Timothy and Epaphroditus

Philippians 2:19-30

I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I too may be cheered by news of you. 20 For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare. 21 For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. 22 But you know Timothy's[a] proven worth, how as a son[b] with a father he has served with me in the gospel. 23 I hope therefore to send him just as soon as I see how it will go with me, 24 and I trust in the Lord that shortly I myself will come also.

25 I have thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, and your messenger and minister to my need, 26 for he has been longing for you all and has been distressed because you heard that he was ill. 27 Indeed he was ill, near to death. But God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. 28 I am the more eager to send him, therefore, that you may rejoice at seeing him again, and that I may be less anxious. 29 So receive him in the Lord with all joy, and honor such men, 30 for he nearly died[c] for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was lacking in your service to me.


 

Timothy and Epaphroditus

The examples of Jesus (vv. 1–11) and Paul (vv. 2:16–17) are not the only motivation for the Philippians to live in other-centered, joyful humility. Paul now holds up two other servants already known to the Philippians as Christlike models of servant-humility: Timothy (vv. 19–24), who is genuinely concerned for their welfare; and Epaphroditus (vv. 25–30), who nearly died twice in his service for the Lord.

Timothy emulates Christ’s model of not merely looking to his own interests (v. 4), as he is “genuinely concerned” for the “welfare” of the Philippians (v. 20). All others seek only their own interests (v. 21). Timothy, Paul’s partner in the gospel, is like a son to Paul, and Paul intends to send Timothy to visit the Philippians, assuming that he will return to Paul with good news about them (v. 19).

Similarly, Epaphroditus (vv. 25–30), another partner in the gospel, exemplifies Christlike, other-centered gospel service, and so Paul had already sent him to Philippi. Paul’s sense of gospel unity and partnership with Epaphroditus is so strong that he speaks of him as a “brother,” “fellow worker,” “fellow soldier,” “messenger,” and “minister”—all in just one verse (v. 25). Paul’s affection for Epaphroditus was so potent that his death would have caused “sorrow upon sorrow” (v. 27).

Christians need biblical teaching on godly self-sacrifice, but we also need models of those who have placed their faith and hope in Christ. He is the primary model of humble service. But let us also look around ourselves today for men and women who, like Timothy and Epaphroditus, set an example of humble, sacrificial service because they are living in gratitude for God’s grace. People like Timothy and Epaphroditus should be honored (v. 29), commended, and unleashed for ministry (vv. 19, 25, 28) even as we rejoice in God for their lives. Living for Christ is not easy. It requires humility, service, and dependence on God’s grace. A redemptive perspective on others that views them as examples not in place of Jesus but for the sake of Jesus encourages us in this grace.


*These devos are taken from Crossway's, ESV Gospel Transformation Bible.


Blessings.

Lights in the World

Philippians 2:12-18

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. 17 Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18 Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.


 

Lights in the World

Paul does not pretend that working out the implications of the gospel into a lifestyle of practical humility is easy (vv. 12–13). But it is necessary. When we apply the gospel to ourselves with the radical humility of Christ, we stand out in the world as lights for Christ (vv. 14–16). The application of the gospel is tremendously difficult work. It requires working out our salvation “with fear and trembling” (v. 12), all the while trusting God to do the work of the gospel in us (v. 13). Meanwhile, we live with a luminous joy, free of grumbling and complaining (v. 14).

Paul’s own life follows the pattern of Christ’s humble sacrifice as he faces the prospect of being “poured out as a drink offering” (v. 17). Rather than dread this possibility, Paul is glad and rejoices and wants the Philippians to rejoice also (vv. 17–18).

As followers of Christ, we cannot expect our path to be one of ease. Salvation by grace is totally free, but that does not mean there is no personal cost (cf. Luke 14:28). God is at work, but there is strenuous work for us to do as well. And yet the strain of living for Christ cannot eclipse our joy. Jesus’ sacrifice was done in joy, without complaining, and we likewise are welcomed in the glad service of Christ and others. The gospel that calls us to sacrifice also calls us to rejoice. The redemption into which we have been swept up is too great to be tepid about. What a gospel this is! Reflecting on God’s grace to us, the very “children of God” (Phil. 2:15), our hearts are softened once more.


*These devos are taken from Crossway's, ESV Gospel Transformation Bible.


Blessings.

Christ's Example of Humility

Philippians 2:1-11

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,[a] 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,[b] 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,[c] being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.


