Support us on Paypal
Contact Us
Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » James Merritt » James Merritt - Your Best Friend

James Merritt - Your Best Friend

  • Watch
  • Audio
  • Donate
  • Shop
    James Merritt - Your Best Friend
TOPICS: Friendship

Glad to have you with us today. Those who are watching from Mill Creek Campus, those were watching online, those are watching by television. We're thrilled that you joined us today. I want to tell you the very front end of this message. If you are a parent, I would encourage you to take some notes today for your kids, and particularly if you've got younger kids and teenagers. If you're a grandparent and you wanna really have a positive influence on your grandkids, I would encourage you to take some notes today and you'll see why in just a moment.

President Andrew Jackson had a relationship with his mother like I did. He didn't just love his mom, he revered his mom. And on her death bed, she gave him the last piece of advice she would ever give him, and here's what she said. She said, "Andrew, in this world, you will have to make your own way. And to do that, you must have friends". And I don't want you to blow over that too quickly and I want you to brush off what she told her son because she was absolutely right. There's one thing that's absolutely true of everybody on this planet and that is we must have friends. It doesn't matter whether you are the CEO of a Fortune 500 company or you are the general of an army, or you are the president of a nation, everybody must have friends. And we're in the middle of a series on the life of David, a great king, maybe the greatest king Israel ever had, we've called it life lessons from a king because David, maybe as much as anyone in the Old Testament is someone that is so practical for us and we can learn so many things about him because he was a man after God's own heart.

And today we're gonna look at what is probably the most famous friendship in history. It is no question the absolute, greatest friendship found and talked about in the Bible, and it is a story of the friendship of a young named Jonathan and a man named David. And if you will look on in God's word today, we're in a book called First Samuel chapter 18, there's your start in Genesis and turn right, you'll run right into First Samuel, First Samuel chapter 18. Let me kind of set up the story. Jonathan was more than just a friend of David. He was David's best friend. His very best friend. As a matter of fact, his friendship was so valuable that not only would David never had become king, had it not been for Jonathan, David wouldn't even have lived long enough to become king had it not been for Jonathan. So David owed both his throne and his life to his best friend.

Now, somebody told me a long time ago, I don't remember who it was, but I thought, man, what a great thought. If you ever see a turtle on a fence post, it didn't get there by itself. And the application is we all need somebody to help us along the way. There's no such thing as a self-made man or a self-made woman. If you've ever gotten anywhere in life, I don't care who you are, If you've ever gotten anywhere in life, somebody helped you get there. If you ever get anywhere in life, somebody's helped you get there, whether you realize it or not. Now we all have dealings with people and you know you've met them and I've met them in my own path, we all have met people who they say they want to be your friend or they try to act like they're your friend, but you find out pretty quickly, all they want from you is what you can do for them, or what you could be to them, or what they can give to you, and that's really all they care about.

But then there are certain people who enter into your life and you just find out pretty quickly, they don't wanna use you, they don't wanna manipulate you, they don't wanna try to explore you, they're not really interested in what you can do for them, they only care about what they can do for you, and then out of that group of people, there's a select few and they become your best friends. I'll never forget the second church I pastored. My first two churches were very small country churches. My first church about two hours outside of Louisville, church we ran about 50 in attendance, and then God was so good. I went to my first megachurch, it ran 120. And so man, I thought I'd really hit the jackpot. I didn't think I'd ever pastor a church running a 100 people, and so I was actually preaching in view of a call for this church, and then after I preached on Sunday morning, they were gonna have a Q&A in the afternoon that I was gonna preach again that night and then I would become the pastor.

So it was the afternoon time and we were having this Q&A session, the place was packed out. Everybody had all these questions with this young seminary student and his doctoral work and you know, all these questions that they asked. So finally the meeting broke up and as soon as the meeting broke up, there was a man that was sitting kind of toward the back of the church and I mean he made a beeline for me. Now I have to tell you about it. He was a big pot-bellied guy. He had a marine haircut, his pants were begging and kind of came down to about right here around his waist. His shirt didn't fit him. One button was open, I could see his belly button as he's coming down to talk to me, and the thing that really bothered me the most was he wore white socks.

