Summary: Paul praised the God of mercy for healing Epaphroditus from illness. In Philippians 2:25-30 we learn "How God’s Mercy Works" as we see it in action in the lives of Paul, Epaphroditus and Philippian Christians.
And this leads to a real crisis. When I realize that God is not following my orders, I am faced with a true crisis. Becuase I have to then trust that what He does is done in love and wisdom and not out of evil motive or bad intention.
In other words, I have to have faith, real faith in God’s goodness. Do you believe that God is good? I mean really, that God is good?
It’s comforting to rest in my belief that God is good no matter what. That God is merciful no matter what. And that on occasions God shows his mercy in ways that cause me to celebrate and rejoice, just as the Philippians and Paul and Epaphroditus were able to rejoice.
Mercy does come, always on God’s terms and in His time. In that I can take comfort and rest.I started out by telling you that Paul had 2 reasons for writing verses 25-30.
2. The second reason Paul wrote verses 25-30 was to give the Philiipian Christians A MORAL AND SPIRITUAL EXAMPLE to learn from. In other words, he wanted to help them behave better.
Paul had just given them Jesus and Timothy as well as his own life as examples for the Philippian Christians to look to. Now he offers them a fourth man, Epaphroditus, as an example that they can learn from.
People learn best through models. God knows we learn best through seeing real life examples.
89% of what we learn is visual.
10% of what we learn is auditory.
1% of what we learn comes from the other senses.
"Most Christian converts were won from paganism not by books or sermons, but by observing how Christians lived and died." - Author Unknown
I’d rather have an example than a precept any day:I’d rather one would walk with me than merely show the way;The eye’s a better pupil and more willing than the ear, Fine counsel is confusing but example’s always clear.I soon can learn to do it, if you let me see it done, I can match your hands and actions, but your tongue too fast may run.the lectures you deliver, may be very wise and true,But I’d rather get my lesson by observing what you do;I may not understand the high advice you give,But there’s no misunderstanding how you act and how you live."(From "The Vicar’s Pastoral")
So Paul serves up a prime rib example in this man Epaphroditus.
Evidently there was something missing from the faith of these Philippian Christians which made Paul feel it necessary to say a few of the things he said.
For example, Paul says to them in verses "29 Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness, and hold such men in esteem; 30 because for the work of Christ he came close to death, not regarding his life, to supply what was lacking in your service toward me." - Phil 2:29-30 (NKJV)
"29 Give him a joyful Christian welcome. Make sure you honor people like Epaphroditus highly. 30 He risked his life and almost died for the work of Christ in order to make up for the help you couldn’t give me." - Phil 2:29-30 (GW)
He gives them instruction and tells them how to receive Epaphroditus and then mentions that they had a lack of service toward Paul.
In other words, there were a few things these Philippian Christians could learn from this man Epaphroditus. And I might add, that we too could learn as Christians living in the 21st century.