Wisdom for Quality Friendships

July 30, 2005


LAST WEEK: John 15 – 4 Keys to Quality Friendships [Last week – notes are available]
 Love (agapa, God’s kind of love)
 Sacrifice
 Obedience to the Word
 Honest Communication
TODAY:   Proverbs – Wisdom for Quality Friendships
Week 3:  Jonathan & David – An OT Example of a Quality Friendship
Week 4:  Paul & Barnabus – A NT Example of a Quality Friendship
Purpose: To give glory to God in our friendships with each other
- God can be glorified (given the right opinion) because God is a relational being
- He created us in His image and likeness – i.e. with the capacity to establish and develop a relationship with Him and with others
- we can give God glory by the way we show love to our friends // solve problems, etc.
Goal: To strengthen our discipleship ministry by being the kind of friend God describes
[mention how our ABFs are key assimilation and discipleship tool – part of the tool has the element of ‘fellowship’ (or relationship building]
Fellowship – koinwni,a (koinonia – pronounced “coin-no-knee-ah”) = a  close mutual relationship; participation, sharing in; partnership;  contribution  
3.  We want FBC to built on the foundation of knowing God through knowing His Word where he has revealed Himself – and loving our God and loving the people around us!
- that is a fruit of the Spirit and it takes humility, submission, and a disciplined life of walking with the Lord (“dwelling in the Vine” as we discussed last week)!
4. As I said, we’re looking at the book of Proverbs and “Wisdom for Quality Friendships”
-  I’m sure that many of you have learned a lot over the years about friendships that please the Lord,
- so I want to begin our time with a question: 
Input:  What has God taught you about establishing or building quality friendships (i.e. godly friendship or even ‘outreach-oriented’ relationships)?
[various answers]
5.  Let’s take a look at the book of Proverbs and see what “Wisdom for Quality Friendships” we can glean
- remember, Proverbs is wisdom literature – Proverbs are general truths that usually exist
- every statement is true (inspired by the Holy Spirit – but given the life situation, it doesn’t always happen that way
Example:  Proverbs 13:20
• Proverbs 13:20 He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will suffer harm.
- it is usually true that if you walk with wise men, you will be wise – but it’s not ALWAYS true (sometimes you walk with wise men and you still do foolish things!)
- sometimes God shows mercy to those who walk with fools – His ‘goodness’ can lead someone to repentance (Romans 2:4), just like His wrath and judgment can convince a person to change their ways
- Let’s consider some examples of Wisdom for Quality Friendships


  I.  Basic Wisdom for Building Quality Friendships


A. Quality friendships start with understanding.
• Proverbs 7:4 Say to wisdom, "You are my sister," and call understanding your intimate friend.
- the word understanding also can be translated discernment or insight
Note: The word emphasizes ability to understand. 
Example:  Ezra read the word of God in the presence of men, women, and those able to understand, i.e. old enough (Neh 8:3).  //
Example:  God can make a person understand his ways (Ps 119:34, 73).
• Psalm 119:34 Give me understanding, that I may observe Your law and keep it with all my heart.
• Psalm 119:73 Your hands made me and fashioned me; give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments.
- it’s interesting that Psalmist ties our ‘understanding’ back to the God’s Law and God’s commandments
>.Why?  . .. . these are the way God has revealed Himself to us
Point:  If you going to BE a good friend, you have to KNOW the Best Friend – Jesus Christ!
- and you do that through the Word of God (His Law and Commandments!)
B. Quality friendships practice loving loyalty .
Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
Input: “At all times” – what does that imply?
[good time and bad times – there is a high level of commitment to CONSISTENCY]
- that means, knowing the effects of the curse of sin . . . problems are going to come up (they are a part of life) and problems are going to need to be resolved
- the reason they can be resolved is the bond of LOVE – like in the NT, this love is a choice, it’s an act of the will – it’s a decision to choose!
C. Quality friendship friends stimulate mutual growth 27:17
• Proverbs 27:17 Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.
- this is where the NT concept of the body of Christ comes into the picture
- we are to be having an edifying (building up) influence over each other – helping each other to grow in Christ and bring glory to God
Input:  Tell me about how someone has sharpened you as a friend [influenced you in a godly way – helped you to grow spiritually]
[various answers – this should be a great time of discussion]
NOTE: ADD this aspect to the question – what did they teach you about God/Jesus (various aspects of God – example:  being a servant like Christ!)
D. Wise friendships require wise friends.
- consider a verse we looked at earlier
• Proverbs 13:20 He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.
Input: What biblical examples of this proverb come to your mind [positive/negative]
Positive: Jonathan / David; Paul / Barnabus ; Joshua / Moses
Negative: Job’s friends / Amnon had a friend [2 Sam. 13:3 – commited sexual sin with ½ sister Tamar, raped her, in part due to the influence of his friend Jonadab


