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You don’t have to feel alone, even with rapid changes in your life and society all around. Find out from your Bible how to tap into the most comforting—and longest lasting—friendship possible.
[The text below represents an edited transcript of this Tomorrow’s World program.]
The coronavirus pandemic, major rioting, fires, wars, and natural disasters caused many to consider 2020 a year to forget. The effects of this pandemic damaged economies all over the world and intensified the negative conditions in poorer countries. Regulations countering the pandemic included quarantines and, in some cases, months of isolation. Some communities even enforced stringent curfews confining families to their homes for long periods of time. But one of the most damaging effects on many individuals was that of separation from face-to-face socialization leading to severe loneliness.
Loneliness has always been a social problem, but the problem has become so severe in Japan that the government established a “Minister for Loneliness”! The Independent reported: “Japan has appointed a minister for loneliness following a recent rise in the number of suicides and the coronavirus pandemic’s exacerbation of the issue”
Is loneliness one of your serious problems? If so, you need to solve that problem and experience success, happiness, contentment, and hope. Your Bible gives multiple solutions. One of the major solutions to loneliness is the help of a faithful friend. You need to know the way to true love and peace. And you need to know Who can be your greatest friend!
Warm greetings to all our friends around the world!
We all need friends, but the national shutdowns due to the coronavirus have interfered with normal socialization and fellowship. The coronavirus pandemic caused many governments to virtually “shut down” cities, states, provinces, and whole nations. In April 2020, BBC News reported: “Coronavirus: The world in lockdown in maps and charts.” The report described “How the world shut down. The approaches to dealing with coronavirus across the world have been wide-ranging to say the least. In Colombia the days that you’re allowed to leave the house depend on the number of your national ID card; in Serbia a designated dog-walking hour was introduced; and in Belarus the president has gone against medical advice, recommending vodka and saunas as a way to stay safe. Some of the more common approaches have seen governments issue recommendations on social distancing for part or all of the country, while others have acted to restrict all non-essential internal movement. The latter is often called a lockdown” (BBC.com).
BBC News indicated that starting in April of 2020, more than 70 countries introduced nation-wide lockdowns, including France, Germany, the UK, Russia, Italy, Spain, South Africa, and New Zealand. The restrictions in some areas resulted in strict isolation affecting the mental health of many. The nation of Japan, facing an unprecedented increase in death and suicide in pandemic-stricken 2020, instituted an aggressive solution to loneliness; it appointed a Minister for Loneliness. The Independent reported: “Japan has appointed a minister for loneliness following a recent rise in the number of suicides and the coronavirus pandemic’s exacerbation of the issue”.
On today’s program, we’ll discuss principles of friendship and biblical examples of both faithful and unfaithful friendships. We will also discuss the Bible’s awesome revelation of One who can be our greatest Friend!
Ancient King David, before he became king, was anointed by the prophet Samuel to be the next king after King Saul. You can read about that in 1 Kings the sixteenth chapter. Most of you know the story of David’s victory over the giant Goliath and his subsequent military victories. King Saul was jealous and even tried to kill David two times. But Saul’s son Jonathan, who would ordinarily be considered the next king, became David’s best friend. In 1 Samuel 20, Jonathan affirms to David that he will do all he can to protect David from King Saul’s anger, and pledges his friendship with David. 1 Samuel 20:16:
“So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, ‘Let the LORD hold David’s enemies accountable.’”
And Jonathan had David reaffirm his vow out of love for him, for Jonathan loved David as he loved himself.
This rare example of faithful and loving friendship was in the context of God’s blessing. Remember the remarkable statement in Acts 13:22 regarding David’s character:
“And when He [God] had removed him, [King Saul] He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.’”
Yet, King David knew that his closest fellowship was with God, who had blessed him and delivered him through numerous trials. When betrayed by his old friend Ahithophel, David reflected in Psalm 55:16,
“As for me, I will call upon God, and the LORD shall save me. Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice.”
My friends, you and I need that same close relationship with God. As it tells us in James 4:8,
“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”
James also mentions that the patriarch Abraham “believed God… And he was called a friend of God” (James 2:23).
Who is your closest friend?
Over the years, I’ve had many, many friends, but who is my BEST friend? God blessed me with a wonderful wife, and now over 57 years of marriage. But what was it that we had in common? We had similar backgrounds in culture and education, but what cemented our friendship, our love, was the way of life God called us to live. You’ve heard that way of life on [the] Tomorrow’s World program. It’s the way of True Christianity. There are counterfeit forms of Christianity which, frankly, have turned off some who might actually have been interested in biblical Christianity. I hope you’ve seen our Tomorrow’s World telecast “What is Biblical Christianity?”
