Send the Best
Transcript of the eighth sermon from the series on the book of Philippians. The sermon is titled “Send the Best,” and comes from Philippians 2:19-30.
You can listen here.
We’re in Philippians chapter 2 again. I want to thank Jim for preaching last week. We hope he’ll continue to bless us with his gift for preaching in the future! Jim and I planned for him to preach last week before I knew I would be out of town. And there will be several times throughout the year that I plan to be here and not preach because I strongly believe that our congregation needs to hear different men preach and teach God’s Word.
In this passage we see 2 clear themes: (1) Partnering with sister churches and (2) the importance of proven worth in the Church.
Let’s begin reading…
19 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I too may be cheered by news of you. 20 For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare. 21 For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. 22 But you know Timothy’s proven worth, how as a son with a father he has served with me in the gospel. 23 I hope therefore to send him just as soon as I see how it will go with me, 24 and I trust in the Lord that shortly I myself will come also.
As I was reading and preparing for today, the phrase from this paragraph that I couldn’t escape was “Proven Worth.” These 5 verses really are about Timothy’s worth. Actually, this whole section is about the worth of the men Paul is sending.
If it’s not clear, Paul loves Timothy. Timothy’s “his guy.” Paul says he “hopes in the Lord” to send him to the Philippians. Hope is a joy bringing thing. When you think about the times in your life when you hope for something, the hope you have brings you joy. I hope our guests feel welcome today. I hope I can go to La Unica for lunch today. The things we hope for are positive things. No one hopes for things that bring them sadness. In our sin we might hope for things that bring other people sadness, but we always hope for things that bring us happiness and joy.
Paul even makes that connection – he hopes that he can send Timothy so that he can be “cheered by news of you.” He hopes for joy!
He wants the news that they’re doing well and experiencing the same joy from Timothy as he has.
20 For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare.21 For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.22 But you know Timothy’s proven worth, how as a son with a father he has served with me in the gospel.
…genuinely caring for the welfare of others.
Paul knows the Philippians will be blessed by a brother who is genuinely concerned for their welfare. Paul knows it because he’s been blessed by it. He’s got no one else like him. Timothy is the best. He’s the MVP of Paul’s ministry team. I feel like most of us can relate to this on another level when we think about the furniture in our house. I mean, iI’ve got table, I’ve got chest of drawers, I’ve got couch – a faithful piece of furniture – But then there’s my bed. And I have no one like him. I absolutely love my bed and my bed loves me. We face all kinds of obstacles – things like alarm clocks, crying babies – you name it – but we hang tough together.
My bed has proven worth. It brings me joy and I’m here to tell you that I believe it genuinely cares for my welfare.
Timothy genuinely, honestly, authentically cares for the needs and wellbeing of those around him. It’s not selfish ambition veiled as caring for others. Timothy actually loves the church because he loves Jesus who created them and saved them. He doesn’t look out for His own interests but the interests of Christ. And do you know what Christ’s interest is? It’s His honor and He’s honored when people turn from their sins and follow Him. He’s honored when people love Him more than anything!
This is the real umph of verse 22. The Philippians know Timothy’s proven worth because they know timothy has spent his life for the sake of the Gospel!
…follow the example of the sent.
So Provision Church – you have the call on your life to be like Timothy and follow the example of the sent! You’re called to bring other people joy, to be genuinely concerned with the welfare of others, to be interested in what Christ is interested in, and to serve with other for the Gospel. But why should you do this? Why should you look to give yourself up for Christ and others?
Because of Joy! We serve others because it’s a part of having eternal worth and value!
If you’re not a believer – we all have intrinsic worth because we’ve been created in the image of God. Imago Dei (Genesis 1:27). We believe that God gives every human being worth! So Paul isn’t talking about Timothy’s proven worth to say whether or not his life is valuable – he’s talking about worth in the same way he did earlier in this letter when he said – Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ. It’s a worth in following Christ – Jesus talks about it:
Matt 23:11 The greatest among you shall be your servant.
Matthew 6:20 store up for yourselves treasures in heaven – investing in others
We can think about our worth and joy in terms of our eternal reward.
Worth is important to us. We search for worth in everything. Work, family, possessions, accomplishments. But the only one that can give everything any worth is Jesus. Our worth is in Jesus. Because Jesus gives your work, family, possessions, accomplishments worth in your life. Separated from him, finding worth in those things is called idolatry.
Are you looking for worth in your life? Then serve Christ well by serving others well.
