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A Little Help from My Friends - Philippians 2:19-24

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Life without friendship is like the sky without the sun. Paul knew the value of having true friends who stuck with him during difficult times. And right in the middle of this letter, he mentioned two of them—Timothy and Epaphroditus. These two guys helped shoulder the burdens for the apostle and brought him great joy. As we consider Timothy's friendship profile, see how many of these qualities are present in your own life.

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A Little Help from My Friends
Philippians 2:19-24
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
Life without friendship is like the sky without the sun. Paul knew the value of having true friends who stuck with him during difficult times. And right in the middle of this letter, he mentioned two of them—Timothy and Epaphroditus. These two guys helped shoulder the burdens for the apostle and brought him great joy. As we consider Timothy's friendship profile, see how many of these qualities are present in your own life.
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Technicolor Joy: A Study through Philippians

Technicolor Joy: A Study through Philippians

In the series Technicolor Joy: A Study through Philippians, we learn how to find joy in the most unlikely places as we discover that God can add color to the most black and white moments in life.

Study Guide

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Recap Notes: September 17, 2017
Teacher: Skip Heitzig
Teaching: "A Little Help from My Friends" (Part 1)
Text: Philippians 2:19-24

Path

Life without friendship is like the sky without the sun. Paul knew the value of having true friends who stuck with him during difficult times. And right in the middle of this letter, he mentioned two of them—Timothy and Epaphroditus. These two guys helped shoulder the burdens for the apostle and brought him great joy. As we consider Timothy's friendship profile, see how many of these qualities are present in your own life:
  1. A Good Friend Is Reliable
  2. A Good Friend Is Compatible
  3. A Good Friend Is Thoughtful
  4. A Good Friend Is Loyal
Points

A Good Friend Is Reliable
  • As technology increases, personal touch decreases.
  • In life, those who make the most impact are those who show the most care.
  • A friendship, like Rome, is not built in a day.
  • Paul mentioned two friends in this text: Timothy and Epaphroditus. This study focuses in on Timothy.
  • Friends are people you can trust; they are reliable.
  • Paul sent Timothy from Athens to Thessalonica, from Ephesus to Corinth, and from Ephesus to Macedonia. These travels covered over 800 miles, and gave Timothy a chance to prove himself.
  • To be reliable is to become valuable. Timothy became very valuable to Paul: he went from Paul's spiritual son to his servant to his substitute.
  • Faithfulness will open the door to fruitfulness (see Matthew 24-25).
  • Probe: Synonyms for the word reliable are dependable, consistent, steadfast, and unfailing. First discuss how these words apply to Jesus. How does He show each of these characteristics in your life? Second, discuss how these words describe you. If they don't, what steps can you take to become more reliable?
A Good Friend Is Compatible
  • In friendship, we talk of compatibility—personalities that are well-suited.
  • Paul called it being like-minded. Literally translated, it means equal-souled.
  • Christian friends have a common goal: to serve Christ and His people (see 1 Corinthians 16:10).
  • A key to a good friendship is to find someone who wants to pursue Jesus as much as you do and then march into the future with that person as a true soul mate.
  • Probe: Skip quoted C.S. Lewis: "True friends don't spend time gazing into each other's eyes…but they face in the same direction—towards common projects, interests, goals—above all, toward a common Lord." Discuss the importance of compatibility with friends. Why is it important to "face in the same direction"?
A Good Friend Is Thoughtful
  • A true friend genuinely cares for your welfare.
  • Notice the word sincerely. For Paul, Timothy was the real deal; there was nothing fake or phony about him.
  • In our secular world, people only care for themselves. But Timothy had Christian maturity.
  • According to Bernard of Clairvaux, there are four stages of Christian maturity: love of self for self's sake, love of God for self's sake, love of God for God's sake, and love of self for God's sake.
  • Probe: Pastor Skip said, "All of us live in one of two places: Philippians 1:21 ("For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain")or Philippians 2:21 ("For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus"). How do you tip the balance from its default setting in 2:21 to the redeemed setting of 1:21?
A Good Friend Is Loyal
  • Paul used the words proven character to describe Timothy. The idea is that something (in this case, Timothy's character) has been proven after being tested.
  • For Paul, Timothy had proven character:
    • He was on Paul's team for Paul's second missionary journey to Macedonia and Corinth.
    • He went with Paul on a trip to Jerusalem to collect money for the church.
    • Both of these trips required perseverance, faithfulness, and loyalty—all of which built Timothy's character.
  • Paul mentioned Timothy twenty-four times in his letters, describing the friendship as a son with his father.
  • Probe: The word loyal is defined as giving or showing firm and constant support or allegiance to a person. Discuss your loyalty to your family, spouse, coworkers, and fellow Christians. Do you show firm and constant support? What is the value of loyalty? What are the challenges of doing it well? How does spiritual maturity improve loyalty?
Practice

Connect Up: Jesus called His disciples friends (see John 15:15-17). What does it mean to be God's friend? What does this tell you about the importance of good friendships?

