Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants.  (26)  For he longed after you all, and was full of heaviness, because that ye had heard that he had been sick.  (27)  For indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.  (28)  I sent him therefore the more carefully, that, when ye see him again, ye may rejoice, and that I may be the less sorrowful.  (29)  Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness; and hold such in reputation:  (30)  Because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me.
Philippians 2:25-30

Epaphroditus was not an apostle like Paul, nor was he a pastor like Timothy. We know nothing about his family, his history, or even his function in the ministry of Paul.  We know that his name means “belonging to Aphrodite”.  Aphrodite was the Greek goddess of love.  We know then that he probably lived in a strong Greek home but had come to Christ by faith.  We do know from this passage that He wanted to serve, and that he wanted to make incredible sacrifices for the cause of Christ.  The church at Philippi trusted him with the delivery of the gift to Paul in Rome.  Paul trusted Epaphroditus to take this letter to the Philippians.

5 Titles that Paul uses to describe Epaphroditus:

1. Brother.  (v.25)

 Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants.  Philippians 2:25

They were spiritual brothers because of their faith in Christ.  In some churches they refer to each other as “Brother” or “Sister”.  It is a title of endearment.  We are part of the family of God.

2. Companion in Labour. (v.25)

Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants.  Philippians 2:25

This title is used 13 times in the New Testament, and Paul uses it 12 times.  It highlighted the fact that they worked together.  The ministry cannot just happen by the pastor and staff.  It takes so many to make the ministry happen.

 

3.  Fellow Soldier. (v.25)

Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants.  Philippians 2:25

This term reminds us that we are in a battle against a real enemy.

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.  Ephesians 6:12

Those who are involved in ministry are on the front lines of the ministry.

4.  Messenger.

Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants.  Philippians 2:25

This is what Epaphroditus was doing.  He was a messenger with a gift from the church of Philippi to Paul.  He was about to be a messenger from Paul to the Philippians by taking this letter to them.

5.  He that ministered unto my wants.

Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants.  Philippians 2:25

He had come to bring that gift to Paul.  Yet in Paul’s mind, Epaphroditus was a gift in an of himself to Paul.  Since he was a humble servant of God, He was willing to help Paul in a personal way as well.  Even though Paul was free to receive visitors, he was under house arrest.  He must have run errands for Paul and done various other tasks for Paul outside of his home.  Certainly, they shared sweet fellowship and companionship, and Paul was obviously going to miss him being there.

While there with Paul, Epaphroditus became sick.  Word had gotten back somehow that Epaphroditus was sick.

Even though Paul had healed many people in the ministry, he did not heal Epaphroditus.  Why didn’t Paul heal Epaphroditus?

2 Timothy 4:20
Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick.

We make a big mistake if we think that what happened in the book of Acts normative for the rest of the church age.  This book is a transitional book.  As we go from the beginning of the book to the end, miracles become more and more rare.  Once the apostles had died and the canon of Scripture was complete, there was no more need for the sign gifts.

Not only did God show mercy to Epaphroditus through letting him live, He gave great mercy to Paul also by sparing him from such grief.

Paul commends them to greet, love and grow in respect for Epaphroditus.  Why?  Verse 30 tells us.

Because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me.  Philippians 2:30

Epaphroditus was willing to sacrifice.  He was willing to serve in obscurity. He was willing to give his time, his effort, and even his health to serve the Lord.

Are you willing to sacrifice your time? Are you willing to sacrifice your money?  Are you willing to sacrifice your resources for the cause of Christ?

Are we willing to risk everything for the cause of Christ?

Do you know Christ as your Savior?  Do you know for sure you are going to heaven when you die?  You can know for sure you are going to heaven and that your sins are forgiven!