Becoming a Quality Friend

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Pastor Scott L. Harris

Grace Bible Church, NY

April 15, 2012

Proverbs on Friendship, Part 3 – Becoming a Quality Friend

Selected Proverbs

Introduction

This morning I want to continue examining the book of Proverbs concerning the topic of friendship. In the past two sermons I have concentrated more on warnings about friendship and what to avoid than on what you should pursue. Today I would like to begin to examine the many scriptures that describe the characteristics of a true friend and how you can be such a person.

Remember that there are various levels of friendship with each having a different level of trust and intimacy. As the trust level goes up, so does the intimacy and the influence. The number of friends in each level diminishes as the friendships deepen. You can have hundreds to thousands of acquaintances, but since you know so little about them, they are granted only a low level of trust and have little influence on you. Casual friends have a slight influence because they are known a little and so can be given some trust. Close friends of all types will have an influence because they are trusted enough to seek out their counsel in the areas of mutual interest. The more personal the close friendship, the broader their influence will be since they are trusted more. Intimate or “best” friends have the greatest influence because these are the people that have proven themselves over time to be true so that you can safely pour out to them even your inner thoughts. Most people can only handle a few friends at that level.

Since the Hebrew word for “friend” and “neighbor” (reya’ / ray’ah) are the same, friendships do start at the acquaintance level. However, throughout most of our discussion of Proverbs today, the term friend will usually refer to close and intimate friends since both the warnings and the blessings are in relationship to the influence they have on you or you on them. However, remember that friendships do not have to exist at mutual levels. Someone you may consider to be a casual friend may consider you to be a close friend and so you may have much stronger influence on them than they have on you.

In the first sermon on this series on friendship, I emphasized the importance of being balanced in our friendships. That bears repeating as we consider the qualities that will enable us to be a good friend, for you cannot be such a friend if you are either isolated from or inundated by friends. Proverbs 18:1 exposes the problem and wrong motivation that makes most cases of isolation foolish. “He who separates himself seeks [his own] desire, He quarrels against all sound wisdom.” Those who have few or no close or intimate friends are in a very dangerous position contrary to all sound wisdom regardless of whether the reason is fear, expedience or pride. The fear of being hurt in a friendship is real for the simple reality is that we live in a fallen world cursed by sin and even Christians are only saved sinners, not saints who have already been glorified. You will get hurt and you will hurt others, yet, it is God’s design for each of us to have close and intimate friends, for it is in the context of relationships that humans best minister to each other. That is the manner in which Christ’s body, the church, is to function. Isolation, whether physical or just emotional, blocks the blessings in all directions.

Inundation with friends actually causes the same problem because the number acquaintances and casual friends overwhelm and it becomes difficult to develop close and intimate friendships. That is one of the primary problems with social networks. While there can be great benefits and uses for social networks such as Facebook and mass communication vehicles such as Twitter, you also have to be very careful of them lest you get sucked into the world of chattering self-absorbed shallow people who post for the world their diaries, random thoughts and information that have little or no value to your life. Don’t let your life be drowned by acquaintances. Go out and live life and develop true friends. (See: Proverbs on Friendship, Part 1)

How can you keep the proper balance in your friendships? It starts with having the proper goal of your very existence as a Christian. What is that goal? As Romans 8:29 describes it is “to become conformed to the image of His son.” As Ephesians 4:24 and 2:4 describe it, to “put on the new self” and “be holy and blameless before Him.” As Romans 12:1-2 explains, because of what Jesus Christ has done for us in saving us from sin, all Christians are to present their bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service of worship. We are to resist the pressures of this world to conform us to its practices and instead “be transformed by the renewing of our minds that we might prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

That goal and its related priorities will keep our friendships in balance so that we are helping one another reach that goal. We will be godly friends that will strive to influence others, from acquaintance to the most intimate friend, for Christ. Proverbs12:26 states that “The righteous is a guide to his neighbor.” At the same time, we are to be very cautious about those that would influence us for the same Proverbs warns, “But the way of the wicked leads them astray.” Proverbs 13:20 explains, “He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will suffer harm.” Desiring to be blessed by God we will heed the warning of Psalm 1 and not walk in the counsel of the ungodly or stand the way of sinners lest we be found seated with the scoffers. We will take heed to the strong warnings in Proverbs to keep away from those characterized as sinners, the wicked, the evil, the immoral, a fool, hot-tempered, or a gossip (See: Proverbs on Friendship, Part 2).