Now you may wonder why that bothers you. Let me give you a piece of advice. If your accountant wears white socks, get another accountant. Don't ever put anybody on a finance committee that wears white socks 'cause they are cheap, okay? So don't do that. So all in all, and this guy's coming down and he's wearing white socks. So I did what we all tend to do. I made the snap judgment, I'm looking at the book cover and I said to myself, okay, this guy's bad news. He's either got a negative thing he wants to say to me. He didn't like something I preached or he's got a question that's really ugly and he didn't wanna ask it in front of everybody. So just instinctively I kind of folded my arms to kind of brace myself, kind of waiting for this guy to come up and I'll never forget what happened. He smiled when he got up to me, he had a big gap about that big between his two front teeth, I mean all of you could tell all the way down his Adam's Apple.

And he smiled real big and he stuck his hand down, took his hand out and he said, I'm not making this part up, I'm making any of them but this part I'm not for sure. He said, "My name is David". True story, David. He said, "Preacher, I don't have a lot of money I don't really have any influence in this church, but my wife and I will help you take care of your little baby anytime you need us". James had just been born, my oldest son, he's just a few weeks old. And I'll never forget what he said. He said, "My home is your home, and I will be your best friend". And you know what? White socks and all. He became my best friend. I mean, it was unbelievable. He just, and by the way, I hate to burst your bubbles because I just wanna be honest.

There are two things that are true of every human on this planet. We all need to have the right kind of friends and we all want to be the right kind of friend because as you go through life, you'll find this out the hard way or the easy way. You'll make a lot of acquaintances in life, you won't make many friends. I hate to burst somebody's bubble here today, but you don't have as many friends as Facebook says you do. And don't measure the quality of your friends by your Instagram likes, or by how many times you're favorite on Twitter, because the fact of the matter is not everybody that claims to be your friend is your friend. And so today, I want us to look at the greatest friendship in history. And I want to share with you, how to have the best friends and how to be the best friends. That's why I'm telling you. What I'm gonna share with you today is absolutely crucial. I mean, it is absolutely crucial to your children and to your grandchildren.

So very crucial, because the three greatest choices that you'll ever make in life are these three choices. Number one, which God am I going to serve? Number two, what person am I going to marry? And number three, who are going to be my best friends? So I wanna show you what it takes to have the best friends and to be the best friends and it's what made Jonathan the best friend of David. Now, before I go any further, let me just say this. I want you to do two things with this message. Number one, I want you to think about right now, who are your very best friends? Or who do you think are your best friends? Who do you think your real friends really are? Who do you think the real friends are of your kids and your teenagers? And here's what I want you to do. I'm gonna give you three things that will always be true of someone who is truly your friend and who could be your best friend and just see how they measure up, all right? Number one, best friends give selfless love. Best friends give selfless love.

Now First Samuel 18:1 tells you pretty much all you need to know as to how deep this friendship with, we're in verse one. After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David and he loved him as himself. Now, this version really doesn't capture the letter or the spirit of this verse and how strong it really, really is because I prefer this particular translation. Listen to this one. And as soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. Now, that word knit literally means to chain. It literally says, the soul of Jonathan was chained to the soul of David. In other words, they weren't just friends. They were what you would call soul brothers. I mean, their soul was knit as one. Jonathan had the highest love for David that one person could ever have because it says he loved him as his own soul.

Now, let me tell you what that means. You ready for this? This is so cool. Jonathan loved David more than Jonathan loved Jonathan. Jonathan loved David more than Jonathan loved Jonathan. Do you remember what the second greatest, Jesus said the second greatest commandment was? He said, love your neighbor how? As yourself, why? He didn't just say love your neighbor. You'd love your neighbor. That's not what real love is. Jesus said, real love is when you love your neighbor as yourself. Why did Jesus say that? Because here's the truth that is true about me, it's true about you. We all have a tendency to love ourselves before we love anybody else. We just do. You know, what was settled to Polian and his wife? They had one thing in common, they both loved him. Well, Jonathan actually loved David more than he loved himself.

