Summary: Determining the qualities of a true friend.

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John 15: 12-15

Today we are here to celebrate Family and Friends Day. I want us today to think about what the word friend means. The word friend has been used so much and so casually, until it’s true meaning has become lost. It is my task this afternoon to shed light on this word friend and bring out its true meaning and try to make you understand “What a friend we have in Jesus”. What is this word friend? What exactly does it mean?

According to the Dictionary, the word friend is “a person whom one loves and trusts”. Another definition says a friend is, “a person who gives assistance; patron; supporter”. Brothers and sisters, I like to think that a friend is someone who will go to the ends of the earth and back for and with you just because you asked him too. A friend is someone who will help you when you’re right and has the courage to let you know when you are wrong.

A friend is someone that doesn’t just stick around because it looks good; they are not there just because you can be of benefit to them. Our children go to school and meet so many different people and quickly attach themselves to certain one’s of them as “friends”. Maybe its because they act the same way; maybe it’s because they play the same games; maybe it’s because they like the same foods. Whatever it is they become “friends”.

We need to make sure that they realize that not everyone is your friend. Not everyone wants to be your friend. Friends are the ones that want what’s good for one another. Anyone that does not want good for you is not a friend. Anyone that gets you into trouble instead of helping you to stay out of trouble is not a friend. Anyone that keeps you from doing what’s right is not a friend. Friends are few and far between.

Most of the people whom we come in contact with are better described as acquaintances; contacts; links or companions rather than friends. Acquaintances smile and talk a good game; contacts pretend to be your friend; but when the significant, critical times come, when the down and out times lift their heads, acquaintances are rarely ever anywhere to be seen. Real friends, true friends are a very rare feature.

True friends make every effort to be there for each other in times of need and strife. In good times and in bad times friends will be there.

They love and help each other during the happy times as well as the downhearted and heart-breaking times. They are there when you have and when you don’t have. They look beyond the superficial and see the quality of the heart and the pure goodness of the soul. In general we all have only a few people that we can truly call friends.

People that we can depend on no matter what the situation may be. People who are willing to give up self to help out someone else. People who will go to the ends of the earth and back just to help. Brothers and sisters, I come to tell you this evening that Jesus is that type of friend! Our text this evening in verse 13 states “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” This is a selfless love! This is the mark of a true friend!

A true friend exhibits this type of love; He puts others before himself, he shows unselfishness. My brothers and sisters by far the greatest friend one can have is the Lord Jesus Christ! God's word tells us, "A man that hath friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother." You see, if you want to have friends, you must take the lead by showing yourself to be friendly with others.

It is easier to attract people with kindness than with a sour expression or character, (prettiest person in the world but have an ugly attitude). You must go out of your way to speak to others, to make contact, to be kind and thoughtful to those whom you would have to be your friends. A lot of times it seems that the more you have the more friends you have. As long as you are on top everyone wants to be your friend.

But let your circumstances change and nobody seems to know you! Let you be on the wrong side of the “in crowd” and all you friends run away! Let something happen and you don’t have what you used to have or you are not who you used to be! People will leave you at the drop of a hat! Peter was not only Jesus’ friend, but was a disciple that followed His teaching. But when the going got tough Peter got going. He denied three times after His capture even knowing Jesus.

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