There are many other characteristics about which Proverbs also gives caution, but since many are contrasted with the positive qualities that characterize a good friend, I will mention them as simply things to avoid in the context of encouraging the development of godly attributes.

Being a Godly Friend

Godly friendship begins with humility and selflessness. Or to put it another way, godly friendship begins by being more focused on being a friend than having a friend. Consider the example that our Lord gave us.

Jesus had every attribute of what it means to be a godly friend, and it began with a love that sacrificed itself for the best interest of others. Paul points this out in Philippians 2. He wanted them to be a unified church and that could only happen if they would “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; 4 do not [merely] look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others” (P
hilippians 2:3-4). Jesus was the ultimate example of this as Paul continued on to explain in verse 5-8. Jesus is God, and yet He set aside the glory that is due Him to become a man. That in itself is humble beyond our comprehension, but Jesus went further and took the form of a bond-slave instead of the royalty that was His right. Then He went further and died as the substitute payment for our sin. Paul said in Romans 5:8 that this was the demonstration of God’s love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Jesus said in John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends,” and that is exactly what Jesus did. He is the ultimate example of humility and selflessness, and He did it for us while we were still His enemies. There can be no better friend.

Jesus is our example and as Christians we are supposed to be striving to be like Him. Everything I will point out from Proverbs about the characteristics of being a good friend are simply steps in following Jesus’ example. For that reason, the advice from Proverbs is not optional for Christians, and it is sound wisdom for all people.

Humility is the first attribute I want to mention for the other characteristics arise out of a proper view of yourself before God. Humility is the opposite of pride which is the original sin. Satan’s pride caused him to think that he could be like God and he has sought to usurp Him ever since (Isaiah 14). Eve disobeyed God’s command and ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil in part because she wanted to be like God. Pride leads directly to selfishness in demanding things be your way and seeing others as the means to get what you want. God is opposed to the proud (James 4:6). Proverbs 3:34 states that God scoffs at the scoffers while giving grace to the afflicted. Proverbs 6:16 states that God hates even the haughty eyes of the proud and finds them to be an abomination.

Humility goes the opposite direction. A humble person recognizes they are but a creature made by God and so seeks to submit to and honor their Creator. Humble people think rightly about themselves as stated in Romans 12:3 because they seek to understand things from God’s perspective and not man’s. The humble do not think either too highly or too lowly of themselves because they recognize that all they have and all they can do comes from the Lord. All praise must be directed to Him and not to themselves. Because they understand that they are created by God to do His will, they rely on the Lord to enable them to accomplish that will. A humble person may not think they can accomplish the task, but they will step out in faith and make the attempt. They are more motivated by the desire to obey God than the fear of failure, and so they strive to do their best, but leave the results in God’s hands.

The proud do not like it when they are not in control of a situation or can be assured of the future by their planning. The proud are very disturbed by Proverbs 20:24, “Man’s steps are [ordained] by the Lord, How then can man understand his way?” But that truth does not disturb the humble at all, for they are at peace with Proverbs 16:9, “The mind of man plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.” As Isaiah 26:3 puts it, “You will keep [him] in perfect peace, [Whose] mind [is] stayed [on] [You], Because he trusts in You” (NKJV). For the humble, part of the adventure of life is the winding pathway the Lord will take them on in reaching their final destination. They look back and praise the Lord for the journey already taken. They look forward with pleasant anticipation of where the Lord will direct them next even if, perhaps even more so if, it is not as they had planned.

Humility is necessary for wisdom. Proverbs 11:2 states, “When pride comes, then comes dishonor, But with the humble is wisdom.” Notice how Proverbs 22:4 ties humility with the fear of the Lord which is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 1:7), “The reward of humility [and] the fear of the Lord Are riches, honor and life.” Proverbs 15:33 also link the two, “The fear of the Lord is the instruction for wisdom, And before honor [comes] humility.” As already explained from Proverbs 13:20, wisdom is a necessary characteristic of a good friend because a foolish friend is dangerous and leads to harm.

But humility is also important to friendship because it is the grease that keeps the gears of friendship operating smoothly. Humble people see other people as created by God for His purposes. The unsaved are valued because they are created in God’s image and need to hear the gospel. Christians are to help one another mature in godliness, accomplish God’s will and glorify the Lord together. This leads to selflessness, generosity and love because there is something more important than personal power, glory and comfort.

