Now, when I say that we could use some fearless friends, I don't just mean people who will stand up with you and for you at a time of crisis, but I mean also be fearless in telling you what you need to hear, being honest with you. We know we need those kind of friends.
Having friends is great, but having the right kinds of friends is more than that. It's essential. And today, Skip shares about the kinds of friends that every Christian should seek to have, and we want to tell you about a special resource this month that will put you on the road to Emmaus. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is one of the most attested to facts in history. It is a fact that sets Christianity apart from every other world religion, and it's the reason for our hope. Of all of the religions in the world, only four of them are based upon actual personalities. Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism.
Those four are based upon the personality of the founder. But of all of those four religions, only one claims a resurrection for its founder. That's why we have hope. That's why we gather here today, because of that good news. For this Easter season, we've put together a special set of resurrection resources by Skip that include five of his finest Easter messages for audio download or on CD and a full video titled On the Road. We want to send you a copy of this package of messages as thanks for your gift to support Connect with Skip Heitzig and help grow this teaching ministry to reach more people in major cities in the US this year. So request your package when you give your gift of $50 or more today and take a walk with the risen Lord on the road to Emmaus. Just call 800-922-1888 or visit connectwithskip.com slash offer.
That's connectwithskip.com slash offer. Okay, let's turn to Colossians four as we tune into Skip's message today. Friendliness is the first quality of a healthy relationship.
Second, fearlessness, fearlessness. Go to verse eight 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's 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. Oh it's 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, second 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 has gone out. That was this guy, friends to the end of Paul the apostle, fearless friends.
Now when I say that we could use some fearless friends, I don't just mean people who will stand up with you and for you at a time of crisis, but I mean also be fearless in telling you what you need to hear, being honest with you. We know we need those kind of friends, and Tychicus was that kind of guy. Remember he was in Ephesus when Paul wanted to go into that big theater and preach the gospel, and Tychicus and the other said, you're not going in. They're going to rip you limb from limb.
Paul didn't want to hear that, but that group told him, delivered that message. Proverbs 27, open rebuke is better than love, carefully concealed. Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. Oscar Wilde said it best, he said, a true friend will always stab you in the front. An enemy stabs you in the back, a frenemy stabs you in the back.
Says nice things to buddy you up, and then behind your back stabs you in the back. A true friend always stabs you in the front, is honest with you, fearless. So two marks, two qualities of healthy relationships, friendliness and fearlessness. Let me give you a third, faithfulness, faithfulness. Now of both of these men, Paul calls them faithful. Verse 7, Tychicus, a beloved brother, dearly loved, deeply loved, faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord.
In verse 9, with Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother. What's interesting to me is nothing is said about them being great orators, though they may have been. Nothing is said about them being great thinkers, though I'm sure they were, but what he does say is they were really faithful. I could count on them, they were reliable, they were dependable. Bob Jones said, the greatest ability is dependability. 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. Now what is faithfulness exactly? Faithfulness is not doing the right thing once. Faithfulness is doing the right thing over and over and over and over and over and over and over again. That kind of consistency, that is being faithful. And these were faithful friends. Now what's interesting to me, I get Tychicus, okay he's sort of a young upstart guy but very very loyal to Paul, but what's interesting is he didn't just say, you know, Tychicus is faithful and Onesimus is sort of hanging along for the ride, he calls a man who has been faithless, unfaithful, he ran away from his master, he calls Onesimus faithful.
That's striking to me. Here's a guy who ran away with his master's money, is now in Rome, and he calls him faithful. Now I want to show you his story because it's fascinating, you really need to get this, so turn with me to the book of Philemon, just go to the right, turn to the right, till you get to the book of Hebrews, the book right before that large book of Hebrews is a single chapter book called the book of Philemon.
And the book of Philemon is really a story about Onesimus. Philemon verse 8, verse 8, therefore though I might be very bold in Christ to command you what is fitting, yet for love's sake I'd rather appeal to you being such a one as Paul the aged, or the aged, and now also a prisoner of Christ. I've always been fascinated by the way by that phrase, Paul the aged, because you know how old Paul was when he died?
58 years old when he died. So he wrote this at about age 55 and he says I'm a real old guy, which doesn't make me feel all that great, because I'm much older than both of those ages, but he says Paul the aged, now a prisoner of Jesus Christ. I appeal to you for my son Onesimus whom I have begotten while in my chains.
