November 30, 2014
(Advance Slide #1)
When you think of Christians who comes to mind?
(Advance Slide #2)
- Maybe it’s a good deed.
- Maybe it s parent, grandparent, SS teacher.
Sadly, not everyone has fond memories such as these.
- For many, their thoughts of Christians are those that have disappointed them in the past.
- You find a contrast and the entire spectrum of Christians.
- Those that never take hold of God’s work, those who are negative, maybe hypocritical!
- On the other hand, there is those that love the Lord, work hard, do their best!
We are going to divide the text into two section this morning.
- In each of these sections Paul will be focusing on two important individuals
- What I hope we will do is see their relationship and the potential joy for having similar relationships in our lives!
(Advance Slide #3)
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 son with 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.
What would bring Paul real joy?
- For his letter to arrive to the Philippians and then for him to receive good news of their situation.
This group of verses has a theme.
(Advance Slide #4)
- That theme is HOPE.
- Paul hopes for two things:
- To send Timothy
- That they have a resolution
Paul HOPES to send a friend to them...Timothy.
- He is described by Paul as being “genuinely concerned” vs. 20
- This shows that Timothy truly cares about the welfare of the Philippians.
(Advance Slide #5)
- Paul says, “I have no one like him…”
- Paul was a unique friend of Paul, he had a great spirit and cared for his brothers and sisters.
- “Other seek their own things, no the things of Jesus Christ. This is not so with Timothy.”
Paul HOPES that the problems that are causing division will be resolved by the time his letter is read.
- He hopes that the false teachers will be dismissed.
- He longs to hear good news about the church’s welfare.
- Furthermore his hopes are that the divisions will stop and that there will be reconciliation.
Every Christian needs someone like Timothy...a kindred spirit.
(Advance Slide #6)
- We all need someone who will understand our circumstances.
(Advance Slide #7)
- We need someone for whom the same things, godly things, matter!
(Advance Slide #8)
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.
(Advance Slide #9)
Epaphroditus is another friend of Paul’s that is central in this section.
- Paul uses several phrases to describes his relationship with him:
- He was a brother
- He was a fellow worker
- He was a fellow soldier
- Paul also explains Epaphroditus’ relationship to the church in Philippi.
- He is their messenger...their special emissary!
- He is their minister (to them and the needs of Paul)
News had arrived back to Philippi that he was ill.
- His sickness was serious...to the point of death.
- Despite the sickness Paul realized that God had mercy on Epaphroditus and himself.
- NOTE - God is responsible for the good...Epaphroditus’ healing!
- If God had not intervened he would have had “sorrow upon sorrow” - vs. 27
Paul wanted to send him back to the church at Philippi.
- Epaphroditus would be encouraged, so would the church, and then so would Paul.
(Advance Slide #10)
NOTICE - vs. 29, Paul is encouraging the congregation to “honor such men.”
- Hold men like him in high esteem! WHY?
- Because of his sacrifice for the “work of the Lord.”
- He did what you could not do!
Christians need to express gratitude for good people.
(Advance Slide #11)
- We need to keep our focus positive!
- More importantly, we need to find and form relationship like Paul and Timothy, Paul and Epaphroditus!
- We need to have relationship like that!
As a congregation of believers we need to be people who are “like minded”...”kindred spirits.”
- Be people who genuinely and seek not their own things but the Lord’s.
- “Slaves” for the gospel!
(Advance Slide #12)
Is it possible to be a “good samaritan” today?
- A reporter in San Bernardino , California, arranged for a man to lie in the gutter on a busy street.
- Hundreds of people passed the man, but not one stopped to help him or even show sympathy.
- Newspapers across the country have covered stories where people were attacked and all the bystanders don’t even picked up a phone to call the police...in fact they laughingly film it!
- In Detroit, two teenagers, discovered a woman who had suffered a heart attack.
- They carried her to a nearby house and rang the bell, asking for help.
- The only reply they received was, “Get off my porch— and take her with you!”
So I ask again, is it possible for someone to be a “good samaritan” today?
- Most people have hardened their hearts to watch out for themselves!
- Is it possible that sacrifice and service are just ancient things?
It is worth noting that even in Paul’s day mutual concern was not a popular virtue.
- Christians in Rome were not too interested in the problems at Philippi.
- Times have not changed too much.
Paul is continuing his lesson on obedience and submission.
(Advance Slide #13)
- That is, following the example of Christ.
- Paul knew that the Philippians, just like us would say, “Being like Jesus is impossible!”
- So, instance he gives two examples of dynamic submission...maybe these would have hit a little closer to home.
- These men were able to “good samaritans!”
Dynamic submission and obedience is not something for the “special chosen”
- These ordinary men illustrate to us the same this life is necessary for joy.
- Furthermore, it is an opportunity for all believers!
These men were balanced Christians...
They were burdened Christians…
They were blessed Christians…
We can a blessing to God and to his church, as He is a blessing to us today.
- He proves to us the joyful life.
- Through His Son we learn the life of sacrifice and service, that the submissive mind really does work.
(Advance Slide #14)
Will you permit the Spirit to reproduce “the mind of Christ” in you?