2 Tim 4:19-21a
INTRO: Several of the letters penned by the apostle Paul include the names of people whose lives were entwined with his own. These people were fellow workers, companions, friends. There is no doubting the value of friends to Paul. When I think of my own life and experiences, I realize what an impact friends have made and what value they have brought to me. So important have they been that I would like to consider how thrilled I am with Christian friendships. Consider:
1. THE ENJOYMENT OF THEM
A. 2 Pet 1:1 like precious faith
B. Beyond friends, we are brethren!
C. Like faith removes so many stresses
D. Like faith gives us common purpose
E. Like faith gives us common values
F. Like faith gives us common lifestyle
G. 2 Cor 6:14,15 here are questions which highlight a source of joy in Christian friendships
2. THE ENCOURAGEMENT OF THEM
A. 1 Thes 5:11 comfort ...edify ... one another
B. Heb 3:13 exhort one another daily
C. One another is a common expression in the New Testament
D. Christian friendship brings one another idea to a great fruition, reality, value
E. Worldly, carnal friends will not give the kind, knowledgeable, quality of encouragement we need
F. They cannot ... because the center of their lives is here
G. 1 Thes 4:18
3. THE CHALLENGE OF THEM
A. Eph 4:29 to the use of edifying
B. Christian friendships can build us up
C. They challenge us to be better people
D. They remind us of our identity
E. Note 1 Tim 4:12-14 .... challenge, reminder
F. Away from Christian friends it is too easy to forget who I am ... to lapse in worldly thinking
G. Christian friendships keep me on track
4. THE SUPPORT OF THEM
A. 1 Thes 5:14 support the weak
B. Heb 12:12,13 lift up the hands...
C. Very few of us do not at times find ourselves needing support
D. Disappointment, illness, confusion, death
E. At such times Christian friends are most wanted and helpful
F. Their prayers; their presence; their counsel
G. 2 Tim 4:21a this friend he especially needed
5. THE CORRECTION OF THEM
A. Gal 6:1 restore such an one
B. Jas 5:10,12if any of you do err ...
C. Correction in various realms would be relevant here
D. And correction offered by a Christian friend is a far more likely to be helpful, acted upon than that from one who is not a close Christian friend
E. The words of Christian friend will be kind, gentle, Biblical
F. Prov 27:6 there is much truth in this verse!
6. FAITHFULNESS OF THEM
A. Prov 18:24 that sticketh closer ...
B. Prov 2710 thine own friend ... forsake not ...
C. Peaks and valleys are part of life ... and, often, relationships
D. But the dependability of Christian friends who see past the defects and deficiencies is a thrilling thing to me ... because I have often needed their grace!
CLOSE: My life has been and is blessed by Christian friendships which span three generations and several countries. I see their faces. I hear their voices. I rejoice in the wealth they bring to me.
Cecil A. Hutson
29 October 2000
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)