Sermons

Friends tell friends about Jesus (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)

Pastor Anthony Bacino, April 28, 2019
Part of the Preaching series, preached at a Sunday Morning service

Introduction:

The Family Ad Council back in 1983 launched the campaign advertising tagline: “Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk”. More than 68% of Americans report that they have tried to prevent someone from driving after drinking. In 1998, America experienced its lowest number of alcohol-related fatalities since the U.S. Department of Transportation began keeping records. In 2014 the Ad Council won a special advertising award for the remarkable results of this advertising. Peggy Conlon, president and CEO of the Ad Council stated, “The true measure of great advertising is the impact it makes on the world; …these campaigns have gone a long way in moving minds and changing behaviors.” Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Christians could adopt suck a tagline to win their friends to Christ and salvation. I am pleased that you could be with us on this “Friends Sunday.” I would like to speak to you for a few moments on the subject “Friends tells friends about Jesus”. Just think about how many souls could be saved if friends would just share Christ with their friends.

Sharing one’s faith—evangelizing—is a core practice among many for Christians. It is a mandate from Jesus himself before he departed earth: commanding his disciples to “spread the good news.” Yet, today, a number of factors are curbing many Christians’ enthusiasm for faith-sharing. It is against this backdrop that Barna is released Reviving Evangelism, a new report based on research commissioned by Alpha USA. Among the major findings in this report is the revelation that Christian Millennials feel especially conflicted about evangelism—and, in fact, almost half believe it is wrong to share their faith. That is sad….

One of God’s most precious gifts to us is a friend or friends who encourage us and loving¬ly challenge us to “keep on going.” Friends can make a great difference as Solomon wrote in this wonderful passage of scripture that we will examine. Good friends are one of life’s greatest treasures.” With good friends, you are never alone. They are attentive to your needs and gladly share life’s joys and burdens. Good Friends tells friends about Jesus.

Friendship is built by working on a lasting relationship. We are all created for relationships…
The first Characteristic of true friendship is to understand…

I. Friends are a Blessing (vv.9 / Proverbs 18:24)

1. The writer of Ecclesiastes wants us to understand that Friendship is a good investment (v. 9). When the author says in verse nine, “Two are better than one, because they have good reward for their labor” the words “good reward” can also be translated “good return” for it means -dividends paid on a wise investment. The very best investment you will ever make in life will not be a financial one, but rather the investment made in relationships. Let me tell you right now that the greatest relationship you can have is with Jesus Christ. – John 14:6

We will get the best return on that investment over any other investment that we will ever make. As we go through life there are two kinds of things we can give ourselves to. Some people try to accumulate possessions but it is better to focus on building relationships in making friends and to being a friend. The first half of Proverbs 18:24 says, “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. The second Characteristic of true friendship is…

II. Friends Helps You When You’re Down. (v.10)

1. Now you may have a lot of people in your life you could call acquaintances. But you may only have a very few that you could call “true friends.” Someone once said, “We have been successful in life if we have enough close friends to act as pall bearers at our funeral.

2. “How can you tell the difference between acquaintances and friends?” That’s easy, apply verse 10. The people that are still around when you have “fallen” are your real friends, there may not be as many left as you would have thought. A friend is still there when you fall.

3. A friend is the kind of person if you call them when in trouble they simply ask, “Where are you?” What can I do to help? That’s a friend… How many people do you have like that in your life? Jesus is that kind of a friend. Proverbs (17:17a) says, “A friend loves at all times”. God loves you and Christ died for you. The third characteristic of true friendship is…

III. Friends Support You. (v. 11)

1. Sometimes we have a tendency to take a passage so literally that we miss the point of the whole idea. This is more than just about keeping each other physically warm. In Bibles times this was important to save you from freezing to death and there have been some in similar circumstances. I think of my dad at the Battle of the Bulge they fought in well-below-freezing temperatures with no gloves for their hands and their feet wrapped in gunnysacks. The soldiers would have frozen to death if they did not huddle up to stay warm.

2. Sometimes it’s cold out there in the world. We need help to face circumstances beyond our control we need to be able to gain emotional strength when we do not have enough of our own. These are circumstances where we are facing a battle and we wonder, “How am I going to make it through this right now!” That is the time we need a friend to give us emotional strength. True friends encourage us in the cold dark times. Decide today to be an encourager? Jesus left us a wonderful encourager; the Holy Spirit. The fourth Characteristic of true friendship is…

IV. Friends Protects Your Reputation (v. 12)
“And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
1. When these words were written they were based on the military strategy of the ancient world. Almost all combat, was hand to hand combat. Soldiers went into battle with a partner, someone that could be counted and trusted implicitly. The soldiers stood back to back of one another, and they always kept their backs in contact and fought whatever enemy came from any side. Friends never stab you in the back, they guard your back. A friend never puts up with gossip about their friends. They defend you and your reputation. Last true friendship…

V. Friends watch for your Spiritual well-being. (Proverbs 27:17)
Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.

1. According to the Scriptures, a friend is one who challenges you to become all that God intends. The mark of a good friend is that their friendship draws you closer to Christ. They “sharpen” you and motivate you to do what is right. True friends want to see us continue to grow. The writer of Proverbs has said that friends help to sharpen us, to become sharp spiritually. He compares this type of friendship to fine tuning of metal on the anvil. Think of a blacksmith who makes swords. He takes a hammer and takes out a piece of metal and works on it slowly and continuously until it takes the shape and sharpness of a sword. Friends are always challenging us and even pushing us to be all that God wants for us to be.

2. True friends tell you the truth and even risk hurt¬ing your feelings because they love you and have your best inter¬ests at heart (Prov. 27:6—Faithful are the wounds of a friend). The greatest gift you can give someone is the gift of an invitation, an invitation to make a decision for Jesus Christ and a relationship with God.

Illustration:
Bobby Richardson “Impact Player” None was a getter friend to most than Bobby Richardson who as a Christian sought his friend Mickey Mantle to make a decision for Christ.

Some of you are here today because your friend invited you. You may even think that your friend is a little bit on the fanatical side when it comes to “religion” or God, because they keep talking about it.
Well I want to tell you that they are a true friend because they are letting you know of the greatest gift anyone could ever get and that is a personal relationship with God, forgiveness for your sin and a place in heaven forever. If you have not accepted Christ personally into your life I want to invite you to make the greatest decision you can ever make.

Conclusion:
You may be saying to yourself, “I wish I had a friend like that!” Well I am so glad you asked!
The second half of Proverbs 18:24 says, “But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”
For those of you who cannot honestly say today that you have experienced a relationship with Jesus Christ I want to extend an invitation for you to do so today. Jesus Christ is your greatest friend. One definition of a friend is someone who knows all about you and likes you anyway. Well, no one fulfills that qualification better than Jesus Christ. He is your best friend because He has done more for you than anyone else. (John 15:13) “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” So let me close by inviting you to let Jesus be your best friend. — Gospel

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Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

9Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. 10For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. 11Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? 12And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken. (KJV)

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