Philippians 2:19-24 Living By Example, And Making Good Decisions.

Encouragement is important. This is one of the reasons for Paul writing, so that he could encourage his readers, but also that they might encourage him. For this reason he was sending Timothy, so that he could return to Paul with good news of their faith (v. 19). Timothy was of the same mind as Paul, as one who sincerely cared for them V. 20). He also had followed Paul’s doctrine and life, including the persecutions and suffering (Cf. II Tim. 3:10; I Cor. 4:17). Timothy was his fellow worker, but he also regarded him as a son in the faith (V. 22 Cf. Rom. 16:21). Apparently Paul found that most people seek out their own interests rather than Christ’s (v. 21). However, it wasn’t just Paul who could trust Timothy, one of the reasons Paul sent him was because his readers knew of his proven character as well (v. 22). Timothy both cared for the people, and also Christ’s interests as he served with Paul in the gospel. As such, Paul was also sending Timothy to the Philippians to remind them of how they should live. Timothy was helping Paul, so his going did depend on how well Paul could function on his own, but it was also still Paul’s hope that he could visit with them himself (vv. 23-24).

This passage reminds us how much we need co-workers in living faithfully for the Lord. This is no less true for those labouring in the preaching of the gospel. It is also important that those who we work with share the same attitude and purpose. First, they should share the same concern for the gospel, that Christ’s interest’s be placed first. Secondly, they should be people of proven character. Nothing is more detrimental to the furtherance of the gospel than a character that doesn’t match the message. This should include the same attitude of humble service for God’s glory. Finally, there must be a shared concern for people. There is some truth in the expression-people won’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. It is also important to note that the sending of Timothy not only depended on Paul’s situation, but also on God’s will. Paul adds this necessary qualifier-“I trust in the Lord,” which is another way of saying-“if it is the Lord’s will” (vv. 19, 24). This says a lot about how Paul made decisions. Overarching everything was God’s sovereign will, which must be acknowledged. However, under this he exercised the wisdom displayed in the points above.

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