INTRODUCTION TO OUR SERIES:
Background to Philippians…
The Apostle Paul wrote the epistle (personal letter) (1:1) to the Philippian church, probably during his imprisonment in Rome. The letter was written from a heart of love and concern for the Philippians. Due to Paul’s imprisonment, he could not personally visit with the church so he sent this letter with Timothy to encourage them and bring back news of their condition to Paul. (2:19).
Some of the main divisions of the book include:
1. Introduction to the book: 1:1-2
2. Paul’s thankfulness for the Philippians: 1:3-11
3. News of Paul’s imprisonment and dedication: 1:12-26
4. Following Christ’s example is our duty: 1:27-2:18
5. Paul’s representatives and the need to treat them kindly: 2:19-30
6. Paul’s example of living a joyous life: 3:1-11
7. The Christian’s heavenly calling: 3:12-21
8. The need for Godly living: 4:1-9
9. The love offerings of the Philippians: 4:10-20
10. Closing to the book of Philippians: 4:21-23
Php 2:25-27 – “Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants. For he longed after you all, and was full of heaviness, because that ye had heard that he had been sick. For indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.”
Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus,
Along with Timothy, Paul would be sending to the Philippians a man named Epaphroditus.
The name Epaphroditus means to be devoted to the goddess Aphrodite (Venus).
If this was his given name, it helps us to understand much about Epaphroditus. Apparently his parents were devoted followers of the goddess Aphrodite and desired their son to follow her as well. Therefore, in honor of this false goddess, they gave their son the name “Devoted to Aphrodite”.
If Epaphroditus was a “nick name” given to him by his friends later in his life, then this tells us that in his younger days Epaphroditus was probably a devoted follower of Aphrodite who was later converted to Christ.
my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants.
Epaphroditus fulfilled many roles in his service for Christ. He is described as:
1. my brother – member of the same spiritual family as Paul
2. companion in labour – he shared in Paul’s labors for Christ
3. fellowsoldier – he was an associate in spiritual warfare with Paul
4. your messenger – one sent from Philippi with a message for Paul
5. he that ministered to my wants. – He served Paul by helping to supply that which he lacked.
Why would Paul send Epaphroditus with Timothy?
For he longed after you all, and was full of heaviness, because that ye had heard that he had been sick. For indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him;
Epaphroditus had fallen ill while with Paul. He had a likelihood that he would die. However, the Lord graciously delivered Epaphroditus from death and restored him to health. In doing so He was showing him mercy, because he did not deserve to rescued from his impending death.
The church at Philippi, Epaphroditus’ home church, heard of his illness and was worried about him. Because of the church’s great concern for Epaphroditus, he began to worry about them and the sorrow his sickness was causing them.
Paul wanted to send Epaphroditus back to the church at Philippi, to comfort both the church and Epaphroditus.
and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.
When the Lord healed Epaphroditus, he was not only showing his mercy to him but also to Paul. Epahroditus had been a wonderful blessing and help to Paul. If he would have died, Paul would have had his burdens and sorrow greatly increased.
In this text, we can see several examples of Christians appreciating and caring for the feelings of their spiritual brothers and sisters.
1. We can see that Paul appreciated Epaphroditus as he recounts the roll that he had in Paul’s life.
2. We can see Epaphroditus’ love for the church at Philippi as he longed for them and was full of heaviness for them.
3. We can see the church’s care for Epaphroditus during his time of illness
4. We can see Epaphroditus’ care for Paul as he labored to meet his needs
5. We can see Paul’s concern for the church at Philippi as he sees his need to send Epaphroditus to them
WOW what a wonderful text that helps us to see the great need to always be empathetic towards our spiritual family members and seek to help them in their times of sorrow, concern and trials in any way we can.
May we all live according to the instructions Paul had previously given to the church in Philippians 2:1-4…
Philippians 2:1-4 – “If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.”
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