Faithlife
Faithlife

Everyone Needs a Friend: Jonathan

Everyone Needs a Friend: Jonathan  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 7 views
Notes & Transcripts

CJ, Commission and Truth
My son CJ is going into 6th grade and he gives me a steady flow of sermon material, so much so that he said to me the other day that he wants to start receiving a commission on all the material he gives me…and he probably does deserve something.
And one of the reasons why his words are so profound is because he tells the truth. Almost to a fault.
Talk Time
One of the things I have told you before is that I try to do something called talk time with my kids. Kids are pretty honest when they are toddlers, but seem to shut down when they are teenagers and stop talking to their parents, so my theory was that if I would just talk to my kids every day, and ask them what is on their heart, that by the time they are teenagers, they would just naturally keep talking to me. Because I tell them they can tell me anything at all. That I won’t judge them, that I won’t love them less if they are bad or more if they are good. Well talk time worked. Almost too well with CJ. For instance…
Because I don’t want to be bald
The other day we were in the car and I was in the driver’s seat and he was in the passenger’s seat, and I could see him out of the corner of my eye looking at me, sizing me up. So I asked, what are you looking at? So loving.
And he said a lot of people say that I look just like you. And then he said, but I don’t see it.
And it didn’t sound much like a compliment and so I said, what do you mean? You would be fortunate to look like me when you get older.
And he said, please don’t take this personally, but I don’t want to look like you because I don’t want to be bald when I grow up.
So he does provide great material.
Car Going to School—Hallelujah Chorus
CJ is going into 6th grade and we are putting him at one of our schools, and for the first time he will not be home schooled but in school six hours a day.
The faint sound of the Hallelujah Chorus you may hear is my wife Melanie singing it…all four parts, simultaneously. So we have been preparing him all summer for this new adventure.
And so the first day of school finally arrived and so we pile into the car…me, Melanie, Mollie, and CJ. They are sitting back there dejected in their uniforms. CJ said, I look like a turtle in my uniform.
Lecturing CJ
And so the whole way to the school I am lecturing CJ about the way he needs to be a model student, he needs to sit still, I told him that his teachers are people too…so I want you to be helpful, and attentive, in fact, I want you to be the best student in the class…I don’t want to hear any complaints from the teachers about you…in fact I want them to tell me that you are the best new student they have ever had. And I was serious.
And while I was giving him his to do list, I was watching him in the rear view mirror and I began to think what he was about to say…and what he said sounds incredibly disrespectful and it probably was, but like I said, he is the kind of child who always tells the truth, for better or worse, so if he is feeling it in his heart, he will say it…and looking back I believe he truly was feeling this in his heart…he said,
Daddy, I don’t think anything you are saying right now is going to help me do what you are telling me to do.
Bringing the Law When Gospel was Needed
And I knew immediately that he had made a true theological statement.
Here he was as a child going to a full day school for the first time, here he was anxious, maybe a bit fearful, apprehensive, there is already the loss of coming out of summer, perhaps even a bit wounded in his heart with a sense of loss of his old home school life, in fact, he hadn’t even sinned when it came to sitting in class, because he wasn’t even at school yet, and here I was bringing the Law to bear on him. I was giving him a list of do this and do that’s. The Law of God is anytime in Scripture we are told to do something or to not do something and the Law of God is good, the Law of God is perfect. But the Law of God doesn’t actually give us any power to do what it says. All I was doing in the car was pointing a mirror up in front of him and showing him how far he has fallen and how hard it will be to succeed. All I was doing was telling him what would be pleasing to us as his parents, and how he could please everyone else.
But the problem was his heart was already softened, it was already a bit wounded, so what he really needed was not the Law, the natural thing that we as parents think our children always need, but he needed the final word of the Gospel.
Gave the Gospel
And so that is what I said, I said there is nothing you can do to make us love you less, you are going to get demerits, you are going to have some struggles, but we love you unconditionally. What he needed me to be in that moment was a Jonathan. And I will tell you what that means later on. He needed a Jonathan, and instead, I was giving him the Law.
Series Re-Cap
This is the last week of our summer series on friendships, and each week we have looked at a different character in Scripture and we have seen that there are certain types of friends that we all need. We all need a mentor like Paul. We all need an encourager like Barnabas. We all need someone who will confront us like Nathan the prophet.
Not Moralism: Only One Hero in Scripture
But one thing we have said again and again and again is that if all we say in the sermons is to be a confronter like Nathan, or be an encourager like Barnabas, or be kind like Anna…we have totally missed the point. The only way that we should be like them or anyone is when they are like Jesus. Because so much of the preaching and teaching in churches today is to point to these characters in Scripture and make them out to be heroes, but the reality is that there is only hero in Scripture and his name is Jesus. The characters in Scripture aren’t heroes, they are broken, weary, sinful people like you and me. God uses broken and weary people because broken and weary people are all that there are. Because these are all types of Christ.
The only hero in Scripture is the one whose name is Jesus. Who lived a law fulfilling life, and died a death defying death, and overcame the power of death by rising up from the grave.
That is why I am so excited about today’s friend, the last friend we are studying, Jonathan. I am excited about him because of Jesus and we will see what I mean as we go.

