*Bring kings piece
Good morning Ironbridge Family, if you are new to our community, my name is Zach.
I have the privilege of serving Ironbridge as the Pastor of Students and Young Adults.
When I use the word, family, in association with Ironbridge.
I do not do so lightly.
My blood family lives in Peru and Memphis.
I do not get to see them often.
After, the birth of our son, my blood family had a brief window to be with him.
But when they were gone, it was you who dropped off food.
It was you who gave us diapers.
It was you who committed to pray.
It was you who subbed in as family.
We are grateful for this genuine familial love.
But scripture speaks of another love, the love of friendship.
And occasionally, this love is even stronger than family bonds.
After all, your family is chosen for you, but you choose your friends.
Proverbs 18:24 “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”
Now, it is no surprise that we are experiencing a loneliness pandemic.
Alan McGinnis in his book, The Friendship Factor... "America's leading psychologists and therapists estimate that only 10 percent of all men ever have any real friends."
Women, is it much better for ya’ll?
In the story of creation, God declared that everything is good.
Until we came to the first “not good”.
Genesis 2:18 “It is not good that the man should be alone”
Instinctively, we know this to be true.
Even the business sector they pass out, “how to win friends and influence people.”
like it is a sacred text.
In the rush and scurry for more friends, many of us slip into an equal danger to loneliness.
In our desperation, we lose discernment and choose the wrong friends.
If you want to start this new year on the right path, we will need to learn how to discern the right friends.
Let’s play a game.
Real vs. Fake Images: On the screen we are going to reveal a series of images.
See if you can decide which items are real and which items are fake.
Girl with a pearl earing: The right painting is the real one.
What gives it away is that the earing appears to be dangling from her ear rather than being directly attached.
Rolex watch: through the eye test alone, it cannot be discerned witch of the Rolex watches is real or fake.
For this item, other senses may be required: sound and touch.
If the watch is ticking, it is not a real Rolex.
The mechanical movement that powers Rolex watches is self winding.
Finally, Rolex watches are made of quality materials and do not include any plastic or aluminum.
It is likely that the heavier of the two is the real one.
Chanel classic bags: while we cannot see the finer details of these bags, one feature gives us assurance that both of these lucky ladies own real bags.
On the classic bags the full diamonds will be equal in proportion and perfectly aligned.
Experts suggest paying close attention to the bag in closed form, because the diamonds on the upper flap will perfectly align with the lower part and back pocket.
Now, that our discernment has heightened, don’t spend this sermon staring at your neighbors purse to see if it’s a fake…
To have confidence if these items were valuable or fake, you needed to be given knowledge to heighten your discernment.
The same is true for our friendships.
Proverbs 13:20 “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”
We need God’s truth to teach us who we should befriend.
Today’s text, is up for the task
As we explore the wild story of Jonathan and David’s friendship, we will learn three ways how to discern between real and fake friends.
Real friends commit to you.
Fake friends control you.
The event’s leading up to 1 Samuel 18 were not favorable for Isreal.
They were in a constant battle with the Philistines.
Their low moral was only matched by their low numbers in battle.
To make matters worse, their handsome King Saul was a handful of selfishness and cowardice behavior.
Fortunately, his son, Jonathan was not a man after his Father’s weak heart.
In one scene described in Chapter 14, Jonathan single handedly defeated a group of Philistine soldiers through a sword and the Spirit of God.
He was a mans man and a man of faith.
But he was also a lonely man.
It seemed as though no one shared his spirit of faith and fearlessness.
Until, David showed up.
I wonder what Jonathan felt in his chest as he heard these words echo across the battle field from the young shepherd boy facing his giant,
Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.
This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head.
For the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hand.”
David’s words proved to be prophetic and this is the scene that unfolded as he entered back into the king’s tent with the enemies head.
1 Samuel 18:1-4 As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.
This was friendship at first site.
At last, Jonathan found a man who shared his faith in God.
Without even a word between the two, their souls were knit as Jonathan saw a man who’s heart burned with the same fire.
Do you have a friend who shares your soul?
It’s enriching to have friends who share the same mind.
It’s engaging to agree in ideas and opinions.
It’s unifying to have friendships who share the same passions of the hands.
Some of my most longstanding relationships are because of shared hobbies, quality time, and mutual interest in sports.
But their is a level of friend that goes deeper than blood.
The friend who shares your heart.
In school you may friend friends with whom you love to play sports.
At work, you may have friends who are likeminded in what they think.
But only at church, in our bridge groups and Christian community, can we find friends with whom we share our soul.
Because at church we connect with others who have the same Holy Spirit.
Are you connected?
Do you have friends with whom your soul is knitted?
It will not happen sitting in a seat.
You must join a group to experience this level of life connection.
Sadly, while Jonathan began to love David as himself, there was another who wanted to place David under himself.
And Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father’s house.
Jonathan committed to David.
Saul sought to control David.
Jonathan saw David’s victory and wanted to help him thrive.
Saul saw David’s victory and saw him as a threat that needed to be suppressed.
Saul forced David to become an servant.
Jonathan desired to make David royalty.