Monday, July 28, 2008

Philippians 1

In the study of this book...
"I find myself wishing I was a Phillipian", because of the way Paul writes to them...Truly the love of God was upon him when he spoke of and to the Phillipians. The Phillipians had a permanent home in Paul's heart. Of course the letter is also written to us today so I can take part in the love Paul was writing about as well as the encouragement for living a godly life.
Paul = "little one" So unlike the great SAUL whose attention was grasped by God on the road to Damascus where he was struck blind and then became a messenger of God's Word istead of a persecutor of God's people ( You can read about it in Acts chapter 9)
Timothy means = " dear to God"
servants= serving with willing hearts the annointed Messiah Jesus Christ
Paul is writing to all those (consecrated in Christ)
those who are saved by the blood of Jesus, who are in Phillipi with the bishops and the deacons, and that extends to those of us today who have been bought with a price...the precious blood of Jesus..And Paul who has undergone much heartache and trials in his life like being stoned, and going through shipwrecks all because of his love for Jesus is writing about His favorite subject, the object of his worship...Jesus.
For those of you today, who have not made the decision to surrender your life to Jesus, please accept the free gift God is offering you. Time is short in this portion of God's timeline for us...the age of grace...and as soon as the last person that steps into the arms of Jesus ( quite wonderful place to be I might add)... those of us who belong to him and all those that have gone on before us will meet Him in the clouds and so shall we ever be with the Lord!! So don't let the circumstances around us today capture or attention, but instead Look Up for your redemption draweth's closer than we think!
As the Book of Revelation says
So If you are here and just haven't decided all love and sincerity... :-)
Don't wait any longer...

vs. 2. Paul and Timothy extend their prayer of grace to the Phillipians.
grace= a divine influence of the Spirit renewing the heart and restraining from sin
(nothing we deserve but given anyway)
unmerited favor
as well as peace= quietness and rest of the soul
O how we long for peace...
We forget sometimes that both grace and peace can only come from God Our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, and always come in that order.
As we bow our heart in surrender we find grace..
grace= a divine influence of the Spirit renewing the heart and restraining from sin
(nothing we deserve but given anyway)
unmerited favor
as well as peace= quietness and rest of the soul
Paul and Timothy's relationship was very close.
In II Timothy, one of Pauls "Pastoral Letters" that was written during his second Roman imprisonment he writes, that he remembers Timothy night and day in his prayers and that he longs to see Timothy again, because he remembered the tears that were shed during there last parting. The sincere faith he saw in Timothy, Paul remarks is the same he saw in Timothy's mother, Eunice... and his Grandmother, Lois.
His Father was known as a "Greek" which implies him to be an unbeleiver. In II Timothy 1:5 Paul lets us know that the sincere faith he saw in him was the same unfeigned faith he saw in his mother and Grandmother.
As christian women we have a tremendous influence upon our families. Do we use that influence wisely?
Proverbs 31 speaks of a virtuous woman, the ideal christian woman. She is an excellent wife and mother. She is also a farmer a seamstress, a frugal shopper, she is not lazy and she does her husband good not evil all the days of her life. And yet her strength and dignity do not come from her great acheivements, they come from her fear of the Lord, her reverence of the Lord. It is her character that makes her attractive. By all means, paint the barn if it needs painting.. but remember as a jewel of gold in a swines snout, so is a beautiful woman who lacks discretion.

As Paul encouraged Timothy to be bold in his faith and not to be timid in speaking of Christ I must encourage you all to speak the Word of God to your families! Satan would love to steal, kill and destroy, our families and has been on the prowl. He would love to lure silly women, who are "Everlearning, but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth" out of their homes, and into his arena, into the grip of the world. With ALL the Universities, Libraries, and the Internet at our fingertips, we have an endless amount of information and much to learn. And yet it is Jesus who in John 17:17 asks God Himself to Sanctify us through the truth and, that God's word is truth!
It is the Knowldege (recognition, discernment, acknowldegement) of the Word of God in our lives and heart that Jesus, who sits at the right hand of God, who makes intercession for us, today just like in John Chapter 17, wants for us.
God speaks of today when He writes in Proverbs 1:22 of the last days... How long, ye simple ones, (foolish, silly, simple ones) will you love simplicity?
And the scorners or mocker of the last days God mentions in the rest of the verse...
and the scorners delight in their scorning,(to ridicule or snear)
and fools (literally those that are stupid)
how long will you hate knowledge?
Even just the business of everyday life can take silly women out of the perfect place of peace God has for them, and in so doing, it affects the family.
Better to use our time wiesly and take the example of Paul and Timothy and spend time in prayer for others.

vs.3 Paul expresses gratitude to God whenever the Phillipians come to mind. Do we pray for those in authority above us? Do we pray for our children our husbands, our church leaders? All these so dear to us need our prayerful support.

vs 4.At all times, in every prayer he includes requests on behalf of the Phillipians. He does this with great delight. Paul is able to express his love towards the Philippians in prayer, in a way that they may not see until eternity, but he pours it upon them none the less!

vs 5.On behalf of their participation in the good news from the beginning until now

vs 6.Paul is Totally convinced-confident- that the intention of Christ is to continue the work which He has begun in them. It is not a grand work of a Revival that encompasses a great many people, although when the work is done by the Spirit that may produce itself as a fruit. It is not a great work of love toward mankind although again it may produce such an effect. But it is an inward work of the heart. A complete surrender, an all consuming refiners fire upon the heart and life of a believer. This work brought to completion by God himself will not be seen in us here on earth. The process will continue until we see our Jesus face to face. So we do not judge others, we look to our own hearts and what God is doing in them, and writing upon them.
Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God. 1 Corinthians 4:5

vs. 7 Paul seeing evidence of a sincere Christianty as he says later in the letter the Phillipians move him to say "It is right for me to entertain this opinion of you all because you hold a place in my heart, and you share in my afflictions and in the defense and confirmation of the truth of the gospel message and are all companions at heart. What an awesome thing for him to be able to declare when there were many times that this just wasn't the case.

