Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Philippians Week 32-The Example of Epaphroditus

October 22, 2014

-"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort." (2 Corinthians 1:3-7)

Philippians 2:25

-Paul had already sent Timothy prior to his arrest to the region of Macedonia. (Acts 19:22)
-Paul returned to Philippi prior to his arrest in Jerusalem, and he took many individuals from the region of Macedonia with him to accompany him in his ministry. (Acts 20:1-6)

Verse 25
I have thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, and your messenger and minister to my need,
1. The Fellow Necessity

-"I have thought" (ἡγησάμην) is a mathematical term that refers to a well-reasoned conclusion, in much the same way that one would arrive at the solution to an equation through careful mathematical work.
-To be able to think in a careful way such as Paul was doing, wisdom and experience and required. (Exodus 18:1; Deuteronomy 1:13-15)
-To be able to think in a careful manner comes through wisdom and experience in truth. (Proverbs 15:28; Proverbs 16:23)
-Wisdom is gained through the fear of the Lord (Job 28:28; Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 9:10), a devotion of the Scriptures (Psalm 119:98; 2 Timothy 3:15; Psalm 119:30), the power of the Holy Spirit (Exodus 31:1-5; John 16:13) and ultimately salvation in Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 1:28-31 )
-Experience is gained through a lifetime of seeing the Lord work all things for His glory and our good. (Exodus 15:2; Psalm 28:14; Psalm 73:23-24)
-Throughout Scripture, men walked in the truth because of their deep intellectual reliance in the things of God in the supremacy of Christ. (Hebrews 11:24-27; Daniel 7:16-18; Joshua 24:15)
-Paul expressed the reason for this consideration in Philippians 2:26-28.
-Paul had both wisdom ministering to people through the power of the Spirit (1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 1:7), for he had walked with Christ (Galatians 2:20; Philippians 1:21) and relied fully on Him in terms of his intellect. (1 Corinthians 1:18-24)
-"Necessary" (ἀναγκαῖον) means "what is required by the condition of things."
-To know what is required by the condition of things means to be discerning. (Philippians 1:9-10; Colossians 2:8)
-To know what is required by the condition of things means to be knowledgeable. (Proverbs 2:1-5; Proverbs 18:15)
-Paul knew what was necessary for the Philippians because of his love for them.  (Philippians 1:6-7)
2. The Fellow Brother
-"Epaphroditus" means "charming; lovely", for it stems from the idea of belonging to Aphrodite.
-"Brother" (ἀδελφὸν) refers to the relationship of Paul with Epaphroditus.
-To be a brother means to be in the same family. (Genesis 4:1-2)
-To be a brother means to have the same progenitors. (Genesis 6:9-10; Exodus 6:20)
-To be a brother means to be related by blood. (Genesis 4:9-10)
-To be a brother means to have the same background. (Genesis 47:1-3)
-Paul frequently referred to individuals as his brothers in the Lord. (Colossians 4:15;
-Christians have the same Father. (Malachi 2:10; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 4:6)
-Christians are related to each other by the blood of Christ. (Ephesians 1:7; Hebrews 10:19-22)
-Christians have been born again by the same Spirit. (John 3:1-3; Titus 3:5)
-Christians are part of the same family--the family of God. (Galatians 6:10; 1 Timothy 3:15)
-Christians have the same background: they were once sinners who were condemned and unclean (John 3:18; Romans 3:23), who are now heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17; Galatians 4:7) saved solely by the imputed righteousness of Christ (1 Corinthians 1:30; 1 John 4:9) in justification by faith alone (Romans 3:20; Romans 3:28).
3. The Fellow Worker
-"Fellow worker" (συνεργὸν) refers to a loyal partnership and a shared synergy.
-Paul had many fellow workers in his ministry, such as Archippus (Colossians 4:17), Aristarchus (Acts 27:2), Barnabas (Acts 13:1-4), Carpus (2 Timothy 4:13), Erastus (Acts 19:22), Gaius (Acts 20:4), Luke (Colossians 4:14), Priscilla and Aquila (Acts 18:18) Urbane (Romans 16:2), Tertius (Romans 16:22)
-Junia (Romans 16:7), Onesimus (Philemon), Epaphras (Colossians 4:12) were fellow prisoners with Paul in Rome.
-Luke (Colossians 4:14), Demus (Philemon 1:24), Timothy (Philippians 1:1-2) were fellow workers present with Paul in Rome.
-To be a fellow worker means to work for the same master. (Matthew 6:24; Luke 16:13)
-To be a fellow worker means to do the same labor. (Acts 18:1-3; 1 Corinthians 9:14)
-Christ commands His disciples to do the work of God. (1 Corinthians 15:58; 1 Corinthians 16:10)
-The work of God is to rightly divide the Word of truth. (Acts 18:28; 2 Timothy 2:15)
-The work of God is to work in the task of spreading the message of the Gospel. (Matthew 9:38; John 4:35)
-We are to be loyal partners with fellow workers of the Lord. (Joshua 1:16-18; Ruth 1:16-17)
-Our combined efforts possess a synergy through the power of the Spirit of God. (Acts 14:24-28;  Acts 17:10-11)
