Summary: Entire sanctification means that I am willing to lay down my life for the brethren. Can God be any more pleased than when we have this attitude?
The Holiness Lifestyle: "Kindred Spirits for the Work of Christ"
Author: Dr. Neal Gray
Passage: Philippians 2:19-30
Purpose: Entire sanctification means that I am willing to lay down my life for the brethren. Can God be any more pleased than when we have this attitude?
One of my favorite movies of all time is one called, "Anne of Green Gables." The main character is a small girl who, through tragic circumstances, finds herself living in a foster home. The foster parents turn out to be a huge blessing to Anne, (that’s "Anne with an ’e’," if you please), but she still faced difficulties as she grew up.
She made a statement once about the need to have a like-minded companion; it is a statement that caught my attention. It was something like this:
"What I need is a really good friend--a bosom buddy. You know...a KINDRED SPIRIT with whom I can share my inmost soul."
We all need such a friend, don’t you think? In today’s message we find that Paul regarded at least two men in precisely the way the Anne longed for.
The Bible passage for today’s sermon is Philippians 2:19-30.
TIMOTHY--A KINDRED SPIRIT
They All Seek Their Own Interests
Before we examine Timothy’s relationship with Paul, let’s consider THOSE WHOM HE WOULD NOT SEND. Paul writes, "For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s," (2:21). Who do you think he was speaking of?
We already know that Paul recognized there were men preaching the gospel, but who preached "Christ of contention, not sincerely, " (1:16). They were seeking their own glory, and they were willing to belittle Paul.
==> When I hear a man of God being criticized, I recognize that somewhere there is strife--SOMEWHERE THERE IS JEALOUSY.
Paul says, "I can’t trust these men to come to you and be of genuine help."
I Trust Him
But Timothy was Paul’s spiritual son, having led him to the Lord. Timothy was a young man that was a third generation Christian. Both his mother and grandmother were Christians, so fast this gospel had spread!
And, although younger than Paul, there seemed to be no generation gap between the two men. The elder, a statesman and soldier for Christ; the younger, a willing apprentice, thoroughly dedicated.
And Paul trusted him. He knew that Timothy was a genuine spiritual leader because his interests were those of Christ Jesus.
Spiritual Leadership in the Church
Nothing is lacking so much in Christ’s Church as a deep and free trust in the motives of the pastoral leadership.
And really, who can blame the people of the church for their distrust. The Church has suffered so much because of spiritual leaders who were really not "spiritual" at all. So many pastors have their own interests at the center of their activities.
Oh, if only it would be that the pastor’s interests were those of Christ Jesus! I’m preaching a hard word here; I know that. But, I HAVE SEEN THE CHURCH BECOME STALE AND COMATOSE BECAUSE OF SELFISH PEOPLE placed in positions of spiritual leadership.
During my first year in seminary, I felt like things just weren’t going so well at my work and at the church I attended. I had not been recognized for my accomplishments. In a counseling session with a professor, I poured my selfish heart out, "Poor me," I basically said. Now, the professor said something to me that hurt, but he was right; he said, "Neal, sounds to me like you are awfully self-centered." Immediately I felt as though a sword had been thrust into my heart. It hurt. But he was right.
Those of us who are placed, or called, to leadership in the Lord’s Church-- and that includes not only the pastor, but Sunday School teachers, Children’s Church pastors, and the church officers--must pray often that God will continue to mold us by His love until our interests are those of Christ Jesus. Everyone else, please pray for us!
A Kindred Spirit
I love that phrase that Paul speaks about Timothy, "I have no [other] man like-minded, who will naturally care for [you]," (2:20). What high praise from the Apostle! Timothy was a Christian friend with a "kindred spirit."
I looked up the word "kindred" in the dictionary to see its full meaning. It said: "Having a similar or related origin, nature, character, or the like."
Timothy was, therefore, a man who was like Paul in nature and character. Knowing that Timothy would minister to the Philippians, Paul says, "I will soon send Timothy. He will care for you."
EPAPHRODITUS--A FELLOW SOLDIER
The Philippian Pastor
Next we look at Epaphroditus. What a neat name! Epaphroditus was the Philippian’s "messenger and minister," (2:25). I take it that he was their current pastor, (or at least one of them, cf. 1:1, "to the overseers").