Community Bible Chapel
Monday, September 16, 2019
A place to grow.... where everybody is somebody and Jesus Christ is Lord.
6/16/13 Friendship!
In the poem “Youth And Age” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, he says:
FLOWERS are lovely; LOVE is flower-like;
FRIENDSHIP is a sheltering tree;
O! the Joys, that came down shower-like,
Of FRIENDSHIP, LOVE, and LIBERTY,
                            Ere I was old!
“Friendship is a sheltering tree”
          -I think that is a “tree” mendous description of a friend.
          -It gives the picture of a large tree that brings shade in the heat
and shelter in the storm.
          -It’s a tree that is deeply and firmly rooted.
          -That’s the kind of friend that we all want to have.
          -Friendships are so very important in our lives, and yet so fragile.
         
We have been studying through the life of David.
          -Last week we spoke of growing through the storms, and David
 will battle through the storms for the rest of his life.
      David’s life has been crumbling.
          -He has been guilty of great sin.
          -His children are out of control . . . incestual rape, murder, rebellion, and deciet.
          -His kingship had lost it’s luster.
          -David’s life has been set adrift on a very large ocean.
          -And in the midst of these storms, David’s son Absalom stakes his claim
to the throne as king.
          -David finds himself with no choice but to rely on the friendships he has planted
 and cultivated throughout his life.
-Will those friendships be “sheltering trees” or will they look like
the cherry trees in my back yard.
          -Spindly little sticks that have 10 leaves on them.
I will not read the entire narative,
so I encourage you to read through it this week at home.
Today, I want to speak about the place of true friends in the storm.
-Since we all need good friends in life’s storms, I want us to make the most of
 the opportunity in becoming a sheltering tree for others.
Absalom is David’s son.
-He took revenge out on his half brother for raping his sister.
-He was exiled for a time but has since been brought back to Jerusalem.
READ II Samuel 15:1-6
          -So you get the picture.
          -Absalom is becoming a good politician, and winning people to his cause.
          -After a few years of this, Absalom heads out to Hebron with the plan
                   to claim himself to be the king.
          -News of it comes to David, and he flees with his supporters and family
to escape the wrath of Absalom.
Now, as David runs, his family and many others come along.
-And it’s interesting to me that as this large group is heading out from
Jerusalem, the text points out a few people by name
from that group in a special way.
          -Each of these is a “sheltering tree” to David and each displays some different
 characteristics of friendship.
         
The first person we come across is
X Faithful Friend - Ittai   - READ II Samuel 15:19-21
-David tries to send him back to Jerusalem, but Ittai pledged
to remain with David no matter the circumstances, even to death.
-Ittai is a Gittite, which means that he is from Gath.
          -We don’t know if he joined with David way back when David was running
from Saul and he is trying to relive the glory days, or if he joined up with David sometime after that.
-But what is clear is his faithfulness to David.
          -He certainly had the opportunity to turn back and go on with his life with the
blessing of his friend and king.
                   -But he stayed and promised to go with David toward life or death.
          -Faithfulness separates the “men from the boys”.
                    -Ittai doesn’t know how this will all end, but he is faithful.
-On thing that is true . . . 
you can’t be counted as faithful unless you are faithful.
          -Ittai is a sheltering tree that David can count on. 
                   -So much so that in chapter 18 he gets to command a third of the army as
they go out to meet Absalom.
-The roots of a faithful friend grows deeper into the relationship
          and bring strength and stability.
          -Some of you are saying: I wish I had a friend like Ittai!
      Jesus is a Faithful Friend
          -Jesus not only promised to give his life for us, but He did it.
                   -He gave Himself for us, so that our sin could be forgiven
through faith in Him.
-Jesus is a faithful friend as Hebrews 13 states. . .
                             “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you”
          -And as I said, we want to focus on becoming a faithful friend.
     How might you become a faithful friend.
-There are no short cuts, the only way you can become a faithful friend
is to be faithful.
-In communication with each other.
          -Refusing to speak poorly of a friend to them or others.
          -Only speaking words that are meant to build them up.
-Faithfulness in action.
          -Giving your time? Resources? Your life?
                    -Anything short of everything is less than faithful.
          -When was the last time you shared the gospel with someone?
-I would be re-miss this morning if I didn’t tie this faithful friend into
          the marriage relationship.
          -We think of faithfulness in that relationship in terms of sexuality.
          -But I would stretch that definition out to how we speak to our spouse
and speak about them to others.
                   -Are we being faithful to them in our communication?
          -And are we being faithful in our actions . . .  
                   for better or worse . . . richer or poorer . . . sickness and health?
-Faithfulness says - even if I don’t get my way or even if it doesn’t come down
the way I think it should - I will stand with you.
-I will stay by your side and we will get through this together.
          -And again, don’t use this as an opportunity to point the finger at the other
 person, but as an opportunity to look into your own faithfulness.
         
