In last Sunday evening’s worship service I offered ten guidelines on the Biblical view of friendship. Here is a condensed outline:
Text: 1 Samuel 18:1-3
1. True friendship must be based on a common faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
There is a limit as to how close I can be with those who are not believers. See 2 Corinthians 6:14-15.
2. The purpose of Christian friendship is to spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
The first man’s need for companionship was part of his pre-fall condition. Cf: "It is not good for man to be alone" (Gen 2:18). The practical value of friendship is outlined in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12.
For believers, however, beyond any natural or practical value, there is also a distinctly spiritual purpose to friendship (see Proverbs 27:6, 17; 1 Corinthians 15:33).
3. You can only have truly close friendships with a limited number of people.
Part of our human finitude is the fact that we cannot have true, warm, close friendships with a large number of people.
Even Jesus himself limited the number friends who were close to him (cf. Mark 9:2; John 11:3, 35; 15:23-25; 21:20).
4. It is good to seek a variety of friends within your local church.
See Titus 2:1-10.
5. If you want to make friends you must show yourself friendly.
See Proverbs 18:24.
6. If you are married, then your husband or wife must be your best friend.
The husband and wife share an inner sanctum of intimacy and closeness that cannot be shared with anyone else (Genesis 2:14).
7. It is good for your family to have encouraging friendships with other likeminded families.
8. Friendships should be personal.
This comment is needed for the internet age. I am skeptical of internet friends. As someone said, we need more "face time" than "face book."
9. We should not make an idol of friends.
Does a friend’s opinion of you, your actions, or you behavior have such hold on you that you desire more his approval than God’s? See Psalm 118:8.
10. We should seek above all the friendship of Christ.
We need to be Jesus-centered (John 15:13-17).
Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle
Note: Evangel article for 9/1/09.
Another note: I found two talks helpful in preparation: First, David Murray's Puritan Podcast on "Choosing Friends: Ten Fast Facts." Second, Michael Philip's talk on "The Puritan View on Friendship."
This was a very profitable and pragmatic teaching for my sons and me. I have often been bothered by the christian left's social gospel influenced push towards "loving your neighbor." I do not find any biblical support for "hanging out" with the unregenerated (Prov 13:20;Phil 4:8, 2 Cor 6:14; 1 Cor 15:33; 2 Thes 3:6 etc.). For Jesus was very intentional when he dined with the tax collectors and prostitutes; his purpose was unilaterally evangelism and drawing hearts to him. Given our limited number of close, heart-felt friendships (point #3), we must prayerfully examine those relationships and how they are influencing us spiritually.
Good stuff, Brother Jeff.
Brother, why do we have to put rules to a friendship? Just wondrin'. :)
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