Sermon: Living By Faith in Christ (Philippians 2:19-30)

Living by Faith in Christ

Philip. 2:19-30 (ESV)

I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I too may be cheered by news of you.  [20] For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare.  [21] They all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.  [22] But you know Timothy’s proven worth, how as a son with a father he has served with me in the gospel.  [23] I hope therefore to send him just as soon as I see how it will go with me,  [24] and I trust in the Lord that shortly I myself will come also.

[25] I have thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, and your messenger and minister to my need,  [26] for he has been longing for you all and has been distressed because you heard that he was ill.  [27] Indeed he was ill, near to death. But God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.  [28] I am the more eager to send him, therefore, that you may rejoice at seeing him again, and that I may be less anxious.  [29] So receive him in the Lord with all joy, and honor such men,  [30] for he nearly died for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was lacking in your service to me.

Paul comes to the end of the first section of his book.  He has given the church many words of exhortation in Christ-likeness.  We have been introduced to some very important truths.

Philip. 1:9-11 (ESV)

And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment,  [10] so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,  [11] filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

Philip. 1:27-28 (ESV)

Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel,  [28] and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God.

Philip. 2:2-4 (ESV)

complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.  [3] Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  [4] Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Timothy and Epaphroditus were flesh and blood examples for the Philippian believers to watch and to pattern their lives after.  After giving the church these great words of encouragement, the Apostle sends them model Christians to follow.

It’s important in the local church that you have models to follow.  Whether you have models or not we must ultimately follow Christ.

1. Timothy’s Proven Worth (2:19-24)

We do not have the privilege, as the Philippian church did, to meet Timothy and watch him in action.  We cannot watch him care for others and serve.  But what we do have are verses written for us about him.

Paul knew what selfishness looked like.  In fact it seems as if Paul was speaking of folks in our day and time.  So far in this book we’ve seen selfish Romans.  We’ve seen selfish preachers who cared more about preaching than they did about people.  They cared more about being a polished orator instead of caring for those they were preaching to.

Philip. 1:15 (ESV)

Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will.

He has also experienced ungodly attitudes and behavior from others as well.

[20] For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare.  [21] They all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.

I want to share with you a problem that churches can very quickly fall into.  The problem is thinking only of themselves.  Many churches today are like the ancient Christians in Rome, they are not interested in the welfare of others.  Most of the Christians Paul came in contact with only had a self focus.  They only saw as far as their own front door.

That’s nice, let me tell you about me…

We must be different.  Grace Community Church must stay the course of our original vision to be a church planting church.  During this time of formation we will naturally seek our own interests but we must also be about seeking the interests of others.  Where and when the Lord plants the next church is still a mystery to us.  However, we must be thinking and praying about it.  We must be getting things in place here so that when the Lord reveals it to us we’ll be ready.

Timothy was not out to win friends.  He wasn’t out to smooth talk anyone.  He wasn’t out to get people on his side.  He had no agenda. No secret motivation.  No plan to get ahead.  All he cared about was the interests of Christ.

Paul said, I have no one like Timothy…

If we are to be of value to Christ’s Kingdom we too should seek to model Timothy’s example of caring for the needs of others and seeking the interests of Christ.  Timothy had remained untainted by worldly lusts and desires.  He had no agenda.

How is it that we can be like Timothy?

Begin by actually listening to others rather than talking to others.  Many people want to speak and be heard so badly that a conversation with them is listening to them talk.  Instead of entering into a conversation to promote your agenda, enter it to promote the other person.  Listen to them and care for their soul as you speak to them.  Allow them to finish before you butt in with your thoughts, remember you’re caring for them so let them talk and tell you what’s going on with them.

Listen for ministry opportunities; listen for needs, and think of ways you can promote godliness in them.

This is the type of person Timothy was.  Timothy had learned the art of placing others before himself.

Not only did Timothy place others before himself but, more importantly, he placed Christ before himself.  He showed that caring for others was really serving Christ.

Matthew 25:35-40 (ESV)

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,  [36] I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’  [37] Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?  [38] And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?  [39] And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’  [40] And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

Timothy was a proven soldier of Christ’s.  His character was spotless and his devotion never ending.  He could be trusted.  So when Paul could not go to the Philippians because of his imprisonment he did the next best thing, he sent his son in the faith his beloved Timothy.

Timothy is someone to model your life after.  He is one to study and copy.

Timothy was genuinely concerned for the welfare of those in the church.

Timothy was proven, he had stood the test of time.

Timothy was Paul’s spiritual son, Paul had discipled him.

He was the perfect man for the job.

Next we’re introduced to a member of the church at Philippi.  His name is Epaphroditus.  He had come from the church to check on Paul in prison and give Paul a financial gift from the church.  While in Rome he had become very ill and as Paul said almost died.

