Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 6 years ago

Two Examples of Christian Service


Rev. Christopher Chelpka

Well, if you're able, please remainstanding- and let's hear God's Word from Philippians chapter- Two versus oNineteen through thirty Philippians, two D- Nineteen throughthirty- I hope in the Lord Jesus to sendTimothy to you soon so that I too may be cheered by news of you, for I haveno one like him who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare, for theyall seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. But you know Timothy'sproven worth how, as a son with a father, he has served me in the Gospel. I hope, therefore, to send him just assoon as I see how it will go with me, and I trust in the Lord that shortly Imyself will come also. I have thought it necessary to send toyou a pathronise, my brother and fellow worker and Fella soldier, and YourMessenger and minister to my need, for he has been longing for you all and hasbeen distressed because you heard that he was ill. Indeed, he was ill near todeath. God had mercy on him and not only on him, but on me also, lest Ishould have sorrow upon sorrow. I am the more eager to send him, therefore,that you may rejoice at seeing him again and that I may be less anxious,so receive him in the Lord, with all joy and honour such men, for he nearlydied for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was lackingin your service to me. May God bless his word to us. You maybe see in one of these verses. We have some travel logistics and we have some commands and instructions aboutcomings and goings, very personal instructions from Paul tothe Philippians involving some particular people, two men, Timothy anda pathronise men that were living at this particular time were known to bothPaul and the Philippians Im, but not known, except through thepages of Scripture Im to us now on. These kinds of passages often occur at the end of Paul'sletters, and for that reason some people think wrongly that this is indication that this letter has beencompiled to get together in some strange and odd way that some redactor didn't realize or didn't respect thefact that Paul ended his letter at verse, Thirty in Chapter Two and thenadded on some other kind of thing, piecing these things together. But if you pay attention to theseverses, you see very quickly that it's much more than travel logistics or somebasic instructions, and even in those when we have them atthe ends of Paul's letters or in the middle or whatever the case may be, andwe find that if we pay attention they're, never there in a kind ofrandom way or for no purpose. I'm all of God's Word is profitable forteaching reprove correction and training in righteousness, includingpassages like these, but you have to pay attention. You have to think aboutwhat Paul or whoever the author is is doing. How is it he is unweaving theseinstructions that are to be carried out by these particular people. In aparticular time and place how those instructions apply to us a particularpeople in a particular time and place,...

...we have no timothy to receive he's deadsame with a pathronise same with Paul, and yet there there are instructionshere and even examples that go much broader and do instruct us, in a numberof things, to see how these things are woventogether, how these fot, how these instructions here to the Philippiansabout these two men are connected with the rest of the book. I want to do alittle bit of review with you and see how Paul is bringing this particularsection of the letter to a close. The the section that I just mentionedstarts back in chapter one, a verse, Verse Twenty Seven One verse twentyseven, and he says this only let your manner of Life Be Worthy of the Gospelof Christ, so that whether I come to come and seeyou or an absent, I may hear that you are standing firm in one spirit and onemind striving side by side for the faith of the Gospel he goes on fromthere, but focusing on just that. First part. This one thing I want to tell youjust this: only let your manner of Life Be Worthy of the Gospel. This is how Paul begins of this section.That goes all the way up to this point that we've read this evening. He beginsby saying that, because of God's salvation, because of this good newsabout Jesus Christ coming into the world and dying for sinners, like melike you, because of that news, our lives should be lived in a particularway. Our lives should be lived in a way, that's worthy of God, revealing himselfin the world, in other words, when God sheds this or makes manifest asalvation as great as this, we should respond, not only in believing the good newsabout Jesus and his salvation, the salvation that he brings not onlybelieving it, but in acting in accordance with it. There is this wayin which scripture is so clear on this point that faith in Jesus always flowsforth in actions, Christian actions, Christ, like actions, and it's because of that that, afterthis instruction, I'm soon Paul gives us testimony about our saviour. He talksto us about Jesus. He gives us his example and shows us. This is the hat.This is what he did. This is the humility he bore forth. This is thee onthe way in which he came into the world. We read it, for example, in verse five, he says, though he was in the form ofGod. He did not county quality with God, a thing to be grasped but emptied himself, taking on the formof a servant being borne in the likeness of men and being found in this humble form,this human form he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death,even death on a cross. Well, this is our great hope, isn't it.This is our very salvation. This is the very reason that we live the lives thatwe do that we seek to please and honor God, but it has also, of course, a greatexample to us of how we ought to live so to go back. Paul again is saying weare to live our lives in a manner worthy of this Gospel Worthy of thissalvation, and he gives some specifics about that.How do we live a life manner, a life in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ?Well, he tells us in Verse Twenty Seven he says we are to stand firm in onespirit with one mind, striving side by...

