Cynthia and I were soaked. We were on a motorcycle trip to Big Bend. Our first stop was Santa Fe, New Mexico. Our trip began as a pleasant sunny dry Colorado morning. After stopping in Raton for food and fuel, once again we were in the wind, anticipating enchiladas soaking up Hatch Red Chili sauce.
But our thoughts soon turned to a darkening sky centered over I-25. If you have ever been on a motorcycle road trip, you have two thoughts at this point: One, hopefully it will pass before we get to it. Or, should I just go ahead and put on the rain gear? The dark skies soon turned to rain and then the heavens opened up and deluged us. Although earlier we put on the rain gear, in this much rain it, it turned into sponge gear. It got so dark and wet, ten miles outside of Santa Fe, we had to pull over for safety. But there was nowhere to go. So, we dismounted and stood beside our bikes on the side of the Interstate, knowing those in dry cars, wondered why people ride motorcycles.
It there was one word characterizing us then, it was soaked. We were soaked by the rain, through and through. I do not think there was a square inch of me dry.
Sunday’s passage, by some is called a travelogue, because it has to do with visits to Philippi (Timothy’s [vv. 19–23]; Paul’s ; and Epaphroditus’s [25–30]. One noted theologian wondered why it is in the epistle since it has “no theological value.”
But I believe it has great existential value. In it three men, are SOAKED IN THE GOSPEL.
Ten years ago Paul and Timothy brought the Message of Life to Philippi. (Epaphroditus was a member of the congregation.) It was the only church in Philippi, a leading city of the district of Macedonia, Acts 16:12. It was key to the evangelization of Europe.
From the beginning the Philippians were model believers (Philippians 1:5), but off late they were sputtering spiritually. This caused concern for Paul and Timothy. What would happen if this church and the faithful fizzled? Paul hoped they would not, lest he had run and toiled in vain, (Philippians 2:16).
But thank God for these three men, soaked in the Gospel, who would do anything, even die (Philippians 2:27) to advance the Gospel. They loved and served the church, the Body of Christ, because they did nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regarded the Philippian believers as more important than themselves, Philippians 2:3.
The church today needs men and women like Paul, Timothy and Epaphroditus, who were soaked in the Gospel, and willing to do anything to see it advanced.
I find this so very, very convicting. The average Christian in America does little, if anything, to advance the Gospel in their home, place of work, or community. We are dry, brittle and cracked. We need the same Spirit who washed us, regenerated and renewed us, to soak us, soak us, soak us! How about you? Are you ready for a deluge?
And so, in the Lord’s will, we shall consider Philippians 2:19-30 this coming Lord’s Day.