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February 20, 2000 AM


1 Sam 18:1-4

INTRO: Some weeks ago I was watching a television program the subject of which I have forgotten. But there were two people who were friends, and one had made some considerable effort and sacrifice for the other. When the one who had received the favor thanked the other the response was this: What are friends for? Though it was a rhetorical question, it is a good question in our impersonal age of anonymity. Certainly, the Bible speaks of friends and friendship.


A. Companionship is certainly a human need

1. Gen 2:18 is Gods recognition of this and the primary way in which need is satisfied

2. note 2 Tim 4:9,21 companionship wanted!

B. Yet, who is companion needs consideration

1. Amos 3:3 companions, friends should be complement to our faith, discipleship

2. Lk 10:38-42 with Jno 11:5 friends of Jesus friends who loved, encouraged, enjoyed


A. Life can be discouraging at times

1. and to be alone in discouragement is hard

2. Ps 38:9-12 with Ps 107:6,7 alone and discouraged

3. no one to help, to say, I care

B. Spouse and friends can encourage

1. I think Gal 6:2 is the spirit of encouragement

2. burden must be borne - but burdens can be lightened when a friend encourages

3. Mt 16:21,22 was peter seeking to encourage, uplift his friend I think exactly that


A. Few of us do not need sound advice occasionally

1. friends can be sounding boards for us

2. friends can give counsel/without threat

3. friends should be safe place for openness (Prov 11:13)

b. Prov 27:9 A friends counsel

1. I note here the emphasis on sweetness

2. however, the friend from whom we seek counsel must be a wise, knowing person!

3. it helps, I believe, to have older friends, mature friends whose life and Biblical experiences can evaluate and wisely counsel


A. The world and people tend to be very fickle

1. life has many insecurities

2. insecurity can/does lead to anxiety/confusion

3. enough disloyalty can make cynics of us

B. But friends can offer security of loyalty

1. Prov 27:10 loyalty is a test of friendship

2. fair weather friends are plentiful - but are not the sort of friends of which I speak

3. note: loyalty does not mean approval - does not mean going along to misbehavior simply because ones friend invites ( Pro v 1:10 and 13:20)


A. When hard times come - dilemmas abound

1. not encouragement - not counsel ... comforting

2. note 2 Cor 7:5,6 there was turmoil in his life, unanswered questions ... Titus came ... and comforted

B. Job 2:11-13 Friends and comfort

1. yes, their words brought no comfort - we need to be careful of words of comfort - that they do not become part of the problem (presence often comforts)

2. but I believe their intentions were good and right

CLOSE: Good friends are a great treasure. Recall this ... Prov 18:24. Remember, friendship must be reciprocal. So, Mt 7:12.

Cecil A. Hutson

20 February 2000

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)