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How to Treat Good (but Imperfect) People – Philippians 2:25-30 – Skip Heitzig


Hello and welcome
to this teaching from Skip Heitzig of
Calvary Albuquerque. We pray this message
strengthens your relationship with the Lord. And if it does, we’d
love to hear about it. Email us at
[email protected] And if you’d like to support
the ministry, financially, you can give online securely
at calvaryabq.org/give. Some of the greatest
people that you’ll meet are those who serve
diligently behind the scenes with no desire for
the lime light. But even the choicest servants
of God are not perfect. In the message, “How to Treat
Good but Imperfect People,” Skip shares Paul’s advice
on how to treat such people. Now, please turn in your Bible
to Philippians Chapter 2, as he begins. It’s great to be with you today. Would you please
turn in your Bibles to the book of
Philippians, Chapter 2. The New Testament Book
of Philippians, that’s the book we’ve been studying. We ask you to find a seat,
and keep that, and not be a distraction to people as
we study God’s word together out of Philippians Chapter 2. Let’s have a word of prayer. Father, we just want to– the next several minutes,
push distractions away, and focus on a very simple text
about a very unique individual. Lord, I pray that you would help
us to understand it, and not only understand the
words, but to apply the truths because what
we ultimately desire, what you ultimately desire,
is transformation, change. For us to change our thinking,
our attitude, and our behavior. So we pray, Lord, along
with understanding, you would give us the
power of your Holy Spirit for that to happen. In Jesus’ name. Amen. Well, in Philippians
Chapter 2, we read about a guy
named Epaphroditus. Now, that’s an unusual name. In fact, Epaphroditus at
first, sounds like a disease. You know, appendicitis,
diverticulitis. I have a bad case
of a Ephaphroditus. But Epaphroditus
was not a disease. He was a dear friend
of Paul the Apostle, who was also a servant of Paul. We’re introduced to him here
in Philippians Chapter 2, but he’s unknown to
most of us, and that’s because his name only shows
up twice in the Bible, and both of them are found
in the book of Philippians. But that brings up what I would
consider an important point. Some of God’s choicest
servants go unnoticed. They serve behind the scenes. They’re content to be active,
but behind the scenes. Their name isn’t in lights. It’s not on the bulletin. You’ve never read their
books or heard their music, but they are servants, and
they are important nonetheless. And Epaphroditus ideas
falls in that category. We would call him a layman. That is, he had no official
position in the church. He was not a deacon,
that we know. Or at least he wasn’t an elder. He wasn’t a pastor. But he was a friend and a
servant to Paul the Apostle. So if you have a
worship folder with you, you’ll notice that I am calling
this message “How to Treat Good but Imperfect People.” “How to Treat Good
but Imperfect People.” And what Paul is doing
is giving a good example of a greater principle. The good example
is Epaphroditus. The greater principle
is the principle of serving, loving, humility. He begins this thought at
the beginning of Chapter 2. He opens up the chapter by
saying if there is therefore, any consolation in Christ,
any comfort of his love, any fellowship of the
spirit, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having
the same love, the same mind. Let nothing be done through
selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind. Let each consider others
better than himself. Let each of you look out not
only for his own interests, but also for the
interest of others. That’s the first four
verses of the chapter. Now, that’s the principle. After giving the principle of
humility, lowliness of mind, he then gives us examples. And the first example
is the best example– Jesus Christ. So Verse 5 begins, let
this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus. Who being in the form of
God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but
made himself of no reputation. After that example, that is
in the next several verses, he uses example number
two of humility, and that is of his own
sacrificial service. He says down in Verse 17, if I
am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice
and service of your faith, I am glad, and I rejoice. Now, the readers who
are getting this letter hear that principle being spoken
of, and read about the two examples that are used– Jesus and Paul– and some might
be tempted to say, well, great. You just gave me two examples
I could never be like. Jesus is the Son of God. I know you told me
to be Christ-like. The problem is actually
being Christ-like. He’s Jesus, I’m not. And even Paul the Apostle,
good example, but unattainable. He’s that great apostle who
has done more for Christianity than probably anybody else. So they may be thinking as
they’re getting this letter, do you have anybody else
that I can relate to? And perhaps, Paul,
knowing that they would think that way after
listing Jesus as an example, and himself as an example,
