Sermons

Summary: There is a great need today for friends. Friends who are trustworthy, available, and genuine. May God grant us the grace to be such a friend.

BEING A REAL FRIEND

© 2001, Dr. Roy Mason

But I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, so that I also may be encouraged when I learn of your condition. For I have no one {else} of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare. For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus.

Phil 2:19-21 NASB

Who is your best friend? Most of us talk about our friends as people we have a casual, long-term relationship with. Maybe it is a co-worker, a golfing buddy, or people from our past. Friends, or so we think, are people who come together for times of food, fun, and fellowship. However, most of these folk are more of acquaintances that true friends.

Someone has said, “You’re lucky if you have five (5) real friends in your lifetime.” I think he was right. In the Bible there are several words translated friend in the Old Testament. The most prominent one is rea (ray’ah), which really means an associate with whom we have a “reciprocal relationship”. In the New Testament the Greek word philos is the word most often used for friends. It carries with it a term of endearment in comradeship. It is primarily an adjective meaning loved dearly, but it often was used as a noun, implying the actual nature of love and devotion of heart. Inn the truest terms a friend is a person who we love dearly with a love that expects nothing in return. It is the love that only Christ can place inside of us.

The Apostle Paul had such a love for the Christians at Philippi. He prayed for them, thought of them and longed to see them face-to-face. Listen to his words …

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now. {For I am} confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. For it is only right for me to feel this way about you all, because I have you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of grace with me. For God is my witness, how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. -- Phil 1:3-8

Paul had more than a casual relationship with the believers in Philippi. He has more than simple affection. His heart had been knit together with them and they were an integral part of his life and ministry. He had invested in them, not for his own benefit, but because of the love of Christ that controlled him.

By the time we arrive at the text for today (2:19-21) we are reminded that Paul is imprisoned and unable to visit his beloved Philippian brothers, but he hope[s] in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly (v19a). We know that Timothy was a young and trusted colleague and friend of Paul. In v20 Paul tells us something very special about Timothy. For I have no one {else} of kindred spirit… What exactly does this mean? What are the marks of a real friend?

A real friend is Trustworthy

Paul was sure that Timothy was concerned about the welfare of the believers in Philippi. Timothy was one who could be trusted. He had no reason to doubt the heart of this friend. The words used here carry with them the idea of the “same breath” as Paul. He was trustworthy because he cared for the interests of Christ Jesus.

One of the greatest needs in our own personal lives is the fellowship of people we can really trust. Paul had in Timothy a young man who would come alongside him, listen to him, encourage him, and love him no matter the cost. Most people are looking for someone with whom they can be open and honest without fear of reprisal or judgment. While it is true that sometimes our friend will disagree with us and even correct us, we need not fear them, because they are trustworthy.

Recently I heard about a man who had gone through a terrible time of abandonment and loss. Those that he counted as his “best and closest” friends turned their backs on him and forsook him, leaving him lonely and hurt. These were people that he had endured a great many things with in difficult and dangerous walks of life. However, when he needed friendship the most, those that he loved were nowhere to be found.

Paul knew this feeling as well. In one of his letters to (this same) Timothy (2 Tim. 4:16) he wrote:

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F Prichard

commented on Aug 15, 2009

Great Sermon! Keep up the great work!

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