We talk a lot about loving others here at Changing the Face of Christianity…and for good reason. Truly loving others is the cure for many of the negative stereotypes we seek to reverse.
My Senior Pastor and friend George Feiser, at LifePoint Church in Plano, TX recently gave a sermon on friendship which does an incredible job of laying out the biblical basics of loving others…being a true friend. I’ve included the message outline below. As you read it, answer the questions and ponder how well you demonstrate true friendship to those around you.
“In Christ we who are many form one Body, and each member belongs to all the others.” Rom. 12:5 (NIV)
“I am writing these things to you… so you will know how to live in the family of God. That family is the church of the living God, the support and foundation of the truth.” 1 Tim. 3:14-15 (NCV)
THE TEN BUILDING BLOCKS OF REAL FRIENDSHIPS
1. FRIENDSHIP IS BUILT ON – Frequency
“Let us not give up the habit of meeting together. Instead, let us encourage one another…” Heb. 10:25 (GN)
“They worshipped together regularly at the Temple each day, met in small groups in homes for communion, and shared their meals with great joy.” Acts 2:46 (LB)
“… enjoy the companionship of those who love the Lord…” 2 Tim. 2:22 (LB)
Rate your Friendships on Frequency: (Weak) 1-2-3-4-5 (Strong)
Personal: What is keeping me from meeting more consistently?
2. FRIENDSHIP IS BUILT ON – Authenticity
“Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it.” Rom. 12:9a (Mes)
“If we live in the light, as God is in the light, we can share fellowship with each other… (But) if we claim we have no sin, we are fooling ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” 1 John 1:7-8 (NCV)
“Admit your faults to one another and pray for each other so that you may be healed…” James 5:16 (LB)
“The word of God is full of living power. It is sharper than the sharpest knife, cutting deep into our innermost thoughts and desires. It exposes us for what we really are.” Heb. 4:12 (NLT)
Rate your Friendships on Authenticity: (Weak) 1-2-3-4-5 (Strong)
Personal: What encourages me to be open and what holds me back in my friendships?
3. FRIENDSHIP IS BUILT ON – Maturity
“I want us to help each other with the faith we have. Your faith will help me, and my faith will help you.” Rom. 1:12 (NCV)
“Keep each other on your toes so sin doesn’t slow down your reflexes.” Heb. 3:13 (Mes)
“If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But people who are alone when they fall are in real trouble.” Eccl. 4:10 (NLT)
“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” Heb. 10:24 (NIV)
“Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith. Don’t drift along taking everything for granted. Give yourselves regular checkups…” 2 Cor. 13:5 (Mes)
“(Speak) only what is helpful for building others up, according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Eph. 4:29 (NIV)
“Encourage anyone who feels left out, help all who are weak, and be patient with everyone.” 1 Th. 5:14b (CEV)
“Take delight in honoring each other.” Rom. 12:10b (NLT)
Rate your Friendships on Mutuality: (Weak) 1-2-3-4-5 (Strong)
Personal: Where could I use the most support in my spiritual growth?
4. FRIENDSHIP IS BUILT ON – Courtesy
“Believers shouldn’t curse anyone or be quarrelsome, but they should be gentle and show courtesy to everyone.” Titus 3:2 (GW)
“Treat everyone you meet with dignity. Love your spiritual family…” 1 Peter 2:17 (Mes)
“Be devoted to each other like a loving family. Excel in showing respect for each other.” Rom. 12:10 (GW)
“Welcome with open arms fellow believers who don’t see things the way you do. And don’t jump all over them every time they do or say something you don’t agree with—even when it seems that they are strong on opinions but weak in the faith department. Remember, they have their own history to deal with. Treat them gently.” Rom. 14:1 (Mes)
“We must bear the “burden” of being considerate of the doubts and fears of others…” Rom 15:2a (LB)
Rate your Friendships on Courtesy: (Weak) 1-2-3-4-5 (Strong)
Personal: Who do I need to show more love and respect to with my friends?
