thing a friend could ever share with someone he or she truly cares about is Jesus Christ of Nazareth. All of the ideal attributes which we would hope to find in a friend — compassion, care, concern, encouragement — all of these find their ultimate expression in Jesus and no other.

When we experience a friendship that we truly treasure, one that touches our life in a deep and lasting way, it is because that friend models the character of Jesus to us. Such was the case with one little girl named Helen Keller and her friend Anne Sullivan.

Helen Keller was one of the world’s most renown women. As a little girl, Helen didn’t have the benefit of sight or sound, but she grew up to be one of the world’s most famous women. Most everyone has heard of the great accomplishments of Helen Keller, but not as many people have heard about the person who took an angry little girl and offered her friendship, understanding, compassion, and nurture. Helen Keller had a friend!

Anne Sullivan was born at Feeding Hills, Massachusetts, in poverty, in affliction. She was half blind. Her mother died when she was young and as a result, Anne had to move to the orphanage where all of the unwanted children stayed. Then, later in life, at the Perkins Institute for the Blind, a brilliant operation restored Anne’s sight. Thereafter she devoted her life to the care of the blind.

Meanwhile, down south, a little girl was born in Tuscumbia, Alabama. When she was only 19 months old, Helen Keller was stricken with an acute illness that left her deaf and blind. No method could be found to educate her until the age of seven, when she began her special education in reading and writing with Anne Sullivan of the Perkins Institute for the Blind.

Meeting Anne Sullivan proved to be a real turn around for Helen. Anne Sullivan, the woman who had faced the trials of blindness and losing her mother early on in life, would prove to be the friend that Helen needed. At first, Helen was angry, obstinate, and most difficult to work with. It would have been so easy for Anne Sullivan to give up on the little girl, but she saw in Helen what Helen could not see in herself, so she persisted in loving, caring, and sharing her life with the little girl.

In just two weeks, Anne taught Helen thirty words, spelling them out by touching Helen’s hand. Under this system, Helen Keller rose to greatness. She quickly learned to read by the Braille system and to write by means of a specially constructed typewriter. In 1890, Helen learned to speak after only one month of study. Ten years later, she was able to enter Radcliffe College, from which she graduated with honors in 1904.

Following graduation, Helen served on the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind. Throughout her life she worked and raised funds for the American Foundation for the Blind, and she traveled and lectured in many countries, including England, France, Italy, Egypt, South Africa, Australia, and Japan.

After World War II (1939-1945), she visited wounded veterans in American hospitals and lectured in Europe on behalf of the physically handicapped. She wrote several books which include, The Story of My Life (1902), The World I Live In (1908), Out of the Dark (1913), Midstream-My Later Life (1930), Let Us Have Faith (1940), Teacher: Anne Sullivan Macy (1955), and The Open Door (1957). Her life is the subject of a motion picture, The Unconquered (1954), and a play, The Miracle Worker (1959; motion picture, 1962.)

Helen never forgot her dear friend whom she cherished for more than forty-nine years. The time came when misfortune befell Anne Sullivan, who meanwhile had become Mrs. Macy. What misfortune you might ask? Anne became blind. Suddenly the teacher became the pupil, and the pupil became the student. Helen schooled her former teacher as devotedly as she herself had been schooled.

Finally, Helen Keller stood at the deathbed of her other half. When it was all over, she said, “I pray for strength to endure the silent dark until she smiles upon me again.” Oh what a friend!

Friendships like the one shared by Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan are difficult to cultivate. Most people experience friendship as a constant string of letdowns, heartaches, and frustration. It is as if we know what a real friend is, but so few of us experience what we know in our heart we desire. As a result of our broken friendships most of us end up crying out for something different than what we experience. Such was the case for Norma Jean.

Years ago Father John Powell told the story of Norma Jean Mortenson: “Norma Jean Mortenson.” Remember that name? Norma Jean’s mother, Mrs. Gladys Baker, was periodically committed to a mental institution and Norma Jean spent much of her childhood in foster homes. In one of those foster homes, when she was eight years old, one of the boarders raped her and gave her a nickel. He said, “Here, Honey. Take this and don’t ever tell anyone what I did to you.” When little Norma Jean went to her foster mother to tell her what had happened she was beaten badly. She was told, “Our boarder pays good rent. Don’t you ever say anything bad about him!” Norma Jean at the age of eight had learned what it was to be used and given a nickel and beaten for trying to express the hurt that was in her.