-Our work of God will be rewarded by Christ when He returns (Isaiah 40:10; Revelation 22:12), just as Paul said. (2 Timothy 4:8)
4. The Fellow Soldier
-"Fellow soldier" (συστρατιώτην) refers to that of the comradeship of soldiers standing side by side in battle as they together face the onslaught of the enemy.
-A fellow soldier fought under the name of the same ruler. (2 Samuel 5:1-10; 2 Samuel 23:8)
-A fellow soldier served in the same war. (2 Chronicles 12:1-5)
-A fellow soldier faced the same enemy. (2 Chronicles 14:9-15)
-A fellow soldier fought with the same weapons. (Judges 20:16; 1 Chronicles 12:1-2)
-A fellow soldier fought with the same motivations. (2 Samuel 10:12; Nehemiah 4:14)
-A fellow soldier had to be surrounded by other soldiers during a battle in order to survive. (2 Samuel 11:14-17)
-The Lord is the Warrior who wins every battle. (Exodus 15:3; Revelation 17:14)
-Jesus Christ is the Commander of the Lord's army. (Numbers 31:6-7; Joshua 5:13-15)
-Jesus Christ is the King of the Lord's army. (Jeremiah 23:5; Revelation 19:11-14)
-The soldiers of God are called to fight the battles the Lord had commissioned them to fight. (Joshua 1:1-9; 1 Timothy 6:12)
-The soldiers of God face the enemies present in the devil (2 Corinthians 2:10-11; 1 Peter 5:8), spiritual powers of darkness (Ephesians 6:12-13), unbelievers (Ephesians 2:1-2), and indwelling sin. (Ephesians 4:17; Ephesians 5:8)
-The soldiers of God fight with the same offensive weapon: the Word of God through the Spirit of God. (Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12)
-The soldiers of God look to the victory that their Commander and King promises them (2 Corinthians 2:14; 1 Corinthians 15:57), for the soldiers of God will always conquer. (Romans 8:37; 1 John 5:4)
5. The Fellow Messenger
-"Messenger" (ἀπόστολον) refers to one who is dispatched with a particular message to a particular people. The word apostolos was used in secular Greek to refer to the ships in naval fleets sent out on mission or of cargo ships sent to deliver goods to a seaport.
-Epaphroditus was a native of Philippi who was their messenger. He was dispatched by the Philippians to send Paul their financial gift (Philippians 2:29-30), and he likely also served as their pastor, as well.
-A messenger would be commissioned by an individual to relay a given message. (Exodus 9:1; Mark 16:15)
-A messenger would be dispatched to herald news of what had occurred. (2 Samuel 18:19-23)
-A messenger would be very focused in ensuring he successfully relayed the news he was commissioned with. (2 Samuel 18:24-25; Proverbs 13:17)
-A messenger needed to be trustworthy in accurately reporting the message. (2 Samuel 18:28-32)
-A messenger would be dispatched to relay news of what would occur. (1 Kings 19:2; 2 Kings 5:10)
-To be a messenger of God was to be given His word to speak to a particular people. (Isaiah 6:8-9)
-To be a messenger of God was to be given a message to be proclaimed regardless of the reception by the audience. (Ezekiel 2:1-7)
-A messenger would be a forerunner of an individual who was to arrive. (Malachi 3:1; Mark 1:1-4)
-To be a messenger of God is to faithfully and fully relay the message of Scripture. (Deuteronomy 18:18; Acts 3:18-26)
-Like Epaphroditus, we are called to be messengers of God in the proclamation that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior. (Deuteronomy 6:4; Romans 10:9)
6. The Fellow Minister
-"Minister" (λειτουργὸν) refers to one performing priestly service. In Greek culture, it could also refer to those who performed philanthropic efforts for their cities, such as paying embassy expenses or putting on dramas for poets or putting up money for the training of local athletes.
-To be a minister in the Hebrew context meant to perform service sacred to God. (1 Samuel 12:24; Romans 7:6)
-To be a minister in the Hebrew context meant to be a priest of God. (Exodus 19:5-6; Exodus 30:30)
-To be a minister in the Hebrew context meant to offer right sacrifices to God. (Leviticus 14:9; Leviticus 14:19)
-To be a minister in the Greek context meant to contribute monetarily to a cause. (1 Chronicles 29:1-5)
-To be a minister in the Greek context meant that the individual would earn a reputation for doing good. (Proverbs 22:1; 1 Peter 2:12)
-To be a minister in the Greek context meant to do what best served the wellbeing of others.
-We are a kingdom of priests of God through Christ Jesus our King (Revelation 1:4-8).
-We are to offer acceptable sacrifices of worship and service to God. (Romans 12:1-2; Philippians 2:17-18)
-We are to give financially to causes of the Gospel. (1 Corinthians 16:2; 2 Corinthians 9:7)
-We are to have a reputation of doing good to the glory of God. (Matthew 5:16; John 15:8)
-We are to look well to the interests of others. (Philippians 2:1-4; Romans 15:1)
-"My need" specifies the capacity that Epaphroditus served the apostle Paul in.
-The Philippians had already sacrificially given to Paul's ministry before his imprisonment. (2 Corinthians 8:1-5)
-The apostle Paul's need in context was that of providing payments for the house in which he was incarcerated under guard, for he paid two years of rent during his imprisonment in Rome. (Acts 28:30-31)