You say, wait a minute. How do you know that? Well, remember Jonathan is the oldest son of Saul. He was the king in waiting. He was the prince that was to take the throne. He was the heir apparent. The royal position belonged to him. The praise of the people should have been his. Kingly power was his birthright, but God had promised David he would be king. God had promised he would be the next in line. So Jonathan had every reason to be jealous and to be envious and to be bitter toward David, but instead, look what he does for David. Jonathan took off the robe was wearing and gave it to David along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt.

Now, that doesn't mean a lot to us. Let me tell you what he had just done because when Jonathan's servants saw what Jonathan just did for David, their chin hit the ground, they couldn't believe it. He gives David his robe. His robe was a symbol of his future role as a king. And when he gave David his robe he said to David, "I'm not gonna be king, you're gonna be the king". He then gives David his sword and his bow. Those were military weapons. He said, "David, I'm not gonna be the commander in chief. You are gonna be the commander in chief". And then he gave David the his belt. That was the chief ornament that could only be worn by those who were in the royal line of the king. In other words, he said, "You know, David, rightfully and legally, I should be king, but I know God wants you to be the king and I am glad they letting you know you will be my king".

As a matter of fact, later at a moment in David's life when he was under the gun and owned the run, there was a hit squad after him at the risk of his own life. Jonathan said something to David, I want you to listen to what he said. Jonathan said to David, "Whatever you want me to do, I'll do it for you". Now, let's get real honest. How many people do you really have in your life that will do whatever you wanted them to do for you? And how many people in your life would you really do whatever you could do for them? 'Cause listen, let's just all get honest now. When somebody say, you ever have somebody say, "Hey, if you're needing thing, call me". Anybody said say that, right? If you need anything, let me know.

And here's what they're really saying, man, whatever you want me to do for you, I'll do it, if it doesn't involve money, if it doesn't cost me too much, if it's not inconvenient, if it doesn't interrupt my schedule. But Jonathan's offer was unconditional. No strings attached, no fine line to be at the bottom of the contract. Jonathan, David, whatever you want me to do, I will do for you. There, it was selfless love. You know there are friends and there's family, but then there are friends who become family. Well, they weren't just friends now, they were family, because he had given David selfless love. David, I love you more than I love me. Second taste of a real friend. Best friends give steadfast loyalty. Not just selfless love, that's step one. They give steadfast loyalty.

Now love is the foundation of any friendship. We'd all agree that. You're not gonna befriend somebody you don't love, but you know what I found? Love may be the foundation of real friendship, but loyalty is the glue that holds a friendship together. Every time I've hired new staff in anywhere that I've ever been, I always sit down, I have what I call the come to Jesus meeting. When I sit down with a new staff person, there are several things I share with them and one of the last things I say is this. There is one thing I absolutely, unconditionally, unequivocally, totally expect from you and I will give to you. And that is your absolute loyalty.

Every pastor will tell you that the staff people that have hurt them the most are the ones that have been disloyal staff people. And I can tell you I've had my share of them and there's nothing more hurtful than staff person that is not loyal 'cause disloyalty is what separates true friends from false friends. 'Cause you have to understand what's going on with Jonathan. So when you read the story of David and Jonathan, you go, well, isn't that nice that Jonathan and David became best buddies? What you don't understand is just exactly how costly it was to Jonathan to be a friend of David at all, it was not easy. To be David's friend, greatly complicated his life because his dad, remember was King Saul. Well, King Saul was jealous of David. He hated David. He feared David. He was threatened by David. He didn't want David to be the next king. He wanted his son to be the next king.

And you're gonna see later on in David's story, through no fault of David, Saul becomes David's greatest enemy. As a matter of fact, Saul became so obsessed with David. His number one goal in life became to kill David. He put out a poster on David. It first had wanted dead and alive, he crossed out the last two words. I just want the guy dead. So for Jonathan to be not just David's friend but David's best friend, he risks not only losing his father's favor, it would sacrifice his own future. But even though Jonathan would never be king, here's what I love about him. Jonathan would never be the king he was supposed to be, but he had the heart of the king. He was loyal. In fact, he had what I call the royalty of loyalty.

