Love Exemplified: Part 2 (Sermon Recap)
LOVE EXEMPLIFIED: PART 2 (SERMON RECAP)
In our most recent sermon, we reflected on Philippians 2:25-30. In the previous sermon we had considered seven things that godly love does, as seen in Philippians 2:19-24. Now in Philippians 2:25-30 we see an additional four things that godly love does, as we behold the example set for us by Paul and Epaphroditus, as well as the instruction that Paul gives to the Philippian congregation. Here they are (the numbering of the points is a continuation of the previous sermon, since the two sermons belong together):
Eighth, godly love holds faithful brothers and sisters in high regard (v. 25). While a business mentality would have Paul at the top of an extensive missionary network, with Epaphroditus somewhere below on the organizational chart, this isn't how Paul saw things. Paul refers to Epaphroditus as: "my brother" – same family; "my... fellow worker" – same gospel ministry team; "my... fellow soldier" – a co-combatant in the same army, the Lord's army (Philippians 1:25 ESV).
Ninth, godly love feels deep affection and sympathy for your Christian brothers and sisters (v. 26-28). Epaphroditus had a heart that was really sensitive to the troubles of his fellow Christians. If they were burdened by his troubles, then he was burdened on account of the burdens they had on his account. Further, Paul had anxious concern over the distresses that Epaphroditus and the Philippian congregation were experiencing. Godly love must be expressed in the thick and thin of daily life, and must not pass lightly over people's difficulties and distresses.
Tenth, godly love endeavors to relieve the godly sorrows of your fellow Christians (v. 25-26, 27-28). Paul, looking to the interests of Epaphroditus and the Philippian congregation, "thought it necessary to send... Epaphroditus" back to Philippi and, in view of God's mercy, he was "the more eager to" do so, for the express purpose of relieving their sorrows and renewing their joy (Philippians 2:25, 28 ESV). As opportunity allows, we also ought to extend the balm of God's sorrow-relieving, joy-renewing mercy to others.
Eleventh, godly love honors those who exemplify godly love (v. 29-30). Or to put it another way: godly love gladly receives and gratefully honors faithful Christian soldiers who have fought well and at great cost. Epaphroditus was worthy of a special reception and recognition because of his distinguished and costly service. If we as American citizens honor American soldiers for their service to our earthly nation, then how much more ought we as Christian citizens honor front-line Christian soldiers for their service to Christ's heavenly kingdom? As we participate in the life, fellowship, and mission of the church, we ought to pay special honor to those who exemplify Christian love in all its depth and devotion to the cause of Christ.
Fellow Christians: If we do all these things, who knows – maybe a non-Christian will see in us a community of love and wonder at this light that shines forth in the darkness?