HIS SERVANTS' MINISTRY
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Theme: Viewpoint of Christian living; Introduction; Paul's tender feeling for the Philippians; bonds and afflictions further the gospel; in life or death
Paul's letter to the Philippians is practical. It gets right down where we live. As we study this Letter, we will not be seated in the heavenlies (heavenly places) as we were in his letter to the Ephesians. We instead will be right down where the rubber meets the road. It is a wonderful Letter, and we will be blessed by how pleasant it is.
The highest honor of the most distinguished ministers is, to be servants of Christ. BUT . . . those who are not TRUE saints on Earth, will NEVER be saints in Heaven. If a person is not in Christ, they are sinners and unable to stand before God. There is no peace without the grace of God. Inward peace comes from a feeling of Divine favor. And there is absolutely NO grace and NO peace except from God our Father, who is the Fountain of all blessings. The work of grace will never be perfected until the day of Jesus Christ, but we may be confident God will perform His good work in every soul where He has begun it by regeneration.
Introduction (Philippians 1:1-2)
Philippians 1:1 Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: (KJV)
Timotheus . . . is mentioned as being well known to the Philippians (Acts 16:3,10-12), and now present with Paul. Not that Timothy had any share in writing the Letter; for Paul presently uses the first person singular, "I," not "we" (verse 3). The mention of Timothy implies merely that he joined in affectionate remembrances to them.
The servants of Jesus Christ . . . Paul does not call himself "an apostle," as in the inscriptions of other Epistles; for the Philippians did not need to be reminded of his apostolic authority. He writes instead in a tone of affection.
To all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi . . . (Phil.1:4,7,8,25; 2:17,26). All implies all-inclusive affection which desired not to forget any one among them.
With the bishops and deacons . . . appears to be the same as "elders of the Church" at Ephesus (Acts 20:17), and "overseers" (Acts 20:28). And Tit.1:5; Phil.1:7).This is the earliest letter of Paul where bishops and deacons are mentioned, and the only one where they are separately addressed in the greeting.
The apostle addresses the congregation of the Church, more directly than its presiding ministers (Col.4:17; 1 Thes.5:12; Heb.13:24;Rev.1:4,11). The bishops managed more the internal, the deacons the external, affairs of the Church. The plural number shows there was more than one bishop or presbyter, and more than one deacon in the Church at Philippi.
Philippians 1:2 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. (KJV)
Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ . . . the evangelical salutation, as in (Rom.1:7; Eph.1:2; 2 Pet.1:2). Paul is praying for the free and undeserved favor of God the Father to them, as the fountain of these blessings (Jam.1:17), together with all inward and outward blessings, which then flow through Christ the purchaser of them.
Paul's Tender Feeling for the Philippians (Philippians 1:3-11)
He begins the body of his letter in a lovely manner, which shows the sweet relationship between Paul and the Philippian believers. That is the way it should to be today among believers, especially between pastor and congregation.
Philippians 1:3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, (KJV)
I thank my God upon every remembrance of you . . . any time anybody would mention Philippi, Paul would thank God for the believers there. That is wonderful. If Paul had not said anything else about his relationship to this church, this would have been enough to reveal how special it was to him. Check the other Letters, he did not say this to the other churches, certainly not about the Galatians or the Corinthians.
Philippians 1:4 Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, (KJV)
Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy . . . always . . . not just sometimes. Always in every prayer Paul remembered the Philippian believers. 1 Thes. 5:17 Pray without ceasing. (KJV) Paul does not mean non-stop talking, he means an attitude that we can go to God in prayer at any time. Our every waking moment should be lived, well aware that God is just a prayer away, and that He is faithful to hear us and that He is there to help us, no matter what our problem.
In his letter to the Philippians, Paul commands us to stop being anxious and instead, “in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Phuil.4:6). He taught the believers at Colossae to dedicate themselves “to prayer, being watchful and thankful” (Col.4:2). Paul urged the Ephesians to see prayer as a weapon to use in fighting spiritual battles (Eph.6:18). Prayer should be our first response in every fearful situation, every temptation, every anxious thought, and every job that God commands. A lack of prayer causes us to depend on self instead of depending on God's grace. Unceasing prayer is a continual, close dependence upon the Father.
