Good Christian Friends

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, 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. 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), 11 and Jesus who is called Justus. These are my only fellow workers for the kingdom of God who are of the circumcision; they have proved to be a comfort to me. 12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. 13 For I bear him witness that he has a great zeal for you, and those who are in Laodicea, and those in Hierapolis. 14 Luke the beloved physician and Demas greet you. 15 Greet the brethren who are in Laodicea, and Nymphas and the church that is in his house. 16 Now when this epistle is read among you, see that it is read also in the church of the Laodiceans, and that you likewise read the epistle from Laodicea. 17 And say to Archippus, "Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it." 18 This salutation by my own hand—Paul. Remember my chains. Grace be with you. Amen.

 

I.         Tychicus

            A.        A beloved brother

                        1.         Paul understood the relationship true believers have in Jesus Christ.

                        2.         We are all a part of the same family.

                        3.         We are more than people who work together, or are in business together.

                        4.         There is a family bond.

                        5.         We have ths same Father, and we have certain common characteristics.

            B.        Faithful minister

                        1.         Faithful meant “trusty, faithful; used of persons who show themselves faithful in the transaction of business, the execution of commands, or the discharge of official duties:” (from Thayer's Greek Lexicon, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 2000 by Biblesoft)

                        2.         Minister

                                    a.         diakonos

                                    b.         NT:1249 one who executes the commands of another, especially of a master; a sergeant, attendant, minister; universally: of the servant of a king, Matt 22:13; with the genitive of the person served, Matt 20:26; 23:11; Mark 9:35; 10:43 (in which passage it is used figuratively of those who advance others' interests even at the sacrifice of their own); (from Thayer's Greek Lexicon, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 2000 by Biblesoft)

                                    c.         Thayer says the word is derived from two words meaning, "raising dust by hastening"

                                    d.         It is the same word used in Acts 6 to originate the office of deacons.

                                    e.         

            C.        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

                        1.         Fellow servant: we could expect Paul’s closest friend to be servants as he often described himself.

                                    a.         Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God Rom. 1:1

                                    b.         Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: Philippians 1:1 (NKJV)

                                    c.         Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness, Titus 1:1 (NKJV)

                        2.         NT:4889 a fellow-servant; one who serves the same master with another; (from Thayer's Greek Lexicon, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 2000 by Biblesoft)

                        3.         Real friends are not concerned about being a servant.

                        4.         Giving service is the joy of their friendship.

            D.        “know your circumstances and comfort your hearts”

                        1.         Friends are concerned about your circumstances.

                                    a.         This is the difference between a waitress and a fellow church member

                                    b.         The waitress is friendly and polite and seems quite concerned about your meal and service, when in truth she is only minimally concerned about you and once you are gone, her concern is too.

                                    c.         But absence does not end concern for true friends.

                        2.         Friends are also concerned about our concerns.

                                    a.         That is where comfort comes in.

                                    b.         Comfort for the heart of our friends.

                                    c.         As Paul told the Corinthians, “when one weeps all weep, when one rejoices all rejoice with them.”

                                    d.         1 Corinthians 12:26-27 (NKJV)26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. 27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.

                                    e.         Comfort NT:3870 “to encourage, strengthen (i. e. in the language of the A.V., comfort (see Wright, Bible Word-Book, 2 nd edition, under the word)) (in faith, piety, hope):” (from Thayer's Greek Lexicon, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 2000 by Biblesoft)

II.        Onesimus

            A.        A faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will make known to you all things which are happening here.

                        1.         Paul here uses the same words that he used of Tychicus.

                        2.         But what is so amazing about that is that Onesimus was a runaway slave who had stolen from his master before he fled.

                        3.         But in Christ Jesus all those things are gone.

                        4.         One of the amazing stories from the movie End of the Spear is the forgiveness which the families of those slain men displayed.

                        5.         Even though these savages had slain their husbands and fathers yet they went in there and risked their own lives to win them to Jesus and then forgave them of those heinous murders.

III.       Aristarchus

            A.        Aristarchus my fellow-prisoner. — Apparently a Jew, one " of the circumcision." But he is " of Thessalonica," and is first named (in Acts xix. 22) as dragged with Gaius into the theatre in the tumult at Ephesus ; thence he accompanied St. Paul (Acts xx. 4), at any rate as far as Asia, on his journey to Jerusalem. When, after two years' captivity, the Apostle starts from Caesarea on hisvoyage to Rome, Aristarehus is again named by St. Luke as " being with us " (Acts xxvii. 2). From this fact, and from his being called here " my fellow-prisoner " (a name which there seems no adequate reason to consider as metaphorical), it would appear that, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, Aristarchus really shared his captivity. It is certainly not a little curious that in the Epistle to Philemon (verses 23, 24), sent at the same time, it is Epaphras who is called the " fellow-prisoner," while Aristarchus is simply classed among the "fellow-labourers." This variation is interesting to us as one of the characteristic marks of independence and genuineness in the Epistles ; but it can only be ac-counted for by mere conjecture, such as that of their alternately sharing the Apostle's captivity. Ellicott’s NT Commentary

