Philippians 2:17 Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all.
18 For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me.
19 But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state.
20 For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state.
Paul was not a fatalist. He loved life. He enjoyed serving the Lord. As we mentioned, he was writing from prison. He was trusting that he would be released one day. He also knew the hostility of the false teachers, and of the Roman soldiers.
Paul was willing to accept the possibility of being executed by the Romans. He just did not want to die for nothing. He did not want to die and not have given his life in faithful service to the Lord. The Philippian saints had a part in this. They could hear his words and respond obediently and thus be a testimony of true faith in the Lord. It is rewarding to know that a faithful servant of the Lord has some fruit that remains. That was Jesus’ desire for the saints in John 15. God does not want His children to waste time on fluff. He wants us to be faithful in the preaching and teaching of the Word. God’s Word is powerful. It will work in the hearts of the hearers.
Paul had already acknowledged the faith of the saints at Philippi. He also knew there seemed to be some tension there regarding unity. He was directed by God to give THE solution to this problem. It was humility and the mind of Christ. Now he is directed by God to motivate them further with the importance of honouring the Word of God through His faithful servant.
Paul wanted to finish his course faithfully. He wanted to be productive. He could handle death by execution if he knew that he had done all he could for God’s glory. He wanted the saints in Philippi to know God’s joy and peace. He wanted them to respond in obedience to the Word of the Lord.
In verse 18 we see that the joy Paul spoke of was reciprocal. He wanted to joy and rejoice with them all and he also wanted them to rejoice with him. He acknowledged that he had heard of their joy in the Lord. That was a blessing. When God’s people obey Him, that is praiseworthy. When they choose not to obey God, it is not praiseworthy.
Paul did not have access to the internet. He could not send off a text to the saints in Philippi to find out how they were doing. He did not have access to a phone either. He was hoping to send Timothy there shortly to hear how things were going there as well as to encourage them in the true faith.
We see again that we are social beings. We make friends. We want to know how our friends are doing. For the saved, there is a closeness that comes through faith in Jesus Christ. It is good to hear from the saints we know.
We see again God’s design for the local church. Those in the vicinity of the true local church need to be faithful in that church because they need the encouragement of others and others also need the encouragement of them. Those who are not faithful suggest that those in the church are not that important to them.
Paul had some freedom to receive visitors in prison in Rome. However, he did not forget the saints in different places where he had ministered. True Christians are not fly-by-night Christians. They have a genuine care for those God has brought across their path. Sometimes people get in the flesh and they choose to reject a godly pastor. They may have enjoyed his teaching and ministry at one time, but they get in the flesh and turn against the man. However, a godly pastor does not forget those God has led across his path. Even if he cannot meet them, he will pray for them. It is always good to be able to meet up with them from time to time. It is also good to hear how they are doing.
That was Paul’s desire here. That is how the love of God works in the heart of a true saint. Paul’s concern here was for the spiritual well being of the saints. It is always good to hear how a Christian is growing in the Lord.
Paul had a special relationship with Timothy. We read about that in Acts 16. Timothy became like a son in the faith to Paul. Timothy was a young man when Paul met him, and he had taken him under his care to train him in the work of the Lord. Timothy’s father seemed to be lacking in that area, and God had brought these two men together.
Timothy saw value in learning from Paul. He was saved as a young person and he wanted to grow in the Lord. Paul acknowledged that he did not have anyone who was as close to him as Timothy. They were of like mind. That likemindedness was in Christ. That was the likemindedness that Paul encouraged the saints in Philippi to have. Thus as Timothy would come to them, they would again be reminded of the blessing of that likemindedness.
Christians may not have many friends. A true friend is worth a lot. A true friend is not a back-stabber. A true friend sticks closer than a brother. Paul was willing to send Timothy to Philippi for a time so that he could hear of the good work of the Lord in Philippi.
Let me encourage each one reading this devotional to go to a good church today. Don’t neglect the blessing that God wants to give you today. If you are saved, be an encouragement to other saints in your local church. If you are not saved, get saved and begin to enjoy the blessings that God has in store for His saints.