READ | SERMON NOTES
Summary l How do our friendships shape us into Christlikeness?
Four types of friendships:
1. Acquaintance – know very little of each other
2. Casual friendship – share common interests, activities and concerns like games, climate care and even Bible study and Small Group if there is no deeper relationship
3. Close friendship – share similar goals e.g. growing in Christlikeness like many Small Groups who are committed to developing spiritual health of members
4. Intimate spiritual friendship – kindred souls are people who see and care about the same truth (David Benner). Examples are John Wesley’s Discipleship Bands and Jesus who prioritised friendship and chose 12 disciples among whom are 3 whom He developed deep intimate friendship with.
Today we take a closer look at intimate spiritual friendship to learn how we can sharpen one another (Prov 27:17). Some characteristics of spiritual friends:
1) Sticks with you > Sacred presence (PSLE)
–Supportive (stays with you even when inconvenient)
–Listens (listen without judging)
–Encourage (impart courage when you are distressed)
Ruth is an example of a spiritual friend to Naomi. Ruth pledged not to leave Naomi even though the latter was bitter. She created a safe relational space for God to do His healing work in Naomi.
Married couples are urged not to neglect their friends because of family. Singles are encouraged to also seek spiritual friends as it is Christ who makes us complete, not marriage.
2) Sets the pace for you to grow > Seek God’s will (AMP)
They speak into your life, pay attention to you, help you hear God’s voice and point out the hand of God in your life. A group of 3 or 4 people can form Discipleship Bands to meet over a meal to share and pray together to become the love of God for one another and the world (Eat, Share, Pray). The Band can consist of people not in any Small Group and there is no obligation to join another person’s Small Group. A training session conducted by Dr Tan Soo Inn is available on 17/6/2022. (Note: All spaces have been taken up. Please look out for the next session in August 2022). The Band creates space for inward transformation and outward mission to bring out the beauty of God.
– Authentically speaks into your life to sharpen you and strengthen you in God. It is not mentoring but reciprocal peer mentoring to help one another grow in Christ.
– Mutually directs to Christlikeness
– Prays for your transformation
3) Serves sacrificially > Serves like Jesus (Jn 15:12,13)
Albrecht Durer drew the portrait of the Praying Hands in honour of his brother who toiled 4 years in a mine to pay for his studies. In the process, his brother ruined his hands and could no longer pursue his own dream of becoming an artist.
Many do not have spiritual friends. Can we take the next step to ask God to show us the person to ask to meet over a meal and give us courage to face possible rejection? Are you willing to be a spiritual friend today?
(Sermon notes by Woo Choi Yin)
PONDER | REFLECTION QUESTIONS
- Recall the various points the preacher shared about how spiritual friendships sharpen us in Christlikeness. Which one of them stood out for you in particular, and why?
- Think of 3 significant friends in your life. How did they ‘sharpened’ you?
- Where were moments in when you resisted ‘sharpening’, or were there any moments when certain friendships soured in your life? What did you learn from them, or deal with them?
- Who are 2 friends whom you may invite to join you on this journey of spiritual friendship? They could be persons whom you may invite to attend the onsite Discipleship Band Training on 17 June by Dr Tan Soo-Inn. What is your next step to spiritual friendship?