Humble people are also more aware of their own sin, so they are more forgiving of other people’s sins. Proverbs 19:11 states, “A man’s discretion makes him slow to anger, And it is his glory to overlook a transgression.” Proverbs 12:16 gives the contrast in this area between a humble, prudent man and the fool – “A fool’s vexation is known at once, But a prudent man conceals dishonor.” It is not that the humble do not get upset or that they ignore the sin of other people, but their humility lays the foundation for them to be slow to anger so that they can properly deal with sin in others, and they do not become vengeful even when it is a personal sin against them. The humble are also quick to work out relationships and seek forgiveness when they have done wrong.

Proverbs 6 gives the scenario of someone who has become indebted to a neighbor, but the principle in verse 3 goes beyond just monetary debt. “Do this then, my son, and deliver yourself; Since you have come into the hand of your neighbor, Go, humble yourself, and importune your neighbor.” That is a pleading for mercy and forgiveness. Jesus talked about same principle in Matthew 5:23-24, “If therefore you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your offering there before the altar, and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.” Your ability to properly worship the Lord will be hindered if your relationship with others are not right. As Paul said in Romans 12:18, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” Humble people can pursue that peace because they will seek forgiveness and grant it. Proud people cannot have that peace. No wonder Proverbs 16:19 says, “It is better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly, Than to divide the spoil with the proud.” Peace and true friendship are much more valuable than wealth.

Are you humble so that you can be this kind of friend to others? If not, then set aside your pride and humble yourself under the mighty hand of God. Learn to view life from God’s perspective instead of your sinful, selfish one and humility will flow, for then life will no longer be about you, but the glory of your almighty Creator.

Love is another characteristic of a true friend. By love, I am not referring to fond feelings of affection, though those will exist among friends because they enjoy one another’s company. I am referring to the kind of love embodied in Jesus Christ as explained earlier. It is found in the concept of the Greek word, agaph / agape. It is a love that sacrifices of itself for the best interest of the other person. It is selfless in its consideration of others. Proverbs 17:17 states, “A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity.”

True friendship is not based on what you get, but rather on what you give. For that reason, it continues on in tough circumstances. A friend will gladly come and rescue you at 2 a.m. on a cold, rainy night when your car breaks do
wn. A friend will watch your kids, run your errands and even clean up after you when you are sick. A friend will share with you their last slice of bread though their own cupboards are bare. A true friend will love sacrificially. Whom are you willing to do these kinds of things for? To whom are you a true friend that loves at all times?

Let me emphasize again that the development of these characteristics are not optional for the Christian. John 13:34-35 records Jesus saying, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” If you are a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ, then you have an obligation to learn to love others in this manner. That may sound difficult to some, and in fact it is impossible for the selfish and the unbelieving, but it is only allowing God to love other people through you. It fits perfectly with the purpose of a Christian’s life, so loving in this manner becomes a joy, not a burden.

Loyalty is another aspect of true close and intimate friends. We examined the first part of Proverbs 18:24 a couple of weeks ago. Now we need to concentrate on the second part. “A man of [many] friends [comes] to ruin, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” A true friend is not fickle. A brother is the natural one that will stick with you regardless of what circumstances you face, yet for various reasons they might not. Distance is one – “Better is a neighbor who is near than a brother far away” (Proverbs 27:10). But other factors such as pride, jealousy, envy and hurt can turn siblings against each other. David’s brothers became jealous and turned away from him resulting in a strengthening of his friendship with Jonathan. Jesus’ siblings rejected Him so that He had to entrust the care of His mother to John instead of a brother.

A true friend will be characterized by loyalty that extends even generationally. Proverbs 27:10 tells us, “Do not forsake your own friend or your father’s friend.” King Solomon honored the friendship his father, King David, had with Hiram king of Tyre. As a result, the nation was blessed with the supplies needed to build the Temple. Solomon’s son, king Rehoboam, did not follow that example and he forsook his father’s friends in favor of the counsel of his contemporaries and ended up splitting the kingdom as a result of their foolish advice.

While loyalty is a prized character of a true friend, Proverbs 20:6 soberly reminds us, “Many a man proclaims his own loyalty, But who can find a trustworthy man?” Do not be surprised if even a true friend will fail you on occasion. How often has that happened to you? How often have you failed others? This is why humility and love are so important in friendship for they are what enable you to work through things and bring about reconciliation when there is a failure in loyalty.

