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Men Who MatterLesson Three
The Real World
In this lesson we are going to look at friendships. This will be for the good and bad. We all have all hadfriendswho did not really make us better men. Sadly the reverse is true as there have been times when we have not been the best influence as afriend. Why do some friendships die? We all know the answer to this question. We did not take care of the friends we had or they did not take care of us. We can get too busy to really be there for each other. Stress and the cares of life can often cause us to lose those close friendships that can make the real difference in how we function in this Christian life. Having a true friend always begins with being a good friend. It is so simple and yet we never seem to be able to be there for each other. Lets see what God’s Word has in store for us today about Friends.
The Real Word
1 Samuel 20 New International Version (NIV)David and Jonathan20Then David fled from Naioth at Ramah and went to Jonathan and asked, “What have I done? What is my crime? How have I wronged your father, that he is trying to kill me?”2“Never!” Jonathan replied. “You are not going to die! Look, my father doesn’t do anything, great or small, without letting me know. Why would he hide this from me? It isn’t so!”3But David took an oath and said, “Your father knows very well that I have found favor in your eyes, and he has said to himself, ‘Jonathan must not know this or he will be grieved.’ Yet as surely as theLordlives and as you live, there is only a step between me and death.”4Jonathan said to David, “Whatever you want me to do, I’ll do for you.”5So David said, “Look, tomorrow is the New Moon feast, and I am supposed to dine with the king; but let me go and hide in the field until the evening of the day after tomorrow.6If your father misses me at all, tell him, ‘David earnestly asked my permission to hurry to Bethlehem, his hometown, because anannual sacrificeis being made there for his whole clan.’7If he says, ‘Very well,’ then your servant is safe. But if he loses his temper, you can be sure that he is determined to harm me.8As for you, show kindness to your servant, for you have brought him into a covenant with you before theLord. If I am guilty, then kill me yourself! Why hand me over to your father?”9“Never!” Jonathan said. “If I had the least inkling that my father was determined to harm you, wouldn’t I tell you?”10David asked, “Who will tell me if your father answers you harshly?”11“Come,” Jonathan said, “let’s go out into the field.” So they went there together.12Then Jonathan said to David, “I swear by theLord, the God of Israel, that I will surely sound out my father by this time the day after tomorrow! If he is favorably disposed toward you, will I not send you word and let you know?13But if my father intends to harm you, may theLorddeal with Jonathan, be it ever so severely, if I do not let you know and send you away in peace. MaytheLordbe with you as he has been with my father.14But show me unfailing kindness like theLord’s kindness as long as I live, so that I may not be killed,15and do not ever cut off your kindness from my family—not even whentheLordhas cut off every one of David’s enemies from the face of the earth.”16So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, “May theLordcallDavid’s enemies to account.”17And Jonathan had David reaffirm hisoath outof love for him, because he loved him as he loved himself.18Then Jonathan said to David, “Tomorrow is the New Moon feast. You will be missed, because your seat will be empty.19The day after tomorrow, toward evening, go to the place where you hid when this trouble began, and wait by the stone Ezel.20I will shoot three arrows to the side of it, as though I were shooting at a target.21Then I will send a boy and say, ‘Go, find the arrows.’ If I say to him, ‘Look, the arrows are on this side of you; bring them here,’ then come, because, as surely as theLordlives, you are safe; there is no danger.22But if I say to the boy, ‘Look, the arrows are beyond you,’ then you must go, because theLordhas sent you away.23And about the matter you and I discussed—remember, theLordis witness between you and me forever.”24So David hid in the field, and when the New Moon feast came, the king sat down to eat.25He sat in his customary place by the wall, opposite Jonathan,[a]and Abner sat next to Saul, but David’s place was empty.26Saul said nothing that day, for he thought, “Something must have happened to David to make him ceremonially unclean—surely he is unclean.”27But the next day, the second day of the month, David’s place was empty again. Then Saul said to his son Jonathan, “Why hasn’t the son of Jesse come to the meal, either yesterday or today?”28Jonathan answered, “David earnestly asked me for permission to go to Bethlehem.29He said, ‘Let me go, because our family is observing a sacrifice in the town and my brother has ordered me to be there. If I have found favor in your eyes, let me get away to see my brothers.’ That is why he has not come to the king’s table.”30Saul’s anger flared up at Jonathan and he said to him, “You son of a perverse and rebellious woman! Don’t I know that you have sided with the son of Jesse to your own shame and to the shame of the mother who bore you?31As long as the son of Jesse lives on this earth, neither you nor your kingdom will be established. Now send someone to bring him to me, for he must die!”32“Why should he be put to death? What has he done?” Jonathan asked his father.33But Saul hurled his spear at him to kill him. Then Jonathan knew that his father intended to kill David.34Jonathan got up from the table in fierce anger; on that second day of the feast he did not eat, because he was grieved at his father’s shameful treatment of David.35In the morning Jonathan went out to the field for his meeting with David. He had a small boy with him,36and he said to the boy, “Run and find the arrows I shoot.” As the boy ran, he shot an arrow beyond him.37When the boy came to the place where Jonathan’s arrow had fallen, Jonathan called out after him, “Isn’t the arrow beyond you?”38Then he shouted, “Hurry! Go quickly! Don’t stop!” The boy picked up the arrow and returned to his master.39(The boy knew nothing about all this; only Jonathan and David knew.)40Then Jonathan gave his weapons to the boy and said, “Go, carry them back to town.”41After the boy had gone, David got up from the south side of the stone and bowed down before Jonathan three times, with his face to the ground. Then they kissed each other and wept together—but David wept the most.42Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, for we have sworn friendship with each other in the name of theLord, saying, ‘TheLordis witness between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants forever.’” Then David left, and Jonathan went back to the town.[b]
Real Talk
Who are the people you call Friend?What defines a true friend?Do you have a real friend? Someone you can count on?What are the greatest disappointments you have with Friends?
