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Marks of Healthy Relationships - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
April 26, 2023 6:00 am

Marks of Healthy Relationships - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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April 26, 2023 6:00 am

God has designed us to thrive most when we are in community and relationship with others. In the message "Marks of Healthy Relationships," Skip shows you the signs that your relationships are built to last.

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Solomon will write in Ecclesiastes chapter 4, two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor.

And then he even continues and says a cord of three strands is not quickly broken. So that means that the Christian life is a team sport. Christian ministry is a team sport. Serving the Lord is never a personalized endeavor, always a team sport. God has designed us to thrive most when we are in community and relationship with others. And today on Connect with Skip Heitzig, Skip begins his message, Marks of Healthy Relationships, to show you the signs that your relationships are built to last. Thank you for joining us today. Connect with Skip Heitzig exists to connect listeners like you to God's truth, strengthening your walk with him and bringing more people into his family.

That's why these teachings are available to you and so many others on air and online. If they've inspired you to keep living for Jesus, please consider giving a gift today to encourage other listeners like you in the same way. With your gift, you'll enable the ministry to accomplish Skip's vision to make these teachings available on more radio stations in more major cities across the USA. Just call 800-922-1888. That's 800-922-1888. Or visit connectwithskip.com slash donate. That's connectwithskip.com slash donate.

Thank you. Now let's turn to Colossians 4 as Skip starts today's lesson. Would you agree with me that relationships are perhaps life's most challenging experiences that we all to some degree at some point with someone struggle in relating to other people? I remember a Peanuts cartoon that I saw once where Linus said, I love mankind.

It's just the people I can't stand. Sometimes relationships can be like navigating a minefield. There was a husband and wife who got up in the morning, had breakfast. And once the wife got her husband's attention with eye contact, she looked at him and said, I bet you don't remember what today is. He got very defensive.

Of course I do. And he had to get up and go to work. So at 10 o'clock, the doorbell rang and delivered to his wife was 12, a dozen long stemmed roses. A couple hours later, around one o'clock, doorbell rang again, box of chocolates, two pound box of chocolates, foil wrapped chocolates, her favorite kind. Later on that afternoon, a boutique came by with a designer dress for her. So she couldn't wait for her husband to come home in the evening. And when he got home, she met him at the door and she said, sweetheart, first the chocolate, or first the flowers, then the chocolates, and that dress. And she said, I've never had a more wonderful Groundhog's Day in my life.

So he didn't remember what day it was. Now, the theme of the Book of Colossians is always only Jesus, the supremacy or the supreme position of Jesus Christ in our lives. But it's also true that because that is a fact, you want to find other people who believe it's always only Jesus and do life with them. That really is the theme of the rest of the Book of Colossians.

Find people who believe that it's always only Jesus and do life with them. The rest of the letter, if you'll just glance over it, there are 12 verses left. The rest of the letter has a bunch of names in it. See all those names? Not just names, but hard to pronounce names. The names you wouldn't pick if you're looking for a name for a son in your family.

You probably wouldn't pick Onesimus or Tychicus or Aristarchus. I'm just guessing. So because of that, most people ignore this part of the letter. They sort of Skip over it and say, well, this is not the important part. The important part was the doctrinal part. These are just names of Paul's friends here and there.

So what? And they ignore it. Well, I would say, first of all, they were important to Paul who included their names.

And it's at least interesting to find out why that is. Number two, I would say they're important to God, the Holy Spirit, whom we believe inspired the writing of this letter. So we're going to look at not all of these names, but we're going to look at two of these people in verses seven, eight and nine.

But before we do that, let me just make this statement as well. It's pretty obvious that God never wants any of us to do life alone, to be detached, to be disconnected, to be aloof, to be isolated. It's never God's intention. Though on one hand, we are independent beings, we make independent choices, we are independently responsible. At the same time, we are interdependent beings. And that is, we are designed by God to thrive only when we are connected to other people in meaningful ways.

That's how God designed us. We're hard-wired to thrive only when we are connected to other people in meaningful ways. Second chapter of Genesis, God made the declaration, it is not good that man should be alone.