Philippians 1:5 For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; (KJV)
For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now . . . you do not want to pass over the word fellowship. Most people do not know what the word means.
Now that is not fellowship in the biblical sense of the word. Fellowship is what believers share in the things of Christ. Fellowship joins with us and other Christians in the unity of Christ, and great news of salvation by Him (1 Cor.10:16-17; 1 Pet.4:13; 1 Jn.1:3,7). It is proven by your telling others of your riches in Christ (Gal.6:6; Heb.13:16), and your loyalty and determination in all Christian duties from the first time your received the Gospel.
Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: (KJV)
Being confident of this very thing . . . since I am confident of this very thing, Paul knew what he was talking about.
That he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ . . . He which hath begun (Heb.5:9; 12:2) . . . will perform . . . means He shall carry it through. Jesus will complete what He began. Until the day of Jesus Christ . . . we are NOT living in the Day of the Lord; we are not living in the day of the Old Testament; we are not living in the day of the Millennium; we are not living in the day of eternity; we are living in the day of Jesus Christ. That day will be completed when He comes to take His own out of this world (1 Thes.4:13-18). The Holy Spirit has sealed TRUE believers until the day of redemption (Eph.1:13). Paul wrote to the Ephesian believers, "And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption" (Eph.4:30). My friend, you can count on God to finish whatever He has in mind for you. He shall see it through.
This is a tremendous Passage of Scripture. We all can hold onto this in the darkest night when there is a raging storm outside. That is when we should: Pray without ceasing.
Thirty-five Conditions of Assurance We Can Learn . . . IF we stand firm in the Faith.
1. We become a subject of God's grace (Phil.1:6).
2. We are partakers of God's grace (Phil.1:7).
3. We abound more and more in love (Phil.1:9).
4. We learn to approve things that are excellent (Phil.1:10).
5. We are sincere until the end (Phil.1:10).
6. We are to be without offense till the end (Phil.1:10).
7. We are to be filled with fruits of righteousness (Phil.1:11).
8. We are to let your conversation be as becomes the Gospel of Christ (Phil.1:27).
9. We are to stand fast in one spirit and one mind with others striving together for the gospel (Phil.1:27).
10. We will not be terrified by enemies (Phil.1:28).
11. We learn suffering for His sake is a blessing (Phil.1:29).
12. We learn to be likeminded with Christ (Phil.2:2).
13. We learn to have the same love (Phil.2:2).
14. We learn to be of one accord, of one mind with others (Phil.2:2; 3:16).
15. We learn not to let anything be done through strife and vain glory (Phil.2:3).
16. We learn to respect others above ourself (Phil.2:3).
17. We learn to have an interest in others (Phil.2:4).
18. We learn to let the mind of Christ be in you (Phil.2:5).
19. We learn to obey the Gospel (Phil.2:12).
20. We learn to work out your own salvation (Phil.2:12-13).
21. We learn to do all things without murmuring and disputings (Phil.2:14).
22. We learn to be blameless, harmless, and without rebuke among men (Phil.2:15).
23. We learn to hold forth the Word of Life (Phil.2:16).
24. We learn to beware of dogs, evil workers, and the circumcision party (Phil.3:2).
25. We learn to press toward the high calling (Phil3:13-16).
26. We learn to walk by the Gospel standard (Phil.3:16).
27. We learn to be followers of Christ and mark enemies of the cross of Christ (Phil.3;17-20).
28. We learn to stand fast in the Lord (Phil.4:1).
29. We learn to help all workers of Christ (Phil.1:3).
30. We learn to rejoice in the Lord always (Phil.1:4).
31. We learn to let your moderation be known to all men (Phil.4:5).
32. We learn to be anxious for nothing (Phil.4:6).
33. We learn to let requests be known to God (Phil.4:6).
34. We learn to think on right things (Phil.4:8).
35. We learn to do what you have learned, received, heard, and seen in me (Phil.4:9).
Philippians 1:7 Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace. (KJV)
Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all . . . it is right that Paul should think so, because he had them in his heart. The Philippians lived in Paul’s warmest love and utmost affectionate.
Inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation if the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace . . . partakers of my grace brings us back to the word fellowship. 1 Sam. 25:29 Yet a man is risen to pursue thee, and to seek thy soul: but the soul of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of life with the LORD thy God; and the souls of thine enemies, them shall he sling out, as out of the middle of a sling. (KJV) . . . I think Paul means that there were very tender feelings of the apostle Paul for this church at Philippi. He was closer to them than to any other church. It is wonderful to have Christian friends like this who share in getting out the Word of God. There is that kindly cooperation, along with the spiritual message, and that always produces a sweet spiritual union.
Philippians 1:8 For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ. (KJV)
For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ . . . this confirms verse 7. Paul calls God as his witness that he had the strongest affection for them, and that he loved them with that same tender concern with which Christ loved the world when He gave Himself for it; for Paul was ready to be offered on the sacrifice and service of their faith (Phil.2:17). In the bowels of Jesus Christ . . . Paul’s yearning love to them is not just from natural affection, but from his being so devoted to Christ Jesus.
Philippians 1:9 And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; (KJV)
And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment . . . there is a lot of wrong thinking about love. Jesus does say that we are to love our enemies and do good to those who hate us (Mat.5:44; Lk.6:27) . . . BUT . . . to whom did He say this? To believers! The Lord Jesus had some very harsh things to say about the religious rulers of His day, and we need to be very careful today about those who fill the pulpits, for there are many false ones out there. He said, "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do..." (Jn.8:44). He also said, "Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?" (Mat.23:33). He called them snakes, and the devil their father. Read all of Matthew chapter 23.
Paul prays that the Philippians’ love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment. We are to love all believers in Christ. Some of them are difficult to love, but we are to love them with a godly love. We are to love even the most unpleasant ones, but we are to love with knowledge and with discernment. Our love is to abound with judgment. Pray for the gift of discernment (1 Ki.3:11; Pro.10:13; Isa.29:14; 1 Cor.2:15-16).
Philippians 1:10 That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; (KJV)
That ye may approve things that are excellent . . . we must rightly discern the differences of things not clear to every eye, so we can choose and approve those things that are really to be preferred, being the best (Rom.2:18; 1 Thes.5:21), surpassing all desirable things (Eph.3:19), as being most acceptable unto God (Rom.12:2).
That ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ . . . that you be upright (Pro.11:20). Paul would have them not to be corrupt in heart and life, in faith and manners; free from prevailing corruptions, of pure minds (2 Pet.3:1); purged from the old leaven (1 Cor.5:6-8); not allowing the knowledge of Christ to be wickedly mixed with traditions and human inventions (Mat.15:9), but gifted with evangelical simplicity in the sight of God (2 Cor.1:12; 1 Tim.1:5; 5:22). And without offence . . . not erring from the main plan of Christianity. 1 Thes. 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (KJV)
Till the day of Christ . . . (verse 6), repeated here to move them unto some serious thoughts of that day.
Philippians 1:11 Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God. (KJV)
Being filled with the fruits of righteousness . . . not just some single fruit, but plural fruits of righteousness (Acts 9:36; Col.1:10); elsewhere called the fruits of the Spirit (Gal.5:22; Eph.5:9); in all goodness and truth, as well as righteousness. These are good works that are through the Spirit, who regenerates the persons, and directs the internal and external actions of those who walk in the steps of the faith of their father Abraham (Rom.4:12), brought by supernatural grace in the heart, those who joined unto the Lord (1 Cor.6:17), with whom they are one spirit.
Fruits of righteousness: (Amos 6:12; 2 Cor.9:10; Phil.1:11; Heb.12:11; Jam.3:18).
Philippians 1:12 But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; (KJV)
But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel . . . Paul is telling them that the things that had happened to him have really helped spread the Gospel. Paul is saying, I want you to know that the Gospel is going out, and the things that have happened to me have not stopped it, but have actually expanded the Gospel. He will now make clear what he means by this.
