Good friends can be some of life's greatest blessings.


Who are our true friends in this life? Parents; brothers and sisters in the Lord; our Pastor; Jesus Himself being our greatest friend of all.


On the other hand, false, fickle, fair whether friends can be some of life's greatest woes!!! It seemed that David experienced more grief as the result of so-called friends than by those who were his foes (Ps. 35:14-16).


So we need to know how to distinguish between true and false friends, so that we might cling to the one and avoid the other. We also need to learn how to be a friend ourselves, by studying and applying the virtues of a good friend to others in our lives.


We also want to see how that God is the friend of His people; the greatest friend we have in this life. And we want to see how that we as the people of God can and should be His friend.


1. Some characteristics of a false friend:


1. False friends will lead you away from the things of the Lord to serve false God's.


Deuteronomy 13:6 If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers; 


False friends will lead you into error or out into false churches; they will try to corrupt your spiritual beliefs and understanding of God.


2. False friends will betray you and become your very enemy.


Psalms 41:9  Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me. 


This is a prophecy of Christ and Judas Iscariot; but this was no doubt true of David and his friend. False friends will betray you for selfish ambitions, even if it means your demise. They were never truly your friend in heart, but only in pretense and flattering words.


3. False friends are your friends as long as you have something to give them. They are fair weather friends.


Proverbs 19:6  Many will intreat the favour of the prince: and every man is a friend to him that giveth gifts. 


They are your friends as long as you can supply their carnal appetites; but when your resources run out, they run out too! Such are the friends in this world. Going the "extra mile" and "giving to him that asks" of us, doesn't mean that we should allow ourselves to be exploited by so-called friends who would use us up and leave us wasted. We should go a long way and give much of ourselves for the gospel's sake, but not to be fools to the devices of foes who pretend to be friends.


4. Don't trust or put confidence in false friends. Be very careful in who you choose for a friend.


Micah 7:5  Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide: keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom. 


This verse reflects an wicked and degenerate time in Israel's history when no one could be trusted. There are still true friends who can be trusted, but we certainly need to exercise great caution in choosing friends, and in whom we place our trust. Jesus said "be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves." I believe the principle taught in this verse can certainly be applied to choosing friends.


2. Some Characteristics of true friends:


1. True friends are your friends no matter what happens in life.


Proverbs 17:17  A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.


Whether we are rich or poor, healthy or ill, faithfully serving the Lord or going through a time of spiritual declension- a true friend loves us through all these times. Sometimes Christian friends only love us when we are up; when we are being blessed financially; when we are healthy; and when we are faithfully serving the Lord in His house. But when we are experiencing times of trials and backslidings they are far from us. It is in these times, however, that we need a true friend the most!


2. True friends are close in heart; may be even closer than a brother.


Proverbs 18:24  A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.


Strong families will stick together and support one another in the worst of times. It doesn't matter how much trouble a family member gets into, their family still loves them and does what they can to be a help to that one. So it is with a good, true friend. A true friend will labor over you; will grieve with you; and pray for you until you're back on your feet, and back in the will of God.


3. True friends will speak the truth in love for your good; even if it hurts at the time.


Proverbs 27:6  Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. 


Out of love and concern for us, true friends will tell us when we are going astray. They will try to help recover us from harming ourselves or others. Sometimes our friends can see our paths better than we can; and a good friend will tell us when are straying from the right path; even if their words may seem to hurt us at the time. These kinds of wounds will heal, making us stronger and better Christians than we were before.


4. True friends give good and hearty counsel; they help show us the way and will of God.


Proverbs 27:9  Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man's friend by hearty counsel.


Our best friends are those who know the will of God and the Word of God. Good and hearty counsel comes from the wisdom and understanding that God gives in His Word. Those who are most familiar with the Word of God are best fit to give us advice and counsel to help us in life.


5. We should honor and maintain our relationships with our good friends.


Proverbs 27:10  Thine own friend, and thy father's friend, forsake not; neither go into thy brother's house in the day of thy calamity: for better is a neighbour that is near than a brother far off.