I will make a helper suitable to him. In fact, in the Hebrew, the construction is emphatic. It's actually, not good, not good is man alone. So God designed us to be interdependent beings, to thrive when connected to others in meaningful ways.

That's not just true biblically. We're told that from the scientific community. The scientists tell us that healthy relationships make for healthier, happier, longer lives. You'll have a stronger immune system. You'll be less likely to suffer depression, anxiety, or other types of mental illness.

It will help lower your stress. A Yale University study of 194 heart attack patients discovered those who suffered through the heart attack, but had emotional support were three times more likely to be alive six months after their heart attack than those who had no emotional support at all. To be alive, you need other people to stay alive. Later on, Solomon will write in Ecclesiastes chapter 4, two are better than one because they have a good reward for their labor.

And then he even continues and says, a cord of three strands is not quickly broken. So that means that the Christian life is a team sport. Christian ministry is a team sport. Serving the Lord is never a personalized endeavor, always a team sport. So what I'd like to do in these three verses is show you four qualities of healthy relationships, four qualities of healthy relationships, four marks that will make relationships better, any relationship, but especially within the church. Number one, friendliness.

This is sort of now beginning very broadly, friendliness. Let's read our verses. In verse seven, 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 purpose, that he may know your circumstances and comfort your hearts. With Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother who is one of you, they will make known to you all things which are happening here.

Now we're going to stop there. We're not going to read all the list of names. But what you have here at the end of Colossians is a verbal group photograph. Paul is showing you verbally by naming them his friends who have been with him and offered him help while he has been a prisoner in Rome for two years. There are 11 names altogether in this section, 11 unsung heroes of the New Testament, and the first two, Tychicus and Onesimus, are both referred to as beloved brothers or deeply loved brothers or dearly loved brothers. And Paul does this a lot when he makes reference to people. These are Paul's friends, and what this shows me is that Paul was not just a church planter, not just a soul winner, not just a disciple maker. Paul, the apostle, was a friend maker.

He knew how to make friends and hold onto them for several years. What he does here in naming all these individuals, 11 people, he does also at the end of the book of Romans, the 16th chapter of Romans is largely a list of names. In fact, in that book, there are 26 people by name that he mentions. Twenty-six people and then two others whose names aren't mentioned, but he does make reference to them.

So it brings up a question. How many people at church do you know by name? How many people do you know by name? If you volunteer here, you probably know a lot of people by name. If you belong to a connect group and volunteer here, you probably know a boatload of people by name. If, however, you are a faithful attender, that is, you come weekly, you know people by name, but probably fewer than if you were more engaged.

And if you come sporadically, you know still fewer. What I love about Paul is he never looked at himself as a one-man show. He never saw himself as a one-man band, an isolated saint, but always somebody who made friends for the sake of fruitful ministry. One of my favorite Proverbs is Proverbs 18, verse 24, which simply says, a man who has friends must himself be friendly. A man who has friends must himself be friendly. Now, what does that mean exactly? What it means is that you operate on the basis of supply, not on the basis of need.

You operate on the basis of supply rather than the basis of need. That is, instead of being one who demands attention, you're the kind of person who gives attention to other people. A man who has friends must himself be friendly. You know, most people want friends. Most people would choose to have friends. But this is a person who chooses to be a friend. A man who has friends must himself be friendly. So instead of wallowing around saying, nobody comes up to me and says hi, nobody pays attention to me, why don't you take the initiative to invest your time in being friendly to others? That's how it works.

Somebody has to make the first move. Philippians chapter 2 is helpful. Paul writes, let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind, let each esteem others better than himself.

That's operating on the basis of supply. He continues, let each of you look out, not only for his own interests, but also for the interest of others. Now, when we get to heaven, we're going to meet all these people. But let me just introduce you to two of them today. First is Tychicus. He's mentioned in verse 7. We know very little about Tychicus. He's mentioned five times in the Bible, but whenever he's mentioned, he's mentioned briefly.

