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Jesus my best friend

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									Jesus, my best friend

   25 December 2005
   Introduction
   I wish you all welcome. Today is a little
    out of the ordinary since we just ate
    together, and in a bit we’ll be reminded
    that this is Christmas when we exchange
    funny gifts.
   That’s also why I wanted to preach on a
    subject other than Hebrews 11.
   Right away I remind you my choice isn’t
    because I think Jesus was born two
    thousand years ago in December.
   The specialists tell us he was born in
    springtime. So religiously speaking,
    Christmas is a non-existent holiday.
   Nowhere will you find it mentioned in the
    Bible, it’s the invention of man – an
    invention that is not bad if it serves to
    reunite families and causes good to be
    done. But it becomes wrong if we
    celebrate it as if God had commanded us
    to.
   So today I don’t want to celebrate Jesus
    birth, but use some traditions to enjoy a
    good day with my family.
   I hope you understand what I’m trying to
    say.
   Since we have guests among us, I want to
    talk this afternoon about friendship.
   Friendship is a precious thing, isn’t it?
   Cicero said this one day: “the use of
    friendship is the only thing in the world on
    which everyone agrees.”
   We need it to warm our hearts and souls!
   Sam Walter Foss wrote: “Let me live the
    length of a path and become the friend of
    all who pass, and I will be happy.”
   We all aspire to experience at least one
    beautiful friendship in our lives, whether
    we’re young or old, Belgian or French, rich
    or poor.
   Who was your best friend as a young
    child? Can you remember? Funny how
    we forget many things from this period,
    but not our friends’ names.
   I can still tell you my friends’ names: there
    was Vincent, Jean-Michel, and Yves. We
    spent so much time playing together.
   Then there were the friends of my
    teenage years, the best of which was
    Frederic.
   We became friends when his dad killed
    himself. I remember like it was yesterday.
   His parents had just divorced, his father
    fell into alcoholism. One night he invited
    his kids to eat, but Frederic preferred to
    stay and play with us. When his father
    was alone he thought of all he had lost
    and jumped out the window of his 4th
    story apartment.
   From that moment Fred was like my
    adopted brother. We did the 400 hits
    together. I could tell you about our trip to
    Spain, our experiences dating girls…
   ...huge snowballs we made to block cars in the
    road. We loved to watch them stop and skid as
    they backed up on the frozen road.
   Friendship is a really beautiful thing when we
    experience it.
   When I look back at my life and the years
    passed, I see the different faces of those who
    marked my heart.
   But I also see the changes the years brought.
    Unfortunately these friendships didn’t remain
    unchanged. With time, there was an evolution.
    We took different paths. We no longer live in
    the same place…
   …our thoughts have changed and our centers of
    interest also.
   Do you understand what I’m saying? Have you
    felt the same thing? Time changes things, eh?
   I change, you change, our friends change.
   It’s the nature of life. In growing older, my
    values aren’t what they were in my youth.
   Today my faith defines who I am. The Bible
    defines what I believe and do.
   And faith creates in me the need to look in
    another direction, an encouragement that is
    necessary for me to function as I want.
   My childhood friends can’t help me in the
    path I’m on now.
   Sure, they can still help me if I have a
    physical need. Frederic became boss of a
    photo store. He can help me if I need a
    new camera, or to develop some pictures.
    I’d bet if I needed to borrow money, I
    could still talk to him.
   But he can’t help me if I need advice on
    how a Christian father should raise his
    children, or how a husband should love his
    wife. He can’t tell me with wisdom from
    above.
   So my friends as an adult are different
    from those I made before. My friendships
    are different.
   You see what I mean? Have you
    experienced the same thing?
   Who are your friends today? Not your
    buddies, but your friends. Has there been
    a change with the years?
   And if so, do your new friends mean a lot
    to you?
   I have a certain sadness for those who tell
    me they haven’t found a precious
    friendship.
   I’m always perturbed when I meet people
    who have adopted a negative view of
    friendship because they’ve been hurt and
    betrayed, who refuse to make new
    relationships because they’re still bleeding.
   Ben Franklin’s one of those who probably
    had such an experience because he wrote:
    “there are only three faithful things in this
    world: an old wife, an old dog, and money
    saved.”
   C.C. Colton’s not much better. He wrote:
    “I’ve always noticed a note jealousy, even
    in best friendships.”
   Socrates said: “Friends…but there are no
    true friends!”