he gives two more. Timothy is the first one,
we covered him last time, and Epaphroditus is the second. Verse 25 of
Philippians 2 begins, “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; since he was
longing for you all, and was distressed because you
had heard that he was sick. For indeed he was sick
almost unto death; but God had mercy on him,
and not only on him but on me also, lest I should
have sorrow upon sorrow. Therefore I sent him
the more eagerly, that when you see him
again you may rejoice, and I may be less sorrowful. Receive him therefore in
the Lord with all gladness, and hold such men in esteem;
because for the work of Christ he came close to death,
not regarding his life, to supply what was lacking
in your service toward me. Now, looking at this text,
what I want to do with you is show you some principles of
getting along with people. Treating other people. You’ll find this, I
think, helpful in treating people who are your
neighbors, your colleagues, other Christians
within the church, even members of your own family. Because one thing you
know about every family, there’s not just one
temperament per family. There is one temperament per
individual in that family. A few years ago, two counselors,
John Trent and Gary Smalley, did some seminars that
made its way into a book where they talked about
temperaments within a family, and they creatively linked
the family temperament to the temperament of certain
animals in the animal kingdom. So for example, they talked
about first, the lion temperament. The lion temperament,
they say, is the strong-hearted, determined,
resilient individual. Decisive, opinionated,
and usually loud. That’s the lion temperament. Then there is the
golden retriever– care-giving, compassionate. This one doesn’t
make any demands. You can unload on
the golden retriever. He’ll lie right down
there and understand. Next is the otter, the
fun loving kickback otter. Usually, this is the
youngest in the family. You know the otter. Aw man, it doesn’t
make any difference. You know my older
brother, he’ll handle it. Just go and see him. I’m kicking back, baby. This is no big deal. Fourth is the
hard-working beaver. Diligent, responsible,
organizing. Beavers don’t have one
briefcase, they have two. And they’re not the
slim, thin little ones. They’re the expandable ones
that look like small luggage, and they need dollies
to carry them. They know exactly
where they’re going. But you get a beaver and a
lion combination, and look out. Now, there are
different temperaments within the body of Christ
as well as within a family. And the principles you’re
going to see with me are principles in
treating other people, imperfect people, and
treating them well. Now, a few words
about Epaphroditus. Epaphroditus was a convert
of Paul the Apostles. Epaphroditus was a Gentile. That is he was not
a Jewish person. He was from the pagan
world of Philippi. His name gives it away. Epaphroditus, if you
were to Google that name, don’t even do that now, please. But if you were to
Google that name, they probably would say things
like charming, or lovely, or handsome, but
that’s a stretch from the original meaning
because Epaphroditus means beloved of Aphrodite. Anybody know who Aphrodite
is or remember the name? Ever heard of Aphrodite? The goddess of love, the Greek
goddess of love and fertility. The Roman equivalent was Venus. So Epaphroditus means
somebody who belongs to or who is favored by the
pagan goddess, Aphrodite. So he had a pagan
background, and he was saved on one of
Paul’s missionary journeys in Philippi when he
went to that city. Paul is in jail. As you know, he is in two-year
prison incarceration in Rome, which means he’s
under house arrest. He’s chained to a Roman soldier,
but people can come and go. So Epaphroditus
in Philippi hears about what’s
happening with Paul, and he volunteers to go to
Rome, and minister to Paul. Now, with that in mind, we’re
going to look at these verses, and I’m going to give these
principles in principle form, and then we’ll probe
down into the text. First of all, when
it comes to treating good, but imperfect
people, number one, acknowledge their strengths. Acknowledge their strength. You will notice in Verse
25 that Paul the Apostle writes no less than five titles
for his friend, Epaphroditus. Five strengths that
he lists, and it’s kind of written like
a crescendo, one on top of the other. So look at the first one. Yet I considered it necessary
to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother. That’s who he is, first
of all, my brother. Now, if you’re not getting
along with another Christian, you can at least
acknowledge this. That person is your
brother, your sister. In fact, this will help
you treat them well because if you look at
that brother or sister you’re not getting along
with, think this thought. I have to spend eternity
with that person. You mean I’m stuck
with you forever? Yeah, you are. And because of that,
it should behoove you to try to get along a
little bit better now before you get to eternity. Now, this whole
brother-sister thing was a new concept in
