Philippians
1-6 Salutation, Thanksgiving and Prayer 7-11 The Love of Paul For the Philippians 12-18 The Progress of the Gospel 19-24 Magnify Christ In Your Body 25-30 Conduct Worthy Of the Gospel
Salutation, Thanksgiving and Prayer

1Paul and Timothy, bond-servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons: 2Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, 5in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now. 6[For I am] confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

V11Paul and Timothy, bond-servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons:. In his usual style Paul first mentions that he himself is the writer of the letter. Then as he often does, he includes someone with him as he writes this letter. This time he has Timothy who is his “true child in [the] faith“ (1Tim 1:22to Timothy, [my] true child in [the] faith: Grace, mercy [and] peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.). Young Timothy was of special value to Paul as his trusted companion in his work (Phil 2:20-2220For I have no one [else] of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare.21For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus.22But you know of his proven worth, that he served with me in the furtherance of the gospel like a child [serving] his father.). He was also well known to the Philippians. Paul mentions his name also as co-sender of this letter to make it clear that he also stands behind the contents of the letter. That was important because Paul was hoping to send him shortly to them.

That Paul mentioned Timothy’s name also as co-sender does not mean that they had written this letter together. In many places Paul uses the word ‘I’ which shows that he is the real writer.

Also note that Paul does not write as an apostle. He introduces himself and Timothy as “bond-servants of Jesus Christ“. That means the servant or slave has been purchased by Christ so that he or she is free. The one who is convinced about the price the Lord Jesus paid for his redemption will always want to be His slave. By saying bond-servants of Christ, he places himself and Timothy on the same level with the Philippians. The contents of the letter do not carry any greater weight when it is connected with his apostolic authority. The important matter is to show its contents in everyday life. That is seen in his life as a bond-servant and not on the basis of his position as apostle.

If he had written as an apostle, then he had given the impression that one must have the position of the apostle to have Christian experience. The Christian experience he presents here is not apostolic in nature, but it is an experience in the range of ordinary Christians. It relates to every ordinary Christian who is a bond-servant of the Lord. Love for the Lord Jesus is the motive to show in our life the contents of this letter. This letter is not a command from above.

Paul really has in his mind all the saints. We see this in the manner in which he addresses his readers. He writes to “all the saints” and that means no one is excluded. By the use of the word “all” he makes it clear that he stands above all parties and differences. He writes not to the church in Philippi but to the saints because the Christian experience is something personal. These saints are “in Christ Jesus”. That is their spiritual position. They are also the saints “in Philippi”. There we see their earthly position.

It is in Philippi their role in their social and church life takes place; there they have their responsibility, and there they bear their testimonies. You can apply this to yourself. You have been set apart in Christ from this world, and that is the meaning of saint. You no longer belong to the world. In Christ Jesus you have been separated from the world to live for God. In the place where you live you do this in everyday life.

It is true that the “overseers and deacons” have been specifically mentioned, but that does not mean they had any special status. The word “including” shows that. They have been put on a par with the saints (cp. Acts 20:2828Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.). It is clear from Acts 20 and Titus 1 that overseers means the same as elders (Acts 20:17-2817From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called to him the elders of the church.18And when they had come to him, he said to them, “You yourselves know, from the first day that I set foot in Asia, how I was with you the whole time,19serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials which came upon me through the plots of the Jews;20how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you publicly and from house to house,21solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.22And now, behold, bound by the Spirit, I am on my way to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there,23except that the Holy Spirit solemnly testifies to me in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions await me.24But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.25“And now, behold, I know that all of you, among whom I went about preaching the kingdom, will no longer see my face.26Therefore, I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men.27For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God.28Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.; Tit 1:5,75For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you,7For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain,). Elder denotes the maturity of the person and his experience in life. Overseer denotes the nature of the work or the task.

I would not be surprised if you have questions about the appointment of elders. I can say a few things about it. In the New Testament we read three times about the appointment of elders (Acts 14:2323When they had appointed elders for them in every church, having prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.; 20:2828Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.; Tit 1:55For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you,). These passages do not suggest that the church appointed them. You read of the apostles who appoints them for the purpose of the church (Acts 14:2323When they had appointed elders for them in every church, having prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.). We read that overseers were first made by the Holy Spirit (Acts 20:2828Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.; and you read that someone else appoints them in the name of an apostle (Tit 1:55For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you,). Since we have no more apostles, no one can handle in the name of an apostle, and therefore it is difficult to appoint elders today.

Are not elders necessary? Does not 1 Timothy 3 speak about the qualifications of overseers (1Tim 3:1-71It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires [to do].2An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,3not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money.4[He must be] one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity5(but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?),6[and] not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil.7And he must have a good reputation with those outside [the church], so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.)? Certainly I did not say that they are now redundant. What I assert is that they cannot be officially appointed by the church. Believers who know the Lord and walks with Him for a considerable period of time are encouraged to seek the position of an overseer (1Tim 3:11It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires [to do].). Blessed are those local churches that have such men in their midst.

