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Philippians #7

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What is a hero?
My favorite superhero movie is
a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements or noble qualities.
Who are your heroes?
Maybe they are superhero?
Batman, Superman, Flash?
Spiderman, Ironman, or the hulk?
Each one of these imaginary characters is very different, but what makes them heroes? What makes them admirable?
I had a family tell me that they didn’t let their kids watch any superhero shows because they were too violent. I agreed, but told them that the value I see in even modern superhero films is what makes the hero.
They are always sacrificing their comfort, resources or safety for the good of others. They are often willing to sacrifice their own life to save someone else.
What do we think about as Americans of people who are heroes?
Firefighters and police officers who save peoples lives.
We know what a hero is: someone who loves others more than himself or herself.
You may be familiar with
John 15:13 ESV
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
What do we really have to give someone other than ourselves?
1 John 3:16 ESV
By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.
Not everyone will be a hero in the textbook definition, but every Christian should live in a way that is honorable.
1 John 3:1
Today we’re going to look at two men whom Paul describes in
Philippians 2:19–30 ESV
I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I too may be cheered by news of you. For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare. For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. But you know Timothy’s proven worth, how as a son with a father he has served with me in the gospel. I hope therefore to send him just as soon as I see how it will go with me, and I trust in the Lord that shortly I myself will come also. 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, for he has been longing for you all and has been distressed because you heard that he was ill. 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. I am the more eager to send him, therefore, that you may rejoice at seeing him again, and that I may be less anxious. So receive him in the Lord with all joy, and honor such men, for he nearly died for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was lacking in your service to me.
Men who demonstrated what we’ve been observing all through this book.
We’re commanded to as a citizen worthy of the gospel.
We’ve studied what that looks like: unity, self-sacrifice, loving and caring for each other.
Two weeks ago we looked at Christ’s example in 2:5-11
His love and humility drove him to give up his life in order to save us.
And because of his fullness of God, that he didn’t need to glorify himself, he received more glory than he had before.
He is our hero: our Savior.
We know we should imitate Christ. He is our pinnacle example. He is worthy of honor.
The implication Paul makes in this paragraph is that these two men, Timothy and Epaphroditus, are real-life examples of what it looks like to have the mind of Christ.
Throughout the message today, I want you to ask yourself two questions
what characteristics in others do I hold as honorable, and
what characteristics in myself are honorable.
What kind of people do I hold in high esteem? What about me do others see as honorable?
Who are my heroes? How am I acting like a hero?
Now remember, Paul has visted the Philippians three times. His first visit was shortly after Timothy joined his
However, should we honor other Christians, or only Christ?
as Christians have other christians that we imitate? Or is Christ alone worthy of imitation?
Should we as Christians ever imitate other Christians? and if so, to what extent?
Phil 2:19-30
We were introduced to two men in this passage, Timothy and Epaphroditus.
You may remember Timothy’s name already in this passage 1:1
They knew Timothy from Paul’s first visit to Philippi. And the Philippian Church had sent Epaphroditus to Paul with a financial gift to help sustain him.
You also get the idea that Epaphroditus was a leader in the church whom the Philippians sent to stay with Paul, but v25, Paul finds it necessary to send him back. So they can rejoice that God spared his life and that he can minister to them in Paul’s absence.
Both of these men were friends of the Philippians.
Who was Timothy?
Timothy - Greek father and a jewish mother.
His mother Eunice and grandmother Lois had sincere faith and a love for the Old Testament that they taught to Timothy
Grandmas? Grandpas? Moms? Dads? Sometimes we think that the church should do all the training. We leave it up to Sunday School to give our youth a full Bible education. And it simply isn’t enough.
Now bringing them to Sunday School, having them with you in church is very important to building in these biblical principles, but it’s not enough.
Timothy received a sincere faith from his mom and grandma.
They need to hear your faith from your lips. They need to hear your understanding of the bible from you. They need to see you worshipping the God that you love.
And this isn’t just for little kids. Even now, when I hear my dad pray, or he counsels me for different things, his faith shines through.
Sincere faith isn’t something you put in an envelope and send to your kids. It’s something that you demonstrate to them over time.
- So we know Timothy was a young man who knew the Scriptures, we also know that he tended to be regularly sick.
- Weak
1 Timothy 5:23 ESV
(No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.)
Some of you know the pain and frustration of ongoing physical struggles.