Real Steps
5 Traits of True ChristianFriendsSo, what does a true Christian friendship look like? Let's break it down into traits that are easy toidentify.1) ChristianFriends Love SacrificiallyJohn15:13Greaterlove has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.(NIV)Jesus is the finest example of a true Christian friend. His love for us is sacrificial, never selfish. He demonstrated it not only through his miracles of healing, but more fully through the humble service of washing the disciples' feet, and then ultimately, when helaid down his life on the cross.If we choose our friends based only on what they have to offer, we'll rarely discover the blessings of a genuine friendship. Philippians 2:3 says, "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves." By valuing your friend's needs above your own, you'll be on your way toloving like Jesus. In the process, you'll likely gain a true friend.2) ChristianFriends Accept UnconditionallyProverbs17:17Afriend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.(NIV)We discover the best of friendships with brothers and sisters who know and accept our weaknesses and imperfections.If we're easily offended or hold on tobitterness, we'll have a hard time making friends. No one is perfect. We all make mistakes now and then. If we take a truthful look at ourselves, we'll admit that we bear some of the blame when things go wrong in a friendship. A good friend is quick to askforgivenessand ready to be forgiving.3) ChristianFriends Trust CompletelyProverbs18:24Aman of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.(NIV)This proverb reveals that a true Christian friend is trustworthy, indeed, but emphasizes a second important truth as well. We should only expect to share complete trust with a few loyal friends. Trusting too easily can lead to ruin, so be careful about putting your confidence in a mere companion. Over time our true Christian friends will prove their trustworthiness by sticking closer than a brother orsister.4) ChristianFriends Keep Healthy Boundaries1 Corinthians13:4Loveis patient, love is kind. It does not envy ...(NIV)If you feel smothered in a friendship, something is wrong. Likewise, if you feel used or abused, something is amiss. Recognizing what's best for someone and giving that person space are signs of a healthy relationship. We should never let a friend come between us and our spouse. A true Christian friend will wisely avoid intruding and recognize your need to maintain other relationships.5) ChristianFriends Give Mutual EdificationProverbs 27:6Woundsfrom a friend can be trusted ...(NIV)True Christian friends will build each other up emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Friends like to be together simply because itfeels good. We receive strength, encouragement, and love. We talk, we cry, we listen. But at times we also have to say the difficult things our dearest friend needs to hear. Yet, because of the shared trust and acceptance, we are the one person who can impact our friend's heart, for we know how to deliver the hard message with truth and grace. I believe this is what Proverbs 27:17 means when it says, "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another."My hope is that these five traits will show you areas that may need a little work in your effort to build stronger friendships. But if you don't have lots of close friends, don't be too hard on yourself. Remember, true Christian friendships are rare treasures. They take time to nurture, but in the process we grow moreChrist like.
Time to Close
As a Salvation Army officer I move all the time and that puts a real strain on my friendships. Yet I am constantly amazed at how quickly I can catch up with my friends when I do get a chance to see them. Within a few minutes it is as if we had been together all the time. Those are my real friends. I have about four of them. I need them. In them I am able to just be myself. To know and to be known. We all long for that. We need that in order to be Men Who Matter. So take a chance in the next week and reach out to your friends. If you look around and are alone there is probably a reason for that. You need to be a friend to have friends. Do not let the good friendships you have go unused and allowed to grow apart. Be there for each other. It is really time toMAN UP!





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