“Deacons” are people who are responsible for the material things of people in the church. This is not a lesser service than that of the overseer, but another one. The overseer is mainly responsible for the spiritual needs of the believers. Both these services require a direct dependence on the Lord. They cannot show any nepotism. They are no respecters of persons. Then only their service can be of any use to the saints and to the honor of the Lord.

V22Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.. Paul closes his salutation with the usual words of blessings. He wishes his readers the consciousness of “grace” and inner “peace” for their everyday life. Grace means free and unmerited favor. To live a life in the consciousness of grace bestowed is a life lived in which the peace of God is experienced.

He wishes that this peace and this grace will be given to them by the two Persons in the Godhead Whom they are associated with. The Father and the Lord Jesus Christ have a great interest in the believers. Believers enjoy peace and grace when they have this great interest in everything related to the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. In the light of this letter we can say that grace and peace encompass the total Christian experience. You can relate these two blessings to everything you experience in the shaping of your character as a Christian.

V33I thank my God in all my remembrance of you,. The basic tone of the letter is gratitude. Paul begins to thank spontaneously when he thinks of the Philippians. Sometimes you also could have experienced similar feelings. When you think of certain people you cannot easily suppress certain feelings. The feelings correspond to what these people mean to you. If you had negative experiences with them your heart will not overflow with gratitude when you think of them. But if they are people to whom you owe a lot then things are different.

How good memories make a man happy and grateful! It is the same here with Paul when he thinks of the Philippians. He makes them know that he thanks God when he thinks of them. God also saw to it that this bond of fellowship exists.

V44always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all,. Paul’s thoughts are filled with the involvement of the Philippians and therefore he always prays for them, and thanks God upon every remembrance of them. One can also learn another fact from this. His prayer for them is not a burden, nor a lamentation before God. It builds up confidence in him. He prays “with joy” and that is “for you all”, so for all of them.

It looks as if there are no exceptions in this church. They were all totally involved in the gospel Paul preached. Even now while he was in prison they were all participants in the gospel. They always stood behind him. The gift they sent him testified to it. I am jealous of such a church. Aren’t you?

V55in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now.. The Philippians were not just nice people; they were his brothers and sisters. With them he shared his testimonies and with them he shared his faith in the Lord Jesus. They had accepted the gospel on the first day they heard it from him (Acts 16:14,33-3414A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul.33And he took them that [very] hour of the night and washed their wounds, and immediately he was baptized, he and all his [household].34And he brought them into his house and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, having believed in God with his whole household.). They then supported him in the preaching of the gospel, not simply once as people do it at the spur of the moment in emotional excitement.

There are Christians who are excited momentarily when a gospel outreach is organized. It is wonderful to do something for the Lord along with many people. But again when the action is over and normal life resumes its course, their activity for the gospel is also over. It was different with the Philippians. Their attachment to the gospel was not out of impulse or out of a temporary emotion. It continued “until now”.

V66[For I am] confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.. Paul is realistic enough to see that “until now” is not the end of the line. The Philippians must go ahead a further distance. But he has full confidence in them and sees the end ahead with joy. The fruit witnessed in their life was the result of the good work God worked in them. That gave him the confidence for the future. He knew that God would continue His work in them and complete it. The completion will take place on “the day of Jesus Christ”.

The “day of Christ” is the day when Christ would appear in His glory. The whole Christian life spans between two days – the first day (verse 55in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now.) and the day of Christ. The first day is the beginning of the race, the day on which they (we) heard the gospel and accepted it. The day of Christ is the period when Christ will openly take control over the world (Psa 2:88‘Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance,
And the [very] ends of the earth as Your possession.
). For us that day begins when we believers “shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air” (1Thes 4:16-1716For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of [the] archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.17Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.), after which we will immediately “appear before the judgment seat of Christ” (2Cor 5:1010For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.). Then we will look back upon our life with the eyes of the Lord and arrive at the same judgment as His. “We will be like Him” (1Jn 3:22Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.). Then God’s work in us is completed.

Now read Philippians 1:1-6 again.

Reflection: What can you learn from the way Paul gives thanks and prays for the Philippians?


The Love of Paul For the Philippians

7For it is only right for me to feel this way about you all, because I have you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of grace with me. 8For God is my witness, how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. 9And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, 10so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; 11having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which [comes] through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

V77For it is only right for me to feel this way about you all, because I have you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of grace with me.. Paul substantiates what he said earlier about his prayer with thanksgiving for the Philippians, and about his fellowship in the gospel, and about his confidence that God will complete His work in them. He is “right” in mentioning all these positive thoughts about them for several reasons. One reason is that they had him in their hearts. They did not think of him now and then. He belonged to them entirely. Though he was not physically present with them they carried him in their hearts. They cherished an abiding love for him, and he felt their love for him.

I think that you can imitate the Philippians. You can also have Paul close to your heart and love him. When you read his letters you simply show your love for his teachings. Then what is said of the Philippians could also be said of you. Others will thank and pray God for you. They will see your life and notice that your life is dedicated to the gospel; they will see that you live for the gospel; they will see that God works in you and therefore are confident that the Lord will complete His good work which He began in you.

