Summary: The Facts About Friendships - John 15:14,15
The Facts About Friendships - John 15:13-15
We all need friends, but few understand the basics about forming quality friendships. A true friend is someone whom we enjoy mutual affection, interests and respect for. The best friends are those who are helpers in times of trouble. Those who are our advocates when we find ourselves in need are the kind of friends that are worth their weight in gold. Solomon once wrote, "A brother is born for times of adversity, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother - that is God our closest companion."
By friendship you mean the greatest love, the greatest usefulness, the most open communication, the noblest sufferings, the severest truth, the heartiest counsel, and the greatest union of minds of which brave men and women are capable.
Jesus said, "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.. I have called you friend for everything I have learned from my Father I have made known to you." Christ’s friendship gives us everlasting love, direction and revelation of His will for our life. Let us explore some of the essential facts about our vertical and horizontal friendships so we can appropriate these relationships.
1. Friendships are enhanced when we shared mutual goals, values and power. Jesus knew that the best kinds of friendships would come from an intimate relationship with Him. Nothing comes close to the satisfaction we get when we are in close communication with the Lord Jesus.
Illustration: Our favorite hymn in our seminary chapel in Nigeria, where I taught for nearly twenty years was, "There’s not a friend like the humble Jesus. No not one. No not one. None else can heal all our souls diseases. No not one. No not one. Jesus knows all about our struggles. He will guide till the day is done. There’s not a friend like the humble Jesus. No not one. No not one." Let Jesus be your closest friend by spending the first part and the most valuable parts of your day with him in praise, communion and submission to His directives.
2. Friendship is enhanced when we share mutual activities that contribute to the qualitative and quantitative expansion of the kingdom of God and His righteousness. This might be best illustrated by a triangle. When two people want to get closer to one another they must first draw closer to the Jesus at the apex of the triangle. As they draw closer to the Lord in obedience, love and trust, they will find themselves drawing closer to one another. Too many people falsely assume that they can form friendships without making Christ the center of all relationships. Without Jesus at the center of every friendship it will eventually fail or cause us to put people above our devotion to God.
Illustration: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, and whose honesty is inviolable."
"One who understands our silence."
"A volume of sympathy bound in cloth."
"A watch that beats true for all time and never runs down."
The winning definition read: "A friend is the one who comes in when the whole world has gone out."
Bits & Pieces, July, 1991.
3. Friendship is a way that we can show our love for one another as we are commanded to do. True friendship evidences the qualities of patience, kindness, gentleness and faithfulness without seeking its own interests. Love makes friendships grow by adding enrichment to every relationship. Love is not anxious to impress nor does it cherish inflated ideas of its own importance. It knows no limit to endurance because it bears all things, believes the best in every person, hopes for the best in every difficult situation and endures all kinds of disappointments. Without an agape love, friendships are mercurial, fleeting and fair weathered in nature.
Illustration:Another source gives this version and source:
A friend is the first person who comes in when the whole world goes out.
4. Friendship provides the relationships that bring about 90% of the people into the family of God. Consistently, statistics tell us that about 90% of the people who become Christians do so through a friend or a family member. Friendship evangelism provides a warm relationship where people are able to feel the affection of a loving Christian before they are presented with the hard truths of the gospel.
Few people seem to be willing to extend friendships to people before they lay the truths of the gospel on the people around them. May the Lord help us to be kind to all, friendly, and willing to serve those around us by extending a helping hand. The Lord befriended many as a way of demonstrating the love that gives even when others misunderstand, ignore or criticize the giver.