There Are friends And There Are Friends

Photo by Chang Duong on Unsplash

Proverbs 18:24 A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

We Were Designed To Have Friends

Humans were designed by Gods to be relational, to care for someone besides ourselves. When God created Adam it was never with the intent that Adam be alone. God declared his intention, however, before He did it. The Lord said:

Genesis 2:18 … It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

Though God said this, He did not immediately create a companion for Adam. God wanted man to know that singular solitude was not what we are created for. Our God “formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them” (Genesis 2:19). God did not do this because He Himself couldn’t think up names for His creation. Our God,

Psalm 147:4 … telleth the number of the stars; He calleth them all by their names

God brought the animals to Adam so that Adam would see every creature had a counterpart, a mate. After Adam named all the creatures the Bible says “for Adam there was not found an help meet for him” (Genesis 2:20). Adam had to recognize he needed a companion, someone to relate to. It was then that God formed Eve out of Adam’s rib (Genesis 2:21-22). The Bible says that:

Genesis 1:27-28 God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it …

In our current chapter, just above our focal text, we see these words:

Proverbs 18:22 Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord.

The first “friend” God created for man was woman, and for woman was man. Men, if you are married, you are to cherish your wives. The Bible says:

Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

As Jesus loved us – and died for us – the man is to love and give his life for his wife. Brothers, you are to DIE for your wives. This is a command of God. The Apostle tells us in:

1 Peter 3:7 … ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

Pastor John Piper said that “When we have HORIZONTAL problems we have a VERTICAL breakdown”. God will not hear our prayers when we mistreat our wives. And wives are commanded,

1 Peter 3:1-4 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the {way of life} of the wives; 2 while they behold your chaste {way of life} coupled with fear. 3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; 4 but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

God did not create humans to be solitary creatures. We are created in the “image of God”. God Himself is One, but He is Three. The Bible says that our God – which the Scripture names in Genesis 1:26 as אֱלֹהִים ‘ĕlōhîm – is an “US”. “God said ‘Let US make man in OUR image, after OUR likeness’”. God is a compound unity.

God is ONE in essence, but THREE in Person.

The Father is God. Galatians 1:1 speaks of “God the Father”. The Son, Jesus Christ, is God. In John 20:28 Thomas called Jesus “My Lord and My God” – and Jesus did not correct him! The Holy Spirit is God. In Acts 5:3-4 the Apostle Peter asked Ananias, “Why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit? … You have not lied to men, but to GOD”. Our God is relational, not solitary. He made us relational, and not solitary.

I genuinely believe that Satan is doing all he can to make us solitary creatures, shunning friendship and embracing technology. Beloved, everyone needs a friend. Everyone needs a companion to speak to, relate to, share you heart with.

We Should CAREFULLY Pursue Friendship

Proverbs 18:24 A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly:

Just as it is good to find a wife, it is a great thing to find a friend. We find friends by being friendly. Believers in Christ should be friendly and kind to others – but we should be careful in the friends we actually make. The Apostle Paul warns the Corinthian Christians:

1 Corinthians 15:33-34 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. 34 Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.

When you read this in the King James the archaic language may cause you to miss the point. “Evil communications corrupts good manners” is the Greek

kakos homilia phtheirō chrēstos ēthos”, which is better translated as:

Wicked or evil COMPANIONSHIP destroys good CHARACTER”

Who you choose to make a friend or a wife will effect your walk with God. It will effect your very life. I know of a young man now who was in a great position. He had a grandfather that was going to leave him substantial properties and quite a bit of money in his will. The young man, ignoring the advise of his pastor and of his family, began to hang around with other men who were abusing drugs and generally were godless. The young man – once so full of promise – is today disinherited, and in a perpetually drugged up state. “Wicked companionship destroys good character”. The Bible tells us that, in choosing friends, we are to remember:

2 Corinthians 6:14-18 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 and what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16 and what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18 and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

The Christian is to be friendly toward all. We are to “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15), and are to “be kind one to another” (Ephesians 4:32). Like the Quakers of old, we should be friendly toward all. The Apostle said,

I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. And this I do for the gospel’s sake” (1 Corinthians 9:22-23). We are to be friendly. But Beloved, we are never to be FRIENDS to the WORLDLY. The stepbrother of Christ, the Blessed James wrote:

James 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

Friends are people who help one another with their burdens. Friendship is a YOKE, a bond. If you choose the wrong friends, when you are in a bind and in need of help, these wrong friends can hurt you. The Apostle Paul spoke of two “fair weather” friends who abandoned him – but one good friend who stood by his side:

2 Timothy 1:15-18 This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes. 16 The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain: 17 but, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me. 18 The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day: and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well.