Connect In: In the body of Christ, we are all spiritual brothers and sisters. But sometimes we lack good friends. Using Pastor Skip's points, discuss how you can become better friends with fellow Christians. Here are some ideas: really listen when they speak, call them frequently, hang out with them, share with them your goals for life, buy simple gifts of appreciation, be there for them during the big moments of life (births, birthdays, marriage, deaths, etc.).

Connect Out: In addition to Christian friends, many of us have non-Christian friends.  Some define this as friendship evangelism. One Christian site states this relationship as follows: "Friendship evangelism as a method of bringing people to Christ or sharing the gospel of Christ has several meanings and connotations. Some people believe that friendship evangelism requires Christians to become friends with unbelievers, establishing a relationship before attempting to address their need for a Savior. Some see friendship evangelism as living a solid, righteous life—a living testimony—before others so that they desire that kind of life and ask how to achieve it. At that point, the gospel is shared."1 How can you use your friendship with a non-Christian to be a witness for Christ?

1 Blue Letter Bible, "What is friendship evangelism?" https://www.gotquestions.org/friendship-evangelism.html, accessed 9/17/17.

Transcript

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Hello, and welcome to this message from Skip Heitzig of Calvary Albuquerque. We love hearing how God uses these teachings to reach people around the world. If this message impacts you, let us know. Email us at mystory@calvaryabq.org. And if you'd like to support this ministry financially, you can give online securely at calvaryabq.org/giving.

The apostle Paul knew the value of having true friends who stuck with him during difficult times. Timothy and Epaphroditus were two guys who helped shoulder Paul's burdens and brought him great joy. In the first installment of A Little Help from My Friends, Skip considers Timothy's friendship profile. Now please turn in your Bible to Philippians 2 as he begins.

Father, we thank You for our very breath that we breathe. Thank You for the life that You've given us. And Thank you for the opportunities that You set before us. Father, we pray now that Your Spirit would speak clearly to us broadening our understanding of Your will, Your design for our very existence. In Jesus' name, Amen.

The great missionary to India, E. Stanley Jones, said when I met Christ, it was as though I had swallowed sunshine. Isn't that a great statement? He was speaking of the joy that he experienced in meeting Jesus Christ. And then there was C.S. Lewis, a person that we've all probably read, that great British scholar, who said joy is the serious business of heaven.

And while I like that, I have to say it's the serious business of heaven, but it can be seriously challenged on Earth. And the greatest challenge usually is from other people. People can challenge our joy. That's the way it was with Paul the Apostle. He is in prison. But if you remember, back in Chapter 1, he spoke about those people who stir up trouble and make his chains even worse, his incarceration worse, than it was.

However, the right kind of people can add to your joy. They can increase your joy. They can enhance your joy. Why? Because they ease our burdens and they take the grind out of life. And I would add to that and say that as technology increases in our world, and as personal touch decreases in our world, that good friends, the right kind of people, are going to be in even greater demand.

Now let me have you take a test this morning. I'm going to ask you six questions. You can just answer them in your own mind.

But number one, name the five wealthiest people in the world. Just see if you can. You might come up with the first one or two, but can you name the five wealthiest people on Earth?

Number two, name the last five Heisman Trophy winners. I probably lost a lot of you right on that one. Number three, can you name the last five winners of the Miss America contest? Number four, name 10 people who have won a Nobel or Pulitzer Prize. And, number five, name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for Best Actor or Actress. And then, finally, number six, test is not over. Named the last decade's worth of World Series winners.

Now I bet you didn't do very well on that test. Even though these people represent the best in their fields, the truth is we forget yesterday's headliners. But there's more to the test. I'm going to ask you six more questions. You're going to do better on this part.

Number one, list a few teachers who helped you in your journey through school. Number two, name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time. Number three, name five people who taught you something worthwhile. Number four, think of five people you enjoy spending time with. And number six, name some heroes whose stories have inspired you. I bet you did great on that last part, right? You probably got all A's on that.

Here's the point. The people who matter to us are not the ones with the most trophies or wealth or beauty, but those who make the most impact in our lives are those who have cared the most for us in our lives.

You know, it's easy to forget that people like Paul the Apostle also needed friends. And Paul had friends. Can you think of a few? I immediately think of Luke, who was a companion of Paul the Apostle. I think of Barnabas. I think of Silas. I think of Aquila and Priscilla. Those were all Paul's friends.

But here in the book of Philippians, he names two more friends-- Timothy and Epaphroditus. I know you've heard of Timothy. Epaphroditus, some of you are a little sketchy on him. But you'll learn more about him next time. Timothy and Epaphroditus were both friends of Paul. They were both servants to Paul. And they both added enormous joy to Paul's life.

