Levels of Fellowship
“… my brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier, but your messenger and the one who ministered to my needs.” (Philippians 2:25)
The letter of Paul to the Philippians is a Thank You note. The church Paul established in Philippi was his sending church. They supported him regularly as he points out in the rest of this chapter. He is especially thanking them for a gift that was delivered by an old man named Epaphroditis. In the way Paul describes his relationship to this dear old man we see distinct levels of fellowship.
Paul refers to him as his brother. That means that he was a believer. Then he calls him a fellow worker. Amos raised the question, “Can two walk together unless they are agreed?” (Amos 3:3) Paul himself had to separate from a brother named Barnabas because they were not in agreement. Another level of fellowship is focused when Paul refers to this old man as a fellow soldier. By this Paul was describing the level of fellowship experienced by those who risked their lives together while serving Christ. Later in his reference to this faithful messenger Paul makes the observation that this man nearly died while completing his mission objective of delivering the offering of the Philippian Church to the aging Apostle Paul.
He calls him a messenger and the one who ministered to his needs. As believers we are all called to be messengers and ministers (2 Corinthians 5: 13-6:2). According to this Scripture every reconciled believer has committed to him or her, a message and a ministry of reconciliation.
According to Paul all five of these levels of fellowship were in place between himself and this dear old man. How many levels of fellowship are you experiencing in your relationships with other believers?