Two Man of Faith (Timothy and Epaphroditus)
Phil. 2: 19 – 30
Today we will be taking a look at the life and example of two NT Biblical characters that have been very helpful not only on the life of the Apostle Paul, to the NT Church as a whole but also to us present day believers. The Church in Philippi was one of the finest churches in the NT but they also have a problem. In Paul’s absence he is sending two men, Timothy and Epaphroditus.
A. Some important facts about Timothy.
1. 1. His father was a Greek but his mother was a Jew. (Acts 16:1,3)
2. 2. His mother’s name is Eunice and grandmother’s name is Lois, both are Godly (2 Tim. 1:5) and have taught Timothy about the scriptures (2 Tim. 3:15)
3. He was evidently one of Paul’s own converts, as the apostle describes him as his beloved and faithful son in the Lord (1Co 4:17); and in 1Ti 1:2 he writes to “Timothy my true child in faith”; and in 2Ti 1:2 he addresses him as “Timothy my beloved child.”
4. He was circumcised by Paul (Acts 16:3)
B. Why Paul Chose Timothy to go to Philippi.
1. Timothy can give him an accurate as well as trustworthy truth about the condition of the church in Philippi. (Phil. 2:19)
2. They were “likeminded”, meaning same spirit, same thought and feeling in love of the church. Timothy naturally or genuinely loves the church, and cares for their state meaning, spiritual state.
3. Everyone was seeking their own interest (v. 21). Most people are interested in their own advancement, gain, or interest. They all seek their own. Their interest is not Jesus Christ, selfishness and worldliness has crept in. And seekest thou great things for thyself? seek them not (Jer. 45:5, Mat. 6:33).
4. His character have been proven, or tried (v. 22). His integrity was proven to be true. His faithfulness to the Lord, to Paul and to the Lord’s work is exemplary. Like a soldier who have been in the battle front and came out stronger and better.
5. As a son with a father, he learned from Paul. He was wise enough to learn from a veteran missionary. Paul taught him the Word of God and how to live it out when things are getting bad. He help Paul start the church in Philippi.
Here is a true disciple (learner). Teachers, pastors, etc., play an important role in the life of their students by influencing them. We must influence others to multiply our ministry. Christ, the best teacher, taught and influenced the life of His disciples He mentored them on which way they should go. Paul mentored Timothy and the result is astounding.
Illustration: Yoke and Cross
The yoke and the cross are twin symbols of Christian experience. The cross speaks of leaving the world for Christ; the yoke speaks of learning in the world from Christ. The one speaks of sacrifice; the other service. The disciple must bear both; he cannot choose to take one and leave the other.
A. Some facts about Epaphroditus.
1. He was a native of Philippi, a Gentile believer
2. His name was a common Greek one which means devoted to Aphrodite (Venus) the Goddess of love. Others say his name means “charming”. Of course he is not a pagan worshipper anymore, since he is already a Christian.
B. How he was described by Paul
1. My brother – a brother in Christ, a spiritual brother
2. Companion in labour – a fellow labourer, a fellow servant ( 1 Cor. 3:9) in God’s work for the spread of the gospel
3. Fellow soldier – a Christian soldier engaged in spiritual battle against Satan and his evil cohorts. (1 Tim. 1:18, 1 Tim. 6:12, 2 Tim. 2:3)
4. Your Messenger – The word “messenger” in Greek is the word” apostle”. He was not an apostle of the Lord but an apostle of the church, an ambassador, a representative to help a missionary in a difficult situation. A person carrying the gifts of the Philippian church to Paul in prison. (Phil. 4:18)
5. Who ministered to my needs – He cared for the needs of Paul while he was in prison. The Roman government may not have provided proper clothing and food for Paul, Epaphroditus filled up that need.
6. Paul tells of this man’s longings and heaviness for the saints. Epaphroditus longed for them, and was heavy for them, because, “That ye had heard that he had been sick.” He hadn’t grieved because he had been sick, but because they had heard he had been sick. The pains of his illness were nothing comparable to the grief he had, because they grieved. In other words this wonderful man of God did not want any of his sorrows, to be a burden and a sorrow unto others.
7. His sickness was nigh unto death “But God had mercy on him.” God healed him, lest Paul would be very sad.
8. Paul gives a few final suggestions. He says to the saints, “Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness.” He also says, “Hold such in reputation.” We are told in the Book, to give honor to whom honor is due.
9. As we end up, let us summarize his ministry. It is all given up in verse 30. “Because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me.” I would like to simplify it in two words, suffering for Christ and self-sacrifice.
Illustration: Suffering for Christ
Suffering for righteousness’ sake. – 1 Peter 3:14
Suffering for Godly living. – 2 Tim. 2:12
Suffering for the kingdom of God. – 2 Thess. 1:5
Suffering as a Christian. – 1 Peter 4:16
Suffering for Christ’s sake. – Phil. 1:29
Suffering and glory. – 1 Peter 5:1
From the Book of 750 Bible and Gospel Studies, 1909, George W. Noble, Chicago
Timothy and Epaphroditus are both servant and co labourer of Paul in serving the Lord and in ministering to the needs of the church. Both are willing to suffer for Christ and to sacrifice themselves for the sake of the gospel. They played the supporting role yet played an important part in the spread of Christianity. How about you, are you willing to suffer for the Lord and sacrifice for souls to be saved?