Unity Comes from Genuine Care for the Body

July 12, 2008 Philippians 2:19

 

Introduction

  • Please open your Bibles to Philippians 2:19
  • Our theme this year is Seeking God’s Plan...
  • Tonight we’ll be discussing at our Family Night some of the particulars of the directions we could go and initiatives we could adopt – what is it that the Lord really wants our church to focus on in the next 5 years?...
  • Then this summer, working verse by verse through the book of Philippians...Seeking God’s Plan for Joyful Unity...
  • Central to our plan is the church, not our campus but the church, Not our programs but the body of believers, you and me
  • Today we will be looking at the Unity that comes from genuine care for the Body of Christ.

The “mission of Faith Baptist Church” is seeking to glorify God by winning people to Jesus Christ and equipping them to be more faithful disciples.

  • I’ve heard it said like this before
  • Helping every person
    • Accept Christ Personally
    • Know God intimately
    • Walk in the Spirit Faithfully
  • Are you on board with our mission?
  • Are you excited about our mission?
  • Are you working towards our Goal?

Now how do you accomplish the mission?

  • You develop a plan
  • Paul had a plan for the church at Philippi
  • God is at work in you for His good pleasure.

Philippians 2:13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

  • That the church’s love abounds in real knowledge & all discernment.

Philippians 1:9-10And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ;

  • Firm in Christ

Philippians 1:27Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;

  • Humble like Christ

Philippians 2:3-4Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

  • Lights for Christ

Philippians 2:14-15Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world,

  •  And Paul is confident that all this will happen

Philippians 1:6For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

  • Paul had a Plan for the church at Philippi.
  • But a plan by itself is a plan for failure
  •  There is a maxim that says

You don’t get what you expect? You get what you inspect.

  • Example of testing for kids in school

Inspection is exactly what Paul desires to happen at the church of Philippi.

  • Knowing Your Condition of the Body of Christ           
  • Look at Philippians 2:19 and read silently along with me

Philippians 2:19 But I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, so that I also may be encouraged when I learn of your condition.

  • Different versions state “learn of your condition” differently
  • Learn how you are
  • Receive news about you
  • That I may know you state
  • For me to find out how you’re doing
  • There was a song sung by Kenny Rodgers in the late sixties titled
          “Just Dropped In To See What Condition My Condition Was In
  • That just what Paul wants Timothy to do to the church of Philippi.
  • A healthy body begins by discovering what condition your condition is in.

It’s like when you go to the doctor. He doesn’t just start scribbling on the prescription pad as soon as you walk in the door. No he takes your pulse, checks your blood pressures, asks some questions, pokes you here and then there, puts his hands to her chin, says “interesting”, orders an x-ray and a few other tests.
Before he can help you, before he can give you genuine care he needs to know what your condition is.

  • Don’t miss this.
  • For Faith Baptist to be healthy we need to appropriately be engaging with each other, probing and discovering how each other is doing.
  • Unity Comes from Genuine Care for the Body

Inspecting What?

  • There are two aspects of Genuine Care for the Body
  • First: Knowing the status of your personal Spiritual condition

Philippians 2:12So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling;

  1. Second: Knowing the Spiritual Condition of those in my sphere of influence
  2. What we mean is to appropriately engage with the people in your sphere of influence.

Hebrews 3:13But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

  1. Encourage
  2. The word Parakaleo
  3. This word has the idea of coming up alongside for the purpose of encouraging, strengthening and comforting.
  4. Are in you in the game?
  5. Our mission statement says “we are to be about equipping people” to be more faithful.
  6. You don’t get what you expect but what you inspect.
  7. Are you going to inspect yourself
  8. Are you going to engage with others?
  9. No more passing in the hallway asking “how you doing” “oh fine” and then 3 months latter hearing that person has fallen off the radar.
  10. You say I asked them how they were doing, they said fine.
  11. Right here, right now commit, sign up, dedicate you to inspect yourself and engage with other.
  12. Will you whisper a prayer right now in the quiet of your heart
  13. “God I will actively probe the condition of my heart and look for opportunity to engage appropriately with those in my circle of influence

You say I’d love to do that but how do I check my condition and the condition of those around me? But how?

