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With a Little Help from My Friends - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
May 1, 2023 6:00 am

With a Little Help from My Friends - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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May 1, 2023 6:00 am

Real friends can be hard to come by. And in the message "With a Little Help from My Friends," Skip shares some important marks of a true friend, revealing how the right friendships can lift you up and give you strength in life's journey.

Connect with Skip Heitzig
Skip Heitzig
Connect with Skip Heitzig
Skip Heitzig
Connect with Skip Heitzig
Skip Heitzig
Connect with Skip Heitzig
Skip Heitzig
Connect with Skip Heitzig
Skip Heitzig
Connect with Skip Heitzig
Skip Heitzig

So friends overcome their barriers. Friends overlook our failures. And third and finally, friends overpower with prayers.

They overpower with prayers. Real friends can be hard to come by. And today on Connect with Skip Heite, Skip shares some important marks of a true friend, revealing how the right friendships can lift you up and give you strength in life's journey. But first, here's a special resource that will encourage you or perhaps a special woman in your life this Mother's Day. Betty White said, it's not easy being a mom. If it were easy, fathers would do it.

That's not a sly shot at dads. It's a compliment to the wonderful work of mothers. Here's a great way to show your appreciation for a mother in your life. It's the heart songs package, which features a teaching series on the songs led by Lenya and Janae Heitzig. Psalm 45 is a love song. And in it, you're going to find a groom and a bride, and it's their wedding day.

And it includes an ornate dress and bridesmaids and perfume and gifts and guests. The heart songs package also includes a beautiful theology quiet time journal and a bag of Skip's library roast coffee. It's a great gift to honor a special woman in your life with encouragement and strength as she studies God's word and spends time in prayer, all while enjoying a delicious cup of the coffee Pastor Skip loves. The heart songs package is our thanks for your gift to help share biblical teaching and encouragement with others through the broadcast ministry of Connect with Skip Heitzig.

So be sure to request yours when you give online securely at slash offer or call 800-922-1888. Now we're in Colossians 4 as Skip begins today's teaching. Mark is none other than the writer of the second gospel in the New Testament. He is also called John Mark at another place. He was a Jewish native of Jerusalem, and the church met in his mom's house for prayer, Acts chapter 12. When Peter was in jail, they were in that house praying that he gets out. We're also told here that he is the cousin of Barnabas. Notice that in verse 10.

Now Barnabas was Paul's companion on his first mission trip. Hold that thought. I'm going to circle back to that in a minute. So we have Aristarchus Mark. Third on the list is Jesus who is called Justice. Now the reason you're told that it's Jesus who is called Justice is so you wouldn't get confused. So, oh, it's not that Jesus, because you see the name Jesus, you think that's Jesus. But we're given his Jewish name, Joshua, Yeshua, Jesus, and his Roman name, Justice, so that you can distinguish between the two. There were a lot of kids back then who were named Yeshua. That's why in the Bible it says Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus son of Joseph or Jesus son of Mary, because it's to distinguish him from the other kids named Yeshua in the neighborhood. So this is Jesus named Justice. He's a Jewish believer. He served with Paul.

We know nothing more about him. So those are the three Jews. The Gentiles are Epaphras. Now you know Epaphras. We met Epaphras.

We met him six months ago in the very first chapter of this book. Epaphras was the founder of this church at Colossae. Epaphras heard Paul the Apostle when Paul spent three years in Ephesus.

Ephesus wasn't too far away. He returned back home to Colossae, started the church, became the pastor, and he may have even started churches in these other areas mentioned. So he's a Gentile church planter. Next on the list is Luke. You know Luke. He's the writer of the third gospel in the New Testament. Luke is the only Gentile writer in the New Testament. He wrote the gospel of Luke. He wrote the book of Acts. He was a very careful historian.

The way he compiled information and sized it up and wrote about it is noteworthy. You can find that at the beginning of Luke and Acts. He was also a medical doctor. He's a medical doctor who traveled with Paul. Now I like this because you have Paul the Apostle who could heal people by God's power, yet he traveled with a personal doctor.

So Paul is very pragmatic, very pragmatic traveling with his personal doctor. Also something to note about Luke. Luke was with Paul to the very end of his life.

