Sunday, October 07, 2012


Friendship is like a garden,
Of flowers fine and rare,
It cannot reach perfection,
Except through loving care,
Then, new and lovely blossoms
With each new day appear,
For friendship, like a garden,
Grows in beauty year by year.

                 James spoke of friendship -

Read: James 4:4-6
Trans: I learned a great deal about being a friend of God
  1. Did you know that Abraham is the only man in the OT who is called a friend of God?
  2. In the NT, Jesus calls his disciples his friends.
  3. But two others are named “friend of God”
    1. Reuel is the name of Moses' father-in-law, his Hebrew name is translated “friend of God”.
    2. In the NT, Dr. Luke addresses his gospel and the book of Acts to a disciples named Theophilos. Theophilos' Greek name is also translated “friend of God”.
T.S. I want to ask you two questions based on today's passage.
  1. The first question is this – what does it meant to be a friend?
    1. James says, “You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”
    2. The passage centers around “friendship” - so if I am going to understand what James is saying, I have to understand the nature of friendship.
    3. The scripture has a number of examples of friendship – there is Eli the priest and Samuel the prophet, Naomi and her daughter-in-law Ruth, and the most famous friendship of all, David and Jonathan.
    4. We find the story of Jonathan and David in the book of I Samuel – a quick glimpse of their relationship can be seen in I Samuel 18:1-4. (READ)
    5. This short interaction gives us four characteristics of a good friend:
      1. I want to discuss these in the order they occur in the text – not necessarily the order in which they occur with every friend – but they are part of the friendships we develop in our life.
      2. Friendship begins with Love
        1. Listen again, “After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became on in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself.”
        2. Jonathan and David's friendship began with a love.
        3. The rules of I Corinthians 13 applied – even in the OT. “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
        4. But friendship is more than love, it involves three other facets.
      3. The next characteristic is commitment.
        1. Jonathan made a covenant with David – David made a commitment to Jonathan.
(Ill.) A couple of weeks ago we purchased a new (new to us, anyhow) car. Relatively cheap – a pile of steel really. But from the day we first saw the car, decided to purchase it, and we finally drove it off the lot, was a week long. I was surprised that I never had to sign anything until that day we drove away. You see, until the day we put down that money, we really had not committed to buying that car. Actually, we could have walked away from the car at anytime during that week – not till we plopped down the money did that car really belong to us.
        1. Friendship takes a commitment – I had a pastor that told us once, “We each need a 3:00 AM friend. We need someone that we can call at 3:00 AM when trouble hits.”
        2. Friendship requires a commitment.
      1. Friendship involves sharing
(Ill.) Someone has said, “The proof of God’s caring is His sharing. The everlasting arms of God are put beneath the load, not that we may escape our rightful obligations, but that we may be sustained in discharging them.”i
        1. The same is true for us – to you want to prove you care – learn to share. Jonathan shared ...
        2. As David prepares to run for his life, Jonathan shares his robe, tunic, sword, as well as his bow and his belt. Jonathan takes everything he can give within reason in his possession and shares it with David. If David ends up needed protection, he will have what he need.
        3. Now, we will never have to give our sword or bow to a friend in 20th century America. But what we do have, we can share.
      1. The final characteristic is trust.
        1. Jonathan has just turn over his weapons to the man that is hated most by his father, by the king.
        2. If Jonathan did not trust David – he could be in big trouble about now.
        3. It may not be stated explicitly in I Samuel, but it is clearly seen in how Jonathan and David interact.
        4. It will also be seen in how I interact with my friends. It will be seen in how you interact with your friends.
    1. Jonathan and David provide a helpful look at the nature of friendship.
    2. But once we know what friendship is, James 4:4 raises a second question.
  1. The second question is this – whose friend are you?
    1. Let's look one more time at James 4:4, “You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”
    2. I must ask myself, we each must ask ourselves -
      1. Am I a friend of God
      2. or Am I a friend of the world
    3. What do you love – what TV shows? What music? What books? What does the answer to these questions tell you about who you love – the world or God.
    4. What commitments have you made – are they indicative of a person who loves the world? Or are they indicative of one who loves God?
    5. What do you share? It is easy to share the things that are part of our lives – but things show our connection to the world. I have to ask myself, “What part of my spiritual lives do I share with the people around me?” “What part of your spiritual life do you share with the people around you?”
    6. Who do you trust? Will you take your needs to God first? Is your first thought to pray?
    7. Your response to these questions may help you understand who you love.

Conclusion: Let us become friends of God …
  1. Let's choose to love Him more
  2. Let's commit ourselves to knowing and following Him
  3. Let's God use each of us to share His love and gifts with others
  4. Let's determine to trust God, every day, regardless of what comes.
  5. Let conclude by pointing out that Chuck Swindoll has written, “... a friend of God is one who knows Him intimately and obeys Him willingly. A friend of God is characterized by uncompromising obedience to Christ and a growing knowledge of Christ.”ii
  6. Are you a friend of God? Do you want to be a friend of God?

iAMG Bible Illustrations. 2000. Bible Illustrations Series. Chattanooga: AMG Publishers.
iiSwindoll, C. R., & Zuck, R. B. (2003). Understanding Christian theology. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

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