Philippians 1

I want to take a look at the book of Philippians. Now we will tackle it one chapter at a time. I do not claim that I know everything there is to know about this epistle but I will be sharing what I know about it.

The first thing we need to remember is that no prophecy of the scriptures is of any private interpretation. We also know that one of the things that scripture is good for is reproof according to 2 Timothy 3:16. When you read the Pauline Epistles you need to keep in mind which ones are doctrine, which are reproof and which are correction. So as we tackle Philippians it is good to remember that it is a reproof epistle. I also believe we need to look at it as a whole and remember there is a context to all these verse we love to quote they help to form an overall picture. No verse should be cheery picked to try and make the word say something it does not say. A great example is Philippians 4:13 I can do all things. That does not mean you can walk off the side of a building and not fall. There is a context to that verse it is talking about you can handle whatever may come up against you no matter what your circumstance might at that time be. If you are out of a job temporarily you can still handle making sure the word is taught. We will look at that more in detail when we get there. So baring all this in mind let us look at Philippians

Philippians 1:1 Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:

Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

This is written to the saints that is the Greek word hagios which means - set apart by (or for) God, holy, sacred. We have been set apart for God. we have been made holy because we believed God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. We are doing our best to live God's word in our lives.

I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,

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

The word request means to entreat. Paul requests that God takes care of the people at Philippi and it is a joy for him to do that. That is one thing if you want to be a leader you need to pray for the people you lead without reservation. 

For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it 
until the day of Jesus Christ:

We know that the day of Christ is not the gathering together but the day Christ returns to the earth with the armies of heaven in tow then you have the resurrections of the just and the unjust.

The Companion Bible translates this:

6 Trusting this very thing, He Which hath begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Christ.

Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace.

The Greek word used for confirmation is bebaiōsis it is only used twice here and in Hebrews 6:16 it is a legal term for the word guarantee.

Let's take a look at verse 7 in the New International Version

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,fn both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel.

We are partakers with Paul in grace. Grace is not something that can be earned.

Ephesians 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.

We need to remember that what we have is because of what Jesus Christ did not because of anything we did or do now. That is why these people who will not talk to or have anything to do with those who are still lost have it wrong. I am not saying they have to become your bff but how can they change if they never hear about Christ?

Romans 10:14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!

Now many have heard of Christ but what they have heard may not be the truth. Not that we claim to have the all truth that is God who knows the all truth. So we hold forth the word to all that we meet, we are always ambassadors for Christ.

For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ.

And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;

One of the great truths you will find is that you increase in knowledge your love and faith or trust in God and his promises grows. It's one of those things in life that as we find something works we get more and more confident in the thing. When you learn to ride a bike you go short distance and crash but you know it can be a very smooth thing because you have seen others do it. Most people don't get on a bike and the first time they try they go riding for miles. There tends to be some crashing before you get to enjoy the ride. With time and success confidence grows as long as you are following what God's word says to do.

10 That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ.

The only excellent things come from God and his word. Anything else at best could be called good. I don't know about you but I want those Excellent things.

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

12 But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel;

Again I believe that the NIV makes what being said much clearer.

12 Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel.

We are not sure how this is occurring because at least here it does not say how it is happening just that it appears that it is happening. It will be explained shortly.

You would think that it would cause the word to quit growing at least using world wisdom but we never judge by world wisdom. I am pretty sure that when they killed Jesus that would be the end of the problem of course here we are two thousand years later he is still is influencing men and women today.

13 So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places;

14 And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.

So here you go people were, because of Paul being imprisoned, becoming bolder and sharing the truth. This is not an uncommon occurrence, it is not able to be sustained for two thousand years most of the time. 

15 Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will:

16 The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds:

17 But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel.

So there were people out there teaching Christ who only had evil in mind. They wanted to add to Paul's problems making his life more difficult, there were also those who taught Christ out of a pure heart trying to reconcile men to God. Both types knew what they were doing.  They were clear on their motives. We need to be aware because this still happens today. This is one reason you need to be able to understand the word so these people who do not operate from a pure heart cannot trick or deceive you.

The word envy in verse 15 is used several times in the word. It is only used twice in the Gospels both times it is talking about Pilate an how he understood that was the motive behind why the Chief Priests had sent Jesus to him to be judged because they were jealous of him. This is the same basic reason why Lucifer rose up against God. Isiah 14:12 ff. Let us always be sure we preach Christ from a pure heart.

18 What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.

Paul was just happy that Christ was being preached. We should always be happy that Christ is being preached. Of course it would be nice if he is being preached out of a pure heart where there is concern that the preaching be accurate. At least if they mention he got up from the dead some may get born again. I would trust God will get those who hunger and search after righteousness find people who teach the word rightly divided.

19 For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,

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

Bullinger translates earnest expectation as my "my anxious looking with outstretched head" Just get a vision of someone craning there neck looking around the things getting in the way of his seeing the return of Christ and that is how we should be as well. It should be our first priority every day. We should get up looking for the return and if we are still here at the end of the day we should still be looking for it.

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

I really don't understand this verse I have heard several explanations which I do not know if I full believe are correct by people who know more than I do. I know Psalms for instance says :

Psalm 116:15 Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.

You can see from precious uses that it should be translated costly yet Paul is saying here that dying is gain. The most logical thing I have ever heard is that the next thing we know after the moment we die is the return of the Lord. It could be a minuet or a million years later the next instance will be the fulfillment of 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17. I am not 100% sure this is correct but it may well be. Look at verse 23.
22 But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not.

23 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:

The way we depart is by the return when we meet the Lord in the air.

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

It was needful for the believers at this time for Paul to continue on.

25 And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith;

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

27 Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;

In verse 27 the word conversation is the Greek word politeuomai it means citizenship or behaviour 

28 And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.

We do not need to fear our enemies. They are the ones who fear us because we are a constant reminder to them that their time is limited that we when the Lord returns they are done for.

29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;

30 Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me.

Like Paul we will have times that we may suffer for our beliefs sake. Honestly the worst thing that has ever happened to me was that someone yelled some nasty stuff at me. I can live with it because I am still alive to teach many of out brethren have paid with their lives. So I am a grateful for what I have been given. I am very grateful for the blessings of life and a chance to share the word.

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