Two Good, Two Bad

This was the message I preached last January 19, 2014- the birthday of my father-Mario E. Rodriguez- at San Pedro CRC:

Philippians 4:4-7

4  Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6  do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Title: Two Good, Two Bad

Redemptive/Fallen Condition Focus:

  1. Even in Christian ministry-some will do it out of personal interest, avoid inconvenience in their lives or held for a long time –personal grudges against one another that hinder their ministry.  All this must be answered as they centred their life in Jesus Christ.

Introduction:

When I was waiting at our clinic, most of those there,  are the Meralco retirees, 60 to 70+ years old- and they are there waiting and sharing new and old news and laughing and bantering. Once a month or so –in a odd way- they look forward seeing their friends and co-employees of so many years. They feel the tug of community here- when most of their friends are already gone…ahead of them and the new employees don’t know them or even bother to know them at all.

Slide3

You also have that during the recent Quiapo Festival…from so many areas-they converge for 3-4 days just so they can touch the image-even they are crushed and have to undergo hunger and thirst…they find the community of shared experience there.

Those who went through the carnage of Yolanda- it is not losing their houses or food that is the worst part of it- it is losing their family members and the neighbours and friends they have..some of the old people are left alone for themselves. No one to comfort or to strengthen – no one knows them anymore..all the memories –gone forever.

Apostle Paul serves in a community of people –whose ethnic and cultural is different from the one he is sharing to them- theirs is Roman, Greek and others Jewish. What he is preaching is a community created and sustained by the Word of God…by the New Creation-centred around the Messiah –Jesus-who died on the cross of Calvary.

In time –it will be tested –if they can live only for Jesus..And that they will continue doing their mission, their vocation to share the Good News of the Messiah..

And Paul is also had already started a community of believers to share this burden- the Philippians who are financing his mission and the fellow workers he have with them.

Outline:

  1. Timothy & Epaphroditus 2: 19-30
  2. Enemies of the Cross 3: 17-4:1
  3. Side by side with Me 4:2-7
  1. 1.       Timothy and Epaphroditus

Phil 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 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.

In chapter 2 – Paul showed and explained what is to have a mind of Christ – for leaders and followers – to be selfless and be concern of others- and to be obedient to the Father –even to the point of death. And here he continue to provide two sterling true-to-life examples- not of himself –but his co-workers- first is Timothy.

Slide5

Timothy is his spiritual son- child of a female Jew and a male Gentile. And true to being his ‘son’- he follows and do as he bids him in the work of the Gospel-and with true concern- mindfulness- over those Pauls directs his attention- Timothy bring comfort and peace to the Apostle –especially now that he is imprisoned at Rome. And remember –Jesus’ mission is to be concerned about the welfare of others –and so Timothy is a good example of such concerned.

We have so many examples of such other-person concerned after the aftermath of typhoon Yolanda-going the extra mile just so we can help in a little way to those who lost everything.  And we still have the same problems now- and since typhoon Agaton is battering Southern Visayas and Northern Mindanao now. –We must not stop helping .

I remember a barangay chairman who helped his fellowmen but lost in the flood his wife-because she slipped though a fence she was stepping to. This is costly- our time, our efforts –even our financial resources.

Timothy will serve as his advance team to encourage the Philippian believers.

Why is it so important?

Epaphroditus Phil 2:25-30

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 honour 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.

We might hear that some Christian churches were burned down somewhere or believers wiped out in one place-and we believe- because of the existence of other churches that we can revive the work then again. But this is not so in the first century- we are still small then and without official sanction or permission from the government. It is life and death struggle- The NT church can be easily lost –in man’s perspective-not God’s though.

And so the Philippians church support is important to Paul. As he is being financially supported-so he is also supported by the presence of assistants helping him in his mission. He cannot be a lone-ranger Christian or missionary. He has a team with him.

Slide7

Epaphroditus – is a fellow worker and fellow soldier in the army of Jesus- came from Philippi and was sent by them to support personally Paul. In his service –he got sick and almost died. It would have been sorrow upon sorrow if he died at Rome-but Paul was spared by this. It would have been thought as bad luck or a curse.

And so –when he was able to recover, Paul will send him back to encourage the Philippians’ believers and teach them as Paul taught him in the mission field. And so Epaphroditus will be able to complete the service to Paul by the Philippians- it is truly a partnership in the gospel. This is how the early church passion and fire was sustained-continuous service and missionary activity-while new believers are converted and then new minsters are trained. Once this process is interfered- the church is threatened.

But not everything is good happening to Paul-

2. Enemies of the Cross 3: 17-4:1

17 Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. 18 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19  Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

4 Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.

It is hard to follow someone-we rather be leaderless or our own leader – we suffer the sins of our father the devil or Adam. It is only in Jesus –that true obedience to the Word of the Father is exemplified. And so Paul always remind to follow or imitate their leaders –like him –because many are not.

Paul mentioned that many –it seems- former followers of Jesus that forsook Him and now follows their own desires and appetites –God is their belly and the Glory in their shame-instead of following Jesus –where it takes.

Slide9

They live now –or have a lifestyle as enemies of the Cross of the Messiah- they keep intently looking at this earth and decide that the citizenship in this world- to them Roman- is far better than the citizenship of Heaven. And this bring sadness to Paul –heartbreaking even. They cannot stand firm or persevere in the Lord and wait for the ultimate reality in the here and after. They are so blinded by the present.

And not only have this disturbed the heart of Paul it is this:

  1. III.                Side by side with Me 4:2-7

2  I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord. 3 Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.

It is this – Euodia (well way ) and Syntyche (together Happen) are Paul’s fellow worker (yes female- Paul does not discriminate based on sex –except maybe establishing doctrines ) with Gentile background -together with Clement who is one of the church father who have writings on his name.

“Euodia” means a “prosperous journey.” “Syntyche” means a “pleasant acquaintance.” Since Paul pleaded with these two to agree with each other in the Lord, it seems that their quarrel is affectingthe whole asembly –and therefore he pleads that they unite to spare the whole church. He wants ‘True Companion’ which maybe a proper name –or their pastor there to be the intermediary there as the quarrel  is not being  resolved .

Slide11

Sometimes –as we fight others –outside –the eneemy sow discord inside and so we are distracted. And sometimes we wish that all our dfferences be gone and resolve here and now –and it might be –and some will not be so-and so what is Paul’s part of the answer here?

 

4  Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6  do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

We must be thankful in all our circumstances –tot he Lord so taht all these things will dim in cmparison to His goodness and thus we are brought back to a balanced view of what is happening to us. If anything will not be resolved in this world – at leastwe can bring it back to the Father thru prayer- “but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

Slide13

And the Peace that comes from God will be our protection from being distracted in what is happening to us- even our quarrel with unbeliever or fellow believers. And we will be able to bring back our focus on serving others and living for Jesus in this world.

And so – our identity in Jesus bring us to our vocation in sharing the Gospel and then bring us in communion intimate in prayer with the Lord-nothing is as important to remember this simple guide in our Christian life and vocation.

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