Find Friendships and Fellowship with Other Followers of Christ
Followers of Christ
The Bible has a lot to say about relationships. God created us for fellowship—first with Him, then with others. The reason His word is so full of instruction about our relationships is that, next to our family, our friends have the most influence in our lives. Friendships are the most significant force in our lives, relationally speaking, next to our family.
God’s a relational creature. We’re made in His image, and we yearn for relationship. We yearn vertically, and that’s a hole in our hearts that can only be filled by Jesus. We yearn horizontally as well; we yearn for that relationship with others. We need Christian friendships and relationships to satisfy that desire.
What Makes Up a Friend?
When you look at what constitutes a friend, one way to interpret it is that an F-R-I-E-N-D is a:
Be yoked with believers
The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 6:14, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” In other words, don’t be yoked together, don’t be connected, and don’t be hooked up with people who aren’t followers of the Lord.
In the original language, the word for fellowship is koinonia. It means to have deep intimacy with someone. I’ve got fellowship, but only with people who have that common bond, which is Jesus.
So what’s this saying? Don’t be yoked together. A yoke was a piece of farm equipment that was used to plow fields. You would harness two animals together of equal strength and equal kind, usually you’d hook up a pair of oxen. You’d say, OK, I’m going to yoke this ox with this ox—same kind, same strength.
To a Jewish farmer, oxen are clean. But to a Jewish farmer, donkeys are unclean. A Jewish farmer would never unequally yoke a clean animal with an unclean animal. So what are you doing being yoked up to a jackass? God doesn’t want you to date that jackass! God doesn’t want you to marry that jackass! God doesn’t want that. (And the Bible uses jackass, OK?) So it’s time to get our jackasses in gear.
Again, I’m not saying to dis anybody or be mean-spirited with anybody. We’re to be friends with everybody, but our best friends, the people we date, the people we ultimately have as our mates, have got to be followers of Christ. Our best friends have got to have that common bond; that koinonia.
You can see the genius of God. God wants us to experience this beautiful plowing like with oxen as we’re plowing row after row because we’re equally yoked. If we’re hooked up with an animal that’s unclean, a jackass, we’re going to go in circles and it’s going to be a disaster. We’ll sow seed, but the seed is going to germinate and the rows aren’t going to be right.
God’s not being capricious or cruel; he’s being strategic. Yoke up with believers! Plow those straight lines! Yeah, you’re going to go to the right and to the left now and then. God will take care of that! God will warn you and me.
The example of Solomon
King Soloman was considered one of the wisest men of his time. He wrote most of the book of Proverbs. People would come from all around to ask him for wisdom. Yet Solomon wasn’t wise in his choice of relationships.
1 Kings 11:1–10 (MSG), “King Solomon made alliances with foreign kings… and loved many foreign women.” If you make the wrong alliances, you’ll have allegiance and fellowship to other people or places or things. The wrong alliance can end up being detrimental.
Solomon wasted much of his life chasing after the wrong things and the wrong people. Now in Ecclesiastes 12:1, here’s what he says, “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth.”
Look at what’s next: “Before the days of trouble come.” You sow seeds of rebellion, you reap what you sow. You sow to the wind, you reap the whirlwind. Having the wrong ‘they’ in your life has consequences.
Too many of us are like, ‘I don’t know what’s wrong with my life. Things aren’t happening right and I feel so depressed. All the good things in my life are being dimmed!” Well, look at the ‘they in your life!’
People to ‘Invite Out’ of Your Life
Perhaps it’s time to unyoke yourself from some of your relationships.
Those who hold you back from your full potential
Friends are like elevators; they can take you up or take you down.
People who make you feel bad about yourself
No matter how well you’re doing, some of your friends will one-up you. They won’t celebrate your successes.
Others who negatively impact your reputation
They put out a negative vibe and others recognize that you are in fellowship with them. You get the reputation of being like them.
People who bring out the worst in you
Don’t spend time with people who clash with your personality. They’ll make you more competitive, more envious, and more jealous.
Be Friends with God
James 2:23 (NIV) “And the scripture was fulfilled that says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,’ and he was called God’s friend.”
It’s all about the gospel. God did something to make a way for our redemption. He sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sins, and to rise again after 3 days in triumph over death and the grave. He’s given us an opportunity to become His friend, to have a relationship and fellowship with Him, and have intimacy with Him through Christ—koinonia.
Accept God’s friendship
So it’s my prayer that you accept God’s friendship. That’s the foundation, that’s the basis, that’s the horsepower of everything I’ve said.
Have you made that decision? Are you a friend of God?
Man, what a compliment! Oh, there goes this guy—he’s a friend of God! There goes this student—she’s a friend of God. Isn’t that awesome? We can become friends of God!
Choose Godly friendships
And then we simply mirror that in our relationships. It’s my prayer that you invite the right ‘they’ into your life and the wrong ‘they’ out of your life.
It’s my prayer that you plow beautifully and strategically as God takes you to places you never dreamed possible.
If you’re ready to make a commitment and accept Jesus’ outstretched hand, there’s no better time than right now. Simply ask God to forgive your sins and the Holy Spirit to live inside you each of the days ahead.
We’d love to talk with you and congratulate you if you’ve made a decision to become a believer or if you’re returning to your faith roots. Visit us online or in person at Fellowship Church.
Want to learn more? Watch the related sermon.