THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT

Program Air Date – 4-17-11

LESSON TITLE: “LET YOUR LIGHT SO SHINE: FRIENDSHIP”

WELCOME

The Psalmist said, “Praise the Lord! Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever!” It is before this God of goodness and mercy which we assemble on this glorious Lord’s Day. Thus may we praise our God!

Let me also say, good morning and welcome to our program. It is always a privilege to have you with us to hear the Living Word of God and we are excited that you have chosen to give this time of sacrifice to our Creator. Won’t you take advantage of every opportunity this morning to give your own reverence to the Lord, as we together offer this time of worship to Him. May all things be done, to God, for God and unto His glory. Let’s begin our offering to God with a prayer!

(PRAYER)

As we continue to Worship before the throne of God, let’s sing a song of praise that reminds us of the commitment we make before God. So, won’t you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together, “My Jesus I Love Thee?”

(SONG # 1)

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

There are many words in scripture which we often misuse or misunderstand. One such word I was reading the other day which is misunderstood is “vigilant.” Christians are told in the scripture to be vigilant, but I think we often get this idea confused with being a vigilante or one who even goes beyond the law to accomplish their purpose.

So what is God talking about when the word vigilant is used in the scripture? In the dictionary, we would find the following definition for the word vigilant, “On the alert; or watchful.” You see this simple word only means to be on watchful alert and to act on that which we know to be right.

Now let’s place this in the context of several scriptures. In Colossians 4:2, Paul there talked about our need to be vigilant in prayer when he said, “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving.” We are to be on alert and watchful in all things coming before the throne of God in prayer and with hearts of thanksgiving.

Another verse is found in 1 Peter 5:8, where this inspired writer tells us to be watchful and alert for the devil. There it says, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” So we must be vigilant to beware of sin and the temptation of this life which Satan places before us.

Finally, I might mention another thing we are told to be watchful about. Let’s read the words of Jesus as found in Mark 13:35-37. There we read, “"Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming; in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning; lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!” The fact is Jesus is coming again so we need to be vigilant and ready for His return to take us home.

Yes, the reality is that as Christians we need to be watchful and alert or vigilant in all things, so that we might be prepared and ready to face all the issues of life, and thus make the right decision as well as act in a way that will glorify our God and Father in Heaven. Are you vigilant for your Creator?

As far as our main study of the day, we will be continuing our study entitled, “Let Your Light So Shine.” Our specific lesson of the morning is, “Friendship.” So please stay with us this morning and after our next song together, I will be leading us in our main thoughts of the day. But for now let’s join together in our second song of the morning. The name of this hymn, “Nothing but the Blood.”

(SONG # 2)

LESSON

By Ray Sullins

We are so glad you’ve continued with us today as we now go to God’s Word and talk about friendship. Let me begin by asking: How many friends do you have? I don’t know if you are ever on Facebook or a lot of these modern different apps that you can get involved with and really send messages to people and they talk to you, but many say they have hundreds of friends. In fact, I’ve got hundreds myself. And some say they have five or six hundred. Some say they have thousands of friends. Now I want you to think for a moment how many of those are really your friends. If you’ve got a problem or you need something or you need somebody to help you move or you need to borrow some money, how many of those people are really your friends? Are they going to answer the call if you make that call to ask such a question? I also get tickled when I think about my children as they grew up and certainly I have one child that is still 9 years old so it hasn’t been too many years ago that we would encourage him to make friends and he would say, “Well I’ve got a friend.” At school he would tell us usually about one friend and we would try to tell him you can have more than one friend, but in his mind he had to be loyal to that one friend. So it was hard for him to say he had a lot of friends. He really had a friend. Well the Bible talks a lot about friendship and it gives us directive as what a true friend is, what are some things required to have friends as well as the type of friends that we want.

One verse that we would like to begin with this morning that helps us a lot in relationship to these things is found in the book of Proverbs there in chapter 18. Of course Proverbs was written by the wisest man that ever lived, Solomon. Here is what he says about someone who wants friends. If you look in verse 24, “A man who has friends must himself be friendly.” Well that makes good sense. If you want to have friends you have got to do what? Be friendly! If you want people to accept your request to be a friend, you have to be somebody yourself who is friendly, someone they want to talk to or communicate with. But now how many people do we know who really aren’t friendly or maybe that we don’t even like to be around? So the first prerequisite to having friends is first showing yourself to be friendly. Doesn’t that just make sense? Because as Christians as we are the light of the world, we are supposed to set the standard. We are supposed to show forth Christ in all that we do and all that we say. Wouldn’t it just make sense that we first would show ourselves to be friends so that others might respond properly to us? “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” the very Golden Rule.

