Thanks for joining me today for Philippians on Friday! We’re moving on to verse 25 of Chapter 2:
25 Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellow-soldier but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants.
In the past few verses, Paul had been speaking to the Philippians about Timothy and how he was sending him to Philippi as his messenger. In verse 25, Paul speaks of another young man, Epaphroditus.
Epaphroditus was one of the Philippians. He was from the church in Philippi. The church had sent Epaphroditus to be a help to Paul who was on house arrest in Rome. We can infer from this verse that Epaphroditus had been a great comfort and help to Paul. But now Paul was sending him home to Philippi.
There are several interesting and noteworthy points in this verse:
A Brother in Christ
First of all, Paul calls Epaphroditus his brother – just “brother.” Before any mention of what he does, Paul mentions who he is! Epaphroditus is my brother. He may not have the title of apostle or bishop, but he is my brother. Paul is teaching that we should not think of some as being higher than others because of a title or position.
Before anything else, Epaphroditus is my brother. Whether or not he’s a preacher, he is my brother. He may not possess a lofty title, but he is my brother. It’s irrelevant that I’m a Jew and he’s a Gentile – he is my brother.
The ground at the cross is level. We are all equally sinners saved by grace.
What a great lesson! First of all, we are brothers and sisters. Regardless of what we do in the Body of Christ or what positions we hold, we are brothers and sisters. Let us respect, love, and have compassion for one another because we are brothers and sisters in Christ.
I’ll never forget hearing Billy McCool say to someone who referred to him as bishop, “You don’t need to call me bishop. You can call me Brother McCool.” While we respect those in authority and give honor where honor is due, we do well to remember that we are all firstly brothers and sisters. The ground at the cross is level. We are all equally sinners saved by grace. Don’t forget about Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 23! Jesus condemned those who worried too much about lofty titles and high seats in the synagogue.
So let’s remember that we are workers together in the Kingdom. We are not in competition with one another. Remember that we’re all on the same team! A competitive spirit among the Body of Christ is a detriment to Kingdom. Paul already addressed this in chapter two and verse 3:
“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory…”
Strife means rivalry or selfish ambition. We are not rivals. We are fellow-laborers!
Finally, Paul told the Philippians that he and Epaphroditus were fellow soldiers. He was alluding to the spiritual warfare that we are all in together as fellow Christians. This is war! We are wrestling against dark spiritual forces. We’re not on a cruise-ship, complete with deck chairs and a tropical fruit drink in hand! We are on a battleship. The Christian journey is one of spiritual warfare and battle.
Is there Significance to this Order?
Is there significance to the order that Paul uses in this verse?” Brother…fellow-worker…fellow-soldier. I believe there is! If you are at odds with your brither, how will you be a fellow-worker. If your relationship with your brother isn’t right, you’ll never work together.
It’s a trick of the enemy to get us at odds with our brother or sister – it takes our focus off of fighting our true adversary. @matthewdball
And if your relationship with your brother isn’t right, how will you fight the enemy? You’ll never be effective in the battle against the enemy, when you’re fighting your brother! It’s a trick of the enemy to get us at odds with our brother or sister – it takes our focus off of fighting our true adversary. Remember – your brother is not your enemy!
Let us never forget that first and foremost – we are brothers and sisters in Christ. By honoring and respecting one another and working together unselfishly, we will effectively advance the cause of Christ.