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Tag Archives: friendship

My Sermon “Unlike Jesus: One Area Where Jesus-Followers Excel”

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Northgate Bible Chapel in Rochester, NY, a while back. And I preached on this topic of being a friend of sinners.  Jesus was a friend of sinners.  We must be as well.  Here’s my sermon, if you wish to listen to it.

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2018 in friendship

 

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A Survey about Your Unsaved Friends!

Friends:  I’ll be in Rochester, NY, this coming weekend (March 23-25) for a simulcast with Biblical Eldership Resources.  I’ll give two messages on Saturday — the topic is “Faithful Preaching and the Power of the Spirit.”

On Sunday I’ll be speaking at Northgate Bible Chapel.  During the Sunday School hour I will be asking the following questions about our being a friend of sinners like the Lord Jesus was:

An Unsaved Friends’ Survey
Seven Questions about Your Unsaved Friends

1.  How many unsaved friends do you have?

2. What’s one danger of having unsaved friends?

3. What is one benefit of having unsaved friends?

4. What is one basic aspect of friendship that you might need to work on?

5. How are you praying for your unsaved friends?

6. How should the church fit into your efforts to reach your unsaved friends?

7. What’s one activity you could do with your unsaved friends if you chose to?

Your thoughts?

 
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Posted by on March 22, 2018 in friendship

 

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Time for Some Great Quotes on FRIENDSHIP!

“True friendship is when you walk into their house and your WiFi connects automatically.”

“I don’t need a friend who changes when I change and who nods when I nod; my shadow does that much better.” (Plutarch)

Proverbs 27:5-6
An open rebuke is better than hidden love! Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2018 in friendship

 

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Ten Habits That Have Helped Me in the Christian Life (Habit #6)

If a habit is simply a discipline practiced over and over, I have a lot of them! Some of them are good habits; some not so much. How about you?

We are sometimes described as creatures of habit. Do our habits help us in our moving ahead spiritually — or hinder us?

I want to get better at spending time in God’s Word, at praying, and at developing an attitude of gratefulness. I find it easy to spend time alone with the Lord and I really want to share the Lord with others.

A sixth habit that most believers need to work on is developing friendships. Both with members of the family of God and with unbelievers.  I love the quote that says, “True friendship is when you walk into their house and your WiFi connects automatically.”  Plutarch’s statement is very practical: “I don’t need a friend who changes when I change and who nods when I nod; my shadow does that much better.”

God’s Word has much to say about friendship.  Notice these verses from the book of Proverbs:

Proverbs 12:26
The godly give good advice to their friends; the wicked lead them astray.

Proverbs 18:24
There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.

Proverbs 22:24–25
 Don’t befriend angry people or associate with hot-tempered people, or you will learn to be like them and endanger your soul.

Proverbs 27:5-6
An open rebuke is better than hidden love! Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.

Proverbs 27:17
As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.

Developing genuine friendships demands TIME!  We must invest in the lives of others, asking them about their lives, their joys, their challenges.  And then we must listen to what they tell us.  I love the C.S.Lewis quote when he says, “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”  Please share below one aspect of your discipline of developing friendships.  (to be continued)

 

 

 
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Posted by on January 6, 2018 in holy habits

 

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STUCK! Ten Areas That Will Bury You as a Believer and How to Dig Your Way Out! (Area #10- SINNERS) (con’t)

This is my last message/post on the topic of being STUCK!  These messages were/will be preached at Crossroads Fellowship Church in Augusta (website: crossroadschurchinaugusta.com).  How do we Jesus-followers sometimes get STUCK on the issue of SINNERS?

The reality is we are simply not like the Lord Jesus who was a friend of sinners.  Let’s admit it. We’d rather spend our time with fellow-believers than reach out to the lost.

Our text for this topic is Matthew 11 where we read:

16 “To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others:

17 “‘We played the pipe for you,
and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge,
and you did not mourn.’

18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ 19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.”

Both Jesus and John the Baptist were mocked by their contemporary culture.  John the Baptist was thought to be demonized because of his austere lifestyle. Jesus was charged with being a glutton and a drunkard because of His indulgence in food and drink.  Both austerity and enjoyment were areas of judgment for Jesus’ culture.  Jesus was neither a glutton nor a drunkard, but His social interaction with “sinners” opened Him up to such accusations.

I want to be like Jesus.  I want to be a friend of sinners.  If that is true, what steps must I take to get more like Jesus, to get unSTUCK in this area?  Please write out one step you will take in this area in the comment section below.  And thank you for sticking with me in this series!


