Monday, August 21, 2006

Preaching the Gospel Through Friendships

This past Sunday Dr. Michael Haykin spoke at our church. His Sunday School lessons was, for me, the most significant of the whole day. His topic was friendship, and in the course of his lecture he admonished us to consider more carefully the role of friendship in the Christian life. He gave us several Biblical examples of friendship: Ruth and Naomi, and, the famous, Jonathan and David. Then in a "Rapid History of Friendship" he explored four groups of friends from Church history: Gregory of Nazianzus & Basil, John Calvin and William Ferrell, Esther Burr and Sarah Prince, and Andrew Fuller and John Ryland.

In the course of his lecture he stated, "Friendship was a means of grace [to these people]." Those words made an impression on my mind. Friendship is a gift from God with the intent of helping us conform more to the image of His dear Son.

Like Church Discipline at the larger congergational level, friendship at the one-on-one level works the same way. Friends are those, as Dr. Haykin said, "who speak into your life." They are those who confront us when we are wrong, and those who encourage us when we are depressed. Speaking of Calvin and Ferrell's relationship, Dr. Haykin noted that Calvin had on several occassions blatantly todl Ferrell that his sermons were too long and he was doing a dis-service to the gospel in these legnthy messages.

Use your friendships to help one another keep believing the gospel. Offer wise counsel to one another, correct one another, read together and pray together. Pray for one another, and visit often. I conclude this series with the words of Esther Burr to her "boosom friend" Sarah Prince, "What would this world be withou friends." Use them for the glory of God, and the preservation of yours and others faith.


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