Benefits of Friendliness and Friendship

Benefits of Friendliness and Friendship

Good morning. A friend loves at all times. Our text this morning is from Luke 7:1-10. Please take the time to read the text. It contains a number of lessons about the results of friendliness and friendship. Rome had soldiers stationed all over its empire for the purpose of keeping peace and enforcing law. Capernaum had a large Jewish population and was the city from which Jesus conducted his tours and local work. Stationed here was a centurion, a man placed over a hundred other men. Whether his superiors realized or not, he was a very special man. As a Roman soldier, especially as a centurion, he had seen the worst side of society in his responsibility to keep the peace. As a centurion, he had participated in brutal training and proven himself in battle. He had to be a firm disciplinarian of his own band and in performing his duties. Yet, it is obvious he never forgot the value of a human being. He treated the Jews with respect. He learned to love those who were his servants. He befriended those around him. He was both a friendly man and a friend despite his position of authority. Notice please the following results of his friendliness toward others.

 Because of his love and friendship with his servant, he was in anguish over his illness. Their friendship translated into action. I have no doubt that physicians had already been consulted. Don’t you imagine that this servant had rendered diligent service because of his master’s character.

 His friendliness and openness to other people made him aware of things that were going on in their lives. For example, though Jesus was a Jew and not working among the Gentiles, this centurion had listened and heard of him and had believed in Him. How many of us even know the name of our neighbors 2 or 3 doors down. When you find a person who does seem to “know everyone,” you nearly always find a friendly person.

 He, a Gentile, felt comfortable asking the Jews for help. His spirit and kindnesses toward them had opened doors closed to the average Gentile. Friendliness today can open many doors. The Jews were more than willing to seek the help of Jesus on his behalf. This was not out of fear or for political positioning. They said the centurion was “worthy” because of his love for the Jewish nation.

 Someone cared for him enough that they accompanied the group to Jesus and then carried the message to the centurion that the master was on his way. That is the only way the centurion could have stopped Jesus before he got to his house.

 The centurion had other friends (v. 6) who were willing to take time to do his bidding in taking a second message to Jesus that the centurion knew it would not be necessary for Jesus to come to the sick man.

 Finally, the centurion’s faith made him a friend of Jesus and brought about the healing of his servant.

Friends, friendship has many bonuses in its returns. Let’s be friendly and let’s be a friend to those around us. Be called a friend of God.

Be A Friend Of God

Be A Friend Of God

Hello everyone. Our slogan, “Be called a friend of God’ requires serious meditation in regard to our JG text today. We have been and will be discussing through the rest of the month the subject of friendliness and friendship. In no setting can that discussion be more important than in the context of John 15:14. Jesus said, “You are my friend if you do whatsoever I command you.” There may be some in our nation (and our world) who do not believe in God. I heard a radio talk show here in America, quote some statistics that said about 4 % of our nation do not believe in God. Around the world, that number is no doubt higher. But, of those who do believe in God, nearly all of them want to say they are a friend of Jesus. Jesus explains in this verse what it takes to be a friend. I would like to apply this on two levels, personal friendship, and church friendship. Would you say that you are friendly with the Lord? Would you say your congregation is friendly with the Lord?

To be a friend would involve doing all that Jesus said to do. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). In Matt. 7:21, Jesus said, “Not everyone that says unto me, Lord, Lord, (part of obedience, mg) shall enter in the kingdom of God, but he that does the will of my father who is in heaven” (complete obedience, mg). Again, in Matt. 28:18: “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19: Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever (emphasis mine, mg) I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
 Being a friend to Jesus (a follower, Lk. 9:23) would mean we pray (1 Thess. 5:17), but we also turn away from sin (Luke 13:3).
 It means we love our family and friends (Mt. 5:45-47), but we also forgive and pray for our enemies (Matt. 5:44).
 It would mean we lean upon our faith (Rom. 5:1-2), but we also are cleansed through the washing of water (Eph. 5:25-26).
 It means we like and are unafraid to talk about our Lord (Matt. 10:32), but we also are daily meditating on what he actually says in his word (2 Tim. 2:15).
 It means a congregation is benevolent when opportunity and ability are before them (Gal. 6:9-10), but the also love enough to discipline the erring (Matt. 18:15-18).
 It means we are striving to be one (John 17:20-21), but we are not accepting everyone (2 John 10; 1 John 4:1).

Brothers and sisters, friends, in order to do what Jesus says, we must be diligent students to know what he said. We cannot accept what our parents, friends or preachers say without knowing it for ourselves (Acts 17:11). Are you a friend of Jesus?

It is also true that to be a friend to Jesus, we must do no more than what he says to do. We must change nothing in what he says.