Paul wraps up his commendation of Timothy by saying:23 I hope therefore to send him just as soon as I see how it will go with me, 24 and I trust in the Lord that shortly I myself will come also.
He wants the Philippians to know that his desire is to encourage them by being with them but he can’t control his circumstances – so He trusts God to provide. That’s great perspective isn’t it? And until God provides, Paul is going to Send the Worthy.
SEND THE WORTHY
He’s going to send timothy who has proven worth and he’s going to send Epaphroditus. Look at verse 25.
25 I have thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, and your messenger and minister to my need, 26 for he has been longing for you all and has been distressed because you heard that he was ill. 27 Indeed he was ill, near to death. But God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.
In the last few verses we saw the example of proven worth in Timothy and now we see an example in Epaphroditus. Look at the way Paul talks about him:
-minister to my need
-longing for you all
This is a quality dude. It’s someone that this apostle feels great respect and love for. These aren’t empty compliments. Paul felt strongly for Epaphroditus and you can imagine that as much as he’s preparing the Philippians for him, Paul’s also hoping to encourage Epaphroditus himself.
Can we apply these encouragements to ourselves?
Are we the type of Christian that’s invested enough in others and the cause of Christ that we might be sent out by provision church with these words?
I love to think about this because we have a lot of brothers and sisters – close knit and loving. We have fellow workers pouring out time and energy for the Gospel. We have fellow soldiers. Messengers. Ministers to needs. And Longing for each other. We can always improve, but I want to encourage you Provision Church that you’re a lot like Epaphroditus in your proven worth.
Verses 26 and 27 are interesting look into real life for these guys too. Epaphroditus was deathly sick. Apparently sick enough that the Philippians thought they were going to lose them.
It distressed the church and 27 Indeed he was ill, near to death. But God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on Paul also, lest he should have sorrow upon sorrow.
Why did God heal Epaphroditus? And why did Paul call it mercy? Didn’t we just hear from Paul in chapter 1 that to die is gain?
It was mercy because of Epaphroditus’ love and worth to the church. Because Epaphroditus was still living Christ. He was still making use of his life for the encouragement and building up of the church.
God’s mercy on Epaphroditus was really mercy on Paul who needed him dearly (sorrow upon sorrow). It was really mercy on the Philippians who were about to rejoice at seeing him again.
Which leads us to how the Philippians and any church should receive the sent.
RECEIVE THE SENT
28 I am the more eager to send him, therefore, that you may rejoice at seeing him again, and that I may be less anxious. 29 So receive him in the Lord with all joy, and honor such men, 30 for he nearly died for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was lacking in your service to me.
Paul knows and even takes for granted that the Philippians will rejoice at receiving one with as much proven worth as Epaphroditus. Epaphroditus has been with them before and not only proven his worth and his character to Paul but to them in person.
They are to receive him in the Lord. Which really means in unity. As a brother. As a part of an eternal family.
And as he’s received in the Lord the church receives him with all joy. You can imagine a celebration. Wouldn’t this be a cool way to receive missionaries. That instead of just having them just tell their stories on stage, we actually threw a big party for them? And host them in our homes to celebrate them. With all joy! We treat them that way because it encourages us and honors Christ, but also because they deserve it!
Paul tells the church to honor such men. That such there is referring to the same thing the “proven worth” is referring to for timothy. Such men are men full of the spirit demonstrating fruit and courage and Christlikeness.
These men and women. These Christians who live in such a way should be honored when they are received.
Epaphroditus especially because he nearly died for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was lacking in the Philippians service to Paul.
Let’s take a step back and consider Why Paul say he’s anxious? Isn’t there another verse in the Bible that says be anxious for nothing? There is. So how do we take that? It’s the same Greek word, but not all anxiety is the same.
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
This is anxiety about God providing for your needs. The anxiety in Philippians 2 is one of concern for others. It’s more than that a concern for God’s glory!
2 Corinthians 11:28
28 And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.
There’s really been two major themes that course through this passage: (1) Partnering with sister churches and (2) the importance of proven worth in the Church.
We want to be a church that plants and partners with churches.
Pray for where God might send you and/or others in our congregation.
Encourage Christians that attend other churches to follow Christ well and love their church.
We want to equip you to do the work of ministry and then mobilize you to do that work.
Pray for God to give you a ministry or to help you know how to take the next step in the ministry you already have.
Be faithful to Christ and others by genuinely caring for them. Who do you need to genuinely care for in your life? And how can you do it?