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11 November 27, 2011 Philippians, Chapter 2  Verse 25 - 30
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11 November 27, 2011 Philippians, Chapter 2 Verse 25 - 30

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  • 1. PHILIPPIANS 2:25 NOVEMBER 27, 2011 FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI
  • 2. SS CHRISTMAS PARTY SUNDAY, 12/18/11 FOLLOWING THE 10:30 WORSHIP SERVICE LOCATION: ANDY & CHRISTIE WIMBERLY’S
  • 3. *The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, Copyright © Moody Press and John MacArthur, Jr., 1983-2007 *Barclay's Daily Study Bible
  • 4. *Wiersbe Expository Outlines *J. Vernon McGee's Thru The Bible
  • 5. “ Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus”. Phil 2:5 *That’s high theology !
  • 6. But the high theology in the world is meaningless unless it is put into action in ordinary lives – like Epaphroditus and like you and like me.
  • 7. *The whole point of the Incarnation is putting the Divine (high theology) into a human life .
  • 8. How is Jesus reflected in the day-to-day actions of our lives?
  • 9. Phil 2:17-30 presents three men , all serving together in Rome, whose lives are exceptional patterns for godly living: Paul, Timothy, and Epaphroditus .
  • 10. Paul might be described as the sacrificial rejoicer , Timothy as the single-minded sympathizer , and Epaphroditus as the loving gambler .
  • 11. Paul would be thought of as a major actor while Timothy and Epaphroditus would be looked upon as supporting actors .
  • 12. There are about 100 folks mentioned in Paul’s letters and in the book of Acts who helped him in his ministry.
  • 13. Paul would not have been able to accomplish half of what he did without these 100 people to support him.
  • 14. *Epaphroditus is one of those 100 whom God had prepared to help Paul. *He had traveled 700 miles (no motorized vehicles) to get there.
  • 15. * Everything we know about Epaphroditus, we know from this little letter. *Although there is very little written about Epaphroditus in books here on earth,
  • 16. there may be libraries in Heaven full of all the things that God accomplished through him.
  • 17. EPAPHRODITUS : THE LOVING GAMBLER The third model spiritual servant described in 2:17-30 is Epaphroditus , another protégé of Paul's.
  • 18. He was not an apostle and spiritual statesman such as Paul or even an elder like Timothy. There is no record of any outstanding work that he accomplished.
  • 19. Nothing is known of his family, his personal background, his conversion, how long he had been a believer, or his specific functions in the churches at Philippi, Rome, or elsewhere .
  • 20. Epaphroditus’ level of sacrificial service to the Lord is especially encouraging for the believer, for whom the examples of great preachers and pastors such as Paul and
  • 21. Timothy may seem beyond reach .
  • 22. Philippians 2:25-30 25 ) “But I thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus , my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier , who is also
  • 23. your messenger and minister to my need; 26 ) because he was longing for you all and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick.
  • 24. 27 ) For indeed he was sick to the point of death, but God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, so that I would not have sorrow upon sorrow.
  • 25. 28 ) Therefore I have sent him all the more eagerly so that when you see him again you may rejoice and I may be less concerned about you.
  • 26. 29 ) Therefore receive him in the Lord with all joy , and hold men like him in high regard;
  • 27. 30 ) because he came close to death for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was deficient in your service to me.” ( Philippians 2:25-30 )
  • 28. 25 )“But I thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus , my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier ,” Phil 2:25
  • 29. The name Epaphroditus means "favored by Aphrodite," the Greek goddess of love (whom the Romans called Venus),
  • 30. indicating that, like Timothy he was probably born and educated in Greek culture . *The name was common and later came to mean " loving ”.
  • 31. Although Epaphroditus was often abbreviated to Epaphras , there is no evidence he was the man by that name mentioned in Col 1:7 & 4:12(pastor in Colosse).
  • 32. *Paul knew that it was time that Epaphroditus went back home, and in all probability he was the bearer of this letter. *But there was a problem.
  • 33. The Philippian Church had sent Epaphroditus to stay with Paul, and if he came back home, there would not be lacking those who said that he was a quitter .
  • 34. Here Paul gives him a carefully worded, tremendous testimonial which would silence any possible criticism of his return.
  • 35. Paul called Epaphroditus: his brother, his fellow-worker, and his fellow-soldier . (v25)
  • 36. In using the pronoun “ my ”, Paul manifested a deep and loving relationship with this remarkable man. My brother, & fellow worker, & fellow soldier .
