The value of lasting friendships and how to be one
PHILLIPIANS SG WK9
Note to leaders: Do not feel that you have to use every question. Pick and choose as the Spirit leads you but don’t skip over the first question in the discussion from the message!
Warm Up: If something happened to you and your spouse when your family was young, who would have looked after your children? If something happened to you now, who would you choose to look after your business or personal affairs?
Background: We talk rather glibly about friendship and toss the word “friend” around rather freely. But when the Bible speaks about friendship, it does so with great seriousness. We are counseled to choose our friends wisely because friendship with the wrong kind of friends leads to trouble. We were created for community and function more fully when we doing life with faithful friends. And, while it may be true that finding a faithful friend is difficult and becoming harder all the time, it is not impossible. This morning text talks about the kind of friends that we need to be looking for in our lives and, just as importantly, it models for us the kind of friendship qualities we need to demonstrate in our own lives if we want to be a faithful friend.
Text: Phil. 2:19-30
- From verses 19-24, what are two or three words Paul used to describe Timothy? Are those the kind of words that someone would use to describe you? Why or why not?
- Paul said that he had no one else like Timothy that he could trust with the task. Why? How hard is it to keep the cause of Christ first and foremost in your life?
- How do you think Paul thought of Timothy: like a son or more like an equal partner in the ministry?
- Paul said, “I hope to send Timothy to you soon, but not yet…” Why might Paul have been reluctant to part with Timothy’s company?
- From verses 25-30, what are two or three words Paul used to describe Epaphroditus? Are those the kind of words that someone would use to describe you? Why or why not?
- Epaphroditus almost died trying to take care of Paul and minister to his needs. What’s the most you would be willing to sacrifice for a friend? How far is too far in your opinion?
From the Message: Phil. 2:19-30
- What spoke to you the most from the message and why? What challenged you the most? Don’t rush by this!
- This morning Pastor Steve said, “Friends show up when you need them.” How important is the gift of presence in friendship?
- Have your friends ever let you down by not showing up when you needed them? Has a friend ever “called you out” for not showing up when they needed you?
- What’s the greatest sacrifice a friend has made for you? What was it and what did it mean to you at the time?
- What are the limits of my friendship? Do I use people or lay down my life for them?
- How much do I know of sacrificial love? Do I take the risk of openness, or is there a carefully constructed wall around my life that no one can penetrate?
5. Pastor Steve said, “Friendship is not about you.” Did you find that comment strange or did it strike a cord in you? What did he say friendship was about if it wasn’t about you?
- What is my impact on others? Am I a change agent for godliness in my friend’s life? Are they a deeper disciple because of me?
- Am I an initiator of friendship, or am I waiting for others to earn my approval or to reach out to me?
- If your friends cared enough to send the very best they had, would they send you?
Reflect: Have you noticed that being involved, giving of ourselves, and being committed for the long haul are also the traits that are called for in following Christ? These men grew as friends because of their common love for and service to our Lord. This leads me to conclude that some of the best friendships we have will most likely be found right here in our community of faith.
As we serve the Lord we will grow together. As we draw our example from Christ, we will find ourselves becoming better friends. As we learn more about His commitment to us, we will find ourselves willing to be more committed to each other. And as we do this I think we may be able to show the world that friendship is indeed precious, and possible. And in our friendships we will be able to spur one another on in our devotion to the Savior. We will have good friends and be better servants of our Lord. And the Father will smile.
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!
Eccl. 4:9-10 (NIV)