 

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2017 in christian growth

 

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UNLIKE JESUS: One Area Where Jesus-Followers Excel (Part 19)

Can we talk?  We who want to follow Jesus have our successes and our failures.  We’re focusing in this series of posts on the fact that many Jesus-followers don’t imitate the Lord in His connection with sinners.  Matthew 11 is clear that He was “a friend of sinners.”  Can the same be said of us?  Of me?  Of you?

He spent time with the least, the lost, and the last.  We suggested in our previous post that many of us need a refresher course on basic friendship.  If one were to study every social occasion in which Jesus spent time with sinners, one would learn that —

1. He listened to them (Zacchaeus in Luke 19).

2.  He ate and drank with them (the feeding of the 4000 and of the 5000 in Mark 8).

3.  He was not afraid to meet with them publicly (the story of the man born blind in John 9).

Perhaps that third aspect of Jesus’ friendship with sinners merits some discussion.  Are we Jesus-followers afraid of being a friend of sinners because we fear criticism — from the family of God?!

Jesus told the three stories of lostness (the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the prodigal son) in Luke 15 because of the criticism from the religious leaders.  The text reads, “Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, ‘This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.’”  Notice that there was something attractive in Jesus that drew the tax collectors and sinners to Him.  And His response was to “welcome” them.  And to eat with them!

But He also ate with the religious leaders!  In Luke 7 Jesus was invited to have dinner with one of the Pharisees.  A sinful woman in that town came into that Pharisee’s home and anointed His feet with perfume, wetting His feet with her tears (presumably, of repentance).  The Pharisee who had invited Jesus said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”  But the truth was He was already with a sinner — the Pharisee!  And was eating with him!

Jesus was an equal-opportunity friend.  He could dine with the religious and defend the repentant sinner.  Criticism did not curtail His mission or harden His heart.

The movie director Mel Brooks was once asked by an interviewer what he thought of critics.  He said, “Well, when you’re camping in the woods, they can be very noisy at night and will keep you from sleeping.”  “No,” said the interview, “not crickets, CRITICS!”  “Oh,” said Brooks.  “They are even worse.  They can’t even rub their back legs together to make music!”  Don’t let the religious critics keep you from being more like your Lord! (to be continued)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on July 29, 2017 in discipleship

 

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UNLIKE JESUS! One Area Where Jesus-Followers Excel (Part 18)

We are investigating how we who profess to follow Jesus — often don’t.  We don’t follow Him in being “a friend of sinners.”  And, it must be said, we’re often rather poor at being a friend of fellow-saints!  “I don’t have the time!”  “Maybe later we’ll get together.”  “Let’s do lunch sometime.”  — are excuses we give for not pursuing deep, personal relationships with other members of the family of God.

I must admit:  As an introvert, I’m perfectly okay with shallow connections, brief conversations, non-risky discussions.  I like being alone.  IF I can have my books, my dog, and occasional visits from my wife.  We all — introverts and extroverts — come into this world broken — and we each have to lean against whatever brokenness keeps us from being a friend of sinners.  And of each other.

I think we Jesus-followers need a primer on FRIENDSHIP!  What’s involved in being a good friend?  The philosopher Plutarch said, “I don’t need a friend who changes when I change and who nods when I nod; my shadow does that much better.”  “One loyal friend is worth ten thousand relatives,” said Euripides. 

How necessary are true friends?  Orson Welles was pretty negative when he wrote, “We’re born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we’re not alone.”  My patron saint, C.S. Lewis, bluntly said, “Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.”

The Bible has much to say about friendship.  For example, the Apostle Paul often uses the expression “my dear friends” as he writes his epistles (see Rom. 16:8-9).  He refers to Luke as “our dear friend” (Col. 4:14).  The Lord Jesus frequently used the word “friends” when He addressed His followers and said, “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” (Jn. 15:15).  “You are my friends,” Jesus said, “if you do what I command” (Jn. 15:14).  Jesus declared, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (Jn. 15:13).  After His resurrection, Jesus appears to His disciples (who had gone back to work) and He calls out, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” (By the way, the question is asked in such a way in Greek as to imply a “no” answer.  Jesus knew they hadn’t caught any fish! Jn. 21:5).

We read in James 2:23, “And the scripture was fulfilled that says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,’ and he was called God’s friend.”  Oscar Wilder once quipped, “True friends stab you in the front.”  He really wasn’t all that wrong, for Proverbs 27:6 says, “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.”  There is a lot of wisdom in Octavia Butler’s statement that “Sometimes being a friend means mastering the art of timing. There is a time for silence. A time to let go and allow people to hurl themselves into their own destiny. And a time to prepare to pick up the pieces when it’s all over.” (to be continued)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on July 28, 2017 in discipleship

 

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