Everyone Needs a Jonathan

Everyone Needs a Jonathan.
Jonathan’s Story Not Like Movies
Jonathan was the son of King Saul. King Saul was the first King over Israel. Jonathan was the heir to the throne of Israel. He was a mighty warrior. He was also the best friend of King David. So Jonathan is David’s best friend, and David was the one who became king after Saul. So you would think that this would make for a great storyline in a movie…you would think that the story would go that David and Jonathan grow up together and are best friends. Jonathan expects to someday be king, but David eventually turns on his friend and leads a rebellion against him and seizes the throne. That would make more sense. But that is not what happened.
David’s Story
David had already been anointed king secretly by the prophet Samuel. King Saul did what was displeasing to God. King Saul felt threatened by David, so he set out to kill him. He chased him down. You would think that Jonathan would see the handwriting on the wall and join his father’s efforts to eliminate David so Jonathan could be king. The custom was that a new king would have the old king’s relatives killed when he takes the throne. Jonathan would have every reason to help his dad eliminate David…no one would have blamed him, and in fact I bet many, if not all, around him were pressuring him to join his father’s efforts against David. But Jonathan was a true friend to David. Jonathan said to David, I’m not leaving you. I don’t care what happens. I’m staying. I have your back, I have your front, I have both sides.
So this friendship cost Jonathan something. Listen to what his father said to Jonathan after Jonathan made sure that David didn’t walk into a trap that Saul had set for David.
ESV
1 Samuel 20:30 ESV
Then Saul’s anger was kindled against Jonathan, and he said to him, “You son of a perverse, rebellious woman, do I not know that you have chosen the son of Jesse to your own shame, and to the shame of your mother’s nakedness?
Then Saul’s anger was kindled against Jonathan, and he said to him, “You son of a perverse, rebellious woman, do I not know that you have chosen the son of Jesse to your own shame, and to the shame of your mother’s nakedness?
This was a costly friendship. Jonathan was a true friend. A friend who even chose David over his own family, over his own success.
It is hard to boil down a Jonathan to just one big idea. There is so much that goes into a true friendship like this one. But I was searching for that one thing I could leave you with.
-I could tell you that a Jonathan should be reciprocated by you. Jonathan's are never one way. So if you are a taker you won't get the Jonathan. If you sap the energy out of people forget it. They may see you as a project, but not as their Jonathan.
-I could tell you that to have a Jonathan you need to be a Jonathan.
-I could tell you that a person who doesn’t see their major character flaws will rarely have a Jonathan. A back stabber, a person who is always in conflict, a gossip…is going to struggle to find and keep a Jonathan.
-I could tell you that the reason why some don’t have Jonathans is because they once had a Jonathan and they didn’t treasure it enough. How many best friend relationships end in disaster? Why? Because they didn't stay in the David and Jonathan lane. A Jonathan isn't necessarily the one to confront. That runs counter to everything Christians think. We teach that all of us need to be the perfect friend and jack of all trades. We don't.
Trust that another friend will do the confronting while you remain the Jonathan. It is possible to have a friendship that is 100 percent positive and free of conflict for decades. Violating what a Jonathan friendship is even once takes you out of the David Jonathan model, perhaps for good. It's a precious and fragile and other worldly thing and can't be messed with.
-I could tell you that it will be tough to be a Jonathan if you “want” everything from that person. A Jonathan isn't a best friend but a "true" friend.
-I could tell you that you may not even want a Jonathan because of past hurts. "Don't trust anyone."
-You may struggle to find a Jonathan because you aren’t vulnerable. Jonathan and David were vulnerable with one another. Men struggle with vulnerability the most. Jonathan and David weren’t wimps, they were warriors and yet they loved one another. The world can't accept the friendship of David and Jonathan and some say they had to be gay. That’s sad that friendships like this one are so rare among men that the world tries to find an explanation.
But if I sum it up in just one big idea I would say this about a Jonathan:

A Jonathan is a friend who stays.

