Devotionals Archive

Daybreak: Philippians 2:17-30

May 05, 2021

“Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all.” (Philippians 2:17)

In 1956, five young missionary couples traveled to the jungles of Ecuador to give the Gospel to the Auca Indians who had never heard the Good News. One tragic day, after landing in a remote area to make their first personal contact, the five young husbands were slaughtered by the natives.

Though the wives of these martyrs grieved, their love for these Indians was still strong. One of the wives, and the sister of another, continued as missionaries and were instrumental in helping the Auca Indians hear the Gospel. Because of this sacrificial love, many of the Aucas received Christ’s love. One of the Indians responsible for killing the missionaries actually became a Christian minister. What consolation this brought to the families who gave up their loved ones!

Persecution and suffering will often accompany one who has a passion for souls, but the vision to see souls saved will overcome hindrances and heartaches. To be a winner of souls, we must have a sacrificial love such as Paul had. While we may never face a band of heathen natives, we may be called to deny ourselves by giving of our time, our energy, or our resources. We may have to stand alone and may face ridicule; we will not always fit in with the world. We may even suffer varied degrees of persecution. 

Any price we might pay as we labor for the Lord will be worth it. What joy, what comfort, and what rejoicing there is in seeing a soul pray through to a real experience of salvation! What a boost to our faith to watch them grow in the Lord. For every sacrifice we make for the benefit of God’s kingdom, we will always receive one hundred fold of blessings in this world, and precious sheaves to lay at the Master’s feet in the next. It will be worth it all!


The letter to the Philippians was written from prison. As Paul was awaiting either trial or his sentence, his emphasis on joy speaks of his investment in heavenly values rather than earthly ones. In this setting, how meaningful it must have been for Paul to declare that he would joyfully be sacrificed for the good of the saints in Philippi. How deeply his love shone out to his children in the Lord!

Paul expressed how difficult it was for him to find dedicated workers to tend to the flock of God, but that Timothy was such a truehearted laborer. Paul hoped to send Timothy with news of Paul’s sentence and to encourage them. Timothy had a pastor’s heart and would truly care about them and their spiritual walk. Paul also stated the desire that he himself might possibly be able to visit the Philippians before long.

Epaphroditus, another loyal disciple, arrived in Rome with gifts and messages for Paul from the church in Philippi. While in Rome, Epaphroditus became gravely ill, and this caused the Philippians concern. He had used his life for the Gospel and for Paul, and in mercy God had spared him. Once Epaphroditus regained strength, Paul sent him back to Philippi with this letter to express his thanks and to encourage the saints. He wanted them to be relieved of their concerns regarding Epaphroditus’ welfare. Paul urged them to honor Epaphroditus and to receive him with joy.

Amplified Outline

(Hannah’s Bible Outlines – Used by permission per WORDsearch)
III.   Joy through submission in suffering
      C.   The human examples of submission (2:17-30)
            1.   The example of Paul (2:17-18)
            2.   The example of Timothy (2:19-24)
                  a.   His concern (2:19-21)
                  b.   His service (2:22-24)
            3.   The example of Epaphroditus (2:25-30)
                  a.   His concern (2:25-29)
                  b.   His service (2:30)

A Closer Look

  1. What did the unfaithful laborers seek for instead of the things of Christ? How might one today seek for his own things?
  2. What are some indications that Paul had a “father’s heart” toward the saints in Philippi?
  3. What attributes did Timothy and Epaphroditus possess that we should have in order to be faithful laborers for the Lord?


As we seek eternal blessings rather than earthly ones, we will possess a joy within that will supersede any outward difficulty.

Reference Materials