Norma Jean turned into a very pretty young girl and people began to notice. Boys whistled at her and she began to enjoy that, but she always wished they would notice she was a person too — not just a body — or a pretty face — but a person.

Then Norma Jean went to Hollywood and took a new name — Marilyn Monroe and the publicity people told her, “We are going to create a modern sex symbol out of you.” And this was her reaction, “A symbol? Aren’t symbols things people hit together?” They said, “Honey, it doesn’t matter, because we are going to make you the most smoldering sex symbol that ever hit the celluloid.”

She was an overnight smash success, but she kept asking, “Did you also notice I am a person? Would you please notice?” Then she was cast in the dumb blonde roles. Everyone hated Marilyn Monroe. Everyone did. She would keep her crews waiting two hours on the set. She was regarded as a selfish prima donna. What they didn’t know was that she was in her dressing room vomiting because she was so terrified. She kept saying, “Will someone please notice I am a person. Please.” They didn’t notice. They wouldn’t take her seriously. She went through three marriages–always pleading, “Take me seriously as a person.” Everyone kept saying, “But you are a sex symbol. You can’t be other than that.” Marilyn kept saying “I want to be a person. I want to be a serious actress.”

And so on that Saturday night, at the age of 35 when all beautiful women are supposed to be on the arm of a handsome escort, Marilyn Monroe took her own life. She killed herself. When her maid found her body the next morning, she noticed the telephone was off the hook. It was dangling there beside her. Later investigation revealed that in the last moments of her life she had called a Hollywood actor and told him she had taken enough sleeping pills to kill herself. He answered with the famous line of Rhett Butler in the movie Gone With The Wind. I’ll paraphrase for you – “‘Frankly, my dear, I don’t care!” That was the last word she heard. She dropped the phone and died.

Claire Booth Luce in a very sensitive article asked, “What really killed Marilyn Monroe, love goddess who never found any love?” Claire said she thought the dangling telephone was the symbol of Marilyn Monroe’s whole life. She died because she never got through to anyone who understood.

So few today find a friendship like Anne Sullivan and Helen Keller. Far more experience the apathy and indifference which frustrated Norma Jean to the bitter end. For those of us whom God has graced with a friend who loves us even when we are unlovable, stands by us when everyone else walks away, and challenges us when everyone else has given up on us – we need to be thankful. There are many of you here this morning who have brought just such a friend with you to church this morning. I want to say, “Thank you” to all of our friends. You are a gift from God and we appreciate you so very much.

For those of us who are fortunate, we have a friend we can count on. One as the Bible describes in Proverbs by saying, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” (Prov 17:17 NIV) You and I need to stop and thank God for His provision of a friend. What would we do if we did not have a friend with whom we could share our deepest secrets, our highest aspirations, and our most haunting fears?

When I think of such a friend my mind immediately races to the beautiful memories of how my dear wife, Connie, has loved me and stood by me for the past fifteen years. I have learned so much about friendship over the years that we have known one another. As I have watched her be a friend to me I have learned what real friendship is all about.

When I first met Connie, and for the first few years that we were married, I had a real distorted idea of what a friend was supposed to be. I thought that to continue to be her friend I had to continually impress her, always top what I had done in the past, and never give her any reason to be mad at me. I would let her down and automatically think, “Well, it’s over.” That’s what I had known in the past. As a matter of fact, that was the way I had treated my friends. Whenever they disappointed me, when they let me down, when they didn’t act like I wanted them to act towards me — I deserted my friends. Oh, I might not have yelled and screamed at them while I walked away, but I deserted them nonetheless.

