Devotion: Philippians 2:28-30Last week we saw how the Apostle Paul had deep concern for the well-being of Epaphroditus who had taken ill in his missionary journey to bring financial and moral support to the Apostle in prison. The Apostle rejoiced that the Lord had granted him mercy and comfort by restoring Epaphroditus. It is now the Apostle's aim to send back Epaphroditus to Philippi so that his own church may also come to know his relief from grief and experience it as joy.
"I am the more eager to send him, therefore, that you may rejoice at seeing him again, and that I may be less anxious. So receive him in the Lord with all joy, and honor such men, for he nearly died for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was lacking in your service to me." -Philippians 2:28-30 ESVOur passage this week leads us to think about Christian missionaries and others who share our faith in Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior who risk life and limb to serve him. As many of you know, we have been praying for Andrew Brunson, a pastor ordained in the EPC, who has been imprisoned in Turkey where he has served and ministered for many years. Pastor Andrew is one of many sisters and brothers in harm's way for the Gospel, but he hits close to home for us in the EPC and becomes emblematic for the persecuted church as a whole for me. While I have not and likely will not meet this brother face-to-face this side of glory, I would rejoice greatly to know he has been freed and all is well. I hope you will join me in praying to that end.
Even in the midst of this all, we come to realize just how impossible it is for us to get around thinking about life and death. Death, while for the saints a passing moment that puts an end to sin, pain and sorrow in our lives, is none-the-less an end of relationships in the here and now. The restoration of Epaphroditus serves to remind us that death is tragic and an enemy of God defeated in the resurrection of Christ Jesus. Those who risk death for the Gospel are to be honored by the Church as we rejoice in their service to Christ Jesus. What's more, such death-risking activity should spur us all to proclaim Christ all the more each and every day.
News for you
- Sign up for a small group this Sunday (1/22/17) as we study the Gospel Project's Saved. The six week study will help us in God's Word to rest secure in our salvation and spur us to better proclaim God's salvation in Christ Jesus.
- This Saturday 10 am-noon Bob Walsh from the EPC Foundation will be on hand to teach us about Transformational Giving. If you RSVP in a hurry (like now) lunch will be provided.
- The 109th annual meeting of the congregation of Community Presbyterian Church will take place 1/29/17 following the fellowship hour. If you are a member or just curious, come reflect on the year behind and pray for the year ahead.
- Linda Swanson is looking for somebody healthy and strong to help her in the coming weeks for three days and two nights each week with the ranch and with caring for Bill. Room and board as well as fair pay are available.