Another reason why Paul rightly had good thoughts of them is because of their practical Christian living. They loved him so much that they had him in their hearts, but also because their love had hands and feet. They rallied behind him as he defended the gospel. The gospel when preached is always opposed and attacked. But the Philippians were always with Paul and together with him they resisted the opposing forces. They showed others that the gospel is the only way to salvation and this gospel included all other blessings. Their own repentance was the confirmation of the truth of the gospel.

We can dispute and refute on various issues. But living witnesses which testify to what happened to them when they accepted the gospel cannot be denied. They had to be killed to stop their mouth. Even then they speaks still (Heb 11:44By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks.). Anyone who thinks that he can stop the course of the gospel by throwing its preacher into prison makes a great mistake. That happened to Paul. The opposing forces only paved a new road for the gospel.

The “grace” he speaks about enabled him to endure his chains and to defend the gospel and to confirm it. He felt his preaching as well as his imprisonment as personal grace. Talking about this grace he says “you are partakers.” You are all partakers of the grace that is my portion.

You see how Paul and the Philippians built up a unity. Participation in a common cause promotes unity and fellowship. Do you identify yourself with the Lord’s workers and their situations? Then you also partake of the grace they received for this cause. It is not about persons but about God and the Lord Jesus Christ. Where the consciousness of the grace increases the dedication to the Lord and the unity of the believers will also increase. This is true not only among believers who together form a local church but also between the local church and a worker somewhere in the world.

V88For God is my witness, how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.. Such an intimate bond of fellowship seeks to express itself in more concrete ways. They want to see each other and be together. Paul wants them to know how much he loves them and longs to see them. That he calls God to be his Witness does not mean that he is concerned about the Philippians’ difficulty to believe him. It is as if he sought for himself the strongest expression to emphasize his desire for them. His desire for them had nothing to do with human sympathy. He did not want to see them because they were so nice to him. He wanted to be with them because his heart yearned for them.

“Affection” literally means bowels or entrails and it denotes the inner feelings and affections. However, these are not human emotions but it is the affection “of Jesus Christ”. Paul shows that his affections towards the Philippians are compared to the affections of Christ for His church. There we not only love the nice brothers and sisters but all without distinction. It is important to develop such feelings in our relationship with our brothers and sisters.

V99And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment,. Paul already said that he thanked and prayed for them, giving the reason why he did so (verses 3-53I thank my God in all my remembrance of you,4always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all,5in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now.). Now he mentions what he prayed for. Love is not something which is limited to the barest necessities. The nature of love is its abundance. Paul speaks about “your love” that it “may abound still more and more”. Once the faucet of love is opened the volume of love that flows out becomes greater and greater.

But the river of love requires a channel to flow through. Love is never wasteful or unreliable. That is why Paul prays that their love must be led by “knowledge and all discernment”. Love does not operate foolish. Spiritual knowledge is essential to express love and to prove love. Otherwise love is a hollow concept. We need to know what the Bible means by love. A sinful relationship cannot be labeled as love. True love will point out such a wrong relationship. Sin must be condemned so that God’s love can be enjoyed.

With “all discernment” Paul adds spiritual understanding to his prayer. It is one thing to have knowledge of something, but it is another matter to use knowledge in the right way at the right time. That is why discernment of a particular situation or circumstance is necessary, not in small measure, but in all discernment. Try to acquire all discernment. Well, we are unable to achieve that by ourselves. That is why a prayer like this is essential. You can add this as a prayer point for yourself and others.

V1010so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ;. Love directed by knowledge and discernment is necessary to “approve the things that are excellent”. You see how everything is viewed positively. To approve what is excellent is quite different to avoiding what is evil or spasmodically trying not to sin. To approve means to examine closely and carefully whether something is genuine and to make a decision based on this examination. It is an examination to check if a thing is worthy to be believed.

One for whom Christ is everything is not content with anything lesser than the best. The good is not sufficient and only the best is good enough. When you look for the best in earthly things, why not you look for the best in spiritual things? The best is that you know Christ and that it may result in glorifying Him with your life.

A few examples: You want to use the best Bible translation, and you want to belong to a local church where the Lord Jesus is the Center and the Word of God is recognized in all its authority. You want a job or profession in which you can work for His honor and you want to spend your free-time activities in a way that you can express your gratitude to Him.

These are few examples in which choices are included. It is your choice to choose what is best. When you choose the best in spiritual areas, your walk and behavior will be in compliance with God’s perfect light. In a dark world you will be without offence and you will increase in purity. This is the growth process. This process comes to an end when “the day of Christ” dawns or when the Lord takes you to Himself before this day.

I already said something about the day of Christ (verse 66[For I am] confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.) at the end of the previous section. On this day you will be completely “sincere and blameless”. But it is the intention of God that you work on it now. He would like to see that you live a life that is pure and blameless as much as possible. A sincere or pure life is a life without ulterior motives, clear and transparent. Impure motives are not there. A life blameless or without offence, is a life on which no one will find fault. To meet the expectations of God, you do not look to the commandments or impose laws upon yourself. You must only look to Christ. You learn from Him so that the result that He desires in you is achieved with love as the motivating force.

