Continuing our study of Paul’s letter to the Philippians we now find out why this epistle is described as “a window into the apostle’s own bosom.”
We already know about the apostle’s tremendous love for the Phillippian church as cited in the salutation of this letter. We will now explore more scripture that describe Paul’s purpose in Christ.
“12 Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.” (Philippians 1:12)
Paul attests that his being imprisoned is part of God’s plan as he willingly writes about the greater goal behind his being in chains for Christ.
“13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ.” (Philippians 1:13)
Imprisoned in Rome, Paul finds it necessary to inform his audience of the advancement of the gospel and, that many throughout the palace are aware of his mission driven by faith in Jesus Christ. It should be so in all our lives no matter where we are or what we do, that is our purpose to serve the Lord in spite of circumstances.
“14 Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.” (Philippians 1:14)
Here Paul describes how his seemingly unfortunate situation was at the root of courageous and fearless spreading of the word through brothers in Christ. This is also true today as many among the church are inspired by disastrous or catastrophic events in other people’s lives.
Though an important part of the advancement of the gospel, true believers should not rely on such events rather all of us should abide by the word of God and spread the word with great joy, all of the time to all the people of the world.
“15 It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16 The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains.” (Philippians 1:15-17)
Not everyone that preaches the word of God is OF God through Christ. The bible tells us the only way to God is through faith in Jesus Christ, by His grace. Our world is stained with self serving hypocrites that prey on the weak. Be assured their day will come, the day of judgment when the Lord will tell them “I never knew you.”
“18 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.” (Philippians 1:18-19)
Paul makes sense of the hypocrites as they preach the word of God. The apostle rejoices at the fact the gospel is advanced through forked tongues just as it is by the lips of the righteous. Paul knows his imprisonment has become a gateway through which he is given the opportunity to serve the Lord. Every single believer reading this scripture should therefore consider his or her own situation as a channel by which we will be delivered from this world.
“20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.” (Philippians 1:20)
Facing trial in Rome Paul is humbled by his humanity. Possibly on the eve of execution the apostle writes about courage, the same courage we all need as we face persecution in our lives. Though not many among us will ever face execution because of our faith in Jesus Christ, a great number will face temptation and some level of rejection. Therefore we must allow Paul’s words to bring meaning to our own mission as we seek courage on the eve of challenges brought on by this world.
“21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21)
How many among the church could say, and truly mean the words found in this verse? Are you ready to die for Christ as He died for you? Anyone not understanding the meaning of this verse absolutely needs to reevaluate their faith in Jesus Christ the son, God the father and the Holy Spirit.
“22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.” (Philippians 1:22-24)
Here Paul describes the fulfillment of his mission while he is alive which he compares to the next life spent along side Jesus in heaven. It is clear the next life is better however much like Paul, believers must embrace their mission before they can enjoy the fruit of their labor in God’s kingdom.
“25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me.” (Philippians 1:25-26)
Offering himself as a living sacrifice, Paul vows to continue serving the Lord through the Phillippian church and to do so in joy. He also takes on the responsibility for the Philippians to reply on him for their own spiritual growth. Paul also mentions accountability which all believers should proudly embrace as they walk the narrow path that leads to eternal life.
“27 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel 28 without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God.” (Philippians 1:27-28)
Paul promises the Philippians and all believers that we will be saved from the lake of fire that awaits those not in Christ. The apostle goes beyond advising on Christian conduct, he calls on all believers to “stand firm in one spirit.” In tune with the rest of the gospel we are to stand firm as we await the return of Jesus Christ at which time all believers will be rapture.
“29 For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him, 30 since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.” (Philippians 1:29-30)
Paul confirms a fact too many Christians choose to ignore, that to advance the gospel we are to suffer and make sacrifices. The Christian walk should not be one of luxurious comfort or a stroll across a hillside meadow rather, discipleship is to be a challenging road filled with struggle accompanied with rewards both in this life and the next.
With this in mind the question you need to ask yourself is this: How is your walk? Do you find yourself buried in luxury and comfort beyond measure? Are you suffering as you advance the gospel of Jesus Christ? In what way, specifically are you contributing to the spreading of the word?
In this scripture Paul teaches us no matter the circumstances, we are to preach the word of God with joy as the fulfillment of our mission is the only certain way to feel joy in spite of circumstances. Let’s pray!
We thank you for your blessings in our lives and for your servant Paul,
We praise you Lord for his wisdom and for his works through this scripture,
We ask you Lord to inspire us to use these verses in our lives
As we grow in you through the teachings of your faithful apostle.
Lord we ask you to strengthen us each day as we endure through battles,
Allow us to praise and love each other through faith in you Jesus,
Shield us from evil through truth, the gospel, salvation and prayer,
Guide us to abide by your word as we spread your gospel to one and all
Becoming examples of faith through our character as we walk the narrow path.
God we pray that you will continue to bless us, to bless our lives and fill us with hope
We ask you Lord to guide our footsteps and lead us to the way everlasting,
Through faith in you Lord we seek salvation and a place with you in heaven
According to your word, your everlasting wisdom and strength.
May your will be done
In our lives, for your life.
We thank you for your love and all you bless us with each day.
This message was written by Daniel St.Pierre