Faithlife Sermons

Cultivating Friendship

Friendship  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  45:54
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From the beginning of the series, we saw that God created us for fellowship with Him and others. Selfishness sought for meaning outside of a relationship with God. This led to separation and loneliness. Christ carries out the heroic act of restoring us to friends. As friends we are on a quest toward the fellowship restored- back to being human again. If this is not where we are headed, then friendship is just looking for companions that make one happy. However, with this right quest in view friends are glory enhancers rather than glory detractors.
Picture that glory as a juicy fruit. We will use the peach as an enticing example. You walk up to the roadstand or the farmers market and pick up the peach
“A soft amber globe, cloaked in a thin layer of fuzz. It's a small ball of velvet with a cleft down the middle, giving some of them a heart-like shape. The color is exquisite; ranging from orange to yellow with every hue between them. They smell as they taste; tangy and sweet, the flavors dancing over your tongue in swirling crescendo. Biting them feels distinct, as skin peels away to the smooth, slippery fruit within...”
Such fruit (glory) takes requires cultivation.
What is required to cultivate good friendship which results in each being changed to greater glory
We will look at a few passages tonight, but I hope you will walk away with this one proverb
Proverbs 17:17 NKJV
17 A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity.
There is a together aspect. Not that they never know separation, but rather they seek to us use every opportunity to act lovingly. The second part of the verse could be a contrast- the brother is there just for times of adversity whereas the friend is always there; or it could be a completion- he is there for all times and does not depart for adversity.

Friends spend time together, talk together, and bear burdens together

Spend time together

Time is how you show your priorities. Each is given a set amount of time in a day. A neglect of something cannot be excused through a lack of time.

Togetherness doubles your joys and halves your sorrows

“A joy unshared is a joy unfulfilled. And a joy shared is a joy doubled”-MFF
Isolation compounds a sorrow. Left to ourselves we interpret things in a worse light- Martin Luther

Togetherness allows you to speak knowledgeably in the times of conversation.

Reliability is also being built as you take time to be together with your friend in all kind of circumstances.

Togetherness has a shaping effect on your life

You choose your friends, and your friends shape who you are
Different friends draw out certain parts of you that would never be seen (even to you) apart from that friend.
Friends reveal what you will become.
Proverbs 13:20 NKJV
20 He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will be destroyed.
Proverbs 22:24–25 NKJV
24 Make no friendship with an angry man, And with a furious man do not go, 25 Lest you learn his ways And set a snare for your soul.

Togetherness takes planning and spontaneity

The things that you do already, invite someone to do with you
Establish rhythms where you meet with a friend a certain time every week, month or year.
Don’t make getting together complicated.

An important avenue for spending time together is sharing meals together.

Just as with talking you are not just haphazardly talking , so with a meal you are not just fueling your bodies to go about your next task.
A shared meal lends itself to put aside tasks and commune with people.

Talk together

Proverbs 27:9 NKJV
9 Ointment and perfume delight the heart, And the sweetness of a man’s friend gives delight by hearty counsel.

Conversation engages

When the friend speaks there is an enjoyment on the part of the other friend because he give advice from his soul. Chit chat is important in friendship, but much more is shared than chit chat.
Words are needed in this endeavor.
They must be shared often.
One must share his joys and sorrows
Wise words are used to build up and encourage
Proverbs 27:5–6 NKJV
5 Open rebuke is better Than love carefully concealed. 6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

Conversation uncovers

A friend loves enough to wound, but he also love enough to do it kindly.
When a friend makes the effort to correct, he is carrying out a very heroic act. He is risking rejection. He is not sure of the response.
Hiding (not revealing or not correcting) does not build the friendship. When two walk together in light they have fellowship with one another
Conversation will have to have the sacrificial act of confrontation at times. Without getting into counseling topic, a friend will be asking question that seek to understand what is going on in the heart. (What gives you joy, what makes you upset, what do you think needs to happen to make you happy, do you think you are taking on too much responsibility)
“There is a certain ‘niceness’ to a friendship where I can be, as they say, myself. But what I really need are relationships in which I will be encouraged to become better than myself.” - Gordon McDonald
Technology is a tool in this endeavor, but it is not a substitute for face to face friendship.
Example: Throwing out on Facebook: thinking about getting a house what do you think?
It’s a buyer’s market
You deserve it
I really enjoy my house
Here is a contact for my realtor friend
A friend
He knows your spending habits and challenges
He is excited about your joys.
He wants to see you get it
He asks questions as to whether he is getting pressure from family and friends
He may bring up a former conversation about struggling with spending time with family.

Bear burdens together

This is not a specific action like the first two actions. It would be the attitude behind the two actions. It would take place when they are no words to say. It would be built through the former actions.

Empathy displays that your friend’s burdens are yours as well

“Empathy shapes the whole tone of a relationship. Without it, we trade honoring friends for one-upping them. We trade affirmation for sarcasm. We trade talking with for talking at. We trad listening to sorrows for changing the subject.”- Drew Hunter

Trust displays that your friends burdens are not to be shared as news

Proverbs 16:28
Proverbs 16:28 ESV
28 A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.

Faithfulness displays that your friends burdens are not the end of the friendship

Your are not staying with the friend for what you can get.
Proverbs 19:4 NKJV
4 Wealth makes many friends, But the poor is separated from his friend.
Conclusion:In the cultivating process, you are not the one who ultimately has the power to bring about glory in the life of your friend. You get to labor on behalf of one who is reconciling others to Himself.
2 Corinthians 4:15–17 NKJV
15 For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God. 16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,
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