Warm Up Before the Hike:
Consider sharing a high and low from the week along with something fun you enjoy doing with friends or family in the summer.
Wow – this summer is flying by! I hope you are enjoying this incredible journey as we hike through Philippians. Last week, Emma shared some powerful insight on how we can be transformed from those who complain to those who rejoice in the Lord. I was convicted and encouraged by Emma’s call to action, “we are to lay down our fleshly desires to blame others, complain about our circumstances, and live in bitterness and anger… [so] we have room to pick up joy and gladness.” It is my prayer that God continues to grow our affections and obedience for him, so we can rejoice and be used for his glory by “holding fast to the word of life” (v 2:16). I am excited to continue our journey this week as we observe, interpret, and draw application from Philippians 2:19-30 where Paul gives us two incredible examples of servant-hearted followers of Christ.
Scripture – Philippians 2:19-30:
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.
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. 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.
Observation – What does the passage say?
My husband and I recently took a trip to Yosemite… it was truly breathtaking to see God’s creativity in creation. It struck me, while I gazed at the majestic Yosemite Valley from Inspiration Point (pun intended), that no picture could capture the true beauty. Like studying the bible, the same is true, nothing captures the beauty of God’s word like sitting down and practicing the art of observation for yourself. Use these points for your own inspiration as you dig in and observe this week’s text:
- Paul wants to send two messengers to Philippi as examples of those who emulate Christ: Timothy (v. 19-24) & Epaphroditus (v. 25-30)
- 2:19-24: example of Timothy
- “For” in v. 20 explains why Paul wants to send Timothy in v. 19
- no one like him shares a genuine concern for others and the interests of Christ
- Contrast – (v. 20-22) Paul emphasizes Timothy’s “proven worth” by juxtaposing those who seek their own interests and Timothy who seeks the interest of Jesus for the sake of the gospel
- Paul also desires to visit the Philippians himself; he too is genuinely concerned for others (v. 24)
- “For” in v. 20 explains why Paul wants to send Timothy in v. 19
- 2:25-30: example of Epaphroditus
- Paul and Epaphroditus are aligned to the same mission of the gospel; Paul uses terms like brother, fellow worker, fellow soldier, minister (v. 25)
- Paul reiterates the personal sacrifice Epaphroditus took to minister – even to the point of death (v. 27)
- God has the power to show mercy in acts of healing (v. 27)
- Servant-hearted men like Epaphroditus should be celebrated with joy and held with great esteem (v. 29-30)
Interpretation – What does the passage mean?
Paul intentionally highlights two of his ministry companions who embody a key message of the entire book of Philippians – the humility of Christ. Timothy and Epaphroditus serve as representatives of how to live humble, servant-hearted lives, genuinely concerned for the welfare of others for the sake of Christ. Paul uses these two as an example because their Godly character aligns with Christ’s example of humility explained throughout v. 2:1-11.
Interesting to note, Timothy helped plant the church of Philippi with Paul on his second missionary journey and Epaphroditus was from Philippi. This is important to call out because both men have personal relationships with the Philippians, showing their commitment to unity and genuine Christ-centered love for their community. They are ministers of the gospel who were living out the call of Phil. 2:4 “let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” These men were living testimonies to the Philippians… powerful to consider how our lives can speak volumes to the world about Christ!
Application – How does the meaning of the passage apply to me?
While we stare squarely into the examples of Timothy and Epaphroditus, it’s clear they were both believers who were humble, genuine, servants of God. What an encouragement to study their examples! I know for me, reading a text that is rich in history can sometimes prove difficult to identify application. I was encouraged though on this section of our hike to slow down and gaze upon the beautiful examples of Timothy and Epaphroditus. Like these faithful men, may we each desire to walk humbly, serving those around us with genuine love in a way that honors Christ.
As Chuck Swindoll explains, “Paul knew that true joy comes only through humble faith in the saving work of Jesus Christ, joining ourselves in harmony with His followers, and serving others in the name of Christ.” Are there people in your life who exemplify this type of humble, servant-hearted, joyful faith like Paul, Timothy, and Epaphroditus? What about them stands out? Do you think you are living a life of humility and service for others built on the interests of Jesus? If not, what is holding you back?
Take time to prayerfully examine the community God has put you in (friends, family, coworkers, etc.). Consider ways you can humbly serve others by word and deed, seeking to align the interests of Jesus with a genuine care for your community.
Challenge yourself this week by spending 10-15 minutes a day reading Phil. 3:1-11: spend 2 days on observation, 2 days on interpretation, and 1 day on application. Ask the Lord to reveal his truth to you in powerful ways as we continue to soak in the beauty of his inspired Scripture. Go on a walk with a friend and share what you have been learning so far through our study over Philippians.
Continue memorizing Philippians 2:1-10. An effective way to practice memorization is to read the verses out loud 10x (even if you know the verses before the 10th time, there is power in repeatedly reading the text out loud). Next, recite the verses audibly 10x from memory. You can then build on this pattern by adding new verses and repeating this read/recite method. This memory trick has been very helpful at storing scripture in my long-term memory… much like knowing the lyrics to a song you haven’t heard in years.
May God soften our hearts to genuinely love others in a way that honors Christ this week!
All glory to God,
Sacred Story is honored to have Kaitlyn Wurzbach, who serves on the board of the ministry, as a guest contributor this month. Kaitlyn graduated from Texas A&M in 2012 with a B.S. in Civil Engineering and a Minor in Business. She recently received an M.A. in Biblical & Theological Studies from Dallas Theological Seminary. Earlier this summer, Kaitlyn moved from Houston to Dallas with her husband Bret. She enjoys working at an engineering firm in Talent Acquisition. Kaitlyn has a huge heart for sharing Christ with women in the workplace. She loves serving on the board of Sacred Story and is passionate about using testimonies of God’s faithfulness to bring glory to God.