My posts come from my personal daily scripture readings and a part of my personal accountability. If we are going to grow as followers of Christ, we must be in the Word! If you miss these a few days, something has kept me from it; but if they're gone for too many days, call me on the carpet. We need to hold one another accountable. Join me on this journey as our lives are to Reflect the Image-and Jesus IS the image. Peace, Carla Sunberg
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We All Need a Good Friend
Irina, one of my dearest friends, visiting together this summer in Moscow.
Eph. 6:21 So that you also may know how I am and what I am doing, Tychicus will tell you everything. He is a dear brother and a faithful minister in the Lord. 22 I am sending him to you for this very purpose, to let you know how we are, and to encourage your hearts.
Eph. 6:23 Peace be to the whole community, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace be with all who have an undying love for our Lord Jesus Christ.
Tychicus appears in Paul’s writings five times, a couple of times being referred to as “a dear brother and faithful minister.” Later, one of the early church historians lists him as one of the 70 disciples sent out by Jesus. It may well have been in that early ministry with Jesus that he accepted his role as one who would be sent out frequently to strengthen the growing work of the church. Whether by Paul’s side, or sent on his behalf, Tychicus faithfully supported the work and his friend, Paul.
When I think about the Apostle Paul, I think of this great man who seemed to single-handedly plant churches across the Roman world. Far too often we fail to see that he led a team of extremely committed individuals who gave of themselves self-sacrificially in service to God and the church. I’ve read the scriptures numerous times and it never dawned on me that I had read the name of Tychicus in five different passages of the New Testament. Somehow, he’s a good friend of Paul’s that seems to fly under the radar screen.
Just like Paul, we are not supposed to be lone-rangers in life, nor in the work of God’s kingdom. We could all use a good friend, or a partner in what we are doing.
When Paul embraced Christ, he also gravitated to a new way of life. These followers of the way were becoming a new family, one in which all the barriers of the world were destroyed. That’s why Paul could describe the new family as one where there were no Jews, Greeks, slaves, free-men, male and female — for all were now part of a new family. The church was supposed to act like a new family in which the followers of Christ were now brothers and sisters. It was this special bond of friendship, or of brotherhood or sisterhood, which was to provide for perseverance in the kingdom. Paul could trust Tychicus, because he was like a brother to him.
Not only was Tuchicus like a brother, but he was a faithful minister. In other words, he had become a valued member of the family of God. Paul could trust him to go and to minister in his place.
Maybe it’s this description of the relationship with Tychicus that can drive us to to understand why Paul felt strongly about peace in the whole community. The community, or family of faith in Ephesus, was to be united together by Jesus, the Prince of Peace. This would be reflected in the love that they had for one another, which was the result of their faith. What one witnessed was that grace abounded within the community, or family of faith.
We were created to be bound together in the strength of relationship. We all really do need a good friend, and the church ought to be fertile soil for the cultivation of these relationships. If it’s not, then let’s take the time to reevaluate whether we understand what it truly means to be in the family of God.
Lord, thank you for this reminder about friendship. Please, help me to be a good friend and to cultivate new friendships. Amen.
Rom. 6:22 But now that you have been freed from sin and enslaved to God, the advantage you get is sanctification. The end is eternal life. Rom. 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Two sides of life are presented here in great contrast. One is a life of sin and enslavement to evil. The other side of life is freedom which provides the advantage of sanctification (or holiness as some translate the word) that leads to eternal life. The options here are a life of sin, slavery and death; or freedom, holiness and eternal life.
The advantage of holiness or sanctification is the benefit of the life of freedom. Jesus died so that we might be made holy like him and this is something that is offered as a “fruit” or “advantage” right now. The end is eternal life — but the living of life is that it can be lived out in holiness.
The next verse is really just an affirmation of the verse 22. Sin will lead …
Scripture: Mark 8:31 Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.” Observation:
Peter had openly declared that Jesus was the Messiah when suddenly the conversation shifted to suffering, rejection and death. With his affirmation of Jesus as Messiah, Peter had brought with him all of the connotations of that term. Jesus was to be a great military leader, a Davidic Messiah, who would save the people from the earthly authorities. Jesus’ description was a paradigm that didn’t fit into Peter’s thinking.
Peter’s rebuke of Jesus was severe. The language reflects a long and unpleasant conversation. The…
Scripture: Rev. 3:14 “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the origin of God’s creation: Rev. 3:15 “I know your works; you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were either cold or hot. 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, ‘I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing.’ You do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 Therefore I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire so that you may be rich; and white robes to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nakedness from being seen; and salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. 19 I reprove and discipline those whom I love. Be earnest, therefore, and repent. 20 Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me. 21 To the one who conquers I will give a plac…