Phil. 2:19-30

Philippians

(Warren E. Berkley)

Phil. 2:19-30

19 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I too may be cheered by news of you. 20 For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare. 21 For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. 22 But you know Timothy’s proven worth, how as a sonwith a father he has served with me in the gospel. 23 I hope therefore to send him just as soon as I see how it will go with me, 24 and I trust in the Lord that shortly I myself will come also.25 I have thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, and your messenger and minister to my need, 26 for he has been longing for you all and has been distressed because you heard that he was ill. 27 Indeed he was ill, near to death. But God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. 28 I am the more eager to send him, therefore, that you may rejoice at seeing him again, and that I may be less anxious. 29 So receive him in the Lord with all joy, and honor such men, 30 for he nearly died for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was lacking in your service to me.

Paul, writing to the Christians in Philippi, gave them instruction, encouragement, challenges and gratitude. But it is important to remember, these are real people who lived in real time. Here we are introduced to Timothy and Epaphroditus. Paul is commending these men and holding them up as examples of committed disciples. We need to meet them.

Paul wanted to send Timothy. Verse 19 tells us, Paul wanted Timothy to visit Philippi, then report back to Paul what he hoped would be good news. Not just anyone would do. “for I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare.” Paul considered Timothy to be, not just a good reporter or messenger. But one who really cared about the people. “For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ,” (v.22). Timothy was not like those who were self-seeing.

There was another good man Paul wrote about. Epaphroditus. Paul considered him to be his brother and fellow worker and fellow solider. For the Christians in Philippi, he was their messenger and minister to Paul’s needs.

It seems, the Christians in Philippi were distressed, wondering what had happened to Epaphroditus. Paul explains his situation to relieve their worry: “…he was ill, near to death. But God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. I am the more eager to send him, therefore, that you may rejoice at seeing him again, and that I may be less anxious. So, receive him in the Lord with all joy, and honor such men, for he nearly died for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what as lacking in your service to me.”

Two good men who were close to the apostle Paul and the Christians in Philippi.

What do they teach us? (1) They teach us to be available to serve, to see how folks are doing and share good reports. (2) They teach us to be trustworthy and unselfish. (3) They teach us to have such faith, we are willing to step into risks for the sake of Christ. (4) Paul teaches us to “honor such men,” not exalting them beyond measure but affording them the gratitude and respect their good behavior deserves.

Christ.

_______

I found this that relates to this week’s article:

Points to Ponder: (1) The Tender Concern of Three Preachers for a Church. Observe the genuine caring on the part of each, Paul, Timothy, and Epaphroditus, for “the things of Jesus Christ” and the welfare of the disciples of Jesus. (2) Greatness of the Cause. Epaphroditus’ example (verse 30) shows the value he placed on the work of Christ. It is worth the risk of one’s life. (3) Rejoicing Amidst Sorrow. Paul writes, “I rejoice in the Lord” (4:10) and bids the Philippians do the same (3:1; 4:4) even while grieving over other things (2:27–28; 3:18). Read Colossians, for instance, on the wealth we have in Christ (or more briefly, Philippians 3:1–16), and then “rejoice in the Lord” no matter what your sorrows. The grief cannot dampen the joy. (4) Genuineness to Answer the Cynics. “Seek first the kingdom” and “take up your cross” can become pulpit language not taken seriously by preacher or people in the pew, the latter finally concluding it must not mean what it seems to say. Before you become so cynical, spend some time gazing on the example of Epaphroditus. His is a model that declares the work of Christ to be worthy of the risk of one’s life. Then determine to put before the world an example of twentieth century genuineness and commitment that will silence the cynics and shout out to the world that there is something real, and here it is!

Mott, L. A., Jr. (1986). Mott’s Notes: Epaphroditus. Christianity Magazine, 3(11), 28.

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