We don't know a lot about him, but I can piece a few things together. They give us sort of a little composite picture of who he was. Tychicus pops up at the end of Paul's ministry, his third missionary journey when he is in Ephesus and he's getting ready to leave Ephesus, the name Tychicus pops up. He becomes part of a seven-member team that accompanies Paul the Apostle to Jerusalem. You may remember that Paul wanted to take an offering for the impoverished saints at Jerusalem, and he took the offering from different Gentile churches. Part of the team that went with him was Tychicus. He is mentioned in Acts chapter 20. They travel together to Judea with that love offering. And so he is a close friend of Paul who is still with Paul, now in Rome.

He's been in prison. Paul has been in prison for two years, so Tychicus is with him there in Rome. Second on the list is Onesimus. Onesimus was from Colossae. Look at verse 9. With Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother who is one of you, meaning he is a Colossian. He is from the area of Colossae. Paul led Onesimus to faith in Christ.

I'm going to show you that in just a few minutes. So we know a little bit about Onesimus because his name appears in another book, the book of Philemon. It's a little book, right before Hebrews.

So here's what I'm guessing. I'm guessing that Onesimus was sort of a hard person to get along with because he was a slave of Philemon, but he ran away from home. He ran away from home, and most scholars believe he stole money and then ran away. And he ran so far away that he went from Colossae all the way to Rome. He thought, I'm going to get lost in the crowd.

But he didn't get lost in the crowd. He found a guy by the name of Paul who was a prisoner, and they had conversations. And through those conversations, that prisoner Paul led that slave, that runaway slave, to faith in Christ. So this runaway slave meets a new master named Jesus Christ, and his life is transformed forever.

Now let me just add this to it. If you were a runaway slave anywhere in the Roman Empire, you're walking on thin ice. It's risky business. Because if you were ever caught and found out to be a runaway slave, they would immediately brand you on the forehead.

They'd put a brand on your forehead, a large F, not for failure, but for fugitibus. You're a fugitive from justice. When you got shipped back to your master, you'd be executed, almost just without any kind of trial.

Just you ran away, you're dead meat. So it's very risky, the kind of place that Onesimus is at in his life with Paul. But he is with Paul, and he gets transformed in that relationship, and he gets saved. And I love that. I love these redemption stories. There's a story I read a few years ago about Francis Schaeffer. Some of you, that rings a bell. Francis Schaeffer started a group in Switzerland called La Brie many years ago.

Back in the 50s and 60s, Francis Schaeffer with his wife Edith ran this little chalet in the Swiss Alps where people could come in and live there if they had questions of faith or they couldn't reason through the Christian faith, and he would enter into discussions and resolve the issues. They were on a tight budget, so he said one day there was a girl at La Brie who wanted to bake a cake. And it was, she failed, right?

F on the forehead, but not for fugitivas, but for failure. She failed at making the cake. What she made, what she ended up with, was a batch of goo, useless goo. Typically in a kitchen, when you end up with goo, you throw it away. But again, they're on a tight budget. So Edith Schaeffer sat down with her to figure out what ingredients were in the goo, added a few other ingredients to actually save the goo and make a meal.

And Francis Schaeffer, looking back on it, said they were some of the best tasting noodles I ever had in my life. But that's what God does. God takes a batch of goo and makes a useful servant out of it. That's Onesimus' life story. He is transformed into a servant of Christ and a friend of Paul the Apostle. So friendliness is the first quality of a healthy relationship.

Second, fearlessness, fearlessness. Go to verse 8 and notice that Paul just says, I am sending him to you for this very purpose. So both these men, Tychicus and Onesimus, are about to be sent, dispatched from Rome all the way to Colossae. Now traveling in the ancient world wasn't like traveling today. It was very difficult, very dangerous, especially if you're representing a prisoner and you're on the road. Today we get in an airplane and fly to a place and turn around after a few days and come back. They had to walk by foot through Italy from Rome all the way to Italy, go to the Adriatic Sea, sail across over to the area of Greece, cross Greece, get into another boat, sail across the Aegean Sea, come to Miletus, and then climb up the steep path all the way to Colossae by foot. It would take a long time to get there. It was very, very dangerous. Today people lose their luggage when they travel. In those days they could lose their life when they travel. So you have to be pretty fearless to take on that kind of a task. And wouldn't you agree that a good ingredient in any relationship is fearlessness?