V1111having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which [comes] through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.. A life without ulterior or impure motive is rare but not impossible. Anyone can achieve this, in whose life Christ takes the first and the only place. Such life will be like a tree which is full of fruits. It has its roots in Jesus Christ. It draws its life’s nourishment from Him. The fruit consists of everything in life of which we say, it is righteous (Eph 5:99(for the fruit of the Light [consists] in all goodness and righteousness and truth),; Gal 5:2222But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,). That refers to everything you say and do. Unjust acts are not there. You give everyone his due, and you are honest in your evaluation of God’s people and others and in judging words, events and actions.

This is possible only “through Jesus Christ”. All what you do, the whole “fruit of righteousness”, is to “to the glory and praise of God” now as well as at the appearance of Jesus Christ, and to all eternity.

The fruit of righteousness was found in the life of the Lord Jesus Christ in its fullness. Everything He did was a fruit which was characterized by righteousness, the right of God. His whole conduct was a righteous conduct.

Now read Philippians 1:7-11 again.

Reflection: What is the reason you think that you can yearn for a brother or sister?


The Progress of the Gospel

12Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel, 13so that my imprisonment in [the cause of] Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else, 14and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear. 15Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will; 16the latter [do it] out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel; 17the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment. 18What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice,

V1212Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel,. Only after he expressed his joy over the Philippians and his desire for them, Paul says something about his own circumstances. You can always count on the interests of others in your circumstances, when there is a true bond of love between you and them. Look how he reports. He does not complain, nor does he exploit the good nature of Philippians. He does not give an impressive report on hardships he has to go through. He wants to show how God stands above all his circumstances which helped in the progress of the gospel. Is this not the true Christian view of life? It does not come naturally nor is it something you can read in an instruction booklet, but you must learn it by experience.

The words “have turned out” are significant in this regard. It means that it is in contrast to what one expects. Paul is in imprisoned. It seemed as if the enemy had obtained a great victory. This might have been discouraging to the Philippians. But as for Paul there was no trace of consternation. On the contrary, he encourages the Philippians by telling them that this exactly fits into God’s plan. The enemy meant evil, but God used it for the good (Rom 8:2828And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to [His] purpose.; Gen 50:2020As for you, you meant evil against me, [but] God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.).

Often Paul uses the expression “I want you to know”. This he does when he wanted to draw attention to something special (Rom 1:1313I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that often I have planned to come to you (and have been prevented so far) so that I may obtain some fruit among you also, even as among the rest of the Gentiles.; 11:2525For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery—so that you will not be wise in your own estimation—that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in;; 1Cor 10:11For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea;; 11:33But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.; 12:11Now concerning spiritual [gifts], brethren, I do not want you to be unaware.; 1Thes 4:1313But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope.).

The enemy thought that he had shut up Paul through imprisonment and thereby gave a severe blow to the gospel. But that was not the case. Actually God opened up new possibilities for the preaching of the gospel. The enemy also helped in the furtherance of the gospel. The enemy restricted Paul’s freedom of movement. But he could not stop his mouth nor affect his conviction. Paul might have been bound but the Word was not bound (2Tim 2:99for which I suffer hardship even to imprisonment as a criminal; but the word of God is not imprisoned.).

In this way a number of soldiers, to whom Paul was chained in his imprisonment, heard the gospel (Acts 28:1616When we entered Rome, Paul was allowed to stay by himself, with the soldier who was guarding him.) as he preached to anyone who visited him (Acts 28:30-3130And he stayed two full years in his own rented quarters and was welcoming all who came to him,31preaching the kingdom of God and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness, unhindered.). Those who were used to the worst curses should have spoken to each other about this remarkable prisoner. Satan gave this great evangelist of all the times access even to the “whole praetorian guard”. As a free man he would have never had this access. Thus the gospel came to places where it would have otherwise never reached. You see how God is exalted above satan’s raging and used his evil intentions to carry out His plans.

V1313so that my imprisonment in [the cause of] Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else,. It becomes clear to all everywhere that Paul is not incarcerated as a criminal to serve a penalty rightly awarded by the law. He was indeed taken prisoner by the Romans but he knew that he was not a prisoner of Rome. He never calls himself that way. When he talks about his imprisonment he always does so in relation to Christ. He is His prisoner (Eph 3:11For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—; 4:11Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,; Phlm 1:99yet for love’s sake I rather appeal [to you]—since I am such a person as Paul, the aged, and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus—), or as he says here “my imprisonment in [the cause of] Christ”. He is imprisoned for Christ’s sake. He does not take his circumstances from the hands of the enemy but from the hands of the One Whom he serves. Christ decides his fate; not the Roman emperor.