X Available Friend -Zadok - READ II Samuel 15:24-26
          -Zadok makes himself available to David and does what he can.
-He grabs the Ark and hauls it out of the city to take it with David.
-But David has other plans.
          -Actually David does something amazing here.
                   -Even in this difficulty, he doesn’t try to manipulate
God for his benefit.
                                      -He could use the Ark for political or personal advantage,
                                                instead he sends it back where it should be.
                                      -David is learning to put aside personal ambition and
 accomplishments and is learning to trust God.
          -Zadok makes himself available for David’s benefit.
                   -He takes the Ark back, he spies on Absalom and risks his life
for his friend.
 
                   -Even his sons have to hide in a well to bring David the information
he needs.
     Jesus is an Available Friend
          -As we read the Gospels, no matter what Jesus was doing,
he put it aside and made himself available to the people.
          Prov 18:24
                   “there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”
          -Jesus made himself available to us and the greatest need we have ever had.
                   -He went to the cross for us to pay for our sin.
                   -And he sticks with us.
                   -Sometimes I wonder why Jesus would stick with me,
but he is a friend that is always available to us.
     How might you become an available friend.
          -Being available is sometimes the best thing a friend can do.
          -I think our friendships struggle to develop because we are the busiest people
in all of history.
          -Not only are we busy, but we are transient . . .  we move all over the place.
                   -And even if we don’t move, we jump from one church to another.
-That translates into not being available.
-Friendships take a long time to develop strong roots.
          -Our friendships might do well if we cut out somethings in life that
 make us unavailable.
          -You might be a strong tree, but if you are not there,
you are not a sheltering tree.
 
X Dependable Friend -Hushai - READ II Samuel 15:32
          -Hushai comes out with his coat torn and dust on his head.
-In those days, one would tear their clothes and put dust on their heads
to signify total bankrunpcy.
-He is grieving what has happened to his friend and comes out to meet
 David and support him.
          -David sends him back to Jerusalem with a very important task.
                   -Go to Absalom and give him advice that will oppose the advice
of Ahithophel.
                   -Ahithophel was the grandfather of Bathsheba and had alined himself
 with Absalom.
                             -David broke up his family and now he is eager to repay the deed.
                   -Hushai is a dependable friend as chapter 17 points out, and
                             he is successful in giving Absalom advice that benefits David.
 
     Jesus is an Dependable Friend
          -Have you ever considered how dependable God’s Word is.
-Jesus gives us perfect advice.
          -His Word is dependable in all it says.
          -Although it might be difficult to follow because it doesn’t match up with
our desires, it will never lead you astray.
          -But if you depend on Jesus’ Word, you will be sowing good seed
                   that will come to a good harvest that is bountiful in it’s proper season.
     How might you become an dependable friend?
-I have heard it said that years ago, people relied on their neighbors.
     -One guy had a plow, another had a mule, a third had the Coke machine.
                   -They depended on each other!
          -How many of you even know your neighbors, let alone depend on them?
         -If I need something, I just run to Stuffmart and get it.
          -This part of being a friend is very counter American culture,  
our independence hinders our relationships from growing.
          -It’s okay to depend on friends sometimes . . . that builds friendships.
                   -Your family is a good place to start to learn to be a dependable friend.
                   -Being someone your family can depend on to serve in whatever role you
                             are in helps you grow to be dependable.
 