In the past few years I have come to enjoy the friendship I share with Connie. Joy is to be a mark of true friendship is it not? I have come to enjoy many aspects of my relationship with Connie — I enjoy the relationship we have as husband and wife; I enjoy watching her interact with our three kids; I enjoy the way she cares deeply for our parents; I enjoy the way she cares for those in our extended family of faith; I enjoy watching the way she works with other people’s children; I enjoy watching her work with the people in the choir, but more than anything else, I receive great joy from my friend for the way she loves me. The way she listens to me when I need to talk even when what I have to say isn’t worth a “plug-nickle;” the way she seeks to comfort me as her friend when I am discouraged and depressed; the way she sees a prince even though I am all too often a frog, the way she encourages me all along the way, and the security I enjoy in knowing she will always be there. It is so comforting for me, when I leave this church each evening, to know that when I get home I will be greeted with the precious, priceless presence of my friend.

I hope you are getting a clear picture of my deep love for my friend. Words can hardly express the joy I receive from my friend, but you need to know this day that Connie is not the perfect friend. Because she is a mere mortal just like me there are things which she is incapable of doing or being. I have searched and searched to come up with those limitations and I have come up with three:

Connie doesn’t always know my needs. Connie can only hear what I am saying. She doesn’t subscribe to the crystal ball method of discerning needs, she doesn’t watch the Psychic Friends Network, nor does she read minds. She can’t know my heart unless I share it with her. There is no way for Connie, who loves me deeply, to know the innermost joys and sorrows of my life unless I share them with her.

Connie has her bad days just like I do. On those days it is extremely difficult for us to love with the love of our Lord Jesus. Have you ever woke up in the morning, had your time with the Lord, but for some reason you just never got going? I sure have. There have been days, too many for me to count, when I just wanted to disappear from the face of the earth. For most of us on those bad days, we just want to be left alone. The last thing on our mind is to care for someone else during those bad days.

Connie’s commitment to me has its limits. I know that there is a point of grace out there in our relationship with a bright red “Stop” sign marking its limits. If I were to so disrespect and disregard our friendship that I walked by that “Stop” sign never taking into account how I might hurt my friend — our friendship would end. We have entered into a holy covenant called marriage and if I were to break that covenant all of the blessings that I derive from my friendship with Connie would end.

If you or my wife were to examine my limitations as a friend you would find a list longer than your arm. Connie is the greatest friend I have ever known and yet she still has limitations. Where does that leave me? What am I to do? Where should I go on those days when Connie is having a bad day? Who am I to talk to when I am so embarrassed by my actions that I can’t even mutter them to my best friend? Where am I to go when my sin is so scandalous, so repugnant that even the most prized of friends turns away? I have discovered a friend in Jesus — a furious love that will not let me go no matter how scarred or marred I become.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? ‘…For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, {39} neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ (Rom 8: 35; 38-39 NIV)

There is a love which will not let you go. The love of Jesus is a love which knows your needs before you are even made aware of your lack. The love of Jesus is a love which never has a bad day. Jesus knows your scars so well that He was willing to suffer Himself so that He might be identified with sinners, the scandalous, rather than remain in the security of His majestic Kingdom.

There are three very important aspects of Jesus’ love which you and I desperately need to allow to sink in if we are ever going to grasp the heights of His great love for us.

Jesus desires His very best for you. There is this pervasive attitude rampant in the church today which is very disturbing. I can’t really put my finger on how or when it got started. I guess it has been going on all along, but it is totally contradictory to the ways of our Lord. Whenever a brother or sister stumbles and falls it seems that a certain element within the Body of Christ glories in the errant ways of the brother or sister. “Oh, I knew he was too good to be true. She never fooled me. You reap what you sow.” Rather than reach out and seek to restore our brothers and sisters we rear back and kick them in the ribs. Many of you here this morning have had to deal with this type of demonic attitude in the past.

You need to know my friend that your presence here this morning is not by accident, it is by divine appointment. God has called you here this morning to let you know that His ways are not the ways you have seen exhibited by those who call themselves followers of Jesus, but are in actuality sons of darkness, despair, and depravity. Jesus seeks your best. His highest aim is to restore you to what He desires for your life rather than allow you to wallow in the puddles of life frequented by the Prodigal Son.