the ancient world. In the ancient world,
the Greeks thought they were better
than everybody else. The Greeks divided
the whole world into two classes,
Greek and barbarian. If you were not a Greek,
you’re a barbarian. The Romans divided the world
into Roman citizens and slaves or subjugated peoples. And if you weren’t
subjugated, you will be soon. That was their mentality. So they were divided by class,
they were divided ethnically, by race, and so there were
feelings of superiority. And into that
Greco-Roman culture comes the church,
which treats people who are saved at the same level. Doesn’t matter what your
background is, doesn’t matter how much money you
make, doesn’t matter if you’re a King, or a pauper,
doesn’t matter your ethnicity. You are a brother, you
are a sister in Christ, and I believe this
really is the answer to our polarized society. Instead of saying well,
there’s blacks, and Hispanics, and whites, or Democrats,
and Republicans. Listen, if you’re a
Christian, you’re my brother, you’re my sister. We’re in God’s family. In fact, you will notice
that sometimes you are closer to your
spiritual family than even your physical family. I know I’ve found that
to be true when I first came to know the Lord. I thought my parents
would be all excited that I’m born again. They weren’t. I thought at least my brothers
will think this is really cool. They didn’t There
was an alienation, and Jesus even promised
a man’s enemies will be those from his own household. So God has provided
a family for us to grow close to, to
walk true life with. Remember the time when
Jesus was teaching, and his actual brother,
and sisters, and mom came to see him, and Jesus
looked around the room, and said, who is my brother,
my sister, my mother? For whoever does the will
of my Father in heaven the same is my brother,
my sister, and my mother. So the first thing
he says is he, Epaphroditus, is my brother. Look at the second
title that he gives him. Fellow worker. Epaphroditus, my brother,
comma, fellow worker. OK, Epaphroditus went
all the way from Rome– excuse me, from
Philippi to Rome. That’s 800 miles. In ancient times that
was six week journey. He volunteered for the job. He volunteered to work
for Paul the Apostle. Now, I want you to turn to
Chapter 4 for just a moment, and look at the only
other verse that has Epaphroditus’s name
in it because we’re trying to construct a profile
of what this guy was like. Chapter 4 of
Philippians, Verse 14. Nevertheless, you have
done well, and that you shared in my distress. Now, you Philippians
know also that in the beginning of the gospel,
when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with
me concerning giving and receiving, but you only. For even in Thessaloniki, you
did send aid once and again for my necessities. In other words, nobody
else financially supported me on this
mission except you guys. You’ve done it again and again. Verse 17– not that
I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that
abounds to your account. Indeed, I have all and abound. I am full having received
from Epaphroditus the things sent from you,
a sweet smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice
well pleasing to God. You get the picture? He went on behalf of
the Philippian church with money and
supplies to help Paul while he was in that
incarceration in Rome, and to serve him personally,
and to serve alongside of him. He put his back to the work. Epaphroditus wasn’t like the
guy who said I like work, it fascinates me. I can watch it for hours. He actually said, Paul,
I’m here to serve. I’m here to work. Years ago, growing up,
before I had my own wheels, I used to hitchhike. So you’ve got to picture a long
haired kid in California trying to find his way to
different places, and I thought, thumbs are cool. You just stick it out and
people will give you a ride. One day it dawned on
me that we hitchhikers were in effect,
telling people this. You buy the car, you repair the
car, you pay for the insurance, you put gas in it, and
I’ll ride along for free. That’s my job. I get a free ride. You do all the work, and
if you get in an accident, you’re on your own, and
I’ll probably sue you. And so what Paul wants
the Philippines to know is Epaphroditus
came as a worker. He’s not a spiritual hitchhiker. He put his arm and his back to
work to serve alongside of him. So he calls him my
brother, and fellow worker. Third title he gives
him, fellow soldier. Now, when you hear
the term soldier, you ought to be
thinking of a battle, and that’s because the Christian
life is not a bed of roses. It is indeed, a battle. And when you’re in a
battle it’s great to have a friend with you. It’s great to have people
who will stand next to you. Especially for
Paul because if you know anything about Paul’s
journeys in the Book of Acts, you know that wherever Paul
went, that guy got in trouble. He was opposed wherever he went. He was beaten up several times. He was stoned. That is, he had
rocks thrown at him. He wasn’t stoned. We’re not in Colorado. We’re in an ancient world here. And he was thrown
in jail quite a bit. And I’ve often made
the joke that whenever Paul went to his city, his first
