“Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons”
“Paul and Timothy”
There are two basic landmarks in an introduction: the addresser and the addressee. The above phrase identifies the addressers. The Holy Spirit (using human instruments) is the real author of Scripture.
Here were an old and a young man serving together. Timothy was a “vest pocket edition” of the Apostle Paul. This was a beautiful fellowship. An old man and a young man have nothing in common. Their desires, pursuits, and interests all differ. There was one thing they had in common—the Lord Jesus. Jesus Christ annihilates the distance that separates people.
They had a different cultural background from each other. Paul was a full-blooded Hebrew. Timothy was half Jew and half Gentile—he was a mongrel! He was neither Jew nor Gentile, fish nor fowl! Here these men were together; Jesus Christ made the difference.
They were poles apart in their education. Paul was brought up at the feet of Gamaliel (Acts 22:3). He had the equivalent of graduate training today. He was well trained, not like the original 12 who were fishermen. He wrote half of the New Testament. But there is no record of Timothy having a formal education. He had no scholastic standing whatever. Here they are, united in Christ. Only in Christ is there a common meeting ground.
“bondservants of Jesus Christ.”
Paul, as his custom was, set forth his relationship to Jesus Christ. There is no neutrality when it comes to Christ! He and Timothy were “bondservants of Jesus Christ.” In viewpoint they were slaves, given completely to Jesus Christ. There were 50 million slaves in the first century in the Roman Empire. A slave did not have the rights of an animal. Paul and Timothy had no rights: “We belong to Jesus—body, soul, and spirit. He can do anything he wants with us. We have relinquished our rights to our life. We belong to King Jesus.” That is where we find true liberty!
In 100 years from now, it will make very little difference where we stood in regards to the great men of our day. But in 100 years from now, it will be of utmost importance where we stand in reference to Jesus Christ. That will determine where we will be in eternity; it will demarcate how we lived our lives in time.
Are you interested in becoming a slave? To be a slave of Jesus is to possess a liberty no one else can own. We are already slaves: “Whosoever commits sin is the slave of sin” (John 8:34). It is not a question of slavery; it is a question about who we are a slave to—sin or Jesus Christ.
Paul concluded his brilliant career in a dungeon, and he was promoted to heaven by virtue of a guillotine—he was decapitated. This a thumbnail sketch of the erstwhile Saul of Tarsus. He gave his life to Christ unflinchingly.
We serve the King out of appreciation.
We belong to King Jesus by virtue of his death for us on the cross. We should serve him out of appreciation.
Are you serving yourself? Are you willing to give yourself unreservedly to Jesus Christ? Will you serve him out of gratitude?