Search
  • Luke Hamblett

Just a few thoughts following on from Luke’s theme

Teamwork – Friendship

Matthew 4 v 18-22 Jesus Calls His First Disciples

18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him.

21 Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

Peter & Andrew, James & John  

▪ knew each other

▪ Peter & Andrew were brothers

▪ James & John were brothers too

▪ In partnership together – business

▪ They were good friends

▪ They understood each other- background, culture, experience of life

Are all good reasons why they worked well together as a team

They also had the greatest leader of all time-Jesus

What characterises a good friend?

Loyalty –faithfulness, allegiance, constancy, fidelity, devotion, trustworthiness, reliability, dependability

Proverbs 17 v 17 “a friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity

Proverbs 27 v 6 “wounds of a friend can be trusted

Love & Support – affection for, be devoted to, care for (like marriage vows) / hold up, carry, bear, prop up,

Proverbs 17 V 17

Proverbs 18 v 24 “a man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother

Ecclesiastes 4 v 10 “if one falls down, his friend can help him up

Comfort in Sorrow – console, reassure, calm, relieve, ease, soothe/ grief, mourning, sadness, distress, regret, trouble

Job 2 v 11” Job’s three friends heard about his trouble that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathise with him and comfort him

John 11 v 33-36 “ Jesus wept” Lazarus death –showed he loved him and family

Encouragement -  support, back up, endorsement, backing, approval, give confidence, egg on  

3John5 “dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing

Jude 17-23 A call to persevere  “ dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit

Philipians2 - Worth a read - Paul encouragesthe Philippians to live with each other in light of Jesus' humble example.

Romans 1 v12 “by each others faith

  • Luke Hamblett

So we started to look at the tougher side of friendship last week and I want to finish this theme by looking at another verse from Proverbs which examines another aspect of friendship.


Proverbs 27:6 (NIV)

6 Wounds from a friend can be trusted,

but an enemy multiplies kisses.


Sometimes friends have to have tough conversations. I'm sure that most of us would prefer if the people around us only ever said nice things to us and the 'multiple kisses' of an enemy may seem more appealing than 'wounds from a friend'. But, in order for us to be true friends to those around us, we will sometimes have to have those difficult conversations.


Why would be inflict these metaphorical wounds upon our friends? The answer to this is very simple, for their benefit. If you are going to 'wound' a friend then you must consider a few things:


Why am I saying this?

Am I saying this from a place of love?

What will they gain from this?


Jesus spent a lot of time in the New Testament rebuking the disciples and setting them straight on things.


Matthew 16:23 (NIV)

23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”


If you read this verse without understanding who Jesus was and knowing His character then it comes across very harshly. Jesus is teaching Peter that he should be focussed on the concerns of God, not humans and that he is failing to see the point of Jesus mission. This rebuke is made in love and this leads us to the other side of the coin when looking at this verse in proverbs.


What if you are the one being 'wounded'? You will probably need to consider these questions:

Who is saying this to me? (Firstly, you probably know the person who you are speaking to and it's important to examine their relationship with you. If someone is having a conversation with you that is like this then they will more than likely be a close friend. In the case that they aren't, then I'd suggest you seek counsel from someone that you trust and believe to be a true friend.)


Is this being said in love? (If you've ticked the box and you know the person is a true friend it doesn't always mean that what's being said is from a place of love. We are all human and naturally will experience anger, upset and other emotions and sometimes we can speak out of turn.)


Why are they saying it to me? (If you've asked yourself the first question and you've decided that the person speaking to you is doing it because they love you and they are a true friend then you need to carefully examine what they are saying to discern what you need to learn from the exchange.)


I found this quote from Charles Bridges, An Exposition on the book of Proverbs (1847) which I believe puts the two options of wounds from a friend and kisses of the enemy in context really well:


"Who would not choose this faithful wound, however painful at the moment of infliction, rather than the multiple kisses of an enemy? The kiss of the apostate was a bitter ingredient in the Saviour's cup of suffering."


So friendship can sometimes be tough, but more than anything else we've looked at, the theme that runs deep within friendship is that the motivation for our actions is love. Jesus did all that he did for the sake of us, for the love that he had for us. God's action are all rooted in love and therefore ours should be too.


I pray that we would speak to each other with love in our hearts and that we may receive wounds from a friend with an open mind and a loving heart.


Amen.


  • Luke Hamblett

So this week I wanted to continue exploring the idea of friendship. We all know that friendship isn’t always rainbows and butterflies, so lets take a look at some verses in proverbs that give us an insight in to the tougher side of friendship.



Proverbs 17:17 (NIV)

17 A friend loves at all times,

and a brother is born for a time of adversity.


So the first part of this scripture states that 'A friend loves at all times'. Thats a bold statement to make. Could you say today that you love your friends at all times? What the writer is trying to convey here is that true friendship transcends difficult situations, arguments and times of struggle. A true friend will love you whether the situation is good or bad. They will be with you whether you are on top of the mountain or you're stuck in the middle of a raging storm.


1 Corinthians 13:7 (NIV)


It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.


This passage in Corinthians highlights some of the characteristics of 'love'. We often use this verse when discussing marriage or romantic relationships as well when we look at the characteristics of God. But, this verse can also be applied to our friendships. A true friend, that loves at all times will display this through protecting, trusting, hoping and persevering.


The verse then goes on to say that 'a brother is born for a time of adversity'. This gives us the idea that we were created for adversity. God knew what was going to happen at the beginning of creation, he made Adam and Eve because he knew that as humans we needed companionship/friendship. The whole concept of fellowship within the church is a foundational part of friendship. So we know that we are designed for friendship, we are designed to live through the tough side of friendship.


For me, this raises some questions for me to reflect on:


  • Am I really a friend to anyone? (This question is designed to help assess loyalty to friends and identify where we might be falling short of the kind of friendship outlined in this passage)


  • How can I be a true friend? (Now we have identified some of the relationships/friendships in which we might be falling short, let's think about how we can strive to be better.)


  • Who are my true friends? (The idea behind this question is to help identify our true friends, this doesn't mean that we shouldn't exhibit true friendship to those who aren't extending it us. We have to strive to show others our love regardless of there actions towards us.)


One thing that needs to be mentioned here is the idea that the empty glass can't pour out any water. We are human and we can't help every single person in the world. We have to balance our time and our energy in order to make sure what we are doing isn't detrimental to our friends and us. If we try and be the answer to all of our friends problems then eventually we might do more harm than good. Quite often part of being a true friend is knowing when you're not equipped to deal with an issue but signposting the person to the right place. That doesn't mean you aren't sticking with them or supporting them, but it means you're doing what's right for them.


I pray that we might strive to be 'true friends' and that our love for one another would be evident in all that we do as a community of believers.


Amen





1
2

EBENZER BAPTIST CHURCH, ST.ANDREWS ST, NETHERTON DUDLEY, DY2 0QB

  • Facebook - White Circle