  • 37. Paul ventured to call an ordinary and virtually unknown believer not only his brother, but also his fellow worker and fellow soldier in God’s service.
  • 38. Epaphroditus was a brother , which means he knew the fellowship of the Gospel; a fellow-worker , which tied him to the furtherance of the Gospel;
  • 39. and a fellow-soldier , which means he knew how to battle for the faith of the Gospel.
  • 40. II Timothy 2:3-4 “ Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life,
  • 41. so that he may please the One Who enlisted him as a soldier.” II Timothy 2:3-4
  • 42. How easy it is for Christians to get out of balance ! *Some Christians think only of the fellowship and have no time to win souls or fight the enemy.
  • 43. *Others are so wrapped up in service that they forget fellowship. *This was the mistake Martha made ( Luke 10:38-42 ).
  • 44. *Still others are always fighting , so much so that they neglect the fellowship. *We need to be balanced Christians.
  • 45. Epaphroditus exemplifies the spirit of sacrifice for the sake of Christ that involves no public acclaim, no prominence, no high office, no great talents .
  • 46. He was not a noted preacher, teacher, or leader; therefore his example seems to be more relevant and attainable .
  • 47. *Then Paul goes on to call him your messenger and the minister of my need. *It is impossible to supply the flavour of these words in translation.
  • 48. *The word Paul uses for messenger is apostolos . * Apostolos literally means anyone who is sent out on an errand, but Christian usage had ennobled it and
  • 49. by using it Paul by implication ranks Epaphroditus with himself and all the apostles of Christ.
  • 50. *The word he uses for servant is leitourgos . *In secular Greek this was a magnificent word.
  • 51. In the ancient days in the Greek cities there were men who, because they loved their city so much, at their own expense undertook certain great civic duties.
  • 52. It might be to defray the expenses of an embassy, or the cost of putting on one of the dramas of the great poets, or of training the athletes who would
  • 53. represent the city in the games, or of fitting out a warship and paying a crew to serve in the navy of the state.
  • 54. These men were the supreme benefactors of the state and they were known as leitourgoi .
  • 55. Paul takes the great Christian word apostolos and the great Greek word leitourgos , and applies them to Epaphroditus.
  • 56. *"Give a man like that a welcome home ," he says. *"Hold him in honour for he hazarded his life for Christ."
  • 57. *Paul is making it easy for Epaphroditus to go home. *There is something very wonderful here.
  • 58. It is touching to think of Paul, himself in the very shadow of death, in prison and awaiting judgment, showing such Christian concern for Epaphroditus.
  • 59. He was facing death, and yet it mattered to him that Epaphroditus should not meet with embarrassment when he went home.
  • 60. Paul was a true Christian in his attitude to others; for he was never so immersed in his own troubles that he had no time to think of the troubles of his friends .
  • 61. 26 ) “because he was longing for you all and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick.” Philippians 2:26
  • 62. Epaphroditus knew that news of his illness had filtered back to Philippi, and he was distressed (his heart ached) because he knew that his friends there would
  • 63. be worried about him. *He may unintentionally have become distracted to the point of being less useful to Paul.
  • 64. He was not apprehensive about his life-threatening illness, but rather was distressed over their distress !
  • 65. 27 ) “For indeed he was sick to the point of death , but God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, so that I would not have sorrow upon sorrow.” (2:27)
  • 66. The Philippians had good reason to be worried about Epaphroditus's health, because he had been sick to the point of death .
  • 67. Astheneo ( was sick ) translates a compound verb composed of the negative - a (“without”) and sthenos ("strength") and literally means " without strength ."
  • 68. In Rome Epaphroditus fell ill, perhaps with the notorious Roman fever which sometimes swept the city like a scourge, and was near to death.
  • 69. *Had God not had mercy on him, he would have died . *It is interesting that, although Paul once had exercised the gift of healing (Acts 28:8),
  • 70. he evidently did not use it to heal Epaphroditus — perhaps because the era of miraculous apostolic signs was nearly over (2 Tim 4:20).
  • 71. Many sincere believers today hold the theory that Christians should not be sick, that they should trust God to heal them.
  • 72. *Epaphroditus was so sick he almost died! *Why didn't Paul heal Epaphroditus?