The Power of Example

If the pilot of the next airliner you fly on handed you a clip board and asked you to walk around the aircraft to perform the pre-flight inspection you’d look at him like he was crazy. “I don’t know how to do that” I refuse.

  • Some of you might be sitting here today thinking that “genuine care for the Body” is a good thing.
  • Looking at myself and engaging with others!
  • But you refuse because you don’t know what to look for?
  • God knew this would be the case; In His immeasurable wisdom He gives exactly what we need. An example.

Because an example is a powerful thing isn’t it?

Before I went to seminary I worked for years in a hospital. We had guideline when it came to learning new procedures:

See one – Do one – Teach one

You have all that education in the hospital and you resort see one, do one, teach one?

Why?

Because example is a powerful teacher.

  • Because example shows us what precepts can’t.
  • Example assures that us that the duty is possible because somebody is fleshing it out.
  • What we think is impossible we find is possible

There is a great general principle that comes from Thomas Brook: said,

"Example is the most powerful rhetoric." He's right.

  • Today we look at section of the book of Philippians that is not profound theologically. It's not even a doctrinal passage, as such. It's not a difficult passage. There aren't any hidden treasures here. It's simple, straightforward. In fact, it's very practical. It is profound in the sense that I believe it presents to us a model for spiritual living, for spiritual virtue.
  • Paul gives us Timothy and Epaphroditus as examples so we can SEE what we should look like. As we examine ourselves next to these comparisons we will be examining what “condition our condition” is in!
  • The Example of Timothy
  • Read Philippians 2:20 – 23a

Philippians 2:20-23For I have no one else of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare. For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus. But you know of his proven worth, that he served with me in the furtherance of the gospel like a child serving his father. Therefore I hope to send him immediately , as soon as I see how things go with me;

  1. Like Minded

Philippians 2:20For I have no one else of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare.

  1. The words “kindred spirit” are translated “like minded” in the NKJV.
  2. Practically Paul is saying
              “how I think he thinks,
              how I act he acts,
              how I react is how Timothy will react,
    because we are like minded.
  3. Remember Timothy is an “example” here.
  4. Remember “see one – do one – teach one” !
  5. See Timothy, do what Timothy does, teach others to do what Timothy does.
  6. You ask “do you really think that is what is going on here?” I do!
  7. Look at the PPT

1 Corinthians 4:16Therefore I exhort you, be imitators of me.

1 Corinthians 4:17For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, who is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, and he will remind you of my ways which are in Christ, just as I teach everywhere in every church.

1 Corinthians 11:1Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.

  1. You want to see how it’s done, how the Christian life is lived successfully, do you want to see what a man or woman of God looks like, then look to Timothy , who looked to Paul who looked to Perfect Son of God.
  2. We must have their responses and zeal, their passion and attitude, their heart
  3. Let me ask you: What condition is your condition in.
  4. PA:  Pastor Viars has asked that you read Philippians each week. This week as you read mark down the patterns, duties and examples you see in the book, and then use those examples as a lens to examine your life.

Now turn to verse 21

  1. Servant Saint Perspective

Philippians 2:21For they all seek after their own interests,
not those of Christ Jesus.

  1. Here we find a perspective, an outlook on how to live life.
  2. Do you have this perspective in your life?
  3. Paul uses a negative illustration to demonstrate a positive characteristic of Timothy.
  4. What he is saying about Timothy is that he looks out for the interests of others.
  5. We see this a theme of the book of Philippians, turn back to 1:1

Philippians 1:1Paul and Timothy, bond-servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons:

Philippians 2:3-4Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

  • Looking out for the interests of others is indispensable for spiritual unity.
  • It requires deliberate and persistent effort to apply sincerely and unconditionally.
  • And although the meaning is obvious and easy to understand, it is difficult to apply. It is the practical outcome of the exceedingly difficult command to regard others as more important than ourselves.
  • Do you look at others as “saints” and yourself as a “servant”?
  • If not, bluntly, your hurting the body. You may claim to be a Christian, a follower of Christ, but if you are lacking here you are not acting Christ like.
  1. Proven Worth

Philippians 2:22But you know of his proven worth, that he served with me in the furtherance of the gospel like a child serving his father.

