Covenantal Friendships

Listen to the message

Series: Body of Christ; Relationships

Sun am 12 August 2012 – Kobus Swart

1 Sam. 18:1-4, 10-11, 17-30; 1 Sam. 19:18-24; 1 Sam. 20:40-42; (Matt. 11:19); John 15:12-15

Saul initially liked David, but because of David’s popularity, he became jealous and wanted to kill David several times. Saul’s own son Jonathan found a connection with David that was very unique. Now it came about when he had finished speaking to Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as himself. Saul took him that day and did not let him return to his father’s house. Then Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with his armor, including his sword and his bow and his belt (1 Sam. 18:1-4). This covenantal friendship went through unbelievable tests. Jonathan realized that his father hated David. Jonathan had to respect Saul but his heart and soul was connected to David. Jonathan had to protect David from his own father. (1 Sam. 18:17-30).

How many friends do you have that will go the distance that Jonathan went for David? (1 Sam. 19:18-24). Unfortunately this kind of relationship is often lacking in the church at large; it lacks the covenant dimension that you find between Jonathan and David. Many say, “I am your friend” but there is a price tag.

Things eventually reached a breaking point and Saul went all out to destroy David. Jonathan came to a point where he had to make a decision.  Jonathan said to David, “Go in safety, inasmuch as we have sworn to each other in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord will be between me and you, and between my descendants and your descendants forever.’” Then he rose and departed, while Jonathan went into the city (1 Sam. 20:42). It must have been a very emotional farewell. David wept more than Jonathan.

Spirituality is an integral part of a true friendship. True friendship has in its core a specific kind of spirituality. A true covenantal friendship has a way of unlocking you. The greatest thing a friend can do for another is to confirm the Godly potential in the other and help him reach full potential. The world defines friendship wrongly, “I like you because there is something you can do for me.” True friendship senses/discerns a potential in the other; affirms it and helps that person reach it. It is very unselfish. You don’t need a friend that highlights and abuses the weaknesses we all have.

Can an authentic Christian be friends with a sinner? Jesus was! He was a friend of tax gatherers and sinners (Matt. 11:19). True friendship should never become a clique or a gossip circle. What is the danger for you of being a friend of sinner? The Bible is full of warnings not to be yoked in the same yoke with an unbeliever. However, if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship and the blood of Jesus continues to cleanse us. What can go wrong if you are a friend of a sinner? If you are not strong and anchored in Truth, and you have a friend who has no principles in life, then be careful. Nowhere does it say because Jesus was a friend of sinners, that He ended up sinning. Jesus never sinned but He loved the sinner.

“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you (John 15:12-15). Do you have such friends that you are willing to lay your life down for? Jesus demonstrated that love. There is a qualification for this friendship; we are His friends if we do what He commands us to do. There was an upgrade in the relationship; He no longer called them slaves, but friends.

There seems to be more of this kind of friendship (in principle) outside of the context of Church structures. There is some sort of loyalty of which the right spiritual counterpart is lacking in the Church.

One purpose of the smaller household groups is for us to get to know one another more personally. It cannot happen on Sunday mornings only. Besides forming covenantal friendships with one another, I encourage you to allow the Holy Spirit to lead you to become the friend of a sinner. You must trust that what you are carrying can affect the sinner positively without condemning or judging them. They may need a demonstration of the love that Jesus was talking about. There is a purpose in our friendships with those outside. Show Christian love in action.