07/16/F – Faithful Friends

Jeremiah 11:1-23; Colossians 4:7-18; Psalms 78:65-69; Proverbs 19:13-14

NT: “Tychicus, our dearly loved brother, faithful minister, and fellow servant 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. He is coming with Onesimus, a faithful and dearly loved brother, who is one of you. They will tell you about everything here… Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, sends you greetings. He is always wrestling for you in his prayers, so that you can stand mature and fully assured in everything God wills. For I testify about him that he works hard for you, for those in Laodicea, and for those in Hierapolis.” (‭‭Colossians‬ ‭4:7-9, 12-13‬ ‭CSB)

If there ever was a faithful friend to Paul, Tychicus would definitely be one. Tychicus was an Asiatic Christian who accompanied Paul on part of his journey from Macedonia to Jerusalem. Apparently, after Paul was arrested in Jerusalem and eventually sent to Rome to stand trial, Tychicus rejoined Paul while he was under house arrest and ministered to him there. While under house arrest, Paul sent Tychicus with the letter to the Ephesians and with the letter to the Colossians. Here, Paul referred to Tychicus as a dearly loved brother. That meant that Tychicus was very close to Paul, and was both highly esteemed and worthy of love. Paul said that Tychicus was a faithful minister. When things got tough for Paul, instead of running away from the challenges, Tychicus ran to the challenges and served Paul’s needs. No wonder Paul chose Tychicus to deliver Paul’s epistles – he knew that Tychicus was a man who could be trusted and would not run away from the challenges he would face as he fulfilled the task. Finally, Paul said that Tychicus was a fellow servant in the Lord. Paul and Tychicus were committed to the same purposes. They were co-bondservants serving the same Master. So while Paul was detained, he sent his faithful friend Tychicus to serve and encourage the church in his place.

Paul was a faithful friend to Onesimus. The name Onesimus means “useful,” which is interesting considering that Onesimus was a slave. Tradition holds that Onesimus was a runaway slave belonging to Philemon, who was likely a member or the Colossian church. After escaping slavery in Colossae, Onesimus fled to Rome, where he apparently encountered Paul, heard the gospel, and came to faith in Christ. When Tychicus left for Colossae, Paul sent Onesimus back with Tychicus to be reconciled with Philemon. In the letter, Paul commended this former runaway slave, who was once considered unprofitable, as a faithful and dearly loved brother in Christ.

Epaphras was a faithful friend to the Colossian believers. Epaphras brought the gospel to Colossae, led the Colossians to faith in Christ and founded the Colossian church. Apparently, once false teachings began to infiltrate the church, Epaphras traveled all the way to Rome to seek Paul’s help and counsel. While saying with Paul in Rome, Epaphras continued to consistently and steadfastly go to war for the Colossians in prayer and labor for them in the spirit. Epaphras was committed to their well being and their maturity in the faith, and faithfully went to any length to minister to their needs.

Faithfulness is a big deal to God. It is something that God brings up over and over throughout His word. God looks for faithful men and women who will be faithful to Him, faithful to their word, and faithful to one another. Tychicus, Onesimus, Paul and Epaphras were all faithful followers of Christ and faithful friends – and their faithfulness brought glory to God and did much to extend God’s kingdom on earth. How faithful are we? If Paul knew us, would he commend us the way he commended these brothers in the Lord?

Prayer: Lord, You never cease in Your faithfulness to Your word and Your faithfulness to me. Just as You are faithful, You have called me to be faithful. I thank You, that because of Your faithfulness, I can be faithful. As I commit myself to You in faith, grace me to be faithful to You, faithful to Your word, faithful to my words, and faithful to those You have placed around me. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

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