The Sweetness of a Friend
Tony Chute, Interim Pastor
Overview: Our final study in the book of Proverbs focuses on friendship, a topic that is exemplified frequently in Scripture and addressed specifically in Proverbs. Given the fact that most humans have an innate desire to be liked by others, and that we are living in an increasingly depersonalized society, it is helpful for us to choose our friends wisely and to become the kind of friends depicted in Scripture.
01. Proverbs instructs us about the company we keep as it reflects our personal character, our family upbringing, and our ultimate destiny.
02. Proverbs warns us about ongoing relationships with those who are self-centered, lack self-control, or promote self-destruction.
03. Proverbs shows us the emptiness of shallow friendships, the value of genuine friendships, and the fragility of weakened friendships.
04. Proverbs encourages us to nurture friendships by being considerate, faithful, dependable, helpful, and available.
05. Proverbs points us to the truest Friend of all, the Lord Jesus Christ, who turned God’s enemies into God’s friends and has promised never to leave nor forsake those who are His.
Questions for Discussion and Discovery
1. Who are your friends? What makes your relationship with them unlike other relationships, such as family, co-workers, or acquaintances? What advantages do we have as Christians in making and sustaining genuine friendships?
2. What models of genuine friendship do you find in Scripture? What biblical characteristics of friendship do you find in Proverbs? What passages from Scripture do you find most helpful in describing or prescribing proper friendships?
3. Do you find that our culture is becoming increasingly depersonalized even though we have more ability now than ever to connect with people across the globe? In what ways does technology take away from significant interpersonal exchanges? How can we as Christians bring a personal element into our relationships again?
4. In John 15:13-15, Jesus said to the disciples, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” Discuss how Jesus’s work on the cross transforms us by way of making us His friends. Are you amazed at our change of status from servants to friends?
For Further Reading: C. S. Lewis, The Four Loves (first published 1960; HarperOne Reissue Edition, 2017)