Now, this is illustrated in the next chapters. Let me tell you what's about to happen. Saul is so obsessed with killing David, that now he's starting to talk about it publicly. He's kind of letting the word out. I want David dead, I want David gone, I want David out of the picture. He's kind of letting his servants know, he's letting his attendants know, he's letting his soldiers know, he's letting the people of Israel know, I want David dead and he finally calls Jonathan in and says, "Jonathan, I want you to take my Navy Seals, I want you to take my Army Rangers, I want you to take my green beret, I want you to form an elite hit squad and an assassination squad, and I want you to lead the charge and I want you to find David, I want you to kill David, I want you to take David out, right"?

We read this chapter 19 verse one. Saul told his son Jonathan and all the attendants to kill David. Well, guess what Jonathan does? Not only does he warn David to go into hiding, he does something that in other ordinary circumstances he would have gotten killed for. He did the unthinkable. He did the unspeakable. He stands up to the king. He stands up to his own father. And even a son was not allowed to do that, the king's word was never to be questioned. But listen to what Jonathan says to his dad. Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul, his father. And he said to him, "Left not the king do wrong to his servant". Remember, he's not talking to him as his dad, he's talking to him as the king. "Let not the king do wrong to his servant David, he has not wronged you, and what he has done has benefited you greatly".

Now that is the mark of a true friend. A true friend, listen, a true friend will always have your back. Always, always will have your back. A true friend will not talk about you, a true friend will not talk about you when you're not around. And when others talk about you when you're not around, they will give you the benefit of the doubt and they will defend you publicly. They may have to confront you privately, but publicly, they will defend you. As a matter of fact, David's son, Solomon, who went on to become King, wrote a book called Proverbs, and I think he might've been thinking about Jonathan when he wrote these words. He said, a friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.

And I've got a feeling Solomon was thinking, you know, Solomon, you know, Jonathan, you aren't just a friend to my dad, you are a brother in his deepest knees 'cause I'll tell you something we're gonna learn today about friendship, and we're learning it right now. You don't find out who your friends are when everybody loves you. You find out who your friends are when everybody hates you. You don't find out who your friends are when you win an election, you've found out who your friends are when you lose an election. You don't find out who your friends are during the mountaintop moments of your life, you find out who your friends are when you're forced to walk through the valley of the shadow of death. You don't find out who your friends are when the times are good and the times are high, you find out who your friends are when the times are bad and the times are low.

There was a farmer who walked into his bank and he sat down with his banker, they were really good friends, and he sat down and he said, "Pete," he said, "I've got some bad news and I've got some good news". He said, "Well, which would you like to hear first"? And the banker said, "Well, Pete, we've been friends a long time". He said, "Look, why don't you just go ahead and tell me the bad news, and let's kind of get it over with". The farmer said, "Well, okay". He said, "You know, Pete, we've had a bad drought this year and my crops didn't come in. And I'm not going to be able to pay my mortgage on my farm. I'm not gonna be able to pay anything on my mortgage this entire year at all". And he had borrowed a $100,000 to buy the farm. And the banker said, "Man, that's pretty bad".

And then the farmer said, "Well, Pete, it gets worse". He said, "I'm not gonna make any payments on the loan for the machinery that I bought". He bought a quarter of a million dollars worth of machinery. He said, "I can't make any payments on the machinery". And the banker said, "Good grief. That really is terrible". And then the farmer said, "Well, it's worse than that". He said, "You know, I bought another $200,000 for seed and fertilizer and all my winter supplies and I can't pay that back either". The banker said, "Pete, I don't think," the banker said, "I don't think I can hear any more bad news". He said, "What is the good news"? And with a big smile on his face the farmer said, "Well, the good news is I'm gonna keep on doing business with you".

