Tuesday, December 17, 2013

What Is A True Friendship? See Proverbs 17:17!!

A true friend never fails, no matter what. A true brother is always ready to help in time of need or trouble. King Solomon described excellent friends and brothers in very few words. You must ask if you are such a friend, and you must ask if you have such friends.

Two are better than one! The solitary life is lonely and vain. Good friends help in four ways – they share in successes, they help when you fall, they provide encouragement and synergy, and they help oppose enemies (Eccl 4:9-12). Successful men have great friends.

Such friends are not found easily; they are a blessing from God. And such friends must be carefully preserved by careful efforts (Pr 27:10) and sincere friendliness (Pr 18:24; Jn 15:15). If you deeply offend a friend, it may be very hard to recover them (Pr 18:19). Look for friends among zealous saints (Ps 101:4-8; 119:63; Titus 1:8). They are won by a pure heart and gracious speech (Pr 22:11; I Sam 18:1). Holy living brings holy friends.

Jonathan and David were friends. Jonathan loved David as his own soul (I Sam 18:1-4). David described Jonathan’s love as greater than that of women (II Sam 1:26). There was no competition or envy between them. They strengthened each other in the Lord (I Sam 23:16). Back to back with swords, no enemy could touch them! Face to face, no lovers could match their affection! Their covenant of friendship, in life and death, was glorious.

Men say, “Blood is thicker than water,” meaning family ties are stronger than friendship or marriage. But the sons of God know better. They say, “Blood is thicker than blood,” meaning the bond in Christ, by His blood, is stronger than the bond of family. The best marriages are when a man marries his sister – his friend in the Lord (I Cor 9:5). No man has forsaken family for Christ that did not find a better, larger family (Luke 18:28-30).

Saints make the best friends, for God forms their souls identically. They fear the LORD, believe the truth, adore Jesus Christ, follow Bible wisdom in life, have true love in their hearts, and know they will spend eternity together. They exhort and rebuke each other to perfection, which is sweeter than kisses (Pr 27:5-6,9). The world cannot know such unity!

It did not matter Paul was on trial for his life, Luke was there (II Tim 4:11). It did not matter Jesus was crucified by rabid Jews, John was there (John 19:26-27). Fair weather friends, as they are called, are never there when you need them (Pr 14:20; 19:4). Demas evilly deserted Paul, but Timothy more than made up for it (II Tim 4:10; Phil 2:19-22).

What kind of a friend are you? The first lesson of this proverb is to examine yourself to see if you are the only kind of friend that counts. What kind of friends do you have? The second lesson is to examine your friends and make sure you have the good kind.

Jesus of Nazareth, reigning as King on David’s throne, is the greatest Friend. He gave His life for you; He lives to make intercession for you; He will never leave or forsake you.

Last, but not least, classical theologian scholar, Matthew Henry, had this to say about “What Is a True Friendship?”:

“This intimates the strength of those bonds by which we are bound to each other and which we ought to be sensible of. 1. Friends must be constant to each other at all times. That is not true friendship which is not constant; it will be so if it be sincere, and actuated by a good principle. Those that are fanciful or selfish in their friendship will love no longer than their humour is pleased and their interest served, and therefore their affections turn with the wind and change with the weather. Swallow-friends, that fly to you in summer, but are gone in winter; such friends there is no loss of. But if the friendship be prudent, generous, and cordial, if I love my friend because he is wise, and virtuous, and good, as long as he continues so, though he fall into poverty and disgrace, still I shall love him. Christ is a friend that loves at all times (Jn. 13:1) and we must so love him, Rom. 8:35. 2. Relations must in a special manner be careful and tender of one another in affliction: A brother is born to succour a brother or sister in distress, to whom he is joined so closely by nature that he may the more sensibly feel from their burdens, and be the more strongly inclined and engaged, as it were by instinct, to help them. We must often consider what we were born for, not only as men, but as in such a station and relation. Who knows but we came into such a family for such a time as this? We do not answer the end of our relations if we do not do the duty of them. Some take it thus: A friend that loves at all times is born (that is, becomes) a brother in adversity, and is so to be valued. "

Interestingly it is that the word “friend” is closely associated to what Jesus said was the greatest form of love there is!

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends, (John 15:13).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Joe for your article about friendship. I agree with what you said. And I view you as a friend because we both have the same Friend who died for us and who wants to be our Friend forever!
Your friend, Vicente