SERIES: Wisdom from Proverbs
TEXT: Proverbs 17:17
MESSAGE: Real Friendship
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“A friend loves at all times…”  Proverbs 17:17
“The greatest disease in the West today is not TB or leprosy; it is being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for. We can cure physical diseases with medicine, but the only cure for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness is love. There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread but there are many more dying for a little love.” – Mother Teresa
In June 2002 a conference was held at Dartmouth Medical School, in which the leading scientists and medical professionals were brought together to try to determine, “what was it that was causing the explosion of mental illness in America?” And what these scientists discovered was the following in their study called “Hardwired to connect.” Human Beings are fundamentally wired for relationship and that the youth in America are experiencing a breakdown in two primary areas in relationships, one of those was other people…and the second primary relationship is with God himself. Secular scientists saying that a breakdown in those two relationships are contributing to mental illness.”   Brian Fikkert
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge…”   Proverbs 1:7
 
“…like every other part of the Bible, Proverbs will give up its fullest and richest meaning only when it is read in the light of the person and work of Jesus. Jesus dazzled his listeners with his wisdom (Luke 2:40,47; Mark 6:2). He claimed to be the new Solomon with the ultimate wisdom (Luke 11:31). The personified Wisdom that created the world (Prov. 8:2 2–31) is finally revealed to be Jesus, the Word of God, with whom God created the world (John 1: 1–4.) Paul calls Jesus the wisdom of God (1 Cor. 1:24, 30), the one in whom all God’s wisdom is hidden (Col. 2:3)…A living, vital relationship with God is wisdom’s absolute prerequisite.” — Timothy Keller
QUESTION: How does God cultivate real friendships in our lives?
Real Friendship is…
(1. Harder than we think 2. Stronger than we think 3. More needed than we think)
  1. Harder than we think (Proverbs 12:26; Proverbs 22:24-25)
“The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.” Proverbs 12:26 (NIV); “Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn their ways and get yourself ensnared.” Proverbs 22:24-25 (NIV)
2. Stronger than we think (Proverbs 17:17; Proverbs 18:24)
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” Proverbs 17:17 (ESV) ; “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24 (ESV)
“I have no duty to be anyone’s Friend and no man in the world has a duty to be mine. No claims, no shadow of necessity.” — C.S. Lewis
  • People are so eager to maximize efficiency of relationships that they have lost touch with what it is to be a friend.” — Ronald Sharp
3. More needed than we think (Proverbs 27:5-6; 17)
“Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” Proverbs 27:5-6 (NIV); “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17 (ESV)
 
Genesis 2:18 says, “Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone…”
“True friends tell you what you need to hear while false friends tell you what you want to hear…we need to learn to confront occasionally and rightly for the good of those we love. We need to learn to receive confrontation for our own good.” — Daniel & Jonathan Akin
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” — Proverbs 27:17 (ESV)

“A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends” — Proverbs 16:28 (ESV)

TAKEAWAYS: Real friendships need…
  • The Green Light
  • The Grace of God

“A healthy, working relationship is a sign of God’s grace…” – Laura Tonini

  • The Plan of God
“In friendship…we think we have chosen our peers. In reality a few years’ difference in the dates of our births, a few more miles between certain houses, the choice of one university instead of another…the accident of a topic being raised or not raised at a first meeting–any of these chances might have kept us apart. But, for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking no chances. A secret master of ceremonies has been at work. Christ, who said to the disciples, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,” can truly say to every group of Christian friends, “Ye have not chosen one another but I have chosen you for one another.” The friendship…is the instrument by which God reveals to each of us the beauties of others.”   CS Lewis
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.”  Proverbs 17:17