As we continue our study of Paul’s letter to the Phillippian church we are now introduced to Timothy and Epaphroditus, the “son” and “brother” or the apostle Paul.
While still under arrest in Rome Paul informs the Philippians of his intention to send Timothy, a disciple of Jesus Christ in the likeness of himself. Paul’s hope is that Timothy would return with good news about the Phillippian church and its members.
“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.” (Philippians 2:19)
United with Paul in spirit, Timothy shared in Paul’s love for the Philippians seeing how Phillippi was among the first missions involving the young disciple.
“20 I have no one else like him, who takes a genuine interest in your welfare.” (Philippians 2:20)
Demonstrating the humility and love of Christ as well as the devotion of Paul, Timothy seemed an obvious choice for this mission trip. Here Paul mentions Timothy’s genuine interest in the Philippians, in tune with his own.
Paul then addresses a reality which continues to be true today, that too many people look for their own interest rather than that of God’s. This choice ultimately comes at a great price, one with eternal repercussions.
“21 For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 2:21)
Having learned the work of the gospel with and from his father, Timothy has learned from the best. Therefore he is a proper candidate to continue the advancement of the gospel of Jesus Christ not only through the Phillippian church but to the ends of the earth, answering his calling according to God’s perfect plan.
“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.” (Philippians 2:22)
Awaiting news from his own persecution Paul informs the Philippians of his intention to send Timothy when the time is right. Until this date Timothy would remain in Rome with Paul.
“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.” (Philippians 2:23-24)
Paul then turn his attention to Epaphroditus, a faithful servant originating from Phillippi. This would be the only mention of Epaphroditus in the bible. Describing him as a brother, a fellow soldier and a messenger, Paul is thankful for the Phillippian disciple whose mission is now to return to his people.
“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.” (Philippians 2:25)
Battling and defeating illness, Epaphroditus, which means “handsome, charming” would have been greatly missed by Paul had God taken him from this world. Paul here is thankful for God’s mercy on Epaphroditus as he sends him back to Phillippi.
“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.” (Philippians 2:26-27)
Paul shares in Epaphroditus’ longing for the Phillippian church and looks forward to rejoicing upon the disciple’s return to Phillippi knowing missionary work has pros and cons. Epaphroditus missed home and thanks to this letter, he would soon be back among the Philippians.
“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.” (Philippians 2:28-30)
Since the Philippians could not all be with Paul as he found himself in chains for Christ in Rome Paul felt necessary to point out Epaphroditus has been on the verge of death to fulfill his mission on behalf of the Phillippian church as he brought a gift to Paul earlier.
Calling on his readers to embrace Epaphroditus upon his return to Phillippi, Paul invites all Christians to joyfully honor men like Epaphroditus, Timothy and other faithful missionaries of the Lord Jesus Christ.
What are we to apply to our lives through this message? That there are only two kinds of people on earth: You’re either a missionary or you’re the mission field. Either way be sure to abide by the word of God, honoring missionaries or offering yourselves as mission minded servants. Let’s pray!
We thank you for your blessings in our lives and for your servant Paul,
We praise you Lord for his wisdom and for his works through this scripture,
We ask you Lord to inspire us to use these verses in our lives
As we grow in you through the teachings of your faithful apostle.
Lord we ask you to strengthen us each day as we endure through battles,
Allow us to praise and love each other through faith in you Jesus,
Shield us from evil through truth, the gospel, salvation and prayer,
Guide us to abide by your word as we spread your gospel to one and all
Becoming examples of faith through our character as we walk the narrow path.
God we pray that you will continue to bless us, to bless our lives and fill us with hope
We ask you Lord to guide our footsteps and lead us to the way everlasting,
Through faith in you Lord we seek salvation and a place with you in heaven
According to your word, your everlasting wisdom and strength.
May your will be done
In our lives, for your life.
We thank you for your love and all you bless us with each day.
This message was written by Daniel St.Pierre