 We must do only what he authorizes (Col. 3:17). Jesus has given us a “limited power of attorney.” All we do must be in his name, but only what he authorizes may be done. Our speech, our acts, even our thoughts must be as he has authorized. Anything more is sin (1 Thess. 4:11, Col. 3:17: Mt. 5:27-28).
 Our gospel must be the gospel of the first century (Gal. 1:6-9; Rev. 22:18-19). We cannot change the worship he authorizes, the plan of salvation he taught, the godliness he demands.

Are you a friend of Jesus? Is your congregation friendly to Jesus?

Jesus Teaches Friendliness

Jesus Teaches Friendliness

Hello. We are all friendly, right? I mean, I know of no one who isn’t friendly – – under certain circumstances and with certain people. Our Lord addresses this very matter in regard to friendliness and friendship in Matt. 5:43-48. Here are the common practices of many people:
 Love your neighbor
 Hate your enemy
 Love those who love you
 Greet those who greet you

If the above is the general process you follow, then, you are pretty normal. Many of us probably fall somewhere in between. We don’t hate (at least, by our definition) our enemies. We don’t love them either. We probably find it easy to return love or appreciation to those who love us. I am sure we like to think of ourselves as civil to everyone, but what about friendly? What about seeing and greeting those who may ignore us? What about “doing good” to those who don’t reciprocate?

It is easy to greet our friends with friendship and to love our family or neighbors. Jesus is trying to help us be like God. He loves the unlovable. He helps the unappreciative? He blesses the sinner. These are the goals of friendliness and friendship we are striving to attain. Jesus is saying that if we are ‘normal’ in these matters, we are worldly in our thinking. We do not want to be worldly (James 4:4; 1 Jn. 2:15).

Let’s us become Christ-like in our friendliness and in our friendship. Get out of your box to engage the folks with whom we deal, on a daily basis, in a friendly smile and some friendly small talk that might lead to an open door for the gospel. Be called a friend of God.


Barnabas, A Friend To All

Barnabas, A Friend To All

Good morning. Try to picture the scene in Jerusalem in the first century. A city with a normal population around 100,00 might swell to 500,000-1,000,000 during the feasts. These people, who had often traveled very far (think of the Ethiopian from Africa), brought sufficient provisions for the journey and time spent in Jerusalem. When they became Christians and needed to stay longer the need for provisions was urgent. There was already great camaraderie among these new Christians. While all of the Christians were sharing with each other (Acts 2:44-45), Barnabas and others who had real estate holdings led the way in friendly fellowship by selling them and giving the money to the Lord to help those who lacked.

Brothers and sisters, Christians should become the friendliest people on earth. I say, ‘become’, because that is obviously not the way all of us come into Christ. Sometimes we are self-absorbed and do not really even see those around us, let alone be friendly toward them. I speak from a personal short-coming. I must work continuously to be approachable and open to new people, to look outside of myself and to have a smile for others on my face and in my heart. Of course, it is always easy to be friendly with some. When personalities click, friendliness and friendship is a breeze.

The most wonderful thing about my efforts to be friendlier and the efforts of those in Acts 4 is that Christianity made the difference. Think about the fact that these folks who were selling their possessions had them for some time. There were people who lacked before, but the possessions were not sold for them. It was the new character of Christ these folks were putting on that changed them. Now, without regret, they would sacrifice great amounts for other people they barely knew because of their “like precious faith.” Barnabas may have been a gregarious person before, but Christianity spurred him to become “the son of consolation” (Acts 4:36). Let’s you and I follow the path of Barnabas

Unfriendly Nabal

The Unfriendly Nabal

Good morning. Our text today is 1 Sam. 25:1-36. David and 600 of his supporters are fleeing from Saul. David is avoiding engaging Saul in battle or harming him because Saul is God’s anointed king. Their provisions being low, David sends men to the house of Nabal to obtain food and water. Nabal is very unfriendly to them. He, who had abundance, did not even show common courtesy to the servants of David. There is no record that he offered them water, food or even a moment to sit down. To say it mildly, he was not friendly or hospitable. Hospitality is but an extension of friendliness. David and his men had been very friendly toward the shepherds of Nabal. They had been a protection to them at a time when thieves were common (25:15-16). Nabal did not even offer his thanks.

As you can see, friendliness has many facets. In friendliness, Nabal should have returned thanks. He should have shown hospitality. He should have had appreciation. There should have been kindness extended to these who were in momentary need. He ought to have helped with the request for help. Instead, there was a scowl and rebuke in his words. I am certain there was no friendly smile upon his face as he saw the young men of David approaching. As we know, Abigail saves the day in this event. When the servants spoke to her of what happened, she responded with kindness and provisions for David and his men.

While a nod of the head, a smile on the face and a greeting in the voice are all important outward signs of friendliness, the acts of hospitality, thanksgiving, kindness come from the heart where friendliness must start. Is your friendliness only outward, or would you extend your time, energy and, perhaps, money, to put friendliness into action? Remember, a friend loves at all times.

Have a thoughtful day and be called a friend of God. Mike