New friendships – Phil. 2: 19-30

These notes accompany the sermon from Sunday 5 July 2020.

In these verses Paul reveals something of the nature of friendship as God intended it to be. He is building on the foundational truth that God has made people for relationship with himself and with each other. The cross of Christ makes a way for friendships which have been broken to be restored.

We see 4 marks of friendship:

  1. Genuine Interest in others – Paul describes his close friend Timothy as taking a ‘genuine interest in the welfare’ of the Philippians (v20). This was in contrast to the often self-centred attitude in that young church (v21). 
  2. Common focus – doing things together, in a close relationship. Paul describes Epaphroditus as a brother (v25). Nicky Gumbel in A Life Worth Living reminds us that ‘Jesus accepted everyone, but he chose his friends. If Jesus needed a small groups of friends, so do we.’
  3. Serving together – Timothy ‘served’ with Paul (v22), and he described Epaphroditus as a ‘fellow worker (v25) in the proclamation and the living out of the gospel
  4. Taking risks – Paul and Epaphroditus were ‘fellow soldiers’ (v25). They were able to support one another in the battles of life and were willing to take risks both for each other and for the sake of Christ (v30) risks which included being rejected, deeply disappointed, hurt and even killed. 

In all these ways, friendship follows the example of Jesus Christ.

How have you experienced the friendship of others? Which of these features of friendship mean most to you and why? Are there ways that this passage prompts you to be a better friend to others? 

What do you think could be done to better facilitate the building of friendships at Christ Church?