Where can you find true and faithful friends? You can find them in a loving group of biblical Christians who follow the true Jesus Christ of your Bible.
Tomorrow’s World magazine author Phil Sena gives us this perspective in his Tomorrow’s Youth column, “BREAK FREE FROM LONELINESS.”
“What is loneliness? It is complicated. It is not just one thing—and it can be caused by any number of factors. Some feel that no one else shares their values. Some feel they have no one to share their life with. Some simply feel that no one cares about them. These feelings can lead to a sense of isolation and alienation—and to a deep sadness, even despondency, making ordinary life more painful than the people around them can understand” (March–April, 2010).
My friends, we need to find those who care for others. And it’s important to know the biblical values that produce loving relationships and friendships. And while it may not be easy when you are feeling lonely, we must exercise love for our neighbor and reach out to others. Mr. Sena gives this advice:
“Connect with others. There are other people who like some of the same things you like, or who believe the things you believe. Although it may be difficult at first, making the effort to meet some of those people will change your life. Reach out to people who share your interests, and soon your loneliness will cease. One of the best ways to break through loneliness is to realize that there are other lonely people, and that you may be able to help them. Is there someone in your community who needs help? It does not need to be something big; maybe just taking the time to listen to an elderly shut-in or encouraging a niece or nephew by playing catch. Making a difference in someone else’s life will make a big difference in your own” (ibid.).
Yes, you can reach out to others! Pray and ask God to help you love your neighbor. That is the second Great Commandment God gives us. You can read that in Mark 12:31. Most people know of the golden rule, but how many practice it as a way of life? Jesus stated it this way in Matthew 7:12:
“Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”
Tomorrow’s World presenter, Rod McNair, authored this inspiring article, “HOW TO FIGHT LONELINESS—FIVE WAYS TO OVERCOME.” It’s in the January–February 2020 edition of Tomorrow’s World magazine. You can access it on our TomorrowsWorld.org website. He gives five principles for fighting loneliness. We don’t have the time to mention all of them, so I’ll just mention the fifth principle here, but I urge you to go to TomorrowsWorld.org and read the whole article for yourself.
We’re discussing the importance of friends. Mr. McNair reminds us of a vital principle: SPEND TIME WITH YOUR MOST IMPORTANT FRIEND. He comments: “Before His crucifixion, Jesus Christ told His disciples, ‘No longer do I call you servants… but I have called you friends’ (John 15:15). That’s an amazing statement from the Savior of all mankind!”
The Savior of the World, the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, paid the penalty of our sins by shedding His blood for you and me. God’s love is forever. God IS love, as it tells us in 1 John 4:8, 16. That love facilitates a powerful friendship with those who are willing to live godly, and to follow the example of our Savior.
How can we practice true friendship? Let’s look at the patriarch Job and his three friends. God allowed Satan to afflict Job to test him. Even though Job’s three friends misjudged Job, they still had an unusual willingness to share in his suffering. Notice the time they spent with him in silence. Job 2:13:
“So they [Job’s three friends] sat down with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his grief was very great.”
Would you have the compassion and patience toward a friend for seven days in silence? That’s dedication. The book of Proverbs also gives us principles of friendship. Proverbs 12:26:
“The righteous should choose his friends carefully….”
Many make the mistake of compromising their character and values just to have a friend. If you are a faithful friend, you stand up for godly principles and never compromise. Proverbs 17:9:
“He who covers a transgression seeks love, But he who repeats a matter separates friends.”
A faithful friend does not carelessly disclose the weaknesses of others, but strives to help him or her overcome a character flaw. Proverbs 17:17:
“A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity.”
Or as the New Revised Standard Version translates it,
“A friend loves at all times, and kinsfolk are born to share adversity.”
As we practice friendship, we need to know the Greatest Friend of all. Who is He? He is the One who loves you and gave His life for the sins of the world, and for your sins and mine! Yes, the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ can be your BEST friend. So, we ought to know more about the true Jesus Christ of the Bible. The Apostle Paul warned that there are counterfeit presentations of Jesus. Turn in your Bible to 2 Corinthians 11:3. The Corinthians were fooled by people who SEEMED religious. Paul warned in 2 Corinthians 11:3,
“But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. [Now listen to this!] For if he who comes preaches ANOTHER JESUS whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it!”
The Corinthians tolerated “another Jesus.” As shocking as it may sound, many professing Christians today accept “another Jesus” and not the Jesus of your Bible! My friends, which Jesus do you follow? A king? Or a weakling wandering around in the desert? Can you really know the TRUE Jesus as He was in the flesh? And can you really know Him as He is NOW, the glorified Son of God at the right hand of God the Father in Heaven? Yes, you can.
“No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.”
