The Dancing Puritan

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Someone to Worship With: Thoughts on Friendship

Baird's Baptist Church, Greene County, GA

A friend is someone to worship with.

The church is an amazing thing.  Folks from various backgrounds gather together in a covenant community to hear preaching, receive the ordinances, sing songs, offer prayers and share in the common life together.  The church consists of people that God has called into fellowship with him and with one another.  It is a community that is grounded on biblical truth and flourishes in an arena of love.  It is a one another community of love. To use the Quaker description; It is a "religious society of friends."

God has created us to live in accountable relationships.  Sometimes folks have a sentimental view of friendship.  They think of a friend as one who just lets them be and do whatever they want to be and do, without any sort of intervention.  That is not true friendship.  A true friend will hold you accountable.

Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy (Proverbs 27:6).

If a person is kissing you, approving of you, telling you that you are wonderful all of the time--beware!  You are likely not dealing with a friend but with a flatterer. A man who flatters his neighbor, spreads a net for his feet (Proverbs 29:5). Don't fall into the net of the flatterer! The flatterer wants to use you for some independent gain but they do not love you.  A friend will give constant encouragement but they will seek to avoid empty flattery.

Gossip involves saying behind a person’s back what you would never say to his or her face. Flattery means saying to a person’s face what you would never say behind his or her back.—R. Kent Hughes, Disciplines of a Godly Man, p. 139.

The church provides an arena for friends to walk together in love.  In the church the rich and the poor join hands to labor together in the gospel.  The powerful and the lowly sing, pray, hear, eat and worship  together.  The ranks and divisions that characterize business, politics and the military dissolve under the heading of friend, in the context of the gathered church.  We stand together beneath the cross of Christ.

...Beneath the cross of Jesus
His family is my own—
Once strangers chasing selfish dreams,
Now one through grace alone.
How could I now dishonor
The ones that You have loved?
Beneath the cross of Jesus
See the children called by God...
Beneath the Cross of Jesus"
Words and Music by Keith & Kristyn Getty
Copyright © 2005 Thankyou Music 

Though we are acquainted with many people and, at some level, we might call them our friends; it is only fellow followers of Jesus Christ that are our truest and deepest friends. We walk with them through the valley, we join them at the graveside, we celebrate with them at weddings, we break bread with them for meals and we worship God with them. We must be friendly to all sorts of people. We extend the hand of friendship to Christian and non-Christian alike. Yet it is with the family of God that we share the ultimate things of life, death and eternity. We are "one in the bond of love" having been united to Christ by faith. That faith is expressed as we gather together, in community, to lift our voices, open our ears and incline our hearts heavenward.  

Friendship is having someone to worship with!