Summary: The church is THE place to forge the best kinds of friendships. This Friend Sunday sermon challenges all to get into the fellowship of a church, a homegroup and service in the local church.
Friendship and the Church
September 16, 2012
POWERPOINT: There is a PowerPoint presentation for this sermon available by requesting it from me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TEXT: Ecclesiastes 4:9 – “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor.”
Popular TV shows and TV show theme songs through the years such as “Friends” and “Cheers” reflect the need in our society to find a place of community. A common thread you pick up is the sense of belonging; a sense of togetherness. In these shows, they were a group, a community.
Illus. – I read about a family that had gone to the movies, and on the way in the teenager of the family stopped by the refreshment stand to pick up some popcorn. By the time he got into the theater the lights were already dim. He scanned the theater and couldn’t find his family. He paced up and down the aisle searching the crowd in the near-darkness. As the lights began to go down even further he stopped and asked out loud, “Does anyone recognize me?”
We all need a place; we need a group of people who will “recognize” us; who will call out and say in essence, “We’re your family…You’re loved here.…You’re valued here.” People are looking for that.
The Bible recognizes this need. Our text says “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor.” Don’t think he’s just talking about getting more done with two people. That’s not the thought here. In context, the thought is that life is more rewarding when you have a friend.
• Because verse 10 says, “For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.” It’s a sad thing to have to handle big problems without a friend. What a blessing to have a friend to help you get back up when you face a major crisis in your life. (SHOW “REAL FRIENDSHIP” VIDEO HERE)
• Verse 11 says, “Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone?” Today, the idea of sleeping with a friend has definite sexual overtones. But throughout history, even up into the early 20th century, it made sense to sleep with a person of the same gender if you were unmarried and not accompanied by your spouse for the very practical reason mentioned in this verse—on a cold, cold night with no modern heat, two bodies generate more heat than one. Better to sleep together than to freeze to death alone!
The idea is not really sleeping together, but the warmth produced by friends. When you’re by yourself, you’re cold and lonely; you’re on your own. When you have a friend, you can have a warm relationship to share your innermost thoughts, your dreams, and your struggles.
• And verse 12 says, “And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” When you face opposition, it’s tough to handle it on your own. What a blessing to have a friend to stand WITH you in such a situation!
The main thing to see in these verses is that God understands that we have a need for mutuality, togetherness, community—people who love us, and people we can count on.
You know what?—My heart’s desire is that Grace Baptist Church be a place where people can feel they’re part of family. That’s one of the key elements of the closest kind of friendship, isn’t it—when you’re not just a “friend” anymore, but you’re “family.”
Today I want to examine the key elements of true friendship, and relate them to our church. This is the way our church ALREADY IS for some of you, and SHOULD BE for all of us.
I. THE FIRST ELEMENT OF A GENUINE FRIENDSHIP IS SHARED EXPERIENCES.
If you never do anything with somebody, you don’t really have a friendship, do you? That kind of relationship is an “acquaintance,” not a friendship. But when you share experiences together—going out to dinner together, going to each other’s kids’ ball games, working out together, just hanging out at each other’s house—as you DO things together, you have shared experiences that engender friendship.
The church is like that, too. In a church, the believers have all had the shared experience of SALVATION. We can each point to a time in our lives when we realized that our sin separated us from God, and that we needed Jesus Christ as our Savior. At a point in time—maybe in a time of crisis, maybe not; maybe in a church, maybe at home—somewhere, sometime, each of us who are saved turned from our sin and trusted in what Jesus did on the cross to save us from our sins.