Now I'm going to bring you up to speed in this book before we jump into our text. Paul's theme is still humility, lowliness of mind he called it, serving one another, loving and caring for one another. And he has given us two examples-- the ultimate example, Jesus Christ. He said let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus even though He was in very nature God, yet He humbled Himself. So that's number one, Jesus, first example.

Second example, Paul himself, who said, I am willing to pour my very life out on the sacrifice of your faith. However, it would be easy for a reader like the Philippian church to read his letter and look at those two examples and say, well, I could never be that. I can't be exactly like Jesus or even the great Apostle Paul. Those are lives that are out of reach for me. And so Paul puts the cookies down on the lowest shelf so to speak. He says, OK, let me give you two more examples. Timothy is one and Epaphroditus is another.

So we're introduced in verse 19 to an ordinary guy named Timothy that Paul was sending to them. Verse 19 says, "But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, that I also may be encouraged when I know your state. For I have no one like-minded who will sincerely care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus. But you know his proven character, that has a son with his father, he served with me in the gospel. Therefore I hope to send him at once, as soon as I see how it goes with me. But I trust in the Lord that I myself shall also come shortly."

Let me give you a little bit of background on Timothy. Timothy was a young man who became a protege to the Apostle Paul. Paul met him on his first missionary journey. His first mission trip he went through Asia Minor, modern day Turkey. And he went into a little town called Lystra and then another one called Derbe. It was probably in that first town that he met Timothy.

Timothy was the son of a Jewish woman and the son of a unbelieving father. But on Paul's first mission trip, young Timothy gave his life to Christ. Later on, he will become part of Paul's mission team. On the second missionary journey, when he comes through town, he invites Timothy to join the greater Paul the Apostle evangelistic organization and he starts traveling now with Paul the Apostle.

So over time, this young man matures spiritually. And because friendship, like Rome, is not built in a day, it takes time to cultivate a mature love and a mature friendship. So what I want to show you out of our text are four qualities of a good friend or four qualities of mature friendship.

Now as we're going through this, here's what I'm hoping for. I'm hoping that as we process this together, you're not thinking man I need to find somebody like that who will be that kind of a friend to me. But I'm hoping you'll say I need to learn how I can be that kind of a friend to somebody else.

So let's consider now these four qualities of mature friendship. Number one, a good friend, a mature friend, is reliable. He's reliable. Verse 19 Paul says, "but I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly that I also may be encouraged when I know your state." So Paul makes the announcement that he plans to send Timothy on a journey to them.

Why? Why Timothy? Simply because Timothy is reliable. Timothy is the first person on a two person list of exemplary, faithful friends of Paul. I want you to think about that. I bet when it comes to your friends, you can count on one hand those who are reliable friends. I bet it's a very short list. You might have a lot of friends on Facebook, but Facebook friends are different from faithful friends. Timothy was faithful to Paul. He was reliable. I found a little interesting tidbit in the Journal of National Academy of Sciences that said most people tend to have between five and eight close friends.

So here's Paul's short list. And first on the list is Timothy. Timothy was reliable. It was Timothy that was sent by Paul from Athens to Thessaloniki, 1 Thessalonians 3. He was also sent from Ephesus to Corinth, 1 Corinthians 4. He was sent from Ephesus to Macedonia, Acts 19. Now he's sending him again on an errand to go all the way from Rome to Philippi, which is about 800 miles. It takes somebody reliable to pull that off.

Now go to verse 22 and notice something. Look at the very end of that verse, verse 22. It says, "He served with me in the gospel--" now watch this-- "therefore, I hope to send him at once as soon as I see how it goes with me." I want you to get that therefore. I want you to get that thought here.

What Paul is saying is because Timothy has been so reliable, Timothy is therefore become more valuable. He is valuable because he is reliable.

Now Paul wanted to go himself to Philippi. He announces that. I want to come, if I get out of here basically, if I see how it goes with me, if it goes well, I'll come. But if I can't come, the next best to me actually going to see you is to send Timothy.

Now how much of an honor is that? To go from Paul's son in the faith to Paul's servant in the faith to Paul substitute as he is being sent from Rome to Philippi. You know there's a principle in that I want you to get. Faithfulness is what will open the door to more fruitfulness. The more faithful you are, you just stay at it, stay at it, stay at it, that will open the door to more fruitfulness.

Now that's a servant's reward by the way. A servant's reward is getting to serve more. If you're not a servant, that is not a reward. People who are not servant-hearted, when they get asked to serve, they go oh, again? You want me to-- I've already done stuff. Do I have to volunteer? Get somebody else.

A servant says, I get to do more? Awesome. And they're in it to win it. And they'll see that as something that is a blessing not a curse.