-"At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them! But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen." (2 Timothy 4:16-18) 



Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Philippians Week 31-The Testimony of Timothy

October 15, 2014


-“Therefore when we could bear it no longer, we were willing to be left behind at Athens alone, and we sent Timothy, our brother and God's coworker in the gospel of Christ, to establish and exhort you in your faith, that no one be moved by these afflictions. For you yourselves know that we are destined for this. For when we were with you, we kept telling you beforehand that we were to suffer affliction, just as it has come to pass, and just as you know. For this reason, when I could bear it no longer, I sent to learn about your faith, for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and our labor would be in vain.” (1 Thessalonians 3:1-5 ESV)

-During the system of Roman trials in place during Paul’s day, defendants were summoned to appear before the court through due process. The praetor heard the preliminary hearing, and then proceeded with the four parts of a trial.
-The first part of a trial consisted of the plaintiff selecting a judge, the second part consisted of the plaintiff pressing his claims, the third part consisted of the judge rendering a verdict, and then the full trial would commence.
-A full Roman trial consisted of a public court being held, and the judge hearing oral arguments and reading written arguments until the court session ended, where he would render a verdict. At that point, the defendant and plaintiff could either accept the verdict, or pursue other options to try to get a different sentence.

Verse 22
But you know Timothy’s proven worth, how as a son with a father he has served with me in the gospel.
1. The Christian Worth

-“But you know” specifies that the Philippians already knew of Timothy and his character. Paul declared that Timothy’s testimony was public, as is the nature of all Christian testimony.
-Paul declared that Timothy was known already to the Philippians, for Timothy and the church at Philippi first met during Paul’s journey there. (Acts 16:1-11)
-The Philippians knew that Timothy had no guile in him, in contrast to those Paul had previously mentioned. (Philippians 1:15-17; Philippians 2:19-21)
-Scripture calls men and women of God to be public testimonies for Christ. (Matthew 5:14-16; Philippians 2:14-15)
-Scripture calls men and women of God to be without deceit and guile. (Jeremiah 9:5; John 1:47; Colossians 3:9)
-Scripture calls men and women to know and honor those who have been examples of faith in Christ. (1 Thessalonians 5:12; Philippians 2:29; 1 Timothy 5:17)
-“Proven worth” (δοκιμὴν) refers to the testing of a person’s character through suffering and adversity and hardship. It referred to the testing of precious metals in the fire. It is directly related to the phrase “work out” that Paul uses in verse 12 of chapter 2.
-To be of proven worthiness means to be tested by suffering. (Job 23:10; 1 Peter 1:7)
-To be of proven worthiness means to be tested by disparaging criticism. (Psalm 3:6; John 8:48-59)
-To be of proven worthiness means to be tested through the working out of one’s sanctification. (Lamentations 3:40; 1 Corinthians 9:27; 2 Corinthians 13:5)
-To be of proven worthiness means to have proof of one’s faithfulness to the Lord. (Psalm 26:5-7; 2 Corinthians 8:1-2)
-Timothy had already accompanied the apostle Paul during times of suffering. (Acts 16:16-24)
-Timothy had already accompanied the apostle Paul during times of confrontations with disparaging unbelief. (Acts 17:1-5; Acts 19:21-29)
-Timothy had already demonstrated how he was working out his sanctification. (Philippians 2:20; 1 Thessalonians 3:2)
-Timothy had already demonstrated his faithfulness to his Lord. (Romans 16:21; 1 Corinthians 16:10; 2 Timothy 3:15)
2. The Christian Son
-Paul described his relationship with Timothy “as a son with a father.”
-Timothy had no father that personally invested in his life, according to Scriptural accounts.
-Paul frequently referred to Timothy as his beloved son in the faith. (1 Corinthians 4:17; 1 Timothy 1:2; 2 Timothy 2:2)
-The love of a son for a father is to look to his father for guidance (John 4:34; John 6:38), and Timothy did so with Paul.
-The love of a son for a father is to look to his father for wisdom (Proverbs 4:20; Proverbs 5:1), and Timothy did so with Paul.
-The love of a son for a father moves the son to win his father’s commendation (John 17:5-6), and Timothy had Paul’s commendation.
-The love of a son for a father is to do his father’s business (Luke 2:49; John 8:29; John 9:4), and Timothy constantly helped Paul conduct his ministry. (Philippians 1:1-2; Colossians 1:1; 1 Thessalonians 1:1)
-The love of a father is that to care for his children’s souls (Genesis 18:19; Ephesians 6:4), and Paul likewise cared for Timothy’s soul. (1 Timothy 1:19-20; 1 Timothy 3:14-15)
-The love of a father is to instruct his children (Deuteronomy 4:9; Deuteronomy 11:29; Proverbs 22:6), and likewise Paul devoted much instruction to Timothy.
-The love of a father is to speak well of his son (Isaiah 42:1; Matthew 12:18), and Paul frequently spoke well of Timothy.
-The love of a father is to ensure that his son continues secure in the mission God has given to him, and Paul did so with Timothy.
-The example of Paul and Timothy mirrored the example of Jesus Christ and God the Father. (Matthew 3:17; John 3:35; John 5:20)
-We have been made sons of God through the Son of God. (Galatians 3:26; John 1:12; Romans 8:14)
-We enjoy the benefits of being heirs with Christ in the Kingdom that the Father has given to His Son. (Romans 8:17; Daniel 7:13-14; Luke 12:32)
3. The Christian Service
-“He has served” (ἐδούλευσεν) means to give over the prerogatives of personal authority and autonomy in order to serve a higher cause.
-To serve another means to surrender one’s own personal desires and aspirations in order to serve a greater cause. (Ruth 1:16; James 4:7)
-To serve another is to minister to another’s needs. (Philippians 2:25; 2 Timothy 1:16)
-To serve another is to be ready and willing to follow orders, as a soldier would with his commander. (Isaiah 30:21; John 8:47; John 10:27)
-To serve another means to be devoted to another. (Romans 12:10-13; Hebrews 13:1)
-To serve another means to be determined in achieving the goals of the person being served.  (Psalm 40:8; Psalm 123:2)
-Timothy helped minister to the needs of the apostle Paul. (2 Timothy 4:9; 2 Timothy 4:21)
-Timothy was ready and willing to do the bidding of Paul, for they both served the Lord Jesus Christ. (Joshua 24:15; 1 Timothy 1:12)
-Timothy was devoted to the apostolic ministry Paul had in the early church. (2 Timothy 3:10)
-Timothy was determined to meet Paul’s goals in ministry. (Hebrews 13:23)
-“In the gospel” specifies what Paul and Timothy served together in.
-Paul and Timothy both served the Lord, for they both had been called by God to serve Him. ( )
-The Gospel message made both of the men brothers in the Lord, as well as a son and father in the faith. (Romans 7:4; Galatians 5:13)
-The Gospel message (Romans 1:16-17) was the message that would withstand the political unrest (Psalm 2:1; Acts 4:25-26), rampant unbelief (Acts 17:16-21; Acts 28:23-24), and fierce persecution (Acts 16:22-24; Acts 20:1-3) that accompanied Paul and Timothy throughout their journeys together.
-Paul throughout his life preached the Gospel (Acts 14:14; Ephesians 6:19), and this was in obedience to the call God had placed on his life. (Acts 13:4-5; Acts 18:9-10)
-Timothy throughout his life preached the Gospel, for the Lord had called him to this task through the charge of the apostle Paul. (2 Timothy 4:1-2)