  1. Timothy’s character was a well known commodity
  2. Timothy’s “proven worth” means proven after testing.
  3. This was proven thought service not by school.
  4. Not proven by a test but by testing.
  5. His character was tried character – he was field tested
  6. We see that is what a church is to do when selecting deacons.

1 Timothy 3:8-10Deacons likewise must be men of dignity, not double-tongued, or addicted to much wine or fond of sordid gain, but holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. These men must also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons if they are beyond reproach.

Tested and judged as beyond reproach

2 Corinthians 2:9For to this end also I wrote, so that I might put you to the test, whether you are obedient in all things.

  • Because the one who loves God is the one who obeys God.
  • The test is obedience to the Word of God.
  • You say can I do that?
  • We see it lived out in the life of Timothy. He has been tested, he is the real deal. If he can do it so can you.

The Example of Epaphroditus

The Example of Epaphroditus.

Now what do we know about Epaphroditus. Well, directly we really don't know anything about him.

Remember now, Paul is a prisoner, a two-year incarceration in a private house by the Roman government.

  • The Romans have chained him to one of their soldiers, keeping him a prisoner in his own house.
  • During the time he is imprisoned by Rome he still has some freedom for ministry.
  • The Philippian church who loved him very deeply, the church which he founded, as recorded in Acts 16, when they became aware of his situation were greatly troubled by it and decided they wanted to help him.
  • Realizing he could no longer work to earn his living, support himself in his ministry, they wanted to send him some money.
  • So the Philippians collected sacrificially from their people a gift of love and they sent it to Paul and it was taken by this man Epaphroditus.
    • What do we need to know about Epaphroditus?

A  He is an Example

Look at verse 25 and notice 5 characteristics about Epaphroditus.

Philippians 2:25But I thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger and minister to my need;

Three from the perspective of Paul and two from the perspective of the Philippian church.

  1. Brother = a fellow believer, united to another by the bond of affection.
  2. Fellow worker = a companion in work
  3. Fellow soldier  = an associate in labors and conflicts for the cause of Christ.
  4. Messenger = a delegate, one sent forth with orders
  5. Minister = of one busied with holy things

However the overarching attitude that marked the brother, fellow worker & soldier, the messenger who came to minister is seen in verse 30.

We are told to hold Epaphroditus in high regard.

Philippians 2:29Receive him then in the Lord with all joy, and hold men like him in high regard;

Why should they honor this man? He was an example, he loved Paul and the church, he feared God. But here's the issue, verse 30,

Philippians 2:30because he came close to death for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was deficient in your service to me.

"Because he came close to death."

  • What brought him close to death?

A  The work of Christ.

  • I love that statement, "risking his life,"
  • He uses a very interesting verb, that verb is the verb that is connected to the noun periballa which means dice,
  • And the verb form means to roll the dice.
  •  It means to gamble, to play the gambler, to expose oneself to danger might be the best way...he exposed himself to danger.
  • That's what he did.
  • He was so loyal and so faithful and so sacrificial, so humble, so uncomplaining he just put his life on the line in an effort to do what the Philippians wanted done in behalf of Paul.
  • Epaphroditus, he loved Paul, he loved Christ, he loved the cause of Christ, he loved the Philippians so much he loved not himself. He just gave his life away.

What an example.

Conclusion

What condition is your condition in?

How does my spiritual life measure up to the examples God gives us.

Am I willing to be a messenger and minister willing to help others