Sabbath, April 16, 2005
“The warmth of true friendship, the love that binds heart to heart, is a foretaste of the joys of heaven.” –The Adventist Home, p. 106.
• To understand that a genuine friend is a God-given gift.
• To realize that there is no friend like Jesus.
• To know what qualifies one as a friend.
• To consider the criteria that must be applied when choosing a friend.
FRIENDSHIP-A PRECIOUS GIFT
1. What was Jesus’ attitude toward this very special relationship that will last through eternity?
Proverbs 17:9, 17 He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends… A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
“Christ took a personal interest in men and women while He lived on this earth.” –Welfare Ministry, p. 162.
2. Did He have any special friends on this earth?
John 11:3 Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick.
Luke 10:39 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.
Luke 7:38 And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.
John 13:23 Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved.
“Jesus had often found the rest that His weary human nature required at the house of Lazarus, in Bethany.” –Daughters of God, p. 57.
“John is distinguished above the other apostles as ‘the disciple whom Jesus loved.’ John 21:20. He seems to have enjoyed to a pre-eminent degree the friendship of Christ, and he received many tokens of the Saviour’s confidence and love.
“The Saviour’s affection for the beloved disciple was returned with all the strength of ardent devotion. John clung to Christ as the vine clings to the stately pillar.”
“It was John’s deep love for Christ which led him always to desire to be close by His side.” –The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 539, 545.
3. What is a top requirement for being called a friend of Jesus, and what privilege does this friendship entail?
John 15:14, 15 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. 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.
“There is many a man in the humble walks of life today whom the Lord might designate as He did Abraham: ‘The friend of God.’ Such men approve that which God approves and condemn that which He condemns.” –Testimonies, vol. 4, p. 615.
4. What other paradoxical fact counts us as His friends and why?
Zechariah 13:6 And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.
5. Which friend should we cherish more than anyone in our life, and why?
1 John 4:19 We love him, because he first loved us.
Isaiah 53:5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
Hebrews 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
“Seek to make God your father, and you will never want a friend.” –Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 314.
“Unless we continually cherish friendship between God and our souls, we shall separate from Him, and walk apart from Him. We shall make friends of those around us, and place our trust in humanity, and our affections will be diverted from the true object of worship.” –Sons and Daughters of God, p. 28.
“The friendship expressed by nearest and dearest relatives and friends is so far surpassed by the revelation of Jesus Christ that the former is dumb and expressionless when compared with the latter.” –This Day with God, p. 328.
FRIENDSHIP IN THE BALANCES
6. What are some of the things that a real friend does and does not do?
Proverbs 17:17 A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
Matthew 26:2 Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.
1 Samuel 18:4 And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his garments, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle.
James 3:14 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.
1 Samuel 19:4 (first part) But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth….
Romans 2:1 Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.
1Samuel 20:4 Then said Jonathan unto David, Whatsoever thy soul desireth, I will even do it for thee.
1 Samuel 20:17 And Jonathan caused David to swear again, because he loved him: for he loved him as he loved his own soul.
2 Samuel 9:1 Now there was a man of Benjamin, whose name was Kish, the son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Bechorath, the son of Aphiah, a Benjamite, a mighty man of power.
Proverbs 27:6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
“A true Christian is the poor man’s friend. He deals with his perplexed and unfortunate brother as one would deal with a delicate, tender, sensitive plant.” –My Life Today, p. 245.
“Whoever is foolish enough to flatter you cannot be your true friend. Your true friends will caution, entreat, and warn you, and reprove your faults.” –Testimonies, vol. 3, p. 226.
“They show the truest friendship who reprove error and sin without partiality and without hypocrisy.” –Evangelism, p. 368. “When one is in trouble, call upon him and speak comforting words to him. This is true friendship.” –Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 928.
“There is no surer way of weakening spirituality than by cherishing envy, suspicion, faultfinding, and evil surmising.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 549.
7. What kind of friendship are we to avoid?
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.
“The Scriptures furnish abundant evidence that it is safer to be joined to the Lord, and lose the favor and friendship of the world, than to look to the world for favor and support, and forget our dependence upon God.” (RH Jan. 8, 1884) –Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 3, p. 1134.
“While we must live in the world, we are not to be of the world. We are forbidden to conform to its practices and fashions. The friendship of the ungodly is more dangerous than their enmity. (ST June 2, 1881)” –Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 2, p. 1001).
“You should avoid contracting an intimate friendship with those whose example you would not choose to imitate. The influence and tendency of such friendship is to assimilate you to their ideas and their views, and unless there is a continual counteracting influence, all unrealized by you their spirit and habits have become yours.” –Manuscript Releases, vol. 4, p. 233.
FOR MEDITATION AND FURTHER STUDY
• Do I have friends in the real sense of the word?
• Have I made Jesus my true Friend?
• Do I fulfill the requirements to be considered a real friend?
• Let us think about this statement and pray that we may practice it: “A true friend is one who knows all about you and loves you just the same.” –Retired Years, (1990) Appendix C, p. 129.