Verse 23
I hope therefore to send him just as soon as I see how it will go with me,
1. The Christian Action

-“I hope therefore” indicates that Paul was frequently hopeful in the Lord throughout this time in his life.
-We are called to hope in God, for God has the power to deliver us from the hand of the enemy. (2 Kings 17:39; Psalm 107:2; Psalm 143:9)
-We are called to hope in God, for God has the power to keep our souls secure until the day of Christ. (Romans 16:25-27; Jude 1:24-25)
-We are called to hope in God, for God alone has the power to sanctify us through His Spirit. (1 Thessalonians 5:23; 2 Thessalonians 2:13)
-We are called to hope in God, for Jesus Christ has given us the words of Life. (John 17:4-8)
-We are called to hope in the Lamb of God, for the Father has called us (John 6:44; John 6:65), the Son has redeemed us (Galatians 3:13-14; 2 Corinthians 5:21), the Spirit has sanctified us (1 Corinthians 6:11; Hebrews 13:12), and Jesus Christ will be victorious in establishing His Kingdom reign. (Revelation 17:14)
-Paul hoped in the Spirit that he would be delivered from harm. (Philippians 1:19-20)
-Paul hoped that Christ would keep His soul secure into bringing Him into His Kingdom. (2 Timothy 4:18)
-Paul hoped in God, for the Spirit was making all things new in his life. (John 3:3; 2 Corinthians 5:17)
-Paul hoped in God, because Christ had entrusted him with the words of life. (Acts 9:15-17; 1 Corinthians 11:23)
-“To send him” repeats the statement of Paul in verse 19.
-Whenever God commissioned men in Scripture to speak His Word, He always sent them to particular people. (Isaiah 6:8-9; Ezekiel 3:1-4; Matthew 28:18-20)
-The distance between Rome and Philippi was approximately 800 miles, and it would take one to two months for Timothy to reach the Philippians through land and sea travel. Timothy, commissioned by Paul, would now be sent to speak the Word of God to the Philippians.
2. The Christian Patience
-Throughout the letter to the Philippians, Paul was waiting for final judgment to be rendered on his case, as he says here with “just as soon as I see how it will go with me.”
-Scripture teaches that we are to wait for the Lord during times of trial and uncertainty. (Psalm 27:14; Psalm 33:18-21)
-Scripture teaches us to wait for the Lord during times of oppression and persecution. (Deuteronomy 23:39; Psalm 40:1)
-Scripture teaches us to wait for the Lord because the Lord is faithful to His promises. (Psalm 18:30; Psalm 25:3)
-Scripture teaches us to wait for the Lord because the Lord’s word stands forever. (Psalm 119:74; Psalm 130:5)
-Scripture teaches us to wait for the Lord because the Lord will be faithful to deliver us. (Psalm 37:34; Isaiah 25:9)
-Paul had now been waiting for several years at this point, as he first was captured by angry Jews in Jerusalem on false charges (Acts 21:27-28), on trial multiple times (Acts 23:1; Acts 24:1; Acts 26:1-2), and now was in house arrest in Rome.
-Paul’s life had been attempted more than once during this ordeal of waiting to see what would result. (Acts 21:31; Acts 22:22; Acts 23:12)
-Paul had implicit trust in the promises of God during his life. (Romans 15:8-9; 2 Corinthians 1:20)
-Paul had the faith that God would deliver Him from all eternal harm. (Isaiah 49:7; 1 Corinthians 1:9)
-During this period of uncertainty, Timothy’s testimony served as a source of joy for the apostle Paul.

Verse 24
and I trust in the Lord that shortly I myself will come also.
1. The Christian Trust

-“Trust” (πέποιθα) means to be fully persuaded that God is working out all things according to His own will. It has the connotations of complete confidence, unyielding trust, and unshakable hope. It is in the perfect tense, meaning Paul had already come to trust in the past, which had ongoing affects in his future.
-To trust means to place your confidence in the capability of an individual. (Psalm 20:7; Psalm 33:17)
-To trust means to place your assured expectation in the words of an individual. (Psalm 119:42; Psalm 143:8)
-To trust means to place your future in the power of an individual. (Isaiah 31:1; Psalm 118:8)
-To trust means to pass the point of no return in terms of placing your confidence in an individual. (Judges 6: Nehemiah 4:12-14)
-To trust means to plan for an expected outcome based on the persona of an individual. (2 Kings 18:21; Psalm 31:14)
-“In the Lord” specifies the Person of Paul’s object of trust.
-Scripture repeatedly encourages God’s people to trust in the Lord. (Psalm 37:5-6; Proverbs 3:5-6)
-The Lord holds our future secure in His hands, for He knows us and loves us. (Isaiah 46:10; 1 Chronicles 16:34)
-We place our hopes and our expectations into the hands of the Lord Jesus, for God works all things together for good. (Nahum 1:7; Romans 8:28)
-We must give our complete confidence to the Lord (Psalm 141:8), for the Lord is the only One who has the divine nature and supreme power to accomplish His Word (Isaiah 14:24; Isaiah 16:10), and the human nature to sympathize with us in our weaknesses. (Hebrews 2:18; Hebrews 4:15)
2. The Christian Reunion
-Paul’s trust in the Lord moved him to plan for action, for he trusted that “shortly I myself will come also.”
-Paul’s trust in the Lord would not be shaken if he was not released, for he had already expressed that his trust was based in the person of Christ, not the circumstances of Paul. (Philippians 1:19-26)
-The apostles frequently expressed that they wanted very much to be reunited with those whom they were discipling. (1 Thessalonians 2:17; 1 Thessalonians 3:10)
-No greater joy can be had in the life of believers than to be reunited with our brothers and sisters in the faith as we await the return of our Lord. (John 3:29; 2 John 1:12)
-We also await the return of our Lord with eagerness and hope. (Philippians 3:20; Revelation 22:7)
-One day, we will be reunited with Christ and we will see Him face to face. (Revelation 22:20)

-“For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God, as we pray most earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith? Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.” (1 Thessalonians 3:9-13 ESV)



Thursday, October 09, 2014

Philippians Week 30-The Concern of Timothy

October 8, 2014

-“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.” (Isaiah 52:7)

-The Romans constructed an impressive system of roads throughout the Roman Empire. The Romans surveyed the land, built stone-paved roads with drainage ditches. These roads led to much easier travel for travelers, businessmen, and armies throughout the Empire. The missionaries of the early church would have been much assisted in travelling by taking these roads.
-The Romans had many vehicles for travelling. Chariots, horseback, carriages, carts, and foot traffic comprised the most common forms of land travel. It would have been through these means that Paul and the other apostles would have traveled throughout the Roman Empire by land.
-Philippi itself lay on the Egnation Road, for those travelling by land. For those travelling by sea, Philippi was 9 miles northwest of Neapolis, which served as the seaport for the region.