 

Christ's Example of Humility

The hymn in verses 6–11 describes the gospel as it was lived out by Jesus Christ himself. Despite his equality with God (v. 6), Christ “emptied” himself of heavenly privileges, taking the form of a servant and humbling himself to the point of death (v. 8). The lowest point of Christ’s humiliation was crucifixion, a violent means of punishing and degrading the lowliest of criminals. Yet God raised Jesus to eventual universal praise (vv. 9–11). Jesus’ humble death, burial, and resurrection for our sins is the essence of the gospel (cf. 1 Cor. 15:1–5).

Paul makes the gospel application for Christians clear: unity (Phil. 2:2), humility (v. 3), and service (v. 4) is the glad path to which we are summoned. Since we are one with Christ (v. 1), Christians are to have Christ’s mind-set toward each other: having the same love, being of one mind, pursuing no rivalry, doing nothing from empty conceit, always prioritizing the interests of others. For Paul, this lifestyle of humility is again linked to “koinonia” (1:5, 7), but here the encouragement is “in Christ” and the empowering is our “participation in the Spirit” (2:1). Since we are one with Christ by the Spirit (v. 1), we are to act as one (v. 2) and imitate Christ (v. 5). This, Paul says, brings him joy (v. 2).

*These devos are taken from Crossway's, ESV Gospel Transformation Bible.


Blessings.

Godly Fear Humbles

Philippians 2:1-3

"So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves."


 

“Godly Fear Humbles”

What is the encouragement?
First, it is that all can be saved regardless of background, aptitude, sin, or family history. When we are saved, we are saved by grace, and grace implies "in spite of." We are saved in spite of so much! That is great encouragement.

Is there any comfort from love?
Absolutely! And there is eternal comfort from the love of God. Paul is helping the Philippians connect the dots between what they've received and what they owe. In Romans 13:8, Paul writes, "Owe no one anything, except to love each other." That is the shorthand version of what he's saying here in Philippians 2. If you're encouraged by Christ's salvation, if you've received any comfort from the Father's love, if the Spirit's empowering presence dwells in you, go all the way in the Christian experience-this is what he's urging them to do when he says "complete my joy"-by living in unity with each other, loving each other, and working together to exalt Christ.

Do nothing from...
No matter what you do, no matter where you go, no matter what you're a part of, what he says after those three words cannot be a motivating factor for Christians. Ever.The first forbidden motivation is "selfish ambition." Nothing must be done from a place of selfish ambition.  So woe to us if we're thinking, "Well, they're making this amount of money, so I've gotta make that amount of money." Woe to us if we're thinking, "They're at this level of happiness, so I've gotta be a little bit happier than them. If they live in a big house, I've gotta have a bigger house." It's not just keeping up with the Joneses, as sinful as that is-it's living in such a way as to say, "In your face, Joneses!"

There is no room for selfish pride in the Kingdom of Heaven. God's glory takes up too much room ;)

*These devos are taken from Matt Chandler's book, To Live is Christ To Die is Gain.


Blessings.

The One God Exalts

Philippians 2:3

"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit."


 

“The One God Exalts”

Philippians 2 is mean. I don't know how else to sum it up except that it's mean. This is what I mean: Philippians 2 goes after the heart. There are parts of Philippians 1 that sort of lean on your heart and might even tug at your heart but, but Philippians 2 violently goes after the heart of your faith. In the way of the Spirit, the passages here assault our pride and bind up our wounds with grace. 

Somewhat belied by the hymn of humility Paul shares with us in the opening lines of this chapter is the desire to create passionate worshippers of the God who is a consuming fire. The central idea of Philippians 2 is so abundant in the Scriptures that if you were to wring out the Bible, this is what you'd end up with: "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom" (Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 9:10).

The kind of fear that the early Philippians converts knew was the biblical "fear of God." This is the kind of fear that typifies the work of sanctification (Philippians 2:12). It is the reverent, humble, awed kind of fear. Don't you think the slave girl and the jailer especially knew this kind of fear? Their conversion experiences presented stark evidence of God's power over the forces of nature and the satanic realm. Paul's own conversion experience was one of vivid Christological manifestation; surely his extraordinary conversion translated to his extraordinary ministry.

It is the kind of worshipful, put-in-our-place, awed fear that colors Paul's words in Philippians 2. 

When we truly have a fear of the LORD, it is nearly impossible to be selfish or conceited. Spend some time praying. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you a fear of the LORD.

