Summary: Friendship often means dealing with unpleasantries.

Who Are You? Best Supporting Roles in the Bible Series (Part 4 of 4)

Onesiphorus: A Friend in Chains

(Sermon ideas from Clarence Edward Noble Macartney {1879-1957})

2 Tim. 1:16-18

Mar. 25, 2007 FBC, Chester Mike Fogerson, Pastor


A Bear & two travelers

1 Two men were out elk hunting in Alaska when a huge grizzly jumped out from behind a hill.

a One man, with quick reflexes, climbs a nearby tree to safety.

b The other, more slow/bulky, has no where to go...plays dead

c The bear comes & sniffs, nuzzles around the man’s chest, chin, nose, & ears...left.

2 What did the man say?

a I need to be careful who I keep company with, who when I’m in trouble or danger arises, will desert me or leave me in a lurch.

b Fair-weathered friend

B Paul cherished his friends & often gave a shout-out to them:

1 Mark: bailed on Paul during 2nd missionary journey, got a second chance. Only Luke is with me. Pick up Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for service. 2 Tim 4:11 (NASB)

a Silas: right-hand man on 2nd missionary journey

b Onesimus: The fugitive slave of Philemon, converted by Paul at Rome.

c Epaphroditus: buddy from Philippian church, came to see him in jail at Rome.

d Priscilla & Aquila: friends who risked their lives to help him

e Titus: brought him comforting news about the church at Corinth

f Tychicus (Eph. 6:21, Col. 4:7): carried Paul’s letters to the Ephesians & Colossians.

g Turtius: took down dictation for the letter to the Romans.

h Amplias (Rom. 16:8): Paul describes him as "beloved in the Lord."

i Timothy (1 Cor. 4:17): "my beloved son" & "come before winter & see me in Rome."

j Luke (2 Tim. 4:11): Paul puts an imperishable encomium, "Only Luke is with me."

2 All were good friends, they were on his prayer calendar (& he on theirs), friends & family plan.

a Not all of his friends were faithful.

b The man will our best supporting role today was, but just prior to his entry were two who were not faithful friends.

c You are aware of the fact that all who are in Asia turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes. 2 Tim 1:15 (NASB)

aa All we know is where they were from, the province of Asia.

bb They bailed on Paul when he went to prison

C In contrast to these two friends who bailed on Paul in his time of need, Paul writes glowing words about Onesiphorus.

1 The Lord grant mercy to the house of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains; 17 but when he was in Rome, he eagerly searched for me and found me— 18 the Lord grant to him to find mercy from the Lord on that day—and you know very well what services he rendered at Ephesus. 2 Tim 1:16-18 (NASB)

2 Paul had few friends that were willing to put up with his chains (essence of the text in a sentence).

a Friendship often means dealing with unpleasantries (essence of the sermon in a sentence).

b I pray you’ll ask God for the help to be a friend in chains (objective).

3 What chains are giving you fits in the area of friendship? (Probing question)

a Let’s look at two costs that we must count when we are considering being friends in chains (transitional sentence)

b Pray

I Having a good friendship with others costs us something.

A It was unpopular for Christians of Rome to identify themselves as friends of Paul (many had abandoned him).

1 Our man Onesiphorus didn’t give up or leave his buddy Paul during tough times.

a I can see him with a new robe in one arm, basket of fresh bread, some writing materials, looking all over for Paul.

b Goes to the synagogue, market, magistrate’s office... "he eagerly searched for me."

aa Paul’s letting us know that it wasn’t easy to find him, but Onesiphorus did.

bb Some might have looked once to ease their conscience (many didn’t search at all), but Onesiphorus did & "found me."

2 It wasn’t easy being Paul’s friend at this time.

a Paul was hard to reach, unpopular, despised, reputation dismembered, and in jail.

b A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. Prov 17:17 (NASB)

aa Onesiphorus was a friend in the good times (Ephesus)

bb Onesiphorus was a friend in the bad times, too (Rome)

c It was adversity (or uneasy times) that proved Onesiphorus and Paul’s friendship.

3 (IL) The shadow once said to the body, "Who is a friend like me? I will follow you wherever you go, in sunlight or moonlight."

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