Epaphroditus was Christian missionary from Philippi. Some people celebrate a feast for him in March. He is the one believed to hand deliver the letter to the Philippians.
“Epi” – “devoted to” //// “Aphrodite” – Greek goddess of love, beauty, pleasure & procreation. Associated with planet Venus. ///// Name also means “fair” or “graceful,” “agreeable” or “handsome” / “charming”
He is only mentioned in today’s passage & in Philippians 4:18 (where Paul mentions that Epaphroditus was sent with the gift (the church relief monies collected) to give to Paul while Paul was imprisoned in Rome).
Paul sent Epaphroditus back to the Philippian church…
- 26 mentions Epaphroditus was longing to see the church of Philippi and he was distressed because he didn’t want them to worry about him being ill to the point of death.
- 28 mentions Paul being anxious to send Epaphroditus back because he knew the people would be glad to see him, and Paul would not be so worried for them.
When Paul sent him back, he told the people to receive Epaphroditus with joy and to honor him(2:29).
TRUE BROTHER– belong to the same family, the body of Christ – all brothers & sisters in Christ Jesus
- Ephesians 2:19-22 – So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.
- Romans 12:5– in the same way we who are many are one body in Christ and individually members of one another.
- Galatians 6:10 – So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especiallyto those who are of the household of faith.
- 1 Corinthians 12:26 – If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.
FELLOW WORKER– companion for work/labor – working for the same common goal to glorify God
- 1 Corinthians 3:7-11– So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wagesaccording to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
FELLOW SOLDIER– battling the same situations and trials while in the Christian faith
- 2 Timothy 2:3-4– Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier. NO MAN LEFT BEHIND…. Are you living the 4 E’s on battlefield?
MESSENGER– translated as Apostolos – an apostle, one commissioned to represent Jesus Christ and preach the Gospel, one senton a mission
- Matthew 5:14-15– You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Fatherwho is in heaven.
MINISTER– ministering to the needs, servant who belongs to the people (public servant) and works for the good of the community.
- Hebrews 13:16 – Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
- 1 Peter 4:10– God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.
- Hebrews 6:10– For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints.
This morning it was drizzling but I still faithfully took my dog for a walk. As we continued up the street, I noticed that there was a newspaper that was poking through the plastic covering that the delivery person used for protection. In a quick moment, I passed by thinking that the newspaper would get all wet and perhaps I should pick it up and put it under the safety of the porch roof. But instead, I did nothing. I left it where it was and made excuses as to why I could not do that simple act. As I was a few blocks away, I started to feel regretful for not taking the opportunity that was right before me. It was a simple act of love that did not happen.
I think that too often there are opportunities presented to you and I, and I personally know that there are times in my life when I make excuses to not take action. I have heard many excuses as to why help cannot be given to someone, to the church, to a family in need, to a cause. Though this world is a hectic place and our schedules get busy, I think of how Jesus was walking toward one person when another person came in need of help. The lady reached out and touched His garment, and although He was on His way to pay a visit to the daughter of Jairus, He stopped and spoke to this woman (Mark 5). I remember how even after He was teaching at Capernaum and most likely tired from a busy day, He went back to Peter’s house to settle, only to still continue healing and reaching out to help others (Mark 1).
We will not always reach out. We will find ourselves making excuses. We will say we are too tired, too overwhelmed, too busy, too focused elsewhere, too unworthy, too untrained, too afraid. The list could go on and on with excuses I’ve given or heard. Thank God that He never makes excuses.
Today I encourage you to be the person who puts the newspaper on the porch. I pray that when you notice that you are making excuses for something that you can easily do before you walk away so that later you won’t be feeling guilty that you did not do more. Edmund Burke once said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
“Do not neglect to do what is good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” – Hebrews 13:16 [ESV]
“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”
– Hebrews 10:24-25 [NLT]
“Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”
– Hebrews 13:16 [ESV]