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Jun 17, 2018

Wisdom for Friendship

Wisdom for Friendship

Passage: Proverbs 15:31-32

Speaker: Ben Seneker

Series: Proverbs, Searching for Wisdom

Category: wisdom

Of all the relationships we encounter in life, friendships can at times be the most important. From friends we make as children, to friendships that develop over the decades, having a good friend in your life is what we commonly desire. However, how do we define a “good” friend? This week we’ll explore what wisdom Proverbs can give us as we consider our friendships, as well as what it means for Jesus, in John 15, to consider us his friends.

Order of Worship

Call To Worship: Exodus 15:1a-2
Sermon Title: Wisdom for Friendship
Central Text: various passages from Proverbs (see below)
Corporate Confession of Sin
Assurance of Pardon: Psalm 103:8-12
Response: Communion
Benediction: Romans 15:13

Illustration

Seinfeld - Friends in Your Thirties

Readings/Scripture

Call To Worship: Exodus 15:1a-2
LEADER: I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously

ALL: The Lord is my strength and my song,
and he has become my salvation;

LEADER: This is my God, and I will praise him,

ALL: My father's God, and I will exalt him.

Central Text: various passages from Proverbs
15:31 The ear that listens to life-giving reproof
will dwell among the wise.
32 Whoever ignores instruction despises himself,
but he who listens to reproof gains intelligence.

17:17 A friend loves at all times,
and a brother is born for adversity.

27:5 Better is open rebuke
than hidden love.
6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend;
profuse are the kisses of an enemy.

27:9 Oil and perfume make the heart glad,
and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.

27:17 Iron sharpens iron,
and one man sharpens another.

Corporate Confession of Sin:
Almighty God,
you love us, but we have not loved you.
You call, but we have not listened.
We walk away from neighbors in need, wrapped in our own concerns.
We condone evil, prejudice, warfare, and greed.
God of grace,
help us to admit our sin,
so that as you come to us in mercy,
we may repent, turn to you, and receive forgiveness;
Through Jesus Christ our Redeemer.

Assurance of Pardon: Psalm 103:8-12
8 The Lord is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9 He will not always chide,
nor will he keep his anger forever.
10 He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.

Benediction: Romans 15:13
13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

Post-Service Text: John 15:13 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

Related Scripture

1 Samuel 18:1-4 1 As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. 2 And Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father's house. 3 Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. 4 And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt.

John 15:12-15 12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.

Philippians 2:4 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Discussion Questions & Applications:

  1. What makes a friend a “good” friend? Has your definition of what makes a “good” friend changed or matured over the years? What can you attribute this to?
  2. How does the gospel “flip” our usual understanding of friendship? In other words, how does the gospel empower our friendships to be other-centered instead of self-centered?
  3. How did Jesus model this other-centered understanding of friendship?
  4. If you’re not already doing this, what practical steps can you take (or maybe just one practical step!) to foster biblical friendships? What barriers tend to keep you from engaging in deep, biblical friendships?

Quotes

  • “The integrity of a friendship depends as much on spiritual resources as it does that of an individual.” ~Derek Kinder
  • “Let him who cannot be alone beware of community... Let him who is not in community beware of being alone... Each by itself has profound perils and pitfalls. One who wants fellowship without solitude plunges into the void of words and feelings, and the one who seeks solitude without fellowship perishes in the abyss of vanity, self-infatuation and despair.” ~Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together
  • In each of my friends there is something that only some other friend can fully bring out. By myself I am not large enough to call the whole man into activity; I want other lights than my own to show all his facets... Hence true Friendship is the least jealous of loves. Two friends delight to be joined by a third, and three by a fourth, if only the newcomer is qualified to become a real friend. - C. S. Lewis, Four Loves
  • C.S. Lewis’ quote is a reflection on the results of the loss of his friend Charles Williams. -- “In each of my friends there is something that only some other friend can fully bring out. By myself I am not large enough to call the whole man into activity; I want other lights than my own to show all his facets. Now that Charles is dead, I shall never again see Ronald’s [Tolkien’s] reaction to a specifically Charles joke. Far from having more of Ronald, having him “to myself” now that Charles is away, I have less of Ronald…In this, Friendship exhibits a glorious “nearness by resemblance” to heaven itself where the very multitude of the blessed (which no man can number) increases the fruition which each of us has of God. For every soul, seeing Him in her own way, doubtless communicates that unique vision to all the rest. That, says an old author, is why the Seraphim in Isaiah’s vision are crying “Holy, Holy, Holy” to one another (Isaiah 6:3). The more we thus share the Heavenly Bread between us, the more we shall have.”

Sermons/Resources

  • Books: The Company We Keep: In Search of Biblical Friendship, Jonathan Holmes
  • Befriend: Create Belonging in an Age of Judgment, Isolation, and Fear, Scott Sauls
  • Making Friends: Beyond Loneliness to Rich Relationships, Dee Brestin