Great Friends

One of the greatest friendships we find in the Bible was that of David and Jonathan. From them we can learn what makes friendships work well. Both of them were soldiers and they appreciated weapons and strategy. In 1 Sam.18:4, Jonathan gave his sword and bow to David as a gift; very personal items. It’s the things people have in common that bring them together. It can be something as engaging as soldiers in the army, or something as simple as an interest in gardening.

These two men quickly found themselves in a tricky situation: Jonathan’s father, king Saul, was jealous of David and wanted to execute him. Friendship was tested by the complications that followed. Jonathan knew David was innocent of any deceit, so he stood by him in loyalty. Good friends do that for each other when difficulties strike. Loyalty should never waver between good friends. However, in real life we often suffer the pain of losing a good friend; loyalty can vanish sometimes. But the world is full of interesting people open to friendship and we may simply need to open up to them, putting the pain of prior friendships on the back burner. Never forget a friend even if they have turned their back on you. If you’re lucky, they may return someday.

If you read the last few chapters of 1 Samuel, you’ll find that Jonathan sacrificed for his friend David, who had a death sentence on his head. They sometimes met secretly to check on each other, challenge each other, and figure out what to do next. Jonathan would have suffered severely if his father found out. Strong friendships don’t mind sacrificing for each other. If you haven’t had a friend like that, maybe you should find ways to sacrifice for others. As someone once said, to have a friend you’ve got to be a friend.

Of all the things that help friendships flourish, there needs to be a strong common-denominator of conviction. Both David and Jonathan loved God and wanted to serve Him with all their hearts. This one over-riding quality gave these men the best foundation to stand on. It furnished them both with humility, common-sense, direction, and courage. Great friendships are built on faith in God and appreciation for each other.

There’s a tragic end to the story of David and Jonathan: the latter died in battle (1 Sam.31). David mourned for him and wrote his thoughts down in a piece called “The Song of the bow” (2 Sam.1). When David became king he honored his friend Jonathan by caring for the man’s handicapped son for the rest of his life (2 Sam.9). Real friendships are never forgotten.

– Tim Johnson

Kept for Jesus Christ

It would be hard to find a lovelier introduction to a letter than Jude 1-2. In it, he described his readers with three phrases that should comfort the most discouraged of souls. Let’s have a look.

First, he said they were the called. He was writing to people Jesus had notified, like a legal summons. One possessing the highest authority in the universe had invited them to be saved and enter His kingdom. Since Jude was undoubtedly the physical brother of Jesus, the thought would have taken on a special significance to his readers. And how are people called? Paul said through the gospel (2 Thess.2:14). There’s our summons.

Second, Jude said they were beloved in God the Father. What a sweet term! We use it only for those close to us, like family members. We depend upon such people, and want to be with them. Out of all the people God could, He says we are His beloved. And how did we manage to fall into that category? Simply by His grace and our faith, not by our accomplishments or goodness. Life goes much better when someone loves us like that.

Third, he said they were kept for Jesus Christ. This time of year we are busy buying gifts to be kept for Christmas day and given to family. God is keeping us for Jesus. This implies protection and care. When Jesus comes on the last day, we will be introduced to Him for all eternity. What a great thought! Never fear you are alone and ignored. God is keeping you for His Son.

Three terms with three perspectives. The first looks back, the second involves the present, and the third looks to the future. God has us covered completely! No wonder Jude was able to say what he did in verse two: “May mercy and peace and love be multiplied to you.”

– Tim Johnson

The Courage of Love

Some days it seems that the world is very cold. It feels like you are in the way and everyone wants to run over you. No one seems to care. Days like that cause us to seek refuge in those whom we know love us: family, good friends, and those who depend on us.

However, Jesus once again surprises us. He said, “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.” (Luke 6:32). There is nothing admirable about loving people who are willing to return the same love to you. Everybody does that. Jesus challenges us to love those who won’t. Continue reading

We Are Your Friends

We welcome our guests today.  We’re so pleased to have David Knutson as our speaker.  He is a friend to our congregation, and we hope you also feel at home.

Friendship is a precious thing.  It’s rare in life to have close friends for any great length of time.  But in Christ it is different.

At the end of John’s third letter he said, “The friends greet you.  Greet the friends by name.” (3 John 14).  Why did John put it this way?  Why didn’t he call these Christians brethren, or saints, as others did?  He was trying to make an important point: we need to look after each other, especially if your are a brother or sister in Christ.  Life is worthwhile when we have caring friends.  The apostle is also saying that Jesus considered his chosen men to be his friends, not just followers.  “I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.” (John 15:15). He felt close to them and was willing to share eternal secrets with them.  He treated them special. Continue reading

Pilate’s Problem

Pilate was quite frustrated with Jesus.  In John 18:34-38, Jesus offered no defense when the Jews demanded He be crucified.  Pilate was used to raving anarchists and snarling murderers before him, but Jesus was gentle and showed no hint of hate or outrage.  What startled Pilate even more was Jesus’ statement, “If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting, that I might not be delivered up to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”  Jesus would not fight or hate.

Jesus lived what he taught.  He had instructed His followers to “love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” (Lk 6:27-28).  In Pilate’s mean world, he had never seen godly behaviour.  History claims it changed the man forever. Continue reading