The Names of God
9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
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. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another.
* Describe the best friendship you’ve ever had
* What are qualities you look for in friends?
* How does it compare to your friendship with Christ?
* How can you deepen your friendship with Christ?
Two reasons to think seriously about friendship:
1. Friends affect how you perceive the world.
A recent study was conducted with students at the University of Virginia. Each person was given a heavy backpack and directed to the base of a steep hill. Some participants were instructed to stand next to friends during the exercise, and others to stand alone. Then each person was asked to gauge how steep the hill was. The results were really interesting.
The students with a friend next to them gave lower estimates—and for longtime friends, the hill seemed even less steep. Out of all the participants, those who stood alone gauged the hill to be the steepest. Your friend’s outlook and perception of circumstances can radically shape your world.
2. Friends shape more than your perception of the world… your friends will shape you.
“He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed”
According to this verse, what one factor determines how your life turns out? Who you choose to walk through life with. Simply put, show me your friends and I’ll show you your future. Or as someone has said, “Your friends are your future you.”
This verse contains a promise and a warning:
* Promise… wisdom is contagious
You become wise by doing life with the wise
* Warning… foolishness is contagious also
3. Be careful when choosing your friends.
The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.
Friends can be dangerous
* If your friends don’t care about their body…they won’t care about yours.
* If you friends don’t care about their future, they won’t care about your future.
* Friends who break the law will feel better when you break the law.
4. Jesus is a “friend of sinners” Matt. 11.19
It’s been said that if you can go through life with three or four core friends you’ve done well. Why? Because good friends are hard to come by. They are more than simple acquaintances or casual relationships. They are the ones who’ve been there in the good times of life and the bad.
“Philos” is a word God chose to use to describe His friendship with you.
* Jesus is a friend who will “never leave you or forsake you” (Heb. 13.5)
Jesus is a friend who is always “for” you. (Jeremiah 29.11)
Let’s be thankful for all of our friends!