Yes, your greatest friend should be your Savior, the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth! But notice, He gave this requirement, John 15:9:
“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.”
My friends, not only can you overcome loneliness, you can find the way to true life, happiness, and friendship. But you need to prove and know the true Jesus of your Bible! There are many differences between the Jesus most people imagine, and the Jesus of your Bible. We’ve covered these points on previous programs, but let me mention just a few. The true Jesus of your Bible: 1. Observed the weekly seventh-day Sabbath (not Sunday. He is Lord of the Sabbath as it states in Mark 2:28–29). 2. Was born in the autumn, near the Feast of Trumpets (in September or October), not on December 25. There were shepherds living in the fields, Luke 2:8, in the autumn, not in the winter. You may want to do your own research to see whose ancient birthday was celebrated on December 25). 3. Taught that we must keep the Ten Commandments (contrary to modern popular teaching. Read Matthew 19:17). 4. Observed the biblical festivals and annual Holy Days (not pagan days with Christian names. He observed the Feast of Tabernacles, for example. See John the seventh chapter).
My friends, I urge you to read the New Testament with a fresh perspective. Read what Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John wrote about Him. You need to study and know the real Jesus of your Bible. You may find Him very different from the traditional images that are promoted around the world.
Yes, the true Christ of your Bible is alive today! But where is He? What is He doing? Where is Jesus? He is at the right hand of the throne of God in heaven. You can read about that glorious throne in Revelation the fourth chapter! And you can read about His glorious, radiant, powerful appearance in Revelation 1:12–16! Yes, Christ ascended to heaven. And what is He doing? The book of Hebrews is called the priesthood book. The true Jesus of your Bible is called our great High Priest! Jesus is able to sympathize with our sufferings. Why? Because He suffered in the flesh. He knows pain and He knows betrayal and He knows the temptations we face. How do we know that? Turn again in the book of Hebrews to chapter 4 and verse 15. My friends, you have a great High Priest in heaven who knows you and intercedes for you. Listen to this in Hebrews 4:14:
“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.”
Listen to this encouraging scripture. Hebrews 7:24:
“But He [Christ as our Great High Priest], because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. Therefore [Listen to this] He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:24–25).
Yes, the true Jesus of your Bible ever lives to intercede for you and your sins and your problems, and He is doing a Work on this earth right now, preparing the way for His Second Coming! He commissioned His Church to preach the gospel. You’ve been hearing that gospel on this program, my friends—the same gospel Jesus preached, the gospel of the coming Kingdom of God. Just read about that in Mark 1:14 and 15. Jesus also prophesied that the gospel would be preached at the end of the age;
“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14).
The true Jesus of your Bible actively guides His true servants in fulfilling the great commission. As He promised in the last verse of Matthew 28,
“… lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).
My friends, you need to study your Bible and prove which Jesus is the true Christ!
Doubting Thomas exclaimed that Jesus was “my Lord and my God” (John 20:28). The book of Hebrews reveals that Jesus is our “great High Priest” (Hebrews 4:14). He is called “King of kings and Lord of lords” in Revelation 19:16. In Isaiah 9:6, the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth is called “Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Remember how John the Baptist described Jesus. John told the crowds that followed him, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).
Jesus is also “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). He is the “resurrection and the life” (John 11:25). My friends, you can research in Bible dictionaries and commentaries and find many more wonderful titles and names for the Jesus of your Bible. Now, let’s look at one final description in John the fourth chapter. Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well information only the Messiah could tell her. Then, she told the whole community about Jesus. They urged Jesus to stay with them. After they listened to Jesus, they came to the conclusion and the reality the world will soon know. John 4:42:
“Then they said to the woman, ‘Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.’”
My friends, who is Jesus? He is the Savior of the world. And as it tells us in Acts 4:12:
“… there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
The Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, is alive! He is now preparing to return to this earth as King of kings and Lord of lords. That same Jesus wants to be your best friend.
My friends, we all should pray as Jesus taught us in Matthew 6:10,
“Your Kingdom come.”
The Kingdom of God is coming to this earth. The King of kings, the Prince of peace, will transform this carnal, selfish, warring world into a millennium of peace and prosperity. That’s the good news of the gospel. But will you be ready? Remember, Jesus said,
“He who believes and is baptized will be saved…” (Mark 16:16).
My friends, if you’ve studied biblical baptism, and if you’ve come to the place in your life where you have repented and have accepted Christ’s sacrifice, His shed blood for the remission of your sins, and if you have accepted His authority over your life, we invite you to counsel with one of our ministers. We have representatives in many regions around the world.
Thank you for watching! Remember to subscribe so you don’t miss another Tomorrow’s World video, and if you would like a copy of our booklet What Is A True Christian? for free, click the link in the description. See you next time.
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