Rev. George R. Dillahunty
Mount Olive A.M.E. Zion Church
5567 County Line Road (Riverdale Community)
New Bern, North Carolina 28562

June 06, 2005

Text: Proverbs 18:24 (King James Version)

"A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother."

Topic: Thereís A Friend In The Family!

Today, my brothers and sisters, we are celebrating "Family And Friends Day" at Bryant Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church, in the Perrytown Community of New Bern, North Carolina. As I gaze out upon this awesome assembly of people, I see many families represented and many friends coming together in love and fellowship. It is a good time - why? Because it is the Sabbath Day - the Lordís Day - and we are all gathered here together as many families in one family - "The Family Of God" - and, my brothers and sisters, as many friends in the one "true friend" - Jesus, the Christ! Isnít that an awesome thing to behold?

A woman, named Dorothy C. Retsloff, once said, "A friend is a person who will help you in the hour of sickness; who will lend you a dollar without deducting the interest; who will help you uphill when you are sliding down[hill]; who will defend you in the hour when others speak evil of you; who will believe in your innocence until you admit your guilt; who will say behind your back what he {or, she] says to your face; who will shake hands with you wherever he [or, she] meets you, even though you wear patches; and, who will do all these things without expecting any return."

King Solomon, the wisest man ever to live on the face of the earth, with the exception of Jesus, the Christ, the author, by inspiration of Almighty God, of our Holy Scripture text for today, in Proverbs 17:17 (KJV), tells us: "A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity." A "true friend" - like a brother - will become known when trouble comes our way! So you can see, my brothers and sisters, that not everyone is "truly" your friend! Sometimes, your "so-called friends" are really your enemies - seeking to destroy you! They talk a good walk; but, Iím here to tell you this afternoon, that "talk is cheap"! Itís easy to say the right things; but, the question becomes, "Do your actions prove the words that you are speaking?" There is, indeed, a friend who faithfully proved His words by His actions - a friend who laid down His life for you and me - a friend who paid the ultimate sacrifice for friendship - and, His name is Jesus, the Christ!

The late great Congregationalist hymnwriter, Joseph Medlicott Scriven (1819 - 1886), said it well, in 1857, when he penned these words, "What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry, everything to God in prayer! O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry, everything to God in prayer. Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere? We should never be discouraged, take it