Summary: The value of true friendship includes encouragement, endearment and enjoyment in being the kind of example in the family of God with Jesus as our best Friend since He is our Lord and Savior.
THE VALUES OF TRUE FRIENDSHIP
Proposition: The value of true friendship includes encouragement, endearment and enjoyment in being the kind of example in the family of God with Jesus as our best Friend since He is our Lord and Savior.
Objective: My purpose is to challenge God’s people to not only have friends but to be a friend like Jesus.
Illus: Steve May writes about Glynn Wolfe who died alone in Los Angeles at the age of 88. No one came to claim his body; the city paid to have him buried in an unmarked grave. This is sad, but not unusual. It happens all too often in large cities where people tend to live disenfranchised lives. Glynn’s situation was unique, though, because he was no ordinary man. He held a world record. The Guinness Book listed him as the Most Married Man, with 29 marriages to his credit. This means 29 times he was asked, "Do you take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife...forsaking all others do you pledge yourself only to her, so long as you both shall live?" 29 times Glynn Wolf said, "I do," but it never quite worked out that way. He died leaving behind children, grand-children, great grand-children, a number of living ex-wives, and innumerable ex-in-laws—and still, he died alone. He spent his entire adult life looking for something he apparently never found—and he died alone. Glynn Wolf is an extreme example of how people spend their lives drifting in and out of marriages, in and out of relationships, only to find themselves isolated and alone. Our primary purpose is to love God. When we allow secondary relationships to take Christ’s rightful place in our lives, we become dissatisfied and frustrated. The result is, like Glynn Wolf, we end up isolated and alone. Our success in loving others is dependent upon our willingness to love Christ above all else, with all that we have.
We talk about friendship and toss the word "friend" around rather freely. We are counseled to choose our friends wisely because an alliance with the wrong friends leads to trouble. Today we read some words by the Apostle Paul. He talks about two people that were definitely his friends. Timothy was a young man Paul helped come to Christ. His mother & grandmother were Jewish believers but his father was a Greek. Timothy came to faith & became Paul’s loyal companion. Epaphroditus is a man we only read about in the letter to the Philippians. It seems that Epaphroditus was sent by the church in Philippi to help care for the Apostle Paul. We know that while Epaphroditus was with Paul he became seriously ill. His illness must have lasted for a long period because the Philippians heard about it and had sent word back about their concern for Epaphroditus. We don’t know what was wrong with Epaphroditus but we do know that Paul was concerned about him. Here, Paul said things about these two faithful fellow workers that would assure their warm reception when they arrived. They were great examples of true friendship.
I. A TRUE FRIEND GIVES ENCOURAGEMENT (vvs. 19-20) “That I also may be encouraged”—A genuine labor--A friend is your biggest cheerleader. They praise you and value your victories. They use words to build you up and when they speak you listen.
Illus: Walter Winchell said: "A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out."
1. A commission (v. 19) “I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly”— Paul calls Timothy his "son in the faith" because he had won him to Christ (Acts 16:1-5, 2 Tim. 1:1-6, 1 Cor. 4:15-17). Like Paul, Timothy lived for others, not for self. Timothy was Paul’s helper and representative and had proved himself faithful to the Lord. Timothy’s great use was that, whenever Paul wished for information from some church or wished to send advice of encouragement or rebuke and could not go himself, it was he whom he sent.
2. Comfort (v. 19b) “that I also may be encouraged”--This will happen when he returns from visiting you and tells me of your state. Timothy had been with Paul extensively during his travels and was at the time indicated here performing some valuable service for the apostle. It would have been a genuine sacrifice for Paul to part with him for a journey to Philippi.
3. Compassion (v. 20a) “Í have no one like-minded”-- Paul’s glowing testimony about Timothy was not to introduce his young associate, for he was already well known at Philippi, but to avert possible disappointment that Paul himself could not come at once and indicated that he had the fullest confidence in his younger associate. "No one else like him" is literally "no one of equal soul" (isopsychon). In the light of what follows, it seems best to take the comparison as being between Timothy and Paul’s other available associates.