Summary: In the Christian life we will face challenges but we can never give up
What to do When you Hit the Wall
August 19, 2001
When I was in high school I was a part of the cross country team. A cross country meet would consist of a 3.1 mile or 5 kilometer race. As you crossed the finish line you would be given your time and a number. The team who had the lowest score would win. Our coach wasn’t big on winning but he always wanted to be sure that we all finished the race and gradually improve our times.
One of the things that my coach was constantly warning us about was the “wall”. This may sound strange but it was a reality in running. During the race there comes a point, where your energy would be spent and your body would start to give out. This was hitting the “wall”. It was at this time when you would feel like giving up and quitting the race. So a choice would have to be made, either you push through the pain, the exhaustion and keep moving toward the finish line or you give up and quit. Our coach was always on us to push through the difficulty and to not give up.
The same thing is true of our spiritual race. There are going to be times when we feel like giving up and quitting. There are going to be times when we “hit the wall” and make us feel like giving up.
Times when we feel spiritually and emotionally exhausted and fatigued
Times when our best efforts seem to fail
Times when we are plagued with frustration
Times when we feel like we don’t make a difference anymore
It is during these times that we have to make the choice either to keep pushing forward to move through our difficulties or just give up and stop trying. This morning I want to look at the life of someone who would not give up and never quit trying to make a difference. More than likely you’ve never heard of this man or you have just read over his name, never to give it another thought. Epaphroditus served God with distinction and stood by Paul when many others abandoned him.
Read Text – 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.
I. Purify your Passion
A. Epaphroditus had a loving heart
1. Epaphroditus was loved by his church
a.) Epaphroditus was a highly respected member of the Philippian church and was more than likely an elder with in that church. He was chosen to be the courier of the church to Paul
b.) We can see that he was loved by the church because of the deep concern that we see when the church hears that he had become ill. Why was he loved?
2. Epaphroditus loved the people of his church
a.) He accepted the task of going to Rome because of his deep love for Christ and his church.
b.) We see Epaphroditus’ love for the church become clear after he learns that the news of his illness reached Philippi. He became deeply distressed over this situation. By the time that Epaphroditus learns of the church’s concern, he has most likely recovered from the worst of the illness. Look at the depth of love, he has just recovered from a life threatening illness and he is more concerned with the welfare of the church.
B. Epaphroditus had a servant’s heart
1. Epaphroditus risked a great deal
a.) The concept of risk
The Greek term that Paul uses for risk was a word that referred to gambling. It literally meant to gamble one’s life or to risk everything. What Paul is trying to tell the Philippians is that Epaphroditus risked everything for the service of Christ
b.) Public risks
Travel to Rome
Courier of the Philippian gift
Open association with a criminal – Paul
Carry the letter from Paul to Philippi