Philippians: Finding Joy in Uncertainty – Chapter 2 part 3

Its great to be back. I wanted to congratulate everyone; we all survived the LWAG Sisterhood Rummage Sale!

This morning we’re following up where we left off in Philippians 2.
The Apostle Paul is using the work and ministries of Timothy and Epaphroditus as examples of both the Christian attitude and unity in Christ Jesus.

My big idea today is that together we would pick up the mind of Christ as we think about our commitment to service and our resolve to be united as followers of Christ.

My prayer today would be that by hearing this message, together we would take one step closer to the life/conduct the is worthy of the gospel of Jesus Christ. If you have your Bibles today you can join me in Philippians chapter 2, starting with verse 19.

I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. 20 I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare. 21 For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. 22 But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel. 23 I hope, therefore, to send him as soon as I see how things go with me. 24 And I am confident in the Lord that I myself will come soon.
25 But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, co-worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs. 26 For he longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill. 27 Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow. 28 Therefore I am all the more eager to send him, so that when you see him again you may be glad and I may have less anxiety. 29 So then, welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor people like him, 30 because he almost died for the work of Christ. He risked his life to make up for the help you yourselves could not give me. {pray}

Philippians 2:19-30

In order to help me share with you today, I have separated my thoughts into 2 sections or points. These points are really the 2 examples, Paul gives that demonstrate the characteristics of a disciple of Christ. Thus, the shared mindset of Christ among believers. The first example Paul gives is that of Timothy

Timothy

I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare. 21 For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. 22 But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel.

Philippians 2:20-22

Paul has no one like him. Timothy is likely Paul’s greatest ally/asset. Paul is confident that Timothy will care for the Philippians just s he would. Paul likens Timothy to a son that worked faithfully with his father and by doing so Timothy has proved himself loyal and competent in his faith and love for others. Timothy has served faithfully and proved himself in the work of the gospel.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

2 Timothy 2:15

Here Paul testifies that Timothy has proved himself to be humble, obedient, and self-sacrificing.

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

James 1:12

Everyone God has ever used in any capacity has been prepared. God rarely calls the qualified, but He qualifies the called. There is a period of preparation. There is a period of perseverance. And there is a period of testing.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.

Matthew 16:24

We must choose Christ every day. His will and his purpose.

I’ll move on to my next point. The next example Paul uses is…

Epaphroditus

But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, co-worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs. 26 For he longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill. 27 Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow. 28 Therefore I am all the more eager to send him, so that when you see him again you may be glad and I may have less anxiety. 29 So then, welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor people like him, 30 because he almost died for the work of Christ. He risked his life to make up for the help you yourselves could not give me.

Philippians 2:25-30

Paul’s commendation of Epaphroditus is centered around the fact that he almost died trying to care for Paul’s needs as an agent of the Philippian church. Think for moment what it might require; to be sent out to care for someone who is under guard. He had to leave the security of his home/people. Leave his job. Shoulder the responsibility of carrying out the aid.

In a way Paul insists that the Philippians receive Epaphroditus with honor, because he almost died doing the task that the church had sent him out to do. The reality for Paul is that all of this has made him a bit anxious. His concern is really to return Epaphroditus unharmed that the Philippians won’t worry about him. And that Epaphroditus will be safe from harm.

Again, we see obedience, humility, self-sacrifice as a way of life. As a follower of Jesus, it is integral to the lifestyle. Both of these examples not only demonstrate the shared mind of Christ in humility, obedience, and self-sacrifice, but it also demonstrates a unity among believers and a unity among the heart of God. Even unto death, unity within the shared mind of Christ is not limited by the framework of this temporal world.

I’ll close with this, within our Western mindset we have lost sight of what it means to follow Christ in this way. Our individualism has replaced the desire for unity. Our arrogance has replaced the desire for humility. Our perceived freedom has replaced the desire for obedience. Our self-centeredness has replaced the desire for self-sacrifice. Friends we must repent and return to our first love. Be unified in Christ Jesus.

Will you join me as we seek an authentic relationship united in Christ and each other? Rejecting division, embracing God’s reality in Jesus, and encouraging one another. It’s just between you and God. Here’s the thing, If we love God and abide in Christ we will find ourselves more and more loving each other. You will we more and you will love better. We will experience God in spirit and in truth and we will share that amongst each other. Share all the ways God has shown you mercy and grace. Will you allow the Holy Spirit to stir faith in someone through your testimony?

Would you join me as the Holy Spirit moves on us to be unified in the spirit of Christ? These are the kingdom values. This is truly the work of God. The intentional actions of the body of Christ. Remember the devil seeks only to kill steal and destroy. Steal your freedom, kill your joy, and destroy your destiny for hope and love. But God has a plan! He’s stealing from your neighbor, your family, and your loved ones today.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

Jesus, He’s the Son of the living God, and we can receive from Him today His Righteousness, His purpose and His calling. Will you call on him today? Your salvation/forgiveness is just one prayer away. Will you trust in his ability to do what He said He would do? Will you believe today? Many of you need a fresh touch from God today. Is there some form of unbelief or a fracture of trust as it relates to God in your life today? God wants to redeem and restore those areas of your life? He wants to restore Joy and hope for you today.

You’re hearing this now and the Holy Spirit has brought someone or something to mind. He wants to speak life into this today. He wants to bring healing in this area today. There are areas of deep regret when it comes to your relationship with God and you have rejected Christ as your savior …It’s not too late

It’s not too late to humble yourself before him today, hold out your arms and open your hands to receive from him today. Will you say yes to Jesus, today? Will you bow your heads with me? Some of you already know the Lord, but maybe he’s put something on your heart that you need to deal with, you need to ask his forgiveness today. If that’s you will you just acknowledge that to him today. This is just you and God here.

Now someone here may not have that relationship with Jesus and today you’ve felt him tugging at your heart, you’ve been hurt, and you’re guarded, I know. Jesus is here and wants set things right in your life. If you’ll say Pastor, I want Jesus to be my Lord and savior. Remember, it’s just you and God here. Will you pray with me today, We’ll pray here as a family and you can repeat after me?

Jesus, I know that I’m a sinner. I ask you today for your forgiveness. I believe that you died for my sins and on that 3rd day, you rose from the dead. I ask you to come into my heart today. I trust and follow you as my Lord and savior. Guide me and help me to do your will. In Jesus’ name Amen.

“‘“The Lord bless you
and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”’

Numbers 6:24-26