V1414and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear.. There is one more consequence of Paul’s detention. When others saw Paul’s testimony during his detention they took courage and began to preach the Word. Paul’s imprisonment inspired them to do the work of an evangelist. Sharing the Word is everyone’s responsibility. No one can pass the buck. But sometimes there are inner obstacles. Sometimes some brothers think that they are not as good as the other eminent preachers. Such brothers need help to overcome their inferiority complex. Paul never wanted to see himself as an obstacle to other believers who served the Lord in their capacity. Sometimes God Himself intervenes and sends the more experienced ones to other places, and then it is a great encouragement to see others begin to preach the gospel and fulfill their responsibility.

The Lord remains the same whether Paul or any other gifted brothers are there or not. The Philippians had put their trust in Him. Even so we can put our trust in Him and speak the Word of God without fear. Our confidence should not be in ourselves; for then the Lord cannot work. Once you put your trust in Him you can see what He can do with your life and with your testimony.

V1515Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will;. The absence of the apostle not only gave room for the shy ones. It also gave some people the opportunity to excel themselves in their work. Now it was their time to shine like stars. Their rival (so they considered him) had disappeared and with him his influence. They were people who tried to undermine Paul’s authority in the church and set believers against each other. They preached Christ “even from envy and strife”. They not only sought their own reputation but also wanted to hurt the imprisoned apostle. Their intentions were malicious.

If you are not aware a little bit of the corruption of your own heart, you would say: how could that be possible. But even today it happens. God’s servants sometimes want to take over the leadership of the church for selfish reasons. Often that happens at the cost of others who mean a lot for the church.

V1616the latter [do it] out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel;. Then the one, who served the church, having the view that the church is his own, reacts fleshly to the injustice done to him. Paul presents a good example here. He does not paint all with a single brush. He differentiates them according to their motives. Those who preached with good intentions did so out of love. There is no room for envy and strife if love is the driving force. Then we accept the fact that God entrusts every one with a specific task. Each task is different from the other. It is important that we accept the God-given differences and to act accordingly. Those who were guided by love accepted Paul’s special mission to defend the gospel.

V1717the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment.. The ideas or the intentions of some were mean and base. Their wonderful preaching which tickled the ears of people arose from “selfish ambition” which comprises selfishness, ambition and unsound rivalry which are related to one another. They labored to gather people around themselves and form a new party. Such people thought that such activities would jeopardize Paul’s mission and that it would add afflictions to his chains. This only revealed their wicked hearts.

V1818What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice,. Certainly Paul’s reaction could have been different too, if he were like them. We could also be upset about a lot of wickedness against our personal integrity. It is even more painful to see the work that we should have done breaking down before our eyes. Isn’t it a paradox to proclaim Christ and at the same time do so out of undesirable motives? Does it not seem impossible to misuse the Name of Christ for personal and selfish purposes?

Paul was totally not open for such considerations. His reaction is quite different in nature. His exclamation “what then?” sounds like a cry of victory. Do not think this is a call coming forth from indifference or callousness. With this short sentence he sets aside all the resistance and the incriminating actions of the enemy. He does not think of a circular letter to counter all the false allegations of the enemy. He does not give any instructions to the Philippians as to how they should handle such mean people.

This shows his attitude, and awareness of Whom his heart is filled with, namely Christ. His enemies attacked him and he defended the gospel, but not himself. In this he points to Christ. His enemies as humans could not act above themselves. Paul stands above his circumstances because his heart is filled with Christ.

What can the enemy do with such a man? Christ and the salvation of others are more important to Paul than the question if he could continue the work himself. God continued it further. Our God reigns no matter what happens with you or around you. He is sovereign and He uses His word to achieve His end no matter who preaches or how it is preached. This awareness makes him happy now and forever. It also makes you happy when you learn to look at circumstances like him. Then you are invincible, not because you are strong but because He is strong.

Now read Philippians 1:12-18 again.

Reflection: What is the secret not to be depressed by circumstances?


Magnify Christ In Your Body

19for I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, 20according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but [that] with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22But if [I am] to live [on] in the flesh, this [will mean] fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. 23But I am hard-pressed from both [directions], having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for [that] is very much better; 24yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake.

V1919for I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,. In verse 1212Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel, Paul said that he wanted the Philippians to know something. Now he says what he himself knows. To know something means to have knowledge of it. In the meantime you have already understood that the knowledge of certain things about God is not intended as food for your intellect. All what you know about God and all that He gives you as knowledge is given to you that it might work something in your life. That does not only refer to the knowledge that you acquire through Bible study. It also is related to the experiences which you obtain in your faith life. Paul refers to the latter. He knew that all that happened to him, and about which he speaks in the previous verses, was used by God to achieve the one purpose, namely “deliverance” or salvation.

The salvation here of course is not the salvation through faith (Eph 2:88For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, [it is] the gift of God;). He was already in possession of it. He lived consciously of the fact that all things were in the hands of God. Therefore he was sure that he would overcome all the circumstances, safe and unharmed.

Yes, to a certain extent the tide of circumstances had already carried him towards the goal, and now he is sure of reaching it. He saw that God used circumstances as means of transport to bring him to the place where He wanted him to be. Paul saw all what happened to him not only in relation to the here and the now, and that is very valuable, but he saw everything from the perspective of the future. All the events in his life did not happen by chance but they were contributions to a final result. Is it not a great encouragement for you too to look at all what happens in your life from this perspective?

