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What’s your favourite verse in the Bible?
For many, it is Phil 4:19- “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus” it is important that we understand the context in which this was written.
This was written by Paul when he was in prison and the Philippians had sent him a gift. The Philippians church loved Paul and sent him a gift with a trustworthy person. It is in this context he says that he is amply supplied and that will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
Last week, we looked at different models of Christian living- Paul, Timothy and Epaphroditus. Today we will look at the life of Epaphroditus. Jesus is perfect and you could be saying, I can’t be there. Paul was an amazing apostle, had an amazing encounter with Jesus, that’s not me. Timothy was an apostolic delegate and was with Paul wherever he went, that isn’t me either.
Epaphroditus, as far as we know is an ordinary church member but he finds mention- to give the gift but also to care for Paul and look after him. When we come to the Word of God, we are standing in front of a mirror. We can things are not quite right with us. James 1:23-24 says, “Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like”
As we look at the model of Epaphroditus let’s look at what we can emulate. Now our performance doesn’t increase or decrease his love. John 14:15 says, “if you love me…”. We are not trying to get God to love us but demonstrating our love for Him.
But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, co-worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs. For he longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill. Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow. Therefore I am all the more eager to send him, so that when you see him again you may be glad and I may have less anxiety. So then, welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor people like him, because he almost died for the work of Christ. He risked his life to make up for the help you yourselves could not give me.
What are some of the qualities we can pick up about Epaphroditus from this passage?
1. His name- Epaphroditus means belonging to Aphrodite who is a pagan God. He came from a pagan background and one day he met Jesus.
2. My Brother- Paul used these words to describe him. He is not just a believer but Paul had a deep love for the Philippians. Epaphroditus was dear to Paul.
Paul was chained to a Roman guard and would have had so many needs. Ephaproditus provided and served Paul in whatever he needed. They were not blood brothers but because of their common relationship with Christ, they were brothers. When God is our Father, we are all brothers and sisters.
The world has a culture of division. Unity is only possible in Christ. Galatians 3:26- “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith”. When Paul refers to Epaphroditus as brother, it’s because they have a deep love for one another.
3. My fellow worker- this describes someone walking alongside Paul in his work for the Gospel. This refers to Synergy- when the sum of the parts is lesser than the sum of the whole. Epaphroditus was a fellow worker together with him in the Gospel. This word has been used to describe other men and women in the New Testament.
Q. Are you a fellow worker? If Paul was writing from our church would we be fellow workers, bringing people to the knowledge of God?
God wants us to have that relationship with one another.
4. Fellow soldier- not only is he a brother and a fellow worker, but a soldier in the battle. Some Christians like loving but are not interested in working together and fighting for Christ. Epaphroditus was a soldier advancing God’s kingdom.
In Luke, Jesus did 3 things;
· He healed the sick
· Cast out demons and evil spirits. You need power from above.
· Proclaimed the Gospel.
We need to engage in this spiritual warfare.
Q. do you feel you are a soldier?
We are all called to be soldiers. Epaphroditus risked his life for the sake of the Gospel.
5. He was a messenger- in doing the ordinary he became extraordinary. He showed great humility in ministering and meeting Paul’s needs.
6. Today there’s a lot of teaching going around about healing. God had mercy on him and he was healed. And the Philippians loved him so much that they were distressed hearing that he was sick. But even in his sickness, he is concerned about the church.
7. God’s qualifications for honouring men and women were found in Epaphroditus. What an amazing model!
As we put up the mirror of God’s word, let it stir our hearts. And remember, this is not because we are trying to win God’s love, but we are demonstrating our love for Jesus.
Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again), Spirit filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that have people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service. To know about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.