Summary: Paul give us two excellent examples of what he has been teaching us.
Philippians 2:19-30 May 4, 2008
Examples of Love
Very personal, business like, practical section – why not just skip over it?
I think it has a few things to teach us
2 things first
1 – apologetics – I love these very practical passages – they remind me that this stuff is real – it is not someone sitting down and trying to be “spiritual”
I remember reading about Tom Harpur’s “The Pagan Christ” where he puts forward the idea that Jesus as we have him was not a real person – the stories might be based on a real person, but they are an amalgamation of eastern mystical myths creating a new Gnostic religion.
At the same time I was reading through the Gospel of Luke. Right at the beginning of Chapter 8, just before the parable of the sower, Luke writes, “After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.” And I thought to myself – “If Luke is trying to create a new, Gnostic religion out of old Egyptian and Persian myths, why on earth does he mention these women, and why does he let us know that they helped support Jesus and his disciples out of their own means?”
2 - Paul was not a lone wolf
often times we have this picture of Paul as this solitary traveler who showed up in town like Clint Eastwood and preached the Gospel fearlessly. This was not true – he always had at least one person with him, and many times, he had many more people traveling with him and ministering with him.
Christianity is a faith that comes in community and requires community to be expressed in its fullest.
Overview of Philippians 1:27-2:18
Go through what Paul has taught in Philippians 1:27-2:18
As citizens of heaven, life lives worthy of the Gospel
Stand firm in unity
- be like minded, have the same love, be one in the Spirit & one mind
- do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit
- look after others first
Be like Jesus! – not grasping at power, Obedient
Don’t grumble or argue…
How is it going with that? – get people to share
He teaches it – then sends two examples!
Epaphroditus –I’m going to talk about the second example first.
Paul is sending them a man named Epaphroditus. He would likely carry this letter back to them. It appears that the Philippian Christians had sent Epaphroditus to Paul with money to support Paul while he was in prison. While he was with Paul, Epaphroditus became deathly ill – Paul was worried for him, and the folks back home were worried for him.
Paul says that If Epaphroditus had succumbed to his illness that it would have added sorrow upon sorrow to him. And although Epaphroditus had been sent to Paul to stay and help him, Paul thought that it was more important to send him back so that they could no longer worry for their friend.
Paul – whether purposefully or not has given a great example of the love that is supposed to exist in the Christian community
The concern for the other that is supposed to be present – both Paul’s and the Philippians’ concern for Epaphroditus.
Paul sees that the Philippians’ need to see Epaphroditus well and in good health was more important that the help that Epaphroditus was providing to Paul – Paul himself was putting their emotional needs over his very practical needs! Their hearts were more important than any tasks that had to be accomplished!
This is the way that we are to be with each other.
From what we know of Timothy, we can see that he often came across as nervous and unsure of himself
In Paul’s first letter to Timothy he has to remind him:
Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you. 1 Timothy 4:12-14
In his second letter, he says
I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:5-7