The Ministry of Epaphroditus (Philippians #12)

Text: Philippians 2:20-25 (NO AUDIO)

Epaphroditus is a great servant and shows the fellowship of that service.

Identity is found in Jesus Christ (vs 25)

  • Saved soul
    • my brother – notice that Paul didn’t call him “a” brother; he called him my brother
    • You’ve got to be saved to serve God.  Trusting Jesus Christ to justify you by his blood, to make peace with God, to give you hope for the future, these are things that happen so that a sinner can become a fruit bearing child of God.
  • Fellow labourer
    • companion in labour
    • Your faith should produce work – as James said, faith without works is dead
    • Work together for the Lord, sweat in the same field, get in the mud, the stickers
  • Soldier in the battle
    • Fellowsoldier
    • Labor in the field has made you aware of your adversary and enemies that war against your soul.
    • Soldiers in the fight of faith endure hardness and do not entangle themselves with the affairs of this life.  Focussed on the mission at hand. Everything is for the mission.
  • Ambassador for the Lord
    • your messenger
    • Epaphroditus loved the people in Philippi as he says in verse 26 that he longed after you all…
  • Meet needs that arose for those ministering
    • he that ministered to my wants – Now wants is not “I want, I want”, but is defined in verse 30 as something that was lacking or “wanting”.
  • Find identity in Christ.
    • We find our place in the world with little concern for our identity in Christ.
    • When you understand your identity in Jesus Christ you’ll understand how you’re connected to the body.
      • I’m an arm.  I’m an ear. I’m a member of the body and this is my identity in the body.
      • When you have your identity in the Lord, you’ll take the nourishment God gives you.  The nose takes the blood supply that is designated for the nose. You getting fed by the Lord is determined by how you’re connected to the body.
      • If you’re connected, you’ll strive to stay connected because that’s where your life is.

His ministry received mercy from the Lord (vss 26-28)

  • God’s mercy for God’s work.
    • Daniel received the mercies of God in the form of interpretation.
    • Daniel 2:18 That they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret; that Daniel and his fellows should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.
    • David said it this way, Psalms 145:9 The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.
    • 1 Corinthians 7:25 Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful.
    • 1 Timothy 1:16 Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.
  • Notice God’s mercy on a soldier of the cross in verse 27.
    • Notice also it’s not unspiritual to grieve the loss of loved ones in verse 27.
    • Careful is not faithless
      • Just because the Lord is in it doesn’t mean you have no responsibility in it.  Carelessness is not an act of faith.
      • Titus 3:8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.

His ministry was to be honoured (vs 29)

  • Do you know who knows about the ministry?  People in the ministry.
    • Armchair quarterbacks, backseat drivers,
    • 1 Timothy 5:17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.
    • 1 Corinthians 16:15-18 I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,) 16  That ye submit yourselves unto such, and to every one that helpeth with us, and laboureth. 17 I am glad of the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus: for that which was lacking on your part they have supplied. 18 For they have refreshed my spirit and yours: therefore acknowledge ye them that are such.

His ministry was sacrificial (vs 30)

  • He made himself sick trying help others in the Lord.
  • Supply is describing financial needs
  • 2 Corinthians 9:7, 11-13 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. … 11 Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God. 12 For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God; 13 Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men;
  • 2 Corinthians 11:8-9 I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service. 9 And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied: and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself.