Friends Sermon Illustrations

Friends Sermon Illustrations

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There is a Bible verse which says, "There is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother." (Prov. 18:24.) That is saying a great deal, for a good brother will stick through thick and thin.

In a battle in Scotland there were two brothers in the same regiment. Their army was beaten and was leaving the field. One of the brothers lay on the ground desperately wounded; but the other brother, also wounded, was still able to walk. Disregarding the entreaties of his brother that he leave him to die and flee with the others, he stooped down and lifted him to his back and thus left the field. By and by the warmth of the body of the brother who carried him revived the spirit and strength of the unconscious one; but the brother who carried him, when he had reached a place of safety, staggered and fell dead beneath him. One brother had given his life for another. Yet we are told that there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

When Fox, the founder of the Friends, or Quakers, was lying in a filthy dungeon at Lancaster, a Friend went to Oliver Cromwell and offered himself, body for body, to lie in the prison in his stead, if Cromwell would accept the substitution and let Fox at liberty. Cromwell was so struck with the offer that he said to the great men of his council, "Which of you would do as much for me if I were in the same condition?" Although he could not accept the friend's offer, because it was contrary to law, yet the power, he said, and truth of this generous offer "came mightily over him."

It has been said that the test of friendship is the number of friends one would desire to see in heaven. This is indeed the test of our friendship with Christ. If we have not loved him and followed him as our Redeemer here, there is no reason why we should desire to see him hereafter. The Christian's keenness of desire for life to come will depend upon his love for the Lamb of God which died for him on the cross.

Test your friendships. What is the attitude of your friend toward that which you, as a Christian, hold sacred—honor, purity, the Bible, the home, the Church, and Christ? In Faust the beautiful and chaste Margaret confessed that when Faust was present she was unable to pray. What is the influence of an evening with your friend? Does it make it easier or harder for you to pray?

John Randolph of Virginia was one of the greatest men produced by the Old Dominion, a brilliant and, in many respects, a wonderful man. Nothing in American history is more pathetic than the death of Randolph in the hotel in Philadelphia, where he compelled his physician to remain with him up to the very end because the Virginia law required that when a man manumitted his slaves those who witnessed the will had to be present at his death. Therefore he had the servants lock the door, and the physician had to remain with him until the end. Thus did Randolph, recognizing the injustice of slavery, make sure that his own slaves should be freed and well provided for.

But together with these noble characteristics he had a bitter, cantankerous, vindictive spirit and tongue. Men found it difficult to live with him. What could be more touching than Randolph's own account of himself mounting his horse and sitting for half an hour motionless, trying to make up his mind where to go or with whom to speak. His great plantation, his well-stocked library, his eminent public services—what were all these when what the heart longed for was friendship and the human touch?

One cannot always choose his vocation or surroundings in the world. But one can choose his friends. The philosopher Antisthenes used to wonder that men would examine carefully an earthen vessel which they were about to buy, worth just a few cents, to see if there were any cracks or flaws in it, and yet the same men would exercise no thought or care in the choice of friends. When John Wesley was a student at Christ Church, Oxford, he made the resolution that he would have only those friends that would help him on the road to heaven.

General Grant's chief of staff, the Galena lawyer John A. Rawlins, was closer to Grant than any other during the war. It was to Rawlins that Grant gave his pledge that he would abstain from intoxicating liquors. When he broke that pledge Rawlins went to him and with great earnestness pleaded with him, for the sake of himself and for the sake of the great and holy cause of the nation, to refrain from strong drink. Faithful were the wounds of that friend. In front of the Capitol at Washington today there stands the magnificent monument of General Grant, sitting his horse in characteristic pose and flanked on either side by stirring battle scenes. But at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, a little to the south of the avenue, is Rawlins Park, where there stands a very ordinary, commonplace statue of Rawlins.

A man who was serving a life term was visited frequently by Dr. Clarence E. Macartney. This is how his imprisonment started: He had not long been in this country. He went out one evening with a group of men who had invited him to accompany them. The first thing he knew they were robbing a store. In the shooting which ensued the woman in the house was fatally wounded. Sometime afterward the young man, who did not even know that a murder had been committed and who actually had nothing to do with it, was picked up and interrogated by the police, whom he frankly told that he had been out that night with a group of young men. He was tried and sentenced to death, for murder, and legally so, as he was in the company of those who had committed the crime. Just one night of thoughtless, careless friendship—and a life was all but ruined!

Heraclea in ancient Greece was noted for its honey. Beyond all other honey it was sweet to the taste and exhilarating to him who ate it. But this was because it was poisoned by the juice of aconite. So there are friends who entertain and thrill and excite—but, like Heraclea's honey, have deadly poison in them.

In the life of Robert Burns one can trace the evil influence of the wrong kind of friends. At the age of nineteen he fell in with some rough, fast, young men in a nearby town. There was one unprincipled youth in particular who exerted a strong fascination over Burns. Burns said of him, "He was the only man I ever knew who was a greater fool than myself when woman was the presiding star. But he spoke of lawless love with a levity which hitherto I had regarded with horror."

Amnon had a friend! That was his epitaph. It is the true epitaph of many a broken life. That brief sentence tells the story of many a man who has disappointed his own hopes and the prayers of those who loved him and dreamed for him. It tells the secret of the bitterness of many a sad and heavy-hearted person who today goes mechanically about his work, his mind all the while turning with bitterness back to the ill-starred day when he met the friend who slew him. In many a person that once followed Jesus Christ and honored him as Saviour and King, but who now has no faith and no hope, or is following some of the gods made by the fancies and desires of men, that is the secret of the backsliding and apostasy—he had a friend.

False Friends

"False friends are like vermin that abandon a sinking vessel, or like swallows that depart at the approach of winter. True friends are like ivy that adheres to the tree in its decay. True friends are like the light of phosphorus: brightest in the dark."—Selected.

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