Now, best friends give you steadfast loyalty. They're the kind of people that when the whole world just walked out of your house, they'll walk in to your house. I grew up in the country and there's an old saying from country people that goes like this, when your last lap, when your last dog dies, I will still be sitting on the front porch. So your best friend would give you steadfast loyalty. In other words, let me put it to you this way. Best friends not only will not stab you in the back, they won't tolerate it if other people stab you in the back. So how you doing what your friends? Do they give you selfless love? Do they love you more than they love themselves? Do they give you steadfast loyalty? But I'd say the most important part for last. Because you may have someone you would say, yeah, I think they do give me selfless love, and I think they do give me steadfast loyalty. Well, they can be friends, they can be good friends, but they won't be your best friends.

As a matter of fact, even if they give you those two things, they could turn out to be more of a foe than a friend if the third thing is not true, you ready? Best friends give spiritual leadership. Best friends give spiritual leadership. Now, how many of you, I asked this at the nine o'clock service. How many of you have, are familiar with, you're not, don't wish in this, it's okay. How many of you are familiar with, and you know the story of David and Jonathan? Would you just hold your hand up if you're familiar with it? Okay, some are, some are not. Let me talk to those of you so yeah, I kind of know the story of Jonathan and David.

Have you ever asked yourself this question? How did those guys get so close so fast? I mean, it was best friend at first sight. I mean they never met remember. This is the first time we ever see that they admit in scripture and the Bible says immediately, their souls were chained together. What was it that drew Jonathan to David like that? What was it that drew David and Jonathan like that? Well, remember, let me kind of take you back and give a little history. Do you know what it just happened before Jonathan met David? David had just killed Goliath, and Jonathan had seen David kill Goliath and now they're meeting for the very first time. And Jonathan had watched David do what nobody else would do. And when Jonathan saw that, he said, "Man, I don't know who that guy is, but what trust he has a God? What a heart that young man has for God"?

Well, guess what? Jonathan had that same heart for God. And Jonathan had that same trust in God. You say, well, how do you know? Because four chapters earlier before David kills Goliath, four chapters earlier, Jonathan had, kind of had a bug in his heart that David had. He had, he was tired of watching the Philistines bully the Israelis because the Israelites wouldn't fight. They were fighting the Philistines until they just take all kinds of gruff and all kinds of grief hauls the Philistines. And everybody was afraid to fight the Philistines and Jonathan came to to a point in his life one day, he said, "Do you know what? I've had enough". We say we believe in God, we say we're God's people, and yet we act like cowards, we act like we don't even know that there's a God in heaven, he said, "I've had enough".

So listen to what Jonathan says to his armor-bearer, I love this story. Jonathan said to his young armor-bearer, "Come, let's go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised men". That's all they ever call these, they didn't like the Philistines. "These uncircumcised men. Perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many are by few". Jonathan said, "You know what? Nobody else gonna fight these guys, I'm gonna fight these guys". So he says to his armor-bearer, "Get my sword, get my shield, get my bow, get my arrows, get my helmet, I've had enough. I'm going to fight these Philistines. Nobody else will fight. I may live, I may die, it doesn't matter to me. If I win, I'm gonna live for God, if I die, I'm gonna go to be with God, but I believe there's a God in heaven and I'm tired of his name being tripled to the dust, I'm going to go fight these guys".

And that day, even though he was outman and outgun, the scripture says he killed 20 Philistines by himself, fighting in the power of the God that he and David both love. See, there is no friendship. There is no friendship like a friendship where both friends have a heart for God. And the reason why, the reason why David and Jonathan loved each other so much is because they loved God so much. When David met Jonathan, there was just something there they knew, and David said, looked at Jonathan and said, "You got a heart for God like I do. You got a trust for God like I do. You got a love for God like I do". And Jonathan looked at David and said, "I already seen it. I know what you've got. You've got that same trust, you've got that same belief, you've got that same love".

And here's what I want you to understand. David was a godlier man because he had Jonathan in his life. And Jonathan was a godlier man because he had David in his life. In fact, in the last meeting that Jonathan and David ever had, Saul is hunting David like a wild animal, and David is scared, he's exhausted, he's worried, he's running hard during the day, he's hiding out at night, and then we read these incredible words. Now remember, Jonathan's going to David when nobody else would have anything to do with David. Jonathan is going to David knowing if he's discovered with David, he'll be killed along with David. So he goes to David, and I want you to notice what he does for David. David stayed in the wilderness strongholds and in the hills of the Desert of Ziph. Day after day Saul searched for him. I mean there's no lit up, 24/7, Saul was on his own his trail. But God did not give David into his hands.

