Philippians 1

Philippians 1:1-30

1  Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:

2  Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

3  I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,

4  always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy,

5  for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now,

6  being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;

7  just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace.

8  For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ.

9  And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment,

10  that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ,

11  being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

12  But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel,

13  so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ;

14  and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.

15  Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from goodwill:

16  The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains;

17  but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel.

18  What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.

19  For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,

20  according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death.

21  For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

22  But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell.

23  For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.

24  Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you.

25  And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith,

26  that your rejoicing for me may be more abundant in Jesus Christ by my coming to you again.

27  Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel,

28  and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God.

29  For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,

30  having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear is in me.

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8 months ago

There is one purpose for which God is ever working to complete in us – the sharing of a lived-out gospel of love. The contention and prayers are not for deliverance from physical chains but rather the spiritual ones around the hearts of those in darkness. Paul’s ability to so effectively adhere to this purpose is shown to come from his unity with the church in love. He is united with those outside his confinement through the grace that maintains a selfless fixation on receiving and sharing God’s love no matter the consequences. For those who reference Paul as a means to further his enduring discomfort, he indicates that the motive is not the issue as long as Christ is preached. It’s interesting that he doesn’t curse, bind, and condemn those with questionable motives, but rather celebrates what, again, is his only purpose – that Christ is being preached. In this attitude of an immovable vision, Paul demonstrates a matured version of Christ’s love he’d received. Loss of self-consideration allowed him to remain overjoyed by growth in other believers despite his own apparently diminishing impact. How little he must have known the long-term effect of his prison-surrounded ministry.

There may often be a sense of discouragement when there is an experience of suffering where there might have been an expectation of deliverance. Paul indicates that these times can instead be seen as opportunities to demonstrate selfless love in the way Christ did. For Jesus, there was a fixation on the church that would be empowered through His endurance. Instead of discouragement and defeat from suffering, it can be the time for matured love to shine as the church’s growth is kept at the center. If the circumstance is used for further loss of self, there may be a release of inspiration and anointing that will transform so many more than could have been otherwise possible. This unity we have in the body is so powerful. It will be given many opportunities for diversion to self-focus, but yielding to the Spirit will turn those potential discouragements into kingdom triumphs if love is allowed to grow and prevail.

Last edited 8 months ago by ps
8 months ago

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