Think about someone you’re really close to. What do you like the most about them? What do you like the least?
WE NEED FRIENDS TO FIGHT SIN
One of the godliest men in the Old Testament committed adultery, and then covered it up by murdering the
husband of his new lover (
2 Samuel 11
). If even God’s anointed king can fall into such sin, we all should beware.
What’s worse is David didn’t quickly come under conviction and repent. Rather, he was hard-hearted over his sin
for many months, maybe longer.
The Bible doesn’t tell us exactly how long David’s heart was cold towards God after his sin, but we know that by
the time Nathan came to rebuke David, the baby from the affair had already been born. David, the man so filled
with the Holy Spirit he wrote almost half the book of Psalms, hardened his heart for the better part of a year
against his Savior.
What did it take for David to finally repent?
A prophet had to stick his finger in David’s face and say,
“You are the man!” (2 Samuel 12:1-13)
, reminding him
about the evil he had done. After Nathan’s strong rebuke, David quickly and fully repented. More importantly,
God instantly forgave his sin. Soon David returned to a place of worshipping and trusting his God. But a key
element in his repentance and restoration was a godly friend who spoke the truth in love to him in a tough time.
David was one of the greatest leaders in the Old Testament. Peter was one of the greatest of the new. And yet,
he also got into serious sin, long after he had been appointed to his leadership role by Christ himself. Peter’s sin
was not as “scandalous” as David’s, but it was wicked nonetheless.
Peter made some very rash, destructive decisions because he feared others. God had told him personally that it
was okay for Jews and non-Jews to have full fellowship together (
), but though Peter enjoyed this new
fellowship for a time, he drew back and separated from his Gentile brothers in Christ, because of the social
pressure of “the circumcision party” (
This is much worse than just not sitting with a friend at the lunch table. There were deep gospel implications to
Peter’s actions. He was such a key church leader that his actions spoke loudly about doctrinal truths. His decisions
about seating arrangements indicated that the Gentile Christians would need to become Jewish in order to be
fully accepted. In short, Peter’s practice didn’t align with his doctrine of justification, so that the doctrine was in
danger of perversion or misinterpretation.
When did Peter stop and repent?
After the apostle Paul saw through his sinful actions, he called him to the carpet
Have you ever been warned by a friend about something wrong you were doing? How was that
experience for you?
I. Helping one another daily
If spiritual heroes like David and Peter needed friends like Nathan and Paul in their lives, what do we need in our
life? Maybe the better question is
do we need in our lives? In the face of all the hardships that would tempt
us to turn from Christ, the author of Hebrews wisely instructs us that one of the best ways to draw near to Christ
is to draw near to his body, the church.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,
not giving up
meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as
you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24–25
he exhorts believers to “spur one another” and to “encourage one another.” This seems to
be something different than the (necessary) practice of weekly, gathered worship. While corporate worship is
one of the most important means of grace there is, the author of Hebrews seems to be talking about something
other than a large gathering on a Sunday morning where one or two pastors do most of the encouraging and
He is talking about a responsibility
have to spur one another and to encourage “one another.”
Sunday church isn’t the only thing most Christians need to really persevere in the faith for the long haul. Most of
us aren’t good at just listening to a sermon even if we know all the right applications. We need closer, more
intimate accountability and then figuring out all the right applications on our own. Further, many of us aren’t
good at holding ourselves accountable and fellowship.
“But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be
hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”
Do you know why it says every day? Because you’re being lied to every day. You
are. Your flesh is lying to you, the world is lying to you, the devil’s lying to you. Social media and all advertising,
all TV programs, all movies, they all lie. All of them lie. Every day they’re lying to you. So, it’s no accident that
“Encourage one another every day”.
If you have a small group that meets every week, that’s
fine. Just use email and be on the phone a lot to keep in contact with them. This will help to establish
Do you do anything to encourage friends daily?
Is there someone who helps you daily?
II. We need friends who will love our souls and have the courage to tell us things
All Christians know that we should be regularly confessing our sins to Christ as
1 John 1:9
says. We can go
to our Savior, anytime, anyplace, without the aid of a priest
. Christ is our great high priest. And yet,
says there is great value in confessing our sins one to another.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all
unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer
of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” James 5:16
The word used for “healing” can be used to refer to physical or spiritual healing. You may not currently need
physical healing, but do you need spiritual healing? Is your heart cold towards God? Is there any unconfessed sin
in your life?
Sometimes being honest with another person eye to eye about our sin forces us to be more honest with
ourselves about our sin and ultimately more honest with the Lord. This is your calling as a Christian. No matter
what occupation or vocation you do, this is your calling. Christian friendships exist for this: to say things that
keep each other believing.
If it’s it not clear what you need to say, just think that Christ is always better to be desired than any deceit (sin,
hardness, unbelief, falling away, eternal destruction). His way is better, in a thousand experiential and biblical
ways. He’s better! That’s what you’re going to say.
illustrates it with:
“He regarded disgrace for
the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.”
If that’s the positive thing we’re going to say, the negative is also true. People are going to die and they’re going
to hell if they don’t turn around. You’re going to say it and you will warn them. You can point out that the
consequences of their deliberate choice to continue sinning would be nothing short of hell itself. Maybe no one
had ever told them before. Maybe your friend won’t be happy about it. But maybe they’ll understand that you
cared enough to tell them.
Has a friend ever warned you about something wrong you were doing?
Do you think it’s easier to encourage someone every day or warn someone about their wrong
Whether it’s a small group or some other arrangement, we all need the help of other Christians in the church to
assess, call out, and rebuke our sins, and to encourage us in holy living. Take advantage of the great gift God has
given in providing not only forgiveness (
) and sin-killing power (
) by faith, but also other
) to whom we can confess our sins and have them speak truth and grace back to us.
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” Romans 8.1
“in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to
the flesh but according to the Spirit.” Romans 8.4