question is, where’s the jail? I need to know where I’m going
to spend the night tonight. Because he was always
getting in trouble, and that’s because he preached
boldly in the name of Jesus, and people didn’t
like his message. He was intelligent, he was
gracious, he was articulate, but he was bold. And when he was bold, and
got himself in trouble, it’s great to have fellow
soldiers who will say Paul, I’m in this battle with you. I’ll walk through
this battle with you. I’ll stand with you. And so when Paul
wrote to Timothy in Second Timothy
Chapter 2, Verse 3, he writes endure
suffering along with me as a good soldier
of Jesus Christ. Now, there’s an obvious
point to be made, and that is an
effective Christian will be a target of the devil. If somebody says well,
you know, I really don’t think about
the devil much. He never bothers me. That’s not a good
sign because the Bible says all who live
godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. Paul was right up at
the top of that list, and Paul was grateful
to have Timothy, and Epaphroditus
standing alongside of him in that battle. If you have somebody
in your life who stands with you
when things get rough, when you’re fighting
a spiritual battle, would you please acknowledge
them, and thank them? Thank them for that. One of my favorite scenes in
the movie The Gladiator is when the Roman soldiers
were in battle, and they’re shooting those
fiery arrows out at the enemy, and the enemy is shooting
the fiery arrows back at the Roman soldiers. But the Roman soldiers
had a very unique practice of locking their
shields together when the arrows are
being lobbed at them. So they would stand
against the arrows, and put their shields
a little bit aimed at the sky where the
arrows were falling, lock their shields together so
it formed a protective wall, and then they would march
forward singing songs. The songs were meant to
encourage and bolster the courage of the
fellow soldiers, but they would advance singing,
locking shields together. That’s a good picture of how
we ought to fight our battles. There are some people who
love to sing battle songs, but not get into the battle. Sing the songs, but then
get into the battle, and encourage one another as
Epaphroditus did for Paul. Paul acknowledges that. That’s one of his strengths. My brother, fellow
worker, fellow soldier. There’s a fourth description, a
force strength of Epaphroditus. Verse 25, but your messenger. Your messenger, it means your
ambassador, your delegate. The word apostellein, we get
the word apostle from that. Somebody set out on a task. So Epaphroditus volunteered
to be the guy set out by the Philippians to make a six
week, 800-mile journey to serve Paul. To be their messenger. There’s something
I’d like you to do. Next time a missionary
comes to town, and we have our missionaries
from the field come back during the year, they set up
a kiosk often in the foyer. Sometimes we’ll, on
a Wednesday night, bring them up, and pray for
them, and hear from them. Next time you see a
missionary back home, would you mind going up to
them, and just give them a good word of encouragement? Thank them for going to
the field on your behalf. You go on my behalf? Yes, on your behalf. You’re not there. You didn’t go. I didn’t go. So they’re sent
out by us, from us, and they’re out there in
very difficult situations. And it’s always great
when somebody acknowledges that they did that. You thank them for that. My dad was a fisherman. I mean, he was into fishing,
and he had his buddies, and he tried to get
us into fishing. And it’s like whatever,
I really wasn’t into it, and sorry if you’re a
fisherman, and you hear that. I’ve disappointed you, perhaps. But when they would
talk about fishing, man, they were just
so into where they would go hunting or fishing. Let’s say you are
a fisherman here. You’re really good at it. If I were to ask you, OK,
think of the best place you can think of in
your mind right now. Best place you’ve
ever gone fishing. You probably won’t say
Shady Lakes over here, although that’s a great
place for your family because they stock
it full of fish. You can throw your
little line in there, and get fish any
day of the week. But it’s probably
not your favorite. I’m going to hear something
probably like this– oh man, I know this place,
but it’s so far away, and it’s hard to get to. And once you get there, you’ve
got to hike in, and camp out, and it’s kind of
difficult, and dangerous. But man, the fish are hungry. That’s mission’s. That’s missions, willing to
go to another difficult place because the fish
are hungry there. So treat your ambassadors,
your messengers, with respect and love. Well, there’s a fifth that Paul
mentions about Epaphroditus, and that is also in verse 25. The one who
ministered to my need. Look at all five of them. Brother, fellow worker, fellow
soldier, your messenger, and the one who
ministered to my need. Paul isn’t just
throwing that in. He’s using a very particular
term here for ministered to my need. The word he uses is
the word leitourgos. We get the word
liturgy from that. It speaks about a sacred duty. Like a priest would
