BEING A GOOD FRIEND
Scripture: 1 Samuel 18:1–4, 20:11–42; Proverbs 17:17; Ecclesiastes 4:9; John 15:12–17
Memory verse: John 15:13
"Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends."
Tell the students that being friendly is a very important way to witness. We may talk a lot about God. However, if we never show God’s love by our actions, people will not believe what we are saying. God wants us to draw others to Him like a magnet draws objects to itself. When we are friendly and truly care about others, this can be done.
Hearing God’s Word
Ask the students to listen for qualities of friendship demonstrated in the relationship in this lesson.
Ask: “What would be a good definition of the word friend? (Write the students’ suggestions on the chalkboard.)
The dictionary defines a friend as “one attached to another by affection or esteem.” The Bible gives a definition of the word friend also. What does the Bible say? (Ask someone to read Proverbs 17:17.)
Ask: “What does this verse mean?” (Allow responses.)
A true friend will not end a friendship even when the other person has hard times. He will keep on loving even though it may not be easy or convenient to love. He will not be a “temporary” friend who turns his back on someone who is in need. Instead, he stands beside his friend, no matter what the circumstances.
God’s Word gives us several examples of true friends.
David and Jonathan are Friends
A good example of friendship is shown in the lives of David and Jonathan.
Ask: “For what is David best remembered?” (Allow responses.)
David killed the Philistine giant Goliath. This was a great victory for Israel. After David’s victory, he began to live at King Saul’s palace. Saul knew David was a courageous soldier and would be valuable to his army.
As time went by, David became friends with Saul’s son Jonathan. In fact, they became like brothers. (Ask a student to read 1 Samuel 18:3.) They promised to be friends for the rest of their lives. How wonderful it is to have a friend you can trust and enjoy all your life!
But not everything was perfect for David and Jonathan. King Saul, Jonathan’s father, later became quite jealous of David. Because David was such a brave soldier, he became very popular with the people. They thought he was a hero. Saul was afraid the people would begin to like David more than they liked him. This made King Saul angry. In fact, he became so jealous that on two occasions he tried to kill David with his spear. David had to run away from Saul. But Jonathan was never jealous of David. He remained David’s friend. He tried to help David in every way he could.
Ask: “What do you think Jonathan saw in David that made him want his friendship?” (Allow responses.)
Qualities of a True Friendship
Jonathan was the king’s son. That meant he had wealth and respect because of his position. David was a shepherd boy. His life was much different from that of a king’s son. Do you think it mattered to Jonathan and David that their families were so different? Most likely it did not.
Each young man probably saw in the other personal qualities, such as honesty, unselfishness, and kindness that made them want to be friends with each other. People who choose friends because of popularity, athletic ability, good looks, or money are often disappointed. The friendships may not last. But David and Jonathan’s friendship was not based on temporary qualities, it was based on important, lasting qualities. They really cared about what happened to each other.
But what would David and Jonathan do now that Saul hated David? David and Jonathan thought of a plan. (Ask volunteers to read 1 Samuel 20:18-22.) David went out into the field and waited for Jonathan to arrive and give the secret signal.
Ask: “What was the signal?” (Allow responses.)
David probably had high hopes that Jonathan would bring good news. But that was not to be. Saul would not be satisfied until David was dead. Jonathan gave the signal, and David knew it was time to run to the hills for safety.
David and Jonathan had no choice but to part for a while. That often happens today. Friends must move across town or across the country. Sometimes a friend might even die. For reasons the friends cannot control, earthly friendships are sometimes not permanent.
Our Greatest Friend
There is one friend everyone can have who will never have to leave us. Jesus is that friend. He has promised never to leave us nor forsake us. He said He would always be with us—even to the end of time. That’s a permanent friendship!
The Bible says the greatest proof of love is for one person to give his life for another. Most friends never have to go to that extreme. Jonathan risked his life to warn David, but Jesus actually died for us. This is the greatest act of love ever shown to man. Our memory verse tells us this. (Repeat the memory verse several times.) Even when we didn’t want to be friends with Jesus, He is our friend. He loved us enough to die for us.
Who are Jesus’ friends? (Ask a student to read John 15:14.) Jesus’ friends are those who keep His commandments. Everyone who has asked Jesus into his heart and is trying to live for Him each day is Jesus’ friend. You don’t have to impress Jesus by having a lot of money or by being popular. Jesus loves you exactly as you are. He wants to be your friend so much He died on the cross for your sins. He took the punishment your sins deserve.
Are You A True Friend?
A true friend respects his friend’s feelings and doesn’t make fun of him or try to get him to do something wrong. That’s why it is important to have other Christians as your closest friends. True friends encourage one another and help each other stay close to God. (Ask a student to read Ecclesiastes 4:9, 10.)
Listen to the following situation. See if Rebecca had the right idea about friendship.
Rebecca went to church quite often. She tried hard to be friendly to others. She became very popular at school because everyone liked her happy attitude. Rebecca enjoyed this popularity and started to spend more and more time with friends who weren’t Christians and didn’t go to church. When they told bad jokes or used bad language, she did nothing. When they were unkind to others and did bad things, she said nothing. In fact, as time went on she started doing those things too. After all, she wanted to fit in. Besides, she had heard in church that it was important to be friendly.
Ask: “Did Rebecca have the right idea about friendliness? Why or why not?” (Allow responses.)
It is true that Rebecca should be nice to others. Jesus was kind to everyone. In fact, He was called a friend of sinners. But Jesus never compromised His relationship with God in order to be popular. People followed after Jesus because there was something different about Him.
It isn’t wrong to be nice to others. But it is wrong to let others influence us to do wrong and drift away from what is right. Rebecca let her earthly friends become more important to her than Jesus. Her witness for Jesus ended right there. They would not believe Jesus could make a difference in their lives because they didn’t see a difference in Rebecca’s life.
Have you chosen to be friends with Jesus? Are you developing your friendship by talking to Him and reading His Word? Are you choosing to have good friends who love and serve God? Are others drawn to you because of your close relationship with Jesus?
Accepting God’s Word
Begin by saying that everyone should desire to have friends. Jesus offers us His friendship and He is the best friend we could ever have. His love for us is truly great. He also offers forgiveness for sin.
Briefly explain the ABC’s of salvation. Admit your sin; Believe Jesus is God’s Son who died for sin; Confess your sin and ask Jesus for forgiveness. Ask if any would like to invite Jesus to be their best friend and Saviour. Pray individually with each student who responds.
Presenting the Gospel
The Beja consider the Tigre to be their relatives, with language the only difference between them. Tigre men marry Beja women. However, when a Beja man marries his first wife, she must be a close relative, such as a cousin. Beja claim to be following the example of the biblical Adam’s family in the observance of this cultural trait. Many of them take the names Adam and Eve.
The government has established new settlements near the Barka River in Eritrea, and approximately 50 percent of the nomadic Beja take advantage of the opportunity for schools, clinics and farming tools.
The move to settlements, the war with Ethiopia, and the drive for commerce and education have brought definite change to Beja culture and provides fertile soil for presenting the gospel to the purest Islamic tribe in the Horn of Africa.. This becomes evident as youth say, “Islam is for the elderly.”
May God be gracious to the Beja people who need to be introduced to Jesus, the Saviour.
REMEMBER TO PRAY
Pray for a Beja Messenger
1. God to speak to Christian young people about going as a messenger to the Beja,
2. God's chosen youth to prepare their heart, soul, mind and body for the task,
3. God to open the door of opportunity for them.
"You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you...." (Luke 24:48–49).
Study 4 | Jesus is Worthy/Witnessing | africaatts.org/go-teach