Paul says,”hold such men in esteem” (Phil 2:29)
Hold such men in esteem. What kind of men? Well, men and women like Epaphroditus.
Epaphroditus didn’t only have a strange name, he was a rare one.
He’s only mentioned once in the Bible (Phil 2:25).
But this much is clear from the text, Epaphroditus was rare, and to be held in esteem, because he was willing to risk it all for the cause of Christ—“because for the work of Christ he came close to death, not regarding his life,” (Phil 2:30)
And I look around, in this world that celebrates the opposite of godliness, and I wonder, are there such today?
Are there people, willing to come close to death, not regarding their own lives, for the cause of Christ?
I’m not just talking about the missionary serving in the remote village.
Are there people in this country today? In your city? Living at your address?
Our nation was founded by people like this. These people have been the heroes in our stories. They lived and died for a cause greater than themselves.
But today, so many live solely for themselves. They are not even willing to risk their comfort or acceptance by others for the great cause of Christ.
This Sunday marks 504 years ( October 31, 1517) since Martin Luther risked so much to nail his Ninety-Five Theses to the Wittenberg church door, sparking what has come to be called the Protestant Reformation.
Christians like Epaphroditus, Martin Luther, John Wycliffe, Jim Elliot, Corrie Ten Boom, William Wilberforce, and others bravely lived for the cause of Christ and changed the world around them.
They spoke up, and they acted, when it would have been so much easier to only concern themselves with themselves.
And once again, our world is in need of heroes of the faith. We need those who have found the ways of God to be right and true to find their voices.
Surely, we have come to realize, our hope can be built on “nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness”?
Do we “dare not trust the sweetest frame”? But “wholly lean on Jesus’ name”?
Will we, in these hard days, where being a Christ-follower is increasingly ridiculed, will we, “On Christ the solid rock , stand”?
Will our lives and our voices truly reflect that we believe , “All other ground is sinking sand”?
For all other ground is truly sinking sand!
And if we know, and deeply believe this, and if we understand salvation and acknowledge eternal consequences, why won’t we open our mouths?
Let’s look beyond our own interests for the cause of Christ!
Let’s not count on others to do what God has called each of us to do!
Let’s be lights in this darkness. Let’s be voices calling out in the wilderness. Let’s tell others our rescue stories and why we’ve come to trust the Lord and His better ways.
And friend, if we truly trust the Lord’s better ways, let’s trust Him enough to protect us, and let’s stand up for His truth in this lost world that calls wrong things right to their destruction.
Let’s do this for their good and for the Lord’s glory!
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