Good Friends

Good Friends

Dear Friends:

I have been blessed this week to become reacquainted with my very best friend from High School.  Over the last 40 years we have reconnected from time to time but it has been around 20 years since our last person to person visit.  However, other than needing to catch up and overlooking a whole lot of grey hair, it’s been like hardly any time has passed at all. Good friends, really good friends, last forever.

As we travel through this human, time bound life, we must remember that God never intended us to journey alone.   He created us as social beings with the ability and need to love, share and interact.  God also knew that there would simply be too many obstacles and challenges to navigate without the help, comfort and company of others.  Our loving Heavenly Father did not place us in a dreary, boring, monochrome world but one of color, beauty and wonder that is so much more exciting when experienced with friends.

As Christians, we talk about Fellowship all the time.  The Greek word for fellowship is “koinonia.”  Koinonia’s primary meaning is “fellowship, sharing in common, communion.” The first occurrence of koinonia in the Bible is in the context of church in Acts 2:42, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship (koinonia), to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” Christian fellowship is a key aspect of the Christian life. Believers in Christ are to come together in love, faith, and encouragement. Fellowship with others is one of the great blessings of this life.  God Himself, is called the “Friend of Sinners.”  That’s us, that’s who we are – imperfect people in need of both a savior and a friend.

God’s desire to be our friend is so strong that He was willing to die on the cross for us to make provision for the forgiveness of our sins and to restore the lost fellowship with Him that was created by our sin.  That effort and cost is seen in the simple story of the gospel.  God became the perfect man and died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins and stands as the substitute for those who receive Him by faith.  When we trust in Christ for our salvation from sin and death, we receive an abiding friendship with God.

The Lord knows the value in earthly friendships and in fellowship.  Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 emphasizes this value, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”  Humans simply work better together rather than alone.

This is why it is so important to be a part of a growing, vibrant church family.  In a good church, like ours, we will find the kind of friends that will be there for us as we navigate the blessings and difficulties of life.  We will find friends who will stand beside us in the good and bad times, during our triumphs and trials.  We will find friends who, in love, will tell us things we need to hear, not just the things we want to hear. A real friend isn’t just a companion but someone who helps us become better people.  That is the kind of friend Jesus wants to be for us, the kind of friend He wants us to be for each other.

Only by Grace,

Pastor Mike