What kind of friends do you have? What kind of friend are you?
In Colossians 4:7-9, two men are described as being faithful and dearly loved. First, some definitions:
- Faithful = full of faith, loyal, displaying your faith in God by by your words & actions
- Dearly loved = loved unconditionally
Hear the story of two friends of the apostle Paul.
Paul had a friend named Tychicus. He had joined Paul on missionary journeys, helping to start churches and strengthen churches in many cities throughout the Roman Empire. Later, after Paul was arrested by the Roman government for boldly declaring Jesus as the one true Savior, Tychicus and Paul remained friends and Tychicus continued to help Paul with ministry projects. One time Paul sent Tychicus to oversee the ministry work in Crete so that Titus could visit Paul in prison. On another occasion, Paul sent him to Ephesus to oversee the work there so that Timothy could visit Paul in prison.
The bottom line was that Tychicus was a mature Christian, a faithful follower of Jesus Christ, and a loyal friend. He was dependable, encouraging, and trustworthy. When Paul wrote a letter to encourage the believers in Colossae, Ephesus, and Laodicea, he entrusted it to Tychicus for delivery.
Tychicus, our dearly loved brother, faithful servant, and fellow slave in the Lord, will tell you all the news about me. I have sent him to you for this very purpose, so that you may know how we are and so that he may encourage your hearts. (Colossians 4:7-8)
Another friend of Paul was once a runaway slave. [NOTE: Remember that in the first century, most people who became slaves did so because of military conquest or because they had accrued debt and therefore sold themselves into slavery. And remember that it was the freedom spoken about by Jesus, Paul, and others that laid the framework for the abolition of slavery around the world.] Onesimus had deserted his master, had fled to Rome, and by Divine Providence had met the apostle Paul. Onesimus heard about Jesus, repented of his sin and trusted in Jesus as Lord and Savior.
Paul was sending Onesimus with Tychicus to deliver the letters. Onesimus also carried a letter written by Paul to Onesimus’ former master, telling him of the change in Onesimus’ life and encouraging him to receive Onesimus back not just as a worker, but also as a brother in Christ. Paul described him as a faithful and dearly loved brother. He had proven himself to be faithful to Christ, loyal to his friendships, and one who was loved by his friends. Paul wrote:
He is with Onesimus, a faithful and dearly loved brother, who is one of you. They will tell you about everything here. (Colossians 4:9)
Points of Application
In light of the story of these two men, consider the following points of application for your life:
- Thank God for the faithful and dearly loved people in your life. Send them a note this week to tell them how much you appreciate them.
- This week, take the time to learn someone’s story. Ask them to share it with you.
- This week, if the Lord opens the door, tell someone your story.
- If you don’t have a story of faith in Christ yet, are you ready to take that step right now?
If you take the steps of faith and obedience above, you will make deep friendships with some faithful and dearly loved brothers and sisters in Christ.