Choosing Friends


I. Friendship Defined: (We use the term "friends" rather loosely. When we understand the limitations God has placed on our friendships, we must then understand to whom these limitations apply.)

    1. Being Friendly: Mt. 7:12 (You should treat others the way you want to be treated. This involves being kind and of a friendly disposition to everyone. Therefore, the limitations God has placed on friendship do not restrict this kind of association.) I Cor. 5:10 (You cannot completely segregate yourself from sinful people.)

    2. Regular, Voluntary Socialization: I Cor. 15:33 (There is another level of friendship that God has forbidden us to develop with the world. Though circumstances may force us to associate with some people at work or school, we are not at liberty to voluntarily socialize with ungodly people or develop this level of friendship with them.)

    3. Close Friends: I Sam. 18:1 (There is a deeper kind of friendship that involves extreme closeness. This kind is rare. In this study we will learn it is a sin to develop these friendships with the world.)

II. Commands To Be Choosy: (The Bible gives very specific commands for us to be choosy in selecting our friends.)
    1. For Israel: Exo 34:12, Ezra 9:14 (Israel was explicitly forbidden to develop relationships with ungodly nations. Eventually they built these relationships and it brought them down. After the restoration from Babylonian captivity Ezra reflects on what folly it would be to build those relationships again.)

    2. Don't Desire Friendship With Sinners: Prov. 24:1 (It is a sin to even desire friendships with sinners.)

    3. Disdain Their Ways: Eph. 5:7-11 (We should so despise the ways of sinners that it would hinder the development of a friendship.)

    4. "Hate" Sinners: Ps. 139:21-22 (There is a righteous kind of hatred that can coexist with love. The bottom line is that we count as our enemies those who are enemies of God.)

III. What Bad Friendships Will Do To You: (The Bible warns of certain things that bad friendships will do to you. Forbidding these friendships is God's way of protecting you from the harm they can bring.)
    1. Thorn: Num. 33:55 (Israel was warned that bad associations would be a continual thorn to them. This fact is well illustrated in their history.)

    2. Destroyed: Prov. 13:20 (Bad friendships will destroy you.)

    3. Shame Family: Prov. 28:7 (Bad relationships will bring shame to your family.)

    4. Corrupt Behavior: I Cor. 15:33, Prov. 22:24-25 (Bad relationships will corrupt you behavior. You are not an exception to this!)

IV. Godly Friendships: (On the opposite side, look what the Bible says about godly friendships.)
    1. Commanded: Ps. 119:63 (We are commanded to be friends of those who are friends of God.)

    2. Helps: Eccl. 4:9-12 (Godly friendships help you maintain your Christian life.)

    3. Sharpens: Prov. 17:17 (Godly friendships will sharpen you.)

    4. Refreshes: II Tim. 1:16 (Paul describes his friendship with Onesiphorus as being refreshing.)

V. Characteristics To Look For: (What qualities does God want you to have in a friend?)
    1. Loving: Prov. 17:17 (God wants you to have friends that consistently love you.)

    2. Loyal: Prov. 27:10 (God wants you to have loyal friends.)

    3. Consistent: Prov. 19:6-7 (God wants you to have friends that are not "fair-weather".)

    4. Concerned: Job 2:11-13 (Though Job's friends were too harsh, they were concerned. God wants you to have friends that are concerned.)

VI. Association To Convert: (While God forbids us to have ungodly friendships, you may develop relationships for the purpose of converting. But be cautious!)
    1. Jesus Did It: Mt. 9:9-13 (Jesus associated with sinners but for the stated purpose of leading them to repentance. He never developed friendships with such people.)

    2. But Did Not Build Friendships: Jn. 15:13-14 (The friendship Jesus offers is conditional on people obeying his commands.)

    3. Godliness Alienates The Worldly: Jn. 15:18-19 (In most cases you won't have to segregate yourself. The more you become the Christian God wants you to be, the world will not want you for a friend.)