perform a sacerdotal duty, a sacred duty of a priest. So what the Apostle
Paul is doing with his friend and
brother, Epaphroditus, is taking his service,
and elevating it to the performance
of a sacred task. Now, I have a question for you. Have you done that
with your occupation? Do you go to work and
go, I hate my job. God, why do I have this job? Or do you go to the
job, and say I am here by divine appointment. God called me to this,
and I am embracing this as a calling of God to
discover what people he wants me to reach. When I used to work in
medicine and radiology, and I would share the gospel
with people when there were breaks, or we had time
to have discussions, I remember one guy came up
to me that I worked with and he said Skip, you ever
think about getting out of this thing, and getting
into full time ministry? And I remember I said
to him, let me let you in on a little secret. I am in full time
ministry right now. He said what do you mean? I said well, I’m talking to you. I’ve invited you to church. You won’t go to church. So I’m here right
now talking to you, and I see this is my
full time ministry. And I love that Paul does
that with Epaphroditus. Takes his service, his
ministry, and brings it up to the level of a sacred duty. Like the housewife who
had a sign above her sink that read divine
service rendered here three times daily. She saw that as a
calling from God to minister to her family a
sacred duty from the Lord. So all said, learn
to look at people through the lens of their
strengths, of their attributes, of their beneficial qualities. Don’t always notice
their faults. Start noticing their strengths. Now, I have to say something. This won’t come
naturally for some of us. For some of us, we
have been conditioned to be so negative that if
you put us in a situation, or we meet new people, we
immediately go negative. We pick out all the
faults, all the problems, all the reasons it can’t
be done, blah, blah, blah. So you need to be
trained by God’s grace, and hopefully, this message
will help a little bit. So start looking
for positive traits because you can find positive
traits in the worst people. So there was a woman who
always complimented everyone, and it drove her friend nuts. And one day her
friend said, you know, I think you would probably
even compliment the devil. And she thought about that and
said well, you’ve got to admit, he is persistent. So it can be done,
and Paul did it. He acknowledged his strengths. Here’s the second
principle in treating good, but imperfect people. Not only acknowledge
their strengths, accept their shortcomings. Accept their shortcomings. OK, let me tell you
what’s happening here because you read it. Epaphroditus makes an 800-mile
journey, six week journey, he comes to Rome. He gets sick, and the word
is a very strong word. It’s the same word used of
Lazarus when he got sick and died. Paul says Epaphroditus
almost died. So he comes and gets sick
either on the journey or while he is in Rome,
and Epaphroditus finds out that the Philippians found
out that he was sick. So when they found
out that he was sick, they got all distressed. Well, when Epaphroditus found
out that they found out, and that when they found
out they got distressed, he’s distressed because
they’re distressed. He’s anxious because
they’re anxious. He’s concerned because
they’re concerned. And so watch this, Verse 25. Yet I considered it necessary
to send it to you Epaphroditus. Epaphroditus came from Philippi. He’s sending him
back to Philippi. Verse 26– since he was
longing for you all, and was distressed because
you heard he was sick. Go down to verse 28. Therefore, I sent him the more
eagerly that when you see him, you may rejoice, and I
may be less sorrowful. Normally, when a guy gets
sick, and gets better, you just write a letter,
and say he’s better now. Don’t worry yourselves. He’s good. He’s healthy. Everything’s great. What Paul does, he goes,
I’m writing this letter, and you, Epaphroditus,
are taken aback. I’m sending you back. You stay back home. Why? Well, look at Verse 26
just once more time. He was longing for you all. The word means a
deep intense longing, a deep desire, a yearning for– so the new English
translation renders it he greatly missed all of you. Here’s what I
think is happening. I think that not
only did Epaphroditus get physically sick, he has
a bad case of homesickness as well. He’s yearning for them. He misses them. He misses home, and now he hears
that they’re distressed that he was distressed. He goes oh, he’s pining away. So Paul says you know,
I found it necessary just to send him back home. I’m sending him back to you. He’s coming back,
therefore receive him. Now, I see this as
Paul’s gracious attitude in overlooking a
young man’s weakness. He’s not making
a big deal of it. He’s honoring and
building him up, but he’s sending him back home. He’s yearning for you. I’m sending him back home. Now, follow me here. I believe Paul the
Apostle, himself, has grown in grace a little bit. What do I mean? Well, on his first
missionary journey, Paul and Barnabas
take a young man, Barnabas’ nephew
named John Mark. John Mark gets home sick,