The second part of that same message there in Proverbs 18 and verse 24 says this, “But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” You know I could remember when I was in High School I had a friend, and although I don’t have an earthly brother I have three sisters, that friend was just like a brother to me. There are those friends of mine even today that are very dear and very close and guess what, to me they are just as close as a fleshly brother. They are always there for me. They will do whatever I ask of them. They will help me however I need help because they love me and I love them. Well we find that as well in the Bible time and time again, Old Testament as well as New Testament.

I certainly could not talk about friendship without talking about perhaps one of the most beautiful friendships in all of the Bible. It was beautiful because of the two individuals that were involved in the friendship. You might recall the first king of Israel, Saul. He had a son that is introduced to us in the book of 1 Samuel chapter 14. That’s son’s name was Jonathan. Jonathan was a mighty man. In fact, it tells us that Jonathan was a great warrior. In fact, he had done many great things in the name of God and showed himself to be faithful to God in defeating the Philistines and other individuals and nations that were against the things that God had established. So Jonathan stands out as a good, young man.

But as we think about Jonathan growing up in the palace, in a sense, with his father, Saul, being the king, it is also significant to think back to a young Sheppard boy who also at times came to the palace to play the harp and actually to give comfort there to the king in the beautiful melodies that he played. Do you remember his name? David!

You know that those two boys as they grew up became friends. You can just see David coming to the palace to play with Jonathan and Jonathan watching out when David would be coming and wanting to play with him because probably as royalty being the prince of his father he was very much sheltered from the general children of the population of Israel and therefore he was set up. So he was anxious probably to be around other children and so Jonathan and David, Saul’s son, Jonathan and David who later becomes king in the place of Saul, Jonathan’s father, becomes the dearest of friends. And as the story goes, we go throughout chapter 16 and we see there that David is chosen and anointed king which automatically tells Jonathan that in order for David to become king, guess what must happen to Saul? He must die. Guess what else normally happened in that day when some other maybe dynasty began, like the dynasty of David and his children? Well normally they would not only kill the king, but also his heirs or sons so that they might not claim the throne after the father’s death. In fact, is that not what we later learn in this story that not only is Saul killed or not only does he die in battle, but also his son, Jonathan, and others. Well you see here as we look at the story we know that Jonathan is aware of these things but yet he is close to David. He is dear to David. He is kind to David as someone yes the Bible says, “Who loved him like family, as if he had been born and raised in the same house, Jonathan was knit to David and David was knit to Jonathan.”

But then there began to be a problem. David found that there was one trying to kill him and it was none other than Saul himself! In chapter 18 we begin to learn why Saul hated David so badly. We remember that Saul was said there in the song of the ladies of Israel to have “killed his thousands,” but David had killed guess what, “his ten thousands.” So Saul becomes jealous and he wants David dead and even wants his son to participate in killing David. Why? Because if David is alive, he knows it is the Will of God that he takes his throne and so he wants him dead so that these things could not come to pass. Well certainly Saul by this time has left the Will of God, but Jonathan still knit to the things of God and even telling David that he knows the Will of God will be done makes an oath with David. He makes an oath with David as it says there in 1 Samuel 20 because he loved him. It says, “He vowed with him because he loved him as he loved his own soul.” What does that tell us? It says that Jonathan was willing to put his own life on the line. Isn’t that a true friend? Isn’t that the ultimate friend? “No greater love has a man than this,” Jesus said, “to lay down his life (guess what) for a friend.”

So as we begin to think about the beauties of this story, we immediately then think about Jesus Christ Himself. Do you remember what Jesus did for us? He loved us enough to die for us. Were we worthy of it? Certainly not! In fact, the Bible says, “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. But yet as our friend, He gave His life for us.” What greater love? No greater love than a man like Jesus died for you and for me! That’s why when we turn over to the book of John and chapter 15 the text there begins to be so beautiful and moving as it tells us that, “No longer,” Jesus says, “will I call you simply servants but now I want to call you a friend.” Read with me there in that text beginning in verse 12 where He says we must love. Verse 12 says, “This is My commandment,” Jesus speaking, “that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no man than this than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are my friends if you do whatever I command you and no longer do I call you servants for a servant does not know what the master is doing, but I have called you friends for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.” What does Jesus call us? Friends! Friends because he has told us everything that the Father wants us to know.