I've been a prisoner in Rome for two years. I'm the guy who led him to the Lord. I led your slave to the Lord, your servant, the one who ran away. I've led him to Christ, who once was unprofitable to you, but now is profitable to you and me. But I didn't tell you this, but the name Onesimus actually means profitable.
So this is a play on words. Mr. Profitable has been very unprofitable to you, but he's been profitable to me, and I'm about to send him back to you. Verse 12, I'm sending him back. You therefore receive him, that is, my own heart, whom I wish to keep with me, that on your behalf he might minister to me in my chains for the gospel. But without your consent, I wanted to do nothing that your deed might not be by compulsion as it were, but voluntary. For perhaps he departed for a while for this purpose, that you might receive him forever, no longer as a slave, but more than a slave, a beloved brother, especially to me.
But how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord. Your faithless servant is a faithful servant to me, and I'd sure love to use him, but I need your permission, but I'm sending him back to you. Don't kill him. Receive him. He left a slave.
He's coming back a brother. It's a beautiful, beautiful story, and here's what I love about this. God can change anyone. I mean, if our gospel has anything to say, it's that message, right? God can change anyone, anyone, of any background. Never write people off and say, ah, they'll never get saved.
Onesimus did. God can take a fugitive slave and turn him into a faithful brother. He can take liars, outlaws, thieves, losers. I mean, look at us.
I mean, look at us. And turn us into sons and daughters of God, royalty, men and women of God. So he writes about both of them. They're faithful. In any and every relationship that is meaningful, faithfulness is a prerequisite. Once faithfulness has been broken, once trust has been broken, it's awfully difficult to repair that relationship.
It's possible, but it's difficult. So this kind of person, a faithful person, is needed in a marriage. It's needed at work.
It's needed in a friendship. Let me give you a tip on faithfulness. Here's just a few one-word items that can help you remember how to be faithful to another person. First, be on time. Don't be the guy or the gal who's always late for everything. Be on time. Second, be consistent.
Remember, that's faithfulness over and over and over again. Be consistent. Be on time. Third, be available to that person. Fourth, be honoring. You know, body language means a lot.
I would say part of being honoring is being focused when you're with them. Don't be distracted. Oh, wait a minute. Somebody text me. Oh, wait a minute.
Something's on Instagram. Don't keep looking at that stupid thing. Be focused. Be in the moment. And then, finally, be honest. Be real with that person.
All of those are elements that produce faithfulness. I've always loved the Marine Corps motto, semper fidelis, semper fi, always faithful. And boy, they mean it. They won't leave one of their own behind, dead or alive.
They'll want to go back and be faithful to that commitment. Cool story I want to share with you. A man by the name of Norman Geisler. You may have heard of that name. He spoke here some years ago.
A theologian par excellence, a brilliant thinker, wonderful man. Norman Geisler, when he was a kid, was invited to a VBS at a neighborhood church, so he went. He went to VBS, and then he went back to the same church for Sunday school for 400 Sundays.
That's seven and a half years. Just go back. Go back.
Go back. Every week, he was faithfully picked up by a bus driver. Some churches have bus ministries. In the old days, that was quite popular to have a school bus that would pick up kids in the neighborhood and bring them to Sunday school. So he was picked up by a bus driver every single week, and every week for 400 Sundays, he went. But he never made a commitment to Christ until he was a senior in high school. Finally, after about the 400th time, he made a commitment to Christ.
Question, what if the bus driver would have stopped at 395? If you would have said, ah, this Geisler kid, I'm not going to go by that. I'm not going to pick him up. Write him off.
He's a waste of time. But he was just faithful, faithful, faithful. And out of that faithfulness came a man who became very influential in the Christian world. So your faithfulness might be painful today, but it will be fruitful tomorrow.
And that leads me to the last quality of a healthy relationship, and that is fruitfulness. Now, we can see by looking at these three verses that Paul is sending these two men into ministry, sending them on a task. I'm sending them to you. Now, he's sending them to do three things, and I want you to make note of these three things. Number one, they are to update the Colossian church on Paul's condition. Verse seven, Tychicus, a beloved brother, faithful minister, and fellow servant in the Lord will tell you all the news about me. I don't want to de-labor that in a letter. I want the letter to be about doctrine.
I want the letter to be about truth. But they'll fill you in on my condition and my trial, et cetera. So number one, to update them on Paul's condition. Number two, to have them update Paul on their condition. So he's going to come, tell them about Paul, observe their church, get the update of the church, go back and tell Paul how the church is doing. That comes in verse eight, that he may know your circumstances. And then third reason he is sending them, for comfort, to comfort them. Also in verse eight, and comfort your hearts.