While David was at Horesh in the Desert of Ziph, he learned that Saul had come to take his life. And Saul's son Jonathan went to David at Horesh. Now watch, I love these words. And helped him find strength in God. David, remember I told you, he's not wanted dead or alive, he's just wanted dead. And here's where David is right now. It is kill or be killed. And David now is fighting the very same emotions you and I would have been fighting. Bitterness, anger, thoughts of revenge, assassination, I better kill the king before the king kills me, and Jonathan walks into that desert, into that cave, and he sits down and he says, "David listen to me. Trust in God. Stay close to God. Don't find your strength in a sword or a shield, you find your strength in God. God is in control. God will see you through David, don't lower yourself to the level of my dad. Don't you let your flesh get the better of you".

Two wrongs never make a right and you never do wrong when you do watch right and when you do what God wants you to do, you always do what's right. You talk about a friend. Real friends will build you up, they will not tear you down. Real friends will not see how low they can take you, they will see how high they can take you. They won't see how much they can draw you away from God, they'll see how much they can grow you closer to God and keep you straying from God. So I just want to ask you a question right now just honestly. Maybe some of you need to evaluate who some of your friends really are.

Now let me just, I'll be careful. We don't want to be friends with lost people, we don't want to be friends with people that don't know God. I've got a list of people I pray for every Tuesday that are far from God, very far from God. They don't live the lifestyle that I live, they don't have the beliefs that I have. They know Jesus is nowhere on their radar screen, but I befriend them and they are friends because I want to reach them for the gospel and will reach them for Christ. But I cannot tell you in all of my ministry, you can't even imagine how many people I have seen who've gone down the wrong path, they made the wrong decision, they wound up in the wrong place because their best friends turned out to be their worst enemies. This week, I'ma tell you this, I'ma share these kind of things 'cause all good things come from God, right?

So last week through the generosity of a sweet, sweet man, I got to go up to Philadelphia, outside of Philadelphia and I got to play the number one golf course in America. It's unbelievable, it's been there over a 100 years, great experience. They have caddies. So we you just, you know, randomly get a caddy. Well, I drew a caddy, an older man named John. And so John was, came up to me and he said, they introduced himself and he said, I told him, I said, "I'm James Merritt". He said, "I'm John". And I said, "I'm gonna be your caddy. How long have you been caddying here"? Johnny had been caddying about, that was 20 years. As a man, that's awesome. So I did what I always do with anybody was airplane or you know, if I'm out just about, or I'm talking to a neighbor, I'll say something like, "Hey John". I said, "I'm a pastor, do you mind if we talk about spiritual things".

Now if he says no and the next caddy is the next day said he didn't want to do it, that's fine. I said, "Do you mind if we talk about spiritual things and you want to send me the answers"? No, we teared up and he said, "That'd be good. He's, I've really gone through a rough patch in my life". And boy that got my radar up and I said, "Well, John, about trying to private, but what happened? What's the trouble"? He almost couldn't talk. He said, "Well, I lost my son three weeks ago". "So John, I'm so sorry". I said, "What happened"? He said, "Well, he overdosed". I said, "Oh man". I said, "John, just, it's just so tragic. I'm so very sorry". And then he said, "Yeah". He said, "He's dead today because he was in the wrong place, at the wrong time, with the wrong people".

This morning, just this morning, I got an email from a lady, her son just got out of jail. I had went to visit, went to visit his son two or three months ago, and I led this son to the Lord. I got this email today, and here's what she said, "Pastor, pray for my son, I pray he makes good choices and that God will bring godly friends into his life and he will completely walk away from his quote unquote friends. I'll tell you this, so you'll know," and now listen to this. She says, "I'll tell you this so you'll know some of what he's up against. All I can do is explain what a true friend is and then hope he makes good friends".

