Summary: One of the most severe epidemics of our time is loneliness. Though most of us are surrounded by people, we live in a society of loneliness. Everyone, from little children to aging seniors experience feelings of isolation, rejection, and seclusion. We ofte
Text: Proverbs 18:24 (NKJV)
Introduction: One of the most severe epidemics of our time is loneliness. Though most of us are surrounded by people, we live in a society of loneliness. Everyone, from little children to aging seniors experience feelings of isolation, rejection, and seclusion. We often think of single people who live alone as being lonely, but some of the loneliest people I have known have been married with a house full of children. There are two types of loneliness:
#1 first, there is SOCIAL loneliness. This occurs when we are isolated from our families and friends.
#2. Second, and worse there is EMOTIONAL loneliness. This is the most common type of loneliness. It occurs when we feel we have no one to share our deepest concerns, no one who truly understands our struggles or our joys.
Every human being needs friendships on two different levels.
#1 we need HORIZONTAL friendships. We need deep meaningful friendships with other people. The proverb says, "A man who has friends must himself be friendly." In other words, we have to work on building friendships.
QUESTION ….Do you work on building friendships with others or let it happen?
#2 . We need a VERTICAL friendship. The second part of our verse says, "There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother."
That friend is Jesus Christ. Unless you have a personal friendship with Jesus, you’ll never escape loneliness.
Ex.33:11 "So the LORD spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend."
Jam.2:23 "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. And he was called the friend of God."
John 15:15, "No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you."
I WANT TO GIVE YOU A BLUEPRINT FOR LASTING FRIENDSHIP.
LET’S EXAMINE 10 CHARACTERISTICS OF GENUINE FRIENDSHIP.
#1 Friends Listen.
A. Genuine friends have open ears.
1. Many people are self-centered. They only want to talk about themselves. They don’t listen when you speak because they are too busy thinking of what they will say next.
2. A true friend will listen when you speak. He wants to understand how you feel and what concerns you.
Chuck Swindoll tells this story about one of his daughters when she was quite small. One day he came home tired from a long day of ministry. As he sat in his easy chair in front of a relaxing football game, hoping to catch the last half in peace, his young daughter approached him and began jabbering as fast as she could. Vainly trying to enjoy the game, Chuck said, "Honey, slow down. You’re talking too fast." Quick as a whip, the child responded, "No Daddy, I’m not talking too fast. You are listening too slow!"
B. Because Jesus is our friend, He listens to us.
Psalm 91:15 "He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him."
Isaiah 65:24 says of Him, "It shall come to pass That before they call, I will answer; And while they are still speaking, I will hear."
Luke 11:9 "So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you."
James 5:16 reminds us "The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much."
#2 Friends Share Interests.
A. Genuine friends always find common ground with us.
Though you may have friend with whom you have no common interest, your best friends have something in common with you.
Because Jesus is our friend, He sought common ground with us.
1. Jesus found common ground by becoming one of us. He loved us so much He became one of us.
Philippians 2:7 He "made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men."
#3 Friends Protect.
Genuine friends always look out for us.
1. Walter Winchell has said, "A friend is one who walks in when others walk out."
2. Jonathan was a genuine friend to King David. When Jonathan’s father, Saul, planned to kill David, Jonathan warned him and helped him escape.
HOW DO GOOD FRIENDS PROTECTS US ?
#1 They know how to keep private things private.
Proverbs 17:9 He who covers a transgression seeks love, But he who repeats a matter separates friends."
Proverbs 16:28 A perverse man sows strife, And a whisperer separates the best of friends."
#2 They will not allow others to speak badly of us.
I recently read of a mother who decked another mother because she made fun of her handicapped child. If necessary, they fight for us.