Sermons

Summary: The gaining of friends depends upon the ability of a person to demonstrate friendliness toward others. Anyone who is a friend himself will always meet others who are eager to return his kindness and interest.

11-7-05

Title: Transforming Friendships

Text: “Tychicus, a beloved brother, faithful minister, and fellow servant in the Lord, will tell you all the news about me. I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that he may know your circumstances and comfort your hearts,” (Colossians 4:7-8)

Bible Reading: Colossians 4:7-18

Introduction

Some of our most meaningful relationships are those we have with friends. We can recall with warmhearted feelings the hours we have spent together and the joys, sorrows, and experiences we have shared. The Bible speaks highly of friendships. For instance, it says in Proverbs 18:24: “A man that has friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother” (Prov. 18:24). A contrast is being made here between those who are friendly only in a social way, and the true friend who stands with you at the most awful times.

The gaining of friends depends upon the ability of a person to demonstrate friendliness toward others. Anyone who is a friend himself will always meet others who are eager to return his kindness and interest. Friends, however, will often desert or fail you just when you need them the most. But, when it happens, it should not lead to have misgivings about others, for there are true friends whose commitments will never waiver.

I ran across this quote by an anonymous author: “The best way to destroy an enemy is to change him into a friend.” Have you ever done that? I have!! The true friend is rare, and his devotion even surpasses that of a brother by birth.

There is a little poem that I found that describes a true friend.

A faithful friend is a strong protection;

A man who has found one has found a treasure.

A faithful friend is beyond price,

And his value cannot be weighed.

A faithful friend is a life-giving medicine,

Those who fear the Lord will find it.

Friendships help to make life beautiful and enjoyable. Elizabeth Barrett Browning once asked novelist Charles Kingsly the secret of his life. He thought for a moment, and then replied, “I had a friend.” One of the most important things we can do in life is to make friends and cultivate lasting friendships. When we come to the last Chapter of the letter to the Colossians, we meet a whole host of Paul’s friends who were with him in Rome back there in the first century. They walked down the Roman roads, lived in Roman cities, and were under Roman rule. They were in the midst of paganism, but they were God’s children. Remember, Paul was a prisoner, and it was probably highly dangerous to be his friend. But these men chose to demonstrate their friendship and loyalty to Paul by staying with him. Some of these names we can identify immediately—Mark and Luke for instance—but others are not so familiar. In these names and references we find a great message: the message of transforming friendships. Now, I want to read our scripture for today’s lesson; Colossians 4:7-18.

7 Tychicus, a beloved brother, faithful minister, and fellow servant in the Lord, will tell you all the news about me.

8 I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that he may know your circumstances and comfort your hearts,

“Tychicus” was the pastor of the church at Ephesus. He is mentioned in Ephesians, Acts and 2 Timothy. He was a wonderful brother in the Lord. Paul says here that he sent Tychicus to them for a purpose. In fact, he has a twofold purpose in sending Tychicus: first, so that he might know your situation, and second so that you might know his situation. That way they can comfort each other and give each other encouragement. Verse 9 says--

9 with Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will make known to you all things which are happening

here.

“Onesimus” was a slave of Philemon in Colossi. He had run away from his master, had been led to the Lord through the ministry of Paul, and was now being sent back to his master by Paul. Paul wrote a letter to Philemon when he sent Onisimus back, and he tells Philemon that Onisimus is his “beloved brother.” You can see from this that in the case of Onisimus there is a new relationship in Christ. In the next verse we are told about a man named Aristarchus and two others who were important in Paul’s life.

10 Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, with Mark the cousin of Barnabas (about whom you received instructions: if he comes to you, welcome him),

Aristarchus was a fellow prisoner with Paul, and he was his friend. Mark is John Mark, the nephew of Barnabas—the son of his sister. He is the writer of the gospel of Mark. You may remember that Mark left Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey, and because of this Paul didn’t want to take him along on his second missionary journey. But Paul was wrong in his judgment of John Mark. The boy made good and Paul acknowledges that here. Paul gives the Colossians instructions, “Don’t reject him like I did. You folks receive him.” Paul mentions John Mark again in his second letter to Timothy: “…Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry” (2 Tim. 4:11). The next verse says that Paul wants to see someone else—

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