“Yet I considered it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier, but your messenger and the one who ministered to my need”
Epaphroditus’ name occurs only twice in the Bible (2:25; 4:18), yet Paul chose him as a sterling example of someone who gave of himself.
“Yet I considered it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus”
Paul “sent” Timothy. Now Paul saw it necessary to “send” Epaphroditus. Paul was in the habit of sending people. He utilized people, multiplied people for ministry. Unleashing and facilitating people for ministry multiplies the cause of Christ.
“my brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier, but your messenger and the one who ministered to my need”
Now Paul turned to a five-fold description of Epaphroditus. Like Paul and Timothy, Epaphroditus was a man held as a shining example of someone to imitate. This is a thumbnail sketch of how the apostle viewed this man.
Paul viewed Epaphroditus as a companion from several perspectives. First, he was a brother. He had the same spiritual roots. That means God is our Father, Jesus our Savior, and the Holy Spirit, our Comforter at the moment we exercise faith in Christ. At the moment of conversion, we become children of God. God, the Father, is the Creator of all people, but He is not their Father. Only the Bible makes that distinction.
Paul saw Epaphroditus as a spiritual brother. That made their relationship distinct. There is a commonality among believers not found outside Christ. We are a family with family prerogatives. Our flabby age of unprecedented latitude says, “Everyone is your brother.” Our age loves to break down biblical distinctions. Yet the Bible talks about the sons of God and the sons of the Devil.
Paul viewed Epaphroditus primarily as a brother, not as a fellow churchman. Church connection was not what made this affinity. Christ was the bond that united them in the same spiritual league:
“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:26).
Fellow Christians are to be held in a unique place in our hearts as people bond together around Christ.
Do we view fellow Christians simply as acquaintances and other members of the human race, or do we picture them as family members who hold a special place in our hearts? Fellow Christians are to have a special place in our hearts because of our mutual connection to Christ.