Philippians 1:13 So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places; (KJV)
So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places . . . the palace was actually Caesar's court (Acts 28:16). Paul was chained to a member of Roman nobles, a member of Caesar's household. I am sure that Paul often remembered the Lord’s Words: Acts 9:15-16 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: 16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake. (KJV)
Up to this time Paul had taken the Gospel mainly to the common citizens in the Roman Empire. But now he has members of the royalty chained to him! It seems that every four hours, at the change of the guard, one guard would leave and be replaced by a new guard who would be chained to Paul. What do you think Paul talked about during those four hours? Paul’s congregation was chained to him. Knowing Paul, from the Bible, it is certain that he brought the Gospel to the guard on duty. I would want to say that some of those guards were won to Jesus by Paul, while others hated their turn to be chained to Paul.
This is the first evidence Paul gave that his imprisonment had not hindered the furtherance of the Gospel but that it had enabled him to bring the Gospel right into Caesar's household. Not only did Paul's imprisonment enable him to reach into Caesar's household with the Gospel, but it also accomplished something else:
Philippians 1:14 And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. (KJV)
And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear . . . because of Paul’s imprisonment, most of the believers there had gained confidence and boldly spoke God’s message without fear. As long as Paul was preaching the Gospel, others would not feel competent or sufficiently trained. They considered Paul so much more effective than they could be. But when Paul was put in prison in Rome, things changed. Many in the churches would say, "Paul's in prison. He can't go out and preach anymore. I'll go." As a result many started to preach the Gospel. It does not say how many went out, but it seemed from this Passage that it was not just a few. Many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
There is another effect of Paul's imprisonment which he does not mention, but we must certainly must consider . . . IF Paul had not been in prison, we would not have the Prison Epistles: Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon. They are all marvelous Letters, and we would not have them today if Paul had not been in prison. I do not think Paul had realized the importance of his writing.
Philippians 1:15 Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: (KJV)
Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will . . . one of the things that hurts the preaching of the Gospel probably more than any other single thing is the envy and the strife. Paul will mention these several times in this Letter, as well in other places (1 Tim.6:4; Rom.13:13; 1 Cor.3:3). Some were preaching because of jealousy and enmity; while others were preaching with love about Christ with pure motives.
Envy is jealousy, bitterness, resentment, greed. Strife is conflict, contention, discord, friction. Strife means to stir up, referring to demonic spirits that stir up strife. Envy and strife! Alcohol and drugs on the outside of the church cannot hurt it nearly as bad as the envy and strife on the inside of the church.
But, Paul does say that there were some who preached Christ because of good will and love.
Philippians 1:16 The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: (KJV)
The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds . . . it seems that the only reason they preached Christ was to try to belittle Paul. They envied him, but they had not been able to say anything against him. Now that he was in prison and unable to defend himself, these men would go out and preach the Gospel, but they also would say bad things against Paul.
Philippians 1:17 But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. (KJV)
But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel . . . the other group preached of love, through a sincere desire, not only to make known the way of salvation to the people, but also to justify and help Paul, because they considered him as appointed by God to preach and defend the Gospel.
Philippians 1:18 What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice. (KJV)
What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice . . . Paul said it made no difference to him how Christ was preached . . . as long was He preached. Paul rejoiced that anything is known of Christ; and he was truly glad that the Gospel is even partially made known, because that would lead to more inquiries, and in the end be a good thing.
Philippians 1:19 For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, (KJV)
For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ . . . by salvation, Paul means his deliverance from prison. Through your prayer . . . knowing them to be sincere followers of Christ, he knew that their prayers would be available on his behalf; and he depends on them. The supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ . . . supply means furnishing whatever is necessary. Paul expected the Spirit of God to help ALL his disabilities, and to furnish him with wisdom, watchfulness, strength of reason and argument, which might be necessary for him in the different trials he had to pass through.
The Bible makes it clear that God hears and answers the prayers of His people. We need to ask God's people to pray for us. The only way we can get that supply that we need is through prayer.