  • 73. Paul and the other apostles had " sign gifts " because they did not have what we have today, the New Testament!
  • 74. When Paul started out with the Gospel message, nothing of the New Testament had been written.
  • 75. *Paul himself wrote 1 Thess, the first book of the New Testament to be penned. *When he went into a new territory with his message, what was his authority ?
  • 76. He had no authority, except sign gifts , which included the gift of healing.
  • 77. *But now Paul is nearing the conclusion of his ministry. *You will remember that Paul had a thorn in the flesh which the Lord Jesus would not remove.
  • 78. *Instead, Jesus gave Paul the grace to bear it . *Then you remember that Timothy had stomach trouble .
  • 79. *If Paul had been a faith healer , wouldn’t he have healed Timothy? *Actually, Paul told him to take a little wine for his stomach's sake.
  • 80. *And in 2Timothy 4:20 he said that he had left Trophimus sick at Miletus. * Why hadn't he healed him?
  • 81. And now Paul says he has this young believer, Epaphroditus, with him and he was so sick he almost died.
  • 82. *Paul didn't heal him. *Rather, he gives all the credit to God ; he says that God had mercy on him . *His healing came about in a natural sort of way.
  • 83. God heals in one of three ways: *Directly *Indirectly *Delayed
  • 84. *Paul made it a matter of prayer , and God heard and answered his prayers. * Why hadn't Paul used his gift of healing?
  • 85. Because at this late stage, even before the apostles disappeared from the scene, the emphasis was moving back to the Great Physician .
  • 86. When God spares a person from death it is always a reflection of His mercy .
  • 87. The two blind men who begged Jesus to restore their sight realized that their only hope was through His mercy . (Matthew 9:27)
  • 88. *Their initial cry, in fact, was for mercy , not healing. *Similarly, the ten lepers first cry to the Lord was, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us , " (Luke 17:12-13).
  • 89. In the same way, the Canaanite woman, the man with the deranged son, and the blind beggar Bartimaeus all came to Jesus asking first for mercy .
  • 90. God in his mercy spared the life of Epaphroditus and so spared Paul yet more sorrow (in addition to being imprisoned).
  • 91. 28 ) “Therefore I have sent him all the more eagerly so that when you see him again you may rejoice and I may be less concerned about you.” Phil 2:28
  • 92. Despite the personal loss he would experience, Paul gladly sent Epaphroditus back even though the Philippians had not asked that he be sent back.
  • 93. *He knew that his loss would be their gain. *And their joy in having Ephaphroditus back in their fellowship would bring Paul relief .
  • 94. *Paul wanted them to rejoice , not sorrow. So “that I may be less concerned about you" -- he was disturbed about the church in Philippi because it
  • 95. had been mourning instead of rejoicing.
  • 96. 29 ) “Therefore receive him then in the Lord with all joy, and hold men like him in high regard; because he came close to death for the work of Christ, risking his
  • 97. life to complete what was deficient in your service to me.” Philippians 2:29
  • 98. *Such is the remarkable power and reward of selfless love . *Paul, Epaphroditus, and the believers in Philippi were indeed " of the same mind ,
  • 99. maintaining the same love , united in spirit, intent on one purpose, doing nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind“ regarding one
  • 100. another as more important than themselves; not merely looking out for their own personal interests, but also for the interests of others " (Phil 2:2-4).
  • 101. *Paul selflessly exhorted the Philippians, “ receive him then in the Lord with all joy” * Prosdechomai (receive) refers to glad and favorable acceptance.
  • 102. The Pharisees and scribes used this word derogatorily of Jesus' receiving and eating with those they considered vile sinners (Luke 15:2).
  • 103. Jesus used it to describe the way that humble, childlike believers (Matt 18:5), faithful preachers of the Gospel, and the Gospel itself should be received .
  • 104. 30 )“because he came close to death for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was deficient in your service to me.” Philippians 2:30
  • 105. They were to hold Epaphroditus in high regard (v29) because he had risked his life (v30) in his service to Paul on behalf of the Philippians’ church.
  • 106. That he was willing to go to Rome while Paul was still imprisoned also shows great courage .
  • 107. Although Paul lived in his own rented quarters and could receive visitors, Epaphroditus understood that this situation could change overnight .
  • 108. If Caesar decided that Paul was indeed a threat to him as had been charged, he would not hesitate to order his immediate execution.
