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Philippians 5: “Paul, Timothy, Epaphroditus”

This week we look at three role models of the faith, that Paul puts forward to illustrate what he has been saying to the Philippians, about sharing their faith, and living out their faith.

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~ Three role models in the Faith ~


  • Context
  • “Share the Gospel, live the Gospel”
    • Real emphasis is on attitude
    • Working his way towards 4:2, where he will tell Eudia and Syntyche to work together

…for Paul’s sake…

seg. move into the first of Paul’s three examples


“poured out, as a drink-offering”

  1. Poured out (possibilities turning to fixed realities)
  2. Drink offering (sacrificed to a higher good)

…upon “sacrifice” of your faith

…upon “service” of your faith

(Do you have faith? 

  • It is because someone served you
  • It is because someone sacrificed for you

In their case, Philippians saw first-hand Paul’s sacrifice

  • Paul was mobbed in the street for healing a girl, angering a wealthy and influential family in town
  • They were arrested
  • They were stripped and beaten
  • They were imprisoned, with feet in stocks
  • They were later sent out of town

…it was due to this sacrifice and service that the Philippians could believe!

could lead to a heavy place of guilt

– Like Tom Hanks to Matt Daemon in “Saving Privat Ryan,” “Earn this!”

– Like Robert Herjavec, from Dragon’s Den

…rather, leads to joy (How is this possible?)

– (explains elsewhere) Paul is a father to his churches (1 Cor. 


– Like father/mother: serve, care for, love, spend for their child

– At graduation, teary-eyed, happy to have sacrificed!

(how can you pay them back? …by living life!)

E.g. like former youth Pastors…”keep doing it! Love your wife, love your kids, stick together, live a good life!”

  • That’s how you honour the sacrifice of those who have lived before!

Biography: What else can we know about Paul?

  • He has a world-class education, including being tutored by Gamaliel, who is still considered one of the most influential Jewish thinkers
  • He had a powerful testimony, including a tumultuous pre-conversion experience (persecuting Christians, putting them in jail), a dramatic conversion experience
  • Has personal meetings with Paul, James
  • Known and specifically mentioned by Peter as a writer of Scriptures
  • Instigated the first church council
  • Wrote more books of the New Testament than any other author
  • Planted more churches than any other apostle: including Philippi

Paul is: larger-than-life, charismatic teacher, father to the church


(what is he like?)

  • He is one of a kind (why)
  • He is a kindred spirit of Paul
  • He does not operate from selfish-ambition (that’s hard to find!)
  • He genuinely operates out of a concern for the church
  • He has “proven worth”
  • He serves Paul like a child serving his father
  • …since Paul cannot come, hoping to send Timothy: like father sending beloved child in his place (very common practice at time)

(other things we can know)

  • He has a weak constitution (often sick, poor digestion)
  • He is younger, and often intimidated
  • He is sometimes fearful/anxious
  • (However) he has traveled with Paul, and pastored churches
  • Unlike John-Mark, Timothy never gave up
  • He’s got a quiet strength, and he is faithful
  • He’s got a good heart, and genuinely cares for people
  • Paul is always on the move: but Timothy has time to stay, and care for the churches

Timothy is: not physically or emotionally impressive, he is a kind pastor, a son/disciple of Paul


(a fun guy! I like him!)


  • He’s been sent by Philippian church to give Paul a financial gift, and minister to his needs (in prison, unable to care for self)
    • Means he’s healthy & competent to make journey
    • He’s likely got some wealth, financially independent
    • He’s responsible enough to entrust with financial gift
  • He got sick on the way, and nearly died
  • Now that he’s better, he wants to return to Philippi, especially since they heard he was sick, and he doesn’t want them to worry
  • Paul describes him as a “brother, fellow-soldier, fellow-worker” …it is unclear when he worked with Paul, doing what. Perhaps back in Philippi, when Paul was planting the church.
  • Paul describes him as “your messenger (apostle)” and “your minister to my need”


  1. Epaphroditus is not a Paul: not a teacher, pastor, elder (no mention of title, working on the Gospel, as with Timothy)
  2. Epaphroditus is a man of action! He is getting things done!
  3. Epaphroditus is a man of connections
    1. He works & fights alongside Paul
    2. He is sent from, and ministers on behalf of the Philippians
  4. Epaphroditus is a man with a big heart 
    1. Perhaps he volunteered because of his concern for Paul
    2. Now, he “longs” for his home church and is “distressed” at the thought that they may be worrying about him

Epaphroditus is a man of action, a “brother” to many, a big heart and a big capacity to serve others.


What should we say to this?

  • Doubtless, many things we can say!
  • “Hold men like this in high regard…”
    • 1. They share the Gospel
          • Taking it to new territory, taking risks, “pouring out” life
          • Serving established churches, staying faithful
          • Risking life to serve others
    • 2. They live the Gospel
          • They are not motivated by selfish ambition
          • They genuinely care about others

Can we too commit to:

  • Doing whatever we can, whatever we have been called to do, to share the good news of Jesus Christ?
  • Have this attitude in ourselves, which was also in Christ Jesus…?

let us pray..

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