Confidentiality is related to loyalty and is another character quality of a true friend. Friends are not gossips that reveal the secrets of friends. Proverbs 11:12-13, “He who despises his neighbor lacks sense, But a man of understanding keeps silent. 13 He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets, But he who is trustworthy conceals a matter.” It may be tempting to reveal the secret of someone you do not like and by doing so you may be able to cause them harm, but you will also harm yourself in demonstrating the lack in your own character. Proverbs 25:9 warns, “Argue your case with your neighbor, And do not reveal the secret of another, 10 Lest he who hears [it] reproach you, And the evil report about you not pass away.”

I will expand on this idea of despising your neighbor showing a lack of sense next week. This morning I want to just emphasize that a true friend is not a gossip and will keep a confidence even of those he may not even like. It is a matter of character. Proverbs 17:9 adds, “He who covers a transgression seeks love, But he who repeats a matter separates intimate friends.” Because a true friend is also characterized by love, they not only will keep a confidence, they will also cover a transgression. Proverbs 10:12 adds, “Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.” The actions of love are contrasted with those who repeat a matter and expose the transgression causing strife and the breaking up of what had been an intimate friendship.

Does this mean that to be a friend you need to hide the sin of other people so that they do not get in trouble? Yes and no. Yes to the extent that you protect them from public shame so that their transgression can be dealt with privately first. No to any extent in which covering their rebellion would be condoning their sin. Being loyal and keeping a confidence does not mean a true friend must take the side of sin or excuse it. In fact, a true friend must stand against sin and bring about the needed rebuke even at the risk of losing the friendship. That brings us to the next character quality of a true friend.

Honesty in all things and candor with friends is crucial to true friendship. It is easy to gather friends who will tell you what you want to hear as long as they are getting what they want. That is why a rich man can easily gain many such shallow friends. Proverbs 19:6-7, “Many will entreat the favor of a generous man, And every man is a friend to him who gives gifts. 7 All the brothers of a poor man hate him; How much more do his friends go far from him! He pursues [them with] words, [but] they are gone.” Pity the man that has such friends and not true friends that will tell him the truth.

While love will cover a transgression, it is only so that the rebellion can be dealt with properly in private first. Proverbs 27:6, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.” False friends will flatter in order to gain what they want. Proverbs 29:5 states, “A man who flatters his neighbor Is spreading a net for his steps.” Beware of people that give you praise and tell you what you want to hear but will not challenge or rebuke you. Such people are only there as leeches to get what they can out of you. When you are no longer useful to them, their departure is swift. You will see them quickly latch onto the next person they will parasitize, or perhaps will find them stepping on you in their effort to move up higher in the quest to be king of the hill. Their demeanor can also quickly change from flattery to venom. You can commonly find this in any group including politics, work, social clubs and even in churches. Be generous with compliments meant to encourage, but do not be a flatterer.

None of us has or will reach perfection in this life and so we will fail in following the Lord as we should. For that reason, we need friends who will be honest and frank with us. That is why the wounds received from a true friend are faithful, they are firm and trustworthy. We all enjoy pleasant relationships, but that is not to be the goal of our friendships. We are here to help one another become godly people. The relationship becomes more pleasant only as each walks in greater spiritual maturity. The process of producing that can be unpleasant. And while we would like the wounds we receive from a friend to be like those of a surgeon operating on us while we are under anesthesia, the reality is that would be the rare exception. Usually there is some bruising and at times the sparks may fly as Proverbs 27:17 explains, “Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another.”

This same principle also occurs in the New Testament for there are many commands concerning how we are to treat one another. Among them are exhorting one another to live in godliness, admonishing one another when we stray, and reproving and rebuking those that continue in sin. In Matthew 18:15-17 Jesus explained the steps that we are to take in helping on
e another in our battle against sin. This passage also explains the balance of love covering transgressions and the faithful wounds of a friend. Lets look briefly at these steps.

It begins with Matthew 18:15 “And if your brother sins, go and reprove him in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother.” The goal is repentance, reconciliation and restoration. This is the part that is done in private and equates with love covering a multitude of sins. Jesus explained in Matthew 7:4 and Paul in Galatians 6:1 that this is to be done with humility, self-examination and gentleness. There is no air of superiority for you are aware of your own trespasses. You are not a spiritual cop making an arrest or a prosecuting attorney seeking to bring about a judgment of condemnation. You are a friend who is there to help a friend escape the trap of sin into which they have stumbled. If it goes well the second half of Proverbs 9:8 will prove true and the matter will end – “Reprove a wise man, and he will love you.”