X Helpful Friend - Mahanaim, Makir, and Barzillai - READ II Samuel 17:27-29
          -These guys see the need and get of their duffs and help.
                   -They don’t complain about the situation and blame somebody.
                   -They don’t have any fear of what might happen to them.
          -They gather up a bunch of supplies to make sure their friend
has what he needs - at their cost and without any hope of a
material return.
     Jesus is an Helpful Friend
          -Jesus said “you can do all things through him who gives you strength.”
          -Jesus can do more than we can ask for or imagine.
          -Jesus has this amazing ability to bring exactly what is needed.
                    -At the time my house needed to sell - He provided a buyer.
                   -When I didn’t know what to do with my kids - He sent someone who
taught me what God’s Word said to parents.
                   -When I lost a loved one, he comforted me by saving them
and sending others to fill in the gaps.
                   -When I didn’t have enough money - He provided me with less
money - but strengthened me to persevere and trust in Him.
                    -He always brings exactly what I need and comes to help.
     How might you become a Helpful Friend?
          -Sometimes our friendships don’t get deeper because we are so bent on what
we need that we never see what you need.
-We complain that the other person doesn’t understand you.
-or you want them to drop everything to help you.
-or you want them to be as close to you as a previous friend.
          -If you want to grow good friends, you will have to get your eyes off
                   of your kingdom and look into theirs.
          -The needs around us are great.
          -And we develop into a sheltering tree by meeting those needs
in very practical ways.
                   James tells us that just praying for people is not enough,
we have to help them with food and clothing.
 
Now, in the wake of the horrific events of Absalom’s rebellion.
          -He ends up taking bad advice, his army is routed, and Absalom is killed.
          -And upon hearing the news, David’s crushing grief for his rebellious son
outweighs his gratitude for those who sacrificed for him.
          -And that’s when Joab comes to him as a . . .
X  True Friend - Joab - READ II Samuel 19:5-8
          -In the past few weeks we saw how David sent people all over the place.
                   -We saw God send Nathan to expose David’s sin.
          -Now, here is Joab - a true friend who “went” to David. (19:5)
-Joab understands the grief of loosing a son, but he knows that he must do
 something to turns David’s eyes upon the larger picture - the kingdom.
          -Gal 6:1 tells us
                   “When someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore
 him gently.”
          -I’m not sure how gentle Joab is, but it never seems gentle when you are
on the receiving end of it. 
          Prov. 27:6
                    “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.”
          -A true friend is willing to risk the relationship if it will help you grow in Christ.
          -This is where the rubber meets the road.
                   -There will be times that you are called on because your friend has
                             lost sight of the true kingdom.
                             -It will be up to you to get their vision off themselves
 and help them see the sufficiency of Christ.
                   -When was the last time you were at a resturant and your friend
had a chunk of stuff in their front teeth?
-Did you say something to them?
                   -If we are not willing to enter that embarrasing moment,
how are we ever going to be a true friend who is willing to take
the risk of wounding a friend?
     Jesus is a True Friend
          -Jesus was never afraid to speak truth in love.
          -Jesus always pushed his friends to focus on the kingdom.
          -He always raised their eyes up to what was coming - the larger picture.
          -All the parables that Jesus spoke, were all to help his friends
 understand the eternal truth that they were having trouble seeing.
     How might you become a True Friend?
          -A true friend doesn’t allow their friend to continue in sin.
          -Sometimes a wound is needed to move a friend off their little kingdom of self
and  get their vision up on what is of The Kingdom.
          -I think that this is an area that hinders deeper friendships.
                   -If we are not willing to be a Joab and come alongside a friend who
is struggling, the friendship can only grow just so deep.
 
Now, these are just 5 characteristics of friendship.
          -And each of them is like a “sheltering tree”.
          -As the body of Christ we need to grow to be better friends.
          -I am so thankful for so many of you who have been a sheltering tree
in my life.
-And I seek your forgiveness for times that you needed a sheltering tree
and I wasn’t around.
Some of you are still wondering why you don’t have any sheltering trees in your life.
          -I encourage you to get out the shovel and start planting them.
          -Since good friendships take time, start by being faithful, available,
                   dependable, helpful, and true . . . and over time you will have a
                             forest of sheltering trees.
 

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