Why would he say that? Well, the Gnostics, remember them? They've stirred people up.
They've made people feel very disjointed and uncomfortable. So their presence on Paul's behalf is going to bring comfort to them. So here's Tychicus, this young upstart kid from Ephesus who gets saved late in Paul's ministry. And here's Onesimus, a guy with a criminal record, both of them fruitful servants that Paul can entrust precious cargo with. Now hear me, you know what they're carrying with them? They're carrying what you are reading.
Tucked into their robes are three letters, at least. The book of Colossians, they're carrying it. The book of Philemon to give to the guy who gets the letter that we just read, Philemon, who's part of the church of Colossae. And the book of Ephesians, because if you read the end of the book of Ephesians, we don't have time to look it up, he mentions, Tychicus has taken this letter to you. So these two guys are being entrusted with ministry to carry the book of Colossians, the book of Philemon, and the book of Ephesians.
You think Paul trusted him? That's fruitful ministry to give those boys those letters. And I even think they were carrying a fourth letter. Look down at verse 16. Now when this letter is read among you, see that it is read also in the church of Laodiceans, and that you likewise read the epistle from Laodicea. Laodicea was next to Colossae, so I imagine that these two men carried those four letters to those churches.
Amazing. Now behind it all is the magnanimous heart of Paul the Apostle, who could look at a person like Tychicus, look at a person like Onesimus, and say, I see potential there. You could be in ministry.
You could do some great things. And I love this really speaks to the kind of generosity and magnanimity of the heart of Paul the Apostle. He loved to build teams, he loved to take risks with people, and to give people a chance.
It was Paul encouraging them, encouraging them, and now sending them. I want to close with a a little paragraph from Newsweek magazine, written by a author named Deborah Shouse, who tells a story. She says, when I was growing up, I envied Sally Culver, though she was five years younger, she had somehow managed to get herself a fan club. It began one summer evening when Mrs. Culver brought her one-year-old daughter, Sally, to our house. I want to show you the most remarkable thing, Mrs. Culver told my mother.
She set the baby down on our driveway, and Sally, diaper rustling, took a step. Bravo, Mrs. Culver said, clapping. Wasn't that just marvelous, she asked, turning to me.
I was standing back, my jump rope in hand, wondering why anyone would make such a big deal over walking. Weren't her legs just the straightest thing you've ever seen, Mrs. Culver gushed to my mother. Her posture is exceptional, my mother said. I took a breath and stood up straighter. My mother didn't notice. I took a breath and stood up straighter. My mother didn't notice.
Sally took two steps before she plopped down. Again, applause. This time my mother joined in. I untangled my rope and jumped 10 times in a row without missing.
No one noticed. My mother was too busy clapping and cheering for Sally. It was my first experience with the power of applause. The power of applause. The encouragement of a person saying, you can do this. Listen, I'm in ministry today because of the power of applause.
I had a wonderful mentor and Chuck Smith, my pastor, but it was his brother Paul who always said, you can do this. God has great things for you. Always cheering me on, always clapping me forward. The power of applause. Flatter me and I may not believe you.
Criticize me and I may not like you. Ignore me and I may not forgive you, but encourage me and I will never forget you. Paul's ministry was such that he got people around him, believed in them, shared ministry with them, and we've only met two.
We have more to meet next time. That's Skip Hyten with a message from the series Always Only Jesus. Find the full message as well as books, booklets, and full teaching series at connectwithskipp.com. Now, here's Skip to share how you can keep these messages coming your way to connect you and many others around the world with God's Word. I love the fact that Jesus was called the friend of sinners. Instead of spending time with the religious elite of his day, he reached out to the lost and the outcast.
His love is for everyone. That's amazing news, and we want to share with the entire world God's love. You can be part of it when you partner with this ministry. Here's how you can give today to change lives with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Visit connectwithskipp.com slash donate to give a gift. That's connectwithskipp.com slash donate, or call 800-922-1888.
800-922-1888. Thank you for your generosity. Join us again tomorrow as Skip shares a message about the importance of friends to come alongside and support us. You can have distant friends.
You can have Facebook friends, but then you can have close friends, intimate friends, real friends. One of the greatest titles you can ever give another person. Friend. You are my friend.
I consider you a friend, but it's a title that is never to be taken lightly. And at the foot of the cross, cast all burdens on his word. Make the connection, the connection. Connect with Skip Hyten is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-27 05:17:21 / 2023-04-27 05:26:45 / 9