Summary: This message seeks to advise the Church of the nature of friendship and what is involved, so that the Church can not only form new friendship, but learn to be friendly to visitors.
Facts About Forming Friendships
Text: Prov. 18:24
Intro: You may wonder why this preacher would choose a topic like friendship. “What does friendship have to do with the church, and following the Lord?” you might ask. Well, quite truthfully, the Bible has quite a lot to say about being a friend to others. And, when you think about it, if any group of people within modern-day society should be friendly, it should be Christians; those who have been befriended by God through the person of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus once said to His disciples, “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you” (John 15:14-15).
What is a friend? The dictionary defines the term this way:
1 a person whom one knows well and is fond of; intimate associate; close acquaintance 2 a person on the same side in a struggle; one who is not an enemy or foe; ally 3 a supporter or sympathizer…4 something thought of as like a friend in being helpful, reliable, etc…1
Obviously, a friend is not someone with whom a person is merely acquainted. They are someone with whom a person shares things in common, and with whom one feels comfortable. They are someone with whom a person can divulge private information to without fear of everyone else hearing about it. Though a friend is a supporter and sympathizer, they will tell a person the truth about themselves when they need to hear it. Friends help one another and can rely on one another.
One is not likely to be intimate friends with everyone. However, being friendly with most people is within one’s grasp. This should be especially important to us as we look toward entering a new facility. It will be up the members of this church to make visitors in our midst feel welcome and comfortable here. We may even have to go out of our way to do so. That friendliness must be genuine, never fake; and we must do so for the glory of God, and the good of the church. Consider the following thoughts with me.
Theme: In order to form friendships, we need to know…
I. THE REQUIREMENTS of FRIENDSHIP
A. Forming Friendships Requires One to be Amiable.
Prov. 18:24a “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly…”
NOTE:  Friendship is somewhat like your bank account: You cannot get anything out of it if you do not put anything into it. With this thought in mind, one should not wait for the other person to make their contribution to the potential friendship. This may require one to step outside their comfort zone. However, one way to break the ice with a potential friend is to extend your hand, look them right in the eye, smile, and say, “Hi, how are you today? I’m glad to meet you.”
 Every person that walks through these church doors ought to sense the love, concern, and friendship that is here. We ought to greet folks that visit our services with a handshake and a smile, as well as eye contact that lets them know they are welcome. We ought to do that no matter what kind of clothes they are wearing, or the color of their skin. One man has summed up just how friendly church folk ought to be to visitors with the following: “Nothing in the world is friendlier than a wet dog.”2
 Being friendly to visitors will take some effort, but it is worth it. Someone has said, “Some people make enemies instead of friends because it is less trouble.”3
B. Friends Should Share a Mutual Affection.
1. Jonathan’s special fondness for David was evident.
1 Sam. 18:1 “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.”
2. David spoke fondly of his friend Jonathan with this eulogy.
2 Sam. 1:26 “I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan: very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women.”
NOTE: Affection for a true friend is like this: A small boy defined a friend as "Someone who knows all about you and likes you just the same."4
C. Friends Should Share a Mutual Acceptance and Allegiance.
Prov. 17:9 “He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.
17 A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”
NOTE:  Proverbs 17:9 says in essence, that friends do not go around broadcasting one another’s faults, or sharing one another’s sensitive or private matters with others who do not need to know it. A real friend will not run you down behind your back. They are people you can confide in, and never worry about them telling someone else.