Timothy and Epaphroditus

May 14, 2017
Philippians 2:19-30
Abraham Hong

 

One day, you will be in the new heavens and the new earth with imperishable bodies and without sin before the exalted Lord Jesus Christ. When that day comes, don’t forget to find Timothy and Epaphroditus and say hello.

Paul writes about his plans to send Timothy and Epaphroditus to the church in Philippi. He plans to send Epaphroditus to them now. And he plans to send Timothy to them later. On one level, today’s Scripture text is just about this.

But on another level, today’s Scripture text is way more than just mundane travel logistics. Paul puts before the Philippians two men who are examples of what it means to have the mind of Christ and walk in a manner worthy of the gospel.

Timothy was genuinely concerned for the spiritual well-being of the Philippians. He sought the interests of Christ. And he served well under Paul. He was like a son to him. Timothy looked like Jesus.

Epaphroditus was a brother and a worker and a soldier for Paul and for the Philippian church. He nearly died for the work of Christ, risking his life for the sake of the gospel. When he was ill, he was not distressed about himself. He was distressed that the Philippians were distressed when they heard that he was ill. Epaphroditus looked like Jesus.

And both Timothy and Epaphroditus were examples of what it meant to have the mind of Christ and to walk in a manner worthy of the gospel. They shone as lights in the world without blemish or grumbling or disputing. They worked out their salvation with fear and trembling as God worked in them. They bowed their knees before Christ. They were humble and obedient. They suffered for Jesus’ sake. They clung to their citizenship in heaven. They bore the fruit of righteousness. They loved other abundantly with the love and affection of Christ himself.

When I think about Highland Church, when I think about you all, I thank God and praise him because I see brothers and sisters having the mind of Christ and walking in a manner worthy of the gospel. I see a church of genuine concern and proven worth. I see a church that knows mercy and joy and honor.

I see you putting in time to help out the kids in the children’s ministry. I see you coming early to setup and practice on Sundays. I see you spending your own money for snacks. I see you counting our offering and talking with guests and newcomers. I see you showing hospitality at small groups and opening up homes for G5 meetings. I see you make videos and hand out bulletins. I see you spending Friday nights helping out with the youth group. I see you giving rides for Dean and others. I see minds of Christ and lives worthy of the gospel. I see Christ in you.

But let us not get cocky. Let us simply rejoice that our names are written in heaven. And let us strive for better. Give more. Serve more. Love more. Carry your cross and die more.

Some of you are going to have kids soon. More will be needed. Some of you will soon be doing new things in life. More will be needed. Some of you have been stuck in some old ways. More will be needed. All of us have a long way to go. More will be needed.

I hope that our church will shine more brightly in the days to come. I wish for more fear and trembling. I desire knees on the ground. I pray for love that abounds.

Please show genuine concern for everyone in our church. Please forge a heart of a worker and a mind of a soldier. Please have an awareness of other people’s distress. Please be as sons to fathers and daugthers to mothers.

It would be a joy and an honor to see this happen at Highland.

Brothers and sisters, we follow in the footsteps of godly men and women who walked before us and traveled well. And Timothy and Epaphroditus and all the saints of old would want us to know that this is all worth it. I wonder what Timothy and Epaphroditus were like before they were saved by Jesus. We all know what Paul was like before his salvation. God’s work in the lives of sinners is truly amazing. Maybe you’re not willing to risk your life and die for the work of Christ today. Maybe you’re not there yet. But I am confident that you will be one day. I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

And again, when that day comes - and it will - don’t forget to find Timothy and Epaphroditus and say hello.

End