The Psalm writer wrote: Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Your law. As we come before a Holy God and hear his word, may we have eyes open to the wonderful and fearful things from his law. May it move us to repent and seek forgiveness, fear disobedience, and live in light of the grace we have received. This is the word of God. It is eternally true and applicable for all of life.
Proverbs 18:21-24 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit. He who finds a wife finds a good thing And obtains favor from the Lord. The poor man utters supplications, But the rich man answers roughly. A man of too many friends comes to ruin, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
“I’ve got friends in low places, where the whiskey drowns and the beer chases my blues away”...so the song goes. Now, I don’t know what Garth Brooks intent was when he wrote those lyrics, but if having many, many friends is a virtue, a thing to be desired, why would you need a bottle of whiskey and a beer to chase your blues away? What blues could there possibly be in the company of so many friends? God’s Word makes clear all throughout that who we associate with has ramifications.
The Proverb today warns us of the danger of having too many friends, and reminds us that there is a friend Who is always there for us.
Now, let us think for a moment about why it is that too many friends may bring a person to ruin. If you are a person who has many, many friends, statistically, you will likely be acquainted with many heretics, unbelievers, and reprobates. While many of us here would firmly stand upon the position that Christ is King, is reigning right now, and making His enemies a footstool, truth is, we also know as we read God’s word, watch the news, talk to folks in the workplace, and minister in the streets, that in general, folks are not hungering and thirsting for righteousness in droves. While God is working, and His Kingdom is growing, many are turning from God to lawlessness. To have many, many friends, means you are at risk of fellowshipping with those walking in darkness. Is this passage telling us to make an Amish like break with the world, cutting ourselves off from every person that does not think or believe as we do? No, however, as we seek to network, meet new people, and grow our Facebook friends list, we need to recognize that in our relationships with others, especially relationships with unbelievers, the influence tends to be the opposite of what we wish it to be. We believe we have this little light and we are going to let it shine, but oftentimes the opposite is true.
“A little leaven leavens the whole lump”. (Galatians 5:9)
“Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14)
“A man of too many friends comes to ruin” we are told. Ruin as used here means to be broken into pieces. How many times in the last several years have we witnessed celebrity Christians and mega church Pastors come out of the closet, admit some besetting pet sin they simply do not want to part with, and declare they are no longer Christians? This happens, in part, because the many “so-called” friends with whom they surrounded themselves coddled their pet sin, affirmed it, supported them in their decisions, and greased the rails of their headlong plunge into ruin.
The Word of God does not leave us hopeless though. We are told in this Proverb that there is a friend Who sticks closer than a brother, the implication being that even a brother may betray you. This One Who sticks closer than a brother has promised to never leave us nor forsake us, that He will comfort us, dwell with us, and has made us right with God through his atoning work on the cross. This friend Who sticks closer than a brother is the Lord Jesus Christ. This friend of ours truly loves us, and gave Himself for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God (Eph 5:2). We cannot fellowship with the world and walk in its ways, under its influences, and rightfully say we have fellowship with Him.
1 John 1: 6-7 tells us:
“If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.”
Brothers and sisters, let us walk in the light and fellowship with the Lord Jesus, and enjoy the sweet fellowship of the saints through Him. Where we find ourselves bound to the world, and unbelievers, let us repent lest koi ruin come upon us.
If you are able, please kneel and join me in prayer.
It is thy will that I should love thee with heart, soul, mind, strength, and my neighbour as myself. But I am not sufficient for these things. There is by nature no pure love in my soul; Every affection in me is turned from thee; I am bound, as slave to lust, I cannot love thee, lovely as thou art, until thou dost set me free.
By grace I am thy freeman and would serve thee, for I believe thou art my God in Jesus, and that through him I am redeemed, and my sins are forgiven. With this freedom I would always obey thee, but I cannot walk in liberty, any more than I could first attain it, of myself. May thy Spirit draw me nearer to thee and thy ways. Thou art the end of all means, for if they lead me not to thee, I go away empty. Order all my ways by thy holy Word and make thy commandments the joy of my heart, that by them I may have happy converse with thee.
May I grow in thy love and manifest it to mankind. Spirit of love, make me like the loving Jesus;
give me his benevolent temper, his beneficent actions, that I may shine before men to thy glory. The more thou doest in love in me and by me, humble me the more; keep me meek, lowly, and always ready to give thee honour. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
Please stand and listen to the comforting assurance of the grace of God, promised in the gospel to all that believe:
Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us...For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:33-34; 38-39
To all those who thus repent and seek Jesus Christ for their salvation, your sins are forgiven in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Lift up your hearts!
(From the 06/28/2020 liturgy of Sovereign King Church written by Aaron Sabie.