Read Philippians 2:19-30
In verses 19-30, we see the biographical nature of this letter. Paul mentions two very specific co-laborers with him in the gospel—Timothy and Epaphroditus.
Today, will be more of a character study of these two men whom Paul sent to the Philippian church to strengthen them.
Let’s first look at Timothy. The following verses will give you some background on how Paul came to meet Timothy, his upbringing, and his ministry alongside Paul.
Read Acts 16:1-5
Read 1 Corinthians 4:17, 16:10
Read 2 Timothy 1:4-5, 3:14-15
Now back to Philippians. Paul gives a very telling statement about Timothy.
They were like-souled—Paul said that he has no one like him.
Is there someone in your life who is a kindred spirit? With whom you are “like-souled”? With whom you have a very close spiritual relationship and with whom you would trust with anything?
Now Paul will give three reasons why they are like-souled and why he is sending Timothy to encourage and support the Philippian church.
- He will be genuinely concerned for their welfare
Have you ever known someone who as a fake? They appeared to be concerned about your welfare, but you knew they had other hidden agendas?
- Timothy was about seeking the things of Christ, not his own interests
Do you seek the things of Christ or are you self-seeking? This is in context of pastoral leadership in Paul sending Timothy to shepherd this church. Timothy had proven himself as faithful to Paul to the extent that Paul calls him a “son”.
Again, what is so important to Paul? The work of advancing the gospel. What is one of the most important things we can be doing as a church right now? Advancing the gospel!
Read Acts 16:19-40.
This describes Timothy’s commitment to both Paul and the gospel.
The second individual mentioned is Epaphroditus. We know very little of him. He’s only mentioned here in Philippians and in Philemon 23. He was a fellow worker with Paul who associated with him during his imprisonment.
We see three specific things here:
- Paul’s commendation
Paul calls him a brother, a worker and soldier.
- The reason Paul sent him
Epaphroditus was very eager to see them but became extremely ill. If you read closely, you can see Paul’s intense sadness over this situation. As a matter of fact, at the end of verse 27 he said he had “sorrow upon sorrow”.
- The command to honor him
They are told to receive him in the Lord with all joy and to honor him. Why? Because he almost became a martyr for Christ.
Do we often even have a chance to honor those missionaries who risk the possibility of being martyred every day. We may not be able to receive them physically, but we can honor them through prayer.
I challenge you to go on the Voice of the Martyrs website and subscribe to their newsletter which gives updates about persecution around the world. www.persecution.com
Spend some time in prayer for the persecuted church. Use these resources to inform your understanding of what our brothers and sisters are enduring throughout the world.
As you close today, honor the martyrs and those who risk their lives for the gospel everyday.
Thank you that You have raised up godly leaders like Timothy and Epaphroditus who worked tirelessly to advance the gospel. Thank you for those missionaries serving in very difficult places where the threat of death or imprisonment awaits them everyday. May I be faithful to constantly pray for them. Lord, I want to be a part of a church that is advancing the gospel. Show me how I personally can do this. Who can share Christ with today? How can I open my mouth and boldly declare the gospel? Give me strength today!
In Jesus Name,