            B.        My fellow prisoner greets you

                        1.         We really do not know much about this except that he may have been a volunteer prisoner with Paul.

                        2.         Whatever the real situation, yet we notice Paul has a fellow.

                        3.         Whether it is a prisoner or some other suffering or even joy, Paul had his fellow.

                        4.         The whole idea of fellowship is companionship with ones fellows.

IV.      Mark the cousin of Barnabas - Welcome him

            A.        Mark was now with Paul and of great use for him.

                        1.         Marcus, sister's son to Barnabas.—The notices of John Mark in the New Testament are full of interest. This is the first notice of him since the day when St. Paul rejected him from his function of " ministration," because on the former journey he had " deserted " them at Perga, and had " not gone with them to the work " (Acts xv. 38). Then he had gone with Barnabas to Cyprus, to take part in an easier work, nearer home and under the kindly guardianship of his uncle. Now the formal charge to the Colossian Church to " receive him "—a kind of " letter of commendation" (2 Cor. iii. 1) —evidently shows that they had known of him as under St. Paul's displeasure, and were now to learn that he had seen reason to restore him to his confidence. In the Epistle to Philemon Mark is named, as, of course (verse 24), among his " fellow-labourers." In St. Paul's last Epistle, written almost with a dying hand (2 Tim. iv. 11), there is a touch of peculiar pathos in the charge which he, left alone in prison with his old companion St. Luke, gives to Timothy to bring Mark, as now being right serviceable for the " ministration," from which he had once rejected him. Evidently St. Paul's old rebuke had done its work, and, if Mark did join him in his last hours, he probably thanked him for nothing so much as for the loving sternness of days gone by. Before this, if (as seems likely) he is the "Marcus, my son" of 1 Pet. v. 13, he was with St. Peter, and must be identified with St. Mark the Evangelist, subsequently, as tradition has it, bishop and martyr at Alexandria. Ellicott’s NT Commentary

            B.        Mark and Paul had had a falling out some years before when Mark, for reasons we do not know had deserted Paul and Barnabas on the first missionary journey.

                        1.         The division was so great that later on when Paul and Barnabas would go on a second journey, Paul refused to take Mark with them again and Paul and Barnabas went their separate ways.

                        2.         But now Paul recommends them to receive Mark if he should come to them.

            C.        What this shows me that friends are not those who have always been 100% with us.

                        1.         We need to be able to overlook differences.

                        2.         We need to be able to subdue pride and extend forgiveness.

                        3.         Some people have not friends for they have run them all off.

                        4.         To have friends we must be a friend.

V.        Jesus who is called Justus. These are my only fellow workers for the kingdom of God who are of the circumcision; they have proved to be a comfort to me.

            A.        If we would have comfort from friends, then we will need to prepare for that.

            B.        It is no wonder that people do not stand with us in our difficult times if we have not stood with them in theirs.

            C.        Many had forsaken Paul.

                        1.         2 Tim 4:9-16 Be diligent to come to me quickly; 10 for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica — Crescens for Galatia, Titus for Dalmatia. 11 Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry. 12 And Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. 13 Bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas when you come — and the books, especially the parchments.
14 Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm. May the Lord repay him according to his works. 15 You also must beware of him, for he has greatly resisted our words.
16 At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them. NKJV

            D.        Can’t you see that even an Apostle as strong as Paul needed friends to stand by him.

Paul finishes the letter with “Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. 13 For I bear him witness that he has a great zeal for you, and those who are in Laodicea, and those in Hierapolis. 14 Luke the beloved physician and Demas greet you. 15 Greet the brethren who are in Laodicea, and Nymphas and the church that is in his house. 16 Now when this epistle is read among you, see that it is read also in the church of the Laodiceans, and that you likewise read the epistle from Laodicea. 17 And say to Archippus, "Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it." 18 This salutation by my own hand——Paul. Remember my chains. Grace be with you. Amen.

Here he mentions Epaphras, Luke, Archippus, Nymphas, and even Demas although unknow to Paul at this time Demas would forsake him, “having loved this present world.” We will not always be able to keep all the friends we make. Some will go far away, while others will just grow far away. But never let it be said that we were the cause.

Let us first know who our real friends are.

Secondly let us make sure they are friends of Jesus. If not let us make it our goal to introduce them to our closest friend.

Thirdly let us invest in them as they invest in us. The benefits will be a blessing to both of us.