Summary: A Friends Day sermon targeted to the lost and backslidden.

What a Friend We Have in Jesus

Friends Day Sermon

Chuck Sligh

September 14, 2014

TEXT: John 15:15 – “Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.”


To be and have true friends is one of the great, enriching blessings in life. To be without a true, loyal friend is one of the great tragedies in life.

Illus. – Charles Swindoll tells the following sad story about a friendless billionaire:

Howard Hughes was one of the richest men in the world, with the destinies of thousands of people—perhaps even of governments—at his disposal. Yet he lived a sunless, joyless, half-lunatic life. In his later years he fled from one resort hotel to another—Las Vegas, Nicaragua, Acapulco. His physical appearance became odder and odder. His straggly beard hung to his waist and his hair reached to the middle of his back. His fingernails were two inches long, and his toenails hadn’t been trimmed for so long they resembled corkscrews.

“As far as I know,” a Hughes confidant once said, “he’s never loved any woman. It’s sex, or a good secretary, or good box office—that’s all a woman means to him.” Hughes often said, “Every man has his price or a guy like me couldn’t exist.” Yet no amount of money bought the affection of his associates. Most of his employees who have broken the silence report their disgust for him.

Why was Hughes so isolated and so lonely? Why, with almost unlimited money, hundreds of aides, and countless beautiful women available to him, was he so unloved? Simply because he chose to be. It is an old truth that God gave us things to use and people to enjoy. Hughes never learned to enjoy people; he was too busy manipulating them.

When I read that, I thought, How tragic to go through one’s life and not have a friend in the world! Howard Hughes is an example of what a life of selfishness and greed reap. He never had a friend because he never WAS a friend. Proverbs 18:24 says, “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.”

Contrast Howard Hughes with the one Person in history who above all others can be described as “a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” When I was growing up, we used to sing that precious hymn by Joseph Scriven, What a Friend We Have in Jesus, and it’s no wonder it was so popular. – I’ve had many friends in my life, but NO ONE compares to Jesus as a true friend.

Today is Friend Sunday at our church. Many of you are here today because a friend invited you and you didn’t want to disappoint your friend. He or she may be a CLOSE or a CASUAL friend; a GOOD friend or a POOR friend. But today I want us to look at the GREATEST friend you could have by first examining the qualities of a true friend, and then seeing how Jesus is that kind of friend to us.


Proverbs 27:6 says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.”

Illus. – I remember a good friend I had when I was an assistant pastor in Tennessee. He pulled me aside one day and said, “Chuck, I hope you don’t take this the wrong way, but can I be honest with you about something?”

Well—what do you say to a question like THAT? You know bad news is coming, but you also know that this person has only your best interests in mind.

He shared something about me that at first hurt my feelings. But really, what he told me was good for me, because it was THE TRUTH. He cared enough about me to be totally, brutally honest with me. His criticisms and advice were the “faithful wounds of a friend.”

You see, a true friend doesn’t just tell you what you want to hear. He cares enough about you to be completely honest with you.

Jesus was one who was always completely honest with those He dealt with. In this sense, He was a true friend in every sense of the word. He never pulled any punches with those He loved.

His treatment of Nicodemus in John 3:3-7 is just one example – Jesus said in verse 3, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” and in verses 6-7, Jesus told Nicodemas, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.”

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