Philippians 2:19-21

Verse 19
I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I too may be cheered by news of you.

1. The Christian Hope

-“I hope” (Ἐλπίζω) means to anticipate with expectation.
-Paul now purposed to offer a word of encouragement to the Philippians against the backdrop of presenting the theme of the joyful sacrifices of salvation.
-To hope means to have an expectation of a certain result. (Luke 6:34; Luke 23:8; Acts 24:26)
-To hope means to place certain trust in the object of the hope. (Psalm 146:3; Jeremiah 17:5)
-By the very nature of hope, men rejoice in what they perceive to be the reliable security of their deliverance. (Isaiah 36:6; Luke 12:19-21)
-Those who hope in their own wisdom or might or resources or desires will come to painfully understand that reliable and secure hope does not rest in these things. (Proverbs 11:7; Jeremiah 9:23-24)
-“In the Lord Jesus” specifies the object and foundation of the apostle’s hope.
-In Scripture, the Old Testament saints frequently expressed repeated hope in the Lord. (Psalm 39:7; Psalm 71:1-6)
-To hope in the Lord means to trust the Lord’s providence in the midst of our circumstances. (Psalm 43; Psalm 71:1-6)
-To hope in the Lord produces a spirit of joyful expectation and anticipation. (Psalm 71:14; Proverbs 10:28)
-Paul hoped in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 12:21), for Christ had redeemed him (Colossians 1:25-28), and this hope caused him to persevere (Romans 5:3-5) even in the face of death itself (2 Corinthians 1:8-11; Philippians 1:20) as he spoke boldly about Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 3:11-18)
2. The Christian Messenger
-Paul’s hope prompted him into action, and the action was to send Timothy to the Philippians for their progress and joy in the faith.
-Paul most likely encountered Timothy in Acts 14, where he and Barnabas were thought as incarnate gods (Acts 14:8-11). They immediately denied this, and the crowd turned on them because of the Jews and had Paul stoned to the point of death. (Acts 14:19) But afterwards, Paul miraculously recovered and continued to strengthen the church by preaching the Gospel (v. 21), strengthening the disciples (v. 22), and appointing elders for them in the churches. (v. 23)
-Timothy came to Christ through the teaching of the apostle Paul (1 Corinthians 4:17, 1 Timothy 1:2, 1 Timothy 1:8).
-Timothy was both Jew and Gentile by birth, and his mother and grandmother had faithfully taught him the Old Testament Scriptures since his youth. (2 Timothy 1:5; 2 Timothy 3:15)
-Paul dearly loved Timothy as his son in the faith (1 Timothy 1:2; 2 Timothy 1:2; Romans 16:21), and he invested a great deal of his life and ministry into Timothy.
-Paul introduced Timothy in the letter in the greeting, for Timothy was currently with him in Rome at the time. (Philippians 1:1-2)
-Timothy had accompanied Paul into Corinth (Acts 18:5), and had been sent by Paul into the Macedonian region (Acts 1922).
-Timothy had helped Paul write Romans (Romans 16:21), 2 Corinthians (2 Corinthians 1:1), Colossians (Colossians 1:1), 1 and 2 Thessalonians (1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:1), Philippians (Philippians 1:1), Colossians (1:1), and Philemon (Philemon 1:1), where he most likely served as Paul’s secretary to write his words down.
3. The Christian Congregation
-“I too may be cheered” (κἀγὼ εὐψυχῶ) specified Paul’s motivation in sending Timothy to the Philippians.
-Paul had founded the church at Philippi when Luke, Timothy, and Silas accompanied him. (Acts 16:11-15) The congregation at Philippi had now existed for approximately 10-12 years at this point.
-The Philippians had already suffered at this point, and their suffering was affecting their financial wellbeing. (2 Corinthians 8:1-4)
-Just as Paul was giving the Philippians news of himself (Philippians 1:12-18), so he earnestly desired to hear news of them, for he constantly remembered them (Philippians 1:3), prayed joyfully for them (v. 4), held them all dear to his heart (v. 7), for they would be completed by the work of Christ (v. 6) through the fruits of righteousness He gave to them (v. 10).
-Paul would have desired to hear news that the Philippians were unified in mind and purpose (Philippians 2:1-2), avoiding selfish motivations (v. 3), and considering others better than themselves (v. 4) He would have desired that the Philippians were looking to the example of Christ, who while being God did not count equality within the Godhead something to be seized by force (v. 5), and emptied Himself of the manifest display of His glory and His Kingly prerogatives in Heaven (v. 6), and took on the form of a humble human being (v. 7), who was obedient to the Father’s will by dying on the Cross (v. 8) Therefore, the Father has so exalted the Son that Jesus Christ is known as the Lord God who is above all other names (v. 9), so that all men and powers will bow their knee to Him and confess that He is Lord to the Father’s glory. (v 10-11).
-The news that Paul also would have desired to hear would be that the Philippians were working out their salvation (Philippians 2:12), as God was supremely and sufficiently sanctifying them (v. 13), so that they might abstain from grumbling and disputing (v. 14), as they walked blamelessly in the world (v. 15) while they held fast to the word of life (v. 16).

Verse 20
For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare.

