Faithful Friends

I. The English Standard Version has a good translation of this passage.

Philippians 2:19-30 --

“I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I too may be cheered by news of you. For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare.

They all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.

But you know Timothy’s proven worth, how as a son with a father he has served with me in the gospel.  I hope therefore to send him just as soon as I see how it will go with me, and I trust in the Lord that shortly I myself will come also.

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, for he has been longing for you all and has been distressed because you heard that he was ill. 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.

I am the more eager to send him, therefore, that you may rejoice at seeing him again, and that I may be less anxious. So receive him in the Lord with all joy, and honor such men, for he nearly died for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was lacking in your service to me.”

II. The previous verses contain a list of actions and character traits.

A. The opening prayer focuses the letter (Philippians 1:4-11)

1. Fellowship in the Gospel is the focal point for our relationship.

2. God has begun and will complete His “good work” in us.

3. Defense and confirmation of the Gospel should drive us.

4. Growth in Christ involves many aspects.

a. Our love is to “abound” as we mature
b. We should “approve” of that which is excellent
c. Love is qualified through “knowledge” and “discernment”
d. Maturation produces “pure” and “blameless” lives
e. Fruits of righteousness are the continuing product

B. The life of Paul provided insight on how to deal with difficulties (Philippians 1:12-26)

1. Gospel ministry often brings opposition.

a. Sometimes imprisonment because of the Gospel happens
b. Sometimes insincere or hypocritical opposition arises
1) Some are jealous of eternal successes
2) Some will attempt to add pressure
3) Some are attempting to gain influence

2. Gospel ministry is in the message not the messenger.

a. Romans 1:16 – it has the power to save
b. 1 Corinthians 1:18 – the preaching of the cross saves

3. Gospel ministry magnifies the Lord Jesus not the messenger

a. Our heart should expect and hope in God’s promises
b. Our attitudes should endure shame with boldness
c. Our lifestyle should magnify Christ

C. The citizenship has certain responsibilities (Philippians 1:27-30).

1. We must stand fast in one spirit.

2. We must have one mind – one soul.

3. We must strive together for “the faith” of the gospel.

a. This phrase is used to identify biblical doctrine (Jude 1:3)
b. This behaviour involved confirmation of doctrine (Acts 14:22)
c. This commitment is lifelong (2 Timothy 4:7)

4. We must not be terrified by our adversaries.

5. We must appreciate the “favour” of suffering on behalf of Christ.

D. The citizenship has certain foundational promises (Philippians 2:1).

1. There is consolation (help promised) in Christ.

2. There is comfort (from the Holy Spirit) through love.

3. There is fellowship (led by the Holy Spirit).

4. There are deep feelings of concern (planted by the Holy Spirit).

E. The citizenship produces observable behaviour (Philippians 2:2-4).

1. We are “likeminded.”

a. We love the same things.
b. We are of one accord.
c. We have the same quality.

2. We do not function with selfish ambition.

3. We do not seek groundless self-esteem.

4. We seek the betterment of others.

F. The citizenship is modelled by Jesus Christ (Philippians 2:5-11).

1. He exemplified humility by His incarnation.

2. He exemplified service by His earthly behaviour.

3. He exemplified obedience by His voluntary death on the cross.

4. He exemplified ultimate recognition by His exaltation.

G. The citizen of heaven has expectations (Philippians 2:12-18).

1. We are to work out our own salvation.

a. We are to accomplish works suitable for salvation.
b. We are to be faithful in proportion to our ability.
c. We are to be profitable with what we are given.

2. We are to function without murmuring or disputing.

3. We are to be blameless (free from fault)

4. We are to be harmless (innocent)

5. We are to be without rebuke (without blemish)

6. We must recognize that we function in an unfair and distorted nation.

7. We are to shine as “lights” in that kind of nation.

8. We are to pay attention to the Word of Life.

9. We expect to share sacrifice, service, joy, and rejoicing.

III. Timothy is needed to help the work in Philippi (Philippians 2:19-24).

A. Timothy is “equal in soul” with Paul.

1. He will bring “good comfort” to Paul

a. The word is unique – “good soul” -- will bring “good soul” to Paul
b. The word has no Old Testament counterpart

2. He is “likeminded” with Paul

a. The word is unique in the New Testament – “equal soul”
b. The Old Testament parallels give some insight
1) Psalm 55:13-14 – But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company.  (Probably referring to David’s counsellor Ahithophel)
2) Amos 3:3 -- Can two walk together, except they be agreed?

B. Timothy will genuinely care for the Philippians.

1. He will be “troubled” for your condition.

2. 1 Corinthians 12:25 -- That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.  And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.

3. He is not like others who “seek” their own benefit.

a. Seek to edify – 1 Corinthians 14:12
b. Seek the “heavenly things” – Colossians 3:1-2
c. Seek the Kingdom – Matthew 6:33
d. 2 Peter 1:5-8 -- And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

C. Timothy is already known by the Philippian church.

1. Timothy has been “tested” and “served” with Paul.

2. Timothy is focused on the work and people of God.

3. Timothy is burdened for the needs of God’s people.

4. Timothy has been proven by work, impact, and associations.

IV. Epaphroditus is necessary to encourage Philippi (Philippians 2:25-30).

A. Epaphroditus is “esteemed indispensable” for Philippi.

1. He is Paul’s “brother” in Christ.

2. Matthew 12:50 -- For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.

B. Epaphroditus has worked with Paul on many levels.

1. He is a “companion in labor”

a. 1 Thessalonians 3:2 – “…our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith”

2. He a “fellow soldier”

b. 2 Timothy 2:3-4 --Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

3. He is a messenger and a minister.

c. Acts 20:34-35 -- Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.

C. Epaphroditus is to be received and honoured.

1. He almost lost his life in service.

2. He gave to make up a lack of service from others.

3. He was burdened because his home church did not know of his recovery.

4. He is a valued brother, companion and soldier for the work of Christ.

5. He is a selfless, hardworking “missionary” doing for others.

6. He is unappreciated, but deeply concerned for his home church.

Proverbs 17:17 -- A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

John 15:13 -- Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

John 15:14 -- Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

Hebrews 2:11 -- For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,

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