Bible Study Notes (12-14-08)

by

FrieNdShip

 

“A man of many companions may come to ruin,

but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

Proverbs 18:24

JESUS AND DISCIPLES

I would be sinfully remiss if I did not touch upon this last and most important point. It is best given in the words of Christ himself in John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” Friends? The very same friends who were dozing when he needed them most? The same who when push would come to shove run off and abandon him? Including one who would even vehemently deny knowing him? Yes, those very same friends. He tells them, just after that in verse 14, “You are my friends if you do what I command you.” Oh! But even with this they did indeed sleep and run and curse! Yet, when Jesus Christ rose it became clear that their very hearts of stone had been made flesh.

 

We have read, as we started the past few weeks, Proverbs 18:24. “A man of many companions my come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Now we will see what that means.

 

Paul and Demas/Paul and Mark

First we looked at the common bond of friendship. That is love of the Triune God. Obeying the Father, by virtue of the Son, as the Holy Spirit comes along side. But there is an exception to this rule. It comes in Romans 5:8 where Paul says, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” That means we hated Him, we could do nothing BUT hate him, yet he loved us. “We love because he first loved us.” John writes in 4:19 of his first epistle. In his Gospel, chapter 3, verses 19 and 20, he says, “19  And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20  For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.” Stop now, what works of darkness have you done that no one else knows, but the one true Omniscient, Omnipresent God? O! Do you love the light, or do you hate it? Are you willing to say to the Lord, “Have mercy on me, a sinner?”

 

David and Jonathan

The next relationship we looked at was David and Jonathan. A shepherd boy and a prince. The prince loved the shepherd boy as his own soul. The son of the king, Jonathan, took his robe, which would be a symbol of his identity and gave it to the shepherd boy, David. By doing so he said, “You will be known under my name.” Then Jonathan took his armor and gave it to David, by doing so he said, “I will be your protection.” Then Jonathan took his sword and his bow and gave it to David, by doing so he said, “I will be the one to fight for you.” Then Jonathan took his belt and gave it to David, by doing so he said “I will be your strength.” My friend, this hints at what Jesus, our friend, would do for us. Philippians 2:6-8 says, that Jesus “6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Yes. Christ did even more. Christ “took off” his identity and clothed himself in humanity. And by his death, gave to us the name Christian. Romans 13:14, “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” Jesus did fight for us he did protect us. He took the full force of the wrath of God against our wretchedness so that divine justice would be satisfied and the glory of God displayed. Further, He will avenge us against those who are our enemies in the gospel, see 2 Thessalonians 1:5-7, “5 This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering— 6 since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, 7 and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels.” Jesus is our strength. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 12:10, “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

 

Job and Pals

Job was and is the epitome of suffering. He was a man who lost everything dear to him, even his friends turned against him in his hour of trial by blaming HIM for the suffering he endured. But all the while, Job held fast. And he hoped for a Saviour. Job 16:19-21, “19 Even now, behold, my witness is in heaven, and he who testifies for me is on high. 20 My friends scorn me; my eye pours out tears to God, 21 that he would argue the case of a man with God, as a son of man does with his neighbor.” He knew where his hope lie. Elihu, the one good friend Job had, puts it this way in Job 33:23-28, “23 If there be for him an angel, a mediator, one of the thousand, to declare to man what is right for him, 24 and he is merciful to him, and says, ‘Deliver him from going down into the pit; I have found a ransom; 25 let his flesh become fresh with youth; let him return to the days of his youthful vigor’; 26 then man prays to God, and he accepts him; he sees his face with a shout of joy, and he restores to man his righteousness. 27 He sings before men and says: ‘I sinned and perverted what was right, and it was not repaid to me. 28 He has redeemed my soul from going down into the pit, and my life shall look upon the light.'” Where does your hope lie? Does it lie where Paul said in 1 Timothy 2:5, “For there is one God, and there is one mediator  between God and men, the man Christ Jesus….” Or as the author of Hebrews states in chapter 12 verse 24, “Therefore he is the mediator  of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.”

 

Naomi and Ruth

Just as Ruth went to Naomi and took her God, even THE LORD, as her own though Ruth had nothing to give, we must come to Jesus as though we had nothing to give. And indeed we do not. We must come as we truly are… “wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.” (Revelation 3:17). Let each of us heed the call of the Lord (YHWH) in Isaiah 55:1-4, “1 Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. 2 Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. 3 Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David. 4 Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples.” We have nothing but death and He gives us life in abundance! As the hymn says, “Nothing in my hands I bring, simply to thy cross I cling. Naked, come to thee for dress. Helpless, look to thee for grace.”

 

Paul and Barnabas

Lastly we discussed Paul and Barnabas and the reconciliation brought about by friendship. The murderous Saul of Tarsus was saved, then brought into fellowship with the help of Barnabas, finally going out as Paul. Witnessing to the Gentiles of the Gospel and telling all of the reconciliation that is in Jesus for it was “through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” Colossians 1:20. And O! How what follows applies dear Christian… “21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven….”

 

My hearers, where are your hearts? And to whom to do they belong? A stone statue can be friends with none but pigeons and the insane! A stone heart can be friend to none but sin and hell. A stone heart is one that finds no remorse in breaking the Law of God. Thefts, lustings, lies, all of it a normal day. The heart of flesh is granted by God and is repulsed by even the smallest of sin! The heart of flesh trusts in and belongs to the One who laid down His life for His friends so that His friends would not need to die. What a friend we have in Jesus! All our sins and griefs to bear! O! Let me dwell upon this further with a real life example…

 

On 29 September 2006, 25-year-old Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael A. Monsoor  was killed during operations in enemy-held territory at Ar Ramadi,  Iraq, when he threw himself on top of a grenade in order to save the lives of his fellow SEALS. As described in the final two paragraphs of a Summary of Action ( SOA ) regarding the circumstances of his death:

 

 While vigilantly watching for enemy activity, an enemy fighter hurled a hand grenade onto the roof from an unseen location. The grenade hit him in the chest and bounced onto the deck. He immediately leapt to his feet and yelled “grenade” to alert his teammates of impending danger, but they could not evacuate the sniper hide-sight in time to escape harm. Without hesitation and showing no regard for his own life, he threw himself onto the grenade, smothering it to protect his teammates who were lying in close proximity. The grenade detonated as he came down on top of it, mortally wounding him. Petty Officer Monsoor’s actions could not have been more selfless or clearly intentional. Of the three SEALs on that rooftop corner, he had the only avenue of escape away from the blast, and if he had so chosen, he could have easily escaped. Instead, Monsoor chose to protect his comrades by the sacrifice of his own life. By his courageous and selfless actions, he saved the lives of his two fellow SEALs and he is the most deserving of the special recognition afforded by awarding the Medal of Honor.

 

As his fellow soldiers processed by the casket they took one of their gold pins and slammed it into the top of the coffin to embed it. By the end of the procession, his coffin looked to be inlaid with gold. O! What greater destruction have we been saved from by the glorious love of Christ Jesus! We cannot inlay his casket with gold for He is risen! Our tribute to him is our very lives! His friendship with us, marked by scars that shall remain for all time. The Lamb who was slain receives the reward of His friends. Even, His bride. Repent! Trust! Be saved! Isaiah 45:22, “Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.” Be friends of the one who is now closer than a brother.

 

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