A Jonathan says I’m not going anywhere. Do you know how precious that is, do you know how rare that is? A Jonathan’s love is unconditional. The problem is that every human love is conditional. There is something all of us can do to a friend to lose that friend. But a Jonathan is unconditional. No one would have blamed Jonathan if he broke off his friendship with David and took his father’s side. I mean that was his father. That was family. Blood is thicker than water. No one would have blamed Jonathan if he had just laid low and not really taken either side, but had certainly not remained true friends with David. Jonathan could have even justified it by saying, look, we need order when my father dies, who knows if David will even be accepted as King, so I am going to lay low and just become King when my father dies. He didn’t do anything of that. He said, I am your true friend, even though there is great personal cost to me, I am not going anywhere.
Binds Himself To You
1 Samuel 18:1–4 ESV
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. And Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father’s house. Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt.
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. And Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father’s house. Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt.
A Jonathan is a friend who not only isn’t going anywhere, but binds himself or herself to you, especially in times of trouble. Jonathan and David’s souls were knit together. That is the most intimate of friendship. They had one soul.

A Jonathan binds himself/herself to you.

Jonathan stayed with David when David was on the run from Saul and when David needed him the most.
Man who Falls into Hole
There is the story of the man who was walking down the street and fell into a hole.
The walls are so steep he can’t get out. So a doctor walks by and the guy yells up, hey you, can you help me out? The doctor writes a prescription throws it down the hole and moves on.
Next a priest walks by. The guy says, Father I am down in this hole can you help me out, the priest writes out a prayer and throws it in the hole and moves on.
But then a friend walks by, and our guy yells up, Joe it’s me, can you help me out.
Joe, the friends jumps down into the hole.
Our guy says, are you crazy, couldn’t you have gotten a rope and been a bit more creative, couldn’t you see how steep the walls are, what were you thinking…now we are both down here!
Joe says, yeah we are, but I have been down here before… and I know the way out.
A Jonathan is a guy who doesn’t write a prayer and toss it down to you when you are in a hole and walk away, a Jonathan isn’t a guy who writes you a prescription, or gives you advice and walks away, a Jonathan is a friend who jumps down in the hole with you because he knows he has been there before and he is going to stay with you for the duration.
When you look at the kind of friend Jonathan was to David it seems inhuman. How could anyone truly be a friend who doesn’t leave, a friend who stays for good, let alone, how could Jonathan be that kind of friend to David, the one who would take his place on the throne. So when a preacher says Everyone Needs a Jonathan and everyone needs to BE a Jonathan, isn’t that by definition idealistic? Isn’t that by definition, impossible? If you are fortunate you may have ONE Jonathan in your life, and even that Jonathan may only stay for a season. But for EVERYONE to have a Jonathan and for everyone to BE a Jonathan?
But ...
John 17:21 ESV
that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
I want to remind you of the verse in , Jesus prayer for our friendships goes far deeper than for us to merely be Jonathans to each other and to have Jonathans…he said I want you to be what? ONE. JUST AS I and my heavenly father are one.
