"How are we to be an Example of Service?"

Over the past few weeks I have been going to physical therapy because I have been dealing with pain in my lower calf muscle. I like to run but because of this pain I am unable to. The therapist is doing ultra sound and grasting which is a technical word for scraping my muscles with this metal tool. It’s painful but it helps. You may be asking Matt, what in the world does this have to do with our lesson today? Every time I come in the therapist asks how are you doing? How is your progress coming along? Do you feel better? Have you been able to get back out there and run yet? He realizes that it does take time, and he has to do some painful things to get it better but more importantly he wants me to make progress and get better. This guy was so cool that he actually went running with me on Thursday morning to make sure it is improving. It’s like when you have a true friend ask you how are you doing lately? They are genuinely concerned about you.
Today this short passage that we are going to look at is that Paul is wanting to send his friend Timothy in order to get a progress report back on how this church is doing at Philippi, and to see how they are doing in their ministry. We need these check ups from time to time. We need a Timothy in our lives at times to come along side of us and ask the hard questions, and make sure we don’t wonder off and get away from the Lord. But to also encourage us. Do you have a friend like this? And are you being a friend like this to those around you?
So, let me give you a little background on Timothy:
In order to do this, let’s take a look at this passage from Acts.
Acts 16:1–12 ESV
Paul came also to Derbe and to Lystra. A disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek. He was well spoken of by the brothers at Lystra and Iconium. Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him, and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. As they went on their way through the cities, they delivered to them for observance the decisions that had been reached by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem. So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily. And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. So, setting sail from Troas, we made a direct voyage to Samothrace, and the following day to Neapolis, and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city some days.
Timothy’s name means, “one who honors God.” He was a native of a town called Lystra (Paul and Barnabas had visited there during their First Missionary Journey.) It is very possible that in that visit by gospel preachers to his hometown, Timothy heard and obeyed the gospel, having been raised to respond to God’s Word by his mother and grandmother. Paul apparently wanted to help develop this young man into a faithful Christian and gospel preacher, so Timothy became Paul’s “son in the faith.” The potential for maturity became a reality as Timothy became a close, trusted associate of the apostle Paul. And of great importance to Christians in Ephesus, Philippi, Corinth and other places. During a time of persecution Timothy is sent to Thessalonica to strengthen the believers in their faith (1 Thess. 3:1-3). He is sent to Macedonia from Ephesus with a similar mission (Acts 19:22). He is sent as Paul’s helper to bring teaching and edification to the troubled church in Corinth (1 Cor. 4:17-21). He is as we will look at today, sent to Philippi to get a progress report and bring news back to Paul.(Phil. 2:19; 4:15-16; Acts 18:5). He is also instructed how to appoint elders and deacons in the churches (1 Tim. 3). He accompanies Paul on his last trip to Jerusalem (Acts 20:4). He is as close to Paul as he can be, in Paul’s final days. This is one of the great friendships of the Bible. It is a wonderful picture of what serving is all about and how the older can lead the younger and how the younger can comfort the older.

1. We are to trust Christ in every area of our lives.

Philippians 2:19 ESV
I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I too may be cheered by news of you.
Philippians 2:24 ESV
and I trust in the Lord that shortly I myself will come also.
One of the things that I don’t want us to skip over here is that one of the things Paul begins with and ends with in verse 24 is the importance of trusting and hoping in the Lord. Paul’s hope is in the Lord. He is trusting God in every area of his life. Christ was Lord over Paul’s plans and he knew that whatever happened wether in life or death God had a plan for his life and Paul was trusting in that. In Philippians 1:14 we see that Paul tells us that him and most of the brothers have confidence in the Lord and are bold to speak about God and His word without fear.
Paul had a hope in the Lord Jesus, his hope and desire was to send Timothy to this church in Philippi to strengthen them, encourage them, check up on them but all of this was up to the Lord to make it happen. Paul was not going to operate independently of the Lord, so if the Lord’s will was that Timothy go then this would happen.
Today as you think about your relationship with Christ, and your serving the Lord, let me ask you is Jesus Lord over every area of your life? Again, remember that Paul and Timothy were not operating independently of Christ. They are not out there doing their own thing. They are listening to the Lord and are being guided by the Spirit.
Paul ends verse 24 here again by stating that his confidence is in the Lord. Jesus has been and will continue to be Lord over all his plans.
-Proverbs 16:9
Proverbs 16:9 ESV
The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.
-Proverbs 27:1
Proverbs 27:1 ESV
Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.
-James 4:13-16
James 4:13–16 ESV
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.
Paul’s joy is tied to knowing God and trusting His will. It was also tied to the Philippians and the progress of the gospel among them and not even his own welfare. I tell us this today because God knows the number of our days, He knows our plans, and He will directs our paths. The question for us today is will we lean into him and trust what He has for our lives? What area in your life today do you need to trust the Lord with?
-A Particular Habit or Addiction? Give me the strength to stop Lord.
-Relationships? Help me to trust you with my marriage Lord.
-Finances? God you are going to have to provide here Lord.
-Your Health? Or your Job?
Proverbs 3:5–6 ESV
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

2. We are to be like minded with other believers.

Philippians 2:20 ESV
For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare.
Paul is telling us here that he has no one like Timothy. There was “NO ONE” of the same spirit other than Timothy who will be genuinely concerned. Paul wants us to get to picture here that not everyone was same asTimothy. He was special, he was trusted and Paul could rely on him when needed the most. Do you have someone like this in your life? Do you have a friend that you can count on? Not just to hang out with, but also to be concerned for you when things get difficult.
What is so amazing about this phrase here is that the actual meaning “no one like him” means “same soul” or “like souled” with Peter. In other words, Peter is helping us to see that we need unity on the team. As we serve others and even serve together we need to have the same heartbeat. We should be like minded in that we see the importance of being a friendly church, reaching out and caring for those who are hurting or lost. We are to be a church that takes seriously prayer, and the teaching of God’s Word, evangelism, and missions. In all of these things we are to be like minded not doing our own things or seeking our own interests but doing these things to bring honor and glory to Jesus.

3. We are to be genuine!

Philippians 2:20 ESV
For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare.
Paul understands how Timothy acts and behaves. He know him well and he understands that Timothy will be truly concerned for the welfare of the people. Timothy was not a fake. He didn’t have a pretend love, he was not one way at home and another way at church. He was not a hypocrite. What Timothy was going for was genuine and sincere.
Church our faith, our love should be genuine.
In John chapter 12:4-6 we see this story of Judas.
John 12:4–6 ESV
But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it.
Judas was not genuine. He asked why the ointment was not sold and given to the poor? Verse 6 tells us not that he cared about the poor but because he was a thief. He didn’t genuinely care for the poor. He faked it for 3 years with Jesus.
Timothy here was not trying to impress anyone. He was a servant of the Lord and wanted to help Paul in areas that he could be used. He genuinely cared for the people there at Philippi.
How are we doing today church? Are we genuinely concerned about people that God has put around us. What about your family, your friends, or those you work with? Are we serving or doing things to make us look good? Or do we serve to bring honor and glory to God Almighty? In our day and age it can be easy for us to not be so genuine and people know when we are not. The church has too many false gospel workers, seeking their own interests. Seeking their own false gospel. What we need today is more genuine people seeking the interests of Christ Jesus.

4. We are to be concerned for others welfare.

Philippians 2:20–22 ESV
For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare. For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. But you know Timothy’s proven worth, how as a son with a father he has served with me in the gospel.
Paul has this plan to send Timothy to the church at Philippi. He is sending Timothy for himself so that he can hear how they are doing and for Timothy’s sake as well. Paul also writes about Timothy’s proven worth or his character. What we know about Timothy is that he had been tested in ministry and had demonstrated his devotion to the Lord and the gospel message.
-Timothy was a man who was spiritually mature.
-He was also a man who had integrity.
He was unlike others who would regularly seek their own interests or desires. Most people in our world today are consumed with their own lives and their own matters or worries. But Timothy and Paul were concerned about the things of Jesus Christ. They were concerned about the Philippians and how to care for them. We see this back in verses 3-4 of chapter 2. Look at these verses with me.
Philippians 2:3–4 ESV
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Are we concerned for others? Or do we find that we can be selfish and conceited at times. Paul tells us that we are to count others more significant than ourselves, not looking at our own interests but looking to help others. To love others, to serve others.
Timothy was truly a wonderful example of what a humble servant is all about. Maybe today, you need a Timothy in your life, however I want to challenge all of us to be a Timothy to others as well.
-Will we be someone who can go and share the good news?
-Will we be trustworthy in our character.
-Will we be men and women of integrity.
-Will we be people who are genuine and concerned about others who are hurting or struggling.
(Pray and Lead into Communion)
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