Joy in Friendship.

‘This blog series is based on one idea from the sermon each week. This week’s blog is written by Jodie Murchison. It’s based on the sermon ‘Joy in Friendship’ which you can download here:’

Joy in Friendship

The word ‘friend’ is one which means different things to different people. Young people tend to have lots of ‘friends’, however with a lack of depth of relationship. Older people on the other hand tend to have less friends but with a greater depth of relationship.

Studies show that the world is more connected than it has ever been before, you can pick up your phone and be in contact with someone instantly. However, this connectedness has said to have led to us to being the loneliest generation ever. Therefore, it is important to look at what the biblical understanding of friendship is and we will do that through looking at Philippians 2.


Five marks of friendship

1 – Pursued: We see this through Paul in that he sends Timothy to the Philippians in order that he would be able to hear news about his friends. This isn’t a one-way thing; the Philippians reciprocate Pauls pursuit of friendship by having sent Epaphroditus to Paul with food and money.

2 – Serving: This is demonstrated in that Timothy has served with Paul in the Gospel, he has put Christ’s interests above his own. Service in friendship is helping others to be made new and become more like Jesus, being about their joy and not just their happiness.

3 – Satisfying: The longing which Epahproditus has for the Philippians shows that the friendship which he has with them is satisfying. Deep resilient friendship is demonstrated in this longing which we see here.

4 – Sacrifices: Paul is in prison, he doesn’t know if he will live or die, but instead of being about himself and wanting to keep Epaphroditus around him to assure him and know the closeness of his brother he sends Epharoditus back to the Philippians because it would be better for them. He sacrifices the comfortability of having his friend around in order that the Philippians would rejoice in seeing their friend.

5 – Demonstrated: The Philippians are called to show their appreciation of their friend Epaphroditus by having joy in seeing him. They were to honour him and show them why they appreciate his friendship, probably done through providing and caring for him.

These five marks of friendship are crucial to having deep meaningful friendships, however it is not enough to merely look at the hallmarks of a biblical friendship but to look at the Gospel motivation for these.

Jesus is our example, He is the perfect friend who has demonstrated each of these hallmarks;
1 – He pursued us in that he came from heaven to earth, He comes after us even when we run from Him.
2 – He served us perfectly in that he took the form of a servant and humbled himself by looking to our interest and not his own. He humbled himself to death, even death on a the cross.
3 – The God-man Jesus is the one whom truly satisfies us, He is our true satisfaction.
4 – Jesus laid down his life willingly so that we could live, He sacrificed His life.
5 – He demonstrates this friendship in that when we were still sinners He died for us.

Therefore, how are we applying these principles of friendship? This week it would be great to see us put some of these into practice and perhaps pursue that friend we haven’t spoken to in a while, do something for your friend, sacrifice time for them and demonstrate to them that their friendship is important…go on be un-British for once and show emotion!

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