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.
A person does not need to be at church or doing specifically labeled ministry work to minister to others. Whether you have considered it or not, everyone can minister from anywhere. There are people ministering in libraries, on the school playground, in bars, and even in the grocery store.
Today at work I was having a conversation with a customer. At the same time, I did not realize that there was another customer listening from out of view. We were talking about serving the Lord, about His blessings and providence, and about His faithfulness and trusting in Him. It was a short conversation. It was an unplanned conversation. I was not thinking about how to minister to a person and I did not consider myself doing ministry work per se. Then the listening customer came around and said she “loved” the conversation she just heard. Without even realizing I was being used to do something, God spoke through me to her.
Too often we think that ministry is simply something done at church or when we put on our ministry caps and run an outreach event or knowingly minister to someone. In reality our greatest ministry is done when most people are not looking, in those uncalculated moments. You probably heard that you could be the only Bible someone will read—today, consider that great responsibility. Don’t confine your ministry. Don’t over think what God can do through you. Simply ask Him to use you and show up for duty. There’s no need to complicate things. God has a great plan. You can make a difference from anywhere. Just do everything in love.
“Do everything in love.” – 1 Corinthians 16:14 [NIV]
As I was reading the blessings and curses in Deuteronomy, something jumped off the page in Chapter 28 of the book. It says, “They will be a sign and a wonder to you and your descendents forever. Because you did not serve the LORD your God joyfully and gladly in the time of prosperity, therefore in hunger and thirst, in nakedness and dire poverty, you will serve the enemies the LORD sends against you” (v. 46-48a). The words “joyfully” and “gladly” are words we do not always see with “serve.” Sometimes the word “serve” gives us a bad taste in our mouths. The very thought of serving is to perform a duty for someone else. What about us? So we are to serve joyfully and gladly? As if we are happy to do it? As if we like doing it?
The number of church members who serve the church is simply sad, with studies showing that about 20% of the members are serving the Lord. If we consider the people who are serving the church, which is a small number of the actual congregation, we then should consider how many of that small group is serving “joyfully” and “gladly.” To serve in this way, means that the person’s heart is in this service. To serve in this way, means that the person is not doing it because it is what a person does, but because the person desires to serve the Lord out of love for the Lord.
Today, consider if you fall into the 20% category at your church. Are you serving the Lord? If yes, consider if you are serving “joyfully” and “gladly” at the church. Is it a burden or a joy? If it isn’t a joy, perhaps the area you are serving in is wrong. Whether or not you serve, seek out the talents God has given you and see how you can use them to serve Him. When you find that place at the church that you were meant to serve, the joy will come. It is important to serve the church, and it is important to have that joy to spread around to others. We all need more joy in our lives.