Eventually Paul will get beheaded. Luke is the only man who's at his side. When he writes the last letter he ever wrote, 2 Timothy, he writes this, Only Luke is with me. Very sad that when it came to the very end of his life there was only one person who stood with him.

Only Luke is with me. So Luke is a good example of a working professional who uses his or her talent and skill to serve God. Finally on the list we have this guy in verse 14 named Demas. He's mentioned three times in Paul's letters.

Let me put it to you this way. When you look at all the times he's mentioned, the three times, it begins good, it goes to neutral, and it ends poorly. So the very first time he's mentioned is in the book of Philemon. And in Philemon he is called Demas, my fellow laborer. So that's good. You know he's a coworker. We're on the same page.

The second time is here in Colossians because I believe Colossians was written after Philemon. And you'll notice that he's just mentioned sort of in a neutral fashion. Nothing good, nothing bad. Not a fellow laborer, just and Demas. But the third time that Demas is mentioned is in that last letter of Paul the Apostle in 2 Timothy 4 where Paul writes this, Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world. Pretty sad, right? Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world. That's a warning to every person who simply wears the veneer of Christianity.

It's just skin deep. It's just like, I'll put on an act, I'll put on a show. Eventually, Demas had to make a choice. He was trying to serve two masters, the world and God. He had to make a choice. And he did make the choice. And in the words of that old knight who was guarding the ark in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, he chose poorly because Paul says, Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world. But all that aside, at this point you have a group of friends and we discover friends overcome their barriers.

Jew, Gentile, didn't matter. We're in Christ. Second life-giving attribute of true friendship is friends overlook our failures.

Friends overlook our failures. Let me take you to verse 10. The second name mentioned in that list says, Mark, the cousin of Barnabas, about whom you received instructions.

If he comes to you, welcome him. Now, you know about John Mark. Do you know that he had a history with Paul the Apostle?

It wasn't a good history. He was a traveling companion with Paul for a while. But when the going got tough, Mark got going. He left. He split. He deserted.

So here's the story. On the very first mission trip that Paul took, he took his companion Barnabas. Now we discover Barnabas is the cousin of John Mark. On that first mission trip, it's Paul and Barnabas and Mark. Paul was always bringing new people aside him and discipling them, and so Mark comes. So they go, first of all, to Cyprus, and there's a little bit of animosity that they discover.

It's not that easy, but there's some success. They go from Cyprus, and when they arrive on the shores of Pamphylia, that's when Mark decides to split. And for no reason given, he just goes back home to Jerusalem, where his mom is, back home to mama. We don't exactly know why. It could be that it was just too hard. He had stress.

It was very difficult. Or it simply could have been he was Jewish. He didn't like the idea of the gospel going to the Gentiles. But for whatever reason, he goes back home. But Paul took it personally. So when they finish the first mission trip, and Paul says, I was awesome. Let's do it again. Let's do a second mission trip. And Barnabas says, all right, let's go.

But I'd like to take John Mark again. And Paul puts his foot down and says, ain't happening. He left on the last one. He's not coming on this one. So for whatever reason it was, it got to Paul to the point where he said, look, I'm not running Holy Land tours here. This is a mission trip. He's not coming.

He's not useful. But I'm so glad the story doesn't end there. A few years later now, he writes the book of Colossians, and here is Paul leaning on Mark overlooking his failure.

It gets better. I keep referring to 2 Timothy, the last letter of Paul's life. In that letter, he writes this. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me in the ministry. Here's a man who at one time Paul would say, he's not coming because he's not useful. Now Paul says, he's useful to me in the ministry. That's what friends do. Friends overlook past failures. So Paul doesn't say, sorry, you'll never get used in ministry again.

You blew it. Mark became useful to Paul and, and because I think he was rehabbed by Paul in the ministry, rehabbed by Paul and given a second chance, he becomes the writer of the gospel of Mark. There's only four dudes in history that can say, I wrote a gospel. That's Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

So I love this. Friends overlook our failures. I hope that you are encouraged if you're one of those people who attempted something in ministry and you failed at it and you think, there's no hope. I hope the story of John Mark encourages you. If you failed on that first attempt in serving God, please don't sit around and sulk.

