27 April 2014

CREATED FOR COMPANIONSHIP


Eccl 4:7-12

The more your read the bible the more you begin to see an underlining theme with God’s children. We are designed for family, fellowship and friendship. This goes with everything you read in the scriptures when you read about the one another’s. Family and friends play a pivotal role in our lives whether you believe it or not.The bible speaks about how we are to pick our friends. In Proverbs 12:26 we read “One who is righteous is a guide to his neighbor, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.”
  • Proverbs 13:20 “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”
  • Proverbs 14:6-7 “A scoffer seeks wisdom in vain, but knowledge is easy for a man of understanding. Leave the presence of a fool, for there you do not meet words of knowledge.”
  • Proverbs 22:24-25 “Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare.”
  • 1 Corinthians 15:33 “Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”


The bible speaks about how we are to treat our family and friends. Luke 6:31 “And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.” We also read when Paul said in Romans 12:10 “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.”
  • Ephesians 4:29-32 “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
  • Colossians 3:12-14 “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”

In all honesty when you think of it! We do not function well as loners. I’m sure you knew someone who would rather be alone then to have a friendship because they’re so driven to do what they want. And when you try to reach out to them they usually say “I don’t need anyone except God.” Sadly though this type of person usually ends up a miserable old man or woman who cried and cried when they become terminally ill or when tragedy strikes because they have one to physical comfort. We read in Ecclesiastes 4:8 about a lonely person who devoted all his energy to the pursuit of wealth. He didn't have time for friends or family. He worked very hard, yet his wealth didn't satisfy the void in his life. Listen to this for a moment because in all reality it’s sad! Nearly a quarter of the people in a recent survey said they had "zero" close friends with whom to discuss personal matters. More than 50 percent named two or fewer friends; most often they were immediate family members. I came across a news report of a 70 year old man was found deceased in his home in front of his TV with the TV still on. The strange part of the story is he had been dead for a year. Nobody had missed him. His next door neighbor is quoted as saying, “I didn’t really know him very well, but apparently nobody did." There is an aloneness problem out there and it is having devastating effects. Why is that? What’s wrong here One theologian said “God has designed us with a need for one another. So be sure to have friends, and be a friend. That's the only way to fulfill God's design for companionship.” As one writer said “I went out to find a friend, but could not find one there; I went out to be a friend, and friends were everywhere!”

The time to make friends is before you…..you need them! A friend is the kind of person if you call them at 2:00 in the morning and tell them you need them. They don’t ask, “So what’s the problem” and then decide whether or not to come. They simply ask, “Where are you?” as they are getting dressed. That’s a friend. How many people do you have like that in your life? The writer of Proverbs says, “A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity.” (Prov 17:17). This portion of scripture reaffirms God’s divine plan for His created children….you and me. We were never created to be alone otherwise the idea to multiply and subdue it is a false teaching and the fellowship of the saints would be a waste of time.
That’s why the institute of marriage is so important to God. That’s why the institute of the family is so important to God. That’s why the institute of the local church is so important God.....This is where the one another’s are in the body of Christ! This is where we find our refueling, comfort, encouragement for the week. This is where God’s people use their gifts for the glory of God in the family, the marriage and the church. See, Solomon, was the wisest man who ever lived; he knew how crucial it is to have companions in life. He wrote, “Two are better than one” (v9). We need our spouses and friends to help us through the scary times and to provide emotional support. Loners make life harder for themselves (v.8). But those who recognize their need for others find help and encouragement. FOUR REASONS WHY TWO ARE BETTER THAN ONE!


FIRST, TWO TOGETHER REAP A GREATER PROFIT (V. 9).

When two people work together you can accomplish greater results quicker and more affectively. The simple value and productivity of two laboring together, you are able to get more done when it comes to work. It’s much easier to do a difficult task with someone else then when you’re alone. The same could be said when it comes to the spiritual! Having someone help you overcome a difficulty. Someone to keep you accountable, someone who will help strengthen you in areas that you are weak in. That’s why I love this quote "Our fellowship with other Christians is one of the chief instruments God has given us to overcome sin" ~Sinclair Ferguson. That’s why it says in Pro 27:17 “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” The loving influence which a brother or sister has upon one another is vital for our moulding and shaping in Christ.


