Philippians 2:19-30 | The Signs of a Saint
In this passage we see Paul talk about two people, Timothy and Epaphroditus, who embody and live out the Christ-like, humble and servant-hearted character that he talked about in the previous passage.
19I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. 20I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare. 21For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.
- GENUINE CARE – Timothy showed genuine concern for the welfare of others – to be truly loving and compassionate, not looking out for our own interests.
- Often our concern for others is mixed with other motives and intentions (even to see them saved!) but as Christ did we must seek to love for the sake of love and have a genuine concern for the welfare of others.
- With the motive of seeing people saved through our actions, it is ultimately God who saves though the Holy Spirit. God may use us or He may not, yet we love and display the gospel continuously.
22But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel. 23I hope, therefore, to send him as soon as I see how things go with me. 24And I am confident in the Lord that I myself will come soon.
- TEACHABLE – Timothy served like a son with his spiritual father Paul – he was teachable and had a spirit of being able to learn
- We are willing to do this when our hearts desire is to serve the work of the gospel and not our own ends
- A teachable spirit says, “it’s not about me and I am willing to face correction because I desire to serve in the work of the gospel”
25But 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. 26For he longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill.
- Epaphroditus was a brother, co-worker and fellow soldier to Paul: they loved together, worked together and fought together (for the gospel). This is what should mark the relationships between disciples.
- Epaphroditus was distressed for the Philippians not because they were ill, but because they heard he was ill. So in his illness he was distressed that they would be worried and concerned for him. How great a man to see not to his own interests but the interests of others, even in an illness close to death!
27Indeed 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.
- BROTHERHOOD – Paul sees that it was God’s mercy not just to spare Epaphroditus’ life but also to spare Paul from excessive sorrow. It shows how much these guys were bonded together in brotherhood and loyalty. One might consider that for God to save a dearly loved family member or their closest friend, would be to save them from sorrow.
28Therefore 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. 29So then, welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor people like him, 30because he almost died for the work of Christ. He risked his life to make up for the help you yourselves could not give me.
- SACRIFICIAL – Epaphroditus almost died on behalf of the gospel and serving others – as disciples we are called to make big sacrifices in this world.
- Sacrifice deserves honour and those that sacrifice much deserve to be honoured much. It should make us think of those that have sacrificed a lot in our lives and whether we honor them rightly? e.g. pastors
Timothy and Epaphroditus set a real and visual example of what it means to live a servant-hearted lifestyle. Their lives are characterized by genuine care for others, having a teachable spirit, a close companionship and being sacrificial. Truly the signs of a saint.