  • 109. That would put Paul's associates in danger of arrest, imprisonment, and perhaps execution. Epaphroditus knew that the risk he was taking was real.
  • 110. There is a word in this passage which later had a famous usage.
  • 111. The word is the verb paraboleuesthai (risking) ; it is a gambler's word and means “to stake everything”.
  • 112. Risking translates a form of paraboleuomai , which literally means " to throw aside ."
  • 113. It speaks of voluntarily hazarding one's welfare and thereby exposing oneself to danger .
  • 114. Sometimes used of gambling , it is for that reason that the title of this section refers to Epaphroditus as “ The Loving Gambler “.
  • 115. Paul is saying that for the sake of Jesus Christ Epaphroditus gambled his life .
  • 116. With total disregard for his own welfare, Epaphroditus continually put his life on the line for the work of Christ.
  • 117. Soon after New Testament times, a group of Christians banded together in an association they called Parabolani , which means " The Gamblers ."
  • 118. In A.D. 252 plague broke out in Carthage; the heathen threw out the bodies of their dead and fled in terror.
  • 119. Cyprian, the Christian bishop, gathered his congregation together and set them to burying the dead and nursing the sick in that plague-stricken city ;
  • 120. and by so doing they saved the city, at the risk of their lives , from destruction and desolation.
  • 121. Taking Epaphroditus as their model , they visited prisoners and ministered to the sick, especially those with dangerous communicable diseases
  • 122. whom no one else would help. *They boldly proclaimed the Gospel of Jesus Christ wherever they w ent.
  • 123. Perhaps Paul was here playing on the name Epaphroditus, which, as noted above, means " favored of Aphrodite ."
  • 124. Because she was the goddess of gambling as well as of love , men would often cry out " Epaphroditus " as they cast the dice, hoping to be favored by her .
  • 125. In stark contrast to those men, Epaphroditus was risking his life for something immeasurably more valuable than money .
  • 126. *His life entailed much risk ; but it was really no gamble . *Without reservation, he could sincerely testify with Paul that "whatever things were gain to me, those
  • 127. things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my
  • 128. Lord, for Whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ" (Phil 3:7-8).
  • 129. There should be in the Christian an almost reckless courage which makes him ready to gamble with his life to serve Christ and men.
  • 130. "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.“ Jim Eliot October 28, 1949 
  • 131. Paul, Timothy, and Epaphroditus were three very different individuals: Paul the bold, fearless leader; Timothy his quiet, devoted
  • 132. assistant; Epaphroditus a diligent, behind-the-scenes worker.
  • 133. Yet all three manifested the most important characteristic of a godly leader — a life worth imitating .
  • 134. *It should send chills up and down our spines to read about these men. *They lived in the first century, at the time of the Roman Empire.
  • 135. The empire of Caesar Augustus grew, moved out and took over the world.
  • 136. *The law of Rome became supreme everywhere. *There was little mercy shown to anyone, but there was law and order everywhere.
  • 137. There was not a power in that day that could protest against Rome.
  • 138. Then there went out this little man, Paul the apostle, and those who were like-minded with him, and they preached a Gospel that there is a God of the
  • 139. universe Who, through a redemption that He had wrought on a Roman cross , had provided mercy for mankind. Multitudes turned to the Lord Jesus in that day.
  • 140. *Now in the book of Philippians, we see this little man , Paul the apostle, chained to a Roman soldier. *What is he doing?
  • 141. *Well, he is witnessing for Christ, and he is rejoicing in the Lord. *He has the mind of Christ .
  • 142. *Also we see a fine young man, Timothy , walking in that pagan city. *You say you cannot live for Christ in a godless society ?
  • 143. *Well, look at Timothy! *He did very well. *He also had the mind of Christ .
  • 144. Now take a look at Epaphroditus , a faithful believer way up yonder in the city of Philippi -- it was a Roman colony, but it was also a pagan, heathen city .
  • 145. * Epaphroditus had the mind of Christ . *When we look at him, we need to say to ourselves: “ Stop making excuses in this day in which we are living!”
  • 146. If these men could have the mind of Christ in the first century, surely today in the twentieth-first century right where we are now, you and I can have the mind of Christ .
  • 147. By yielding to Him, the Spirit of God can produce in our own lives the mind of Christ . *Oh, how desperately this is needed in our day!