1. The Christian Testimony

-The NASB includes the phrase “of kindred spirit”, while the KJV includes the term “likeminded”. “Likeminded” (ἰσόψυχον) literally means “equal in soul”, and denotes the idea of having the same purpose of mind and the same resolve in spirit.
-Paul now clarifies why he was sending Timothy in particular to the Philippians, so that they might know of him who was sent to them. Paul had many individuals who partnered with him in the faith, such as Barnabas, Silas, Luke, Titus, Epaphroditus, Philemon, but he upheld Timothy as the supreme example of service.
-During the writing of Philippians, Luke was present the entire time in Rome. (Acts 28:30-31)
-Paul held forth Timothy as the foremost example of his partners in ministry, for Timothy had already ministered in Corinth (1 Corinthians 4:17) and Thessalonica (1 Thessalonians 3:2), and would later serve in Ephesus (1 Timothy 1:3-4).
-To have a kindred spirit with an individual is to be allied with that individual in the same allegiances. (1 Kings 20:32-33)
-To have a kindred spirit with an individual is to have the same object of worship and devotion as that individual. (Ruth 1:16-17)
-To have a kindred spirit with an individual is to have the same vision in life as that individual. (Psalm 71:10-11; Matthew 27:1)
-To have a kindred spirit with an individual is to share the bond of brotherhood with those who are fellow laborers in the Lord’s harvest. (Psalm 133:1; Hebrews 13:1)
-Timothy was a kindred spirit of Paul because he and Paul both served the Lord Jesus Christ (Proverbs 17:17; Philippians 1:1).
-Timothy was a kindred spirit of Paul because they had the same allegiance to the same Lord. (Psalm 28:7; Philippians 2:9-11)
-Timothy was a kindred spirit of Paul because he had been given the same vision as did Paul. (Isaiah 43:9-11; Matthew 28:16-20)
-Timothy was a kindred spirit of Paul because Paul served as his spiritual father. (1 Corinthians 4:16-17)
2. The Christian Concern
-“Genuinely” (γνησίως) means to be genuine, to be honorable, to be sincere, and to be truthful. It literally means to be legitimately born.
-To be honorable means to be of sound character. (Proverbs 22:1; Ecclesiastes 7:1)
-To be honorable means to evidence the fruits of redemption before men. (Matthew 7:16; John 15:8)
-To be honorable means to be earnestly striving to be worthy of God’s calling. (Philippians 1:27; Ephesians 4:1)
-To be sincere means to have transparent motivations. (2 Corinthians 8:8; Ephesians 6:24)
-To be sincere means to be without hidden deceptions in character. (2 Corinthians 5:11; 1 Thessalonians 2:3)
-To be sincere means to be a model of good works to other believers. (Titus 2:7; 1 Timothy 4:12)
-To be truthful means to handle the Word of God with complete fidelity. (2 Corinthians 4:2)
-To be truthful means to be courageous in standing for Christ. (Philippians 1:28; Colossians 1:23; Ephesians 6:11)
-To be truthful means to tell the truth. (Psalm 25:5; John 8:31-32)
-“Concerned” (μεριμνήσει) most often has the negative context of distraction and anxiety in Scripture, but here it refers to the thoughtful care that looks out for someone or something. Paul specifies that it is the “welfare” of the Philippians Timothy was carefully and thoughtfully looking to.
-To be concerned biblically means to be caring to those whom have been entrusted to you. (John 21:17; 1 Peter 5:2)
-To be concerned properly means to be able to guide believers in the ways of the Lord. (Proverbs 11:3; Luke 1:3)
-To be concerned means to be able to wisely assess the current spiritual state of things. (1 Chronicles 12:32)
-To be concerned means to be able to be able to offer needed correction. (Galatians 6:1; 2 Timothy 2:25)
-To be concerned means to be a preacher of sound doctrine. (Titus 1:9; 2 Timothy 1:13)

Verse 21
For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.

1. The Christian Challenge

-“Seek” (ζητοῦσιν) here means to strive after a goal.
-To seek means to devote one’s focus to achieve a particular aim. (Psalm 78:34; Isaiah 26:9)
-To seek means to desire an object in one’s view. (Deuteronomy 4:29; Micah 2:2)
-To seek means to demand that one reach the mark sought for. (1 Kings 21:6-7; 1 Chronicles 16:11du)
-To seek after self-interests means to seek self-glorification. (John 7:18)
-To seek after self-interests is to draw attention to oneself and away from the Savior. (Philippians 1:17; Isaiah 29:13)
-To seek after self-interests is to strive after personal gain rather than seeking Christ. (Psalm 127:1; Psalm 9:10)
-To seek after self-interests is to make living for oneself the highest form of gain. (1 Corinthians 15:32)
-Paul had already expressed the challenge of living with people who only sought their own interests. (Philippians 1:18)
-Men who live for themselves have no thought for the welfare of others. (1 Timothy 5:8)
2. The Christian Focus
-Paul stated that to be pursuing one’s own interests were to be running from the interests of Christ. Paul upheld Timothy as a man who could care for the Philippians welfare, because Timothy was single-mindedly focused on the Lord’s interests.
-The Lord’s interests are that His people be zealous for good works. (Titus 2:14; Hebrews 9:14)
-The Lord’s interests are that His people stay strong in the midst of suffering. (Psalm 119:25; 2 Timothy 2:3)
-The Lord’s interests are that His people hope joyfully in Him. (Psalm 147:11; 1 Peter 1:3-6)
-The Lord’s interests are that His people be unified together. (Philippians 2:2; Colossians 3:14)
-The Lord’s interests are that His people proclaim the message of the Gospel to all nations. (Mark 16:15; Acts 10:42)
-The Lord’s interests are that His people renew their minds through the Word of life. (John 8:12; James 4:8)
-The Lord’s interests are that His people proclaim His Lordship in all the kingdoms of the earth. (Colossians 1:18; Revelation 19:16)

-“Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples! Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works! Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice! Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually! Remember the wondrous works that he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he uttered, O offspring of Abraham, his servant, children of Jacob, his chosen ones!” (Psalm 105:1-6 ESV)



Thursday, October 02, 2014

Philippians Week 29-The Joyful Sacrifices of Salvation

October 1, 2014


-“I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another. I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another. But on some points I have written to you very boldly by way of reminder, because of the grace given me by God to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:14-16)

Philippians 2:17-18

-Paul suffered much for the sake of Christ, and his epistle to the Philippians speaks to the power of the Gospel in the supremacy of Jesus Christ as Lord in the context of joy in the midst of suffering. He was suffering uncertainty in whether he would live or die, he was suffering separation from the fellowship of those whom he dearly loved in the faith, and he was suffering the dissensions among the brothers envious in Rome about his growing recognition.
-Paul’s assertions in many places would indeed bring suffering upon himself and upon others, for confessing Jesus Christ as Lord would ultimately bring death to those who had received grace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Verse 17
Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all.

