Weds 8th November Philippians 2:19-30
Meditation on Philippians 2:19-30
19 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. 20 I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare. 21 For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. 22 But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel. 23 I hope, therefore, to send him as soon as I see how things go with me. 24 And I am confident in the Lord that I myself will come soon.
25 But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, co-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 So then, welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honour people like him 30 because he almost died for the work of Christ. He risked his life to make up for the help you yourselves could not give me.
Here are two stalwarts of faith. They are not ‘up-front’ people but thy are indispensable people. They meant so much to Paul and they are great lessons for us today.
Every Christian is a servant – firstly, of Jesus and then of each other as brothers and sisters.
Their names could be put into some of the verses we have already thought about.
e.g. vs. 4-5 ‘Timothy and Epaphroditus did not look to their own interests but also to the interest of others.’
‘Timothy and Epaphroditus had the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus.’
v.13 ‘…it is God who works in Timothy and Epaphroditus to will and to act according to His good purpose.’
What wonderful commendations.
Are we encouragers of our brothers and sisters, whether ‘in-person’ or in prayer for those we have never met?
Paul is not putting these two brothers on a pedestal. Nor is he glorying in the part he has played and will play in their Christian lives.
Rather, he is showing us the possibility to follow their example.
EXAMPLES TO FOLLOW
Paul longs to be encouraged with news of the Christians in Philippi – v.19
Paul longs to see the Christians in Philippi face-to-face – v.24
Paul longs to encourage the Christians in Philippi – v.28
Paul has a real pastoral heart for these Christians, even when in his prison cell and his hope and trust is in the Lord.
- THE EXAMPLE OF TIMOTHY Verses 19-24
Timothy and Paul are very close friends.
In a number of Paul’s letters to churches and also individuals he refers to Timothy as his associate worker -
2 Corinthians; Philippians; Colossians; 1 and Thessalonians and Philemon.
What a commendation Paul gives him.
- ‘no-one else like him’
- ‘he takes a genuine interest in the welfare of others’
- ‘he is a co-worker with me’
- ‘he is a man with a heart for the people’
- ‘he is a proven fellow-worker’
- ‘he is a partner in the gospel’
He is to Paul as a son is to his father. What a wonderful relationship and a great working together.
Notice how Paul describes that relationship – ‘he has served with me in the work of the gospel’ v.22
What a partnership – ‘served with me’.
1 Corinthians 4:17 ‘I am sending to you Timothy, my son, whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord…’
1 Timothy 1:2 ‘To Timothy my true son in the faith.’
2 Timoth 1:2 ‘To Timothy my dear son.’
To serve in the work of the Gospel Timothy had to know the Gospel and experience the transforming power of the Gospel.
2 Timothy 1:5-8a ‘I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.
For this reason, I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord…’.
2 Timothy 3:14-15 ‘But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.’
EPAPHRODITUS Verses 25-30
Not so well known as Timothy but, nonetheless, valuable in his ministry.
He had come, initially, from the Christians at Philippi but Paul is now sending him back there.
See how Paul describes him:
‘my brother’ – speaks of fellowship and friendship
‘my fellow-worker’ – speaks of faithfulness in the Gospel
‘my fellow soldier’ – speaks of a Christian soldier
He was obviously not a well man – v.27 – ‘he was ill and almost died. But God had mercy on him.’
His work for the Gospel also nearly cost him his life – v.30 – ‘he almost died for the work of Christ, risking his life to make up for the help you could not give me.’
He was man to be honoured, to be saluted. This is a gesture expressing respect and recognition.
Epaphroditus was a worker for the Gospel.
Two giants of the Christian faith.
God needs His ‘Timothys and Epaphroditus’ ’
God is looking for men and women who...
- have a heart for the people
- will work for the sake of the gospel
- who are prepared to suffer for the sake of the Gospel.
As the hymn puts it – ‘There’s a work for Jesus none but you can do.’