Series: "CHOOSE JOY" • Pastor David R. Stokes
Today: "The Ministry of INCARNATION"
19 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. 20 I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare. 21 For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. 22 But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel. 23 I hope, therefore, to send him as soon as I see how things go with me.24 And I am confident in the Lord that I myself will come soon.
25 But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, co-worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs. 26 For he longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill. 27 Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow. 28 Therefore I am all the more eager to send him, so that when you see him again you may be glad and I may have less anxiety. 29 So then, welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor people like him, 30 because he almost died for the work of Christ. He risked his life to make up for the help you yourselves could not give me.
The Christian life is lived vertically and horizontally. We are to live close to God in spiritual intimacy, and we are to live with and for others. We minister to God in worship. We minister to others through fellowship and good works. These two dynamics define the parameters and explain the tension of godly living while we remain in our flesh and in this world.
Incarnation means “clothed in flesh.” The term is most often used in reference to our Lord Jesus and how He came to earth and became a man. The Apostle John told us, “the Word became flesh.” (John 1:14 NIV) But the concept of incarnation is not reserved for Jesus only. It can also be applied to all those who seek to be like Him. In fact, authentic spirituality involves letting God’s power and light shine through our flesh. This happens when we let God’s Word dominate our thoughts. (Hebrews 4:12 NIV)
As Paul spent time under house arrest in Rome, he was refreshed by two men who were poster children for this idea of “The Ministry of Incarnation”—Timothy and Epaphroditus. They had common faith, and they were both helpful to Paul—but they were completely different men in comparison. Timothy was an introvert with a tendency to health problems. Epaphroditus was a charming and gregarious extrovert who enjoyed adventure. God uses all kinds of temperaments for His glory. He doesn’t want to destroy our unique personalities, rather He wants to sanctify our distinct personality types and infuse them with His power.
In other words, He wants His Word to become flesh in us. This begins when we cultivate a rich relationship with His Word. By the way, that’s why we are memorizing a few verses during this series. God’s Word is the catalyst for every great potential change in our lives.
How many Bible verses do I know by heart—either word-for-word or paraphrased? (Write them down.)
If I can remember song lyrics, sports stats, and funny movie dialogue, why is it so hard for me to memorize or remember scripture?
Am I willing to start letting the Word become flesh in my life? Could I memorize just one life-changing verse of scripture per week for the next year? (Correct answer: YES ☺)