Summary: You may have never heard of Epaphroditus. He is only mentioned here in Philippians chapter 2 and then again briefly in Chapter 4. But Epaphroditus gives us a great example of Christian Commitment.
As we face the coming days we are going to need a new level of Christian commitment. What we find in these verses of scripture is exactly that, an example of Christian commitment.
Illustration: Christian commitment
You have all heard Hand ell’s Messiah and you love to hear the words to the Halleluiah chorus. Did you know when Hand ell began to compose that chorus he said, it was as though heaven were bursting in on to his mind. And for three weeks he withdrew himself, often times not eating. He did so to put his whole attention on composing this great chorus.
We sing this chorus and we hear this chorus sung, but we rarely if ever think about the Christian commitment that is behind the composing of the Halleluiah chorus. An example of Christian Commitment is what we find in our passage today. The example is of Epaphroditus.
You may never have heard of Epaphroditus. That is because he is only mentioned here in Philippians chapter 2 and then again briefly in Chapter 4. But Epaphroditus gives us a great example of Christian Commitment.
Read Philippians 2:25-30
25 But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs. 26 For he longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill. 27 Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow. 28 Therefore I am all the more eager to send him, so that when you see him again you may be glad and I may have less anxiety. 29 Welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor men like him, 30 because he almost died for the work of Christ, risking his life to make up for the help you could not give me.
Paul has been talking of self-sacrifice for the cause of Christ through this book of Philippians. He has been giving us different examples. He spoke about Christ, the ultimate example of commitment. Christ who humbled himself to the point of death on a cross. Paul uses himself as an example. The great Apostle Paul is an example of self-sacrificing commitment to the cause of Christ. He also used Timothy as an example, Paul’s own disciple.
Now here is Epaphroditus, much less known than the other examples. It is refreshing to have someone held up as an example of Christian commitment who is not some kind of superstar. Paul has used Christ, and we acknowledge that Christ is the greatest example of all times in Christian commitment. Yet we ourselves know we can never measure up to Christ’s example. Even Paul’s example is so lofty and beyond what we could live up to.
So it is refreshing to have an example like Epaphroditus. Someone ordinary like we are. Yet he is a great example of Christian commitment because Epaphroditus was faithful. That is the key to commitment, faithful service to Jesus.
The Philippians had given Paul a great gift. They had raised a collection and sent it to the Apostle Paul at Rome. Paul is in a Roman prison. They needed someone to carry this gift to Paul. Epaphroditus is that man. He carried the gift to the Apostle Paul so he can continue his ministry there from the Roman prison. It was Epaphroditus the servant used to assist Paul in this way.
Epaphroditus through his great commitment is so concerned about the cause, that he works himself sacrificially to the point of death. He was so dedicated that exhaustion was about to take his life. Paul would send Timothy back in the future for the Philippians. At this point he is going to send back Epaphroditus. It is probably Epaphroditus who carried this letter back to the Philippian church to encourage them. So Paul had a great message and it had to be entrusted to a faithful servant and that servant was Epaphroditus.
Vs 25 But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs.
Paul had found Epaphroditus faithful and he gives him three great titles. He calls him his brother. His brother in Christ. Jesus had made it clear that all who come into the fellowship of Christ can call themselves brothers and sisters in Christ. We use that term. We call someone a brother or sister in Christ. Unfortunately we use the term brother when we forgot their name, but brother should exhibit the way we look at a person. The way we love a person in the fellowship of Jesus Christ. That is why Paul used the title, brother for Epaphroditus; he called him a brother, a brother in Christ.