But like Mark, get back up and show yourself faith. And if you know somebody who has, get around them like Paul and give them that opportunity. Proverbs 19 verse 11 says, the discretion of a man, I'll insert the word friend, the discretion of a friend makes him slow to anger and his glory is to overlook a transgression. I love how Peter puts it. Love covers a multitude of sins. Love covers a multitude of sins.

Real friends are those who, when you make a fool out of yourself, don't make you feel like you've done a permanent job. Ah, it's okay. Don't worry about it. It'll get better.

You'll do great. I want to put up a little proverb that I found, an old Arab proverb. Ah, the beauty of being at peace with another, neither having to weigh thoughts or measure words, but spilling them out just as they are chaff and grain together, certain that a faithful hand will keep what is worth keeping and with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away. Isn't that beautiful? That's a good friend right there. Just say what's on your heart. I won't judge you for it.

Yes, you can serve the Lord again. So friends overcome their barriers. Friends overlook our failures. And third and finally, friends overpower with prayers. They overpower with prayers. So let me take you to verse 12 and 13 for that, Epaphras. Epaphras, who is one of you from the town of Colossae, a bond servant of Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.

For I bear him witness that he is a great zeal and skill for you and those in Laodicea and those in Hierapolis. Now, I told you that Epaphras started this church, right? He was the pastor of this church. So what's the pastor of this church doing in Rome, 1300 miles with Paul, while Paul is writing a letter to them?

Well, I'm glad you asked. That's why Paul wrote the letter, because Epaphras took that trip. So Epaphras was so worried about this church because of this false teaching.

We call it Gnosticism now. This false ideology was so pernicious that Epaphras says, I got to talk to Paul. And he traveled to Rome. That means he walked by foot. He may have ridden something part way, got on a couple boats, walked some more, 1300 miles all the way to Rome to tell Paul what is going on.

That means Epaphras cared. But now we see that his care didn't stop with the trip. It continued with prayer. And Paul gives us a two-verse description of this guy's prayer life. So let's just drill down just for a moment and notice this prayer life. First of all, he prayed consistently. Notice the word always in verse 12. Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets you always laboring fervently for you in prayers. You know, for some people, their prayer life consists of right before meals and right before bed. I shoot up a prayer, bless his food. I close my day, thank you for this day.

Good night. For some people. For other people, it's that. And if somebody like pulls in front of them on the freeway or the roadway, they pray that fire will consume their car. Or if they go to the doctor and the doctor says, yeah, it's a bad diagnosis, then all of a sudden their prayer life is suddenly ignited by that emergency. This guy prays consistently, always, always. Second, he prayed passionately. It says, notice this, laboring fervently.

Two words, laboring fervently. One word in Greek, one word, agonizomai, means to agonize, to wrestle, to fight, to contend. Speaks a passionate prayer.

It's the same root as Jesus in Gethsemane when it says, and being in agony, he prayed more earnestly so that his sweat became like great drops of blood. So this is how I imagine Paul's in jail, chained up, and Epaphras is with him, and he's watching Epaphras pray. And one word keeps coming to Paul's mind as he watches this guy and listens to this guy pray, agonizomai.

Agonizomai. Now this guy, he wrestles for people. He fights it out in prayer. He prays consistently. He prays passionately. Third, I want you to notice, he prayed personally, personally. It says he labors fervently for you.

Now you might think, Skip, you're just really uncovering every stone. Well, I do that when I study the Bible. But he's praying for you. You know, some people pray so generically, it's sort of like, God, just bless everyone, everywhere, with everything.

Well, what's that? He prayed for you personally. It's possible to pray for everyone in general and no one in particular. He was praying in particular for them, for them, and for those in Laodicea and those in Hierapolis, those three congregations. Fourth, and finally, notice this, he prayed specifically, specifically, that you may stand perfect in all the will of God.

You want to know what was on his prayer platter? He was praying that you will be able to stand perfect or complete in all the will of God. He's praying that you'll have a mature faith.