...side for the faith of the Gospel. What do you see very briefly? What doyou see in a passage like that? You see unity, you see direction and you seecourage. You see unity in the way that they arestanding side by side for the faith of the Gospel. That was what it means tolive a life, a man in a way in a manner worthy of the Gospel. It's not just tolive our lives individually in a way wholly to God, but together corporatelyas the body of Christ. He says we are to stand firm in one spirit. There isto be this unity, but also direction we're not juststanding together huddling, like a bunch of chicks to sort of wanderingaround collecting the God themselves. Together, we do it with a purpose, moving forwardwith a particular goal and sight and vision in mind, and he says what that is side by sidefor the faith of the Gospel and he's. Given a number of examples of this, toohasn't he such as sending out a pathronise with this gift of sendingand helping Paul in his Apostolic Ministry, providing for of the means for theseministers to go forth and to spread the Gospel, but there's also, in addition to unityand direction, there's courage. It comes out even more clearly in verse,Twenty Eight Again Chapter one he says and not frightened in anything by youropponents, even suffering. He says in verse. Twenty nine is not to be fearedbut considered something akin and on the something on the same level as as agift of God. So this is what living life in aChristian way is like that's what it means means unity. It means direction,it means having courage, even in the face of opponents in the face ofsuffering. Now the converse is also true, and you get the specifics therein chapter two versus three through four. Instead of standing in additionor complimenting standing firm together, we are to do nothing from selfishambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant thanyourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also tothe interests of others. When we see ourselves in Christ, itmeans seeing our pride slain. It means rejoicing in seeing our prideslain. It means rejoicing and being able to get on our knees and wash thefeet of others to care and love for those in need to see ourselves in Christ to know theGospel is to see self ambition tossed aside and to praise God for it tofinally be free of one self so that we might worship God and serve one. Another Paul adds another specific to that in verse. Twelve of chapter two. He summarizes some of these things andthen adds one thing to it. He says, as you have always obeyed so now, as notonly in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvationwith fear and trembling in light of the Gospel of Christ, in light ofeverything that God has done for us in saving us from our selfishness andsaving us from our pride in saving us from our brokenness as a people ashumanity and bringing us together,...

...uniting us together in holy and evenwholly spiritual love, we have much to be prayed. We have memuch to be thankful for, but also to stand before, God in fearand trembling for all that he has done. He adds more specifics to this in verse,Fourteen no grumbling or disputing, but like shining stars in the darkness ofthe world. Instead of arguing and complaining and tarnishing the GospelMessage by which we have been saved, we are to offer our lives up to God as asacrifice of worship, even in the midst of suffering, even in the midst ofsuffering one another. Even in the midst of our disunity and ourdisagreements. In our struggles, we are called to offer ourselves up to God,and in doing so, we become like bright lights in the sky, so, as we hear these various thingsagain just summarizing and tying them all together in a brief way, we have before US instructions clear and beautiful instructions abouthow we live our lives as Christians. We live our lives as those who havebeen Gospel fied to make up a word as those who have been changed in thisway by the Gospel by this news. That has come news that has not only come toour ears in just a hearing way, but it's come to our hearts and changedchanged them the spirit of God working in us tobelieve to hope and to see one another in a new light. We live our lives as those who havebeen gospel fied, but it means also not tracking out a part on our own awayfrom Christ and his body, but striving for unity, group courage and directionbecause of the Gospel and for the Gospel. So this is what Paul has been tellingus. This is what he has been opening up and explaining to us in various ways now Paul. It may seem that Paul has kind of leftall this behind for the sake of these travel logistics,but, as I've said, he of course has not. What has he done well he's given us, in addition to theexample of Christ and an Existin to his own example, which we've touched onbefore he now gives us these examples of these two men, Timothy and apathronise he givesthis is examples is a way tofill out and explain and inspire, perhaps even the way forward and thekind of life that he is calling us to live. Personally, I found it very helpful tohave role models in my own life, people that I know- and I look up toand say that is someone to worth following, and I think that's true for all of us. It's so helpful to not only hear acommand be wise, be loving, but to see it in action, but to see it in action to see it lived out in the all thecomplications of life. Sometimes we draw directly from it and we say: Oh, Isaw how she did that I saw how he did that I can do the same thing, but sometimes it's not even as simpleas that. Sometimes as we say it's sort...

