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Best Friends
by Bryan Matthew Dockens from "Sound Doctrine" Volume III Issue xvi

You may have friends at work or friends at school, friends from the neighborhood or a club you’re in, and you may be friends with the parents of your children’s friends, but who are your best friends? When you think of the people you would most like to spend time with, other than immediate family, who comes to mind?

Is the answer Christians? If not, it ought to be. Your fellow disciples are the people you should have the most in common with. What you share with other believers is salvation (Jude 3), a single purpose to glorify God (Romans 15:6), and mutual feelings toward one another (1st Peter 3:8). Whether books or food, sports or cars, history or politics, fishing or hiking, shared interests with those outside the church hardly compare to what brethren have in common.

This is not to suggest friendship with the unsaved is entirely inappropriate “since then you would need to go outside the world” (1st Corinthians 5:9-10). In fact, the worldly could never be led to Christ if not for the friendship of the faithful (Matthew 9:11-12). The righteous should, however, prefer the company of one another, knowing that “evil company corrupts good habits” (1st Corinthians 15:33). An unequal yoke (2nd Corinthians 6:14-18) is a genuine danger.

The Lord commands His people to “love one another” (John 13:34-35; 15:12, 17). This “love one another” business is not a Sunday-only proposition; it’s not even a Sunday/Wednesday-only proposition. Those who “love one another fervently with a pure heart” (1st Peter 1:22) demonstrate the genuineness of that love constantly.

The people of God are taught to “Be hospitable to one another” (1st Peter 4:6). The Greek word translated “hospitable” is a contraction of the words “friend” and “strangers”. Hospitality literally means to be a friend to strangers, but in this context the strangers we are to befriend are “one another”. Hence, we are to be strangers no more! Because they were hospitable to one another, the earliest Christians, besides worshipping together, were “breaking bread from house to house” (Acts 2:46). They enjoyed meals together and were familiar with each other’s homes. Christians today should likewise eat together and spend time in each others’ homes.

God’s people are instructed, over and again, to “Greet one another” (Romans 16:16; 1st Corinthians 16:20; 2nd Corinthians 13:12; 1st Peter 5:14). Frequent greetings suggest familiarity with and awareness of each other. Too often there stands a distance between the children of God, a lack of intimacy more suitable for merchants and customers than for brothers and sisters in Christ, a disconnect suggesting we meet to undertake a certain transaction then part ways as quickly as convenient. Yet, Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “Tychicus, a beloved brother, faithful minister, and fellow servant in the Lord, will tell you all the news about me. I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that he may know your circumstances and comfort your hearts” (Colossians 4:7-8). Christians are expected to tell each other news about themselves and to know one another’s circumstances, enabling them to comfort as needed.

“Receive one another” (Romans 15:7), said the apostle Paul. Do we, though?

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