SECOND, FRIENDS OFFER ENCOURAGEMENT AND HELP (V. 10).

The roads in Palestine were bumpy, rocky and uneven at best with many pot holes and pits to trip a person up as they journeyed down the road. This is where it’s wonderful to have someone there to help you up. Yes, it’s nice to be helped when we fall down physically, but it’s so more when we receive help when we fall spiritually. How grateful should we be for Christian friends who sacrificially and loving help us even when we are messy and fall due to sin. Nothing is more encouraging than to know despite what you have done there is friend who will listen, help and restore you in His grace. See, when one falls during a difficult time, another provides comfort and support (v10). Having that person pray for you and give you sound biblical wisdom is a blessing especially when we fall to sin by volition or contrition. As Proverbs 19:20 says “Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.”


THIRD, A FRIEND OFFERS SPECIAL WARMTH (V. 11).

It can get really cold at night under the Palestinian air…the warmth of another definitely helps. There is something about cuddling up with my wife when my feet are freezing that brings great comfort and warmth. The comfort of knowing that person whom I trust and love is sitting or sleeping next to me. But this isn’t just applying to warmth when you sleep or lie down. See, a friend offers a special comfort that a total stranger can’t! A friend offers something this world knows nothing about! The grace of God and the gentle reminder of that grace expressed through God’s servants you and me. It’s being there through the good and the bad times! It’s not leaving when times get tough! Like the story of two men who were out hunting…… “when suddenly one yelled and the other looked up to see a grizzly charging them. The first started to frantically put on his tennis shoes and his friend anxiously asked, “What are you doing? Don’t you know you can’t outrun a grizzly bear?” “I don’t have to outrun a grizzly. I just have to outrun you!." They plant their friendship firmly on the ground and foundation of Christ and no one can remove or distinguish this love they have for one another.
  • We see that in the life of David and Jonathan.
  • We see that in the life of Elijah and Elisha.
  • We see that in the life of Christ and His disciples despite their lack of faith and their sin a times.

That’s why we read in 1Thess 5:9-14 “For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. There are two kinds of people in the world encouragers and discouragers, which group characterizes you? Because according to Paul we are to encourage, build up one another, especially the faint hearted and weak in faith.


FOURTH, A FRIEND GIVES US STRENGTH (V. 12).

At times it can be very dangerous to walk alone especially at night or in the city. I can remember when Rachel and Victoria were Hannah and Sarah’s age that Julie and I would never let them play in the back yard without us being their because you never know who was watching or around. Being alone makes a person more vulnerable to predators or worse secret sin! Satan loves to attack believers when they are alone; just as he tempted Eve in the garden, and Christ in the wilderness. But when a believer is around other Christians, they are capable of being helped by their friends, by their advice and counsel, and by striving together in their prayers to God for him. That’s why we read in Hebrews “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Heb 10:24-25
See, it’s much easier to withstand temptation and sin when you have strength in numbers. Even King David found that help in times when as the Bible says “grew weary” tired and unable to fight. His men came to aid and to his side to fight the Palestinian giants who were about to kill him in 2 Sam 21:15-17. A threefold cord is not quickly broken," was a proverbial way of saying "there is strength in numbers

We need one another because it helps us to continue to grow as the writer of Proverbs has said, that friends help! Help to do what?  To sharpen us, to become sharp spiritually a little bit at a time. He compares this type of friendship to iron that is banged on by iron. Think of a blacksmith who makes swords. He takes a hammer and takes out a piece of iron and works on it slowly and continuously until it takes the shape and sharpness of a sword. A true brother and sister in Christ will always challenge us and even push us to be all that God wants for us to be…because they love us as Christ loved us. As it says “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” Prov 27:17. Let me ask you! Do you need sharpening or would you rather be left alone? A dull blade that would rather be alone will always stay dull and unsharpened. C S Lewis said “The next best thing to being wise oneself is to live in a circle of those who are.” NEVER FORGET! God desires and designed us to a people who are bound together to grow in the grace that He gave in His Son……to be a part of a community that has one purpose to glorify God in all His glory for all His goodness that He gives us.

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