Paul not only rests in the idea that everything is in the hands of God, but he also knows that he is upheld by the “prayers” of the Philippians. God uses the prayers of His people to accomplish His goal. This is a great encouragement for you and me to pray much for others. We find a beautiful example in the book of Acts of the power of prayer (Acts 12:5-175So Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God.6On the very night when Herod was about to bring him forward, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and guards in front of the door were watching over the prison.7And behold, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared and a light shone in the cell; and he struck Peter’s side and woke him up, saying, “Get up quickly.” And his chains fell off his hands.8And the angel said to him, “Gird yourself and put on your sandals.” And he did so. And he *said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.”9And he went out and continued to follow, and he did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision.10When they had passed the first and second guard, they came to the iron gate that leads into the city, which opened for them by itself; and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel departed from him.11When Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I know for sure that the Lord has sent forth His angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.”12And when he realized [this], he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John who was also called Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying.13When he knocked at the door of the gate, a servant-girl named Rhoda came to answer.14When she recognized Peter’s voice, because of her joy she did not open the gate, but ran in and announced that Peter was standing in front of the gate.15They said to her, “You are out of your mind!” But she kept insisting that it was so. They kept saying, “It is his angel.”16But Peter continued knocking; and when they had opened [the door], they saw him and were amazed.17But motioning to them with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the Lord had led him out of the prison. And he said, “Report these things to James and the brethren.” Then he left and went to another place.). The means of God’s provision for His own is never exhausted. Paul knows that the Lord is sovereign over circumstances when others pray for him. In addition he has the inner “provision [or sustaining] of the Spirit”.

Every believer receives the Holy Spirit at his conversion and He lives in him (Eph 1:1313In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise,). He is the Spirit of sonship through Whom the believer knows the Father, and he calls Him “Abba Father” (Rom 8:1515For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”; Gal 4:66Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”), and he lives through the Spirit; he walks in the Spirit, and he is led by the Spirit and he brings forth fruit through the Spirit (Gal 5:16,18,22,2516But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,25If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.). But here Paul calls Him “the Spirit of Jesus Christ”. This is not an accidental remark. By so calling the Spirit, Paul relates the circumstances in his life to the earthly life of the Lord Jesus Christ. Then he also relates his life to the place where the Lord now is. “Jesus” is the name of the Lord in his humiliation. “Christ” is the name of the Lord in His exaltation.

The Lord’s earthly circumstances were much more difficult than those of Paul. But the Lord did everything in the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:3838[You know of] Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and [how] He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.). The Lord Jesus is no more on earth but is in heaven in His glory. His glorification is the proof of His victory over satan, sin and death. That is the reason why Paul did not live in depression; he lived through this victory. The full result of this victory will become visible at the salvation in the end. Paul was looking forward to see it.

V2020according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but [that] with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.. Paul was not depressed which is evident from the fact that he sought with a great desire to magnify Christ through his body. Christ is being magnified when He is brought closer to people. You can compare this to how a star is brought closer by means of a telescope. The star does not change its size. The significance is not the telescope. If you only look at the telescope and not through it you see nothing of the star. Even so Paul wants to diminish (even as we must diminish), that more is seen of Christ. You see something similar in John the baptist (Jn 3:3030He must increase, but I must decrease.).

The “expectation and hope” Paul is full of, has two sides. On the one hand he did not want to recant any single aspect of what he always preached and translated into action in his life. His incarceration was not a punishment from God for a false proclamation or for a perverted life. On the contrary, and that is the other side, he wanted to see to it that, now also while in imprisonment, there existed no limitation to magnify Christ “with all boldness” in his body.

The means to bring Christ closer to people is our body. We share with others what we are through our body, and indeed through our speech and actions. When we consider ourselves important, we so speak and act that attention is drawn towards us. When we see Christ as important we so speak and act, that He would be seen.

Paul adds something more. He wants to magnify Christ “whether by life or by death”. That is not boasting. He wanted just one thing: the glorification of Christ. His life was all about this. He was for it even if he should die. When you consider your life and death from this perspective, what a rich life you must have then! John the baptist was approximately thirty years old, when he was beheaded for his faithful witness. Jim Elliot was not even thirty when he was killed along with four other young men by the Auca Indians when he wanted to reach them with the gospel. As a twenty-one year old student he wrote in his diary: ‘If my life perishes, Lord, then it belongs to you. I do not aspire for a long life but a full life, just like yours, Lord Jesus.’

V2121For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.. I wish that you and I have such a desire in life. Such a desire is fulfilled in the life of people who desire to say like Paul, because they imitate him: “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” This is said by a man who could no longer serve his Lord publicly for a few years. That must have been a great ordeal for him. But the Lord Himself took the place of the work. For Paul life was not his ministry but Christ. For him life consisted only of Christ. Christ was the substance of his life, and the hallmark of his life. That is why for him to die is gain; for then he would be with Christ. In 2 Corinthians 12 he writes how he had a foretaste of it (2Cor 12:2-42I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a man was caught up to the third heaven.3And I know how such a man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows—4was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak.).

