Philippians 2:25-30; 4:18
The apostle Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, had a habit of highlighting the ministry of believers unknown to us except for his reference. Whole chapters of some of his epistles are given to listing the faithful co-laborers with him in the gospel. Many of them were paid the highest compliments by a grateful messenger of Jesus Christ. I am convinced that the Lord wanted us to know that God was faithful to remember the ministry of those who would otherwise have been forgotten.
These verses introduce us to a man who lived as an example of service and faithfulness to all of us. This passage speaks of a man sent from the church to deliver support that had long been promised to the apostle in his missionary work. Now this same Epaphroditus is sent back to the church at Philippi as an emissary of the apostle Paul. Epaphroditus was shown to be a man who was faithful.
Paul, in commending this man back to his friends and fellow believers, shows us what made Epaphroditus an example of faithfulness. This servant of Christ was willing, first of all, to pay the price of love. This dear saint gave up months of his life just to minister to the apostle Paul. In order to meet the needs and the wants of the apostle he left home, family, and work behind in his effort to be a blessing.
Epaphroditus also discovered one of the rewards of service. Paul, in these verses, gives us his estimation of the ministry of this messenger from Philippi. Laying aside all ambition for self he determined to serve. God's Holy Spirit impressed upon Paul the vital necessity and usefulness of all those who learn faithfulness.
Philippi's messenger also experienced the trials of life (v. 26, 27). He was sick unto death and then in heaviness because of the concern of the Philippians. God had mercy on him and raised him from a death bed in answer to the prayers of the ones he ministered to. All of us who face trials and difficulties in life, regardless of their nature, should be encouraged by the faithfulness of our heavenly Father (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Finally, Ephaphroditus was blessed with new vistas of opportunity and ministry (vv. 28-30). He who left his service of the church at Philippi to minister to Paul is now named Paul's minister to the Philippians. He who had been entrusted with delivering the church's monetary support of Paul is now entrusted with Paul's commendation and mission. The key word explaining the reason for Paul's trust is the first word of verse 30, "because." Because he learned the lesson of faithfulness; because he was faithful unto the point of death, he qualified to serve in a greater capacity. Because he was willing to do what many could have but did not, he was given a greater responsibility before God.
Written by David Martin