Sermon Series: BFF

Title: Sermon Series: BFF
Category: Preaching
Subject: Sermon Ideas

My BFF

Sermon Idea – or – Sermon Series Idea

Dr. J. Mike Minnix, Editor, SermonCity - www.sermoncity.com

This article is written to offer a simple idea for preaching a sermon, or developing a sermon series, on the subject of Jesus as our Friend. Following the points offered below, you will find suggested songs (hymns), poems, and illustrations that might aid in the process of preaching on this subject.

Everyone using a digital communication device understands that BFF means, “Best Favorite Friend” or "Best Friends Forever." Note what Jesus said, as recorded in John 15:15-17: “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. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. These things I command you, that you love one another.” (NKJV)

We read in James 2:23, “And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.’ And he was called the friend of God.” (NKJV)

Amazing? Yes! Jesus called those who trust and believe in Him “Friends.” Those of us who experience the new birth are “friends” of Jesus! I can say without a doubt, that Jesus is my BFF. Let’s consider some reasons that Jesus is the BFF of all those who have received Him as Savior and Lord.

1. My BFF laid down His life for me

John 15:13-14 “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends.” (NKJV)

We read or hear on the news about a soldier who falls on a hand grenade to save a fellow soldier, or about a medic who runs into harm’s way to save a wounded Marine, only to be shot to death in the process. Such sacrifice moves us and inspires us. The greatest sacrifice every made was that which Jesus provided at Calvary for us. He laid down His life that we might live.

We read in Isaiah 53:3-7:

3 He is despised and rejected by men,

A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.

And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;

He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

4 Surely He has borne our griefs

And carried our sorrows;

Yet we esteemed Him stricken,

Smitten by God, and afflicted.

5 But He was wounded for our transgressions,

He was bruised for our iniquities;

The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,

And by His stripes we are healed.

6 All we like sheep have gone astray;

We have turned, every one, to his own way;

And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted,

Yet He opened not His mouth;

He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,

And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,

So He opened not His mouth. (NKJV)

No wonder the songwriter penned, “What A Friend We Have In Jesus.” 

2. My BFF tells me the truth about myself

Earthly friends may tell you only what you wish to hear, but Jesus tells you the truth. Jesus spoke clearly to His disciples concerning their slowness in hearing Him and their lack of faith in trusting Him. He was never cruel to them, but He did not simply try to make them feel better by lying to them.

3. My BFF wants what is best for me

In Romans 8:34-35 we read, “Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.” (NKJV)

Jesus intercedes for us with the Father. He is continually on my side, seeking to bring out the best in me and desiring the best for me. 

4. My BFF is always available – Day or Night – Holidays and Weekends

Note in Romans 8:34-35 that Jesus, through His Spirit, continually intercedes for us. He will hear us when we call upon Him. He never has a busy signal. Of course, this does not mean that He is an errand boy, or a glorified Santa Claus. He is Lord. But, he loves us, has saved us and will hear us when we call upon Him.

5. My BFF will never desert me or leave me

Romans 8:28-39 reminds us that nothing can separate us from our Lord. Again and again in the Scripture we read the promise that He will never leave us nor forsake us.

6. My BFF has a home for me when this life is over

John 14:1-6 reminds us that Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us so we can be where He is. If you lose your home, perhaps a family member will take you in. A friend my accept you in his or her home for a time. But, Jesus promised us a “forever” home with Him – one that He purchased with His death at Calvary - one that is insured through His resurrection from the dead. A home that He guarantees with the deposit of His Spirit.

7. My BFF cannot love me more and will never love me less

Nothing can separate me from the love that is in Christ Jesus. He will never love me less. Some people can call you “friend,” but they will stop loving you if you fail in some way. Jesus never ceases to love His own. He may discipline us (Hebrews 12:1-11), but He will never desert us or cease to love us.

Friend Illustrations

I Feel Better Now

Each year I attended Gardner Webb University (GWC back then), all students gathered at the start of the year for orientation. The President of the college spoke to us about expectations, the dean spoke to us about rules and a professor was chosen to bring a devotion.