V2222But if [I am] to live [on] in the flesh, this [will mean] fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose.. If Paul had to make a choice between life and death it would be difficult for him to choose. He sees two possibilities, not in the light of what it would cost but in the light of the advantages. The deciding factor in the choice was the well-being of the church. He came to this good decision because he lost sight of himself and his own interests, but exactly like Christ he only thought of the needs of the church.

It was clear to him that it meant difficulties if he remained alive. However he gladly took these difficulties, because life offered opportunities to magnify Christ in his body, to bring forth fruit in his ministry for Him. It poses the question to you as to if it is worth the trouble to remain alive. Do you live for hobbies, or for your favorite sport or for your strong challenging profession etc. or only for Christ?

V2323But I am hard-pressed from both [directions], having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for [that] is very much better;. Paul was thrown back and forth in weighing both the possibilities. Both the possibilities had something very attractive, and both pressed him and fought for precedence. It was a great desire “to depart and be with Christ”. The word depart literally means release. This is a word which is used for the loosing of the ropes of a ship that it can depart. We hear Paul calling out: ‘Untie the ropes that bind me to the earth; then I can be free and be with Him after whom my heart yearns.’ Upon reflection he says: It is far better to die. Beyond death there is nothing but paradise (Lk 23:4343And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”), where fellowship with Christ is enjoyed fully and undisturbed.

Have you ever heard about the so called soul sleep or if you would hear about it, this verse makes clear that it is not true at all. Soul sleep means that a believer after his death remains in an unconscious state. But being with Christ denotes a full and conscious fellowship with Christ. Any idea of soul sleep is excluded here (Rev 6:9-109When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained;10and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”).

V2424yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake.. Paul says what he prefers, but his choice is that he wants “to live [on] in the flesh”. That of course means that he wants to live in his body – that is to remain alive. In weighing his options he gave greater weight to the necessity of service to others.

You see the true servant in Paul. He thinks on what is necessary and useful for others and does not give priority to his own desire. This is something that you and I certainly can learn from him.

Now read Philippians 1:19-24 again.

Reflection: What would guide you when you stand before certain choices?


Conduct Worthy Of the Gospel

25Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy in the faith, 26so that your proud confidence in me may abound in Christ Jesus through my coming to you again. 27Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; 28in no way alarmed by [your] opponents—which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that [too], from God. 29For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, 30experiencing the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear [to be] in me.

V2525Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy in the faith,. The love of Christ for the church was the deciding factor for Paul. If he remained alive it was good for the church and therefore he would remain alive. When you have Christ and His interests in your mind you will know peace and tranquility. How can one look after the interests of Christ? It is by looking after the interests of the church.

Paul’s mind is at rest. His trust in God only became still stronger through these exercises. He has a certainty to remain with his beloved Philippians. The result is that he can help them further in the way of faith. This again shows that they in turn can live their faith with even more joy.

Faith is not a statistical or a doctrinal matter, or any other boring or miserable matter. Faith is dynamic; it sets people in motion. The objective is that you grow in faith. When faith increases, and when your knowledge of Him and what you believe increase, your joy will also increase. From the beginning faith and joy belonged to each other (Acts 16:3434And he brought them into his house and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, having believed in God with his whole household.) as sorrow and repentance go together (2Cor 7:1010For the sorrow that is according to [the will of] God produces a repentance without regret, [leading] to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.). Show that you are a happy Christian!

V2626so that your proud confidence in me may abound in Christ Jesus through my coming to you again.. Paul longs to be back with the Philippians. Not to receive all sorts of thank you sayings from them. Also not to be admired for his special experiences. No, he would gladly contribute to the glory of Christ Jesus. The progress achieved on the way of faith and the great joy his ministry worked out should not redound to his honor but to the glory of Christ. Again and again we see how the servant pales into insignificance in order to make room for the One Whom his heart is filled with. I wish this is so with everyone who does a service to you and also with you when you do a service to another. Every service has value or worth only when it increases the honor of Christ.

V2727Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;. Here begins a new passage in this letter which goes till chapter 2:11. Until now he wrote about his personal attitude toward the Philippians, what they meant for him and what he meant for them. Now he moves to another point, and that is really how the church stands in relation to Christ. Paul focuses his attention to the practical condition of the believers, their walk, their behavior, and on what the world would see in them.

Here he has two things in his mind. First they should stand firm in one spirit and secondly they should not be terrified in anything by their opponents. These two factors have an interaction: when they are in one spirit, they will have the strength to fight the enemy. Verse 2727Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; is a rich verse. It begins with ‘walk’ and ends with ‘fight’, and spirit and mind stand in between.

First he speaks to them about their “conduct” which should be “worthy of the gospel of Christ”. That means that they should lead a life that befits the dignity of the gospel. When we say that we believe the gospel and at the same time so live as the world does then we blemish the gospel. Then we are not worthy representatives of the gospel.