Yeah, this is a big deal. This is a big, big deal. So I'm wondering, who's listening to me right now, and maybe you need to evaluate who your quote unquote friends really are 'cause I'm gonna say this and I hope it doesn't upset you or make you mad but it doesn't offend your friends. If you've got friends who are doing everything they can to take you away from God, who are doing everything they can to make you go down and not up, who are doing everything they can to make you take the wrong path, go the wrong way, make the wrong decision, they're not your friends.

I read about a man that called the wrong number, but he couldn't help but laugh when he got the following response. Here's what he heard. "I'm not available right now, but I wanna thank you for caring enough to call. I'm making some changes in my life. Please leave a message after the beep. If I don't return your call, you're one of the changes".

Now, I want to get practical. I want to tell you the best place you'll ever go till you find a best friend. And I want you to go say, you're gonna say, church, no, don't go say church has to do with church, but not church. He said, "Well, why wouldn't you say church"? Because if all you ever do is walk into this building, you're not gonna make any friends. You'll make acquaintances, you'll see people you know, or their facial and hi, good to see you again, you won't make friends. The best place to make best friends is in a small group under the authority of a church. And that's why I'm gonna keep hammering over and over and over, I'm just being honest. If you are not involved in a small group in our church, you're missing out. You're missing out.

There's some people in a small group right now that you don't even know yet, but there's a David waiting on you, there's a Jonathon waiting on you. And you need to get into that small group and not only get a David and Jonathan, be a David and Jonathan. 'Cause there are people in a small groups right now that don't know you, but they need your friendship. They need you to walk with them through some things. I'm going to my home group tonight, we're starting up, but I'm going to my home group tonight, can't wait. You know why? Because we're not just friends, we're family. I shared things in my home group I wouldn't share publicly. They know things about me that you don't know. They know things about things I've gone through that you don't know.

And that's what happens when you get into a small group, 'cause I'm gonna tell you. I've learned this and I thank God I learned it early. What really matters in life ladies and gentlemen and boys and girls is not what you have, it's who you have. What you have is not a big deal. You don't lose everything you have. Who you have is what counts. I came across this quote the other day, that brought a real big smile to my face. It said, diamonds are a girl's best friend, but a best friend is everyone's diamond. Diamonds are a girl's best friend, but a best friend is everyone's diamond.

I want to have to close with this. I'm gonna wrap all this up 'cause remember, every time you read a story in the Old Testament, always remember this, that story ultimately is not about the people in the story, it's not ultimately even about you, it's always about Jesus, all the Bible is about Jesus. So here's what I want to go and you'll see why. I made a statement at nine o'clock. It wasn't even my nose that just came to me and I thought even have to say, I thought, boy, that's a very strong statement. Do you really wanna make that statement? And I said, no when God said, yes, I'm gonna say it again. I don't care how high you go in life. I don't care how much money you make in life. I don't care what titles you accumulate or what degrees you earned, your life at the end will be a colossal failure if your best friend isn't Jesus. No matter what else happens. Failure, epic failure, if your best friend is not Jesus.

Now let me tell you, let me show you how this parallel. When Jonathan and David became friends, they were pretty much equals, right? Jonathan was the prince in waiting, and David was gonna be the king. But when Jesus invited me to become His best friend, I was an outcast. I was a sinner. I was a spiritual and a moral failure. Jonathan gave David a robe of royalty, but you know what? You know where that robe is today? Nobody knows. Moss ate it, dogs tore it apart, time destroyed it, but when I became Jesus's best friend, He gave me a robe of righteousness that will last forever. He forgave me of all of my sins and all of that is possible for one step of reason. He didn't come to live for me, He came to die for me. That's his selfless love.

And then when Jesus began to talk to me and said, "James, would you be my best friend? I'll give you selfless love, unconditional love. You can't earn it by barter or steal it. I love you just because of who you are. And James, if you become my best friend, I promise you I'll never leave you, I'll never forsake you. I will always have your back". That's His steadfast loyalty. And then He said, "I'll do one last thing, James. If you'll let me become your best friend, I'll guide you to holiness while you live and I'll guide you to heaven after you die". That is His spiritual leadership. And that's why Jesus ought to be our best friend.
Are you Human?:*