INTRO: When I think of friendship from a Biblical perspective, I usually think first of Jonathan and David. If we want a real life example of what a true friendship can be, this is the example to study and to copy. Friendships are important to all of us. But the word friend covers a wide assortment and range of relationships. Still, in our lives and in our experience we will probably not have many friendships to equal the Jonathan/David relationship. As you read through the book of Proverbs you will find a good many references to friend. In these references you will find wise advice and information about this subject which is, I believe, very important to all of us.
1. Be careful about financial dealings with friends - 6:1
a. many friendships have been hurt by mutual financial dealings
b. partnerships, cosigned notes, personal loans, etc. have a way of putting strains on a relationship!
c. so, it makes sense to be very careful about such dealings
d. but, Ps 112:5 - the Proverbs passage is apparently not a prohibition
e. it is a warning about rashly, without careful thought, entering into those economic, financial arrangements with friends
f. I like the thought at Ps 112:5he will guide his affairs with discretion
2. Choose friends for the right reasons - 14:20
a. an added passage: Prov 19:6
b. Wisdoms point is that people will seek to befriend that person whose wealth might provide some benefit to a friend
c. on the other hand, the poor do not have these self interested friends
d. think of Lk 15:13-15 - the money is gone ... so are any friends!
e. or, Jude 16 - ...having mens persons in admiration because of advantage
f. friends should be chosen for their virtues ... not for personal advantage
3. Real friends are constant in their friendship - 17:17
a. the contrast? note 19:7
b. friendships, for a number of reasons, might have ebbs and flows
c. but real friendships survive the passing of time and remain alive, vital
d. this is often seen best when one of the friends is in adversity ... the real friend rushes to his aid (as Jonathan did for/to David)
e. to keep such friendships alive their needs to be communication - and modern methods assist us marvelously in this respect
f. but the passage from 19:7 definitely describes fair weather friendship
4. Friendship depends on friendliness - 18:24 (KJV)
a. it is not uncommon for people to complain of unfriendliness or others
b. from time to time I hear, I have no friends
c. this verse probably gives the reason why some people feel they have no friends ... that others are just not friendly - the problem is not with others!
d. friendship is risky, is costly, is reciprocal, is outreaching, takes time - and some people simply are not willing to invest themselves in true friendship!
e. Deut 13:6 - ...thy friend, which is as thine own soul...
f. and the last part of this verse is so true! such a friend is above price!
5. Friendship should be carefully given - 22:24
a. earlier I mentioned making friends for the right reasons - the virtues
b. this reminder is reinforcement of that idea
c. now, however, we are taught that if a person possesses qualities which are ungodly and undisciplined we should not establish friendship with them!
d. why? notice v. 25 - lest thou learn his ways
e. 1 Cor 15:33 - the danger of catching an ungodly, undisciplined quality is very real!
f. so, choose your friends carefully
6. A friends advice, reproof ... faithful - 27:6,9
a. all of us need someone who can advise, counsel ... even reprove
b. our enemies may simply flatter, praise ... but deceitfully
c. a friend who can lovingly, carefully give counsel, correction may wound us ... but those wounds were not to hurt ... but to help
d. when we seek to give this kind of counsel, we must be careful that our spirit is right, that we are not accusatory, that our love is evident, etc.
e. I think the Pauls letters to Timothy - much advice, counsel, even correction is there ... but it is so encouraging that we almost miss its being counsel or correction (there is an art to this)
f. notice the sweetness of a mans friend - there is the secret
7. A friend with whom we can debate is helpful - 27:17
a. it is such interaction which sharpens, refines our own thinking
b. to several of my friends I might say, Tell me where I am wrong here!
CLOSE: Prov 27:10 - old friends, old family friends should never be forsaken! Such friendships are wonderfully beneficial!
Cecil A. Hutson
March 13, 2005
You Must Hear the Gospel
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) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
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
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
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)
You Must Be Baptized
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!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
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)