July 15, 2010
Building Strong Friendships in Christ
Good News of Faith and Love Today
“But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us good news of your faith and love, and that you always think kindly of us, longing to see us just as we long to see you,”
1 Thessalonians 3:6
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Good news can come in many forms. I love to hear stories from my friends about how God has been working in their lives. I love to hear about marriages growing together, instead of apart. My heart rejoices when alcoholics turn to sobriety, or drug addicts leave their addiction. I especially love to hear that someone has accepted the gift of salvation from Jesus. The better I know the people involved, the better I like hearing the stories.
I like to tell new Christians that Sunday morning services should be a gathering of missionaries. Each of us works in a mission field all week–at work, at home, away from home, you name it. We all should be encouraging believers and making disciples in our communities. We are all missionaries, all the time.
In this case, the Thessalonian ministry team had just received Timothy back from his visit to Thessalonica. Timothy had left the team and went from Athens to Thessalonica to learn how they were doing in Christ. Now, he has returned, and tells a great story. Timothy reported three great things about the Thessalonians.
First, Timothy said that the Thessalonians still had faith and love. Paul had already commended the Thessalonians for their faith and love, and now Timothy confirmed it again. Do you have anyone that you know who stands in faith and love?
Second, Timothy reported that the Thessalonians were always thinking kindly toward the ministry team. When you are away from people, what do they say about you? Do you care what they say? The ministry team certainly cared what the Thessalonians were thinking. When your friends stop thinking kindly about you when you are not there, you should ask them what is up with them? What changed?
Third, Timothy related that the Thessalonians were longing to see the ministry team, and the feelings were mutual. Do you see the pattern here? These people loved each other, and time and geography could not break their spiritual concern and unity. With e-mail, telephones, Facebook, Twitter, and so many other modes of communication, we should have every opportunity to stay in touch. If you think kindly about one another, why not tell someone today how much you long to see them.
Jesus spends every day in our hearts for all eternity. From the moment we believed that He forgave all our sins, because He loved us and gave Himself for us, He has taken up permanent residence in our lives. Plus, the Father abides with us and the Holy Spirit indwells us. Each of them loves for us to talk to them, worship them, and spend time thinking about them and seeing them face to face in heaven. We should all long for that day, together, as one church.
So, we learn some more about building strong friendships in Christ.
● Strong bonds of friendship form when we think kindly about our spiritual friends, and long to see them.
● Strong bonds of friendship grow when we hear good news about our spiritual friends standing in love and faith, and they still like us, just as we like them.
● We harm our bonds of friendship when we no longer care what anyone thinks about us, and we have no interest in having spiritual friends. If we become uninterested in hearing about our friends, then we all start to dissolve our spiritual friendships.
Application for Today
Today, I hope to hear from Timothy about how you are doing, because I still care what you think about me. I hope to hear good news about you, and I want you to know we still long to see you. What good news do you expect to hear from your spiritual friends today?