Summary: What it truely means to be a friend
INTRO: Out of the furnaces of war come many true stories of sacrificial friendship. One such story tells of two friends in World War I, who were inseparable. They had enlisted together, trained together, were shipped overseas together and fought side-by-side in the trenches. During an attack, one of the men was critically wounded in a field filled with barbed wire obstacles, and he was unable to crawl back to his foxhole. The entire area was under a withering enemy crossfire, and it was suicidal to try to reach him. Yet his friend decided to try. Before he could get out of his own trench, he sergeant yanked him back inside and ordered him not to go. “It’s too late. You can’t do him any good and you’ll only get yourself killed.”
A few minutes later, the officer turned his back, and instantly the man was gone after his friend. A few minutes later, he staggered back, mortally wounded, with his friend, now dead, in his arms. The sergeant was both angry and deeply moved. “What a waste,” he blurted out. “He’s dead and you’re dying. It just wasn’t worth it.”
With almost his last breath, the dying man replied, “Oh, yes, it was, Sarge. When I got to him, the only thing he said was, ‘I knew you’d come, Jim!”
One of the true marks of a friend is that he is there when there is every reason for him not to be, when to be there is sacrificially costly.
TEXT: Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
I. Thoughts on friendship - before we look at the text this morning.
A. Sayings about friendship.
: C.S. Lewis: Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, What! You, too? I thought I was the only one.
: Erma Bombeck: A friend is someone who thinks you’re a good egg, even though you’re a little cracked.
: A British publication once offered a prize for the best definition of a friend. Among the thousands of answers received were the following:
-One who multiplies joys, divides grief.
-One who understands our silence.
-A friend is the one who comes in when the whole world is gone out.
B. In order to have friends you must be a friend. (Proverbs 18:24 KJV)
1. We need to realize friendship is a concern for others so the relationship you have with someone is for their good, it is not for your good.
2. Friendship in the Bible is laying down one’s life. (John 15:13)
-A true friendship wants nothing for itself, according to Tommy Barnett.
Question: How many times have you heard people say, Oh, I don’t have any friends, or I wish I had some friends.
-The truth is, they’re not being a friend. (This is just a mirror reflection of how they’re being friends.)
Point: Friendship in a biblical sense is putting your friends’ needs and cares above your own.
-So true friendship wants nothing for itself.
3. It goes along with that old adage – It’s better to give than receive.
-It’s better to give of yourself to others than expect others to give for you.
TS: You’ll never know true friendship until you learn to put others needs above your own. You might be thinking, be more specific. OK.
-The text this morning will give us three ways to be a real friend.
II. A real friend helps you when you’re down. V. 10 [Read]
A. This is a hard place to be – whether you’re physically, mentally, or even emotionally down, but the one thing you’ll find –
1. You will see your true friends in these situations. These are places where those who love and care for you stand out.
TS: A story stands out to me when I think of friends.
B. The story of the paralytic in Luke 5:17-26.
1. Jesus had started his public ministry and the multitudes came from all over to hear him teach because he had authority like no one they had ever heard.
-He was also healing people from their ailments.
a. These friends of this man who had paralysis wanted to bring their friend to Jesus. He was crippled and they thought Jesus was the answer.
Question: Do we bring our friends to Jesus who are in desperate need? Are we as zealous as they were?
-Can you imagine this man’s hopelessness?
-Noted psychiatrist Viktor Frankl who barely survived a Nazi concentration camp in 1940’s made an interesting observation about hopelessness in a sobering account of its horrors. Frankl described how some prisoners lost touch with reality. A prisoner who no longer saw hope for the future, quickly would begin to decline physically and mentally. Then one day, without warning, he simply would give up. No amount of pleading by other prisoners, no amount of beating by the guards, no barking of threats brought any response. The prisoner just laid on his bunk corpse-like, uncaring, barely moving.