Thanks for joining me for Philippians on Friday! We’re continuing again today with the story of Epaphroditus. It’s incredible how many spiritual lessons can be found in just a few verses about Paul’s Philippian helper:
Philippians 2:28 I sent him therefore the more carefully, that, when ye see him again, ye may rejoice, and that I may be the less sorrowful.
As you remember, Epaphroditus was a man from the church at Philippi. Paul was on house arrest in Rome. The church had sent Epaphroditus to be a comfort and support to Paul. Now Paul was sending Epaphroditus back home to the Philippians.
Another Book of Philippians Key to Joy
Paul was anxious to send Epaphroditus home. The Living Bible translates verse 28 like this:
So I am all the more anxious to get him back to you again, for I know how thankful you will be to see him, and that will make me happy and lighten all my cares.
Epaphroditus had been a great blessing to Paul, yet Paul was anxious to send him home. Doesn’t it seem strange that Paul would be eager to send his helper and companion back to Philippi?
Once again Paul was showing us a key to joy: think of others above yourself. Paul could have encouraged Epaphroditus to stay. But Paul willingly sent him home. Paul was thinking of others. He knew the Philippians would be encouraged to see Epaphroditus and to hear his great testimony of healing. He knew they had been worried about Epaphroditus and wondering about his state.
It would have been a blessing to Paul for Epaphroditus to remain in Rome. But Paul put the needs of others above his own. He knew Epaphroditus’ homecoming would bring the Philippians great joy. Paul said that would make me happy and lighten my load.
Don’t overlook this secret to joy. We can see it woven throughout the Book of Philippians: Joy comes when you put others’ needs above your own! Self-ish people don’t have joy. It’s the self-less people that have joy.
No Testimony Without a Test
Epaphroditus had been gravely ill. But God healed Epaphroditus and raised him up! Epaphroditus then had a testimony of God’s healing power. Paul sent him back to Philippi with a testimony.
But keep in mind, there is no testimony without a test! Epaphroditus had to go through a grave sickness to have a testimony of God’s healing power.
People want a testimony, but they don’t want to face any difficulty. You actually have to go through the storm to be able to stand on the other side and testify that God brought you over!
You actually have to go through the storm to be able to stand on the other side and testify that God brought you over!
We want to be overcomers. But to be an overcomer, one has to overcome something. We like to remind people that in Christ we are “more than conquerors!” But to be more than a conqueror, one has to actually conquer something. That entails a battle or a struggle!
There’s no anointing without adversity. You can’t be chosen without being chastised. There’s no blessing without a bruising. We want a message to share. But to have a message that resonates with people, you usually have to endure a mess.
The description of Christ in Isaiah 53 teaches us something about affliction. If you want to be given a portion with the great and divide spoil with the strong – then your soul must be poured out unto death. Jesus, Himself, reminded us: To find true life, you must lose your own life. To bear much fruit, you must be like a kernel of wheat that falls to the ground and dies.
So if you’re going through a storm, stay faithful. God will bring you through. And when you get to the other side, you’ll have a testimony that will bring joy and strength to others!