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Philippians 06 - Servant Leaders

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Reading: Philippians 2:19-30

I have no one else like him, who takes a genuine interest in your welfare. Philippians 2:20 (NIV)

I.   Timothy: the Servant Pastor

     A.  Interested in serving the Members

           1.  A strange new kind of leadership emerged in the early church

                 a.  Rome ruled by strength and violence.

                 b.  Church leaders were supposed to lead by serving.

           2.  Timothy has a genuine interest in them

                 a.  Some people can fake sincerity.

                 b.  Timothy’s interest in them was genuine.

                 c.  What a precious gift he must have been

     B.  Interested in serving Jesus

           1.  His service revolves around serving Jesus.

                 a.  Not himself: “like everyone else?”

                 b.  Timothy seems to be someone who can put themselves 2nd

           2.  What are the interests of Jesus?

                 a.  WWJD?

                 b.  There is an obvious parallel here with serving the Philippians (v.20)

     C.  Gifted to serve Well

           1.  Timothy had already proved himself among them.

                 a.  Tim wasn’t just a warm body

Like an archer who wounds at random is he who hires a fool or any passer-by. Proverbs 26:10 (NIV)

                 b.  You know [he] has proved himself (22) they had seen it for themselves.

           2.  Timothy had proven himself with his mentor.

                 a.  As a son with a father - humble enough and eager enough to learn.

                 b.  Paul had confidence in Timothy’s abilities.

                 c.  Paul had confident in Timothy’s heart

II.  Epaphroditus the Servant Layman

     A.  Commissioned to serve

           1.  Epaphroditus wasn’t a lone ranger

                 a.  He didn’t go out on his own initiative

                 b.  He didn’t go out to prove his dedication

                 c.  He didn’t go out to make a reputation.

           2.  He was sent on this mission

                 a.  The whole church was behind this.

                 b.  He went representing all of them.

           3.  He went empowered by the Church

                 a.  And so he offered not only his own care but the care of all who sent him

     B.  Connected to the Body

           1.  Notice: he longs for all of you. (26)

                 a.  He was still a part of them.

                 b.  He missed them when he was away.

           2.  He was concerned about the anxiety of the Philippians over his illness

                 a.  He didn’t want them to be anxious about him

                 b.  He didn’t want them feeling bad for sending him into the risk he faced.

     C.  Deserving Honor

           1.  It is not only “the pastor” who has a place of honor among God’s people.

                 a.  Much has been said about honoring pastors in recent years.

                 b.  But many others give of time and gifts in a self-sacrificial way.

           2.  Epaphroditus accepted the risks and hardship to serve Paul for the Philippians

                 a.  Travel in those days involved much more risk than today.

                 b.  Without anti-biotics a simple scratch could prove fatal.

           3.  Those who serve on the Board and other places among us deserve honor too.

                 a.  While no one sees this as a life-threatening job, there are difficulties

                 b.  Board members give time, thought, and energy

                 c.  Sometimes have to make hard or complicated decisions.

III. Serving through Empowering

     A.  Paul doesn’t do it all Alone

           1.  Paul seemed quite good at putting things in the hands of qualified people.

                 a.  He not only established churches he left them in good hands and moved on.

           2.  There is something selfish about failing to delegate when appropriate.

                 a.  Some like the power of leadership and don’t want to share.

                 b.  Some don’t want to be thought of as unwilling and don’t ask for help.

                 c.  And some just don’t know who to ask or have given up asking!

           3.  The work of the Church belongs to the whole Church.

                 a.  Not to just the pastor, and the board.

                 b.  Not just to our committees and small group leaders

                 c.  Church is supposed to be a full contact sport (no, I don’t mean fighting!)

     B.  Paul empowers Gifted people

           1.  Those Paul empowers here are obviously gifted for the tasks they are sent to do.

                 a.  Timothy obviously is a gifted spiritual leader.

                 b.  Epaphroditus obviously is a gifted servant.

     C.  Paul does this for Them

           1.  The point of this delegating isn’t for Paul’s benefit.

                 a.  We might be tempted to delegate in a way that makes us look good.

                 b.  Paul’s delegating wasn’t to maintain control but to give it away.

           2.  The point is to serve the Philippians better.

                 a.  The Philippians need servant leaders.

                 b.  Paul can’t go but sends qualified men

           3.  This also has the benefit of serving Timothy and Epaphroditus

                 a.  Those serve are also blessed through serving

                 b.  It is a real privilege to have one’s finger on the pulse of God’s work!

                 c.  When we serve we grow spiritually

I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ. Philemon 6 (NIV)

The Bottom Line:

God’s people are called to Serve each other and Support each other in serving.


(HoR: GHoF #435 Lord Speak to Me vv.2,3,5)

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