There are two parables that Jesus gave in the Gospel of Matthew about this-- Matthew 24 and Matthew 25. In Matthew 24, it's a parable called the parable of the two servants. And Jesus makes this remark. "Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods." Faithfulness leads to fruitfulness.

The second parable in the next chapter, Matthew 25, is about the parable of the talents. Now don't think of talents as the ability to like sing and dance or something like that. We're talking about monetary commissions. So he gave talent-- five talents to one, two talents to another, one talent to another. This is money, bags of silver or gold.

Jesus said, "Well done, good and faithful servant. You were faithful over a few things. I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your Lord." You remember that? Enter into the joy of your Lord. Most people think that means heaven. But I think what it means is you've been faithful, so now you're going to be more fruitful and the joy of your Lord is expanded service. That's the joy of your Lord. You get to do more.

So the principle is the more reliable you are, the more valuable you become. And faithfulness will lead to fruitfulness. So then the first quality of a mature friend is a good friend, a mature friend is reliable.

Second, a mature friend is compatible. In verse 20, Paul says, "For I have no one like-minded--" mark that word like-minded-- "who will sincerely care or naturally care for your state." In friendships, in fact in any relationship, we talk about compatibility. Are they compatible?

What we mean is there are personalities that are better suited to other personalities. And some personalities that just aren't suited to different ones. Even Aristotle, the great Greek thinker, noticed that there is what he called a natural affinity and friendship. That people will get together or gravitate toward other people who like the same thing they like. There's a compatibility of interest or a compatibility of goal.

So Paul uses the word, notice, like-minded. And the reason I'm having you notice the word is because the only single time it appears in the New Testament is here. It's never used anywhere else. The Greek word [SPEAKING GREEK], [SPEAKING GREEK] literally means equal souled or like souled. We are of one soul. Paul is saying of Timothy.

It's sort of like David and Jonathan. You remember in the Old Testament 1 Samuel 18, we were told the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David. They were like souled, equal souled.

C.S. Lewis once wrote true friends don't spend time just gazing into each other's eyes, but they face the same direction toward common projects, interests, goals, and above all toward a common Lord. So get this, Timothy and Paul had the same goal. Their goal was to serve God and to serve God's people.

But here's what's remarkable. There were hundreds of Christians at this time in the city of Rome. And Paul probably knew a bunch of them. In fact, at the end of his letter to the Romans, Romans 16, Paul lists personal friends, personal names, 27 personal names. So he must have known a lot of them. But what he's saying is of all the ones that I know at Rome, there is only one person who shares the same soul that I do. We are soul mates in that he has the same interests and the same goal for Christ that I do.

1 Corinthians 16:10, Paul describes Timothy, he does the work of the Lord as I do also. Twice in the very last letter Paul ever wrote in his life, 2 Timothy, he writes to Timothy saying twice you have carefully followed my doctrine, my manner of life, purpose, faith, suffering, love, and perseverance. Those guys are like souled, like-minded.

So find someone who pursues Jesus Christ as much as you do and walk into the future with that person. That's what I did with my wife. My wife Lenya and I, we're very similar in certain respects, but very, very different in others. But of all the differences that we have-- and I remember at first in our marriage, there were things that we did that sort of irritated us, now we sort of laugh at them and we enjoy them. We've learned to accommodate. But one thing we agree on, one thing we are like-minded on, and that is our pursuit of Christ. We are like souled.

So a mature friend is reliable. A mature friend is compatible. Here's the third. A good friend, a mature friend is thoughtful. Thoughtful.

In verse 20, he says, "I have no one like-minded who will sincerely care for your state--" verse 21-- "for all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus." Now we're back to that servant thing again and Paul's been harping on that for several verses. And perhaps just when you thought it was over and you could move on. You were thinking, Skip, I remember we had a couple of weeks of telling us that we had to serve one another and love one another and be humble with each other and all that stuff. And I'm just so glad we're done with that. We can move on to real life. Well, evidently to Paul, you're not done. Because he keeps bringing it up and using example after example and application after application.

And so he said let this mind be in you which is also in Christ Jesus. But he said as his premise, let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility or lowliness of mind let each of us esteem others better than himself. That's a wonderful passage. Trouble is, it's hard. That's difficult to actually esteem, prefer others more than ourselves.

Well one who did that was Timothy. "He will sincerely care for your state." In other words, he genuinely cares for your welfare. The word sincerely simply means he's the real deal. There's nothing fake about him. There's nothing phony about him. There's nothing hypocritical. He actually cares. Timothy didn't plaster a fake smile on him, so that he could sell you something or that he'd get a bigger tip. He actually genuinely cared.

I think you can tell if somebody is sincere in their care. I mean animals can. I found this funny little study on a scientific journal where they took dogs and put them in MRI scanners with something to read brain waves. And they noted dogs care about what we say and how we say it. I found it fascinating that they can process word meaning and intonation.

