Real Friends Series

6 weeks helping students reframe what a good friend is and how to be one.


6 weeks helping students reframe what a good friend is and how to be one. Friendships are some of the most important relationships we can have, and yet many of us sort of stumble into friendships incidentally. And while our friends may come in all kinds of shapes and sizes and personality types, there are some objective characteristics of a good friend. We’re going to walk through them over the next six weeks.

Video Messages Included

Week 1 (Matthew 5:33-37 NIV)

Intro: Most of us accrue friends by proximity more so than intentional choice. The problem with this is that when we aren’t intentional about who our friends are, we open ourselves up to a lot of conflict and pain because some of those people might not be good friends.

Truth: One sign that someone isn’t a “real friend” is that they constantly preface their stories with “I swear this is real.” It might seem like a small thing, but Jesus was clear that our yes should just be yes and our no simply no. Anything else signals that lying is a norm and should be expected. God models that for us in the gospel, and we should aspire to have friendships where that’s modeled to one another.

The Point: Real friends mean what they say.

Week 2 (Matthew 5:43-48 NIV)

Intro: When we don’t really know what love is, it creates problems for us. Since friendship really does center around love, it’s something we should probably figure out.

Truth: In Jesus’ day, the Jews were known for choosing who they would and wouldn’t show love to. Jesus changed the game when, through a parable, He told them (and us) that we’re to love our neighbor, and our neighbor is everyone we encounter. This is how God loved us in the gospel, so let’s reflect that in our interactions and especially our friendships.

The Point: Real friends show love instead of preference.

Week 3 (Matthew 6:5-13 NIV)

Intro: A lot of us, when we pray, have the tendency to be more focused on what other people are thinking than who it is we’re talking to. We’re trying to impress.

Truth: But when Jesus walked His disciples through the perfect model for prayer, He pretty intentionally told them to focus more on who God is than what other people are thinking. Don’t use your spirituality as a tool to impress your friends. If you’re going to pray, pray—to God.

The Point: Real friends pray for and with each other.

Week 4 (Matthew 7:1-5 NIV)

Intro: Oftentimes friendships come undone because one person points out the flaws of the other without recognizing their own.

Truth: That’s probably why Jesus spent time in His Sermon on the Mount exhorting the people present to be quicker to pay attention to and actively work on their flaws, and slower to point out the flaws of others. It can be painful, but it sets a much healthier dynamic in our friendships when we check ourselves first.

The Point: Real friends admit their faults.

Week 5 (Matthew 7:7-12 CSB)

Intro: When we think “friendship rules,” most of us probably pretty quickly think about the Golden Rule. But there are two reasons our view of the Golden Rule might be problematic.

Truth: One is that usually our wants trump our needs. So rather than giving our friends what they might need, we only give them what they want. The second reason our view might be problematic is that we aren’t taking in the full context of what Jesus meant. Our treatment of others is meant to be tied to who our God is, not simply what the other person wants or what we might want in a similar situation.

The Point: Real friends do what you need.

Week 6 (Matthew 7:13-14 NIV)

Intro: : Most of us hate the thought of being an outcast, and that leads us to compromise on things that are actually important to us. Truth: But Jesus was clear that there’s really only one way to true life, and that’s His. Being poor in spirit means being full of less of ourselves and more of Him. It means showing others grace and kindness without compromising on the things that matter to God. And when we live this way, it produces good fruit.

The Point: Real friends know they’re poor in spirit.