I want to remind you of the verse in , Jesus prayer for our friendships goes far deeper than for us to merely be Jonathans to each other and to have Jonathans…he said I want you to be what? ONE. JUST AS I and my heavenly father are one.
Let me ask you a question…
Is it possible for you to be a Jonathan to someone in your life? To be a Jonathan to two or three people? To be that true friend? To be for all intents and purposes a perfect friend? You are thinking, wait a minute, no one is perfect.
I didn’t say for you to be perfect, I didn’t even say for you to be the perfect friend to everyone in your life, I asked if it is possible to be a perfect friend to one person, or two three people?
Not to Everyone
I am not saying that you are called to be a Jonathan to everyone. Jonathan David friendships are rare. I am not saying that you need to be someone’s best friend…and hang out all the time…there is a difference between a best friend and a true friend like Jonathan. I am not saying you should find someone who is always prone to conflict and pettiness and say I’m going to be your Jonathan. No.
Maybe you need to be their Paul, or their Nathan. So the idea isn’t that Jonathans are just doormats to everyone in their lives. A Jonathan sees God’s calling on their friends’ life and enters into that. That is what Jonathan did. He saw God’s clear calling on David’s life and he became that true friend to David.
I would argue it is. And I am exaggerating to make a point. We are never truly perfect in any relationship or situation because being perfect means doing the exact right thing, for the right reasons, and WANTING to do the right thing for the right reasons, all the time. And none are like that.
But I would argue that from a human perspective, it IS possible to have an, ok, nearly, perfect friend and to be that to another. Just one. Or maybe a few. I would argue that is possible. How do I know that? Because I have had those kinds of friends in life. Some of you, not all of you, some of you, are that to me and you have been for years.
Can you be the kind of friend who is always encouraging to one person in your life. Can you be the kind of friend who is always there for one person, who always stays for one person, who always sees and believes the best for one person. Can you be the kind of person when even when you may feel a conflict with that person, you decide to overlook offenses and be Jonathan?
It is so worth it and so possible.
I Wish I Knew this Years Ago
I wish I knew that everyone needs a Jonathan years ago. I wish I knew that there are certain friendships that are Jonathan David friendships and those friendships are different than the other friendships. Because in a Jonathan/David friendship, you stay in the Jonathan/David lane. Do you know what I mean by that? I feel that of all the friendships we have studied, like in the case of Nathan, you can be a Nathan, someone who exhorts your friend, and be an encourager as well. But I don’t necessarily believe that a Jonathan should also be a Nathan.
Don’t Mess Up a Jonathan/David Friendship
When you have that Jonathan in your life, you guard that relationship with your life. You are careful with your words, with your actions, you don’t allow offenses to turn into full blown conflicts. That’s your Jonathan. And you have to have wisdom in this area, but if your Jonathan is going through a tough patch, and maybe they are even wrong in some of the things they are doing, and that is why it takes great wisdom, maybe, just maybe, you aren’t the person to go confront them. If you have a David and Jonathan friendship, it isn’t worth it. Let someone else confront. Let the Holy Spirit confront. It takes a lot of maturity to understand and discern what I just said, because what I just said could be twisted and abused, but I think those who need to hear it-- heard it.

