What a Friend We have in Jesus
I. The Nature of Friendship
II. In Order to be Friends with Each Other We Must:
A. First be a Friend of God
Jesus was first a friend of God Jn 15:9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
B. Practice the Activities/Skills of Friendship
J&M White - Friends & Friendship: shares deeply (listen, talk, accept, understand), loyal, fun to be with, stimulating, encouraging, loving, self-sacrificing, spiritually challenging.
Free exchange of thoughts and lives (and time)
1. Friends share deeply Jn 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 from my Father I have made known to you.
Jesus freely shared with them the heights of His glory (on the Mount of Transfiguration), the depths of His grind (in the Garden of Gethsemene) and the glory of the daily grind (He walked with them). Yet He also shielded the disciples from things that were not in their best interest at the time. He verbalized both His love and His friendship
2. Friends sacrificially love Jn 15:11 These things have I spoken to you, that my joy may remain in you, and [that] your joy may be full. 12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
EVAL: Are my relationships free, open, and transparent or am I guarded, defensive and at times deceptive?
Is my transparency an emotional catharsis or does wisdom guide my self-revelation?
Do my friendships cost me anything or are they liaisons of convenience?
Are they marked by mutual self-centered or self-sacrificial love?
Do I verbally express my love and appreciation for my friends?
Do we communicate on the deepest levels or is superficiality the standard?
Does my friend know where I am battling sin? Is he/she an ally?
Repair, Maintenance and Cultivation
Jn 13:23 Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved.
He bestowed honor on His friends through the title "friend"
EVAL: Do I let my friendships deteriorate when I'm not urgently needing them, or do I cultivate them even in the off season?
Do I toss away relationships when they develop cracks or break, or do I seek to mend and glue them?
Do I dwell upon the sterling qualities of my friends when they act abrasively?
Do I consider how God can use the abrasive qualities of my friends to polish me?
Do I forgive as I have been forgiven and our Master modeled forgiveness?
Investment in Each other and in a Common Cause
1Jo 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another...blood of Jesus cleanseth us from sin.
There can be no doubt that friendship with Jesus was deeply and permanently life changing. (lessons, illustrations, examples -upper room foot-washing)
He spoke often of the Father. He chose us to be His friends as an expression of His love (desire for our best-His friendship is for our fruitfulness)
EVAL: Do my friendships move toward mutual edification into Christlikeness or are they roadside reststops?
Can the basis of my friendship last a lifetime?
How committed am I to seeing people become what God intends them to be (realize their purpose and potential)?
What is the deep common interest upon which each of my friendships is based?
Is _______ more of a disciple because of me? Am I moreso because of them?
Do I initiate love or do I wait for others to earn my approval or reach out to me first? (cold-calls)
Empathy & Encouragement
Jesus stimulated others by His example Jn 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.
Heb 2:17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like [his] brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest...18 For in that he himself has suffered being tempted, he is able to aid them that are tempted.
Jn 11:5 Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. 11...Lazarus sleeps; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. 33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping who came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled, 35 Jesus wept.
Jesus dealt differently with Martha and Mary. Both said the same thing (vv21&32), yet He responded to Martha more on a cognitive level and Mary on a more emotional level. Jesus never lost sight of the objective vv 15&42 though in the process He delayed reaching the objective v35
EVAL: Can I respond cognitively and emotionally to my friends needs?
Does my encouragement infuse people with courage spurring them to face and do the difficult, or does it insulate them from change by aiding and abetting their complacency? Can I reject sin without rejecting the person?
Am I climbing the mountain so that I can call others alongside?
Have I overcome personal failure so that I can comfort and encourage others?
He not only gave them fish but taught them how to fish
Jn 15:14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatever I command you. 16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and [that] your fruit should remain: that whatever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 These things I command you, that ye love one another
EVAL: Am I drawn to relationships where my needs can be met temporarily or solved permanently?
Do I like to meet needs so I feel needed and worthwhile, or do I seek to prompt growth toward Christ-sufficiency?
Do I accurately observe and listen, prayerfully interpret what I observe, and then patiently help others apply the Scriptures?
Defend Life and Reputation
Friendship demands discriminatory allegiance Jas 4:4
Jesus' loyalty to the disciples superceded their disloyalty to Him (i.e., Peter) His loyalty is seen not only in the promise of the Great Commission, but in the promise of the HS and present advocacy
EVAL: Do I defend the reputation of my Savior and Christian siblings, or will I stab them in the back for a pat on the back?
Do I intend to make life-long friends (knit soul sweaters) or is my focus more on who can provide the thrill of the moment?
Questions for Reflection/Discussion/Response:
1. You know someone is your friend when...
2. What are the differences in a friendship between unbelievers and believers?
3. Is there any downside to just hanging out with "comfortable acquaintances"?
4. How well do you have to know someone to call them a friend?
5. Which "Practices" (II. C. above) is most important to you? Least?
6. Do you view friendship more from a worldly or Biblical perspective? In what way?
Jn 15:8 In this is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
Jn 15:3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken to you.
Jn 15:9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
Sirach "Whoever fears the Lord directs his friendships aright"
Independent people into our own little things
We have interests other than Jesus Christ
Familiarity breeds contempt - Know flaws and fail to confront or accept them
Won't compromise our own agenda