II. Wisdom’s Cautions about Friendships


A.  You can be a friend for the wrong reason
• Proverbs 19:4 Wealth adds many friends, but a poor man is separated from his friend.
- remember, Proverbs are general truths – wealth adds many friends (
>  sometimes that’s good because a person can minister to a lot of people
> on the other hand, people can simply ‘mooch” off someone else’s hard work or success
- another similar verse:
• Proverbs 19:6 Many will seek the favor of a generous man, and every man is a friend to him who gives gifts.
• Proverbs 19:7 All the brothers of a poor man hate him; How much more do his friends abandon him! He pursues them with words, but they are gone.
B.  Friendship can be cultivated by gracious speech
• Proverbs 22:11 He who loves purity of heart and whose speech is gracious, the king is his friend.
- those who are in high places of authority befriend those whose speech is gracious and those who love purity of heart (not just outward conformity, but an inner man that is holy!)
C. Avoid failure to be considerate of others.
• Proverbs 27:14 He who blesses his friend with a loud voice early in the morning, It will be reckoned a curse to him.
- what does a loud voice due to you in the morning?
ILLUSTRATION: In Peru, the Peruvian newspaper guy  would yell ‘early in the morning’ –  or the taxi drivers blow their horn right outside your window, trying to get your neighbor out the door in and in the car @ 6:00 a.m.!
> what we wanted to do sometimes could not be done and be spiritual!


III.  Wisdom Describes COMMON CHARACTERISTICS of Quality Friendships


A. Reliability
• Proverbs 20:6 Many a man proclaims his own loyalty, but who can find a trustworthy man?
- this is referring to someone you can depend on – a consistent testimony – you can trust that person
Example: Like giving your friend a key to your house – or allowing them to watch your children for the weekend – that takes trust!
Point: This verses separates the man who brags about his own loyalty (many people do that), but the bottom line is – who can find a trustworthy man?
> it’s hard, but it possible
B. Counsel
• Proverbs 27:9 Oil and perfume make the heart glad, so a man's counsel is sweet to his friend.
- this could be both ‘sweet’ in the way it is given OR ‘sweet’ in the sense of good advice, well appreciated, refreshing and helpful!
Q: What does this assume about the counsel?  -- that’s it’s WISE (consistent with God’s Word)
C. Truthfulness
• Proverbs 27:5 Better is open rebuke than love that is concealed.
- this goes along with Jesus’ words in John 15 – real friend tell each other the truth!
- sometimes that truth has to guarded or it can be gossip, but this verse isn’t talking about that
- the focus is the wisdom of ‘open rebuke’ (confronting a friend about something he/she did wrong (it’s a rebuke)
>  THAT is better than what the KJV states as ‘secret love’ or the NAS ‘love that is concealed’ – i.e. love that never gets demonstrated
- This sounds like 1 John 3;18
• 1 John 3:18 Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.
- the next verse captures the same idea, but it even more specific – note the contrast:
• 6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.