...of thinking of ourselves in thatperson's shoes, kind of situating ourselves- and we say: okay, this is aholy person. This is a person who knows what it means to live their lives in amanner worthy of the Gospel. What would they do? What would they doin this kind of situation? These examples that Paul gives us hereis yet another one of God's blessings to us. It's yet another one of the waysthat God teaches us. The Word of God says that Christ andhis ascension poured out gifts on his church and those gifts are apostles andprophets, and evangelists and teachers, men like Timothy and a pathronise. These gifts, these men holy examples in the world and in ourlives, to show us the way forward, and that's exactly what we see here inthese in these two men and Philippians too, and Timothy and a pathronise. Let's take them each in turn and seewhat we can learn. First, Timothy Paul says that he hopes to send Timothyto them. Timothy, as we know from here and from other places in scripture, wasone of Paul's Om companions and and unfellowed, but he was very close tohim as well. He knew him for a long time and had mentored him and excuse me obviously thought very highly of him, but notice why he thinks highly ofTimothy Notice, the kind of works that Timothy is going about doing andstriving after Paul, amidst all the people that arepersecuting him and troubling him says in verse. Twenty. I have no one likehim who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare. Do you see what the Apostle of Godprizes he prizes this one? Not because he's wealthy or because he's fabulously,smart or is able to do some amazing things, but because he is genuinely concern foryour welfare. He loves the PHILIPPIANS FROM HIS HEART.That is something to be prized. PA Says I have no one like this and he givesthe opposite as we sort of saw before he says, for they all seek their owninterests, not those of Jesus Christ. Isn't that interesting, how heparallels those two things there that Timothy genuinely is concerned for theinterest of the Philippians, which Paul Parallels with not seekinghis own interests, but those of Jesus Christ. It is to say that Timothy inpursuing Jesus Christ is at the same time pursuing Christ's people to pursue Christ's people is to pursueJesus Christ. It is his body, after all, is how the scripture speaks of it andhow we speak of it. He then says in verse. Twenty two, youknow Timothy's proven worth how, as a son with a father, he has served withme in the Gospel Timothy is a hard worker and histreated Paul very well learned from him grown and grown from him and histeaching for the purpose not of just becoming a polite, but of servingtogether that unity right. Even like a father and a son together movingforward in the Gospel, then a pathronise. He calls a Patronis. My brother,... fellow worker and fellow soldier andyou're a messenger and minister to my need. What probably happened here is that aParodi Tis as he was going from the Philippians to Paul, got really sick onthe way and on that way met some kind of messenger who went back to thePhilippians and told them a pathronise is really sick. A pathonites continueson his journey to go, see Paul, but then, by the time he gets there. Theyget word that the Philippians not only know that a patronises is sick, butthat he's very sick and they are very worried. They've sent him out to go,take care of this need, and, and now they hear that he is sick and Paul,says yeah. He was sick. Indeed, he almost died. He mentions it twice. The the longer the passage with moredetails comes in verse, Thirty. He says he nearly died for the work ofChrist, risking his life to complete what was lacking in your service to me and Paul is not chastising the Philippians here, buthe's simply saying a Parodi. Tis was sent out to do a service and he wascommitted to fulfill that fulfill that service. Again, for the sake of theGospel, you hear how all of these people invarious ways are living their lives in a way that is honoring to God, pathonites risking his life for thesake of ministering, to Paul for serving alongside him as a fellowworker and fellow soldier notice, also not only a pathronise ashard work, this kind of direction and courage that we talked about earlier,but again also that unity and Love in verse, Twenty Six for he has beenlonging for you all and has been distressed because you heard that hewas ill. He is distressed because they're,distressed and they're distressed, because he's sick and everybody'sworried, but it's out of love right, there'sgenuine concern for each other, there's genuine knowledge of the and unityamong the among one another, and so Paul, I'm desiring to be a blessing tothem and having received the gift that they had sent, even though a pathroniseis very valuable to him. Ascends him back, and here you see, Paul's Luff, you seePaul's love as well he's just he has timothy, the only one who has of helpto him- and here he's just received a pathronise, a fellow worker, a fellowsoldier, someone who's genuinely concerned about the right things anddoing the right things and is a man even willing to risk his own life andhere's Paul in jail, hoping to get out soon, but not nes, not knowing thatwith any guarantee, and he sends both of these encouragersand helpers back to the Philippians. Why? For their sake, you see how this the Church of God is,is all together bowing down to one another, not inworship but in service and in love seeking to serve one another seekingthe other's interests, and so in these two examples andTimothy and a parodius and implicitly in Paul and somewhat in the Philippians. We begin to see these these rich fullblooded examples of what it means to live life in the church. With this kindof Gospel Unity, Gospel Direction and courage,...