Let me give you a little background of why he's praying that. Remember that whole thing called Gnosticism that's penetrating the church? Did you know the Gnostics were telling these people, you can't be complete, you can't be perfect, you can't be mature unless you take the secret sauce of our hierarchical mysticism, our secret knowledge. We'll show you how to be complete, but you can't be complete without us. That's why Paul, in the letter, said you are complete in Him.

Now he says, Anapaphras is praying for you passionately, consistently, specifically, that you will be able to stand mature and complete, perfect in the will of God. I can just imagine, Lord, I pray they won't listen to those dumb Gnostics. I pray, Lord, that they'll stand mature and realize they're complete in you. May Jesus be enlarged in their thinking.

I love that. So, question, do you have any friends you know of who are struggling? I bet a few faces pop into your head when I say that. A few friends that you know who have health issues or economic issues or emotional issues. Are you worried about them, concerned about them? Well, what I want you to know is this, it takes the same amount of energy to pray as it does to worry. So every time you think about them, oh, I'm so worried about them, you convert that into this.

Now, this is what's behind what Paul said in Philippians chapter 4. Remember what he said, be anxious for nothing, don't worry about anything? Buddy in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God that passes all understanding will reign and rule in your hearts. What I love about that passage is you enter it with anxiety, you leave it with peace.

And what's between anxiety and peace? Prayer. Prayer is what turns the worry, the anxiety, into a sense of peace. So you can always do more than pray after you've prayed, but you can never do more than pray until you've prayed.

Right? That's where you begin fervently in prayer. Jesus said to His disciples, men ought always to pray and not to faint. So this is friendship. These are three things that connect or join friends together. There's fellowship and there's relationship, but then there's friendship. And friends overcome barriers, overlook failures, and their heart is large enough to pray consistently, passionately, specifically, and personally for their friends. By the way, you want to know a great place to meet great friends? Church. Church is a great place to meet great friends.

I'll even go a step further. If you want to really make great friends and do life with great friends, get into a connect group. When you connect with other people and you weekly meet and you do life with that group of friends, it enlarges your life like nothing else. I told you a little bit about the Chinese word for friend and the Hebrew word for friend. Let me tell you quickly as we close about the English word. Our word friend comes from an old Anglo-Saxon word, freon, which means love. And the root of freon is freo, which means to free or to set free, to release. The idea is that when you have a friend, it's the love of a friend that sets you free.

It's beautiful. Now, if you need a friend today, may I suggest that you begin with Jesus? Because He is a friend that sticks closer than a brother. You may have friends, but you'll never have a friend like Him. Greater love, Jesus said, has no man than this. Then He would lay down His life for His friends. So though He is Lord and Master, Jesus said, I call you my friends.

That's why we sing. What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear. What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer. It's a privilege He afforded us.

It's a relationship He enabled us to have. God will be your friend through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross, but He will never be your friend apart from that. If you are willing to come as you are and admit, I'm not perfect. I'm a sinner.

I need help. You can enter into a covenant of friendship with God, unlike any other friendship. That wraps up Skip Heitzig's message from his series, Always Only Jesus. Find the full message as well as books, booklets, and full teaching series at 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. When we remember all that God has already done to fulfill His promises, it helps us to trust Him to fulfill every word in Scripture.

And that's why we share these teachings, to encourage you to put your faith in God and follow Him with confidence. And we want to invite you to help keep these messages online and on the air so more friends like you can experience God's presence in their life as they keep growing in their faith. And I'm praying that in 2023, we'll be able to reach people in more cities in the United States, but I need your help to make that happen. Would you give generously today?

Here's how you can do that. Visit slash donate to give a gift. That's slash donate or call 800-922-1888.

800-922-1888. Thank you for your generosity. Tomorrow on Connect with Skip Heitzig, Skip begins a message from Colossians that reveals what every church should do. In the New Testament, there's a phrase that is repeated 100 times. It's the phrase one another. And 59 of those 100 times, it's about how we relate as Christians to one another when we get together with them. Encourage one another, serve one another, honor one another, love one another, prefer one another. 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 / 2023-05-01 04:59:29 / 2023-05-01 05:08:43 / 9

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