Joy · New Testament · Philippians · Unity

Philippian Bits – 1:13

For this series in Philippians, I am going to limit each post to one verse each post, and hopefully produce a short, succinct read for my friends who follow.

1:13   so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ.

Paul’s imprisonment was common knowledge. Nothing was hidden from those who were in his vicinity. Of course, some of the imperial guard would know of Paul’s imprisonment through their direct orders to guard him. The remaining imperial guard depended on gossip through the ranks.

Yet, it is hard to imagine (and this is my imagination!) the soldiers in the imperial guard, hardened disciplined men of the highest caliber of soldier, would be susceptible to common gossip. Paul’s imprisonment caused a major stir that rippled through the ranks, primarily due to the conversions of those guarding him. Those who had no contact with Paul, were in contact with guards that had become believers.

This, if understood by the leadership of the Romans, would give reason for concern, for the Caesar was to be considered god, and the guards were changing their allegiance.


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Joy · New Testament · Philippians · Unity

Philippian Bits – 1:12

For this series in Philippians, I am going to limit each post to one verse each post, and hopefully produce a short, succinct read for my friends who follow.

1:12   I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel,

With this verse we listen in on the apostle Paul’s interpretation of the trials he has entered into, through his travels and the current imprisonment he was experiencing. It is important to understand that Paul wants to encourage his friends with progress in the midst of trials, and not simply for the sake of his friends, but to see through the eyes of Jesus, what is actually happening for the sake of the gospel.

Paul is not going to dwell on his personal sufferings, other than to inform his friends that he is in prison. He does not describe the condition of the prison, the lack of food or clothing, the loneliness or any other aspect that he may be experiencing, since this is not the focus of his message.

Paul is so focused on advancing the gospel, that he does not accept his current condition as a set back, but actually understands the benefit of his imprisonment for the sake of the gospel.

His imprisonment is advancing the gospel.

How crazy is that? How upside down is the kingdom of God in comparison to our modern way of thinking. It is too much for me at times.

In your own life, has there been a set back? A seeming defeat? Consider a refocus.

Story Time

Years back, a brother spoke of the reason the Dead sea is dead. You see, the dead sea receives water from the Jordan, but has no natural outlet and is unable to provide water to any other body of water. There is no outlet from the dead sea, other than by evaporation, which causes all the salts carried by the Jordan to remain in the Dead Sea, making it useless for life.

Life requires expression, an outlet to give to others in order to maintain, even expand our life. Receiving, or focusing only on ourselves, is a great way to die!

Paul looked for an outlet in his circumstances. May we also take on this attitude, and find life in the giving.


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Joy · New Testament · Philippians · Unity

Philippian Bits – 1:11

For this series in Philippians, I am going to limit each post to one verse each post, and hopefully produce a short, succinct read for my friends who follow.

1:11   filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

Fruit of Righteousness. It is interesting that Paul speaks of righteousness as a living, growing fruit and not some deed or act or work that is to be dutifully, religiously, ceremonially performed.

This fruit, to carry the metaphor Paul began, finds it sustenance from the root, the Lord Jesus. All nourishment the fruit requires for maturity is from the root alone. Paul desires his church, his friends to be filled with this fruit, to bring glory to God.

Remember, we began this portion of Philippians in verse 9, speaking of Pauls desire for the Philippians love to abound more and more. This fruit of righteousness, in my thinking, is synonymous with a loving sacrificial giving life. This is the nature of our Savior, for He gave all to deliver us.

Paul will return to this teaching over and over again in this letter to his friends. It would be wise for us to mimic the Lord Jesus, through His strength and nourishment and give of ourselves for the sake of others.

In doing so, the fruit will increase. And we will have joy.


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Joy · New Testament · Philippians · Unity

Philippian Bits – 1:10

For this series in Philippians, I am going to limit each post to one verse each post, and hopefully produce a short, succinct read for my friends who follow.

1:10   so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,

Remember from our last verse that the topic is to abound in love more and more. In increasing our knowledge and exercising discernment, Paul open up the option for each believer to approve what is excellent. Paul was not a micro-manager. He trusted that those in Philippi would come to godly conclusions from their walk with the Lord, and that when various decisions would be required, this knowledge and discernment would serve the young church in testing the facts and finding the best route for this church.

The intent of exercising this knowledge and discernment was for love to abound, and in this effort, these Philippians would be pure and blameless in the day of Christ

Pure.

To be “pure” here is synonymous to sincerity. An element of genuineness is included in this Greek word.

Blameless

To be blameless is to be without offence. This term always troubled me until I understood the concept of keeping all my known sins confessed both to God and to those I have wronged. To err is human, and we all fall into times when we may offend God or a fellow man or woman, but to let this fester and remain unresolved is to be blameworthy. To request forgiveness is to remove this blameworthiness. Offenses may be removed through the power of forgiveness, which is exercised through love.

Love is so important for the believer!


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Joy · New Testament · Philippians · Unity

Philippian Bits – 1:9

For this series in Philippians, I am going to limit each post to one verse each post, and hopefully produce a short, succinct read for my friends who follow.