I think it was my junior year, and I took my seat in alphabetical order among the students for the orientation. A young woman was seated next to me and I noticed that she was crying very softly. I was a pastor, and had been for 3 years, and my natural pastoral instinct caused me to ask her if I could pray for her. She turned to me and explained her situation. She was a freshman student from New Jersey. She had never been away from home and didn’t have a single friend on the campus. She was feeling lonely and homesick. She continued by telling me that her tears were brought on by the hymn being played on the organ as we waited for the speakers to begin. I listened a moment and realized that the organist was playing, “What A Friend We Have In Jesus.” The young freshman student said, “I was feeling all alone, without a friend in the world. But, when I heard that hymn I was reminded that I have a Friend who will never leave me. That is why I have tears in my eyes. They are tears of joy.”

I never forgot that day in college all those years ago. Wherever we are, whatever we are doing, however alone we may feel, the Christian always has a Friend closer than a brother. (Dr. J. Mike Minnix from a personal experience)

Friendship

A Middle School English teacher asked her class one day to write imaginative definitions of a friend. One student said, "A friend is a pair of open arms in a society of armless people." Another said, "A friend is a warm bedroll on a cold and frosty night." Others said: "A friend is a lively polka in the midst of a dreary musical concert." (What? No rock 'n' roll?) "A friend is a mug of hot coffee on a damp, cloudy day." "A friend is a beautiful orchard in the middle of the desert." "A friend is a stiff drink when you've just had a terrible shock." (How does a middle schooler know that?) "A friend is a hot bath after you have walked 20 miles on a dusty road."(1) Lovely thoughts. Mark Twain said, "The holy passion of friendship is of so sweet and steady and loyal and enduring a nature that it will last through a whole lifetime if not asked to lend money!" Friendship... Friendship is clearly a wonderful thing.

A rare thing too. Last year The Clergy Journal shared disturbing information about making friends: 60% of men over 30 cannot identify a single person they would call a close friend. Of the 40% who list friends, most were made during childhood or school years. Most women can identify 5 or 6 women whom they call close friends. A closer look shows that a lot of these were functional relationships. Friendship is not easy to develop. (Dr. David E. Leininger -http://www.lectionary.org/Sermons/Lein/John/John_15.9-17_JesusFriend.htm)

Friendship Definition Contest

A British publication once offered a prize for the best definition of a friend. Among the thousands of answers received were the following:
"One who multiplies joys, divides grief, and whose honesty is inviolable."
"One who understands our silence."
"A volume of sympathy bound in cloth."
"A watch that beats true for all time and never runs down."
The winning definition read: "A friend is the one who comes in when the whole world has gone out." (Bits & Pieces, July, 1991)

A Friend Warns

A friend is one who warns you. (An Old Jewish Proverb)

A Boy Describes Friendship

A small boy defined a friend as "Someone who knows all about you and likes you just the same." (Unknown)

Friends and Relatives

"Good friends are God's apology for some of the relatives He gave us." (Reminisce Extra, Collector's Edition 1995)

A Tree That Looked Like Snow

There is an old story that bears repeating. It is a story that reminds us the love of God and the friendship we have in Jesus. There was a preacher sitting across the aisle from a young man on a train. He could see the boy was troubled. He went over and said, “Son, I’m a minister. I don’t want to pry, but do you have a problem?”

The boy said, “Yes, sir. Many years ago, I had a fight with my parents. I left home and slammed the door behind me. I said I would never come back.” He said, “I have received word that my daddy is sick, and I don’t want him to die without apologizing to him and asking his forgiveness.” He continued, “These tracks run close to my house, and out by the tracks is a large tree. I told them if they would let me come home, to tie a handkerchief on that tree. If I don’t see it, I will know to keep riding.”

The preacher said, “You pray, and I’ll look.” And the old preacher in his heart said, “O God, let there be a handkerchief on that tree.” The train came around a curve, and he said, “Son, look!” That old couple had gotten every handkerchief, every towel, and every bed sheet that was white and put them in that tree. It looked like a tree covered in pure, white snow!

Walking In The Dark

It is reported that Helen Keller once said, “Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.” 

Bear Bait?

Two adventurous teenage boys who were good friends were out spelunking (exploring caves) when they found what appeared to be huge bear tracks deep inside a long, cavernous tunnel. They bravely decided to keep going, but they moved ahead slowly and with extreme caution, keeping their eyes and ears open in case they actually encountered a bear.

Suddenly, from the darkness behind a rock jumped the biggest, meanest-looking grizzly bear they had ever seen. Standing squarely in front of them, the bear beat on his chest and roared like a lion, sending a terrible sound echoing off the walls of the cave. Scared to death, the two boys decided they had better run for their lives. They immediately turned to make a dash for daylight.

Just then, one of the boys dropped to the floor and started untying his hiking boots. He whipped the boots off, jammed on his running shoes, and began tying the laces.