Philippians 1:20 According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. (KJV)
According to my earnest expectation and my hope . . . (Rom.8:19). The earnest desire and hope which Paul had was not, mainly that he might be released; but it was that, in all circumstances, he might be able to honor the Gospel, living or dying (Rom.14:7-8; 2 Cor.5:6,8). He looked to this as being much more important than saving his life. Life to him was a minor concern; the main thing was, to stand up as the advocate of the Gospel, to uphold its truth, and to exhibit its spirit.
That in nothing I shall be ashamed . . . Paul did not want to be ashamed of his witness while in this life, and he did not want to be ashamed when he came into the Presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. The apostle John mentions the fact that when Christ comes to take His church with Him, it is possible for believers to be ashamed at His appearing (1 Jn.2:28-29). We need to keep this in mind. All Christians must be concerned about this!
But that with all boldness, as always . . . by my speaking the truth, and continuing in my principles with all boldness (2 Cor.7;4; Eph.6:19-20).
So now also Christ shall be magnified in my body . . . Paul wanted all that he did or said, to illustrate Christ magnified . . . His person, His nature, His doctrine, His love, His redemption, shown to be, what JESUS really is, the glorious God, to be held up to mankind as the true and only Saviour, no matter what became of Paul!
Whether it be by life . . . Paul was not certain what would happen to him. He had not been put on his trial, and whether that trial would result in his acquittal or not, he could not know. But he felt assured that, if he were acquitted, the effect would be to honor Christ.
Or by death . . . if Paul’s trial should result in his death, he would be able to show such a spirit as to do honor to Christ and His cause. Paul was not afraid to die (2 Cor.5:6,8), and he was assured that he would be enabled to bear the pains of death in such a manner as to glorify Christ.
Philippians 1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. (KJV)
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain . . . Paul says that whether He lived or died, he would be blessed. While he lived, he was Christ's servant; if he died, he would witness the truth at the expense of his life, and this would be gain. He would be saved from the remaining troubles and difficulties in life, and be put immediately in possession of my heavenly inheritance. It was a matter of perfect indifference to Paul whether he be taken by a violent death, or whether he would be permitted to continue here longer; in either case he could lose nothing.
I am convinced that the most important thing in the life of a TRUE Christian is to know they have Christ Jesus in their life. This is NOT popular today. The most important thing is to have fellowship with Jesus so that your joy might be full (Jn.15:11; 16:24; 1 Jn.1:4; 2 Jn.1:12). Only then can you have a powerful witness for Him. Most people forget that fellowship with the Lord Jesus is one of the greatest blessings this life has for us. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Now we know why Paul was not disturbed by the criticism being leveled at him. You cannot hurt anyone who is in fellowship with the Lord, Jesus Christ.
Philippians 1:22 But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. (KJV)
But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not . . . Paul says, should I be spared longer, I will continue serving Christ as I have done; and the fruit of his labor would be that Christ would be magnified by my longer life (verse 20).
Yet what I shall choose I wot not . . . Paul says that if the two conditions were left for him to choose, whether to die now and go to glory, or whether to live longer in persecutions and affliction, by glorifying Christ by spreading the Gospel, he did know which he’d prefer. Paul did not know about his future, and neither do we! We do not know what any single day will bring. Tomorrow we might not be here. That is why it is SO important to get your life in order, for both believers, and unbelievers! If you do not know Jesus as your Savoiur, tomorrow may be too late. Please do NOT wait any longer. Believe God, and accept His Son today. http://www.hisservants.org/truth_about_salvation_h_s.htm
Philippians 1:23 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: (KJV)
For I am in a strait betwixt two . . . dying now, and being immediately with God; or living longer to preach and spread the Gospel, and thus glorify Christ among men.
Having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ . . . this seems to be a symbol taken from the commander of a vessel, in a foreign port, who feels a strong desire to set sail, and get to his own country and family; but this desire is offset by a conviction that the best interests of the voyage may be that he stay longer in the port where his vessel is. This was the condition of Paul, he was not at home, but although he was abroad it was on his employer's business; he wishes to return, and is ready to set sail, but he has not received his final orders from his owner, and whatever desire he may feel to go home he will faithfully wait until that order arrives.
