“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”
The fourth portrait Paul presented of Epaphroditus was that he was “your messenger.”
“but your messenger”
Epaphroditus was the messenger of the church at Philippi to Paul. The word “messenger” in Greek is the word apostle. He was not an apostle of the Lord but an apostle of the church at Philippi. He was a representative of the church at Philippi to find the apostle Paul and help him.
Notice the only other place where Epaphroditus’ name occurs: “I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God” (4:18). This man was an ambassador of the local church to help a missionary in a difficult situation.
We are both representatives of the Lord and His church. The emphasis of one to the neglect of the other is an error. Some think that they are representatives of Christ but do not believe that they are representatives of the church. Their attitude is, “Let the church be hanged! Put the church on the shelf. It is no longer relevant in winning people for Christ.” They put almost everything before the ministry of the local church.
God has called us to be representatives of both the Lord and His church. To emphasize only one side of that truth is to distort the biblical perspective. We get off on a tangent if we do not highlight all aspects of that truth. Tending to all the truth keeps us from becoming lopsided. We will not limp on the right side or the left.
The balance of God’s truth is that God has called every believer to be a representative of the church as well as a representative of the Lord.
Are you involved in a local church ministry? In business dealings, do you view yourself as representing both the Lord Jesus and his local church?