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Meet Epaphroditus

Philippians 2:25-30

Joy comes from living for and serving others, as did Jesus, Paul, and Timothy in this chapter.

Now, the example of Epaphroditus.

Let me tell you what the name means, in case you are thinking of naming a child. "Charming."

v. 25 Brother, companion, soldier

There is a parallel between this and chapter 1...

1:5 'fellowship' = brother in ch. 2

1:12 'furtherance' = companion in labor in ch. 2

1:27c 'faith' = soldier in ch. 2

Epaphroditus was:

1. Balanced.

He was a balanced Christian, and this is a key to successful Christian living!

Some believers/churches are imbalanced because they emphasize fellowship over furtherance. They are social ministries, but not so much soul ministries. They have regular times for fellowship, but how about furtherance of the gospel?

Actual church report sent to headquarters:

salvations 0

baptisms 0

new members 0

"Pray for us, that we may remain faithful!"

Faithful to what?

Some emphasize furtherance to the exclusion of fellowship. If all we harp on is adding numbers but we don't disciple and teach them, we are failures. If we lose them out the back door as quickly as they come in the front door, we need to rethink things.

Some emphasize defending the faith to the exclusion of both fellowship and furtherance. They are always looking for a fight, and for a chance to feel superior to others through their strong stands. They split theological hairs, and always seem to be on a crusade of some sort. It may even be for a good cause. But they go overboard about it. It's like they need a purpose to live.

We have a great purpose! And there must be a balance to achieve it.

Now, there's a time to defend the faith, esp. in these days we now live.

E. was a balanced Christian.

ill.--Nehemiah rebuilt the wall of Jerusalem with a sword in one hand and a trowel in the other! He knew that you can't build a wall with a sword and you can't fight a war with a trowel.

He threw in the trowel!

1. Balanced...

2. Burdened.

v. 26, 27, 30a

He was burdened, not only physically, but spiritually. He was burdened for Paul...

...He had been the pastor of the Philippian church, and when he heard that Paul was imprisoned in Rome, he volunteered to make the long, dangerous trip to be by his side and help him. He carried with him the love offering of the church to Paul.

The text seems to indicate that the long journey caused or worsened an illness in him, and it was extended for a long duration...long enough for the church at Philippi to hear about it, and to send word back that they got the message.

Time out. Why do Christians get sick? Why did Paul tell Timothy to use alcohol medicinally when he had stomach issues. Why not just heal him?

2 Timothy 4:20

... Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick.

Paul himself was sick at Galatia.

Why do Christians get sick?

Sometimes it’s a matter of…

A. Dissipation

We squander our health away when we don’t take care of it, and treat it like the temple of God that it is. Christians are subject to the same kinds of abuse as everyone else. We shouldn’t squander our health away on cigarettes, overeating, unhealthy eating, lack of exercise, and then when we get cancer or heart disease at a young age, blame the devil that we got sick…it doesn’t work that way!

I love to eat, and I will confess, I’ve eaten myself sick on a couple of occasions. I enjoyed every bite, and then suffered all night! And I couldn't blame that on the Lord OR the devil!

May I remind you that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit! And we should treat it as such.

B. Discipline

This is clearly the case w/ the Corinthian Christians. They were desecrating the Lord’s table…getting drunk at the Lord’s supper. What did Paul say,

1 Cor. 11:30 “...for this cause, many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep”

He’s talking to Christians here…and they got sick because of a problem of spiritual discipline.

C. Development

That was Paul’s case.

II Cor. 12

of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities. 6For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me. 7And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. 8For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 9And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

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