Summary: How much are you giving of yourself for the cause of Christ? Paul describes two men willing to give everything they have to share the Gospel. Would we be willing to be more like them and share Jesus with others around us?
"Being Faithful Servants (Part 2)"
Philippians Sermon Series, Part 10
- Last time we examined a man known for his faithfulness
-- A young man named Timothy who was close to Paul in the faith
-- Timothy’s name means, “One who honors God.”
- Young men like Timothy, in the first century, were not “a dime a dozen.”
-- Paul said, “I have no man like-minded” (KJV)
- He explains that Timothy is the kind of man who sincerely cares
-- Paul would not send a slacker to the church; and we shouldn’t either
-- We should be willing to devote everything we are to the church today
- “Timothy has proven himself.”
-- Let’s consider that carefully: Knowledge can be acquired and remembered
-- Association with good people can be claimed and documented
-- Character is proven! It is demonstrated through daily behavior
- It is the personal application of knowledge inside in daily behavior
-- Paul trusted Timothy because of his “proven character”
- This evening, we look at another man who Paul sends to this church
-- A man named Epaphroditus, who walked with Paul in service and in faith
- Read Philippians 2:25-30
∆ Point 1 - Epaphroditus Described (25)
- Notice how Paul describes Epaphroditus for us in v25
-- He calls Epaphroditus my brother, fellow worker, fellow soldier
-- To the Philippians he says he is your messenger and minister to my need
- First note how Paul identifies Epaphroditus as a brother
-- They were brothers spiritually. They both knew Christ; brothers in the Lord
-- These men enjoyed a fellowship and a common bond found in Christ
- But beyond that, Paul described him as a fellow worker.
-- They were working together for the cause of Christ.
- Epaphroditus was committed to furthering the gospel in everything he did
-- He was a laborer in the harvest; something we should commit to as well
- Paul also describes him as a fellow soldier
-- He was engaged in spiritual battle
-- He was willing to face the danger of standing firm for Christ
- John MacArthur says this about being a fellow soldier, “This is to say not particularly looking at his relation to Paul or his relation to the task at hand, but that he is commendable in relationship to the enemies which fight against the ministry. The title "fellow soldier," by the way, is a very, very honorable title. I did a little research into that Greek word which is also used in the second verse of Philemon and I found that outside of biblical record that word was used on some special occasion to honor a soldier; usually a common soldier was honored with that title. And the goal was to make the soldier equal to the commander-in-chief. In one case to make a warrior equal to a king. To say you are a fellow soldier, in the very heart of that Greek word from which we get strategist, was to say that you ranked with those who are the strategic people in the forces, the strategists, and the great leaders…a great term of honor. And Paul is pulling Epaphroditus up, my fellow strategist, my fellow commander-in-chief, my fellow…as it were…leader in the matter of spiritual warfare.”
- In these first three descriptive titles Paul uses for Epaphroditus—brother, fellow worker and fellow soldier … we see a real balance in his life.
- Warren Wiersbe says this about Epaphroditus: “He was a balanced Christian!”
- He was also a minister. He ministered to Paul. He took care of his needs.
-- This was a man who was a servant. He was serving the Lord and serving Paul.
-- Was more concerned with how much he could give than how much he could get
- Epaphroditus was a brother, worker, fellow soldier, messenger and a minister
- TRANS: Why would Paul want to send this incredible servant back?
∆ Point 2 - Reasons for His Return (26-28)
- We see the first reason for the return of Epaphroditus given in v26
- Epaphroditus longs for the Philippians
-- He is distressed by the fact that they’ve heard about his sickness
-- They were concerned about his health and had prob. sent word to Paul about it
-- So, by returning to them he could set their minds at ease
-- APP: His longing for them indicates his love for them
- We see in v27 that Epaphroditus had been so sick he had almost died
-- It was God in His mercy that healed Epaphroditus.
-- God had mercy on him and spared his life
-- God also had mercy on Paul who would have had to bear the sorrow if he died
- In v28 we see another reason for his return