There was a time in our lives when our daughter was hospitalized for extended periods of time. We learned how friends can provide much needed encouragement during such times. One such friend was Dan Bubar. At the time, Dan was single and considering serving the Lord as a missionary to Hungary. Dan was one of those encouraging visitors who stopped in to see us, bringing a meal or a milkshake and simply talking with us and praying for us. We remember those visits from Dan, some 25 years ago. Sadly, Dan was killed in a traffic accident a number of years ago while serving as a missionary in Hungary, but we will always remember Dan as the friend who encouraged us in our time of need.
Do your fellow saints know you for your kindness? Today we will study a friend that was remembered by the Apostle Paul as a great encourager. One of Paul’s statements concerning Timothy is found in Philippians 2:19–24 "I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. " "I have no one else like him, who takes a genuine interest in your welfare. " "For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. " "But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel. " "I hope, therefore, to send him as soon as I see how things go with me. " "And I am confident in the Lord that I myself will come soon."
As we study this passage, we will examine the characteristics that enable us to bless one another and specific ways that we can do this here at FBC through our Bible Life Groups.
I. A Selfless Saint Brings Cheer. Phil 2:19
Paul needed some CHEER. He was in prison under house arrest in Rome. Unable to travel to visit his friends at the church in Philippi, Paul turns to TIMOTHY to go to Philippi and return with a report that he believed would bring him cheer.
Timothy was WITH PAUL in prison.
Colossians 1:1 "Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,"
Philemon 1 "Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, To Philemon our dear friend and fellow worker,"
Philippians 1:1 "Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons:"
This emphasis on PRISON/ CHAINS in found throughout the book of Philippians:
Philippians 1:7 "It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me."
Philippians 1:13 "As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ."
Philippians 2:17 "But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you."
Philippians 4:22 "All the saints send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household."
Notice the sequence of events that bring us to this point in Paul’s ministry:
1. Paul and Timothy travel to EPHESUS. 1 Timothy 1:3 "As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer"
2. Paul summoned Timothy BACK when he was arrested again. 2 Timothy 1:4 "Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy." 2 Timothy 4:9 "Do your best to come to me quickly,"
Timothy’s reputation: He ENCOURAGED Paul. “That I also may be cheered when I receive news about you” (Phil 2:19)
The word CHEEDED is the Greek word εὐψυχέω (eupsucheō). The English equivalent of this word is the word “psyched!” Paul was “psyched” with the thought of hearing good news about the Philippians from his friend Timothy!
APPLICATION: a good friend can bring CHEER
To illustrate the theme of encouragement, have you ever wondered why GEESE HONK?
We know that geese fly in a “V” formation reducing wind drag. The lead bird encounters more wind resistance, allowing the trailing birds to cut through the air with less expended energy, thus extending the distance that the entire flock can fly. The geese take turns in the lead, retiring to the rear to recover and one by one, the process continues. It’s a great picture of teamwork and efficiency.
SOME BELIEVE that the HONKING of the geese in flight is the way that the trailing geese encourage the lead goos to KEEP GOING!!! It’s a great picture of encouragement! However, some Christians have BROKEN HONKERS!
Silent honkers (we don’t say anything encouraging - personality of EORE)
Out of Tune Honkers (we discourage with our words) Proverbs 25:11 "A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver."
Ill Timed Honkers (we say the wrong thing at the wrong time)
Stephanus, Fortunatus, Achaichus followed the same pattern of encouragement. 1 Corinthians 16:18 "For they refreshed my spirit and yours also. Such men deserve recognition."
Onesiphorus followed the same pattern. 2 Timothy 1:16 "May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains."
Next we find the second characteristic of selfless saints.
II. A Selfless Saint Puts Others First. Phil 2:20-21
TIMOTHY lived to help others.
Timothy traveled on 2nd MJ
Timothy traveled on 3rd MJ
Timothy served in Thessalonica, Berea, Corinth, Philippi, Troas and Ephesus.
Timothy comforts Paul during first Roman imprisonment.
Timothy travels to Ephesus again and receives 1 and 2 Timothy
Paul asks for Timothy before he dies.
Christians like Timothy are RARE. Phil 2:20
Timothy and Epaphroditus STAND OUT against most Christians who seek their own. Phil 2:21
III. A Selfless Saint Makes Serving Others a Lifestyle. Phil 2:22-24
Timothy “proved himself.” The word means “stood the test.” It is used in 2 Corinthians 2:9 "The reason I wrote you was to see if you would stand the test and be obedient in everything."
Timothy was a LOYAL FRIEND. “As a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel”
A selfless friend brings refreshment
A selfless friend puts others first
A selfless friend makes serving others a lifestyle.
How do we ensure that EVERY MEMBER has an opportunity to SERVE and an opportunity to BE Encouraged?
GENERAL. Do good to ALL. Galatians 6:10 "Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers."
SPECIFIC. Every church has to decide how to best meet the needs of ALL the members.
Acts 6:5 “the proposal pleased the whole group”
Serve those closest to you.
Bill Crowder, writer for “Our Daily Bread” tells the following story.....
While traveling together, my wife and I started talking with a delightful young woman we met. The time passed quickly as we chatted about lighthearted topics.
But when she heard that I was a minister, the conversation took a heart-wrenching turn. She began to share with us that when her husband left her only a few months earlier, she had struggled with the pain of that abandonment.
Then she smiled and said, “I can’t tell you how much my church has meant to me these past months.” Her mood and countenance changed dramatically as she recounted the ways her church family had wrapped their loving arms around her in her season of heartache. It was refreshing to hear how that local assembly had surrounded her with the love of Christ.
Strive to be a SELFLESS SAINT!