Philippians Day Ten
October 5, 2020, 4:00 AM

The Saints Go Marching On
Philippians 2:25, 29

…My brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier,
and your messenger and minister to my need…
…honor such men…

~Honor such people~ I mentioned yesterday in the sermon that “honor” to a Roman or a Greek mind meant something far different than what Paul has in mind here. Honor is to the strong – to the brave – to the wealthy and well-to-do. Honor doesn’t go to the humble. And yet, in the Church of Jesus, humility is the hallmark. Humility is the fruit of the Spirit working out from the human heart. To be less, sometimes, is best. Timothy and Epaphroditus are two examples of this mindset of Christlike-ness. They are shining lights in the Kingdom firmament, and yet, their honor comes from such mundane work. At least mundane in the eyes of the world.

As I was reading over the text for the week, in preparing the sermon, I flipped over to Romans 16. I remembered this as the chapter of names— names of many mundane saints such as the likes of Timothy and Epaphroditus. Amazing! So many names in this one short chapter. Many names only appearing there, and never to be heard of again. But they are there in the holy record. Written down for the ages. Their honor? Little ole things such as hospitality; giving out of their abundance, or poverty, for the cause of the Gospel; serving one another; teaching and preaching;  running all over the Mediterranean world as messengers; living faithfully as regular disciples through the vicissitudes of life; and modeling Jesus to strangers— Etc. Etc. Etc.

I’ve copied out that chapter here. Thirty-five saints listed on the honor roll here! Take a read, slowly, and understand that there are no heroes here – in the sense that the world would count heroes. But to Paul, these are saints worthy of all honor, for the little things that are big in God’s eyes.

Rom. 16:1-16, 20-23
“I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church at Cenchreae, that you may welcome her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints, and help her in whatever she may need from you, for she has been a patron of many and of myself as well.
Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who risked their necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks but all the churches of the Gentiles give thanks as well. Greet also the church in their house. Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in Asia. Greet Mary, who has worked hard for you. Greet Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners. They are well known to the apostles, and they were in Christ before me. Greet Ampliatus, my beloved in the Lord. Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ, and my beloved Stachys. Greet Apelles, who is approved in Christ. Greet those who belong to the family of Aristobulus. Greet my kinsman Herodion. Greet those in the Lord who belong to the family of Narcissus. Greet those workers in the Lord, Tryphaena and Tryphosa. Greet the beloved Persis, who has worked hard in the Lord. Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord; also his mother, who has been a mother to me as well. Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas, and the brothers who are with them. Greet Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints who are with them. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you… The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Timothy, my fellow worker, greets you; so do Lucius and Jason and Sosipater, my kinsmen. I Tertius, who wrote this letter, greet you in the Lord. Gaius, who is host to me and to the whole church, greets you. Erastus, the city treasurer, and our brother Quartus, greet you.”

I think it’s kind of encouraging that towards the end of this long honor roll of greetings, Paul makes reference to the promise in Genesis 3:15 (the protoevangelium – i.e. the first mention of the Gospel), where God promises that “the seed” of the woman (Eve), will crush the head of the serpent (Satan/Devil). Of course, that is a prophecy of what Jesus will do to Satan’s purposes in the world. But I think it’s significant here that Paul includes the saints of God, with their mundane call in the Kingdom, in the divine stomp. They (We) will ride the foot of the Lord as He crushes the plans and purposes of the evil one! All of this through serving faithfully, and humbly, and quietly where the Lord has called us, and planted us in His Kingdom.

Praise God! Keep serving away, saints!

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