Friend Enemy
Faithful Deceitful
Wounds Kisses
D. Forgiveness and protection 17:9
• Proverbs 17:9 He who conceals a transgression seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates intimate friends.
- this does not mean to cover up and/or acting like it is not there – but an attempt to ‘conceal’ a transgression (keep the circle as small as possible – protect the person who has committed the sin)
- a person who is trying to do that . . . is seeking love!
- but the opposite is true when it comes to a person who gossips
Explain gossip – repeating issues to people who are not part of the problem and/or solution
-hit how a prayer request can be gossip if you’re not careful!
E. Confidentiality 16:28
• Proverbs 16:28 A perverse man spreads strife, AND a slanderer separates intimate friends.
Input: Why does slander hurt or even ‘separate intimate friends’?
[various answers]
CONCLUSION
Major Point – talk about how ABFs and our church body life helps establish and builds friendships
- doing things together for the glory of God!


ABF Series: Key Ingredients to Quality Friendships
Introduction:
Purpose: To give glory to God in our friendships with each other
Goal: To strengthen our discipleship ministry by being the kind of friend God describes

Input:  What has God taught you about establishing or building quality friendships (i.e. godly friendship or even ‘outreach-oriented’ relationships)?


  I.  Basic Wisdom for Building Quality Friendships
A. Quality friendships start with ____________________.

* If you going to BE a good friend, you have to KNOW the Best Friend – Jesus Christ!
B. Quality friendships practice _______________ ______________.

Input: “At all times” – what does that imply?


C. Quality friendship friends stimulate ___________ __________.

Input:  Tell me about how someone has sharpened you as a friend.
D. Wise friendships require ________ ______________.


Input: What biblical examples of this proverb come to your mind [positive/negative?
Positive:

Negative:


II. Wisdom’s Cautions about Friendships
A.  You can be a friend for the __________ ___________


B.  Friendship can be cultivated by __________ ___________


C. Avoid failure to be ______________ of others.

III.  Wisdom Describes COMMON CHARACTERISTICS of Quality Friendships
A. ___________

* This verses separates the man who brags about his own loyalty from the man is trustworthy!
B. _____________

Q: What does this assume about the counsel? 
C. __________________

Friend Enemy
 

D. ______________ and ______________ 17:9


E. _______________ 16:28

Input: Why does slander hurt or even ‘separate intimate friends’?


CONCLUSION


ABF Series: Key Ingredients to Quality Friendships
Introduction:
Purpose: To give glory to God in our friendships with each other
Goal: To strengthen our discipleship ministry by being the kind of friend God describes
Input:  What has God taught you about establishing or building quality friendships (i.e. godly friendship or even ‘outreach-oriented’ relationships)?
• Proverbs 13:20
  I.  Basic Wisdom for Building Quality Friendships
A. Quality friendships start with understanding.
• Proverbs 7:4
• Psalm 119:34, 73
* If you going to BE a good friend, you have to KNOW the Best Friend – Jesus Christ!

B. Quality friendships practice loving loyalty .
• Proverbs 17:17
Input: “At all times” – what does that imply?
C. Quality friendship friends stimulate mutual growth 27:17
• Proverbs 27:17
Input:  Tell me about how someone has sharpened you as a friend.
D. Wise friendships require wise friends.
• Proverbs 13:20
Input: What biblical examples of this proverb come to your mind [positive/negative]
Positive: Jonathan / David; Paul / Barnabus;  Joshua / Moses
Negative: Job’s friends / Amnon had a friend [2 Sam. 13:3]

II. Wisdom’s Cautions about Friendships
A.  You can be a friend for the wrong reason.
• Proverbs 19:4
• Proverbs 19:6, 7
B.  Friendship can be cultivated by gracious speech
• Proverbs 22:11
C.  Avoid failure to be considerate of others.
• Proverbs 27:14
III.  Wisdom Describes COMMON CHARACTERISTICS of Quality Friendships
A. Reliability
• Proverbs 20:6
* This verses separates the man who brags about his own loyalty from the man is trustworthy!
B. Counsel
• Proverbs 27:9
Q: What does this assume about the counsel? 
C. Truthfulness
• Proverbs 27:5
• 1 John 3:18
• Proverbs 27:6
Friend Enemy
Faithful Deceitful
Wounds Kisses
D. Forgiveness and protection 17:9
• Proverbs 17:9
E. Confidentiality 16:28
• Proverbs 16:28
Input: Why does slander hurt or even ‘separate intimate friends’?

CONCLUSION: