We’re all 21! If you ask a lot of adults how old they are they will say 21 with 29 years experience. But that’s not what I am getting at. We are all 21.
Either Phil 1:21 “For me to live is Christ, to die gain” Or we are Phil 2:21” For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus”
You are either a Phil 1:21 person or a Phil 2:21 person. Either your life is about knowing Jesus and living His way or its My way – you know like Frank Sinatra’s I did it my way.
Paul’s writing a letter to the church based in Philippi to thank them for a gift they sent him to meet his needs during his house arrest. He’s telling that living out the Christian faith is about humbly serving.
He gives four examples.
- Jesus – is the best example of humble service. He is God, creator of the heavens and earth who humbled himself to come in the flesh – God/Man 2000 years ago. He did it because he needed to be the ultimate sacrifice for us. We all sin and fall short of the goodness of God. In the Old Testament wrongdoing required a sacrifice to make it right between us and God again. Jesus is a God sized sacrifice to cover all sin. Religion looks to do good things to make up for or wrongdoing. Christianity basically recognises the gap between us and God can’t be filled with us trying good stuff. So Jesus has done it on our behalf – humbled himself to become a man and died for us on the cross. He rose again and is now seated with Father God in heaven. Believing that is what makes us a Christian. That’s a huge example – humble enough to die for us when we could be sitting on the throne.
- Paul – then explains how he also has been working to serve them without grumbling and is being “poured out like a drink offering” – he’s kinda saying he is sacrificing his life and the amazing stuff he was to serve them too. As I say that it sounds like he is moaning – but the way he puts it is full of joy – that unshakable joy that is deeper than a happiness dependent on circumstances.
Woo, that’s a high bar Paul – not sure I want to die for others! So Paul gives 2 more examples in todays passage Timothy & Epaphroditus. He is about to send them one by one the 900 mile journey from Rome to Philippi to serve the church.
There’s 3 things i want us to see about their humble service that’s a great example for us.
1 Reliable and faithful
Timothy is a Phil 1:21 guy. Others are Phil 2:21 – but Timothy is the real deal. He loves Jesus – Paul met him on his first church planting journey and then took him on the 2nd trip.
He is reliable and faithful – Paul describes his proven worth in v22 serving Paul. Some people are reliable and faithful. If they say they will do something, they do it. They turn up on time and get stuck in and get on with it. Others not so – they do it for a while and then drop out. In v22 Paul considers Timothy to be a son in the Lord – someone that he has brought to faith and raised to be a mature Christian. He’s a servant and so now he will be Paul’s substitute – he will go in Paul’s place because Paul can’t Faithfulness opens the door to more fruitfulness. If you are not very fruitful in your life, have you been faithful? When asked to do something – Not servant hearted “Again? I already did that last month” Servant hearted “i get to serve again”
We are all 21 – either Phil 1:21 To live is Christ, to die is gain or Phil 2:21 For they all seek their own interests not those of Jesus. Which 21 are you? Timothy is a Phil 1:21 guy – he is genuine. He has proven worth with his reliability and faithfulness and he is v20 genuinely concerned for the people in Philippi he has never been to. He’s been used of God in Thessalonica, In Corinth and in Macedonia. His faithfulness is leading more fruitfulness. His genuine care is opening doors to exciting ways of serving God.
Then Paul commends Epaphroditus, introducing him before saying he is sending him first. Why the introduction – they already know him! He brought the gift from Philippi to Rome for Paul. Epaphroditus’ name sounds like a disease – conjunctivitis! But it’s not. The name means “Beloved of Aphrodite”
Aphrodite was the Greek goddess of love and sex! Epaphroditus is from a pagan background. He must have been far from God with a family background in the worship of Aphrodite – who had a temple on the hill above the city and a lot fo temple prostitutes. That tells me no-one is too far from God. It doesn’t matter how bad of messed up your background is, God loves you and wants to forgive you and use you!
Paul introduces Epaphroditus as a brother, fellow worker and fellow soldier.
3 Relational Mission
Paul is on a mission to introduce people to Jesus and start churches all over the world. And it’s a relational mission – the smell of the New Testament is brothers and sisters, friends on mission together. Epaphroditus is as close as a brother, he is a servant hearted hard worker and he fights for the Gospel, not with violence but with love and deeds.
There will be loads more you can grab from this passage as examples of what it means to be a Phil 1:21 person humbly serving, but these 3 are a challenge to us – be reliable and faithful, genuinely care and be on relational mission together.
Apply this? Are you reliable and faithful – do you turn up on time and get stuck in? If you say you will do something do you do it even if it’s harder than you thought? Or do you make excuses? Are you genuine? Do you listen more than you speak? Do you make a note and check back with someone to see how it is going? Are you relational on mission – it’s not about being an extrovert, it’s about friends serving God together. You talk all that to work tomorrow!
Are you following Jesus Christ – he humbled himself to come from heaven to earth to die for all your mess. Put your trust in Him and make Him the boss or Lord of your life.