Jonathan wasn’t only willing to die for David, but he was willing to live for David.

Everyone needs a friend like Jonathan. Jonathan knew David was going to sit on the throne instead of him, but that didn't matter to him. Jonathan would live and die for David, even if it meant opposing his own father.
Do you have a friend like that, the kind that will live and die for you?
To have a friend like that, you must be a friend like that.
Proverbs 18:24 ESV
A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
What does that mean? It means you deny yourself. It means you give of yourself to that person expecting nothing in return. It means you rejoice in their triumphs and mourn over their failures. It means you drop everything when they need you. It means you seek their happiness above your own. It means you bear, and believe, and hope, and endure. It means you forgive, again and again for as long as it takes to get it right.
Friendships like David and Jonathan's don't just happen. They are born out of hardship and struggle, through battles fought together side by side. They are developed over years of faithful, steady, dependable investment in each other. A friendship like this is costly. But once you have it, you would not trade anything for it.
How much did David love Jonathan? When Jonathan wanted to know that David would fulfill his vow to him, he asked him to swear by something he had learned he could always believe in: David's own love for him.
1 Samuel 20:16–17 ESV
And Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, “May the Lord take vengeance on David’s enemies.” And Jonathan made David swear again by his love for him, for he loved him as he loved his own soul.
Charge to Teachers
Charge to Teachers
Do you have a friend like this? Are you a friend like this?
On Saturday morning, I was honored to be the minister at the Memorial Service, for a one-of-a-kind woman, Mrs. Ann Fisher, who was also one of the original teachers of Red Lion Christian Academy.
Jonathan’s Friendship Seems Inhuman
When you look at the kind of friend Jonathan was to David it seems inhuman. How could anyone truly be a friend who doesn’t leave, a friend who stays for good, let alone, how could Jonathan be that kind of friend to David, the one who would take his place on the throne. So when a preacher says Everyone Needs a Jonathan and everyone needs to BE a Jonathan, isn’t that by definition idealistic? Isn’t that by definition, impossible? If you are fortunate you may have ONE Jonathan in your life, and even that Jonathan may only stay for a season. But for EVERYONE to have a Jonathan and for everyone to BE a Jonathan?
But ...
John 17:21 ESV
that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
I want to remind you of the verse in , Jesus prayer for our friendships goes far deeper than for us to merely be Jonathans to each other and to have Jonathans…he said I want you to be what? ONE. JUST AS I and my heavenly father are one.
Charge to Teachers
Let me ask you a question…
Is it possible for you to be a Jonathan to someone in your life? To be a Jonathan to two or three people? To be that true friend? To be for all intents and purposes a perfect friend? You are thinking, wait a minute, no one is perfect.
I didn’t say for you to be perfect, I didn’t even say for you to be the perfect friend to everyone in your life, I asked if it is possible to be a perfect friend to one person, or two three people?
Not to Everyone
I am not saying that you are called to be a Jonathan to everyone. Jonathan David friendships are rare. I am not saying that you need to be someone’s best friend…and hang out all the time…there is a difference between a best friend and a true friend like Jonathan. I am not saying you should find someone who is always prone to conflict and pettiness and say I’m going to be your Jonathan. No.
Maybe you need to be their Paul, or their Nathan. So the idea isn’t that Jonathans are just doormats to everyone in their lives. A Jonathan sees God’s calling on their friends’ life and enters into that. That is what Jonathan did. He saw God’s clear calling on David’s life and he became that true friend to David.
I would argue it is. And I am exaggerating to make a point. We are never truly perfect in any relationship or situation because being perfect means doing the exact right thing, for the right reasons, and WANTING to do the right thing for the right reasons, all the time. And none are like that.
But I would argue that from a human perspective, it IS possible to have an, ok, nearly, perfect friend and to be that to another. Just one. Or maybe a few. I would argue that is possible. How do I know that? Because I have had those kinds of friends in life. Some of you, not all of you, some of you, are that to me and you have been for years.
Can you be the kind of friend who is always encouraging to one person in your life. Can you be the kind of friend who is always there for one person, who always stays for one person, who always sees and believes the best for one person. Can you be the kind of person when even when you may feel a conflict with that person, you decide to overlook offenses and be Jonathan? On Saturday morning, I was honored to be the minister at the Memorial Service, for a one-of-a-kind woman, Mrs. Ann Fisher, who was also one of the original teachers of Red Lion Christian Academy.
Ann Fisher
When I prayed about what I would share at her Memorial Service, I didn't need to "jog my memory," because God had already impressed a lasting memory, of her, on my heart, since the day it happened. The year the school was founded, I was in fourth grade, and Mrs. Ann (Knight) Fisher was my music teacher.
Can you be the perfect friend.
It was recess in 1981, and some of us boys must have been misbehaving, and "Aunt Ann," as my wife calls her, warned us to stop misbehaving. She said we would go to the principal's office if we didn't shape up. Whenever I heard "principal's office," I would immediately be terrorized, and immediately behave, because unfortunately, I had been bullied by an administrator, at another school, when I was in second and third grade. This individual had made me watch, while he paddled another child, and he constantly "stared" threateningly at me. Looking back, he must have carried great burdens to have acted out in that way. Therefore, I had a palpable fear of being paddled, and yet I told no one.
Well, some of the boys kept rough housing, and Aunt Ann finally had enough, and began marching us back to the school building. As we began the long walk, I was filled with terror, as I feared this would be the first time I could be paddled. Perhaps she sensed that fear, because I saw her look at me through the corner of her eye. When we got to the school building, instead of sending me to the principal's office, she smiled and winked at me, put her arm around me, and sent me back to class. I know exactly where we were standing on Red Lion's property, and I can still picture her exact Christ-filled expression. The seemingly little decisions we make in life, such as whether to bring the crushing blow of the Law, or be a fountain of the Gospel of grace, make lasting impressions, and form the faith of others, for better or worse.
Would have crushed me because of family relationship.
Would have crushed me because of family relationship.
RELATED MEDIA
See the rest →
RELATED SERMONS
See the rest →