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Sermon 2019-01-27 Brian Sorenson

 

Philippians Chapter 2 v 19-30

Timothy and Epaphroditus

Philippians 2:19 But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy shortly to you, so that I also may be of good comfort when I know your state.

20 For I have no one who is like-minded, who will naturally care for your state.

21 For all seek their own, not the things which are of Jesus Christ.

22 But you know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he has served with me in the gospel.

23 Therefore I hope to send him presently, as soon as I shall see the things about me.

24 But I trust in the Lord that I myself shall also come shortly.

25 Yet I thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother and fellow-worker, and fellow-soldier, but your messenger and he who

26 For he longed after you all and was full of heaviness because you had heard that he had been sick.

27 For indeed he was sick, coming near death, but God had mercy on him, and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.

28 Therefore I sent him the more eagerly, so that you may rejoice when you see him again, and that I may be the less sorrowful.

29 Therefore receive him in the Lord with all gladness, and hold such in honour,

30 because for the work of Christ he was near death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me.

 

Introduction

Philippians 2 contains the kenosis, the self-emptying by our Lord, the promised Messiah of the prerogatives of His divinity which He received as the only begotten Son of the Father. Our Lord’s divinity was described by the apostle John as full of Grace and Truth, and Peter recorded, we were eyewitnesses of the majesty of Jesus Christ. Peter wrote in his second letter an account of what they saw on the mount of transfiguration when our Lord received honour and glory from God the Father, when was borne to Him a voice from the excellent glory, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” and, we heard this voice from Heaven, being with Him in the holy mountain’. So we can see that in Our Lord’s self-emptying, the Son of God did not cease to be divine; he just did not demand the prerogatives of His Divinity such as worship and service

The Christian Church struggled for three centuries to express in a creedal statement how Christ could be both Son of God and Son of Man in the same body at the same time. Bishops from the Eastern and Western Churches of the Roman Empire gathered at Nicaea in Asia Minor in 374 AD to work out a creedal statement for the Churches. The outcome was agreement that ‘Christ was true God of true God’ while also ‘true Man of true Man’ or fully God and fully man. This was included in the Nicene Creed which was sent to all the churches which and remains an important document of the Christian Church to this day. Heresies have arisen throughout the Church history when the creed is forgotten.

 

Transition

In our study of Philippians chapter 2 so far, we saw how Paul described the self-emptying of our Lord which Geoff preached on, and we saw how Paul exhorted us to work out our own salvation which Ross preached on last week. In the remaining verses of the chapter, which we will study today, Paul gives pastoral instruction to the church in Philippi concerning their new pastor Timothy which Paul had appointed to the Church and a new Elder Epaphroditus whom Paul planned to personally deliver the letter.

 

Timothy Leads the Church by Love verses 19 – 24

• Paul’s plans for Timothy were dependent on the Lord’s will v 19 & 24

• Like-minded friends are few; v 20 -21

• True friends are proven friends v 22

 

Philippians 2:19 But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy shortly to you, so that I also may be of good comfort when I know your state

Paul’s plans for Timothy were dependent on the Lord’s will and some parts of the plan were dependent on decisions by others (v23). Nevertheless, Paul made detailed plans and expressed clear intentions of what he wanted to happen

Saint Augustine wrote, Pray as though everything depended on God; work as though everything depended on you.

 

Welfare

Like-minded friends are few; value them.

Do you find it surprising that the Apostle Paul who was widely known among all the churches and synagogues throughout Asia, Governors and Magistrates and praetorian guards, had so few like-minded friends? 4

I have read two biographies recently of high achievers like Paul, who were effective and successful in their chosen work achieving fame and recognition and wealth but who recorded like Paul they had few like-minded friends

King Solomon wrote in Proverbs 17:17, like-minded friends loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity

21 For all seek their own, not the things which are of Jesus Christ.

Paul wrote to Timothy later, Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and he has departed to Thessalonica and Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm, The Lord will give back to him according to his works

Have you ever got off track and pursued your own thing rather than the things of Christ? How did it end? My experience is the Lord may allow us to prosper for a while but with poverty to our soul

King David wrote in Psalm 106:13-15, Israel hurried and forgot Jehovah and His works; they did not wait for His counsel but lusted greedily in the wilderness, and tested God in the desert.

Jehovah gave them what they asked, but sent leanness into their soul.

