Topical - Epaphroditus
Introduction: The Minister Epaphroditus; Charming, lovely
1) He is not mentioned anywhere else in Scripture.
2) A messenger sent by the church at Philippi with a gift for the apostle Paul (Philippians 4:10-19).
3) Paul was under house arrest in Rome (2:25; 4:18).
4) While in Rome Epaphroditus became ill [even to the point of death cf. 2:8] and word of his sickness spread to Philippi.
5) In turn news returned to Epaphroditus that his church was worried over his sickness.
6) He in turn began to worry about Him.
7) God graciously spared him by healing him of his sickness
8) As soon as Epaphroditus was well enough, Paul sent him back home to relieve the church’s anxiety and to deliver Paul’s letter to the Philippians.
Verse 25 we see a brief description of the man.
Verse’s 26-28 we see the reasons for his return.
Verse’s 29 & 30 we see the manner in which he should be received.
The Possibility of a Problem Existed
1. If he returned back to Philippi before Paul’s verdict was known, some would call him a quitter, coward, a failure.
2. The answer to this criticism is the very reason for this passage.
a. He did not quit nor forsake his brother, the church, nor God!
b. Conclusion: The Appeal
i. Paul is sending him back to the church so the church can enjoy & rejoice in him
ii. Receive him: He builds his reputation; he gambles & risks his life for Christ.
1. Epaphroditus the Brother (v.25)
a) Epaphroditus… my brother—“the fellowship in the gospel” 1:5
1) Brother—refers to a person who has the same parent.
(a) Epaphroditus was born of God by placing his faith and trust in Jesus Christ.
"But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:" (John 1:12, NKJV)
(b) O.T.: Israelites we taught not to hate their brothers (Lev. 19:17-18).
(c) N.T. – Believers are to be…
1. Kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love - Romans 12:10
2. To let brotherly love continue - Hebrews 13:1
3. To Love the brotherhood - 1 Peter 2:17
4. To Love as brothers -1 Peter 3:8
a. Refers to the love of Christian believers for one another (Acts 9:17)
b. This is to be the badge or hallmark, of a Christian (Jn. 13:35)
2. Epaphroditus The Worker (v.25)
a) Fellow worker (v.25)—“The Furtherance Of The Gospel” 1:12
(a) Question: What does Jesus say in Matthew 9:35-38 about laborers?
(b) Women also labor according to Philippians 4:13?
"And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart." (Galatians 6:9, NKJV)
"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord." (1 Corinthians 15:58, NKJV)
3. Epaphroditus The Soldier (v.25)
a) My fellow soldier—“the faith of the gospel” 1:27
1) Question: What Is A Soldier?
(a) A Soldier Is Enlisted In The Army (2Tim.2:4). When You Put Your Faith & Trust In Jesus Christ You Were Enlisted In God’s Army
1. In the army a soldier must be colorblind, they are all green teamwork.
2. God is colorblind therefore we must be colorblind & work together.
(b) A Good Soldier Of Jesus Christ Endures Hardship (2Tim.2:3)
(c) A Soldier Is Engaged In Warfare (1tim.1:8)
(d) A Good Soldier Does Not Entangle Himself In The Affairs Of This Life (2Tim.2:4).
1. When a soldier is called to duty, he must be severed from civilian life
2. A soldier must refuse to allow the things of the world to distract him (James 4:4 cf. 1 John 2:15-17).
2) What Are The Weapons Of A “Soldier” Of Jesus Christ Use?
(a) Not Carnal But Mighty In God (2Cor.10:4-5)
Moreover David said, “The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you!” So Saul clothed David with his armor, and he put a bronze helmet on his head; he also clothed him with a coat of mail. David fastened his sword to his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. And David said to Saul, “I cannot walk with these, for I have not tested them.” So David took them off." (1 Samuel 17:37-39, NKJV)
Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied." (1 Samuel 17:45, NKJV)
Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, And rely on horses, Who trust in chariots because they are many, And in horsemen because they are very strong, But who do not look to the Holy One of Israel, Nor seek the Lord!" (Isaiah 31:1, NKJV)
By living a godly life separated to God, that is an awesome weapon, And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God." (Romans 6:13, NKJV)
(b) The “Armor Of God” Ephesians 6:10-18:
1. A soldier risks his life for the sake of others PHILIPPIANS 2:30
2. A good soldier of Jesus Christ seeks to please his Lord 2 TIMOTHY 2:4
4. Epaphroditus The Messenger & Servant (v.25)?
a) But your messenger (v.25)
a. Apostolos – apostle, messenger, someone who has been delegated by the church to carry out an assignment. An official representative through whom the church itself speaks and acts.
