Share This Episode
Encouraging Word Don Wilton Logo

R216 Surrounded by Friends

Encouraging Word / Don Wilton
The Truth Network Radio
January 27, 2021 8:00 am

R216 Surrounded by Friends

Encouraging Word / Don Wilton

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 995 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.

January 27, 2021 8:00 am

The Daily Encouraging Word with Dr. Don Wilton

Connect with Skip Heitzig
Skip Heitzig
A New Beginning
Greg Laurie
Insight for Living
Chuck Swindoll
Clearview Today
Abidan Shah
Focus on the Family
Jim Daly
Grace To You
John MacArthur

God has an encouraging word for you and me today through the Bible-based preaching of Dr. Don Wilton and a message surrounded by friends. Sometimes we feel that, don't we? And yet sometimes we don't. God has chosen to allow us to spend time in collaboration.

The body of Christ is about the elbow helping the kneecap, helping the jawbone. And together, as we work together, we can accomplish things as friends like never before. If you feel like you're meeting a friend, we're here for you 24 hours a day at this number, 866-899-WORD. If you need someone to talk with, pray with, connect with some of our resources.

The number again is 866-899-9673. Or meet us online at And sign up for the daily encouraging word.

It's there at And now, Dr. Don Wilton. Jesus said, Do not store up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, but where thieves break in and steal, but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal, for where your treasure is there your heart will also be. May the Lord write His word upon our hearts. At this time, to Paul's letter to the Colossians in chapter 4, I'm just so grateful that God has allowed me to be able to study and to share these wonderful truths from this great epistle. It's been a tremendous joy and a wonderful experience for me personally, as I have endeavoured to study and to teach from God's word out of Colossians. I have entitled our message Surrounded by Friends.

Surrounded by Friends. You're going to notice from verse 7 of chapter 4 right through to verse 18 that Paul begins to talk about a whole series of people that had come to mean a great deal to him. I wish that I could spend a lot of time today telling you about the friends that God has brought into my life and into Karen's life, into our family's life. There's just something about the miracle of friendship. That's what our church is all about. God has blessed me with so many friends.

I love people and love to be around people and there have been many, many times in my life that friends have meant so much to me. I believe friends that here in Colossians chapter 4 that the Apostle Paul paints for us perhaps a verbal group photograph. He verbalises a group photograph for us and I believe that we begin to understand somewhat of what Paul is trying to teach us, that nothing that he has said and nothing that he has been able to accomplish is able to be accomplished outside of those who are called his friends.

Let's read these few verses together, beginning at verse 7. Tychicus will tell you all the news about me, says Paul. He is a dear brother, a faithful minister and a fellow servant in the Lord Jesus Christ. I'm sending him to you for the express purpose that you may know about our circumstance and that he may encourage your heart.

Isn't that a wonderful thing to say about a friend? He is coming with a person by the name of Onesimus, our faithful and dear brother, who is one of you. They will tell you everything that is happening here. My fellow prisoner, Aristarchus, sends you his greetings, as does John Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. Now you have received instructions about him and if he comes to you, welcome him. Jesus, who is called Justice, also sends greetings. These are the only Jews among my fellow workers for the kingdom of God and they have proved a comfort to me. Verse 12, Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured of your salvation. I vouch for him that he is working hard for you and for those at Laodicea and Hierapolis. Our dear friend Luke, the doctor, gives, together with Demas, greetings. Give my greetings to the brothers at Laodicea and to Nymphah and the church in her house.

Isn't that a wonderful thing? Dr. Neely has been preaching about that, the church in your house, the family. Tonight I want to make sure that you here don't miss this.

It was incredible the last two weeks. The church in your house, what does the Bible teach about the family, about your church in your house? Verse 16, after this letter has been read to you, see that it is also read in the church of the Laodiceans and that you in turn read the letter from Laodiceans. Tell Archippus, see to it that you complete the work you have received in the Lord. I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand. Remember my chains, grace be with you. May the Lord write His Word upon our hearts. Isn't it wonderful to be able to be surrounded by friends?

I mean that's just incredible. The world is lonely. There are lonely people here tonight. There are lonely people here this morning.

There are terribly lonely people in the world. And if God ever smiled upon our family was the moment at which God brought us together, here together with our friends at First Baptist Church. Because the incredible dynamic of a group of men who are friends in Christ Jesus, crying together, praying together, sharing with one another, there is something very special about being bonded together in the spirit of the living God. In these final few verses of Colossians, Paul, I believe is reminding us of an essential truth. And it is simply this that God has no giftless children. If we were to understand what he was saying here, I believe that he is beginning to outline for us the essential nature of what it means for God's people to come together in the unified expression of their giftedness, all for the common purpose of telling other people about the saving grace of God in Christ Jesus.

