This morning I would like to say a few words about friendship. There are three tests that must always be present in a friendship whether it is between brethren and sisters or between believers and nonbelievers.
The first test is like-mindedness.
People need to have the same values, attitudes, and feelings or there is no common ground on which the friendship can develop. This is not to say that people must be exactly the same. But people will have a hard time being friends if they are opposites in attitudes and life styles.
The second test is unselfishness.
A relationship cannot be one-sided with one side taking advantage of the other. We will read later how Soloman felt that his friendships were one-sided with his friends seeking his wealth first. Jesus was the greatest example of an unselfish friend because he gave his life for us. John 15: 13 says "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
A third test of friendship is constancy.
As Proverbs says, "A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born in adversity." A friend doesn't let us down when times are bad.
It is interesting to note that God can also be a friend to those who follow him. Abraham was emphasized in the Bible as being the friend of God. James 2:23 says, "And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the friend of God."
Friendship can take many forms.
In the book of Ruth we see a strong friendship between Ruth and her mother-in-law, Naomi. It is interesting to note that the name Ruth signifies "friendship" in Hebrew.
In contrast to Ruth and Naomi, Solomon felt those who said they were his friends stood by him only because of his wealth and power. Proverbs 14:20 says, "The poor is hated even of his own neighbor: but the rich hath many friends".
Possibly the strongest example of friendship in the Bible is the friendship between David and Jonathan.