The apostle Paul describes Epaphroditus as a true man of God and a great example of what Christian men should look like today.
He starts off referring to him as a brother in Christ, meaning he’s a Christian. A guy can be morally good but unless he is in Christ, has the Holy Spirit, is in gospel community and on gospel mission, he will not be a truly good man.
He’s described as a fellow worker. Men were created to be hard workers and need to learn the ethic of working hard, becoming responsible, and being a provider.
He’s called a fellow soldier. Similar to Paul’s description of Timothy, who needs to endure hardship like a good soldier. You have to be like a soldier ready for a spiritual battle.
He’s a minister to Paul’s needs and is ambitious (v. 26). This means that he pursues, he doesn’t let things slide, he takes initiative. Verses 27 and 30 show how Epaphroditus was a fighter. He was sick and near death, risking his life to complete what was lacking in service.
Now what are we supposed to do with a biblical man like Paul describes in Epaphroditus? We’re to honor them (v. 29) and send them (v. 23, 28).
We honor these men because we want others to be like them because they are like Christ and are fulfilling their calling. If you are a man, you should ask yourself: would we honor you? The most humble guys are the ones who should get the most public acclamation in the church. It is those guys that we should say: “Look! We respect him, love him and are proud of him. He is counter-culture to the examples of guys out there. He reads his Bible, he stands up for truth, he respects women, he wants to help others instead of constantly making fun of others. He wants to be where Jesus is and follow Him wherever He takes Him.”
And then we send them out. Just like Paul mentions in verses 23 and 28. Jesus was sent, we were sent, and now we send. Our God is a sending, missional God and we need to be sent missionaries.
By: Erik Koliser — West Campus Pastor