Now they don't have a big vocabulary, but they get the basic rudimentary commands and things that you say. But they listened to the words they're familiar with, but also how you say them. Now this has nothing at all to do with my study, I just thought it was fascinating.

[LAUGHTER]

Except for this, I think if animals know and they can tell if we're sincere or not, certainly human beings can. And Paul knew that of Timothy, that he esteems others better than himself. He's not self-centered. He's not thinking what about me. He's thinking what about them.

So a friend of mine signed me up for this thing called 23andMe. Have you heard of that? You know what that is? 23andMe. It was a gift that was given to me and you send a sample of saliva in and they test your DNA. They find out what your background is. What percentage of this ethnic group you are. And I thought, well, that'd be fascinating.

But not only do they do genetic research, they want to find out behavior patterns. So they ask you a series of questions. And they have sent me several emails, could you answer these questions? Thank you, you answer more than a large percentage, would you answer more questions? Well, I got one yesterday that asked me a few questions. I just wanted you to hear the first two.

Number one, they said how narcissistic do you think you are? That was the question. And they gave you different options. I'm not at all narcissistic, which only a narcissist would say. I am very narcissistic, which I don't know who would say that. And then something in the middle. I'm somewhat narcissistic. So I looked at it and thought, who is going to answer that honestly, ever? How narcissistic do you think you are? So I thought most people would probably say somewhat narcissistic. That's safe. That's how I answered it at least.

Second question that they sent me was on a scale of one to five, how much do you like helping other people? And again I thought I wonder how many people are really going to be honest with this? OK.

So now look at verse 21. He goes from saying, I have nobody like-minded who will really care. Now he makes a contrasts in verse 21. "For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus." That is an amazing statement. For everybody seeks their own, not the things that are of Christ.

The Moffatt translation puts it this way. Everybody is selfish. The new Living Translation renders it for all others care only for themselves. Now we're not actually sure who Paul was referring to here.

But a surface reading of this, most of us would think, well, he's probably describing the unbelieving world, the unconverted world. People generally in the world are selfish in their living. I don't believe he's referring to that. I believe, that my strong conviction is, he's referring to Christian people.

You know how I believe that? Because he has just written in Chapter 1, he said that some in Rome, who were Christian people, were preaching through envy and strife and selfish ambition. He noted that. And he said they're making it worse for me while I'm in jail.

You see Paul had been around people. He knew people. And he knew that sometimes people, church people, just want you to think they're church people. They speak Christianese. They got it down pat. God bless you, brother, sister. Praise the Lord. Hallelujah. Thank you, Jesus. I'm reading my Bible. They just say all the right stuff. But they have their own agenda.

And Paul knew from personal experience I got a group of people here in Rome, who are preaching from envy, strife, selfish, ambition, for all seek their own, not the things that are of Jesus. Timothy, however, really cares.

Remember in the Gospel of John, Jesus was gaining a large crowd. And we are told this. "Many believed in His name when they saw the signs that He performed. But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men. And He had no need that anybody testify of man." I think Paul knew men, too. But he knew that Timothy was a breath of fresh air.

Some of you may be familiar with the person I'm about to announce. He was a French cleric over 1,000 years ago. His name was Bernard, Bernard of Clairvaux. And he made some very interesting observations about us as human beings. He said there are four stages of Christian maturity. See if you can relate to this.

Stage number one, love of self for self's sake. That's about as basic as you can get. It's all about me. I love myself. How do I look? How do I feel? How do you make me feel? It's love of self for self's sake. That's stage number one.

Stage number two, love of God for self's sake. Stage number three, love of God for God's sake. And stage number 4, love of self for God's sake.

Now without going through all those stages, let me just say that my observation is that many of us Christians are still at stage number two. We love God for our self's sake. We love God because God makes me feel good. And as long as God keeps giving me what I think He ought to be giving me and blessing me like He ought to be blessing me, well, I'm going to love Him. But if He doesn't, that may go away. It's love of God for the sake of myself, not for Him, not for His glory, it's all about me.

Think of it this way. All of us, all of us, live in one of two places. We either live in Philippians 1:21 or Philippians 2:21. Philippians 1:21 reads "For me to live is Christ and to die is gain." Philippians 2:21, you just read it, "All seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus." You either live in 1:21 or 2:21.

Think of it this way. You are turning 21. Which 21 are you turning? 1:21 or 2:21? Seeking your own, not Jesus or for me to live is Christ and to die is gain. We all live in one of two camps.

A gal by the name of Ruth Calkin wrote a piece that has stuck with me for years. Let me read it to you. It's a prayer. She says, "You know, Lord, how I serve You with great emotional fervor in the limelight. You know how eagerly I speak for You at a woman's club. You know how I effervesce when I promote a fellowship group. You know my genuine enthusiasm at a Bible study. But how would I react, I wonder if you pointed to a basin of water and asked me to wash the calloused feet of a bent and wrinkled old woman day after day and month after month in a room where nobody saw and nobody knew?"

I was deeply convicted when I first read that. And I still am when I read it now, because only the Lord knows if I'm in 1:21 or 2:21. But I think we could all say I want to be in 2:21. I hope that we're going from level 2 all the way up to 3 and 4.

Well, a mature friend is reliable. A mature friend is compatible. A mature friend is thoughtful. Let me give you a fourth and we'll close out. A mature friend is loyal. I'm going to have you look at verse 22. Speaking of Timothy, he says, "But you know his proven character, that as a son with his father, he served with me in the gospel." His point is this, Timothy was not a novice, he was seasoned. He had maturity. He had mileage, spiritual mileage, under his spiritual belt. He said he had proven character. Now that word proven character, it's just a single word in Greek, [SPEAKING GREEK]. And it means to prove something or make something known as valuable after it has gone through a testing.

And so they would test metals or they would test horses. And once it was tested, then it was proven to be valuable, because it's gone through the test. And today everything's tested. Your car, they just didn't sell you your car and cross their fingers and say, man, and I hope it runs. They took it to a factory. They put a dummy-- not one of us-- a crash dummy in it. And they rammed it up into a wall. And they wanted to make sure the airbags deployed and the electronics work, et cetera. It was tested. Everything from toasters to toilets are tested. And it's the testing that proves the worth or proves the value.

So Paul didn't just add Timothy to his evangelistic team day one after his conversion. He waited a couple of years, until he came back through Lystra and Derbe-- and saw him a second time. And we are told in Acts 16, "Timothy was well spoken of by the brethren." It was that endorsement that caused Paul to say, Tim, I want you to join my team. And so young Tim joined Paul's team and followed him throughout Macedonia and Corinth and then to Jerusalem when Paul brought a special offering of money for the suffering church in Jerusalem.

The point is this. There must be waiting before there is working. There must be a testing period before there is a teaming up with another person, especially in ministry. Because rapid advancement in ministry can cause someone to become proud. This is why Paul said Timothy, he wrote to Timothy 1 and 2 Timothy, he said, when you choose up leaders, make sure they're seasoned. His words, not a novice less being puffed up with pride he falls into the same condemnation as the devil.

You know, I have noticed over the years that whenever somebody famous, some rock star, some singer, some actor makes any overture of belief in Jesus Christ, the church wants to immediately platform them, bring them in. Have him stand up and share his testimony. No. Don't have him do that. Have him get rooted and grounded first and grow. Otherwise, he'll become a tree whose branches go out further than his roots go down and that tree will topple. And when that tree topples, the world is going to look and go, aha, another fake one.

So Paul made sure Timothy was loyal. And that loyalty turned into a long-term reliability. And so he mentions him 24 times, Paul does, in all of his writings. And I love this relationship how it's said "as a son is with his father." Paul thought of Timothy as his son in the faith. And he writes about that here "as a son is with his father."

I'll close with this. I don't know if you know who Henry Luce is-- L-U-C-E. Henry Luce was the founder of Time-Life Incorporated, so that great communication enterprise. Henry Luce probably influenced world opinion more than any single publisher in recent history. In fact, when he was alive, he was called the most influential private citizen in America.

Well, he talks about his early life. He said he was raised the son of a missionary in China. Raised in China, his father had enormous responsibility running a school, running his mission. And he said every evening my dad would take me for a walk. But he said what was interesting is my father spoke to me as though I were an adult. He said I was just a kid walking next to my dad. And my dad talked about the philosophy of education and things that I didn't quite know, but it just elevated me. And I felt like, man, I'm not just a kid, I'm not just his son, I'm his friend. He felt so honored that his father made him a friend.

What an honor to be called a friend of Paul the Apostle. It's an honorable title, just a friend of anyone but a friend of Paul the Apostle.

And do you know who was called a friend of God? Can you think of his name in the Bible? Anybody? If you know it, shout it out.

Abraham.

Abraham was called the friend of God, only one who had that title. What an honor, huh? For God to say, hey, do you know My buddy, Abraham? My friend, My good friend.

And here's the truth. When Jesus Christ becomes your Savior, He brings you into a relationship with His Father, so you become a child of God. But more than that, a friend. Jesus said to His followers, from this day on, I don't call you just my servants you're my friends so I'm looking at friends of God children of God. And if you don't know Jesus Christ, this would be a good day to enter into a relationship with Him.

Let's pray. Father, we just make consideration of what we have read. These simple words of Paul endorsing somebody he's going to send to a group that he loved. Timothy, a friend who was reliable. A friend who was compatible. A friend who was so thoughtful. And a friend who was loyal.

