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Indispensable Friends — Acts 10.24

How much do you care for your friends? You probably enjoy spending time with them, engage in recreational activities with them, perhaps even buy gifts for them. But if you are a Christian, can you say you have been a true friend?

Cornelius is an example of how a true friend cares for his companions.

At the customary hour for prayer (3 p.m.), an angel appeared to Cornelius instructing him to send for a preacher named Peter, who would teach Cornelius the Christian way (Acts 10.1-23). The man promptly obeyed.

As he “waited anxiously” [1] for Peter to arrive, Cornelius decided that he could not keep such a momentous occasion to himself. So he summoned not only “his relatives” but also his “close friends” to the meeting (Acts 10.24).

The term “close” (NKJV) is thought-provoking. It denotes that which is “necessary” or essential (1 Cor. 12.22). Here we have insight into Cornelius’ social life. His group of friends were so precious to him that he simply could not live without them. They were indispensable to his well-being and happiness.

In light of that relationship, two desires sprang out of his heart.

First, he wanted them to share in the gospel with him. How could he withhold from them the revelation of the message of God and still call himself their friend?

Second, he wanted to be able to “receive” his “friends” “into an everlasting home” (Lk. 16.9). He was determined to spend eternity in bliss with these people.

Do you have any friends that you simply cannot imagine life without? If so, can you imagine eternity without them?

True, God is the only one whose friendship is sufficient to guarantee our eternal happiness. I may have all the world for friends, but if God is not one of them, I have nothing. On the other hand, even if I should become friendless in this world, if God is on my side, I have more than enough in the way of friendship to sustain me.

Nevertheless, if you have a necessary friend — one so “close” it would take extreme measures to separate you — especially one who is need of being “saved” (Acts 11.14), then should you not, like Cornelius, summon them to a Christian meeting so they can hear the message of the cross?

Personally, I am grateful to have had a friend who was willing to risk losing me as friend (by me potentially being offended by his faith) for the sake of gaining me as a brother.

“He who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty” (Job 6.14, ESV).

End Notes

[1] prosdokao—to wait with an expectant or ‘watchful’ mindset; see NET.



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