When Nathanael heard of Jesus he said, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” When Jesus saw Nathanael He said, “Look, here is truly an Israelite. There is nothing false in him!” The same Jesus who spoke of Nathanael in such glowing terms even though Nathanael wondered if anything good could come from Nazareth is the same Jesus who looks beyond what you and I are to what He desires us to be.

Brennan Manning in his book, The Ragmuffin Gospel, gives us a wonderful example of what I’m talking about. Manning says,

On a sweltering summer night in New Orleans, sixteen recovering alcoholics and drug addicts gather for their weekly AA meeting. They have been meeting for several years and know each other well. Some talk to each other daily on the phone, others socialize outside the meetings. The personal investment in one another sobriety is sizable. Nobody fools anybody else. Everyone is there because he had made a slobbering mess of his life and is trying to put the pieces back together. Some members are wealthy, others middle class or poor. Some smoke, others don’t. Most drink coffee. Some have graduate degrees, others have not finished high school. For one small hour the high and the mighty descend and the lowly rise. The result is fellowship. The meeting opened with the Serenity Prayer followed by a moment of silence. The prologue to Alcoholics Anonymous was read from the Big Book by Harry followed by the Twelve Steps of the program by Michelle. That night, Jack was the appointed leader. ‘The theme I would like to talk about tonight is gratitude,’ he began, ‘but if anyone wants to talk about something else, let’s hear it.’ Immediately Phil’s hand shot up. ‘As you all know, last week I went up to Pennsylvania to visit family and missed the meeting. You also know I have been sober for seven years. Last Monday I got drunk and stayed drunk for five days.’ The only sound in the room was the drip of Mr. Coffee in the corner. Phil continued, ‘You all know the buzz word, H.A.L.T. in this program,’ he continued. ‘Don’t let yourself get hungry, angry, lonely, or tired or you will be very vulnerable for the first drink. The last three got to me. I unplugged the jug and…’ Phil’s voice choked and he lowered his head. I glanced around the table — moist eyes, tears of compassion, soft sobbing the only sound in the room. ‘The same thing happened to me, Phil, but I stayed drunk for a year.’ ‘Thank God you’re back.’ ‘Boy that took guts for you to say that.’ ‘Relapse spells relief, Phil,’ said a substance abuse counselor. ‘Let’s get together tomorrow and figure out what you needed relief from and why.’ ‘I’m proud that you are here.’ ‘I never even made it close to seven years.’ As the meeting ended Phil stood up. He felt a hand on his shoulder, another on his face. Then kisses on his eyes, forehead, neck, and cheek. ‘You old ragamuffin,’ said Denise, ‘Let’s go. I’m treating you to a banana split at Tastee-Freeze.’ (p. 65-66)

Praise God for a sixteen member “church” which has captured the heart of our Lord, our friend Jesus. My friend, you may be one of the ragamuffins which has stumbled and fallen, been kicked in the ribs by those who should have extended a hand of help to lift you back to your feet again. You need to know that Jesus desires His best for you. He always has and He always will. Nothing can distract Him from continually seeking His best for you.

Jesus puts Himself on our level. I love the commercial that ran during the NBA season last year with various human behemoths looking down upon a camera and counseling us on how intimidating we can be to our children because of our size. Each of us has probably been in a situation where we were overshadowed by another person and made to feel insignificant. It may have been the physical size of another person or their position in the company or their name etched upon the plate that read Principal hanging over the office door, but we’ve all been intimated at one time or another.

Jesus came not to intimidate, but to enter into an intimate relationship with you and me. He got down on our level to look us in the eyes and love us from His heart. That’s really the message Paul was trying to convey when he said,

Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, {7} but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. {8} And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death– even death on a cross! (Phil 2:6-8 NIV)

Doesn’t it drive you crazy when you go to a friend with a problem or a predicament which needs the compassionate and caring response of someone who loves you deeply only to be lectured or looked at like you had the plague? I think each of us can identify with that type of situation, but even worse, I have been the one who has inconsiderately doled out misery rather mercy. How many friends have I had an opportunity to minister to with love, grace, and care, but instead they walked away feeling like they had been to see their parole officer.