1. The Offering of Faith

-“I am to be poured out” (σπένδομαι) is a present indicative, describing a continuous state of being poured out.
-The first drink offering occurring in biblical history was Jacob’s drink offering in Genesis 35:9-15.
-God prescribed the daily mode of a drink offering in the Mosaic Covenant at Mount Sinai. (Exodus 29:39-41)
-The drink offering was to be offered by pouring out wine (Hosea 9:4) on top of a burnt offering. (Numbers 15:4-5)
-A lamb sacrifice required about one quart of wine for the drink offering (Numbers 15:4-5), a ram sacrifice required 1.5 quarts (Numbers 15:6), and a bull required 2 quarts. (Numbers 15:10)
-The drink offering was only to be offered using sanctified utensils made of pure gold (Exodus 37:16), and they were to be stored atop the table of the Bread of the Presence. (Numbers 4:7)
-Drink offerings were made to false gods in the days of the Israelites (Jeremiah 7:18; Jeremiah 19:13; Jeremiah 32:29), and they were also being made to the Greco-Roman gods of Paul’s day, as drink offerings were commonly prescribed in pagan sacrifices in the Roman world.
-The drink offerings prescribed in Scripture pointed to the day when the ultimate drink offering would be poured out for the forgiveness of sins. (Exodus 24:8; Luke 22:20; Jeremiah 31:31)
-In order for Paul to use the metaphor of a drink offering for his sacrificial service, he had to be set apart as holy by the Lord for His service. (Titus 2:11-14; Romans 1:1-7)
-Paul’s drink offering for the church was the devotion of his life in order to disciple others. (1 Corinthians 15:10; 2 Corinthians 11:22-30)

2. The Sacrifice of Faith
-“Sacrificial” (θυσίᾳ) is translated by the ESV as an adjective, and properly means to be a sacrifice ordained by God and therefore accepted by him. Other translations render this in the noun form.
-A sacrifice involved bringing an animal sacrifice and offering it before God as an acceptable act of worship (Genesis 31:54; Genesis 46:1; Exodus 10:25; or substitutionary atonement (Exodus 12:26-28)
-A sacrifice could only properly be performed by the priests of God (Leviticus 14:19-20), and only the prescribed sacrifices could be offered (Exodus 12:5; Leviticus 23:18-19).
-A sacrifice was to be public (1 Kings 8:4-5; 2 Chronicles 1:6) with full preparation (Leviticus 1:3-9) in full accord with the prescriptions of God as to the nature of the service acceptable to Him (Leviticus 5:10).
-Our service to the Lord is to be done in full accord with His prescribed will. (1 Peter 2:5)
-These sacrifices in the Old Testament were foreshadowing the sacrifice of the Lamb of God for the atonement of our sins. (1 Corinthians 5:7; 1 Peter 1:18-19)
-“Offering” (λειτουργίᾳ) refers to the service of the priests in the Old Covenant in offering sacrifices to God. It also is rendered “service” by other translations. Leitourgia is where “liturgy” is derived.
-The Old Covenant priests of Levi were to sacrifice offerings to the Lord as their acceptable service. (Hebrews 5:1; Hebrews 10:11)
-In the New Covenant, God has made all believers a kingdom of priests (Revelation 1:6; Revelation 5:10) to serve Jesus Christ, our Great High Priest. (Hebrews 4:14-16)
-The response to the sacrifice of Christ is to offer up a sacrificial offering of worship before Him as the Lamb of God. (Revelation 5:8-13; Romans 12:1-2)
-Our service for God is to work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12-13), to be blameless and innocent in the world (Philippians 2:14-15), and to hold to the word of life of salvation (Philippians 2:16).

3. The Gladness of Paul
-“Glad” (χαίρω) is the idea of being joyful in the grace of God. It is a present indicative, describing Paul’s present state of mind.
-In the nation of Israel, the people were exceedingly glad when they beheld their king. (1 Kings 1:38-40; 1 Chronicles 29:22; 2 Kings 11:12)
-The people of Israel gladly offered sacrifices in response to the dedication of the Lord’s work. (Nehemiah 12:43)
-Scripture tells us to be exceedingly glad in beholding the King of all kings (Psalm 149:1-2) and God of gods. (Joel 2:23)
-The Scripture also tells us to be exceedingly glad in holding to the words of life from God. “They that fear thee will be glad when they see me; because I have hoped in thy word.” (Psalm 119:74 KJV)
-Paul suffered much anguish in his life, such as false accusations (Acts 16:20), beatings (Acts 16; 21) imprisonments (Acts 16:23-24), rejection (2 Timothy 4:9-10), and anxiety (2 Corinthians 11:28).
-Paul was glad in the midst of the anguish he faced in his circumstances and uncertainties. (Philippians 1:18-19)
-Paul was glad in the midst of his sacrificial ministry because he had been dedicated for the Lord’s work. (Acts 9:15; 1 Corinthians 3:5; 1 Timothy 1:12)
-Paul was glad in the midst of suffering because he beheld Christ as King (1 Timothy 6:15) and Savior (1 Timothy 1:15; 2 Timothy 1:10) and Lord (Romans 10:11; Romans 14:9).
-Paul was glad because he held fast to the words of Scripture and the words the Lord had given him to proclaim. (Acts 28:30-31; Philippians 1:12-13; 2 Timothy 4:17)

4. The Joyfulness of Paul
-“Rejoice” (συνχαίρω) entails celebrating the grace and power of God collectively with believers, hence “…rejoice with you all.” It is a present indicative, describing Paul’s present state of action.
-Scripture speaks of the joy of those who have been delivered from all evil. (Psalm 14:7; Psalm 21:1; Psalm 35:9)
-Scripture speaks of the joy of those who have been shown the grace of God. (Habakkuk 3:18; Acts 11:22-24)
-Scripture speaks of the joy of those who saw the mighty deeds of the Lord. (Psalm 92:4; Psalm 104:31; Psalm 126:3)
-Scripture speaks of the joy of those who declared the glory of the Lord. (Psalm 28:7; Psalm 33:20-21; Psalm 105:3)
-Scripture speaks of the joy of those who have fellowship with the people of God as they look to the Lord. (Psalm 118:24-29)
-Paul rejoiced in his salvation. (Ephesians 1:15-21)
-Paul rejoiced in the grace of God working powerfully in his life. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
-Paul rejoiced in the proclamation of Christ Jesus as Lord. (Philippians 1:18)
-Paul rejoiced in the fellowship he had with dearly beloved believers. (Philippians 1:3-4)
-Paul rejoiced at the churches being faithful to the word of life. (Philippians 1:25)
-Paul rejoiced in hearing of the spiritual growth of his children in the faith. (Romans 16:19)

Verse 18
Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.
1. The Charge to Obey

-“Likewise” (αὐτὸ) is in the Greek manuscripts, as translated by the ESV. The phrase “I urge you” is not in the Greek manuscripts, but is rendered in some translations for clarity. Also, the phrase “in the same way” is not in the Greek manuscripts, but was inserted by some translators for emphasis.
-Paul now turned his attention to the Philippians by urging them to follow his example, just as he had done elsewhere. (Philippians 1:26; Philippians 1:29-30; Philippians 3:14-17)
-The apostle Paul wrote of his personal circumstances not only to update the Philippians about his life, but also to serve as an encouraging means of exhortation.
-Scripture gives examples of men and women of the faith so that we may walk faithfully in the faith once for all delivered to the saints. (Hebrews 11:32-39; Jude 1:3)
-Scripture exhorts those working out their salvation with fear and trembling to be look to the word of life as they are obedient to it. (Isaiah 66:1-2; Romans 15:4-7) “My flesh trembles in fear of you; I stand in awe of your laws. I have done what is righteous and just; do not leave me to my oppressors.” (Psalm 119:120-121 NIV)
-Scripture exhorts those proclaiming the Lord to stand firm in the day of assault of unbelieving criticism. (Deuteronomy 32:3; Psalm 42:10-11; Psalm 34:22)
-Scripture exhorts those suffering for the Lord to look to the Lord as they walk as He walked. (John 15:20-21; Revelation 2:1-3)
-Scripture exhorts us to obey the Lord as a rightful sacrifice of worship in response to His glory. (Jeremiah 33:10-11; Isaiah 57:18-19; Hebrews 13:15)
-Scripture points us to the one who was obedient to the point of death—even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:8; Hebrews 5:8; John 6:38)
-Scripture exhorts us to keep the Lord Jesus Christ always before us as we run our race with perseverance. (Hebrews 12:1-3)

2. The Call to Joy
-Following his example, Paul called the Philippians to be joyful in their behavior, just as he was.
-Scripture speaks of the honor that is rightfully due those who labor in the Word for others. (1 Corinthians 9:11; Galatians 6:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:12)
-Scripture speaks of the joy of those who have been redeemed. (Isaiah 35:10; Isaiah 51:11)
-Scripture speaks of the joy of those who have been given the words of life. (Jeremiah 15:16; Mark 4:16; Acts 17:11)
-Scripture speaks of the joy of those walking faithfully in the ways of the Lord. (Psalm 19:8; Psalm 119:46-47; Psalm 32:11)
-Scripture speaks of the joy of those who are suffering for righteousness. (Romans 5:3; James 1:2)
-Scripture speaks of the joy of those proclaiming the Lord as the name above all names. (Psalm 119:46; Matthew 10:18)
-The Philippians sought to honor Paul as their spiritual father and apostle of God. (Philippians 4:10; Philippians 4:14)
-The Philippians had received the joy of being saved by the grace of God. (Philippians 1:1-2)
-The Philippians had been given the words of life, for the Holy Spirit had revealed the word to them through Paul. (Philippians 2:16)
-The Philippians had been walking faithfully in the ways of the Lord. (Philippians 2:13)
-The Philippians were suffering for the sake of righteousness. (Philippians 1:29-30)
-The Philippians were called to proclaim Christ as Lord above all other names. (Philippians 2:9-11)
3. The Rejoicing of All
-Scriptures speaks of those who rejoice at their great salvation. (Psalm 13:5)
-Scripture speaks of those who rejoice at hearing the words of life. (Nehemiah 12:43)
-Scripture speaks of those who rejoice in the victory of the Lord over darkness. (Psalm 118:15)
-Scripture speaks of those who rejoice at the sustaining power of God in the midst of suffering. (Matthew 5:12; 1 Peter 1:6)
-The Philippians were to rejoice in hearing that the Lord was triumphing over darkness. (Philippians 1:12-14), for the Scripture promises that the Lord will triumph over His foes. (Revelation 17:14)
-Paul encouraged the Philippians by urging them to constantly rejoice. (Philippians 3:1; Philippians 4:1)
-“With me” speaks of the shared fellowship between Paul and the Philippians.
-There is great joy between those who walk together in the Name of Christ. (Psalm 126:3; Isaiah 25:9)

-“Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you. Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things. I urge you the more earnestly to do this in order that I may be restored to you the sooner. Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” (Hebrews 13:15-21 ESV)