His exasperated friend yelled at him, "Come on, man! Let's get out of here! Why in the world are you changing shoes? We don't have much of a chance of outrunning that bear anyway!" Lunging to his feet and starting to run, the first boy replied, "I don't have to outrun the bear. All I have to do is outrun you."

Do you ever feel like your friends treat you like bear bait? When the going gets rough, they bail out on you. They remain friends with you until it costs them something-then they ditch you.

One of the great things about having Christ as your friend is knowing that He will never leave you nor forsake you (see Matt. 28:20 and Heb. 13:5). He is the friend who is not only willing to lay down His life for you, but He has done exactly that. "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends" John 15:13). (Hot Illustrations For Youth Talks Wayne Rice, Zonderzan, pp. 26-27)

Friend Hymns

Friend Of God, Israel Houghton and Michael Gungor

What A Friend We Have In Jesus, written as a poem by Joseph M. Scriven

Jesus! What A Friend For Sinners, J. Wilbur Chapman

There’s Not A Friend Like The Lowly Jesus, Johnson Oatman, Jr.

I Have Found a Friend In Jesus, Charles William Fry

Jesus, Friend So Kind And Gentle, Philip E. Gregory

Friend Poems

That’s Jesus, My Friend

Would you have a trusted friend
Who'll stand by you to the end?
Who will be there constantly
Never mind where you may be?
That's Jesus, my friend.

Would you have someone or other,
One much closer than a brother,
A sister or a mother,
One who never minds the bother?
That's Jesus, my friend.

Do you know you're lost in sin?
Would you like to start again?
There's one friend and one alone,
He, who loves and can atone.
That's Jesus, my friend.

Would you like to be forgiven,
Yes, ' til seventy times seven?
Would you have someone so true
Who would die to ransom you?
That's Jesus, my friend.

Would you have the joy that comes
To God's daughters and his son's
And the hope that in him lies,
Who would make the sacrifice?
That's Jesus, my friend.

Do you seek your All-in-All
Who can lift you when you fall
And will hear you as you call,
One who changed the Spoiler, Saul?
That's Jesus, my friend. (Emily Derry)

My Best Friend, Jesus

Jesus my best friend
The Life, Truth and Way
When at my wits end
You've helped save the day

When life had me down
You gave me new hope
When you came around
I learned how to cope

Jesus my teacher
Since I was a youth
Heavenly Preacher
You've taught me The Truth

When lost in the dark
You showed me The Light
You gave me a spark
Made my dark world bright

Jesus my mentor
You've taught me so well
World's best instructor
You saved me from hell

When I sold my soul
You bought it right back
When out of control
You got me on track

Jesus my Savior
My King from above
Changed my behavior
Filled my heart with love

You made me repent
Change my evil ways
An Angel you sent
Your name I must praise

Jesus Redeemer
The True Bread of Life
Relieved this dreamer
Of sorrow and strife

On Mount Calvary
Suffered till the end
Dying just for me
Jesus my best friend (Ronald Doe)

A Friend Forever, Jesus Christ

Though I am down and bear a frown
Because words of sword are always painful
And rejection is always sorrowful.

My human friends called me names.
Words of rejection I earned from them.
But thank God, still I stand...

Jesus came and saved the day.
He removed my sorrows
and gave me laughter...

Thank You Lord Jesus for coming
Without You I'll never be here.
Thanks for Your strength.
Thanks for Your guidance...

To my Friend Forever, Jesus Christ (Obed dela Cruz)

MY FRIEND JESUS

I sought the world to gain my share
I gave of death no thought
Of man nor beast I gave no care
Until The True Report

The word of God till then unknown
I’d failed to comprehend
But then I saw the golden throne
On which sits my true Friend

His loving eyes so full of flame
His body all aglow
I felt so strange so full of shame
Until He said “I know”

My Friend is Christ God’s one true Son
The Lamb who died for me
He’d fought the fight till all was won
Till life was mine for free

My life had been with fear and dread
Walking the devil’s path
Until my Friend and Saviour said
I’ve saved you from the wrath

I’d suffered much, was down and out
Death’s curse and I were one
The devil had me chained to doubt
And to his call I’d run

But Jesus came and broke the chain
My Friend my Lord and King
He gave me hope to live again
And love His praise to sing

For Him I live until I die
Until I rise once more
Until my Friend enthroned on high
Lays open Heaven’s Door (Michael P. Johnson)