We don’t talk very much about Friendship and Relationship in the church. Friendship has been such a catalyst in my life especially in my adult life! I had the privilege to teach on being a Friend like Jesus at church. Relationship is mighty important in Kingdom business and Jesus set the perfect example for us! Love those you have been given so well (with grace, gentleness, truth, and boundaries) that when they think of you, they think of Jesus! Here are the highlights of the sermon.
BENEFITS OF HEALTHY FRIENDSHIPS
MOUNTAINS BECOME MOLEHILLS: In a study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, researchers asked participants to stand at the base of a steep hill and estimate how tough it would be to climb. Those standing with a friend gauged the ascent to be less steep compared with those who were alone.
SOCIAL SUPPORT IMPROVES YOUR YOUR HEALTH: Studies have also shown that social support can lower blood pressure, protect against dementia, and reduce the risk of depression.
STRESS BECOMES MANAGEABLE: As you vent and share your troubles with safe people and listen to theirs, the effects of stress are much reduced.
WHAT WAS JESUS LIKE AS A FRIEND?
JESUS SPENT TIME WITH PEOPLE. Luke 24: 13-45. “That same day two of Jesus’ followers were walking to the village of Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem. As they walked along they were talking about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them.”
Jesus came up alongside people – walked, talked, ate, laughed and taught people.
JESUS SHARED HIS PAIN WITH HIS FRIENDS. Matthew 26:38. “He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
Jesus asked his friends for the support they could give him.
JESUS SHOWED HIS FRIENDS TENDER CARE. John 13:1-17. “Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave this world and return to his Father. He had loved his disciples during his ministry on earth, and now he loved them to the very end…So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him.”
Jesus humbled himself and washed his disciples feet. If you have ever taken care of a sick loved one, you know how intimate this kind of caring physical touch can be.
JESUS COMFORTED AND REASSURED HIS FRIENDS. John 14. “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.”
Jesus offered emotional support when his friends were fearful – he lovingly challenged them to grow!
JESUS PRAYED FOR HIS FRIENDS. John 17. “My prayer is not for the world, but for those you have given me, because they belong to you…Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth…Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am.”
Jesus prayed blessing & protection over the futures of his friends.
CHARACTERISTICS OF BIBLICAL FRIENDSHIP
IT IS FULL OF HONOR AND FAITHFULNESS – It says, “Let me LOVE who God created.” Over and over again.
IT IS INCLUSIVE NOT EXCLUSIVE – There is no room for jealousy in Christian friendship, because we want everyone to be able to experience it.
IT SEEKS THE GROWTH AND MATURITY OF A PERSON – Iron sharpens Iron. This means good boundaries, prayerful honesty, and some uncomfortable conversations but all for the goal of loving each other well.
IT IS COVERING – Because of the lack of gossip and inbuilt confidentiality you will feel safe, You will feel Free to be yourself, you will be prayed for, you will have more joy and peace – and you’ll smile more!
IT IS ETERNAL – Life changes. Growth Spurts happen. Sometimes God move people around to spread more of Him around. But these Friendships never end!
WHY BOTHER WITH FRIENDSHIP?
Jesus did it.
You add people to your eternal family.
It makes us better people.
Life is richer.
You laugh more and stress less!
THE MOST IMPORTANT FRIENDSHIP YOU WILL EVER HAVE IS THE ONE YOU MAINTAIN WITH JESUS!
Matthew 6:33. “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”
**A lot of inspiration for this was taken from the book, Sacred Companions by David Benner, which I highly recommend!