In the two biographies I mentioned one of a Jewish author and playwright whose books sold millions and were translated in numerous foreign languages, the other an Indian physicist who with two other research scientists pioneered Laser technology for medical surgery ; each wrote about achieving wealth and fame but the outcome was a leanness to their souls; The Jewish author felt he had touched everything but was connected to nothing; the Indian physicist wrote he had achieved every dream he pursued but felt disconnected, that he did not belong to the reality he had created.

I am sure you had known many who whether Christian, Jew or Hindu or unbeliever would testify the same emptiness at the end of their rainbow even with the pot of gold; brothers and sisters seek the things of Christ and know the blessing of God which maketh rich and addeth no sorrows with it.

The apostle John wrote in his third letter to the Elder Gaius, Beloved, in regard to all things I pray that you prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers

22 But you know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he has served with me in the gospel.

True friends are proven friends. Timothy had followed King Solomon counsels in Proverbs 18:24 A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and proved he was a friend to Paul that sticketh closer than a brother; So that Paul would understand Solomon’s counsel in 27:10 … do not travel to your brother’s house in the day of thy calamity: for better is a neighbour that is near than a brother far off.

23 Therefore I hope to send him presently, as soon as I shall see the things about me.

Or as soon as I know what is happening to me; Paul’s plans for himself also were dependent on the Lord’s will and some parts of the plan were dependent on decisions by others, which Paul understood and accepted

24 But I trust in the Lord that I myself shall also come shortly.

Epaphroditus serves the church by compassion verses 25 – 28

  • Faithful brother
  • Fellow worker
  • Fellow soldier
  • Your messenger

25 Yet I thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother and fellow-worker, and fellow-soldier, but your messenger and he who ministered to my wants.

Epaphroditus was a faithful brother who stuck closer to Paul than his own brother

Epaphroditus was a fellow worker who served Paul in his times of adversity and sickness; while earnestly contending for the faith which was once for all delivered to the Saints

26 For he longed after you all and was full of heaviness because you had heard that he had been sick.

27 For indeed he was sick, coming near death, but God had mercy on him, and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.

Epaphroditus was a fellow soldier who had faced death but was raised up by God to fight another day with Paul against the enemies of Christ: within the church, within the synagogues and from magistrates and proconsuls and against principalities and powers in heavenly places, standing firm against the schemes of the devil

28 Therefore I sent him the more eagerly, so that you may rejoice when you see him again, and that I may be the less sorrowful.

Epaphroditus is your messenger from me, to keep watch over the flock of God at Philippi as Paul had done, to fight the good fight as Paul had done, to run the race as Paul had done and to keep the faith as Paul had done.

The Philippian Church received Epaphroditus with Grace verses 29-30

  • Receive him in the Lord
  • Receive him with all gladness
  • Hold him in honour

29 Therefore receive him in the Lord with all gladness, and hold such in honour,

Receive him in the Lord for he is Christ’s Ambassador

Receive him with gladness because he is a love gift from Paul to serve the Church at Philippi

30 because for the work of Christ he was near death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me.

Hold him in honour because he has suffered in the service of Christ and been found faithful unto death.

 

Take Away

  • In this changing world of digital communication and social media, it is possible to touch everything but be connected to nothing.
  • Unlike the world and its social media, the Scriptures and the Revelation they contain are unchanging from generation to generation.
  • The Scriptures Paul studied and which he taught to the Church at Philippi are the same Scriptures we study and teach in our church today.
  • The Scriptures reveal the heart of God and his plan to redeem us so we can be connected to Him.

 

Prayer

We worship you Almighty God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who was in the excellent glory which Peter and John witnessed on that mountain.

We thank you that through the sinless life of your Son with who you were well pleased, His substitutionary death and mighty resurrection, we may know Him as our Lord and Saviour and you as our Father; thank you for your Holy Spirit who bears witness to this in our hearts this morning that were are your children.

We pay that we, who have been baptised by the one Spirit into the one body of Christ, our Head, will receive His love and grace in our hearts and strength in our wills, that we may prosper and be in health, even as our souls prosper.

May the blessing of the LORD that maketh rich, and addeth no sorrow with it be our portion this week and the next.

Hear our payer Father and receive our thanks which we ask in the name of our Lord Jesus. Amen

Go in Peace