...mission, love things that sometimes bring us muchpersecution. Excuse me and even death, but never mind it, never mind them. The Christian says forthe sake of the Gospel, for the sake of telling others about Jesus for the sakeof growling, together in unity and love, it's more than worth it it's more thanworth it because of what our God is done and the waves that he blesses usthrough it now. It, of course, would make sensefor Paul to say to receive these men with rejoicing and with joy, and hedoes that in verse, Twenty Nine and it would also make for a sense for him tosay that they should be honored, but he doesn't say that exactly instead, he says receive him. That is a pathonites inthe Lord, with all joy and honor suchmen. Here we see that these this command orthese examples given are not just for the Philippians and these particularmen, but there's something here to be learned after and by all of us, tohonor these kinds of people to be joyful about having them in our mythsto strive to be like them and be them ourselves in these verses. We hear what it is tobe prized among God's people. It is not to be that someone with great authorityor power. It is not to be someone who a bullies people or has a lot of controlor is very knowledgeable in all things, but it is to be one who is filled withlove and genuine genuine love and service for others, not for the sake of gaining credibilityor points with God or being puffed up for the sake of the Gospel, for thesake of what God has done for us self sacrifice for the sake of the Gospelwholly living, courage and love for the brothers. These are the things that Godcalls us to honor to see and to strive, after with these kind of examples before usand, of course, others that perhaps you are thinking of people in your ownlives. Let us respond not with hard hearts and and heavy feet, but let us respond with faith. Let'srespond in seeing the good gifts that God is giving us to seeing the Gospel,not only preached but lived out in the lives of our brothers and sisters, and not only see it and honor it andpraise God for it. But to do the same we hear of these examples when we hearof the Gospel respond, go to your sister and serve her, go to your brother and meet his needand love strive to be people like Timothy and aPatronis and Paul follow in their way and follow withconfidence, because their way is a gospel way. Paul wilt say this explicitly, I'mlater on in chapter three or seventeen and will revisit some of these thingswhen we get there. But I'll read it to you now. He says brothers join inimitating me and keep your eyes on those who walk. According to theexample you have in us, you see, then we don't need to be ashamed at honoringand esteeming those who honour and esteem Christ in his ways. We need not be ashamed at imitatingthem and others like them.

Why? Because, in doing so, we are honoringand esteeming our Lord, because he is, after all, the one theyare following these men and women that God gives to us in our lives that pointthe way forward that points us to Jesus are ones to be followed because they'repointing in the right direction. Of course, we don't worship them or oridolize them, but we do follow after them. It is. GodPaul reminds us in verse, Thirteen of Chapter Two who works in us to will andto work for his good pleasure when we see him working in our brothersand sisters. When we see examples like Timothy and Paul and a pathronise, we are right to give praise to God whois working in them. Remembering also what Paul said inchapter one verse, six that he who began a good work in us will bring itto completion. It's true that we can follow after men, worshipping andidolizing them, and we must not do that to do. That would be to fail to followthe example that they are setting, but at the same time we must not learn,or we must not fail to learn from the living examples that God gives us tolead to lead us in the right ways to go back to where we begin. Christ gives these gifts to us. He gives in our lives and in the pagesof scripture people to point the way to point the way to the Gospel and tothe way of Gospel Living, to show us what it means to believe inJesus Christ and to live our lives in a manner worthy of that belief. Of thatgood news. May God grant us that kind of faith,that kind of ability to see and to know who to follow and who to strive to belike? Let us pray.

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