But have you ever thought about the other side of that coin? “Friends because,” He says, “a true friend will die for his friends.” Now what does that tell us about our lives, about our commitment, our sacrifice? What about our friendship with others? What must we be willing to do even for those that we love? Our friends. We must be willing to die. Not only our friends, but the Bible actually goes so far as to say, “What about our enemies?” What about when our enemy asks a favor of us? Who would we die for? Well we should be willing to die for our friends, but who will we give and die for? The story of the Good Samaritan and others says that we are to know that our friend is anyone in need. So do we have that kind of commitment, the same kind of commitment Jesus had when He said we were His friends? Do we have that kind of commitment not only to those of this world, but what about ultimately to God Himself? Would you be willing to die for your faith? Would you be willing to die for your God? Would you be willing to give and to pay the ultimate sacrifice that you prove to God and this world that you truly love Him?

You see friendship is great. Friendship is powerful. And, “Friendship,” Solomon said in Proverbs 17 and 17, “is when one loves at all times and even in adversity. A friend is born for times of troubles and trials. A friend is there to love no matter what.” Isn’t that wise? Isn’t that wonderful to know and doesn’t it bring great comfort to our heart to understand that we serve such a friend in Jesus Christ and that He proclaims Himself to be our friend as well?

You know there are other beautiful stories in the Bible and we certainly don’t have time to look at all of them, but I think offhand of the relationship that Jesus had with His disciples, the chosen apostles. Do you think they were His friends as they spent time together for years? Certainly they were His friends. They loved Him to the very depth of their souls and eventually most of them gave their lives for their faith. Why? Because they were His friends. Jesus died for them, but eventually guess what, most of them died even for Christ.

I also love a story that is found in the book of Acts for many reasons, the story of Cornelius, but specifically in relationship to our discussion at this time because when Cornelius heard from God that someone was being sent to teach him all things, that he might know the Truth, that he might be able to respond, and follow God properly. Do you remember the first thing that Cornelius did? There in Acts chapter 10 verse 24 the Bible says, “And the following day they entered Caesarea and now Cornelius was waiting for them and he had called together his relatives and close friends.” Who did he want to hear the Truth? All of his family and all of his friends! What greater love has a man than this, that to be there for a man in good times, in bad times, to be there for another man even in sickness and in death, to be there for someone else even when our own life is called to an account and required. That is the friendship of the Bible. That is the beautiful that often in life we only share with a handful of people, but it’s a friendship that we ought to be able to share with so many others. It’s a friendship that we ought to be thankful for in so many ways because not only has God demonstrated to us, but we can demonstrate it to God and then we can let our light so shine in the same way to those of this world.

But there is a caution that I would like to bring to your attention in relationship to friends. We also know the Bible tells us that, “A little leaven leavens a whole lump.” We also know Paul told the Corinthian church that we have to be careful because an evil companion can do what? Corrupt good morals! But do you know what was said there in the book of James and chapter 4? In verse 4 he warns, he says, “Adulterers and adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore makes himself friends with the world makes himself an enemy of God.” So now we learn the significance of proper friendships. We need to be friends and even friends with those of this world, but not friends with the world and the actions and sin and flesh of the world because once we have chosen sin and the friends who commit sin, and once we’ve chosen the world and flesh and those things against God, we have become friends with that which is the opposite of God. So let’s make sure that our friends make us better people. Isn’t that what life is about? Being around those and encouraging people to be better? And don’t we want others to be around us who are going to encourage us, who are going to be proud in the fact that we are faithful to God, that we are committed to Him, that we are trying to serve Him, that we love Him, that we give time to Him? Isn’t that a true friend, a friend that supports our commitment to Christ or a friend that belittles it? Why not then be a friend like Jesus? We sing a beautiful old song, “I’ll be a friend to Jesus.” Will you? Will you do what He says? Will you obey His commands and knowing by doing so you will receive the reward of Heaven?

(SONG # 3 - “Peace Perfect Peace!”)

CLOSING COMMENTS

Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today, in this offering to God. I hope our time together has been an encouragement and blessing to all of us. We invite you back every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this worship to God!

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Isn’t it wonderful to be friends with Christ and to share in the wondrous promises found in His Word? Will you be a friend like Jesus, helping others to know and obey His truth as well?

(Program closing)