Sending Fellow Workers
* Review and Report on last week’s Walking Points questions and next steps. Thoughts? How did you do? Share any victories and/or struggles you may have had following through with your plan.
1. Read Philippians 2:19-30 twice. Write down any key ideas or phrases that catch your attention. What are the key principles you believe we ought to draw from this text? Why did you choose those principles?
2. What reasons does Paul give for sending Timothy and Epaphroditus?
3. How does Paul describe the character of each of them? What is the value to a Christian community to have men like Timothy and Epaphroditus ministering to them? What is it about them that makes them such good shepherds to God’s people?
4. What does it say about the Apostle Paul, according to verses 19 and 20, that he wanted to send Timothy to the Philippians? What can you deduce about Paul and his relationship with the Philippians from these two verses?
5. Timothy traveled much with the Apostle Paul. Read 1 Corinthians 4:17, 16:10; 1 Thessalonians 3:2. What sorts of ministry has Timothy done for Paul and the churches in the past? What does this tell us about Timothy and his reliability?
6. What might Timothy have learned from the Apostle Paul during his travels with him? What is the value of such an apprenticeship for ministry? Can you think of any modern-day versions of this sort of training?
7. In verse 21, Paul is comparing Timothy’s selfless love for others with those who lack such love. He’s showing that Timothy is truly exemplary in this way. Based on verse 21, whose interest is Timothy most concerned about?
Do you know anyone like Timothy? Many people talk a good game about caring for others, but few follow through. Timothy knew he may face some resistance in Philippi, but he was willing to go anyway. Look back at Paul’s words in Philippians 2:1-5 and list those attributes that describe Timothy.
8. In verse 25, Paul describes Epaphroditus in several ways. List them below and explain what Paul may have meant by each description. How was each description vital for Paul’s faith, life, and ministry?
9. Epaphroditus had come from Philippi to Paul with the gift of money as well as to care for Paul’s physical and spiritual needs on the Philippians’ behalf. However, while in Rome, Epaphroditus became very sick. Moreover, his concern for his loved ones back in Philippi added to his heartache. But God healed him. In what way did his healing bless the Apostle Paul (v. 27)?
List some of the ways the illness of a loved one impacts you? How do you think Paul was impacted?
What do you think the Philippians were going through, knowing that Epaphroditus was so sick? There was no phone service, texting, or anything of the like. How does the “waiting game” affect you while you wait to hear important news about a loved one?
10. What did Paul want to accomplish by sending Epaphroditus back to the Philippians? Why?
11. Even though the Apostle Paul wrote such verses as Romans 8:28 and surely trusted in the sovereignty and goodness of God, he still grieved over the illness of his friend, especially since Epaphroditus was so close to death. What does that teach us about the place of grieving in the life of a Christian?
Have you ever met a Christian who believed such grief revealed a lack of faith? Based on this lesson’s text, how would you attempt to guide them to think differently about such things?
12. Paul encouraged the Philippians to receive Epaphroditus in the Lord, with joy, and to honor him for the work of Christ he performed in his service to Paul. What might that look like?
Who do you know that needs to be honored in such a way? What is it about that person that made you think of them? What will you do this week to show such joyful honor to them?
13. A brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier are impressive accolades. These words show a depth of intimacy, support, care, and concern that Paul and Epaphroditus had for one another. Look up these verses: John 15:13-14; Proverbs 18:24; Ecclesiastes 4:9-10. What do these verses teach us about the value of such companionship?
Do you have anyone in your life who is “that person” for you? Are you “that person” for anyone else? Share a little about this relationship and how it resembles what Paul (and these other texts) are talking about? Why are these relationships especially important for our faith and ministries?