That you just can’t feel good. Whether it’s physical or emotional.
That you have to choose between cleaning the house or getting groceries because you physically can’t do both.
Be encouraged that in spite of your difficulty and limitations, you can still have honorable character.
We aren’t sure what kind of personality Timothy had. Some infer from Paul exhortations not to have a spirit of fear and his encouragement to the Corinthians to ‘put him at ease’ may imply that he was tempermentally reserved. (1Cor 16:10)
Although we can’t be sure about it at all, what we do know is how he acted.
v19 - Paul hopes to send him ‘in the Lord’ v23 Paul will wait until he knows whether he’s going to be released from prison. Potentially joining or following right after Tim.
Temperamentally reserved - put him at ease
You’ll see this sort of phrase all through Paul’s writings -
When Paul puts his hopes in the Lord, he is expressing that the Lord Jesus is the one on whom all our expectations and hopes are determined.
When Paul ‘hopes’ he’s not wishing for it like we ‘hope’ we have fun on our vacations or we hope the weather is nice.
His hope is a confident expectation that God will do what is good in this situation.
Timothy IS
v20 genuinely concerned for your welfare
this is exactly what he said in v3-4 - not looking for his own interests, but concerned about the needs of others
But it goes further than just being nice to other people.
But notice what kind of needs he’s focused on. Timothy loves the Philippians because he doesn’t seek his own interests, but rather seeks
v21 - the interests of Jesus Christ.
Timothy is primarily interested in helping the Philippians be full of the things of God. To be satisfied not with the stuff of this world, but to be submitting to God.
You can be a parent and sacrifice for your kids. You can be a grandparent and spoil your grandkids. But a Christian parent sacrifice for the gospel growth in our kids and grandkids.
To be a good friend we should sacrifice our good for the good of our friends, but a Christian friend sacrifices for the gospel good in their lives.
Being nice isn’t inherently Christian, although Christians should be nice.
What sets us apart as Christian friends and family is that we value and proclaim the gospel. We sacrifice our time to spend time here at church worshipping God and proclaiming his greatness. We give our money to people around the world so they can proclaim the gospel to the ends of the earth.
So we should ask ourselves, are the sacrifices I’m making for my family and friends something that encourages them in the gospel?
Think about how much time and money we spend on making our kids happy?
It’s easy to find people to say that we should be nice to everyone.
You’ll find more happiness in trying to make others happy rather than trying to make yourself happy.
How much time and energy are we spending on exposing our kids to the greatness of God, to the worship of his church, to missions, to evangelism?
Friends, you can say you love someone, and are their friend, but Christian friends don’t just seek out the emotional happiness of their friend, they seek out the gospel growth in their friend to love God and hate sin.
Holly Stratton says, “It is NOT genuine love to sit quietly by & allow any confessing believer to engage in a pattern of sin without caring enough to see them helped.”
We must be willing to fight for our friendships, fight for our marriages, fight for the unity that comes when we value Christ above all else, and seek his interests in the lives of those around us.
Timothy is a young leader who knows the Scriptures, who genuinely cares about others growing closer to God,
proved himself sound character and worthiness
Becoming honorable people doesn’t happen overnight. You don’t wake up one morning, decide you’re going to be a hero, and have everyone recognize that.
To become a person like this happens in the MICRO MOMENTS
It happens in the MUNDANE
We normal people don’t normally have to choose to risk our lives to save a child from an oncoming bus.
But we do make decisions every day that are either self-serving or self-sacrificing.
be patient teens
The decision to turn off the tv and call that person that needs encouragement.
When curfew is at midnight and you come rolling in at 12:30, you’re communicating that
The decision to wake up a little earlier and pray for your church family.
The decision to share your possessions with your children or your neighbors or friends.
What is the pattern of decisions in these micro-moments?
One act of selflessness doesn’t make you a honorable. It’s a lifestyle of Christ centered acts that prove your worth.
v22 Son with father (Respectful humility) served ‘WITH ME’ as a slave
Timothy wasn’t the one demanding attention. Whining for not being respected. He took the backseat. and served under Paul, his mentor and teacher.
Be patient teens. You want trust and respect. The more you demonstrate character and wisdom, the more you prove that you deserve trust and respect.
When curfew is at midnight and you come rolling in at 12:30, you’re communicating what you think about your relationship with your parents.
You’ve heard before, character is who you are when no one is looking.
In private, become a man and a woman of character.
If you need help, if you’re struggling with addiction or helplessness, get help. We need the community of the church and those around us to help us survive.
Paul gives the example of Timothy in v19-24, and then gives the example of Epaphroditus in v25-30
Paul gives the example of Timothy in v19-24, and then gives the example of Epaphroditus in v25-30


