Summary: We do fall or get knocked down at times, don't we? And how wonderful it is when we have a friend who cares enough to lift us up, dust us off, & help us continue on. (Powerpoints Available - #139)
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
(Powerpoints used with this message are available for free. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and request #139.)
A. Sometimes when people are leaving after a church service they say, "Boy, I wish so & so had been here to hear that message." But I don't want you to do that this morning. I want you to take it personally, "How does it apply to me?" not, "How does it apply to someone else?" You see, I'm preaching this morning about "caring about others," & I'm convinced that it is a message needed by us all.
As I prepare sermons I often think of the things I need to hear. So this message is just as much for me as it is for you.
ILL. A youth minister was attending a Special Olympics where handicapped children competed with tremendous dedication & enthusiasm. One event was the 220 yard dash. Contestants lined up at the starting line, & at the signal, started running as fast as they could.
One boy by the name of Andrew quickly took the lead, & was soon about 50 yards ahead of everybody else. As he approached the final turn he looked back & saw that his best friend had fallen & hurt himself on the track.
Andrew stopped & looked at the finish line. Then he looked back at his friend. People were hollering, "Run, Andrew, run!" But he didn't. He went back & got his friend, helped him up, brushed off the cinders. And hand in hand, they crossed the finish line dead last.
But as they did, the people cheered, because there are some things more important than finishing first.
Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 4:9 10, "Two are better than one... If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls & has no one to help him up!"
SUM. We do fall or get knocked down at times, don't we? And how wonderful it is when we have a friend who cares enough to lift us up, dust us off, & help us continue on.
B. Now turn with me to Philippians 2:19 30. In it we'll listen to the apostle Paul because he is such a good example of a tender & compassionate friend.
In fact, someone has noted that there are more than 100 people listed as Paul's friends in the N.T. And one of the reasons Paul had so many friends was because he was such a good friend, himself.
PROP. So as we look at Philippians 2:19 30 this morning, I want us to consider 3 very important lessons.
I. WE NEED TO CULTIVATE A GENUINE INTEREST IN OTHERS
A. The first lesson is that we need to cultivate a genuine interest in others. In vs. 19, Paul says, "I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you."
Now Paul is a missionary, & sometimes missionaries write appeal letters. So it would have been logical for Paul to have written a letter saying, "I'm in prison here at Rome, & the conditions are really bad. I need help, so please take up a special offering & send it to me quickly."
But Paul doesn't do that. Instead, he is concerned about them. So he is sending Timothy to find out how things are going. And he wants so much for the news to be good.
ILL. For a lot of people, Saturday mornings are "check on family" times. Married children call their parents, & parents call their children, & brothers & sisters call each other just to visit & hear about what is happening in each other's lives. And when you hear good news, there's joy all around.
ILL. Lou Gehrig was 1st baseman for the New York Yankees. He died on June 2, 1941, of A.L.S., later called "Lou Gehrig's Disease." The doctors really didn't know how to treat it. So he was in the hospital for a long time as they experimented with different drugs, trying to find one that would work.
Just before he died, Lou Gehrig called his friend, Bob Considine. He said, "Bob, I have great news. The boys in the lab have come up with a new serum, & they're trying it on 10 of us. It seems to be working well on 9 out of 10." Bob Considine asked, "Is it working on you, Lou?"
Lou answered, "Well, no. But 9 out of 10, how do you like those odds?" He was really joyful because 9 out of 10 were being helped.
That kind of attitude is probably why Lou Gehrig is remembered with such fond memories because he was such a good friend.