Summary: There are 4 situations that tell how true a friend is from Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (Outline and material adapted from Sermon Central's Emil Boniog at:


Americans have a third fewer close friends and confidants than just two decades ago — a sign that people may be living lonelier, more isolated lives than in the past. In 1985, the average American had three people in whom to confide matters that were important to them, says a study in today's American Sociological Review. In 2004, that number dropped to two, and one in four had no close confidants at all.

The result is an epidemic of loneliness and the depression that accompanies it. Marin Seligman writes: Depression is now ten times as prevalent as it was in 1960, and it strikes at a much younger age. The mean age of a person's first episode of depression forty years ago was 29.5, while today it is 14.5. People are lonely. The result is an opportunity for the church.

In 1991 Vice President Dan Quayle asked some guys who were members of a gang in Los Angeles why they were in the gang. What he learned was that it was not because of the excitement of committing crimes or fighting or the thrill of using guns. They were part of gangs simply because they were looking for friends.

As we delight in our friendship with Jesus, let us commit to being for one another the kind of friend that Jesus is to us.

Thesis: There are 4 situations that tell how true a friend is (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)

For instances:

When we are faced with a task that we cannot do alone (Vs. 9)

This verse is talking about tasks that are better done by two or more people.

A true friend is unselfish. He works, labors, for us so that we have good results because he/she is interested in our welfare.

“A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. So many gathered that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. Some men came, bringing to him a paralytic, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on.” Mark 2:1-4, NIV.

When we fall down (vs. 10)

This is a practical observation especially for older people and those with physical handicaps. Not good to live alone.

Someone has said that we can tell a true friend when we are in trouble- he does not leave us. One person said this: A true friend is the kind of person that if we called them at 2 am to tell them that we needed them, they would not ask, “So what’s the problem?” before deciding whether to come. A true friend asks, “Where are you?” as he/she is getting dressed.

““Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’” ““The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’” Matthew 25:34-36, 40, NIV.


A Subjective Person came along and said I feel for you there down in the pit.

An Objective Person came along and said it’s logical that someone would fall down into that pit.

A Pharisee said only bad people fall into the pit.

A Newspaper Reporter wanted the exclusive story on the pit.

A Realist said “Yep, that’s a pit”

A Scientist calculated the necessary pressure to get him out of the pit

A Geologist told him to appreciate the rock structure in the pit

A Tax Man asked him if he was paying taxes on the pit.

The City Inspector asked him if he had a permit to dig a pit.

An Evasive Person came along and avoided the subject of a pit altogether.

A Self-Pitying Person came along and said you haven’t seen anything until you have seen my pit.

An Optimist said things could be worse. A Pessimist said things will get worse


When we are cold (vs. 11)

The picture is being alone in a cold room. The ancient solution to this is to get many people together and generate a lot of body heat. We still do that today.

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