Paul was torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me.
Philippians 1:24 Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you. (KJV)
Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you . . . it would be gain to Paul to die, but it will be a gain to them if he lived. If he died, he would go immediately to glory; if he lived, he would continue to minister to them, and strengthen their faith (2 Cor.5:6,8).
Philippians 1:25 And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith; (KJV)
Having this confidence, I know that I shall abide . . . Paul was convinced that it is necessary that he should live longer, to spread and defend the Gospel. This was in fact the case, for after having been two years in bonds at Rome, Paul was released.
And continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith . . . to further them in the way of righteousness, and bring them the joy of faith and happiness in that way. The farther a man proceeds in the way of truth, the stronger his faith will be; and the stronger his faith becomes, the greater is his joy and happiness.
Philippians 1:26 That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again. (KJV)
That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again . . . through the mercy and grace of Christ. If Paul was spared, his deliverance would be because of Christ, and they would rejoice together in one who had so mercifully delivered him. Their joy would not only be that he was delivered, but that Paul was permitted to see them again.
Philippians 1:27 Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; (KJV)
Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ . . . conversation means your way of life, your lifestyle, not only your speech but your entire way of life should be a credit to the Gospel of Christ.
That whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel . . . God's people need to stand together to further the Gospel! IF the church were what it should be in the world today, the world would listen to the message it proclaims, but sad to say, that is not true. Paul uses the word strive which is very different from the word strife about which he wrote earlier in the chapter. Striving together for the faith of the gospel . . . is the thought of bearing pain. We are to strive and struggle together for the faith of the Gospel.
Philippians 1:28 And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God. (KJV)
And in nothing terrified by your adversaries . . . adversaries are opponents or enemies they had, like most of the other early Christians. There were Jews there who would be most likely to oppose them (Acts 17:5), and they were exposed to persecution by the heathen. In that city, Paul had himself suffered much (Acts 16), and it would not be unlikely if the same things would be repeated. It is clear from this Passage, as well as from some other parts of the Letter, that the Philippians were at this time experiencing some form of severe suffering. But in what way, or why, the opposition to them was motivated, is nowhere stated.
Which is to them an evident token of perdition . . . what would be the sign of their perdition? What is the evidence to which Paul refers that they will be destroyed? It is probably referring to the persecution which had been started, and to the faithfulness which the apostle supposed the Philippians would display. It is indirect; but it is clear that the apostle refers either to the circumstance then occurring, that they were persecuted, and that they displayed faithfulness, or that he wished them to reveal their faith in their persecutions.
But to you of salvation, and that of God . . . but you are going to be saved, by God Himself.
I think what Paul is trying to tell them is: "Do not be alarmed at anything they do. Hold onto your Christian integrity, even with all the opposition they bring. In the end, they will be destroyed, and you will be saved."
Philippians 1:29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake; (KJV)
For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake . . . to you it is graciously given; it is a great privilege that God has honored you as to permit you to suffer on Christ's account. It is only His most faithful servants that He in this way honors. Paul did not want them to be terrified by their enemies, for they could do nothing to them which God would not turn to their eternal gain. We should learn from this that it is just as great a privilege to suffer for Christ (Phil.3:8; 1 Pet.2:21; 3:18; 4:1) as to believe on him (Jn.3:16). Matthew 5:10-12 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. (KJV)
Philippians 1:30 Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me. (KJV)
Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me . . . when Paul preached the Gospel at Philippi he was grievously persecuted (Acts 16:19-40; also see 2 Cor.11:23-27). He was stripped and scourged, thrown into prison, even into a dungeon, and his feet secured in the stocks. This was the conflict they had seen in him; and now they heard that he had been sent prisoner to Rome as an evil doer, and that he was at present in bonds, and shortly to be tried for his life before the Roman emperor to whom he had been obliged to appeal. The Philippians were under these same persecutions.
Those who profess to be TRUE Christians, and who bring the Gospel of Christ, should live as becomes those who believe Gospel truths, submit to Gospel laws, and depend upon Gospel Promises.
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