And that's why I believe that we have a verbal group photograph painted here. You see friends, my beloved friends this morning, is what it means to talk about the warmth of the personal touch of knowing Jesus Christ. This is the flesh and blood of the doctrine of Jesus Christ.

This is the real essence of what it means to know that I know beyond any doubt whatsoever that Jesus Christ has changed my life. May I submit to you today that our friends are indispensable assets. I don't know where I would be without my friends. I don't know where I would be as I look out across this congregation without our deacons. I don't know where I would be without the Sunday school teachers, the men and women. We were in a home on Friday night.

I don't know where we would be without those who love us and who really reach out and call ourselves friends. We had meetings this week. We were taken out to lunch. We rubbed shoulders.

We were in funeral services. We were in this place and that place meeting with people who are as much our brothers and sisters in Christ as they are our friends. In Proverbs 27 and verse 17, the writer says, As iron sharpens iron, so it is that one man sharpens another. As iron sharpens iron, so it is that one person sharpens another. Well, I want us to look at this very briefly and I want to warn you. I've got eight points this morning and I tell you something. I said, Now, Lord, are you sure that you don't want me to preach another eight messages on Colossians?

He said, Move on, son, move on. And so we're probably going to come back to these at some time. I wish that we could get into depth into each one of the characteristics of these people who surrounded the Apostle Paul.

But let's look at them. Number one, one of the friends that surrounded the Apostle Paul had a servant's heart. I want you to notice that in verses seven and eight, that one of the friends that surrounded the Apostle Paul had a servant's heart.

Tychicus, the Bible says, will tell you all the news about me. He is a dear brother. He's a faithful minister and he is a fellow servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul repeatedly throughout his epistles called himself the chief of servants. He uses that word doulos, which means I am the bond slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. When I think of the real true essence of who we are in the Lord Jesus Christ, I think of what God means when we are called to be servants of the Lord Jesus Christ.

It is an unbelievable, unspeakable gift. And if there was one thing that Paul made very clear, it was simply this, that he was surrounded by those whom God had called to be true, true servants of the gospel. A servant is one who serves. A servant is one who gives with no strings attached, expecting nothing in return.

There ought to be no limit, my friend, to the extent to which we are willing to go in order that others might know that they know that they know the true joy of knowing the Lord Jesus Christ. Tychicus was one such person. Paul had been surrounded by a friend who had a servant's heart. But I want you to notice in the second place that Paul was also surrounded by a person who had a sinful past, a sinful past. His name was Onesimus. Verse 9 tells us about him.

The book of Philemon was written because of him. Onesimus was a runaway slave. He was someone who had been disobedient. He was someone, my friend, who more than anything else demonstrates for you and for me that the past is no longer an issue as far as God's people are concerned. Amen?

Would you say amen to that this morning? Onesimus, my friend, was one of the friends who surrounded the apostle Paul who had a sinful past. There was no question about his guilt. There was no question about his needing forgiveness. But there was no question, my friend, about the completeness of the forgiveness that he had received because of the Lord Jesus Christ.

And I've got news for you today. If you're a born again believer, you indeed are a friend with a sinful past. I am one. Bible says all of us have sinned and come short of the glory of God. There is none who is righteous.

No, not one. But what Onesimus was a testimony to was he was a living testimony to the transforming and forgiving power of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. You're listening to Dr. Don Wilton, our teacher here on The Encouraging Word.

Please don't go away. He'll be back with the rest of today's message surrounded by friends in just a moment. But we want you to know that we are excited to see how our friendships are growing as we study the word together. We're unifying our hearts around God's word in many different ways there at The Encouraging Word.

But one of those is the daily encouraging word devotional. You can receive it via email. If you're interested in that, sign up right now on our website at That's You'll have the opportunity to sign up for it physically if you'd like to have us send you a copy of it. We have a little booklet we put out every quarter.

You're welcome to that also absolutely free. Or the way that I prefer it is let's just get this email from Dr. Don every morning about six o'clock. Sign up today on our website at While you're there, you'll see a number of great resources as well that might help you in a unique way grow into 2021 like never before.

Meet us online at Now back to today's message with Dr. Don Wilton. Oh, he was surrounded by some friends this man was. One was one who had a servant's heart. Another was one who had a sinful past. But note in the third place he was surrounded by friends who had a sympathetic heart.

He was surrounded by a friend who had a sympathetic heart. Look with me at verse 10 in the first part. My fellow prisoner Aristarchus sends you greetings. Now friends this morning I don't have time to get into all the details about Aristarchus. But I do want to tell you that if you go back into the book of Acts and if you go into Ephesians and several of other of Paul's epistles. You're going to discover that Aristarchus was always there with the Apostle Paul. I mean he was on the boat. He was taken to prison. He was maligned sat on and spat on but you hardly ever hear about Aristarchus.

Aristarchus was always there. And the Apostle Paul here at the last moment of his letter to the Colossian people says, I want you to know that my fellow prisoner Aristarchus sends his greetings to you. And what is Paul trying to say? He says that I'm not any surrounded by those who have a servant's heart. I'm not only surrounded by those who have a sinful past but I am surrounded by those who have a sympathetic heart. Who have become enmeshed, have become one together in the ministry to which God has called us. But in the fourth place I want you to notice that he was surrounded by friends who had surprising futures. He was surrounded in this instance in verse 10 in the second part by a friend who had a surprising future. And his name was John Mark. The Bible says Mark the cousin of Barnabas also sends you greetings. Now you've received instruction from him in the past but if he does come to you I want you to welcome him. Why was John Mark's future so surprising?

It's very simple. If you go back to the book of Acts you're going to discover as I did that it was John Mark who deserted Paul and Barnabas. It was John Mark who decided to give up and leave. It was John Mark who left in a huff.

And I want to say to you friends if John Mark had been in our community today we might have just have wiped him off the map. Said I'll forget him. It's over man he's walked out of here. He's not willing to accept his responsibility. He's not a man's man. He's not willing to face it when it's tough. He's not willing to be flogged with all those who are being flogged and beaten for Christ. And yet when we come into 2 Timothy chapter 4 and verse 11 the Apostle Paul says to his son in the ministry. Make sure that you receive John Mark.

Why? Because he is fully restored. He has a future in Christ Jesus. He was surrounded by those who had a surprising future. But I want you to notice in the fifth place he was also surrounded by friends that stood firm despite their difficult circumstances.

He was surrounded by friends who stood firm despite their difficult circumstances. Look with me at verse 11. Jesus who is called Justice. By the way that means that his last name was Justice. If he lived here today and he would be known as Mr. Jesus Justice. His last name, his surname would be Justice. And the Bible tells us about something about Mr. Justice says that Mr. Justice also sends greetings. But there's something remarkable about Mr. Justice. The Bible says to him that he was one of only a few Jews among my fellow workers who have worked for the sake of the kingdom of God. Friends back then in these circumstances that means that Mr. Justice and these few Jews of whom there were only a few in number must have been persecuted for their stand for Jesus Christ. And yet Paul says these are the people who brought to me the most comfort.

Why? Because they stood firm despite their difficult circumstances. I know of people here today my friends who have undergone incredible difficult circumstances.

But you stood firm. I know people here who have undergone unbelievable things at home, at work and at play. And the apostle Paul says I thank God that I'm surrounded by friends who have stood firm despite difficult circumstances. Note in the sixth instance that he was surrounded by those who wrestled in prayer before God. He was surrounded by those who wrestled in prayer before God. Look at Epaphras in verse 12. Epaphras who is one of you and a servant of Jesus Christ sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.

That was the one dynamic that jumped out at me more than any of these others. To think that the apostle Paul singled out and made so important the fact that there was somebody who was praying for him. Not just praying for him but wrestling in prayer.

I'm convinced my friends that God brings into every church friends who wrestle in prayer before the throne of grace. But I want you to notice friends the four things that Epaphras prayed for. Bible tells us what he prayed for. Number one, he prayed that Paul would stand firm. He prayed that Paul would stand firm.

He's right there. He's always wrestling in prayer for you that you may stand firm. I wonder what he meant by that. May I suggest to you that what he meant by that is that it's very easy as a born again believer to become wobbly. Have you ever seen a wobbly Christian? You know they look like they've been riding too many horses. I mean they just wobble.

It's like jello. I mean they just wobble around all over the place. And you know with all the circumstances of life friends many of us become shaky. We've got all the challenges going on. You know if I had to ask my beloved congregation to pray for me and for the staff. I would ask you to pray for these four things. Number one that we would stand firm. That we would be bold. That we would be unapologetic in our love for one another and for our people. That we would love and minister in a manner of Christ-like firmness. That we would be determined and that we would be resolute. That there would be a depth of spiritual foundational understanding within our hearts and lives. That we would seek to grow in the grace and knowledge and admonition of the Lord Jesus.

Epaphras wrestled in prayer. Number one that they would stand firm. Number two that they would determine God's will. That they would determine God's will.

That's what he says right there in verse 12. You see friends there is nothing more important for us as a church. Than to determine the will of God for our lives and then to do it.

There's nothing more important. I want you to know something friends I have discovered that the Bible teaches. That I can know how mature I am in the faith.

You see what Epaphras is hitting on here. Is the dynamic of which there is a real sense in which you can be a 60 year old born again believer. And yet still run around in spiritual diapers. Paul is saying that because my understanding of who God is envelops my very being. That I need to be involved in a systematic progressive step toward Christian spiritual maturity.