My friend, don’t look to me to find your model of friendship. Look to the One who gets down on His knees to look straight into your eyes, beyond your words to your heart.

Do you realize just how awesome this is? Do you realize that it is not our buddy who has taken on our flesh and blood, but it is YHWH God Himself — the One who thundered from Mt. Sinai, the One who split the sea so that His friends wouldn’t get bogged down in the mire of life, the One who announced the salvation of all humanity through the birth of a little virgin named Mary.

He is God. The One who knit us together in our mother’s womb. The One who opened our eyes for the first time and every time since. The One who gives us the breath of life even at this very moment. The One who hung the stars in the heavens, created the atom, taught the spider how to spin a web, provides food for the fish of the sea, shelter for the birds of the air, and hope for the hopeless. He is God and there is no other! He is God. He has never sinned against His creation. He has never sought evil for you or me. We have sinned against the One who loves us most. The One who allowed His Son to die for us so that we might know His love. He has forgiven us even though it cost Him His Son.

At a Prison Fellowship dinner one night, a lady stood at the platform and said, “The man I ate dinner with tonight killed my brother.” The words, spoken by the woman in Seattle, amazed the audience. She told how John H. had murdered her brother during a robbery, served 18 years at Walla Walla, then settled into life on a dairy farm, where she had met him in 1983, 20 years after his crime. Compelled by Christ’s command to forgive, Ruth Youngsman had gone to her enemy and pronounced forgiveness. Then she had taken him to her father’s deathbed, prompting reconciliation. Even though Ruth had forgiven John, he had never accepted Christ.

At the Prison Fellowship dinner last fall, John stood to address the crowd. He was nervous. Everyone knew he was a murderer. He wondered how he would be received. His voice cracked as he said, “Christians are the only people I know that you can kill their son, and they’ll make you a part of their family. I don’t know the Man Upstairs, but He sure is hounding me.”

What Ruth did, in forgiving John, is truly amazing. Ruth would never have been able to forgive the killer of her son if she had not first been forgiven herself. Just as Christ died for us regardless of our actions or acceptance, so Ruth forgave him without qualification. Even more so, she became his friend. – Albert H. Quie, President of Prison Fellowship Ministries, Jubilee, Page 5

Jesus entered our existence, He cried our tears, He suffered our pain so that He could not only identify with our experiences, but so that He could remedy them with His abundant love. Jesus knows where you are my friend. If you are on the highest mountain peak experiencing the greatest exaltations life has to offer — He is certainly big enough to stand by your side and join the celebration. If you are in life’s deepest gutter with the darkest clouds known to man hanging heavily over your head — He has been there and He kneels gently, softly, to hold you in His loving arms and whisper your name.

The writer of Hebrews tells us,

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin. {16} Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Heb 4:15-16 NIV)

Jesus lowered Himself to our level so that He might raise us in His glory! Do not think that we don’t have a Savior who can’t identify with our situations in life.

Jesus doesn’t walk away, He comes back! There is a real, not imagined fear among friends today — the fear of loss. When will my friend walk away? This was one of my fears for so long in my life. I don’t know if you ever fear your friend walking away from you, but for me that fear was a constant companion for far too long. The assurance that my friends would always come back just wasn’t there.

There is a story from Mexico which happened during the horrible earthquake. A learning center which was occupied by over one hundred children was struck by the earthquake. The learning center was a special place for one family there in Mexico. Each day dad would load up his little boy and the two would drive to the learning center talking along the way about life. When they arrived at the learning center the father would always tell his son, “I’ll be back to get you at the end of the day.” The two would kiss and exchange, “I love you’s,” as they each headed into their own daily activities.

Well, one day was unlike any other — an earthquake of mammoth proportions struck. The father got word and immediately left his work to search for his dear son. As he searched through the rubble with tears streaming down his face he called out his son’s name. Over and over again he cried out his son’s name, but never a reply. Other children were being rescued, families were being reunited, joy was springing up all over the school yard.

The man dug and dug through the rubble. Hour after hour passed but with no luck. The man was relentless. He would not give up no matter what. Day turned into night which turned into day all over again, but still no words were heard from the mouth of the little boy. The man continued to dig and call out the name of his son when all of a sudden he heard a faint noise. Shock turned into hope and he cried out the name of his little boy once again with expectation. An echo came back and he honed in on the voice and began to dig. He dug, laughed, cried, and couldn’t wait to see what was lying underneath the rubble.

Finally, he moved a stone, saw a hand, and heard the precious voice of his child. Stone after stone was moved until he held his son in his arms. The little boy looked into his father’s eyes and said, “I love you, daddy. Will you help my friends get out. I told them you would come back to get us.”

The little boy fought and struggled to stay alive because he knew his daddy would come back and get him. Why shouldn’t he have fought and struggled, his daddy had said he would be back to get him!

My friend, you and I need not give way, give in, or give out — our friend, our Master, our Messiah is coming back to get us! He will not abandon us to ruin, He will not turn His back on us, when all the walls come tumbling down we need not give up — our Daddy is coming back.

Jesus told His disciples,

Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. {2} In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. {3} And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. {4} You know the way to the place where I am going. (John 14:1-4 NIV)

Jesus will not walk away from you and forget. He has gone to prepare a place, a glorious place of rest for those who will trust in Him. He is coming back for His friends so that He may take them to be where He is!

Modern-day friendship is flimsy, weak, wobbly, fragile, but we have a friend who sticks closer than a brother, a friend like no other, and His name is Jesus! I don’t know your state this morning. I don’t know your needs. I don’t know the condition of your heart. I don’t know if you are lonely, if your marriage is on the rocks, if your children have gone astray, if your boss is on your back, if you have any hope or not. I don’t know where you run when you run into trouble — a bottle, an affair, a drug, the t.v.? I don’t know any of that, but I do know that I’ve found a friend in Jesus! His furious love has quenched my deepest longings! His compassionate love has been a healing ointment to my most painful scars! His encouraging love keeps me going from day to day! It will not let me go!

This morning Jesus desires nothing more than for you to come to know Him in an intimate and personal way. Let go of your fears, let go of your hang-ups, let go of your ideas that have persuaded you that you must clean-up your act before you come to the Lord, and allow Him to be your friend. Invite Him to be your Lord and Savior this day!

To learn more about the gracious, forgiving, encouraging, healing friendship of our Lord Jesus the following verses have been listed for you. Read all of the verses then go back and replace the word, “grace” with “friendship.” What do you learn about the kind of love of Jesus?

“Though grace is shown to the wicked, they do not learn righteousness; even in a land of uprightness they go on doing evil and regard not the majesty of the LORD.” (Isa 26:10 NIV)

“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.” (Zec 12:10 NIV)

“And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.” (Luke 2:40 NIV)

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14 NIV)

“From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. {17} For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” (John 1:16-17 NIV)

“So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to do miraculous signs and wonders.” (Acts 14:3 NIV)

“No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.” (Acts 15:11 NIV)

“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me–the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.” (Acts 20:24 NIV)

“Through him and for his name’s sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith.” (Rom 1:5 NIV)

“But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!” (Rom 5:15 NIV)

“The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, {21} so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom 5:20-21 NIV)

“So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. {6} And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.” (Rom 11:5-6 NIV)

“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them–yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.” (1 Cor 15:10 NIV)

“Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, in the holiness and sincerity that are from God. We have done so not according to worldly wisdom but according to God’s grace.” (2 Cor 1:12 NIV)

“All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.” (2 Cor 4:15 NIV)

“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.” (2 Cor 8:9 NIV)

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Cor 12:9 NIV)

“I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” (Gal 2:21 NIV)

“For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on a promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise.” (Gal 3:18 NIV)

“to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. {7} In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace” (Eph 1:6-7 NIV)

“in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. {8} For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–” (Eph 2:7-8 NIV)

“who has saved us and called us to a holy life–not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,” (2 Tim 1:9 NIV)

“You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” (2 Tim 2:1 NIV)

“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.” (Heb 2:9 NIV)

“But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6 NIV)

“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” (1 Pet 5:10 NIV)

Oh What a Friend!
Hebrews 4:14-16
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