Message from Adam.
Viewing entries tagged
I’ll start where Paul ends, which Paul’s appeal to the church:
Phil 2:29 So receive him in the Lord with all joy, and honor such men.
In the second chapter of his letter to the Philippians, Paul draws a portrait of three ministry workers. These are the men Paul wished to send to the Philippian church. Paul himself hopes to come soon, but until he is able, or if he is not able, he wishes to send men like Timothy and Epaphrodites to them. He writes that the Philippian church might be willing and ready to receive such men, to wait for them, to welcome them, and to honour them and they serve the Phillipain church in the place of Paul. So here Paul is writing letters of commendation to the church, but also in a sense instructing the church as to what sort of shepherds, pastors, ministry leaders they should be receiving and honouring in their community.
When we consider the quality of ministry leaders we often jump to passages that describe the qualifications we are to look for in them such as Titus 1 or 1 Timothy 3. But as we’re looking for Christ’s servants to lead our churches, here Paul gives us a portrait of three such men, and it is clear that Paul’s hope is that men like these would be found shepherding all of the churches of God, including ours: we have a small portrait of the Apostle Paul, his coworker Timothy, and another man named Epaphroditus, who was sent by the Philippian church to care for Paul’s needs in prison, but now Paul was hoping to send back to the Philippian church. So what sort of men is Paul looking to send?
Now I understand why the Holy Spirit is having us study Philippians together. Philippians is a letter written to an anxious church, a church that is anxious because their pastor, Paul, has left, and he’s now in prison, and they don’t know what will happen to themselves or to him in the future. So now that makes more sense. I didn’t know when I started promoting this series a week before Easter that I wouldn’t be staying on with you. But by the first message, I was beginning to really wrestle with the spirit about whether He was calling me to stay on. Paul spoke about constraints in ministry in the second message, and that has been a passage that I’ve taken to heart many times of the years when I consider constraints in ministry, and so it was necessary that I wrestle with the word and spirit over that passage. In last weeks passage, Paul is wrestling with his own interior struggle - what it better, to remain on which is profitable for you or to depart and be with Christ? Only that for me to live and to die is gain. The last two weeks have been hard because I’ve had to conceal a bit of my struggle from you. But now everything is in the open. And today we come to verse 27, and I have set aside this passage for you, and it is on my heart to share it with you. It is the appeal of the gospel worker for the church he loves, the church he may soon be leaving, the appeal that they may carry one and continue in the gospel of Jesus Christ