We need to pray for that end. But in the fourth instance that we need to pray that we would be fully assured of our salvation. You say how could that be applicable to Paul? Friends I think there must have been many times when Paul must have wondered whether he was saved. Don't you? I can just imagine when he was flogged by those Romans.

And the meat was being pulled off his back by those spikes from the catenine tails. I would imagine Paul would have said Lord I don't even know if I know you. I guarantee you friends there are many times in our lives as born again believers. That we find ourselves doubting our salvation and wondering if we're going to go to heaven. But the Bible says that we can pray that we know that we know that we know that we know that we know that we're saved. Not because of we feel but we're saved by virtue of the fact of our faith in and through the Lord Jesus Christ. You can know that you're saved.

You can settle that thing right now. And I'll tell you God will give to you an assurance such of which you've never experienced in your entire life before. These were the kinds of friends that surrounded the apostle. Number seven, he was surrounded by friends who had specialised talents.

I like this one. He was surrounded by friends who had specialised talents. Look with me at verse 14 the first part. Our dear friend Luke the doctor. Now we know a lot about Luke because he was a doctor and he wrote a lot in God's book. But you know what Paul is trying to tell us here? Is that God's people and God's church comprises of those who have specialised talents. I look around this congregation. I see the choir and the orchestra.

I hear the singing. I look at the Sunday school and discipleship training and Life Institute. I see the deacons and the visitation programs. I work with the staff and go here and there. And all the time I'm becoming more and more aware that God surrounds God's people with friends who have specialised talents.

What is your specialised talent? What are you doing for the sake of the cross? But I want you to notice in the final instance, in the eighth instance today, that Paul was surrounded sadly enough by a friend who had a sad future. He was surrounded by a friend who had a sad future. His name was Demas. Look with me at verse 14. Our dear friend Luke the doctor and Demas send greetings to you. You see, what we don't know about Demas, my friends, is that in 2 Timothy chapter 4 verses 9 through 10, Paul says, Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me.

Yes, Jesus had his Judas and Paul had his Demas. You know, my beloved friends, this morning the greatest tragedy about this great congregation here today, the greatest tragedy is that there could be a precious person in this congregation who having heard and having loved the things of God, that you're going to allow Satan to get hold of you and that in years to come people are going to sit and say, what a tragedy that he let his life go to pieces like that. You see, you don't have to do that when you're a part of family of God.

Paul is saying that when we are inextricably intertwined into the heartbeat of who God is, when we are surrounded by friends who know and love and serve Jesus Christ, that God will write upon us a joy, my beloved friends, such of which we've never experienced. I thank God for my friends. I thank God for you.

Oh, and we thank God for you. Some of you have been our friends from the very beginning of this ministry, over 10 years sharing Christ and every day seeing people give their lives to Christ. But some of you, you're tuned in and you realize that instead of just hearing Dr. Don preach today, you've heard the love of God reach out to you through the living Word of God, the Bible itself, and you know it's time for a change. I pray that none of us, whether we've been walking with Christ like I have for decades, or maybe like some of my friends that I know are brand new Christians and just literally became saved in 2020, or maybe you're ready to step out in faith. Hold on for just a moment as Dr. Don comes back with our closing thoughts for the day.

Are you ready? Would you pray this prayer with me right now? Dear God, I know that Jesus loves me and that He died on a cross for me. Today I repent of my sin and I confess my sin to the Lord Jesus, and I give Him my heart and my life. In Jesus' name I pray.

Amen. If you prayed that prayer from your heart and you've given your life to Christ, I welcome you to the family of God. You are my brother, my sister in Christ. Let's get engaged together because we are connected together forever as believers in Christ. Welcome to the family of God.

Some of you I know have given your life to Christ for the first time and some rededicated your life. We have wonderful resources that Dr. Don wants you to have. Give us a call right now at 866-899-WORD and let us know you gave your life to Jesus. 866-899-9673 is also the place to call if you have some questions.

Let us discover those answers in the Bible. 866-899-9673. We're here for you 24 hours a day. We're here to encourage you and also grateful for the many of you who are encouraging us by becoming encouragers. We are so happy to tell you that over 497 people accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior in 2020.

The fields are ripe unto harvest. Our prayer for the new year is to share the good news of Jesus Christ to more people than ever before. Will you join us in this? We need your support. Become an encourager today. Call us at 866-899-WORD. That's 866-899-9673 to request information on how you can help support the work of the Encouraging Word. The Encouraging Word is a viewer and listener supported ministry. Thank you for listening today. Again, discover more of who we are online at and know we're here to pray for you right now at 866-899-9673. Take care and God bless.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-30 19:55:56 / 2023-12-30 20:06:39 / 11

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime