Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

Joyful, Humble Sacrifice

The theme of Philippians is JOY.  Three men: Paul, Timothy and Epaphroditus, described in Philippians 2:12-18,  illustrate the essential relationship of joy to humble sacrificial service. They stand out among Christians; not as grumblers and complainers, but as lights in the midst of a vile, sinful, crooked, perverse generation.


Paul refers to himself in Philippians 2:16-18,  to Timothy in 2:19-24  and to Epaphroditus in 2:25-30; three men with the passion and zeal to work out their salvation with fear and trembling, with humility and without complaint, regardless of their circumstances. 


By “working out our salvation” we mean that we are by God’s grace and strength, to work out the gracious Gift of salvation God has given us, a Gift given to us totally by the grace of God apart from any works on our part.


If you need more help in this confusing area of faith and works, go to category SALVATION and read OVERCOMERS.




Now of these three men I just mentioned, look first at Paul.  By inspiration of God, he was willing to offer himself as an example of sacrificial service without any self-consciousness.  Every pastor, church elder or deacon ought to be able to say to others without pride or self-consciousness, “Be followers of me.”


Certainly parents  ought to be able to say that to their children.  How hypocritical and wicked it is for a father to command his children, “Do as I say; not as I do!”




Several times in his Epistles, Paul challenges Christians to “Be followers of me as I am of Christ.”  In Philippians 2:17 Paul correctly understood that the animal sacrifices for sin in Old Testament times were types of Christ who was the final, perfect sacrifice for sin.  However, he talks about himself  being offered upon the sacrifice and service of the Philippian Church. 


What is he talking about? He referring to the Drink Offerings of wine poured on the animal sacrifices, as explained in Exodus 29:38-42


As those Old Testament saints brought wine as a drink offering and poured it on the burning sacrifices and it vaporized and the aroma rose up to God, so Paul who trusted in the sacrifice of Christ alone as the atonement for sin, in grateful response rejoiced to pour out his life as that drink offering for the edification and blessing of the churches.  


That sacrifice of Paul’s life had been from the moment of his salvation on the Road to Damascus when he recognized Christ as His Lord and surrendered for full time service from that very first day.  His death would simply be the culmination of that sacrifice.


That’s the sacrifice Paul pleads with all believers in Romans 12:1-2 to present their lives to Christ as their reasonable service in the light of the great sacrifice Christ made for us on Calvary’s cross.


Paul and the Philippian Church were both making that drink offering sacrifice together.  Paul’s sacrifice was being poured out on top of the sacrifice the Philippian Church was making for Christ.  They were making that sacrifice of suffering together, as Paul had written earlier in Philippians 1:27-30.




Their rejoicing was not in spite of their sacrifice, but it was because of their privilege of sacrificing their lives together for Christ.  Their’s and our sacrifice for God is the very reason for our joy.  Read the following passages and note that our sacrifices for Christ are the very reasons for our joy. Act 5:41.  Acts 20:22-24, Colossians 1:24,  I Thessalonians 3:7-10, 


There are two levels of joy.  Earthly joy comes from possessions and passing selfish experiences.


Heavenly joy comes from serving Christ and sacrificing our lives for Him. Hebrews 12:1-3


We looked at Paul’s sacrifice.  In the next two articles, we will look at Timothy and then  Epaphroditus.

August 17, 2009 - Posted by | Philippians

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