probably the bearer of the letter back to the Philippians
- his Christian brother, not biological, but a close personal relation with Paul
fellow worker
co-workers - this is in our theme for the book, that he is striving side-by-side with Paul
fellow soldier
not just working side-by-side, but fighting and suffering along side each other.
This is true Christian friendship, when we share in the fight for Jesus to be valued in our families, our community and the world.
We can’t just sit idly by and say, the next generation will do it. We can’t just hope that someone else will sacrifice to accomplish that work.
We have to be involved. Our involvement will look very different. The spiritual gifts that a ten year old brings to the church may be very different to the gifts a seventy year old brings. But we all have something to bring. Are we using it?
Epaphroditus took great risk in helping Paul and the Philippians.
your messenger & minister to my need
minister to my need
longing for them - distressed because they were worried about him
v27 and 30
nearly died for the work of Christ
He counted the cost. Was a long and dangerous journey to bring encouragement to Paul WORTH his life? Was the spread of the gospel worthy dying for?
He weighed his options and said yes. It’s worth it.
What would you say if you had the same question?
Is the good news of Jesus Christ worth risking my life for?
Am I willing to sacrifice my safety for the spread of the gospel?
I hope none of us have to make that decision, but the decisions we are making every day will help us make the right decision if it comes. By putting the gospel of Christ higher than our job, than our school, than sports, by putting it higher than our emotional happiness or our relationships, we prepare ourselves to make the right choice.
We just spent this whole time talking about Timothy and Epaphroditus for this one verse.

The highest form of flattery? - Imitation
We should honor these men, by imitating them
remember at the beginning, I asked you two questions
what characteristics in others do you hold as honorable, and
what characteristics in yourself are honorable.
Sometimes the people we hold in the highest esteem are the people who are good at sports, or are really smart in school, or excel in business or seem to have their lives and their family together.
But what Paul is saying is that what is the most honorable, imitatible quality is gospel-centered love. Self-sacrificing service for the gospel good of others.
Who do we honor here at church? The people we have in positions of influence and leadership should be people who look like this.
Think about our AWANA leaders, quietly serving week after week to point our kids to Jesus. Our VBS workers.
Who do we want on our Christian Ed, missions, deacon, personnel, deaconess, and trustee committee here at church? We want those who put others before themselves. Who sacrifice for the growth of the gospel in our community and around the world.
I wrestled this week with this phrase:
The best kind of Christian is the person who lovingly sacrifices for the gospel good of another.
‘best kind’ not in the sense that there are different acceptable kinds of Christianity, but in the sense that as Paul holds up these two men as exemplary models for us, we should honor and imitate people like this. That we all have room to grow.
So who are your heroes?
Who do you want to be like?
What do you want to be good at?
Who’s looking to you for what it means to be a honorable Christian?
What do they see in you?
Do they see someone who is full like Christ, satisfied with a life of service? Or do they see someone who needs more stuff, and have more fun, and be more selfish to be happy.
I hope, in the Lord, that we all walk out today wanting a little bit more to be like Timothy and Epaphroditus, and others in this church and around this world who have demonstrated faithful humble loving service for the sake of the gospel.
Because remember from last week, from 2:13, God is working in you to give you the desire and the energy to live this way.
Honor them, by imitating them
Honor by imitating
- their concern for others
- their commitment on the gospel
- their risk and sacrifice for gospel growth
= their LOVE for Christ
Now we’ve all learned
How should our church live worthy of the gospel?
In one mind and in one Spirit, partner side-by-side for the faith of the gospel.
Honor them, by imitating them

Honor by imitating

Celebrate the return NOT vietnam
How do you teach someone to love
E and T WERE exemplary, but that doesn’t let us off the hook
what kind of people do we point to as examples for us? who are our heros? Who do we let our children to mimic?
mission is about expanding the glory of Christ - athlete
What kind of friend is a christian friend? What is the difference between a normal friend and a Christian friend.
1 Timothy 5:23 ESV
(No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.)
Temperamentally reserved - put him at ease
v22 proved himself sound character and worthiness
be patient teens
v22 Served ‘WITH ME’ as a slave
v23 Paul has to wait to see if he can accompany or follow timothy
fellow worker
fellow soldier
your messenger
minister to my need
longing for them - distressed because they were worried about him
nearly died for the work of Christ
- their concern for others
- their commitment on the gospel
- their risk and sacrifice for gospel growth
= their LOVE for Christ
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