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Timothy and Epaphroditus

Do all things without murmuring and arguing, so that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, in which you shine like stars in the world. It is by your holding fast to the word of life that I can boast on the day of Christ that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. But even if I am being poured out as a libation over the sacrifice and the offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you— and in the same way you also must be glad and rejoice with me. I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I may be cheered by news of you. I have no one like him who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare. All of them are seeking their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. But Timothy’s worth you know, how like a son with a father he has served with me in the work of the gospel. I hope therefore to send him as soon as I see how things go with me; and I trust in the Lord that I will also come soon. Still, I think it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus—my brother and co-worker and fellow soldier, your messenger and minister to my need; for he has been longing for all of you, and has been distressed because you heard that he was ill. He was indeed so ill that he nearly died. But God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, so that I would not have one sorrow after another. I am the more eager to send him, therefore, in order that you may rejoice at seeing him again, and that I may be less anxious. Welcome him then in the Lord with all joy, and honor such people, because he came close to death for the work of Christ, risking his life to make up for those services that you could not give me. (Philippians 2:14-30, NRSV)

Have you ever had someone talk you up in a way that made you uncomfortable?

I wonder what Timothy and Epaphroditus thought about what Paul wrote. Did they like it? Did it make them a little concerned at how others might look at them? Did it make them go, “now I’m really not all that…”

But Paul was impressed by and proud of the fellow servants these 2 were and he lifted them up so that others might see them, not to give them glory but to show how we can live in the love that Christ has for all of us. Showing that love to others and helping them as Christ calls us to.

Timothy, Epaphroditus, and Paul gave of themselves so that others would see Christ.

Do we do the same?

 

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Seven Chosen to Serve

Now during those days, when the disciples were increasing in number, the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution of food. And the twelve called together the whole community of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should neglect the word of God in order to wait on tables.Therefore, friends, select from among yourselves seven men of good standing, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint to this task, while we, for our part, will devote ourselves to prayer and to serving the word.” What they said pleased the whole community, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, together with Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. They had these men stand before the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. The word of God continued to spread; the number of the disciples increased greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith. (Acts 6:1-7, NRSV)

The beginning of Deacons, word and service.

These 7 were chosen so the apostles could focus on the word of God and help all to understand what God has called us to. These 7 were chosen to serve the community.

And because of their service, the word of God continued to spread and many were added to the body of Christ.

How can we all serve the word of God and help others to see the love God has for all of the world?

 

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Servant

While Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside by themselves, and said to them on the way, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death; then they will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified; and on the third day he will be raised.” Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to him with her sons, and kneeling before him, she asked a favor of him. And he said to her, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Declare that these two sons of mine will sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.” But Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?” They said to him, “We are able.”He said to them, “You will indeed drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left, this is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.” When the ten heard it, they were angry with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:17-28, NRSV)

How many of us want to be a servant?

If we are honest, none of us probably want that. We would prefer to be served, to have someone else do the work. Now we probably all at some point would be bored of sitting around all the time and want to do something, but Jesus tells us here it is not about being served, but serving others.

You see, all of us who follow after Jesus will drink from the cup He drinks. But none of us get to chose where we sit, and we are all called to serve Jesus.

The way we serve Jesus is by serving others. We are called to give ourselves and the gifts He has given us to others. To not worry about our own needs but to see the needs of others and to give to them.

You see the Son of God came to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many. So we too must serve others.

So be a servant and follow after Jesus.

 

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haughty

As for those who in the present age are rich, command them not to be haughty, or to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but rather on God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share, thus storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life that really is life. (1 Timothy 6:17-19, NRSV)

Do not be caught up in your possessions if you financially rich, because those things are not important.

Do good. Be rich in good works, let your generosity over flow in every part of your life and let God’s love over flow your world.

Life is lived in serving and loving others.

 

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who do you serve?

Therefore, do not let sin exercise dominion in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. No longer present your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and present your members to God as instruments of righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. What then? Should we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that you, having once been slaves of sin, have become obedient from the heart to the form of teaching to which you were entrusted, and that you, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to greater and greater iniquity, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness for sanctification. When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. So what advantage did you then get from the things of which you now are ashamed? The end of those things is death. But now that you have been freed from sin and enslaved to God, the advantage you get is sanctification. The end is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:12-23, NRSV)

Who do you serve?

Do you serve Sin?

Or do you serve God?

You see we are free to do what we want but also when God has set us free from the bondage of sin we are a dutiful servant of all, as Martin Luther said in On Christian Liberty “A Christian is a perfectly free lord of all, subject to none. A Christian is a perfectly dutiful servant of all, subject of all, subject to all.” We are either a slave to ourselves or sin or a slave of the most high God.

So be free in the life of grace that God has gifted you with, and let go of the sinfulness that was your life, and live as a servant to God.

 

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Serve

 

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serve

170304Why do the nations conspire, and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and his anointed, saying, “Let us burst their bonds asunder, and cast their cords from us.” He who sits in the heavens laughs; the LORD has them in derision. Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, “I have set my king on Zion, my holy hill.” I will tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to me, “You are my son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron, and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, with trembling kiss his feet, or he will be angry, and you will perish in the way; for his wrath is quickly kindled. Happy are all who take refuge in him. (Psalm 2, NRSV)

There are so many things in this world that draw us from God.

Money.

Rulers.

Country loyalty.

Love of self.

We need to remember what we heard on Wednesday, “Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return.” We are God’s creation, and we need to serve Him with fear and trembling. For He has made us to fulfill His mission and ministry here in this place. Serve God. For in that service, there is life.

 

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