The Friendship Factor

The Friendship Factor

Read: Romans 16:1-16

Who are your friends? Can you list seven friends right now? Go ahead, do it: 
How important are friends? Read: Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
   9 Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up. 11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; But how can one be warm alone? 12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
Who is your BFF? Do you have a best friend forever? 

The Apostle Paul had many friends, and it was easy for him to make friends. It has been said that the greatest ministers are those who can make friends. 

In this lesson I want us to consider the twenty-seven (27) people that Paul lists here as he brings the book of Romans to a close. All twenty-seven (27) people played significant roles in Paul’s life. As do our friends today! 

Paul’s List of Friends

Friend 1 – Phoebe – 16:1

  • Servant of the church
  • Receive her
  • She has been a helper of many and of myself 

Friend 2 & 3 – Priscilla and Aquila – 16:3-4 

  • Fellow workers in Christ Jesus
  • Risked their own necks for my life
  • Give thanks
  • Church in their house 

Friend 4 – Epaenetus – 16:5 

  • Firstfruits of Achaia to Christ 

Friend 5 – Mary – 16:6 

  • Labored much for us 

Friend 6 & 7 – Andronicus & Junia – 16:7 

  • My countrymen
  • Fellow prisoners
  • Apostles – messengers
  • Were in Christ before me 

Friend 8 – Amplias – 16:8 

  • My beloved in the Lord 

Friend 9 & 10 –  Urbanus and Stachys – 16:9 

  • Fellow worker in Christ
  • My beloved 

Friend 11 & 12 – Apelles and Aristobulus – 16:10 

  • Approved in Christ
  • Household of Aristobulus (not one, but many) 

Friend 13 & 14 – Herodion and Narcissus – 16:11 

  • My countryman
  • Household of Narcissus (not one, but many) 

Friend 15, 16, & 17 – Tryphena, Tryphosa, and Persis – 16:12 

  • Labored in the Lord
  • Beloved Persis, who labored much in the Lord 

Friend 18 – Rufus – 16:13 

  • Chosen in the Lord
  • His mother and mine 

Friend 19 – 23 – Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, and Hermes – 16:14 

  • Brethren with them (again, not one, but many) 

Friend 24 – 27 – Philologus, Julia, Nereus (his sister) , and Olympas – 16:15 

  • All the saints who are with them (again we have many) 

In Romans 16:16 we read,  

“Greet one another with a holy kiss. The churches of Christ greet you.” 

   This was a custom, and still is in eastern cultures. In our culture we see women who hug each other, and men who shake hands. Do we really grasp the significance of the kiss, the hug, or the handshake? It is a mark of friendship.

 Wrap Up

How many of the people on your list of friends are you actively involved in ministry with?  How many of them do you attend church with? Who on your list has risked their life for yours? Who have you brought to the saving knowledge of Christ? Who are your beloved? How many people on your friendship list have you done ministry with? Do those on your list belong to a church family? How many of your own family are serving Christ with you? Are your friends better because you are a part of their lives? 

The Friendship Factor equals the true value of friendships. Why not jot a note to those you value the most – encourage your friends.  Write them a quick sentence telling them how important they are to you. 

Tonight, I want to express to all of you how much I appreciate serving the Lord along side of you. Thank you all so much for all you do. You are my beloved!