Being willing to stand up for another person? Now, just a word about Tychicus in particular, because he is mentioned first. Tychicus was from the town of Ephesus. And I mentioned that he pops up first in Acts chapter 20, and he shows up when Paul the Apostle has created a Fuhrer in that town. And a guy named Demetrius starts a riot against Paul. And thousands of people in Ephesus are pouring into the arena because of Paul the Apostle, because they think he's trying to shut down their religious system, the worship of Diana, and they're crying out for two hours in the theater, Great is Diana of the Ephesians! Great is Diana of the Ephesians!

And they're in an uproar. And so Paul goes, well, I'm going to go in and talk to him. And that is when Tychicus first shows up during that time. Then he follows Paul after that riot to Rome to bring that offering. And on the way to Rome, every single stop that Paul makes in the book of Acts we are told, everywhere Paul goes on the way to Jerusalem, everybody says, Paul, don't go. It's dangerous.

You could lose your life. In fact, a prophet named Agabus takes a belt and he says, whoever owns this belt is going to be bound in Jerusalem. Well, it was Paul's belt. So everywhere Tychicus with Paul go, they say, don't go, don't go, don't go.

Well, they go. Paul goes to Jerusalem and gets arrested. And we believe that he was there when Paul got arrested, and we even believe he was with Paul for two years in Caesarea when he was incarcerated there awaiting trial, and perhaps even sailed with the apostle Paul on the ship to go to Rome.

And if you know anything about that ride, they faced a storm and a shipwreck. And now he is in jail, and he is still with Paul the apostle, so he has been with Paul, get this, for at least four years. He has left his home, left his family, left the comfort of all of that, and for the last four years, he has been with Paul at his side. Not only that, but at the end of Paul's life, at the end of Paul's life, his last letter that he writes, 2 Timothy, he knows he's going to die.

Paul mentions that there's somebody who has been with him and still is with him, and that name is Tychicus. So fearlessness is part of the description of this man named Tychicus. Proverbs 17, verse 17 says, A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. We could all use some fearless friends in our lives, am I right? People who inspire us to be fearless. Somebody once said, A real friend is one who comes in when the whole world is gone out. That was this guy. Friends to the end of Paul the apostle.

Fearless friends. That concludes Skip Heitzig's message from the series, Always Only Jesus. Find the full message, as well as books, booklets, and full teaching series at connectwithskip.com. Right now, we want to share about a special resource that will help you relate to your savior as you journey on a well-known road with him. Looking deep into the empty tomb by Skip Heitzig consists of five messages, including Rise Up, Easter's Over, Now What?, An Empty Tomb of Full Life, Jesus Died But God, and Come Alive. For those who knew Jesus while he walked this earth, the road to discovering and believing that Jesus was resurrected started in disheartening confusion, but it ended in decisive confirmation. And we're excited to send you a special set of resurrection resources by Skip that include five of his finest Easter messages for digital download or CD and a full video titled On the Road by Skip. Now behold, two of them were traveling that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was seven miles from Jerusalem. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. So it was while they conversed and reasoned that Jesus himself drew near and went with them. With your gift of support of $50 or more, we'll send you a copy of this hope-filled package of five audio messages for download or on CD and the full video On the Road as thanks for your gift to expand Connect the Skip Heitzig to reach more people in major U.S. cities. So request your resource when you give and take a walk with Christ on the road to Emmaus.

Just call 800-922-1888 or visit connectwithskip.com slash offer. Be here again tomorrow as Skip concludes his message marks of healthy relationships and encourages you to cultivate the kinds of relationships that will help you grow in your walk with Christ. We've all seen talented folks with incredible potential who lack dependability.

They don't have the stick to it factor. God esteems this quality so highly that Jesus will say of those who serve, Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a few things. I will make you ruler over many. Make a connection, make a connection at the foot of the cross and cast all burdens on His word. Make a connection, connection. Connect with Skip Heitzig is a presentation of Connection Communications connecting you to God's never changing truth in ever changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-26 05:19:15 / 2023-04-26 05:28:32 / 9

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