Good friends are few and far between. When we find such a friend we should cherish them; we should not forsake them, but rather be a friend to them as they are to us. We should maintain those good friendships down through the years of our lives. This takes time and effort; most anything worth keeping in this life does; but a good friend is worth the effort.


3. God is the friend of His people:


Some examples in the Scripture of God being man's friend are:


1. God spoke to Moses as unto a friend.


Exodus 33:11a  And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp… 


As our true friend, God is near and real to us; He speaks, as it were, to His people in the way. He is always with us and will never leave nor forsake us; especially in time of adversity. He truly loves at all times.


2. Jesus is the friend of sinners.


Matthew 11:19  The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.


Jesus wasn't a friend to "good" people or to the self-righteous, but to filthy old sinners. Jesus is the personification of a true friend. He became a friend to those who needed a friend the most. He isn't a friend only to those who are well to do, and healthy, and spiritually in the way; but even more so to poor, wretched, miserable, sin-sick, outcast sinners who desperately need a true friend. Do we want to know how to be a friend; then look to and follow after Jesus' example.


3. Jesus calls us friends.


John 15:15  Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. 


True friends share their thoughts, their plans, and their hearts. Jesus shares with us all of His Father's will and purposes concerning Himself, concerning His wonderful salvation of our souls, and concerning the future state of things. He doesn't withhold His will from us, but has revealed to us all things.


4. We can be God's friends:


1. To be a friend of God is to obey God.


John 15:14  Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.


It is one thing for God to be called our friend, and quite another to be a friend of God. Our friendship toward God is expressed in our direct obedience to His commandments. Our obedience is ultimately for our own good anyway, and shows our gratitude and appreciation to God for what He has done for us as our friend.


2. The example of Abraham.


Isaiah 41:8  But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend.


James 2:23  And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. 


Abraham was called God's friend because of his obedience to the will of God. Abraham was willing to sacrifice all that he had, even his only begotten son, to do God's will.


3. A friend of the world is no friend of God's.


James 4:4  Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. 


Anyone who is a friend of this world and of its lusts and pleasures and sins, is no friend of God's. We can say that we are God's friend, but if we love this world and live for this world, we are His enemies! Be not deceived, God is not mocked. Yet how many professed Christians are deceived, thinking that God accepts our friendship when we live like worldlings, and drag His Holy Name through the mud and filth of this sinful world? Oh, what a degenerate age we are living in today. How worldly Christians have become today! How they don't like to hear this message anymore. Oh, that those who are called by His Name would come out of the world. I'm afraid its too late; I fear there is no turning back for most professed Christianity. Even sovereign grace Baptists are becoming as worldly and ungodly as the rest of Christendom. We are no better than they. We are become worldlings too. May God help us!




What kind of friends do we have in light of this message? Have we chosen our friends wisely? Who really are our true and good friends in this life? We might need to make some changes in our friendships for our own good. Do we maintain our friendships with our good, godly friends.


What kind of friends are we; both to others and to God? We talked mostly of what kind of friends others are to us, but what kind of friends are we to others? And most importantly, what kind of friends are we to God? Do we keep His commandments; are we friends of this world?


Last of all, but certainly not least, do you know Jesus the "friend" of sinners? Do you know the friend Who "sticketh closer than a brother." (Pro. 18:24). Do you know the friend that truly loveth at times; do you know Jesus!


Do you know the friend who became the surety for His friends? We are told in Proverbs not to be a surety for a friend. We are not to put our lives and our reputations on the line for our friends, because our friends may likely fail us. But Jesus became our surety. He put His all on the line for us His people. He gave everything to redeem His people from there sins and eternal destruction.


How can you know this Friend? Repent! Confess that you are a wicked sinner. Own up to your sins and rebellion towards God. See yourself as the enemy of God that you are. And come by faith believing in Jesus Christ. Believe that He is the Son of God; that He died on the cross, was buried in the tomb, and rose again the third day from the grave to pay your sin debt and to give you eternal life. There is no greater friend in all the world than Jesus. Do you know Him as the friend of your eternal soul? Repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ today!


(Preached by Brother Burke at Faith Baptist Church)