2. Epaphroditus, the Risk Taker (Philippians 2:25-29)

[25] I have thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, and your messenger and minister to my need,  [26] for he has been longing for you all and has been distressed because you heard that he was ill.  [27] Indeed he was ill, near to death. But God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.  [28] I am the more eager to send him, therefore, that you may rejoice at seeing him again, and that I may be less anxious.  [29] So receive him in the Lord with all joy, and honor such men,  [30] for he nearly died for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was lacking in your service to me.

The Philippian Church sent Paul a very special gift.  They sent money but what they sent that was the greatest blessing was Epaphroditus.  Scholars aren’t sure if he and Paul knew each other before but what we do know is that in Rome, he and Paul became very close.  The Apostle uses three titles to refer to Epaphroditus.

My Brother– This is a title of affection and a title that declares a common bond.  All believers are brothers and sister one with the other.  Paul was not ashamed to call this man his brother.  As we partake of the Lord’s Supper today we too are declaring our brotherhood with the saints.  All true Christians share God as Father and Christ as Brother.

Hebrews 2:11 (ESV)

For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one origin. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers,

My Fellow Worker- He was a tremendous servant of Christ.  No doubt the Philippian Church held him in high regard or they would not have sent him bear the gift to Paul.  He could be trusted and depended upon to complete a task.

My Fellow Soldier- Epaphroditus was engaged in the same spiritual battle Paul was.  They shared common struggles and also shared common enemies.

Because of his health and his usefulness to the church, Paul sent him back with his blessing.

[30] for he nearly died for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was lacking in your service to me.

Notice, Paul declares that Epaphroditus was a risk taker for Christ.  It was a risk to travel such a distance carrying a purse of money.  It was a risk to even visit Paul in the Roman prison.

Do we ever take risks for the cause of Christ?  Have you taken a risk lately?

As great as Timothy and Epaphroditus were they were not the things Paul said about them by themselves.  If I could ask Timothy and Epaphroditus, I sure they would say, don’t end your message talking about us.  End you message speaking about the true Servant.  The true risk taker, The true Proven One.

What happened to these men that caused them to be who they were?

These men were Gospel soldiers and the church in Philippi need the Gospel taken back to them.  We need the Gospel today.  These men are examples of what it means to exercise saving faith.

The message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ had bore fruit in these men.  They had heard the Gospel and then they responded in faith and repentance.

These men are examples of responding to the Gospel.

~It’s not enough to hear the Gospel.

Romans 10:14 (ESV)

But how are they to call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?

Many hear and don’t believe.

~It’s not enough to understand the Gospel. Many understand it clearly but have no real interest in it because they love their sin more.

Romans 1:32 (ESV)

Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

We’ve heard before that even demons understand the Gospel.  Demons probably know more Bible than we do and yet none of them are ever converted.

James 2:19 (ESV)

You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!

~It’s not enough to even agree and affirm the Gospel.

Nicodemus believed and approved of the facts behind who Jesus was and what Jesus did.  He had seen Jesus do miracles and listened to His authoritative teaching and assessed the facts and concluded that Jesus had been sent from God.

John 3:2 (ESV)

This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.”

Timothy and Epaphroditus heard the Gospel, Understood the Gospel, and agreed with all the facts surrounding the Gospel.  They did one thing that others didn’t do.

They trusted Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins and for eternal life with God.  They exercised saving faith.

I recently heard a very good illustration of this principle.

Let’s say you’re in the Arctic without a coat.  In an hour or so you will be dead.  Your friend has a coat suitable fro withstanding arctic temperatures.  You see the coat. You believe it can do what your friend says it can do.  You may even reach over and touch the coat and say, Yes that will do just fine. But unless you trust the coat with your life and actually put it on and zip it up, you will die affirming the qualities of the Arctic coat.

As you can see there is all the difference in the world between affirming facts and trusting Christ.

Timothy and Epaphroditus were two men who trusted Christ and their lives manifested this trust.  They were not merely assenting to truth was wrapped the truth around themselves and lived in it.

Personal faith in Christ is putting the truth of the Gospel into action.

Let’s not just look to Timothy and Epaphroditus as hard workers but men who were living examples of personal trust in Christ.  It was Jesus Christ that caused them to do the things they did and be the men they were.  As they lived their lives in Christ they would be walking as He walked and doing the things He did.

I pray that we would see just how important personal trust in Christ really is.

Remember, hearing the Gospel is vital but not sufficient to save.  Understanding the Gospel is vital but not sufficient to save.  Agreeing with the facts of the Gospel is vital but not sufficient to save.  Only when these are connect with Faith and Trust in Christ will conversion take place.

As we think about these things this brings us naturally into self examination.  The Lord’s Supper is a great time to make some personal assessments

Church Covenant…

One Comment on “Sermon: Living By Faith in Christ (Philippians 2:19-30)

  1. Thank you! This lesson has been used by the Holy Spirit to increase my devotion, service, risk taking and self-examination for the interest of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ…..Vanessa Milledge

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