*These devos are taken from Matt Chandler's book, To Live is Christ To Die is Gain.


Blessings.

Making the Gospel Look Big

Philippians 1:27

"Only Let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ."


 

“Making The Gospel Look Big”

By itself, that is a daunting challenge. Is it even possible to live in a way that is worthy of the gospel? Isn't the gospel- because it brings us eternal life in Jesus- of infinite worth? I don't know about you, but this calling feels impossible to me.

Thankfully, Paul does not leave us with an ambiguous command. He continues: 

Only let your manner of life worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit. (Philippians 1:27)

The apostle once again links the gospel's power to that eclectic, strange group of humanity assembled by the Holy Spirit into a new community called the body of Christ. The wealthy business-woman, the poor slave girl, and the blue-collar Joe stand together as a testimony to the power of the gospel in Philippi. 

What does it look like to live life in a manner worthy of the gospel?

It looks like dying with Christ to one's self and being raised in Christ to walk in the newness of life with our brothers and sisters. It means living grace-filled lives that grant patience and mercy and gentleness for the spiritual journeys of others and a respect for the differences and idiosyncrasies we all bring to the Lord's table. The ground is level at the foot of Christ's cross. This is not an easy walk in our consumer culture in which everything is so polarized. From religion to politics to pop culture, everybody believes that their way is "the way". 

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is worth living for yes, and it is worth dying for, of course, but we show it is supremely valuable to us when we deny ourselves and take up our crosses to be a blessing to the people who the gospel is calling us to.

Where in your life do you need to take up  your cross? Where is God calling you to live a life worthy of the gospel?

*These devos are taken from Matt Chandler's book, To Live is Christ To Die is Gain.


Blessings.

 

 

Worth Dying For

Philippians 1:22-26

22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.


 

“Worth Dying For”

"For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain" (Philippians 1:21). Hemmed in on all sides by the grace of God, being placed in Christ and having Christ living in him, Paul knows he is covered not just in life but in death as well. When God promises life to those who trust Him, He gives eternal life. (Refer to the above text.)

Elsewhere Paul says, "If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied" (1 Corinthians 15:19). There is a greater day coming, a greater reward coming, a greater life coming, and the purpose of life while we are alive is to walk in a manner worthy of the gospel, which holds the promise of life everlasting.

Jesus says, "Even if you die, you will live" (John 11:25, authors translation). For those united to Christ by faith, death has no sting and no victory (1 Corinthians 15:55). In fact, to be present with the Lord is better than life!! The great preacher Dwight Moody once quipped, "Some day you will read in the papers that D. L. Moody, of East Northfield, is dead. Don't you believe a word of it! At that moment I shall be more alive than i am now."

Death is a homecoming for the Christian. Paul sees it as gain because he sees it as the reward of offering himself as a living sacrifice on this side of the veil. So in prison, Paul is saying, "It would be better to go home." And in the comfort and opulence of Lydia's house, he's saying, "It would be better to go home."

Can you say the same thing? Can you honestly say that it would be better to die and go to heaven, than to stay here on earth? Do you treasure and value Jesus so supremely that you would be willing to give up everything and everyone on this planet, in order to see Jesus face to face? What are things that you would fear to let go? Spend some time in prayer, asking the Holy Spirit to peel back the veil so you can see Jesus as he is, the truly most beautiful thing in all of existence. 

*These devos are taken from Matt Chandler's book, To Live is Christ To Die is Gain.


Blessings.

Worth Living For

Philippians 1:18-21

18 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.

Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. 20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.


 

“Worth Living For”

Paul uses the word worthy several times in his letters to the churches. In Ephesians 4:1, he writes about walking in a way that is worthy of God's call. In Colossians 1:10, he writes about walking in a manner worthy of the Lord. In 1 Thessalonians 2:12, he writes about walking in a manner worthy of God. In 2 Thessalonians 1:5, he urges living in a way worthy of the kingdom of God. 

What does this word worthy mean?

For Paul, it means ascribing worth. When he commands others to live in a "worthy" way, he means we should live in such a way that shows what we believe is of supreme worth. For Christians, it means living in such a way that Jesus is seen as big, that Jesus is seen as glorious. See, in the spiritual economy of Paul, God and His gospel are most important, not Paul and his well-being. Christ has so captivated Paul that Christ has become all to him. So when people preach Christ, whether in pretense or in truth, Paul rejoices that Christ is proclaimed. Though some mean to harm Paul, he considers his harm a fair trade for the opportunity to proclaim Jesus. It is spiritual stability, born of a gospel-focussed heart, that gives Paul peace and contentment-and yes, joy-no matter where he finds himself. 

