Constancy: biblical friendships are not fleeting and easily disposable, but are characterized by true constancy, in defiance of the obstacles continually tossed at us by the effects of the fall. But through the faithful constancy of Christ’s love, so we are operating in that same love. Candor: the ability to speak truth in love for the good of your friend. Not even our own personal love, but out of that greater love we can speak truth and love into each other’s lives. Carefulness: wisdom and consideration in how to live out the life of friendship. To be full of care for the friend. Concern is from Christ, so we have deep concerns for one another. Counsel: wise counsel to spur one another into greater Christ-likeness.
[Holmes, Jonathan, The Company We Keep: In Search of Biblical Friendship]
How to forge biblical friendship: Change our mindset: Worldly vs. Biblical Friendship. Right attitude and goals: have a clear commitment of bringing glory to God through this friendship. Conversations and context: face to face interactions, going through life together. Shared meals, caring confrontation: sharing the joy and the difficulties, use of candor.
Let’s pray according to Acts 10:24 “The following day he arrived in Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends.” Let’s pray that there will be opportunities to share the gospel to our family and friends and pray so that they would know Jesus. Pray for them by name.
Prayer: Lord we pray for our families and loved friends that they would know Jesus. May there be opportunities and open doors to share the gospel of Jesus and may salvation come to their lives. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
Let’s sing the song “We Praise You” by Matt Redman (click here).
5 Better is open rebuke than hidden love. 6 Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses. 9 Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice. Proverbs 27: 5-6, 9 NIV
“These verses address correction from a friend. ‘Open rebuke’ is somewhat ambiguous and might allude to public punishment. Even so, Proverbs continually praises those who receive correction. ‘Hidden love’ probably indicated not private correction but a rebuke that is never given; withholding correction in the name of love is no love at all. Similarly, verse 6 welcomes the correction of ’a friend,’ but chastises the false ‘kisses’ of an ‘enemy,’ literally a ‘hater.’ In verse 9, overall notion that advice from intimate friends is greatly treasured.” [Ryan P. O’Dowd. Proverbs, The Story of God Bible Commentary]
The author of Proverbs directs us to welcome correction from a true friend, in contrast to never speaking or sweet affections which can be equated to “haters.” God is in the business of forming his people as iron sharpens iron. So let us welcome the deep work of the Holy Spirit as he leads the church.
Prayer: Lord, give us a welcoming heart to your correction knowing that in the end there will be true joy and treasure of your work in us. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
Let’s sing to the song “Touch of Heaven” by Bethel (click here).
My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. John 17:20-23 NIV
“Biblical friendship exists when two or more people, bound together by a common faith in Jesus Christ, pursue him and his kingdom with intentionality and vulnerability. Rather than serving as an end in itself, biblical friendship serves primarily to bring glory to Christ, who brought us into friendship with the Father. It is indispensable to the work of the gospel in the earth, and an essential element of what God created us for.” [Holmes, Jonathan. The Company We Keep: In Search of Biblical Friendship, p. 27]
Prayer: Lord we pray that strong biblical friendships will be forged in the church so that the world will know Jesus and his love. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
Let’s sing to the Lord with the song “God of Revival” by Bethel (click here).
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. 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. 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. This is my command: Love each other. John 15:13-17 NIV
“To love one another is not, as such, a new commandment. It went back to Moses (Lev. 19:18), as all Jews were well aware. What was new was to love as Jesus loved his friends—that is, so as to lay down his life for them. By comparison with the commandment to love the neighbor ‘as oneself,’ this might seem to demand loving them more than oneself or at least to require that ‘as oneself’ has a profounder meaning than the self-protective limitation that one might otherwise put on it. Thus, John’s version of the command that sums up all of one’s duties to others is explicitly and decisively colored by Jesus’ death.” [Bauckham, Richard, Gospel of Glory: Major Themes in Johannine Theology, p. 64-65]
Prayer: Lord, we rely on and trust in your sacrificial love and may all our friendships be colored by Jesus’ death. In your name we pray, amen.
As we bow before the Lord who loved us by laying down his life, let’s sing to him and confess with the song “Here I Bow” by Bethel (click here).
12 Who are those who fear the LORD? He will show them the path they should choose. 13 They will live in prosperity, and their children will inherit the land. 14 The LORD is a friend to those who fear him. He teaches them his covenant. 15 My eyes are always on the LORD, for he rescues me from the traps of my enemies. Psalm 25:12-15 NLT
61 Though the wicked bind me with ropes, I will not forget your law. 62 At midnight I rise to give you thanks for your righteous laws. 63 I am a friend to all who fear you, to all who follow your precepts. 64 The earth is filled with your love, LORD; teach me your decrees. Psalm 119: 61-64 NIV
Prayer: Father God, we are amazed and humbled at your invitation. May we follow the path you choose by keeping our eyes on you, your promises and the blessed living. As we cling on to the word from morning till night, teach us how to fear your name and be filled with your love. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
Let’s sing to the Lord together with the song “Unbroken Praise” by Matt Redman (click here).