Summary: Part of a series in Philippians, we’re challenged here to be examples of Christ.
(Joe Fornear) A couple of opposing candidates for county office were sitting near each other in the local diner... One turned to the other and said, "You know why I’m going to win this election? Because of my ’personal touch.’ For example, I always tip waitresses really well and then ask them to vote for me." "Oh, is that so?" replied the other. "I always tip them a nickel and ask them to vote for you."
Sad to say, there are many politicians out there who are not setting a very good example.
•We have the difficult choice of choosing the best ones out of the group.
•That having been said, it still is IMPERATIVE that we vote Thurs. for Christian values.
I wonder if we were running for Christian office, what kind of example would we be?
Turn with me to Phil. 2:19-30 as we look at 2 great candidates, 2 great examples.
Paul has already urged us to conduct ourselves in a worthy manner (1:27) and to work out our salvation (2:12).
In Ch. 2, he urges us to follow the example of Christ in humility and sacrifice.
•Now he gives us two more examples - Timothy and Epaphroditus.
•2 men who conducted themselves worthily, who were working out their salvation.
•2 men who displayed a servant’s heart, and who give us a great example to follow.
Paul’s point in this passage is twofold. Not only does he describe these men as examples to follow, but he also lists their itinerary and his upcoming plans.
I. TIMOTHY IS COMING LATER. vv. 19-24
19I HOPE IN THE LORD JESUS TO SEND TIMOTHY TO YOU SOON, THAT I ALSO MAY BE CHEERED (encouraged) WHEN I RECEIVE NEWS ABOUT YOU.
Remember, one of Paul’s underlying themes in this Letter is mutual encouragement.
He wanted to send Timothy soon to encourage them and to hear how they were doing.
Paul hasn’t left them to themselves. He still cares deeply for them.
Who is Timothy?
Acts 16:1 He was born to a Jewish woman and a Greek father.
2 Tim. 1:5 His mother and grandmother taught him about Judaism.
1 Tim. 1:2 He was Paul’s true son in the faith.
Apparently, he was also a great student and apprentice of Paul.
•More than that, he was a great example of Christlikeness and Paul uses his example to encourage and motivate the Philippians.
1. Genuine Compassion
20I HAVE NO ONE ELSE LIKE HIM, WHO TAKES A GENUINE INTEREST IN YOUR WELFARE.
“No one else here has a kindred spirit, who is truly anxious/troubled with care concerning you.”
Frederick Buechner (Wishful Thinking, Harper and Row Pub., New York, 1973) defines compassion this way: "Compassion is the sometimes fatal capacity for feeling what it’s like to live inside somebody else’s skin. It’s the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too."
Timothy displayed genuine compassion for the Philippians, as did Paul.
2. True Humility
21FOR EVERYONE LOOKS OUT FOR HIS OWN INTERESTS, NOT THOSE OF JESUS CHRIST.
This goes along with what Paul encourages us in vv. 3-4.
Phil. 2:3-4 DO NOTHING OUT OF SELFISH AMBITION OR VAIN CONCEIT, BUT IN HUMILITY CONSIDER OTHERS BETTER THAN YOURSELVES. 4EACH OF YOU SHOULD LOOK NOT ONLY TO YOUR OWN INTERESTS, BUT ALSO TO THE INTERESTS OF OTHERS. That’s the definition of humility.
What’s sad is that apparently, Timothy was the only person who truly did this.
Illus. It’s a very similar picture today, isn’t it?
•America is the most selfish nation in the world. We’re No. 1! Forget about No. 2.
•How many people do you know who demonstrate true humility?
Instead of looking out for No. 1, Timothy’s looking out for the real No. 1 – Jesus Christ.
Timothy is a great example of what true humility looks like.
3. Proven Character
22BUT YOU KNOW THAT TIMOTHY HAS PROVED HIMSELF,
Timothy didn’t just talk the talk. He had walked the walk.
•He had stood the test of external and internal persecution/trial (cf. Ch. 1-2).
(Chris Smith, SC.com) Engineers tell us that the only way that metal can safely be used is after testing it. And it must exceed the testing requirements. Repeatedly. The metal to be used must be pure. And in order for it to be purified, it must go through fire. It must be melted, and molded to fit the designer’s purpose. Just as metal must be molded, purified, and tested; we have to be tested before God will use us for His purposes.
Jas. 1:12 BLESSED IS THE MAN WHO PERSEVERES UNDER TRIAL, BECAUSE WHEN HE HAS STOOD THE TEST, HE WILL RECEIVE THE CROWN OF LIFE THAT GOD HAS PROMISED TO THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.