2 Timothy 4:9-22
9 Do your best to come to me soon.
10 For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. 11 Luke alone is with me.
Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry.
12 Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus.
13 When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments.
14 Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds.
15 Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message.
16 At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them!
17 But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.
18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
19 Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus.
20 Erastus remained at Corinth, and I left Trophimus, who was ill, at Miletus.
21 Do your best to come before winter. Eubulus sends greetings to you, as do Pudens and Linus and Claudia and all the brothers.
22 The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.
“I am so embarrassed, I have no one to talk to. I am so lonely. I don’t have a single friend in the church!”
God is appalled that there are so many lonely people in His church.
God never intended for Christians to be lonely,
John Donne: No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.
Spent his whole ministry on the go.
Paul was a task-oriented but he built intimate personal relationships.
Paul mentions 18people in 10 different cities, plus,
He surrounded himself with close associates.
Paul did not have it easy because of his faith in Jesus.
Paul needed his friends in Christ.
He begs Timothy to come quickly. bring Jon Mark with him.
Luke alone was with him
Paul knew that God was always with him, but Paul was well-connected with other Christian brothers. He built and maintained these personal relationships without phones, email, text messages, Facebook, and Twitter.
In contrast most Christians in America have a hard-time establishing one close, intimate friendship with another believer;
Christians do not seek close faith-centered friendships with other Christians for three primary reasons.
We think we can make it as successful Christians on our own.
Our biggest challenges is our self-confidence.
We are embarrassed to ask for help.
We tough it out.
Sometimes we make it through the waters free and clear,
Sometimes we make it through rough waters beaten and bruised.
Then there are those times when we drown in the process.
Jason Upton, “I tried walking on water, but found myself under the sea.”
Too proud or too weak to ask for help,
Our red-blooded, All-American independence is the reason a problem
“You cannot make it through life as a peace-filled, joyful, Christian” all by yourself.
We believe faith is a private matter with God alone.
Pairs in the Bible
Loners in the Bible often get into trouble.
Jesus said, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” (Matthew 18:20)
Acts 1:13-14 and 2:1: “The disciples and the others all stayed together. All of them were of one accord devoting themselves to prayer. Then when the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place.”
God never intended our faith to be a private affair
Solo acts were doomed for failure.
Paul talks about the church being a body with multiple parts,
Hebrews 10:24-25 “Stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another.”
Ecclesiastes 4:8-12: “One person who has no other, either son or brother, sees no end to all his toil. Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? Though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him. A threefold cord is not quickly broken.”
If you believe your faith is a private matter between you and God, you are wrong.
We do not want anyone to know us we really are.
We believe Romans 3:23 is only about us: “All sin and fall short of the glory of God.”
While we know that Jesus
died for the forgiveness of our sins (John 3:16)
died for us while we were sinners (Romans 5:8)
nothing can separate us from God’s love (Romans 8:37-39)
While we trust God’s mercy and grace, we do not trust the mercy and grace of other Christians.
We wrestle with shame.
We turn our shame into blame, “He did it … she did it!” so can look at ourselves in the mirror.
Why do we blame others?
Outwardly we do not want to endure punishment.
Inwardly, we do not want to suffer condemnation
==> building walls without windows around our personal lives,
Alan Wright, “No Shame Zone.”
Romans 8:1, “There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus!”
Alan rejoices in the transformation of the congregation. People quit hiding. Instead of repeating their failures and falling further into the pit of despair, they have overcome and are living grace-filled lives.
The transformation does not come easy, but it comes because God dispenses grace through Christ Jesus and through your brothers and sisters in the body of Christ.
Our Need for Deep Spiritual Friendships
We are saved in Christ, but God has given us help in community
Sunday AM we never turn and say to someone in coffee hour and say, “Let me tell you about my struggles…”
We want peace that passes understanding,
We want your joy to be complete,
We will never have these gifts of God if you do not establish the habit of maintaining a spiritual friendship.
Paul Tripp believes we need at least one