Text: Proverbs 18:24 (KJV or NKJV)
I. I received a note from a fourteen year old boy. He has moved a lot in his short life, attending ten different schools. The school he is currently attending was the first one where he stayed for more than one year. But it has left him with a problem that he never faced before? How do you go about making friends? He never considered having a friend before because he knew he would always being on shortly. But he’s lonely and wants to be able to hang around some people he can call friends.
A. Sometimes we are so used to what we have, that we don’t realize that there are others who have none.
B. Even quiet, shy people can have friends, but like other things of value, it takes a bit of effort and time to obtain
II. True friends are valuable
A. The friendship of David and Jonathan is a great example
1. Notice the strength of their friendship - I Samuel 18:1
2. And when Jonathan died, David grieved - II Samuel 1:26
B. Friendship can even develop within a family. We can see the commitment between Ruth and Naomi - Ruth 1:16-17
C. What makes a friendship valuable is the permanence of the relationship, rivaling the relationship of family - Proverbs 17:17
D. A friend is not a casual acquaintance. He is someone who sticks by you even in difficult times - Proverbs 18:24
1. There are a wide variety of translations for the first half of this verse.
2. It is due to the fact that Hebrew is written in all consonants and there is debate about which root word is being reference. The problem is the prime candidates have diverse meaning.
3. But even so, we can see a primary point: All “friends” are not the same.
E. Friends can improve you - Proverbs 27:17
F. Friends help you - Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
III. To gain friends, you most be willing to offer friendship
A. One of the greatest compliments you can give to another is to listen to what they say
1. Not “listening” like you do your parents, where it goes in one ear and out the other
2. Listening because you are interested in what the other person is saying - James 1:19-20
3. That means listening to a person’s tone of voice when they are talking and watching their body language.
a. This is actually hard for teenagers to do. There are studies that show most teenagers can’t read facial expressions and body language accurately.
b. They tend to assign extremes to the emotions shown and thus come to the wrong conclusion.
4. Thus, when you see someone, instead of saying “Hi!,” ask them something more direct about them
a. “How did you do on the math test?”
b. “I like that song. Who sings it?”
c. “I heard you’re on the baseball team. How did you get so good?”
5. Don’t pick subjects you don’t want to hear about. Pick something that truly interests you.
a. As they talk, ask a question once in a while when you don’t understand something they said, or when you want more details.
b. Those little questions show you are following the conversation and that you are interested
B. Not everyone will be interested in being friendly with you.
1. It is just a fact of life that you must accept.
2. It means that to find friends, you have to risk being rejected.
3. But something worth having is worth taking some personal risk.
4. If you are willing to risk having some people ignore you or tell you to get lost, you will find a greater number of people who are flattered that you are interested in them.
C. Don’t rush a friendship or force it
1. In talking about falling in love, the Shulamith states repeatedly - Song of Solomon 8:4
a. What works in an intimate relationship between husband and wife also works between friends.
b. After all, marriage is for companionship - Malachi 2:14
2. Friendship is something that bests develops on its own and at its own pace.
3. Friendship is based on shared experience and that takes time.
D. Depend on your friends - Proverbs 27:10
1. Friendships grow when you lean on your friends.
2. Believe it or not, friends want to help. I’ve seen good friendships ruined when a problem develops and the people circle the wagons with family and exclude those who want to be their friends.
IV. As badly as you may want friends, not everyone is worth having as a friend
A. There are a lot of bad people in this world
B. You are going to be influenced by those you see as your friends
1. You can see it around you. Notice how those who are friendly with each other tend to dress in a similar fashion. Even hairstyles will be similar.
2. If they tend to be angry, they will rub off on you - Proverbs 22:24-25
3. If they tend to be violent, you will be caught up in doing the same - Proverbs 1:11-15
C. That is because we want to please those who accept us, and too often we will compromise our principles to keep a friend - I Corinthians 15:33
D. Some people want you because they have use for you
1. The friendly salesman, who is only interested in you while there is a potential for a sale.
2. An extreme example would be a drug dealer who is friendly because they are looking for people to get hooked on drugs and thereby line their pockets.
3. Avoid evil people who offer you things - Psalms 141:4
4. There are even people who are friendly because they want to use you for sex - Proverbs 6:23-26
V. Look for people worth having in your life as a friend
A. We know we will be influenced by our friends, so use it to an advantage
B. Wise friends will rub off on you - Proverbs 13:20
C. Find righteous friends - Psalm 119:63
D. There are people here who hold a common belief - I John 1:7
E. With such friends, we can say as Paul did - Philippians 1:3-6