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About-Him.Com Devotional 08-16-2014
Timothy and Epaphroditus, Paul’s Humble Co-Workers
Philippians 2:19 But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state.
The imprisoned apostle Paul had a deep affection for the Philippian church, which he had founded some years before. At the present time his others helpers, such as Luke, were elsewhere laboring for the gospel. Paul desired to send Timothy, his only present helper, to learn the state of the church. Note the phrase, “I trust in the Lord Jesus,” and the commentary of Bishop J.B. Lightfoot below.
“The Christian is a part of Christ, a member of His body. His every thought and word and deed proceed from Christ as the centre of volition. Thus he loves in the Lord, he hopes in the Lord, he boasts in the Lord, he labours in the Lord. He has one guiding principal in acting and forebearing to act, ’only in the Lord’ (1 Cor. 7:39)”
Philippians 2:20 For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state.
21 For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s.
22 But ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel.
23 Him therefore I hope to send presently, so soon as I shall see how it will go with me.
It speaks volumes that the apostle would send his only present helper back to Philippi, a distance of a mere 604 miles (They didn‘t just hop on a jet in those days). He had no other person who would “naturally” care for the welfare of the Philippian church. The others around him were those who preached Christ out of envy and strife. Their interests were based on their own self desires, not on the things of Christ. Not so with Timothy, who served with Paul as a son in the gospel. He also “trusted in the Lord”, so that his heart and mind was in tune with that of the apostle, because both were partakers of The Mind of Christ .
The history of the church shows us that when saints become united in one mind and one accord, revival breaks out. However, the revivals die and fade away when our old sinful natures try to take control. How many once vibrant churches do we see that are struggling to survive because the clergy and the members can’t get on the same page? Too many, I’m sad to say. Galatians 5:15 tells us that if we bite and devour one another, we’ll be consumed by each other (Ro. 15:5-6; 1 Co. 1:10).
Things haven’t changed a lot, have they? Many still preach from strife and envy. Others preach for self interest and monetary gain. Peter told us that because of their covetousness they would use flattery , to make merchandise of men.
2 Peter 2:3 ¶ And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.
I can’t do anything about the shysters, but if my heart and soul is centered on the Lord Jesus, they won’t be getting the first dime out of me and I trust out of you also. The need is too great to be filling the coffers of the charlatans.
Philippians 2:24 But I trust in the Lord that I also myself shall come shortly.
Paul’s trial was approaching and he naturally had the hope that he would be set free. Tradition tells us that this was not to be.
Philippians 2:25 Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants.
Epaphroditus was another unselfish co-minister of Paul in the gospel. His name indicates that he was born into a pagan family. He had been sent to Rome by the Philippian church with an offering and while there he ministered to Paul’s needs. Perhaps that is where he labored with Paul in preaching the gospel. Note the accolades: My brother, companion in labor and fellow solider. Evidently Paul felt very highly about him.
Philippians 2:26 For he longed after you all, and was full of heaviness, because that ye had heard that he had been sick.
27 For indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.
28 I sent him therefore the more carefully, that, when ye see him again, ye may rejoice, and that I may be the less sorrowful.
29 Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness; and hold such in reputation:
30 Because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me.
Epaphroditus was full of heaviness, because the church back home had heard that he was sick and close to death. He was grieved that they were grieved and Paul was grieved to see them grieved. Have you ever heard of such a thing? Generally, if we get sick, we want everybody to know and we’ll take all the sympathy we can get.
Epaphroditus had worked himself into exhaustion and near death to minister to Paul on the behalf of the Philippian church.
How many of us can be so single minded in the cause of the kingdom?
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Don and Marie Spooner
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