"As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world." (John 17:18, NKJV)
(a) Epaphroditus was looked upon as a great servant or minister given over to his cause. Requirements or qualities of a servant are…
1. To give their lives over for furtherance of God’s kingdom (MATTHEW 20:28)
2. To serve others as Christ did (JOHN 13:4-5, 14)
3. To be the servant of all (MARK 10:43-44)
4. To be faithful (1 CORINTHIANS 4:2)
5. To do good unto all men (GALATIANS 6:10)
Jesus himself was a minister, servant…“Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28 NKJV).
b) The one who ministered to my need (v.26)
1) This Man Lived In (Philippians 1:21; 2:3,4) Not In (Philippians 2:21)
(a) Distressed – is used in connection with the unspeakable anguish which Jesus experienced in Gethsemane (Matt. 26:37, Mark 14:33).
5. Epaphroditus Had Mercy From God (v.27)
a) He was sick almost unto death (v.27)
1) God Could Have Prevented This From Happening. Why Didn’t God Stop It?
Question: Does Paul imply in 2:26-30 that a Christian should expect perfect health if he is obeying and believing in Jesus? Why or why not?
(a) "By His stripes we are healed" (Isaiah 53:5)—But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed"
1. Healing is provided for because the atonement brought release from the consequences of sin. However, healing is not guaranteed in the atonement until we receive the redemption of our bodies (Romans 8)
2. Biblical Christianity: Divine Healing is a sovereign act of God -- not positively confessed. God responds to faith when we pray in accordance with God's Will.
(b) Pray according to God's will – (1 Jn. 5:14)—And this is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him."
(c) 1 Peter 2:24-25—"...and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and lived to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls..."
(d) Is. 53:4 -- cf. Mat. 8:16, 17 This HAS BEEN fulfilled in the healing ministry of Jesus. Matthew clearly saw Is. 53:4 as referring to physical healing, but as a part of the Messiah's ministry on earth, not as a part of the atonement.
2) Is Physical Healing Guaranteed in the Atonement? People Left Sick in the Bible
(a) Elisha -- 2 Kings 13:14:
"When Elisha became sick with the illness of which he was to die, Joash the King of Israel came down to him and wept over him. . ."
Yet Elisha worked miracles including healings.
(b) Timothy -- 1 Tim. 5:23
"No longer drink water exclusively, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments"
(c) Paul -- 2 Cor. 12:7-10
(d) Galatians 4:12-15
(e) Trophimus -- 2 Tim 4:20
3) Why Do Christians Get Sick?
(a) We Live In A Cursed Creation Rom 8:18-22
(b) Satan -- Job (given permission by God)
(c) To glorify God -- God's Will (Exodus 4:11 cf. John 9:2-3)
(d) Because of sin (John 5:14)
(e) Taking communion unworthily (1 Cor. 11:30)
6. Epaphroditus Is To Be Received (v.28-30)
a) I sent him (v.28)… receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness (v.29).
1) Respect For Faithful Workers
(a) In Church Leadership, Godly Persons Rise To The Top By Virtue Of Their Godliness—Their Right Belief, Right Living, And Loving Care For Others.
(b) Such Persons We Are To Acknowledge, Respect, And Imitate.
1. When you choose to follow a leader simply because of his money, prestige, education, influence, or talents you follow the world’s standards rather than God’s.
2. God’s standards for leadership are purity and maturity. When the church follows and respects godly and mature believers, the body of Christ is strengthened in fellowship, service, and love.
2) Epaphroditus Was A Godly Person To Be Honored, Followed And Acknowledged (v.29).
(a) When We Find Someone Who Is Faithful To The Word Of God And Who Gives His Life To The Work of Jesus Christ, we should do our utmost to imitate that person. And we should give him or her our greatest respect.
(b) When That Is Done, Christ’s Church Will Function As an organism, a living body, not just as an organization.
(c) What Makes Them Honorable Is Their Humility Before The Lord.
1. But though they do not desire honor, those they teach and serve should desire to give them honor. To give such honor is pleasing to God.
Appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and … esteem them very highly in love because of their work” (1 Thess. 5:12–13).
Writing to Timothy, Paul says, “Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching” (1 Tim. 5:17).
Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you." (Hebrews 13:17, NKJV)
3) Epaphroditus Did Not Regard Risked His Life (v.30)
(a) Means “to throw away, to abandon, to roll the dice, to put everything on the line.”
1. Matthew 25:36-40
2. Revelation 2:11