Summary: A sermon on the value of soul friendship in the church.
"FRIENDS FOR CHRIST’S SAKE"
(Focal Text: Verse 1)
On March 11, 1991, eight-year-old Anthony Henderson upset the distinguished leader of our nation, President George Bush. President Bush was visiting Anthony’s school and had sat down beside Anthony to read him a book. Suddenly in the midst of the reading Anthony Henderson queried, "Are you really the President?" Mr. Bush was quite surprised by the question and even moreso as he saw the serious look on the lad’s face. President Bush responded, "Yeah, you mean you didn’t know that?" "Did you think I was a pretend guy or something?" Mr. Bush then muttered, "how can I prove it to you?" Our president of the United States then proceeded to pull out identification from his wallet. "Let’s see now, here is my driver’s license; see it says B-U-S-H, Bush." "My name is George Herbert Walker Bush". Anthony didn’t seem convinced. President Bush then pulled out a series of identification items he thought would persuade the child of the truth. "Here is my American Express Card; here is a picture of my grandchild and here is one of my grandson playing baseball". Finally Mr. Bush said, "I guess that is all I have to show you unless you will accept that black limousine out there; or maybe I’ll give you an autograph". "Oh no", replied Anthony. "The teacher said we can’t take autographs". There is a picture in the March issue of USA Today of Anthony Henderson sitting with a puzzled President examining his American Express Card. Don’t leave home without it. But even that didn’t help George Herbert Walker Bush with Anthony Henderson.
Listen church, it is getting harder and harder to get sinners to come to your church. Do you know why? Its because the world is looking for proof that we are what we say we are. Just because you sit in the church house every Sunday will not convince the world you’re a bonafide Christian anymore than a driver’s license convinced Anthony Henderson of our President’s identity. What is it going to take? Jesus gave us that answer in John 13:35, "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another".
I want to talk to you about the one thing a church must have to be a growing church. Its the one and only thing our Lord said would identify you as a true Christian and a true church. It is love for each other. The message of the Lord to your hearts is entitled, "Friends For Christ’s Sake". Let me say this. If you love each other you will have to be friends. So often you will hear people say, "I’ll love them but I don’t have to be friends with them." Let me tell you that the Bible ties friendship and love together. Proverbs 17:17 says, "A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity". Jesus Himself said, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends". This church nor any other will ever grow as it ought, ever have revival as it should, ever be the kind of church Jesus wants it to be until every person here is friends with each other.
Now there are different types of friendships. Rollo May says that people make between 500 and 2500 acquaintances each year, but they have fewer than seven personal friends. Erma Bombeck says that "a true friend is somebody who doesn’t go on a diet when you’re fat". Each of us have numerous acquaintances that we thank God for and then there are those few personal intimate very close friends that have enriched our lives. But what I want to herald and exalt to you is the kind of friendship that makes a church worth going to. I want to commend to your hearts the kind of friendship that will bring Heaven-sent, God-anointed, Holy Ghost moving, honey-dew dripping, sweet-heart of a revival in your church everyday, not just a couple of weeks out of the year. It is the kind of friendship that Jonathan and David had over 3000 years ago. Notice verse one again in our text. David had just slain Goliath of Gath and reported the victory account to king Saul in the king’s quarters. Obviously Jonathan had listened and marveled in admiration for the great young shepherd boy from Bethlehem who had defeated the Philistine enemy. Now verse one says, "the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul". Outside of the cross of Calvary that is the most beautiful description of a friendship ever to be found in the Word of God. The soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David. For that description I will call these two "soul friends". Oh beloved, the closer the members of a church get to the point where they can be called "soul friends" the greater the fellowship will be. The harder you work at making a covenant with God and with each other to follow Jonathan and David’s example to be "soul friends" that is when you’ll see folks flocking to your church. Three things God would have me to say to you tonight on the subject, "Being Friends For Christ’s Sake".