Summary: Friendship is important...critical to living the Christian life.
September 2, 2001
What makes for a real friend?
What is the value of friendship?
Philosophers have discussed and debated that for centuries.
Mencius said, Friendship is one mind in two bodies.
In the 1950¡¦s Norman Vincent Peale said, Getting people to like you is only the other side of liking them.
Of course, Peale was paraphrasing Solomon
A man that hath friends must show himself friendly:
In the 60¡¦s Paul Simon told us friendship was not good:
I am a rock, I am an island.
Don¡¦t talk to me of friendship;
friendship causes pain ¡V
its¡¦ laughter and its¡¦ soothing I disdain.
In the 1990¡¦s there was Calvin and Hobbes. Calvin, a cartoon character, is only 5, but has developed into a most obnoxious, self-centered little twit. Sitting on a swing he calls out: I need a push. Someone push me! I need a push!
Looking around the playground he finds he is being ignored. The last frame shows a very, very angry Calvin, scowling to no one in particular, Everybody I know fails the acid test of friendship.
( Bill Watterson, CALVIN AND HOBBES )
From Mencius, Peale, Simon¡Kall the way to Calvin ¡V an increasingly cynical view of friendship. Well, Calvin would not be able to be cynical about friendship if he had ever met Jesus, the friend of sinners! Jesus is my best friend, and He never fails the acid test of friendship!
Our study of the One Anothers of the Bible leads us to friendship. This morning we are going to check out the Bible¡¦s plea to Befriend One Another. Notice first,
The Command of Friendship
And be ye kind one to another Eph 4:32a
Actually, it is hard to miss all the commands in God¡¦s Word to behave as friends towards each other. In John¡¦s Gospel Jesus called his disciples friends, telling them he was going to lay down his life for them. He then gave them a commandment to love one another as he had loved them.
We are commanded to love, to be friends with each other. It is important be friendly to everyone, but we have a special responsibility to those who are part of the body of Christ.
As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. Gal 6:10
So, the command of friendship is without question. But, How does friendship happen? And, equally important for us is How should it happen? Is every person a candidate for friendship? There is a great desire for friendship ¡V of that there can be no debate.
Consider the success of the TV sitcom ¡§Friends¡¨ ¡V a group of young folks who hang out together. The theme song says:
I¡¦ll be there for you¡Kwhen the rain starts to pour¡K
I¡¦ll be there for you¡KLike I¡¦ve been there before¡K
I¡¦ll be there for you.
These folks value the concept of friendship. But, is it good friendship? Is it Biblical friendship? After all, that (Biblical friendship) is the command.
David Wilkerson of the Times Square Church in New York wrote:
Have you ever thought to pray, Lord, what do you think of my friendships? Are they pleasing to you ¡V or do they displease you? The fact is, a righteous friend can provide a link to the blessing and favor of God, because he encourages you toward a godly lifestyle. On the other hand, an unrighteous friend can be a binding chain to every kind of evil, leading you into terrible bondage. (David Wilkerson, Your Friends Matter to God, SermonCentral.com)
And so, the command to befriend is a matter of seeking and maintaining friendships on a godly level.
Dr. Wilkerson says: It¡¦s easy to determine whether your close friendships are of God, or if they¡¦ve been planted by the enemy to destroy you. Simply think of your best friend, and then answer these questions:
„Ñ Does your friend gossip, backbite or speak evil of others?
„Ñ Is he argumentative about scripture, a continual debater, never coming to truth?
„Ñ Does he call godly people pharisees?
„Ñ Do you detect in his words a spirit of disobedience, envy or suspicion?
„Ñ Does he spew out poisonous words against his (or her) spouse?
„Ñ Has he succeeded in planting unkind thoughts in your mind about others?
„Ñ Have you begun to join him in these?
We are commanded to be friendly¡K. Secondly, notice please,
The Crystallization of Friendship
In First Samuel we have the story of the developing friendship between David, the young shepherd boy who would later become king of Israel, and Jonathan, son of King Saul, and heir apparent to the throne. Here¡¦s how their friendship began:
And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.1 Samuel 18:1