runs back to Jerusalem. When they went to Pamphylia,
he goes I’m outta here. He goes back home. So when the journey’s done, and
Paul says you know, Barney– that’s Barnabas– we ought to go
back and visit all those places one more time, and see all those
people who made their decisions to follow Christ. And Barney goes
awesome, I’m going to take John Mark
my nephew, again. Paul goes, no you’re not. He left us the first trip. He flaked out one time. He is not going
back with us again. Well, an argument broke out
between Barney and Paul, and they went their
separate ways. That was then, this is now. Now we have Epaphroditus
who was longing for you all, and Paul says, I’m
sending him back home, but he does it very graciously. He makes it easier for
Epaphroditus to go back home. He does not say I’m sending
Epaphroditus, the wimp, back to you, the weasel, so he can
stay with you in Philippi, the guy who couldn’t cut it. He’s very gracious with him. He makes it easy for
him to go back home. There was a family,
and the kids decided to give dad, for his birthday, a
geological record of his family history. He had always wanted
to know who was relatives were in the past,
where he had come from. So the kids got
together and said, let’s give that gift to dad. They hired a biographer
to look in the records, and find out the
different family tree. Well, the biographer
came to the family, got the kids aside, and said
well, we have a problem. It seems that in
your family history, there’s this uncle George
who down in Alabama, killed somebody. He’s a murderer, and he
was sentenced to death by the electric chair. And they thought oh man, that’s
a blot on our family record. That’s the black
sheep of the family. We don’t want that in there. At the same time, that’s
part of our history. You have to write about it. So they said just go
ahead and include it. Well, when the biographer
was done, and presented the journal of the
family records, they were delighted in the
way he treated uncle George. He put it this way. Uncle George occupied
a chair of electronics at an important
government institution. He was attached to his position
with the strongest of ties, and his death came
as a real shock. Come on, you’ve got to
hand it to the biographer for adding a little
finesse, and grace to the story of Uncle George. Making the truth
a little easier. Now, you remember
that Paul the Apostle calls the church by the
title, the Body of Christ. And he said, the church
is like a human body. There are parts of it
that are noticeable. There are parts of it that you
don’t see, but are very vital. And so he writes this,
Verse Corinthians 12. Those parts of the body
that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and
those parts that we think are less honorable, we
treat with special honor. See, everybody has strengths,
and everybody has weaknesses. Everybody has assets,
everybody has deficits. Everyone is gifted in
some area, everyone is not gifted in other areas. But friendship flourishes at
the fountain of forgiveness, and when you can overlook
certain people’s faults and foibles, it goes a long way. That’s how you treat good,
but imperfect people. Acknowledge their strengths,
and accept their shortcomings. Let me give you a– please, go ahead. I’ll let you respond, sorry. [APPLAUSE] Let me give you a
third, and we’ll close. Affirm their sacrifice. Now watch Verse 27. Paul says for indeed,
or really, man, he was sick almost unto death,
but God had mercy on him. And not only on him, but
on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. Verse 29– receive him therefore
in the Lord with all gladness, and hold such men in esteem for
because of the work of Christ, he became– or he came close to
death, not regarding his life to supply
what was lacking in your service toward me. Now, consider
something for a moment. Paul the Apostle
says, I got a guy here with me who is working
with me who got really, really, really sick,
and he almost died. Really? A guy with Paul got sick? Paul the Apostle, the one
who moved in the miraculous. Paul the Apostle, the
one the Bible says had sweatbands taken from
him laid on sick people, and they got better? How do you get somebody
with Paul who’s sick? Because Christians get sick. Don’t ever think, well,
if you’re a child of God, and you have faith
in Jesus, you just get snapped on the forehead,
hallelujah, and you’re healed. That’s just weird. Epaphroditus got sick, and
he almost died, Paul said. He admitted it. And it wasn’t just
Epaphroditus, there was Timothy that Paul writes a
letter to and says, hey, I know you have
a stomach problem. Take some wine for it, which
was in antiquity, medicine. Take some medicine
for your stomach, not come to a healing service. If you have enough
faith, you’ll be healed. Just take medicine. So you’ve got Epaphroditus
and Timothy both got sick. Not only that, but
Trophimus the Ephesian, it says in Second
Timothy Chapter 4, Paul says, I left
him at Melita sick. So not only was he sick, Paul
left him sick, and walked away. So not only Timothy, not
only Epaphroditus, not only Trophimus, but
even Paul got sick. Paul talked about a thorn in the
