The Fundamentals of Friendship.
Cooper P Abrams III
INTRO: There is a lot said about love. Yet, on examination, most of the love that is talked about would be better called "physical attraction."
1. The basis of any good relationship is true biblical love. This love is often misunderstood because it is confused with emotion. Love will cause emotion and emotional caring and love is important and we all need to feel it,because God made us that way, . . . but true biblical love is not based on emotion.
Missionary to Africa, Russell Champlin, said when he was in school he learned this definition:
“Love is a desire for and a delight in the well being of the one loved; leading to active and a self sacrificing effort of their behalf.”
Biblical love is based on God's grace. Grace is unmerited favor. In other words, God in His own heart decided to that He wanted the very best of us. He choose to care for us as Rom. 5:8, says "when we were still in our sins." God choose to love us, not based upon some goodness or trait he liked in us, but because he cared for our well being and future. Thus, God's grace is an expression of his will....to love us, because he choose too.
Any true lasting relationship must be based on grace. A marriage must be based on grace, as well as friendships. No marriage will last unless the couple are friends! You wife/husband should be your best friend.
God made us to need one another. When we fail in our relationship and fail to exercise biblical grace and love one to another we become lonely and loneliness is a terrible condition.
2. Each of us needs the others. It is important in our families and in our church.
A. First, there is a loneliness that occurs when we are isolated from our husband/wife, families and friends.
B. Second, and worse there is EMOTIONAL loneliness. This is a loneliness that can occur in the midst of a crowd. This is the most common type of loneliness. It occurs when we feel we have no one to share our deepest concerns, no one who truly understands our struggles or our joys.
1. The solution to the problem of loneliness is friendship. All human beings both need and crave friendship. We need someone who will rejoice with us or cry with us, someone who will comfort us when we crawl through valleys of despair or laugh with us on the mountaintops of happiness.
We need someone who is an ever present companion through the ins and outs of the daily grind, someone we can always
count on. In fact, friendships can be our most valuable possessions. The poet, Emily Dickenson, wrote "My friends are my estate."
2. Every human being needs friendships on two different levels. Note again our text!
C. We need HORIZONTAL friendships. We need deep meaningful friendships with other people. The proverb says, "A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly." (Prov. 18:24)
In other words, we have to work on building friendships. Do you work on building friendships with others or let it happen?
True friendship is not one sided. Many are looking for friends who will help them, meet their need, be a friend to them, listen to their problems, be sympathetic and love them. They are seeking a selfish friendship in which they receive friendship....but often this is a one-sided affair.
Often people do not find the friends they want and remain lonely and wonder why? The KEY is in this verse. To have friends we must show ourselves to be friendly.
This is not just being friendly, but it means we unselfishly give support and friendship to others. We befriend other people. To find true friends we must UNSELFISHLY give ourselves to others.
Let me emphasize the that true friendship is not based on getting, but giving. Many people have a hard time finding true friendship because they are looking for what someone can do for them. They want people to love and care for them....and they fail because that is not the basis of true friendship. True friendship is like God’s grace....and His love it is giving unmerited favor to someone and first and fore most wanting to meet their need, to help them, to comfort them.
In giving friendship it is returned. The satisfaction of friendship...is in being a friend to others. . . .
D. We need a VERTICAL friendship. The basis of any sound lasting relationship begins with a relationship with our Creator and God. The second part of our verse says, "There is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother." That friend is Jesus Christ. Unless you have a personal friendship with Jesus, you'll never escape loneliness. Exodus 33:11 says,
"And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend."
James 2:23 says, "And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God."
Jesus said to His disciples in 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."</p>
E. I want to give you the blueprint for a lasting friendship. In fact, let's examine ten characteristics of genuine friendship.
II. Friends Listen. You see that takes effort does it. It is unselfishly listening to others. We want to tell people about our problems, but instead we unselfishly listen to others.
A. Genuine friends have open ears.
1. Many people are self-centered. They only want to talk about themselves. They don't listen when you speak because they are too busy thinking of what they will say next.
2. A true friend will listen when you speak. He wants to understand how you feel and what concerns you. He wants to help.
B. Because Jesus is our friend, He listens to us.
1. He said in Psalm 91:15 "He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him."
2. Isaiah 65:24 says of Him, "And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear. "
3. He said in Luke 11:9 "And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. "
4. James 5:16 reminds us "The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man availteth much."
III. Friends Share Interests. A true friend puts others first and is unselfish in doing so. A true friend will put their interests aside help the one who needs their friendship.
A. Genuine friends always find common ground with us.
1. Sometimes God brings special friends into our lives who have much in common with us.
2. Though you may have friend with whom you have no common interest, your best friends have something in common with you.
B. Because Jesus is our friend, He sought common ground with us.
1. Jesus found common ground by becoming one of us. He loved us so much He became one of us. Philippians 2:7 says that He "made Himself of no reputation, took upon himself the form of a servant, made in the likeness of men."
2. In fact, when He came, He not only limited His power as God, He endured every possible frustration and pain of man.
C. Can you see how this would work out in our families and in our church.
Often we do not concern ourselves with the spouse or family. We let them be a part of what we want to do. This is a selfish relationship.
In our churches. A pastor friend of mine some months ago told me of a man who had attended the church for many years. He left and went to another church. He told the pastor that his needs were not being met there. Yet, I went to the church myself for many years and He and his wife had only a partly relationship with the church. They did not participate in most of the activities. They were members of the church, but people knew they were not really committed to it.
I predict they will in time after the newness is worn off, find that their new church did not meet their needs either. Can you see why?
IV. Friends Protect. Instead of wanting and seeking protection for ourselves....we freely offer it unselfishly to others. We put their needs first.
A. Genuine friends always look out for us.
1. Walter Winchell has said, "A friend is one who walks in when others walk out."
2. Jonathan was a genuine friend to King David. When Jonathan's father, Saul, planned to kill David, Jonathan warned him and helped him escape.
3. How do good friends protects us?
a. They know how to keep private things private.
Proverbs 17:9 says, "He that covereth a transgression seeketh love, But he who repeateth a matter separateth very friends."
Proverbs 16:28 says, "A forward (perverse) man soweth
strife, And a whisperer separateth the best of friends."
b. They will not allow others to speak badly of us. I
recently read of a mother who decked another mother because she made fun of her handicapped child. If necessary, they fight for us.
B. Because Jesus is our friend, He protects us.
He protects us today. Psalm 125:2 says, "As the mountains round about Jerusalem, So the Lord is around about his people from henceforth and even forever." Psalm 34:7 says, "The angel of the LORD encampeth all around those who fear Him, And delivereth them."
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