Summary: In the example of Epaphroditus, we can find instruction on how to live our own lives.
“A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS”
In the example of Epaphroditus, we can find instruction for our own lives:
I. He Was Willing to be Involved (2:25).
The Phillipians had sent Epaphroditus to bring aid from them to Paul.
Paul was imprisoned in either Rome, Caesarea, or Ephesus. He needed help. Paul uses five nouns, words to describe this man:
A. "Brother" = Paul’s favorite title for a Christian. Indicates Epaphroditus was one with him in the faith, a person deeply regarded in Paul’s affections.
B. “Fellow-worker” = Paul’s word. Describes associates who work together with him to spread the Gospel where it has not yet been taken. May mean he helped Paul found the Philippian church.
C. "Fellow-soldier" = Focuses on the cmflicts they faced together. Military term referring to those who fight side by side. They had fought the adversaries of the Gospel. Indicates suffering.
D. "Messenger" = ’apostle’, ’one sent’. Paul looked at him as an equal.
E. "Minister" = word used to describe the priesthood and sacrificial system. Paul saw his service as an act of worship (4:18). We worship God when we serve Him.
II. He Cared about other People (2:26-28).
A. He was considerate of other’s feelings. (2:26)
B. He was concerned about Paul.
C. He was loved by others. This is a sure sign that
a person loves others .
1. The Philippians were worried.
2. Paul was grateful he was spared .
III. He was Willing to Sacrifice All (2:29-30).
A. Paul said to esteem such as Epaphroditus. Why?
B. He nearly died in carrying out the work he did in
behalf of the Philippian Christians.
(1) Left Home (2) Long Journey (3) Subjected
to physical and emotional stress (4) Exposed to
C. He did this:
1. Because of his desire to serve Christ.
2. Because of his determination to fulfill the
mission of the church.
D. Commendation from Paul not just based on What he did, but also on Why he did it: His was a self giving motivation. He denied himself. "He staked his life"= a gambling term in the original language, meaning he was willing to risk all for the sake of doing God’s will. Are you?
Epaphroditus is an example to us all, particularly the men He is an exanple of what kind of witness our lives ought to be. His motivations for service ought to be ours:
1. To serve Christ.
2. To fulfill the mission of the church.
3. To deny ourselves and put others first.
He knew what God had called him to do. God has called us to the same thing. Jesus said to all who would follow Him, "Go into all the world. .." Epaphroditus was going to be faithful, no matter what the cost. He did not know what it might cost him.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer expressed this willingness that we all should have very eloquently:
"And if we answer the call to discipleship, Where will it lead us? What decisions and partings w1ll it demand? To answer this question we shall have to go to him, for only he knows the answer. Only Jesus Christ, Who bids us follow him, knows the journey’s end. .But we do know that it will be a road of boundless mercy. Discipleship means joy."