flesh, Second Corinthians 12. And adversity, an
infirmity that he had. He said I prayed three times
that the Lord would remove it effectively. God said no because he said
my grace is all you need. And so he said I will then
glory in my infirmity. I’ll glory in my sickness. I won’t glory only
if I am healed of it, but godly people
can get sick too. It doesn’t mean you lack faith. Now, I will say I do not
understand physical healing. I love when it happens, but
if you ask me to give you a formula, I can’t. And if you say, well, you ought
to say just have enough faith, and you’ll be healed, I won’t
because that’s not biblical. I prayed for people
and I’ve watched them get healed before my
eyes on some occasions. I prayed for other
people and they got worse and died on other occasions. So this is what I know. God does want our faith,
and does engender our faith, but healing is according
to God’s sovereign plan and purpose period. So he was sick, and he affirms
that this guy sacrificed almost to the point of death. So verse 30, look at it. For the work of Christ
he came close to death, not regarding his life. The two words, not
regarding, is a word [GREEK].. I don’t expect you to
ever remember that word. It’s a Greek word that means
to throw the dice, to gamble, to bet on, to put all
of the chances upon. He’s saying Epaphroditus
placed his very life in danger, risking it all, putting
all of his chances on God. You might say a gambler for
God, and he made it all the way from Philippi to Rome. Got sick. I’m sending him
home, but you’ve got to affirm that he
made a sacrifice. And so Paul says
therefore, receive him– Verse 29– in the Lord
with all gladness. Receive him like Jesus
would receive him. And he says, hold such men
in esteem, those servants who sacrifice for the gospel. Respect them, admire them. Verse Thessalonians
5, Paul said respect those who work hard among you,
who are over you in the Lord, and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard
in love because of their work. We have a little
saying around here that we teach our
staff about honor. It goes like this. Honor up, honor down,
honor all around. So we want those above
you to be honored– your supervisors, your
bosses, the one who cast the vision, the
one who hired you. You honor them. You honor spiritual leaders,
but you also honor down. You don’t say I’m to be honored. You go no, how can I
honor and serve you? Those that you
give directions to, those who help out in a variety
of ways, you honor them. You affirm them. Honor up, honor down,
honor all around. The guest speaker,
honor the guest speaker. A guest musician, honor
the guest musician because it’s so easy to
overlook those who serve. Ushers, those who
take care of your kids in the Sunday School room,
people who smile at the doors, and walk you from the parking
lot, and the VIP treatment. The security, thank them. Don’t cop an attitude. No, you can’t look
in my backpack. None of your business. Yes, it is when you bring a
backpack into a group of people where you could hide
something dangerous in it. May I please see it? Don’t cop an attitude,
thank them, honor them. Affirmed their sacrifice. Listen, a pat on the back,
though only a few vertebrae removed from a
kick in the pants, is miles ahead in results. A few more pats on the
back for these volunteers, not kicks in the pants. So learn to be a servant,
learn to bless a servant. And let me just end by
saying to you no matter if you’re a lion, or
a golden retriever, or an otter, or a hardworking
beaver, on behalf of heaven, thank you. Thank you for serving God,
and serving God’s people, and being willing to take
time, and give to them, and help us all grow in the
grace and knowledge of Jesus. Thank you. Father, we thank you for your
great grace poured upon us. Thank you that we have the
opportunity to read your word. Thank you that we have the
opportunity to meet together. Thank you that we have such
great servants who serve you here, great worship leaders. People who are greeters, and
ushers, and security personnel, and people who watch over
children in the nursery, and in Sunday school,
teaching them lessons, doing it with joy,
impacting their lives. Thank you for the family
of God, the body of Christ. In Jesus’ name. And we all said, Amen. As the body of
Christ, it’s important that we treat each other well,
regardless of our blemishes, shortfalls, and quirks. Did this message encourage
you to change your response to your imperfect brothers
and sisters in Christ? Tell us about it. Email us at
[email protected] And just a reminder, you can
give financially to this work at Calvaryabq.org/give. Thank you for joining us for
this teaching from Skip Heitzig of Calvary, Albuquerque.

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3 thoughts on “How to Treat Good (but Imperfect) People – Philippians 2:25-30 – Skip Heitzig

  1. TY Lord for the message! I see bodies that are not healed on a daily basis; death all around. However, I've seen "Spirits" uplifted and healed!! Every Servant should be celebrated. To GOD be The Glory!!

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