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Summary: In this text, Paul lists some good friends, which could be categorized in this way. 1- Staying friends 2- Praying friends 3- Straying friends

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INTRO.- Do you know what is closer than a brother?

A good friend. A faithful friend is closer than a brother.

Prov. 18:24 “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

Do you have a friend who sticks closer than a brother? Or did you ever? I’d have a number of them and still have them.

ILL.- Dr. Gerald (Jerry) Ford, southern Baptist preacher in Marion, IL. He used to preach in Jonesboro. Yep, sure did, Jonesboro, IL, that is and that was when I preached in Anna, IL. We served together with the local ministerial alliance. He was down to earth, sincere, common as an old shoe, a good preacher, and a good friend.

We’ve swapped a lot of stories about people and life. We’ve laughed together. Ate together. Attended church together.

One time I walked into a ministerial alliance meeting, Jerry looked up at me and declared, “Jimmy Swaggart” and everybody laughed. You see, I had just started combing my hair straight back and Jerry thought I looked a lot like Jimmy Swaggart. That remark should have been enough to make me change my hair back with the part in it.

Let me tell you a little about him to show what kind of guy he is. One time we had lunch at Ponderosa. Jerry filled his plate, sat down and started eating. I said, “Hey, aren’t you going to pray and give thanks?” He said, “The Lord knows I’m thankful.” He then said, “Thank you, Lord” and dove into that plate of food.

We attended several area church services together. I remember preaching one time at what we called the annual Union County Fair Service. Normally, this service would take place at the fair grounds but it was going to rain so we went to the biggest church building in town, which was First Baptist. I preached a simple but lively sermon that evening. And Jerry sat laughed, cackled but also “amened” me.

One time I attended a revival at his church and wouldn’t you know it, he tried to embarrass me. He said from the pulpit, “Steve Shepherd is here tonight from the Christian Church. He’s really a Baptist …” And then he said something about finally coming back home.

The only thing bad about him is that he is always trying to get me to spend my money on something. He’ll buy something like a new Plasma TV and then write me, saying, “You ought to get one!”

A man of many companions may come to ruin. Many companions. Normally, you would think it would be good to have many companions. How could many companions cause ruin? It depends on the kinds of companions you are talking about.

ILL.- When I worked for Safeway many years ago there was another young man who worked there and came from a very good family in the area. In fact, his dad was an elder or deacon in one of our churches, as I recall. And his older brother was a preacher. But this guy was not the kind of guy you would want for a close friend. Why? What was wrong with him? He was friendly enough. He seemed to have a good personality. What was wrong with him? HE WAS A BOOZER AND A SKIRT CHASER. He lived to sleep with one girl after another.


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