5. FRIENDSHIP IS BUILT ON – Sympathy
“As holy people whom God has chosen and loved, be sympathetic, kind, humble, gentle, and patient.” Col. 3:12 (GW)
“If one part of the body suffers, all the other parts suffer with it.” 1 Cor. 12:26a (GN)
“Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down.” Rom. 12:15 (Mes)
“Share each other’s troubles and problems, and in this way obey the law of Christ.” Gal. 6:2 (NLT)
“We who are strong in the faith ought to help the weak to carry their burdens.” Rom 15:1 (GN))
“Go easy on those who hesitate in the faith.” Jude 1:22 (Mes)
“A despairing man should have the devotion of his friends, even though he forsakes the fear of the Almighty.” Job 6:14 (NIV)
Rate your Friendships on Sympathy: (Weak) 1-2-3-4-5 (Strong)
Personal: Who has supported me when I needed it? How did they do it?
6. FRIENDSHIP IS BUILT ON – Humility
“…clothe yourselves with humility toward one another…” 1 Peter 5:5 (NIV)
“Live in harmony with each other. Don’t try to act important but enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!” Rom. 12:16 (NLT)
“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6b (NIV)
“Always be humble, gentle, and patient, accepting each other in love.” Eph. 4:2 (NCV)
“When you do things, do not let selfishness or pride be your guide. Instead, be humble and give more honor to others than to yourselves. Do not be interested only in your own life, but be interested in the lives of others.” Phil 2:3-4 (NCV)
Why do you look at the speck in another’s eye, and pay no attention to the log in your own eye? Take the log out of your own eye first, and then you will be able to see and take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Matt. 7:3 (GN)
“He who listens to a life-giving rebuke will be at home among the wise.” Pr. 15:31 (NIV)
Rate your Friendships on Humility/Acceptance: (Weak) 1-2-3-4-5 (Strong)
Personal: What weakness in yourself do you find hard to accept in others?
7. FREINDSHIP IS BUILT ON – Honesty
“Speak the truth in a spirit of love.” Eph. 4:15 (GN)
“An honest answer is a sign of true friendship.” Pr. 24:26 (GN)
“In the end, people appreciate frankness more than flattery.” Proverbs 28:23 (NLT)
“There is a right time and a right way to do everything.” Eccl. 8:6 (GN)
“Thoughtless words can wound as deeply as any sword, but wisely spoken words can heal.” Pr. 12:18 (GN)
“Never use harsh wordswhen you correct an older man, but talk to him as if he were your father. Talk to younger men as if they were your brothers, older women as if they were your mothers and younger women as if they were your sisters, while keeping yourself morally pure.” 1 Tim. 5:1-2 (GW)
Rate your Friendships on Honesty/ Speaking the Truth in Love: (Weak) 1-2-3-4-5 (Strong)
Personal: What is going on in my friendship that I need to speak up about? How have I benefited when someone spoke the truth to me?
8. FRIENDSHIP IS BUILT ON – Mercy
“You must make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” Col. 3:13 (NLT)
“Never hold grudges. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” Col. 3:13 (LB)
Rate your Friendships on Mercy: (Weak) 1-2-3-4-5 (Strong)
Personal: Who do I need to forgive?
9. FRIENDSHIP IS BUILT ON – Conidentiality
“No one who gossips can be trusted with a secret, but you can put confidence in someone who is trustworthy.” Pr. 11:13 (GN)
“Gossip is no good! It causes hard feelings and comes between friends.” Pr. 16:28 (CEV)
“A troublemaker plants seeds of strife; gossip separates the best of friends.” Pr 16:28 (NLT)
“Troublemakers listen to troublemakers, and liars listen to liars.” Pr. 17:4 (CEV)
“If anyone is causing divisions among you, give a first and second warning. After that, have nothing more to do with that person.” Titus 3:10 (NLT)
Rate your Friendships on Confidentiality: (Weak) 1-2-3-4-5 (Strong)
Personal: How have I been hurt when someone didn’t keep a confidence?
10. FRIENDSHIP IS BUILT ON – Unity (of Purpose)
“Let there be real harmony so there won’t be divisions in the church… be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.” 1 Cor. 1:10 (NLT)
Rate your Friendships on Unity of Purpose (Weak) 1-2-3-4-5 (Strong)
Personal: Which of the 5 purpose do I need to work on most?