Joy of Serving with Real Men

September 25, 2004 Philippians 2:19-30

Today, our study focuses on 2:19-30: The Joy of Serving With Real Men! [READ 2:19-30]

- Paul is still discussing the ‘mind of Christ’ he spoke of 2:5-11 – he’s now focusing on two men who have ‘worked out their own salvation’ with fear and trembling’

> i.e. they have the evidence of the ‘mind of Christ’ in their lives – they demonstrated ‘holding forth the word of life’ that other could SEE Jesus in their lives

- Now you might be thinking: This lesson is for men only!

- NO – women can have these qualities (mention this later) and you can pray for your husband, son, or future son-n-law to be like these men

- besides, the message of this text is not about MEN, but about Jesus who was made in the likeness of men (incarnate Son of God!)

- I’m happy to say that we have a number of men in our church like these two – men liked minded who will naturally care for your welfare!

I.  Timothy: Modeling Christ – 2: 19-24

- Paul probably met Timothy on his 1stmissionary journey (Acts 14:6) – Paul was the one who led Timothy to Christ (1 Cor. 4:17)

- that’s why he referred to him as:

  • 1 Timothy 1:2 To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

- Timothy’s mother and grandmother had an godly influence on his life

  • 2 Timothy 1:5 For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well.

- These ladies also instructed Timothy in the OT Scriptures!:

  • 2 Timothy 3:15 and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

Q: Where was his dad?

- his father was Greek, and probably a pagan

- the fact that he was not circumcised (thought Paul circumcised him later for ministry reasons – Acts 16:3) as a child suggest that his father had educated him in Greek learning and culture.

- So for Timothy, “along with his spiritual maturity, his combined Jewish and Greek heritage made him uniquely qualified to minister the Gospel with Paul to the Gentile world” – p. 196

- By this letter to the Philippians, Timothy had served with Paul for about 10 years

- Paul gave some distinguishing characteristics about him

A.  Kindred spirit

Lit. means = equal-souled or one-souled (only use in the NT)

- Timothy had the same mind – way of thinking as Paul

“The goal of true discipleship is reproduction; when a person is fully discipled, Jesus said, he will be like his teacher (Matthew 10:25).” – p. 197

- Paul was saying that Timothy had the attitude in 2:5 . . .

- Paul was also saying that Timothy was the kind of person described in 2:2

  • Philippians 2:2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.

Example: I want to be this way toward Pastor Viars – I want to think like him – assuming that he has the ‘mind of Christ’

>  that doesn’t mean always agreeing on everything, but willing to submit to his leadership because what he is doing is trying to glorify God and edify God’s people!

B.  Genuine concern – 2:20 [Scot Meinema teaches “B”]

- Timothy was not man who was trying to ‘win friends and influence people’ – he genuinely cared for people

>  he loved people and was concerned about their physical and spiritual well-being!

- the verb (concerned) expresses a strong feeling for something or someone – often to the point of being burdened (positive sense)

e.- Paul uses the same word in 4:6 – be anxious for nothing (negative sense)

- Paul had a similar concern for all the churches:

  • 2 Corinthians 11:28 Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches.

“People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”

Input: What does genuine concern look like? What does a person do who really cares?

[apply to our ABF, church family -- various answers – cf. the life of Christ – what did He do to show that He cared? – 2:5-11!]

- Remember, Paul was in Rome – he mentions 26 people by name in Romans 16 – yet none of them were available to go back and check on the church at Philippi

- the reference in 2:21 describes the situation – they all seek their own interests. . .

> look back to Philippians 1:15-18 [READ]

- those who preached out of good will/love, where either gone (unavailable) or decided to be silent – maybe they had left their first love (Rev. 2:4, like the church at Ephesus)

Bottom Line:  One man was left – and it was Timothy! – are you known for your concern for people?  Can you be counted on to show love to others?

- and the characteristic Paul emphasized was Timothy’s GENUINE CONCERN!

C.  Proven track record – 2:22

Proven worth = one word which has the basic meaning of proof after testing!

- when used of a person, it describes proven character or tested value

- there are a number of examples of Timothy’s faithfulness over the course of Paul’s ministry

  • (KJV) Proverbs 20:6 Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?

Point: A good track record takes time to establish – a good testimony takes years to establish, but can crumble in matter of hours!

- This process takes a combination of good teaching and experience –

“Experience without teaching can lead to discouragement, and teaching without experience can lead to spiritual deadness. It takes both.” – Wiersbe, Be Joyful, p. 84

- When your branches of ministry go out further than your roots are deep, you’ll eventually topple when the winds of adversity begin to blow your direction!

Q: What are you doing to establish a proven track record at Faith Baptist Church?

> to further the Gospel like Timothy did with Paul

> to learn the truth, but then to apply the truth

Input:  What is the significance of the phrase, “like a child serving his father”?

[various answers – but issues of authority are involved, trust, growth, eagerness to please, etc.]

* Remember – the child serving his father relates back to 2:5-11 – Jesus, the Son of God, doing the will of the Father – serving the Father – trusting the Father’s plan (not My will, but Thy will be done!), etc.

D.  Available – 2:23

- Immediately – he was there if/when Paul needed him!

The context makes it clear that Timothy was willing to do what Paul asked of him.  He had no agenda of his own.  For him, being available to the Lord essentially meant being serviceable to the Lord’s apostle.  His staying or leaving was entirely Paul’s’ decision, not his own.  It must have been challenging for this intelligent, energetic, talented, and gifted young man to be constantly severing relationships with family, friends, and fellow workers.  For most people, especially those with his capabilities, it would be unthinkable to be at someone else’s beck and call.  But Timothy was just that sort of willing, dependable, and joyful servant of Paul in their mutual service of Jesus Christ.  He was ready to spend and be spent as seemed best to his beloved friend and apostle.” – MacArthur, p. 201

II.  Epaphroditus:  Modeling Christ – 2:25-30

A.  His relationship to Paul

1.   Brother – as a brother in Christ, a fellow child of God – the ‘my’ makes it more personal

- just as we are ‘brothers’ to Christ, we are part of the family of God to each other!

* the emphasis here is on the spiritual life they share with each other

2.  Fellow Worker

= the idea of an affectionate partnership, not merely that of an impersonal, official relationship

* the idea here emphasizes their common spiritual effort in the kingdom of Christ!

3.  Fellow Soldier

* suggests their joint struggles against common spiritual enemies

- since Paul was chained to a Roman soldier at the time of his writing this letter to the Philippians, it’s clear that his use of this title reveals his view of Epaphroditus, not as a subordinate, but in humility as a spiritual warrior in the army of the Lord!

B.  His relationship to the church

1.  Messenger – an ordinary messenger sent by the church at Philippi to represent them

* Apply this to missions – building a relationship with our missionaries – showing our love for them

2.  Minister

- a servant in the work of the Lord (most commonly used form of the word)

- Paul referenced this in 2. 26-30 – ‘he came close to death for the work of Christ’

- This man spelled sacrifice with a big “S” – not a little ‘s’

3.  Longed for them – v. 26

III.  The Church’s Response – 2:29

A.  Receive him with all joy – i.e. gladly accept him back

B.  Hold men like him in high regard

- tell me the kind of person you praise, and I’ll tell you a lot about the kind of person you are

C.  Reason: Risked his life! – v. 30