Proverbs 17:17 (NIV)
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
Mark 1:14-18 (NIV)
13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.
We are beginning a new sermon series this week entitled How To Make A Friend. Over the course of the next three weeks, we will explore what the Bible says about friendship and what role friendship plays in building a Christ-centered community.
This week we will dive into the core of what friendship is meant to be—and what it is not meant to be—and we will identify the key ways in which we can be a friend by making a friend. We learn that friendship is more of a necessity in our lives than we may often give it credit for. We explore what works in pursuing new friendships, what doesn’t work, and why sometimes we can feel frustrated or insecure in struggling friendships while other times we feel an immediate and strong connection with people. This week we come to see friendship through the lens of the ultimate friend, Jesus, and in the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) as an expression of friendship itself.
Both Proverbs 17:17 and John 15:13-17 emphasize the importance of love and sacrifice in friendship. How well are you loving your friends right now? Do they feel chosen and valued by you?
We learn throughout this sermon that friendship is a choice. In a world that places many other relationships, tasks, and responsibilities before friendship, how are you doing with choosing your friendships? Has “busyness” taken over your life and replaced your friendships? What changes do you need to make to bump friendships back up to the top of your priority list?
Zach mentioned several times the importance of friendship being a discovery and not something we create out of thin air. Are you clinging to any friendships right now that you have attempted to create rather than discover? Are you neglecting a discovered relationship in lieu of a created one?
Friendship at its best should be propelling us toward being the best versions of ourselves. How does this impact how our church community should look?
Friendship is not a concept strictly limited to Christianity; most religions, cultures, societies, etc. value friendship. In what ways should our, as Christ-followers, friendships look different?
Some of us require less friends than others. Our personalities, past experiences, and stage of life can often play a role in the amount of friendships we feel capable of handling. If God created us for friendship, where does that leave someone who may feel intimidated, frustrated, or afraid of close friendships? Is it wrong to not want friends?
Zach mentions the importance of sharing a common purpose to the vitality of friendships. As Christians, the gospel has given us the ultimate common purpose. However, from time to time, we are bound to run into fellow Christians who we just don’t connect with. How does friendship work in that scenario? What do you think about the concept that the gospel unites us all with one common purpose and therefore makes us all friends?
At the very end of Zach’s sermon he says, “The world will see our friendships and decide something about God.” What will people decide about God when they look at your friendships? Or the friendships within Summit? Or the friendships found within the global church community?
Spend some time this week thinking about your friendships. Think about your top 8 or those 3-5 people you call your best friends. Be thankful for them and then ask yourself how you are doing with being called their friend. Make an effort to choose friendship this week. Ask God to show you where you can play a role in your friends’ lives to make them the best of who they were meant to be.
Zach mentioned reGROUP many times in his sermon this week. reGROUP is a great place to discover more of what God meant when he designed us for friendship. Consider joining reGROUP this fall as a step toward pursuing godly and true friendship in our church community. You can show up at reGROUP any Monday night at the Herndon Campus at 7 p.m.