The word ‘conduct’ is related to the word citizenship (Phil 3:2020For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;). We can compare it well with the position of the residents of Philippi. The city of Philippi was a colony, an outpost of Rome. The city was in an area far away from Rome, but it was governed by the laws of Rome.

Applying this, we can say that we are an outpost of heaven on earth, a piece of heaven on the earth. We are surrounded by enemies. In this strange world we have to uphold the honor of heaven, the place where we are really at home. Our conversation, our approach, and our whole behavior must be in agreement with the worthiness of heaven where we are at home. We have become citizens of heaven through the gospel, and there we are at home. Our task is to walk and behave correspondingly with that place.

Paul lays great emphasis on the significance of a worthy walk. On the one hand he stresses that their walk must be completely detached from his person. Whether he is with them or not, that is beside the point. They all should strive together in practice. On the other hand he expresses his deep compassion for them and his personal commitment to this matter. He would like to see in them or hear of them striving side by side.

It is all about standing together. How can they do that? When they all have the same conviction and the same goal to pursue. The onslaught here is directed against the unity of Christians. That is why the call is to stand together firmly. Conflicting interests defuses the energy. Mutual interests bind together. That means to be “in one spirit”. Sometimes you can have the same conviction, but you may not want to stand up for that conviction. That is why it is important that we also fight together “with one mind” (cp. Acts 4:3232And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one [of them] claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them.). This is lacking sometimes even among very committed people.

We can take up a fight when we are inspired and convinced of the matter that we stand for. The commitment in this fight is no less than the “faith of the gospel”. Jude calls for a fight for the faith (Jude 1:33Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.). He means that with the absolutes which God has given to us in His word we must stand against the attacks of the enemy. Paul says that all what the Person of Jesus Christ is must be shown to the world. That provokes hostility and we must unite with Him against it. We have accepted Him, and when we are consistent in following Him, we partake of what was done to Him.

V2828in no way alarmed by [your] opponents—which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that [too], from God.. When you fight together, the enemy will attempt to intimidate you. He will use all means to terrify you. The word “alarmed” reminds us of a horse which when frightened refuses to move on. The devil can take up the form of “a roaring lion” (1Pet 5:88Be of sober [spirit], be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.). He can show up his wide open mouth in many different ways. But when your confidence remains fixed on the Lord he can do you no harm. The Lord has overcome the world (Jn 16:3333These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”) and rendered the devil powerless (Heb 2:1414Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,). And if you resist the enemy this way he will have to admit his impotence.

This acknowledgement at the same time is the clear “sign of destruction”. The proof of destruction of the enemy lies in the fact that we are not terrified by him. Despite the world’s power at his disposal the enemy is powerless against the power of God. You need not fear however strong the opponents are. That does not mean that we should underestimate the power of the enemy. Never underestimate his power (Jude 1:99But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”).

For the believer resistance from the world is always proof of his salvation. That seems to be a strange argument. To understand this we must bear in mind that we live in a world which is not yet openly ruled by Christ. For instance you can ask why committed Christians should suffer. When things go well with the opponents, and when they even have a say, is it not proof that God is on their side? It is quite the opposite. In 2 Thessalonians 1 you get the same proof (2Thes 1:4-74therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure.5[This is] a plain indication of God’s righteous judgment so that you will be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which indeed you are suffering.6For after all it is [only] just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you,7and [to give] relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire,). You read that the believers are now oppressed, but when the Lord Jesus reigns, they will rule with Him. Today’s sufferings are proof that God is on the side of the believers.

V2929For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,. However, struggle and suffering, resistance and opposition are not absolute proofs that you are on the right side. You may know that and it could give some consolation and you may consider it an inevitable evil from which unfortunately you cannot escape. But that is below the measure of faith you have. Suffering for Christ however strange that might sound is a privilege. To believe in Him is certainly a great privilege, and your experience too must affirm it. But in addition to the privilege of believing in Christ, to suffer for Him is an equally great privilege (Acts 5:4141So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for [His] name.; 1Pet 4:1313but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.). When we do not know this suffering, we must ask ourselves, if we live Godly (2Tim 3:1212Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.).

This is all about suffering for His sake. This is a suffering that is your portion in this world, when you have chosen to be on the side of the rejected Lord and have chosen to walk in fellowship with Him. You will experience this suffering when you look at the world as a terrain where you have nothing to seek and nothing to lose. Are you ready for it?

V3030experiencing the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear [to be] in me.. What Paul wrote to the Philippians was not the jargon of a room. He knew what trouble they had. They had seen that struggle in him when he was with them for the first time (Acts 16:2222The crowd rose up together against them, and the chief magistrates tore their robes off them and proceeded to order [them] to be beaten with rods.). Now when Epaphroditus read out this letter and explained it they heard of his struggle in the Roman imprisonment. Paul connects with the Philippians in their struggle. This is genuine brotherly fellowship. He wants them to know that he is one with them. This is the only thing that can win hearts. They were physically separated by distance, and they were intimately connected to each other through the hearts.

Now read Philippians 1:25-30 again.

Reflection: How can you conduct worthy of the gospel?


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