   Oh I want so much to bring these great
    men out of the tombs to present them
    with some of you who I’ve come to see as
    friends. Praise God for the way he’s
    touched my life through some who are
    here today! Praise God for those he’s
    brought in my life who’ve allowed me to
    see things differently from Colton or
    Socrates or Franklin. Praise God for those
    I’ve known since my 20s and still hold in
    high esteem.
   And praise God if you also have friends
    who mean a lot to you and encourage you
    in the faith.
   Think of all of this when you leave tonight
    and tell God how appreciative you are of
    them. It’s a gift from him to have found a
    good friend.
   This said, I want to develop 3 thoughts for
    the rest of my lesson.
   Firstly, I want to define in a bit more
    detail friendship.
   Secondly, I want to talk about who we
    should choose as best friend.
   Thirdly, I want to talk about the attitude
    you must have towards your best friend.
   I. Definition of friendship
   Let’s focus firstly on the definition. When
    we look in a dictionary, we find: “a friend
    is a person one knows well, for whom we
    feel affection and for whom one has an
    affinity.”
   So a friend is more than an acquaintance.
    A buddy, a colleague or an acquaintance
    know certain things about us, but don’t
    know us well.
   Likewise, we all go to church together, we
    are brothers and sisters according to the
    Bible, but we don’t all know each other in
    depth.
   Do I know your dreams today? your
    hopes, and your fears? Do you know
    mine?
   Do I know what you like and hate? Do I
    know what irritates you and about what
    things you are passionate? Do you know
    for me?
   True friends are generally close enough to
    know these things about one another.
    They know what goes on in the head…
   …and heart of each other. There is an
    intimate sharing.
   Acquaintances don’t know these things.
    There share a job, maybe the same bank,
    school or pastime, but it doesn’t go much
    further.
   The Bible says in Proverbs 18:24…
   But let’s come back to the dictionary
    definition. It’s not just someone we know,
    but for whom we feel a great affection.
   In other words, someone we like or who
    likes us in spite of our faults.
   Did you know that in Hebrew the word…
   …meant “the beloved”? The term is
    “ahab”.
   Maybe that’s why Solomon says in Prov.
    17:17…
   A friend loves at all times, that is to say
    even when all isn’t going for the best,
    when you’re in the depths of despair.
   The opinion he has of you isn’t based on
    what you are today, doesn’t depend on
    how you feel this month. His point of
    view is based on what your life has been
    thus far.
   He sees beyond your discouragement,
    your momentary problems. He sees into
    the depths of your personality, what’s in
    your heart. He sees your integrity and
    doesn’t doubt you.
   A friend keeps believing when others lose
    hope. He keeps walking with you because
    he knows the potential hidden in you. He
    bears all, loves despite all, accompanies
    despite all for he knows the little seed
    hidden in your heart will yet one day
    produce a marvelous flower.
   A friend, you see, chooses to ignore the
    impolite exterior, the eventual problems of
    money, work, family, occasional misplaced
    pride at a success. A friend doesn’t
    condone all, but continues to love in spite
    of all. He continues to encourage like
    Barnabas did for Paul or Mark.
   I would also say a friend hurts with you.
    When your burden is too heavy, he puts
    his shoulder to the load and starts to carry
    the weight with you.
   Like the Arab proverb says, a friend is one
    who will get off his horse to help you…
   …get your chariot wheel unstuck from the
    mud. He’s not afraid to dirty his hands for
    you.
   Finally a friend is one in whom one can
    trust.
   Isn’t this so? Why do you share your
    worries, heart problems, and doubts with
    your friends? Because you know a friend
    won’t add to your hurt.
   You know he or she would be ready to die
    rather than hurt you intentionally.
   I found a good illustration – it happened
    during the first centuries.
   When Dionysus became emperor, he
    began to rule with cruelty. Quickly certain
    rebelled and formed groups to resist him.
   A man named Damon became a leader of
    the rebellion. The emperor’s soldiers sent
    spies and managed to arrest him. When
    they brought him to the king, he was
    immediately sentenced to execution. So
    Damon begged the emperor to let him go
    say goodbye to his family before dying.
    The tyrant couldn’t believe his ears.
    “Damon, why should I let you do that?
    You’d just use the chance to escape.”
   To which the prisoner replied, “I give you
    my word that I’ll come back.” “Your
    word,” laughed the king, “what’s that
    worth?”
   To this someone in the crowd that was
    present came forth and said “I will take
    his place until he returns and if he doesn’t,
    I’ll die in his place.” This man’s name was
    Pythias…you understand he was Damon’s
    friend. The emperor was very surprised at
    this offer, when he saw the expression of
    love and trust that prevailed between
    these two men. Wanting to see how far
    this friendship went, he said to Damon:
   “I’ll give you 6 hours, not a minute more. If
    you’re not back exactly then, I’ll take your
    friend’s life. Don’t underestimate me!”
