Sunday, 22 January 2017
…since he was longing for you all, and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick. Philippians 2:26
Speaking of Epaphroditus, Paul now notes two reasons why he is sending him back to Philippi. The first is “since he was longing for you all.” There is a strong emphasis in these words which shows that he was truly homesick. He longed and continually longed to be with them.
Secondly, he “was distressed because you had heard that he was sick.” This second reason probably only exacerbated the longing of the first. It had been reported to them that he was sick. As we will see in the next verse, it wasn’t just something simple like a cold, but something life-threatening. Without a second report (which is now being written by Paul) their emotions would run high. This caused his to run high as well. Because of these things, Paul was determined that sending him home was the right thing to do.
Think over what is being said here, and what will be said in the next verse carefully. See if you can contemplate why these words of Paul are so relevant to Christianity today? What is it about them that shouts out “Doctrine matters?” In the next verse, the answer will be made clear.
Life application: Often, what is left undone or unspoken is as important to doctrine as what is actually recorded. Pay attention to such things and then evaluate them in connection to how various churches act, and what they claim Scripture is telling us. In so doing, you can cut out a lot of unnecessary fat from your Christian diet.
Lord, You have given us a book full of wisdom to ponder. There are many things which are explicitly stated for us to read and understand. However, there are many things which are left unstated, but which provide us with a wealth of information to process concerning doctrine. In the end, doctrine matters to You. Your word is a book of doctrine. Help us to properly evaluate it, and then apply it to our lives. Surely with this, You are pleased. Amen.