Lord, some of us are in desperate need of good friendships, healthy relationships. And we hear these words and we think, oh that I had those kind of people surrounding me. But if we would turn from that and say, boy, if I lived in 2:21 rather than 1:21, I could be mature to the extent that I would bless other people and my life would become even more fruitful as I remain ever faithful. So we're asking You, Lord, to change us individually, to make us these kind of mature people, children of God, friends of God, friends to one another.

And I just want to pray for anyone if they don't know Christ personally that now would be the opportunity that they would seize upon to put their trust personally, definitely, intentionally in Jesus Christ. As our heads are bowed, I'm going to leave my head up and my eyes open for just a moment because I want to invite you if you've never said yes to Jesus, authentically committed your life to Him. I'm not asking you are you a good person, a nice person, a religious person, have you gone to church all your life? I'm asking do you know Jesus Christ personally?

Have you asked him to be your Savior? Have you invited Him in? Have you turned your life over to Him? If you haven't done that, but you want to do that, you want to know your sins are forgiven and He'll give you a whole new start, a whole new life, I want you to raise your hand up just for a moment, just raise it up high so I can see it. God bless you, ma'am, right there in the middle to my left. Anyone else? Raise that hand up.

Say yes to Him. Surrender to Him and be His friend, His child and his friend. Anybody else? Raise that hand up so I can see it.

And then right where you're at, if you raised your hand, would you just say, Lord Jesus, come into my life right now. I know that I'm a sinner. I ask You to forgive me. I believe that You came from heaven to earth and died on the cross for my sin and rose again from the grave. I turned my life to You. I repent of my sin.

I turn to Jesus to be my Savior and my Lord. Help me to follow You today and every day. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Timothy possessed many qualities of a great friend. Did this message challenge you to consider how many of these qualities are present in your own life? We'd love to hear about it. Email us at mystory@calvaryabq.org. And just a reminder, you can give financially to this work at calvaryabq.org/giving. Thank you for joining us for this teaching from Calvary Albuquerque.

