Summary: We all need friends, but few understand the basics about forming quality friendships.
9 Biblical Principles to Friendships: John 15:13-15
“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.” – John 15:13-15
Introduction: We all need friends, but few understand the basics about forming quality friendships. A true friend is someone whom we enjoy mutual affection, interests, and respect for. The best friends are those who are helpers in times of trouble. Those who are our advocates when we find ourselves in need are the kind of friends that are worth having. Solomon once wrote, "A brother is born for times of adversity…” but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother - that is God, our closest companion.
Christ’s friendship gives us everlasting love, direction, and revelation of His will for our life. Let us explore some of the essential facts about our vertical and horizontal friendships so we can appropriate these relationships.
1. Friendships are enhanced when we share mutual goals, values, and power. Jesus knew that the best kinds of friendships would come from an intimate relationship with Him. Nothing comes close to the satisfaction we get when we are in close communication with the Lord Jesus. I often hear people quoting that verse that says, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” and then saying that they are that type of friend and that they would die for a good friend…they have missed the whole point of this passage. This is a picture pointing us to our Savior. It is not about what we would or can do, it’s about what He has already done. Jesus laid down His life for us; there is no greater love than the love of Jesus Christ! When we can understand this, our horizontal relationships will flourish.
Illustration: “Our favorite hymn in our seminary chapel in Nigeria, where I taught for nearly twenty years was, "There’s not a friend like the humble Jesus. No not one. No not one. None else can heal all our souls diseases. No not one. No not one. Jesus knows all about our struggles. He will guide till the day is done. There’s not a friend like the humble Jesus. No not one. No not one." Let Jesus be your closest friend by spending the first part and the most valuable parts of your day with him in praise, communion and submission to His directives.” – Dr. Paul Fritz
2. Friendship is enhanced when we share mutual activities that contribute to the qualitative and quantitative expansion of the kingdom of God and His righteousness. This could be best illustrated by a triangle. When two people want to get closer to one another they must first draw closer to the Jesus at the apex of the triangle. As they draw closer to the Lord in obedience, love, and trust, they will find themselves drawing closer to one another. Too many people falsely assume that they can form friendships without making Christ the center of all relationships. Without Jesus at the center of every friendship, it will eventually fail or cause us to put people above our devotion to God.
3. Friendship is a way that we can show our love for one another as we are commanded to do. True friendship evidences the qualities of patience, kindness, gentleness, and faithfulness without seeking its own interests. Love makes friendships grow by adding enrichment to every relationship. Love is not anxious to impress nor does it boast of its own importance. It knows no limit to endurance because it bears all things, believes the best in every person, hopes for the best in every difficult situation, and endures all kinds of disappointments. Without this type of love, friendships are mercurial, fleeting, and fair weathered.
4. Friendship provides the relationships that bring about 90% of the people into the family of God. Consistently, statistics tell us that about 90% of the people who become Christians do so through a friend or a family member. Friendship evangelism provides a warm relationship where people are able to feel the affection of a loving Christian before they are presented with the hard truths of the gospel. I have a close relationship that I am really trying my best to demonstrate the love of God in right now.
Few people seem to be willing to extend friendships to people before they lay the truths of the gospel on the people around them. May the Lord help us to be kind to all, friendly, and willing to serve those around us by extending a helping hand. The Lord befriended many as a way of demonstrating the love that gives even when others misunderstand, ignore, or criticize the giver. We shouldn’t give to expect. We give to demonstrate the love of God. Christ gave to us even though we did not deserve the gift He gives. Once we are able to understand the gift, we befriend Him.