By Samuel O. Doku (Washington, DC). Bible Study at Amazing Love Church Ministry Int’l is so pragmatic and useful that it has become imperative for me to provide weekly reports on it so that others might benefit from them. In the absence of Senior Pastor Georges Ntemi, Pastor Jean Paul Ntap directed the study on Wednesday, and he focused on the problematic arena of friendship, which generated a lot of interest in the audience.
“How to Choose and Make Good Friends” was the topic Pastor Jean Paul laboriously dissected on Wednesday evening. Using citations from the New Testament and Old Testament, the blessed man of God powerfully proclaimed the benefits, advantages, and blessings inherent in one’s ability and discernment to have good friends who will be there for the individual both in good times and in bad times.
Pastor Jean Paul was compelled to discuss that topic, because this past weekend he had a call from a hermit who was dying, so he called the pastor to come over to his house to pray for him. He noted that the conditions under which the hermit lived were so deplorable and disconcerting that the pastor’s only thought was that probably if the hermit had had a good friend, he would not have ended up in that appalling condition. From that perspective, Pastor Jean Paul resolved to rivet on the importance of friendship during Bible Study.
Wisdom, which simply is the ability and the spirit of discernment to be able to separate what is sacred from what is evil, what is good from what is bad, and what is violent from what is peaceful formed the hub of the blessed man of God’s teaching. In fact, fearing the Lord is the pathway to wisdom.
“In this life, you need somebody. In this life, you cannot live alone; you need somebody you can trust. But, it is important for us to understand how to choose good friends because friends who are evil can infect you with their evil characteristics. As Christians, we need wisdom to select good friends because our purpose in life is to worship God,” stated Pastor Jean Paul.
He noted that the enduring goodness and the eternal glory of God’s love make it crucial for friends to love and trust one another at all times. He quoted Prov. 17: 17, “A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. According to Pastor Jean Paul, ” What Solomon is implying here is that the enduring love of a friend makes him or her eventually to become a sibling who will be there for you when times are difficult. He/she will be with you when times are good and won’t vamoose when times are bad.
In affirmation of the need for an enduring love among friends, the pastor cited Eccles. 4: 9-10, noting, “Two heads are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow; but woe to him who is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.”
The blessed man of God also noted that when God created Adam, He saw that he would need a companion, so He formed Eve out of the ribs of Adam, so having a companion is important in life. Therefore, one’s spouse and children could be one’s good friends.
However, Pastor Jean Paul also stated that sometimes the people who betray, even plot to kill you could be from your own family and those very close to you. After all, Joseph’s own brothers sold him into slavery, and Christ was betrayed by one of his own disciples
Pastor Jean Paul pointed out that one must be strong and courageous to resist bad pieces of advice given by those close to them.
“Be like David and don’t do anything evil to stain your good deeds and block your blessings from God. Based on the advice his friends gave him when King Saul went looking for him in the cave, David could have killed Saul but he refused, telling his friends, he could not kill a man God has anointed,” noted Pastor Jean Paul. (1 Sam. 24).
Quoting Prov. 13: 20, he said, “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise but a companion of fools shall be destroyed,” and Prov. 18: 24 notes, “A man that hath friends must show himself friendly and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.”
“If you have a friend whose ways are of the world, you would become ensnared, but if you have a friend who is good, his goodness can infect you. A bad friend can destroy you, your reputation, your family, and everything you stand for. Be careful of the people you choose to be close to you. People with the spirit of Adam always give excuses. They don’t know how to admit their mistakes and ask for forgiveness. Instead they always find excuses for their errors,“ said Pastor Jean Paul.
On the need to avoid making bad friends, he cited 2 Cor. 6: 14-18, saying, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? . . . .”
Pastor Jean Paul advised the audience to pray to God for a discerning spirit so that they would be able to choose people who are good as friends. To a question as to the criteria for choosing friends who would eventually be loyal and trustworthy, a member of the audience responded that the most important criterium in addition to prayer must be trust.
“Trust is very important in friendship. If there is no trust, then the two are just acquaintances,” said Ms. Delores Cox. Deaconess Sandrine Tankeu added: “True friendship is rare. You must be willing and be ready to trust each other to attain the level of a true friendship. Loyalty, sharing, and kindness must be important components of the friendship.”
The next Bible Study will be on Wednesday, June 7 in the sanctuary.