Receive him then in the Lord with all joy, and hold men like him in high regard;Philippians 2:29(NASB)
However godly a group of believers may be there are often little areas of dissension or strife which may rise to the surface to discredit our Christian witness.. and in his letter to the Philippians, Paul addresses certain undercurrents of disunity, by exhorting Christians to live in the unity of spirit.. to adopt an attitude of gracious consideration towards one another - to be like-minded, selfless and sacrificial and to demonstrate brotherly affection towards each other.
Paul exhorts each one of us to esteem one another as better than ourselves, to consider one another's needs above our own and to be genuinely concerned about the interests and needs of our brothers and sisters in Christ. Indeed he points to the Lord Jesus as the perfect example of a life lived in gracious humility and godly self-sacrifice.. with a deep and genuine love for one another - a life that is lived to the glory of God.
But it was not only the Lord Jesus Whom Paul used to demonstrate the gracious selflessness and sacrificial attitude that believers are exhorted to display towards their fellow man.. Paul named Timothy, Epaphroditus and even himself as men that exhibited this same Christ-like attitude, which should be the outflow of all who are saved by grace through faith in Christ Jesus.
Epaphroditus was a brother in Christ who had been a blessed co-labourer with Paul and had become a great blessing and encouragement to him while he was in prison. Indeed we discover that this godly man, who also had a heart of love for the Philippian Christians became so ill during this time that he almost died. And so it was that Paul purposed to send Epaphroditus.. back to the Philippian church for mutual encouragement and to benefit to them all.
'Receive Your brother joyfully into Your company.. the sake of Christ,' was Paul's request to the church members at Philippi, “and hold men like him in high regard.' And in his letter to the Philippians, Paul cited Epaphroditus' self-sacrificial service to himself while he was in prison as an example of the Christ-like behaviour that we should all seek to emulate. Paul encouraged the Philippians to receive this servant of God with joy and honour and to hold such men in high esteem.' It is to the glory of Christ that these believers were exhorted to give honour to this brother in Christ.
Epaphroditus displayed the spirit of Christ in his self-sacrificial service to Paul and his love for the Philippian Christians.. and we should seek to live a similar self-sacrificial life.. not simply for the praise of others but to the glory of God. Let us seek to live in the unity of spirit and to display Christ-like consideration towards one another, through self-sacrificial service and gracious brotherly affection.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the examples of Paul, Timothy and Epaphroditus whose lives were spent in self-sacrificial service to others.. for the glory of God. I pray that all I do may be done for the benefit of others and to the glory of God - until Christ is seen in me, to His praise and glory, AMEN.