Additional Messages in this Series

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4/23/2017
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A Joy Unexpected
Philippians 1:1
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Life doesn’t have to be easy to be joyful. In fact, ease of living and joy of heart have little to do with each other. Joy is not the absence of trouble but rather the presence of Jesus. Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi is a letter dripping with joy and surprisingly so—it’s not what anyone would expect given the circumstances surrounding the author and the recipients. As we dip our toes into the joyful waters of this epistle, it’s my prayer that your smile will grow bigger and your heart will become lighter.
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4/30/2017
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News Flash: You’re a Saint!
Philippians 1:1-2
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You've heard it before. Someone excuses his or her crude behavior by saying something like, "Well, I'm no saint, but I do the best I can." Or, "She's so wonderful; she's a saint!" The idea most folks have is that saints are those who've died and attain special status because of their unusual accomplishments while they lived on earth. Nothing could have been further from Paul's mind when he wrote this letter to living "saints." I hope you're one.
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5/7/2017
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The Family Business
Philippians 1:3-8
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No matter what you may do for a living, there is a higher purpose for your life. No matter what you do for work, God is at work in you and through you. You may have a career in mind, but God has a calling in mind. These are not contradictory paths but complementary ones. The apostle Paul assured his audience of God's work collectively, personally, and practically. We are the objects as well as the instruments of God's work in the world.
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5/14/2017
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Pray for Love
Philippians 1:9-11
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Love is the subject of more songs than any other topic. It's a word that falls off countless lips effortlessly and often without thought. But as someone noted, "One of the great illusions of our time is that love is self-sustaining. It is not. Love must be fed and nurtured, constantly renewed." The great apostle Paul had a deep love for the Philippian believers, and they for him. But love must be understood and developed intelligently. On this Mother's Day, when we celebrate the unique love of a mom, let's also consider how our love can become mature and God-honoring.
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5/21/2017
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The Happy Prisoner
Philippians 1:12-14
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What does it take to steal your joy? To answer that question honestly, you would need to discover what you're passionate about--what drives you and what your expectations of life are. Why is this so important? Because things won't always go your way. Unfavorable winds will toss the ship of your life around on the ocean of circumstances and heartbreaks. What do you need then? The right perspective! Let's learn these truths from Paul's prison cell in Rome.
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6/11/2017
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Pest Control
Philippians 1:15-18
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Every group—whether it’s a club, a corporation, a homeowner association, or a church—has its share of problem people and detractors. Such can be touchy, irritable, irrational, unreasonable, contentious, or legalistic. Their words may hurt us deeply. Their actions may confuse us greatly. So how do we handle these pesky folks? Most importantly, what should we do or not do with those who name the name of Christ but act like pests?
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6/25/2017
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Can You Predict Your Future?
Philippians 1:18-21
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If you were going to sit down and write a short description of what you wanted your future to look like, what words would you choose? Let me suggest four that come straight out of Paul's experience: joy, confidence, hope, and life. After musing over past events that brought him to prison, Paul looks ahead to his uncertain future. But these four words sum up what he expected his future to include--even if it meant his possible execution.
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7/9/2017
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Living on Earth; Longing for Heaven
Philippians 1:22-26
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Knowing what Paul knew about heaven made him think very differently about earth. As Thomas Watson said, "Spiritual things satisfy; the more of heaven is in us, the less earth will content us." It's like a kid eating his vegetables while eyeing the chocolate cake promised after the meal (the salad becomes a means to an end). Jesus taught us to pray, "Thy kingdom come," indicating we should be longing for heaven. So how do we effectively live on earth with heaven ahead?
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7/16/2017
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How to Stand When They Want You to Fall
Philippians 1:27-30
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The truth is, we’re surrounded and outnumbered! The vast majority of the people we encounter in life don’t share our values nor worship our God. The difficulty of the Christian life is that we’re called to stand up for Christ when the rest of the world wants us to sit down or fall flat. They would much rather that we keep our mouths shut and conform to their standards. Let’s consider four spiritual weapons that will help us in the fight to stand strong in our faith.
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7/30/2017
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Being Around People--While Still Being Sane!
Philippians 2:1-4
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Relationships are hard. They take a lot of work. If you think about it, every person in the world is incompatible with every other person. Enough time together would reveal this truth. Because of this, tensions rise, emotions flare, and bad responses ensue. Every friendship, every marriage, every family, and every organization (including every church) has its relational challenges. The church at Philippi did, too, and it was that disunity that tested Paul’s joy. Let’s consider the basics and the basis of successful relationships, and move from surviving them to thriving in them.
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8/6/2017
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What Would Jesus Do?
Philippians 2:5-8
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The campaign What Would Jesus Do? has been around for years, challenging Christians to think about what Christ might actually do in any given situation so they might do likewise. Before us, we have an example of what Jesus actually did do. His example of humility and self-sacrifice is Paul’s illustration to fortify his exhortation of loving people through lowering ourselves.
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8/13/2017
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Be Humble or You'll Stumble
Philippians 2:8-11
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Humility is that slippery quality that once you think you have it, you don't! Also, the pathway of humility is a hard one. For Jesus, it meant the cross. But humility will always be rewarded. Using Christ as our ultimate example, Paul demonstrates how Jesus' voluntary humiliation was compensated by the Father’s lavish exaltation. So even though humility doesn't come without a price, without it, there will be no harmony, no unity.
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8/20/2017
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How to Have a Great Workout
Philippians 2:12-13
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Every day in every city, people go to the gym to get in a workout. Running on a treadmill, spinning on a cycle, working the stair-climber, and lifting weights are becoming more and more frequent in our health-conscious culture. But money spent on a gym membership is pointless unless we take the right approach. In this message, I want to consider what it means to have a healthy spiritual life by showing you what it means to "work out your own salvation in fear and trembling." Let's be determined to stay in top spiritual shape.
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8/27/2017
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Glow in the Dark!
Philippians 2:14-18
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To make an object glow in the dark, a phosphor that will energize by ambient light and have a very long persistence (like zinc sulfide and strontium aluminate) must be applied. For a Christian to glow (shine the light of truth and salvation) in a dark culture, there are four considerations that will energize us. Today let’s study how we can penetrate a murky world.
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10/1/2017
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How to Treat Good (but Imperfect) People
Philippians 2:25-30
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Some of the greatest people I have ever met have been relatively unknown individuals. They serve diligently behind the scenes with no desire for the limelight. Their names are not known to men, yet they are known to God. But even the choicest servants of God are not perfect. We all have our blemishes, shortfalls, quirks, idiosyncrasies, and oddities. Paul gave us an excellent way to treat such people in his words about his friend Epaphroditus.
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10/8/2017
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Has Your Joy Sprung a Leak?
Philippians 3:1-3
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I have a bicycle pump in my garage that stands constant guard to reinflate my tires. It seems that I have a slow leak in one of them. Perhaps from a very small thorn or a defect in the tube, the air slowly leaks out, leaving the ride spongy. Spiritual thorns that deflate joy can also threaten our Christian experience. Let’s consider some simple principles that firm up our life journey and keep "the joy of the Lord" intact.
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10/15/2017
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Get a Real Testimony!
Philippians 3:4-8
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I have heard various people give their testimony over the years. A testimony is the story of how you came to believe in Christ personally. What is your story? Could you tell it to someone? You should be able to trace the steps you took in your life’s journey from aimless wandering to purposeful living as a Christian. These verses are Paul’s personal testimony. Let’s consider three essential ingredients to building a real testimony.
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There are 17 additional messages in this series.