The Problem of Friends
A. WE ALL NEED AND DESIRE FRIENDSHIP.
B. FRIENDS ARE PRECIOUS BLESSINGS AND RESPONSIBILITIES.
A. SOLOMON'S ADVICE: "BE CAREFUL"( Prov. 22:24-25 ).
B. HAS TO DO WITH INFLUENCE( 1 Cor. 15:33 ).
C. ARE WE CONCERNED WITH WHAT WE ENDORSE?( Eph. 5:11 ).
D. WORLDLY FRIENDS CAN BE DISASTROUS( Jas. 4:4; 2 Cor. 6:14, 17-18 ).
E. QUALITIES TO BE SOUGHT IN FRIENDS ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN
WEALTH, EDUCATION, PRESTIGE, POPULARITY, etc.
F. WE SHOULD ASK, "WHO IS UPLIFTING TO ME?" & "WHO NEEDS ME?"
A. BE FRIENDLY( Prov. 18:24 - KJV ).
1. Wesley: "Sour godliness is the devil's religion."
2. Dogs know who to win friends - by being friendly.
3. "As cold a wind as ever blew;
A colder church, and in't but few;
As cold a minister's e'er spak,
Ye'll all be hot ere I come back."
4. How much do you want friends? How friendly are you?
B. BE HELPFUL IN ADVERSITY( Prov. 17:17 ).
1. Action is important ... Prove yourself a friend( 1 John 3:18 ).
2. There is good in adversity. Shows who your friends are. Fair-weather friends
and shadows. Some are good at being a friend until you need one.
C. POSSESS A HUMILITY THAT WILL ALLOW YOU TO MIX WITH ALL
CLASSES OF PEOPLE.
1. Snobbery is resented by everyone( Phil. 2:3; Rom. 12:3, 16 ).
2. Jesus associated with the lowest( Luke 5:30 ). Why?( vs. 31-32 ).
3. Our attitude toward others will determine our success at humility.
a. Compassion( Matt. 9:36 ).
b. Hate the affliction, not the afflicted( Jude 22 ).
c. Remember our own shortcomings( Luke 18:13 ).
4. Remember( Prov. 16:18 ).
D. BE UNSELFISH( Phil. 2:4; Matt. 20:26-28 ).
1. You don't make friends merely to take advantage of them.
2. Nor do you make friends in order to bully them. Control Freaks freak me out.
E. BE TOLERANT( Col. 3:12-13 ).
1. All of our friends are going to have faults. Nobody's perfect.
2. We can afford to forgive. We can't afford not to( Matt. 7:1 ).
3. Give the benefit of the doubt( James 1:19-20 ). Then forgive anyway.
4. Look at yourself( Matt. 7:3 ). Burn's - "To A Louse."
F. BE SINCERE AND TRUTHFUL( 1 Pet. 2:1; 3:10-11 ).
1. Love should come from within( 1 Pet. 1:22 ).
2. Can we come on "too strong?" Doesn't that arise suspicion?
G. GOLDEN RULE( Matt. 7:12 ).
H. BE STABLE - DEPENDABLE - CAN YOU BE COUNTED ON AS A FRIEND?
1. Some are too unstable to be trusted - Blow with the wind.
2. A question of character( Psa. 1:1-3 ). Like a tree planted by the water.
3. Promise Keeper( Psa. 15:4 ).
I. BE LOYAL.
1. Example of Onesiphorus in Paul's troubled times( 2 Tim. 1:16 ).
2. Job's friends( Job 19:14, 19 ).
3. "Love is not love which alters when alteration finds
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O, no! it is an ever fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken."
4. Does not involve taking up for one's wrongs, but loving in spite of them.
J. SUMMED UP ... BE A FRIEND.
1. These things will make me a better friend.
2. Manifest in me, they will make my friends better friends.
3. Personal Question:
"If I were someone else, would I want me for a friend?"
A. WHO IS YOUR BEST FRIEND?
B. HOW DO WE BECOME FRIENDS OF JESUS?( John 15:14 ).