1:9   And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment,

Abounding Love.

Paul consistently emphasizes one Christian characteristic over all others in his writings. If he speaks of knowledge, it was to increase love. If he speaks of discernment, it was to increase love.

To seek knowledge and discernment is a godly exercise, and yet if it gets derailed, or becomes an end game of its own, it is short sighted and misses the mark. Each endeavor of the Christian is to focus on love towards the Lord Jesus and to His people. Love is so primary in the Christian life that it would be accurate to state it is to consume the saint.

Each saint may find differing ways of expressing this love, either through service, or administration, teaching or acts of mercy, but each act of the Christian is to be motivated by love. A self sacrificing, joy filled love that reflects the Lord’s nature and character.

Remember the end game brothers and sisters.


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Joy · New Testament · Philippians · Unity

Philippian Bits – 1:8

For this series in Philippians, I am going to limit each post to one verse each post, and hopefully produce a short, succinct read for my friends who follow.

1:8   For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.

Paul is calling upon God as his witness, the One who is the observer of an action, any action, as a matter of fact, of all actions. Paul is calling on God as a witness of his emotions for the Philippians, of his great longing for his friends in Philippi.

Human witnesses observe physical actions and happenings. God is a witness of emotional truths, of the inner heart and mind, of the heart of the apostle. Those inner yearnings of the apostle towards the Philippians are sourced of the Christ, and this Greek word speaks of tenderness, compassion, kindness and compassion. Paul described his emotions using a word that speaks of mercy and affection.

Have you considered that the affection of Jesus is such for you?


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Joy · New Testament · Philippians · Unity

Philippian Bits – 1:7

For this series in Philippians, I am going to limit each post to one verse, and hopefully produce a short, succinct read for my friends who follow.

1:7   It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel.

Unity

Paul speaks of this church, this group of people as being in his heart, that he feels a certain way toward them, and that they all are partakers with him of grace. Again, he uses this term Koinōnia, but with a prefix, that speaks of these folks as being with him in the participation of preaching and imprisonment.

Their partnership in providing gifts brought them into a poverty, and both Paul and the Philippians suffered in their efforts for the furtherance of the gospel. And in that suffering, all partook of grace.

In this unity of suffering and advancement of the gospel, grace was provided to all.

Enter into someone’s suffering today, even if only with a listening ear, willing to give some of your time for someone else. Be one with that soul who may be struggling, and watch for the Lord in it.


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Joy · New Testament · Philippians · Unity

Philippian Bits – 1:6

For this series in Philippians, I am going to limit each post to one verse, and hopefully produce a short, succinct read for my friends who follow.

1:6   And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

After considering my last post, you will understand I believe this good work Paul refers to as the Philippians giving gifts of love to their apostle. (In other words, I do not see any context here that drives an eternal security teaching.) See the post Conditional Security – Philippians 1:3-11 for supporting nformation for this statement.

Nevertheless, Paul was confident because they had already proven themselves to be faithful to their calling of supporting their beloved apostle. He had no doubt this body of believers would continue. God was at work in these believers in supporting thier missionay apostle. No documentation was necessary, no promissory notes were signed, no contractural commitments negotiated.

They loved him and gave gifts every chance they had. And Paul was so thankful.

Love would fuel the completion of this good work!


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Joy · New Testament · Philippians · Unity

Philippian Bits – 1:5

For this series in Philippians, I am going to limit each post to one verse, and hopefully produce a short, succinct read for my friends who follow.

1:5   because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.

Partnership. Fellowship. Joint Participation. Koinōnia

A sharing with someone else. I believe this verse hints at Paul’s thankfulness for a very specific partnership the Philippians participated with Paul in. I think he is broaching the topic of dirty mammon, filthy lucre, cold hard cash. (For my reasons for thinking this way, consider the post Conditional Security – Philippians 1:3-11)

If my thinking is correct, Paul is speaking of a very real world need in a beautifully wrapped phrase which the Philippians would understand without him having to blurt it out. Classy. Subdued. Humble and gracious.

This verse speaks of the Apostle using a specific word with intent meant for the audience. Only after getting involved with the book, and Paul’s intimate history with this church, do we understand what the Philippians understood.

Grace in our speech. A message to his loved ones, expressing gratitude for their real world gifts.


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Joy · New Testament · Philippians · Unity

Philippian Bits – 1:4

For this series in Philippians, I am going to limit each post to one verse, and hopefully produce a short, succinct read for my friends who follow.

1:4   always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy,

Prayer

Paul prayed for his church. No, that statement is not true, if I understand Paul.

He prayed for his friends. He prayed for individuals that were on his heart. I do not understand Paul as thinking of the church in Philippi as an organization that needed to meet some arbitrary budget, or that his authority in the church needed to be stengthened, or that the expansion plans were not hitting goals.

Nope. He prayed for people. And in those prayers, the predominant theme he naturally expressed was that of joy. Joy is the theme of this letter and I find it interesting, even revealing that it is associated with prayer at it first occurrence.

Pray for people, and remember the joy of loving those you pray for.


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