   5 h 55 min later the king brings Pythias in front
    of him and said, “your friend isn’t back. In a
    few minutes, you’ll be executed. He let you die
    in his place.”
   The executioner takes him, forces him to his
    knees, and raises his sword to cut off his head.
    At this moment, Damon appears crying “stop,
    stop, I’m here!” He’s out of breath, he comes
    toward Pythias and says, “sorry, my horse died
    of exhaustion, I made him run so much. I
    couldn’t find…
A replacement.” Pythias pushes Damon back,
  turns toward the emperor and says, “let me die
  in his place, I beg you!” The emperor, stupefied
  by this request, responds, “surely you’re out of
  it. You can’t be serious, you want to die in his
  place?” Pythias didn’t have time to respond
  because Damon speaks up: “no king, the
  punishment is mine!”
This story tells how for the first time in years the
  tyrant’s ice heart was touched. He melted
  before this demonstration of love. He lets them
  live, but they must show what made their
  friendship so strong.
   Do you have a friend like that today? One
    who loves you enough to die for you? I
    do!
   II. Who should be your best friend?
   I arrive at my second point.
   I don’t like to tell people who to spend
    time with or not. I don’t lead a sect, but a
    group where each is free to choose.
   However today I’m going to make an
    exception and tell you your best friend
    should absolutely be…
   Can you guess? You should absolutely
    have the same best friend as I; that is,
    Jesus.
   I tell you, if you let him, Jesus will be
    absolutely the best friend you could have.
    You can’t find one better.
   Think of all I said a couple minutes ago.
    Firstly, a friend is one who should know
    you well. Who knows you better than he?
    He knows the number of hairs on your
    head, what goes on in your heart, and
    what’s brewing there. He knows perfectly
    the way you think. I bet you don’t know
    yourself as well as he knows you.
   I’ll give you an example – how many hairs
    on that skull of yours?
   Not only that, he loves you more than all.
    Paul says in Eph. 3:14-19…
   Has anyone ever loved you like Jesus has?
    Anyone ever died for you? Jesus did.
   Do you want to know how much he loves
    you? Look at his pierced hands and feet.
    Look at his crowned forehead where blood
    flowed for you. Listen to his voice that
    cries: “Father forgive them for they know
    not what they do!” (Jean 15:13)
   While we were still sinners Christ died for
    us. He saw your heart and said: “you’re
    worth it!” “Daniel I love you no matter
    what you’ve done to your wife, no matter
    what you’ve done to your daughter or to
    your son. I love you no matter who
    you’ve hurt, stolen from, abused, or lied
    to. I love you despite what you’ve done
    to me!”
   I ask you, can you find a better friend
    than this one?
   And I add still that Christ won’t ever leave
    you if you choose him as best friend in
    your life. Revelation 1:5 – he is faithful!
   A man once brought an accusation before
    Plinius the younger. He had committed
    the crime of being a Christian. The
    governor told him: “I’ll banish you!” To
    which the man replied: “You wouldn’t
    know how, for the world is my father’s
    house.”
   “So I’ll kill you and destroy you!” The
    man replied: “you wouldn’t know how, my
    life is hidden in Christ.”
   “I’ll take all your goods” Plinius told him.
    “You wouldn’t know how, even if you
    wanted to, for my treasure isn’t of this
    world, but in heaven.
   “So I’ll chase you far away from men and
    you’ll have no more friends.”
   The Christian finally told him: “You
    wouldn’t know how, for I have a friend
    from whom you can never separate me.”
   Jesus, if he’s you’re friend, will never leave
    you. Need I say more?
   So will you let Jesus be your best friend, if
    he isn’t already?
   He wants it more than anything. That’s
    why he says in John 15:15…
   III. The attitude to have toward my
    friend
   Finally I arrive at my last point: “What
    attitude should I have toward my friend?”
   I don’t have the time to expand, but I
    want to quickly mention 4 things:
   1. I should always confide in him.
   2. I should live for him.
   3. I should always follow him.
   4. I should always try to obey and fight for
    him.
   I want to finish with a verse: John 15:14…
   Conclusion
   Today are you in relation with him? Do
    you live a life that shows him to be your
    best friend? If not, I tell you make place
    for him in your heart. It will be the best
    decision you’ll ever make.

								
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