"In In prison," he says, "I'll rejoice. Living at Lydia's house, I'll rejoice. Either way, I'll rejoice."

In the logic of the Gospel, there are no alternatives to Christ. Every other option is no option at all. When everything considered valuable in your life is seen to be nothing in comparison to the glory of Christ, you learn rather well that Christ alone is worth living for. Christ alone is worthy of an entire life's affections and devotions. He is worthy of so much more, in fact, which is why Paul completes his declaration "to liv is Christ" this way: "to die is gain."

Answer this question for yourself. Remember God already knows the answer so there's no need to lie to yourself... What are you living for in life? What gets you up in the morning? What keeps you going through sickness and health? 

*These devos are taken from Matt Chandler's book, To Live is Christ To Die is Gain.


Blessings.

The Worthy Life

Philippians 1:12-13

12 Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. 13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ.


 

“The Worthy Life”

Paul is in Prison. Again. Each time, he is not sure if he will be released or executed. And even when he is free from prison, he is not free from threats to his life. But notice his perspective on the entire situation. He can see his troubles and imprisonment only through the lens of grace-fueled optimism. The gospel has become known throughout the imperial guard! Wouldn't it make sense that seeing conversions among his current captors would make Paul remember the conversion of the Philippian Jailer? Wouldn't these unlikely responses to Jesus Christ remind him of the way Lydia and the Slave Girl had come to Christ?

The Gospel not only begins to spread throughout the imperial guard, but others are encouraged to boldly proclaim the gospel all the more: "And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear" (Philippians 1:14). It is astounding to consider the level at which Paul regards his life as a sacrifice. He sees his imprisonment as the sacrifice necessary to make the rest of the brothers bold, fearless sharers of the Gospel. He sees his trials as as the sacrifice necessary to to win the lost to Christ. If it means death, he will be willing to go there to bring others home. 

Paul had a view of suffering that many of lack in today's culture. How can your sufferings or dismay bring glory to God and further the advancement of the Gospel?

*These devos are taken from Matt Chandler's book, To Live is Christ To Die is Gain.


Blessings.

To Live is Christ to Die is Gain

Acts 16:22-34

22 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. 23 After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24 When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.

25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”

29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas.30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33 At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized. 34 The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household.


 

“The Blue-Collar Joe”

This is one more utterly unique conversion story to help us develop a portrait of the Philippians church. The Jailer is not like our first two character studies. The Jailer is basically a blue-collar ex-GI manning the jail cells. He is not interested in the incessant banter of the intellectuals, and he's not invested in the charismatic hoopla of spiritual power. He is like the guy who just wants to put in his time at work so he can go home, have  beer, and watch the game. He's duty bound. He wants to do his job well, honor his imperial employers, and get back to his well-ordered house. 

How does the gospel grab a hold of him?

In Rome during this period of time, if a prisoner escaped or was lost, whoever was responsible for that prisoner would pay the price with his life. From the story we see that the Jailer thought he had lost all of the prisoners. He immediately yanks out his sword and gets ready to kill himself. But Paul shows him a better identity, a more fulfilling reality, and a greater duty that transcends everything this guy has previously known. 

He shows the Jailer this reality first by example. After being tortured, the missionaries sing and pray. After becoming free from their bonds, even though the opportunity for escape and revenge is before them, the missionaries stay to share the gospel. When they have the chance to run away, they stay. And the Jailer is blown away. While Paul engaged Lydia through her intellect and the slave girl through spiritual power, he engages the Jailer through a living witness to a miracle. This is how the Philippians church begins-with  Jewish fashionista businesswoman, a demon-possesed slave girl, and a blue-collar ex-GI duty bound to the Roman Empire. Probably not exactly your dream church-planting team, but the spirit works in strange ways to utterly redeem the unlikeliest and most diverse people.


How are you showing those in your 8-15 a better identity in Christ by the way that you live, act, and speak? Paul did it by singing, praying, and staying put when he could have fled. How are you showing others the gospel through your life?

*These devos are taken from Matt Chandler's book, To Live is Christ To Die is Gain.


Blessings.