While Paul was writing his second letter to Timothy, he was in a Roman prison cell. Phygellus and Hermogenes were “fair weather friends” who turned away from Paul when he needed them the most. But there was one good friend named Onesiphorus who stood by Paul’s side. The name “Onesiphorus” literally means “one who brings profit to another”. We don’t know much about Onesiphorus, as he is only mentioned in 2 Timothy. We do know this, though. As a good friend, Onesiphorus:

  • Often refreshed Paul (vs 16). The word for REFRESHED is the Greek ἀναψύχω anapsýchō, {pronounced an-aps-oo’-kho}, which means “to recover one’s breath, to cool off or revive a sagging spirit”. When David was but a shepherd, and an evil spirit was upon King Saul (1 Samuel 16:23), “David took a harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him”. Being imprisoned, and hindered from preaching the Gospel, had to be a heavy burden on the Apostle Paul’s spirit. Onesiphorus did not add to Paul’s burden, but obeyed the command of 1 Thessalonians 5:11, “Comfort yourselves TOGETHER, and BUILD UP one another” (my paraphrase).
  • Onesiphorus was not ashamed of Paul’s chain” (vs 16). When Onesiphorus was in Rome, Paul said he sought me out very diligently, and found me. It was not SAFE to be a Christian in Rome at this time, but Onesiphorus did not hide from Paul. He sought Paul out. Why? Because Onesiphorus loved Jesus. Jesus said, “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed” (Mark 8:38). Onesiphorus loved Jesus, and as a good friend loved Paul. A good friend is not ashamed of your infirmities or needs. Paul was imprisoned for preaching the Gospel of salvation. Rather than run away from Paul, Onesiphorus ran toward Paul. He acted as Christ unto his friend.
  • Onesiphorus was not stingy with his love. The Apostle said, many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus” (vs 18). The Bible tells us in Proverbs 17:17, “A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity”. Fair weather friends only want you when they can use you. Good friends will stay by your side, through thick or thin. B
  • Because Onesiphorus loved Jesus and loved Paul, for he modeled Christ, his entire family was saved. As Paul closes this letter he writes, “Salute Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus” (2 Timothy 4:19).

There is nothing better in this life than a good and godly friend. A friend will tell you the truth, though may hurt:

Proverbs 27:6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

Several years ago I approached a cross road in my ministry, and was uncertain as to the path I should take. I had several other active pastors that I prayed with every week, men I thought were my friends. The Bible says, “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety” (Proverbs 11:14). I shared my dilemma with my friends, they agreed together with me that I should take a certain path. Later, when that path turned out to be disastrous (though God meant it for good – Genesis 50:20), one of my friends wrote to me, saying, “I thought it was a bad idea – but I didn’t say anything”.

Choose your friends wisely, dear friends. Be friendly to all, but choose your friends wisely!

There Is One Friend Who Is Always Faithful

Proverbs 18:24 … there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

It is good to have a good friend. Not a fair weather friend. Not a worldly friend. But a friend sent from God. Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, wrote:

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor. 10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. 11 Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? 12 And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Friends help one another out of trouble. They help one another with burdens. Our Lord Jesus is “A Friend that sticketh closer than a brother”.

When we choose good friends, do not forget that the BEST friend you can have is God Almighty. When you believe God, and prove your belief by listening to and doing His Word, He becomes our Friend. When God told Abraham to “offer up Isaac on the altar” (Genesis 22), that old man did not hesitate. He immediately set out with his son and all that he needed to sacrifice Isaac upon that altar. The Bible tells us that God stopped Abraham from sacrificing Isaac – it was but a test of his character. The Scripture tells us:

James 2:23 … 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.

The best Friend you can have is a friendship with God. What was the most amazing miracle that happened in the lifetime of Moses? Was it:

– the pillar of fire and of cloud that led Israel (Exodus 13:21)
– the water parted at the Red Sea (Exodus 14:21)
– the manna that God fed Israel from Heaven (Exodus 16:4 ff)
– the water that God gave Israel from the Rock (Exodus 17)

No, the most amazing and miraculous thing was when …

Exodus 33:9-11 … the Lord talked with Moses. 10 And all the people saw the cloudy pillar stand at the tabernacle door: and all the people rose up and worshiped, every man in his tent door. 11 And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend.

Our God is looking for people who will receive Him as Friend. Jesus Christ left the glory of Heaven and came to this earth to save sinners, and to call people to friendship with God. Jesus told His disciples:

John 15:9-15 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. 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. 11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. 12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. 13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. 14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. 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.

True friends lay down their lives for one another. Jesus laid down His life for us. He died on Calvary “to bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). As Jesus laid down His life for us, we who believe in Him lay down our lives for Him. We heed and do His commandments. We are Christ’s friends if we abide in His love.

  • Jesus is our Friend Who will always give us good counsel. The Prophet Isaiah said “His name shall be called WONDERFUL COUNSELOR, the Mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). Jesus never gives us bad advise, or poor recommendations. As eternal God in the flesh (John 1:1-3, 14) He has the perspective of our Creator. He knows what is best for us. We are wise to heed His direction.
  • Jesus is our Friend Who will never forsake us. He is no fair weather friend. Jesus has promised “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5). He has said, “fear not, for I am with thee” (Genesis 26:24). “Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee” (Jeremiah 1:8). “And, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” (Matthew 28:20).

The genuine Church that represents Jesus is filled with friends of Jesus, working together, honoring Him Who is our Friend. Where “two or more are gathered together in Jesus’ Name, there Jesus is in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20).

Galatians 6:1-2 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. 2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Friends lift one another up when hurt comes, and rejoice together when blessings come:

1 Corinthians 12:24-27 … God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honor to that part which lacked: 25 that there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. 26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it. 27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

As friends we are to lift one another up to Jesus, our Best Friend. If you do not know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, may I introduce you to my Friend? He is the Best Friend you can have. He gave His life for you, and rose again so that He can represent us before God the Father. I close with those wonderful words of that grand old song:

What a friend we have in Jesus
All our sins and griefs to bear
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer
Oh, what peace we often forfeit
Oh, what needless pain we bear
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer

May God touch your hearts and minds with His Word and His Spirit. Amen and Amen!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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