If instead Proverbs 15:12 is displayed – “A scoffer does not love one who reproves him, He will not go to the wise” – the matter will escalate for the love of God and love for your friend compels you to break the confidence and bring others with you to help. Matthew 18:16“But if he does not listen [to you,] take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed.” At this point you may be accused of all sorts of things including being unloving, a traitor, an enemy or even worse.

You bring two or three witnesses not so much to prove that you are right and your friend is wrong, but to establish the truth. Perhaps there is a misunderstanding. Perhaps you are wrong in your understanding of the scriptures and its application to the situation. The witnesses help with mediation, clearing up misunderstandings, and establishing the truth of what is going on and the application of Scripture to the situation. For that reason, it is not proper to talk to other people about it and even those you are asking to be witnesses should only be told they are needed to help in resolving a conflict lest you prejudice their opinions. Proverbs 18:17 warns, “The first to plead his case [seems] just, [Until] another comes and examines him.” If Proverbs 17:10 is displayed – “A rebuke goes deeper into one who has understanding Than a hundred blows into a fool” – then the matter is resolved and ends there.

If the one in sin demonstrates themselves to be a scoffer and does not listen to the rebuke, the matter escalates further. Matthew 18:17 “And if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax-gatherer.” There are actually two steps in this verse. First is telling the church so that the rest of the body can be involved in not just exhorting, admonishing, reproving and rebuking the one in sin as may be needed, but also in finding alternative solutions. When we have had to do that here, I have been amazed at how many will offer to be personally involved to help the one in sin including opening their homes so that temptations will be reduced and accountability will be increased. Again, if the rebukes from the church are heeded, there is repentance, reconciliation and restoration and the matter ends.

If not, then the one continuing in sin is removed from the fellowship of the church because they love their sin more than Christ and have become a dangerous cancer to the rest of the body. That is always done with grief and heartache, and yet the goal remains the same that the one in sin would repent. A friend will always long for restoration of fellowship with a friend, but a godly friend cannot compromise holiness and truth and be an offense to God in order to maintain a relationship with another human. That brings us back full circle to the purpose of your life and friendships.

Conclusions

The purpose of your existence is to bring glory to your Creator. The specific goal of every true Christian is to do that by becoming like Jesus Christ in character. The purpose of your friendships is to help one another achieve those goals. You are to desire to point non-Christians to the savior and assist believers to walk in spiritual maturity with Christ. For those reasons, you must be careful about those who will influence you as your close and intimate friends, and so you must avoid such friendships with those who are characterized by sin, wickedness, evil, immorality, foolishness, hot-temper and gossip. At the same time, you are to strive to be a godly influence on those in every level of friendship. This is done by following the example of Jesus in humility, love, sacrifice, loyalty, confidence, honesty and candor.

All of us have room to grow in being true friends. The question that remains is your commitment to pursuing that maturity. Those that do not will turn inward isolating themselves from deep relationships that will challenge them to grow. Those that do will face the risk the hurt that comes in all relationships, and still pursue them that they may be a blessing to others, and others may be a blessing to them. If you are not doing that already, then it is time to do so. Good places to start are the men’s and women’s Bible studies, personal discipleship and the weekly prayer meetings. Seek out godly people and get involved with them so that you may develop true friends.

KIDS CORNER

Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help. Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – Do one or more of the following: 1) Write down all the Scripture references made. 2) Count how many times the word “friend” is used. Talk with your parents about how you can develop the positive qualities of a godly friend.

THINK ABOUT IT!

Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others. What are the characteristics of the various levels of friendship? Why is it significant that the same Hebrew word is used for both friend and neighbor? What is the problem with being isolated from friends? Of being inundated with friends? How can you keep the proper balance in your friendships? What is your purpose in life? How do acquaintances and casual friendships fit in with that purpose? Why must close and intimate friends be chosen very carefully? How is Jesus the ultimate model of being a friend? Why is God so opposed to the proud? How does pride destroy true friendship? Why do the proud and the humble have such different reactions to God’s sovereignty? What is the relationship between humility and wisdom? What is the relationship between humility and forgiveness – seeking it and offering it? What needs to change to improve it your level of humility? Why is the agape type of love so important for true friendship? Give some examples of how that kind of love would display itself in friendship? How have you shown that type of love for your friends? What is loyalty and its importance in a friendship? What would you like a friend to respond to you after you did something that called your trustworthiness into question? How should you respond to a friend who fails you? Why should you avoid friendship with a gossip? Why should friends cover the transgressions of their friends? Does that mean ignoring the sin? Why or why not? Why is honesty and candor so important in a true friendship? What is the danger of being friends with someone who flatters? How should friends deal with the sin they observe in their friends? Explain the four steps in Matthew 18:15-18 including the
attitude that should be present in each step? What are you doing to develop true friendships? Of being a true friend to others?

 

Sermon Notes – 4/15/2012

Proverbs on Friendship, Part 3 – Becoming a Quality Friend

Introduction

Trust and influence _________with each level of friendship: Acquaintance casual close intimate

The Hebrew word for “friend” and “neighbor” are the _____- friendships begin at the acquaintance level

To be a good friend, you cannot be either __________ from or ____________by friends

Balance in friendship is kept by having the proper ________- Romans 8:29; 12:1-2; Ephesians 2:4; 4:24

We want to be an ________________ on others in all levels of friendship – Proverbs 12:26

We avoid close and intimate friendships with the ____________ in order to minimize their influence.

Being a Godly Friend

Godly friendship begins by being more focused on ___________ a friend than having a friend

_____________ example of humility and loving sacrifice – Philippians 2:3-8

The greatest demonstration of ____________ – Romans 5:8; John 15:13

Christians strive to be like _______, so developing characteristics of a godly friend are steps toward that

Humility

Humility is the opposite of ____________ , the original sin – Isaiah 14; Genesis 3

God opposes the _________(James 4:6), scoffs at the proud (Proverbs 3:34) and hates it (Proverbs 6:16)

Humble people know they are ________made by God and think rightly about themselves (Romans 12:3)

Humble people _____on the Lord – they strive to obey, do their best, and then leave the results up to God

The proud are disturbed by God’s sovereignty while the humble ___in it: Proverbs 20:24; 16:9, Isa. 26:3

Humility is necessary for _______________ – Proverbs 11:2; 22:4; 15:33; 13:20

Humility is the ______________ that keeps the gears of friendship turning smoothly.

Humble people are more ________________ – Proverbs 19:11; 12:16

Humble people are quicker to _____forgiveness – Proverbs 6:3; 16:19; Matthew 5:23-24; Romans 12:18

Love – as embodied in Jesus Christ – agaph / ____________

Love is a _____________ and sacrificial consideration of others. Proverbs 17:17

True friendship is not based on what you get, but rather on what you ______________

It is not optional for Christians to learn to ____________ one another – John 13:34-35

Loyalty Proverbs 18:24b

A true friend is not ___________

True friendship includes ________________________ loyalty – Proverbs 27:10

Don’t ____________ perfection – Proverbs 20:6

Confidentiality

Friends are not ____________ reveal the secrets of friends – Proverbs 11:12-13; 25:9-10

Friends love and so will _____________ a transgression – Proverbs 17:9; 10:12

Friends will try to ___________from public shame so that transgressions can be dealt with privately first

Honesty & Candor

Pity the man whose friends _____________ instead of telling him the truth – Proverbs 27:6; 29:5

We need faithful friends who will be honest and candid to “_____________ ” us when needed

Helping one another become godly can be ___________at times and cause sparks to fly – Proverbs 27:17

Matthew 18:15-17 explains the ___________of love covering transgressions and giving faithful wounds

Step One – go in _______to reprove and rebuke with the goal of repentance, reconciliation & restoration

Be ______while you help a friend escape the trap of sin into which they have fallen – Matt. 7:4; Gal. 6:1

A ___________ man will love you for reproving him (Prov. 9:8) while a scoffer will resist (Prov. 15:12)

Step Two – go with two or three _____________ to establish the truth

Do not ____________ to others or to the witnesses – Proverbs 18:17

Step Three – tell it to the ____________ that they may be involved in reproving – and offering solutions

Step Four – _______the unrepentant from the fellowship of the church while still longing for repentance

Conclusions

It is __________the risk of hurt that comes in all relationships to develop true close and intimate friends


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