In II Tim Chapter 4 Paul writes to put Timothy in rememberance that there are some who will turn away from the truth. They will have itching ears, ready to believe a lie rather than... the truth that may make them feel uncomforatable. When we go through trials or even face death, who of us would want some one by our side that may turn and run because they are uncomforatable. As the song goes, when I come to die, "justgive me Jesus"!!!

I want Jesus, I want Jesus by my side.

Lord make us uncomforatable...on fire...

Don't let us be a shallow people, but saints deeply in love with You!

Holy Spirit filled... Bold sincere followers of Jesus Christ!

vs.8 God is my witness to how I yearn for you all with the tender mercies of Jesus. Pauls desire toward the Phillipians puts him in such a state that his heart is strained and he dotes upon the Philipians in prayer. These are thoughts upon his heart that are voiced in prayer and witnessed by God himself. He truly loves them and shows it by praying for them.

vs.9 His prayer is that the Philippians may all overflow more and more with love toward one another in Judgement/or...discernment and perception(The errror of our ways often can be traced back to the lack of our discernment and perception of the TRUTH- the inability to properly perceive our circumstances, sometimes by not having all the details ans sometimes by not wanting to hear them-it is important to know the whole counsel of God to be able to discern and make appropriate decisions based on Gods Word)

In Proverbs 8 wisdom personified speaks...She tells us the instruction of Wisdom for our lives

As Matthew Henry in his commentary writes..."Where there is an understanding heart, and willingness to receive the truth in love, wisdom is valued above silver and gold."

vs.10 Not merely so that we can hold onto what is "not bad" but what is truly good.

I Thessalonians 5:21 Prove all things, hold onto what is good!So that when we are examined we will be found without wax, Refined in the fire and found pure, not stumbling in this race until Jesus... the lover of our souls comes to take us home! That we may overflow with good works on that day to take hold of eternal life, but also to give God the glory and honor due unto His Name.

vs. 11 The fruit of this life seeks it nourishment from the vine, from Jesus. Without the Holy Spirit we have no way of producing good fruit. We should be bearing inward as well as outward hoiness.
vs. 12-13 Here personally through the letter Paul can tell the Phillipians in his own words...for he knew of their concern for him, and would want their hearts to be put at ease...Yes I am in prison but it will help in spreading of the gospel, right up to the palace, and the palace guards and all the house of Ceasar :)
He gives this away in the 4th chapter, and how exciting to know he had an effect on the people around him. Through working or suffering, through living or dying, it is God who chooses how we serve Him. We do all unto the glory and praise of God!
vs. 14-21 If it takes being in prison for others to become more bold in their proclamation of Jesus and His good news than so be it. If Jesus is preached purely and honestly or to make me suffer even doesn't matter I rejoice and will rejoice..because Christ is preached! That's all that matters.
All you have to do is open the Book of Maytyrs and start reading of those cut in two, torn apart peice by piece, left to be eaten by animals, tortured, beaten, set on fire, and yet they like Paul did not turn from Jesus because they were uncomforatable, they clung to Him, because of thier convictions of the truth, because He...Jesus... loved them first.
Paul anticipates with pleasure that in no way will he choose to disgrace his Lord. Whether in life or in death...with all boldness he declares...
I will declare Jesus!
For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
To know our Jesus, to commune with Him in an intimate way, to talk with and worship the object of our desire, to serve obediently, contentedly, and declare Him to a lost and dying world is to live in Christ, and yet to die in Him is even greater gain. To die in Jesus, does not bring sorrow, but joy. As believers we can say...
O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 1Co 15:55
We look beyond the physical aspects of life and understand that our Heavenly Father holds our future, as well as our present in his hands.

vs 22 It is not up to man to choose to live or die, that is in the hands of God, contrary to recent court decisions. So if we live longer, we have more time to serve Our Lord and Savior which brings fruit that will bring glory and honor to Him. Paul didn't know what he would choose even if the choice were left up to him.
vs. 23-28 He's stuck between a rock and a hard place. To go and be with the Lord would be awesome...but to remain here for your sakes is a much more needful thing. Because I am convinced of this, I know Paul says that I will remain here with you so that your joy... your reliance on Christ will continue to progress.
That I may see that your boasting in Christ may abound the next time I have the chance to visit with you all.
Since this is the case, since it looks like I am gonna be stickin' around... let your conduct be appropriate and according to the Gospel, the good news.
WE are to BE sincere christians, Be ye doers of the Word and not hearers only decieving ourselves, as James tells us in 1:22. So that when others are watching or not, our works may glorify our Father which is in heaven. So that we would perservere in one spirit, one mind...both meaning literally breath...that we would perservere on the breath of God... the God breathed Word of God. Laboring together as one in the profession of the gospel...the finished work of the Cross!
And another thing! or... But wait there is more!
DO NOT be afraid of anything the enemy can do to you.
Heb 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
Heb 13:6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.
Becauseas a believer... Almighty God is on my side!!! If God be for us, who can stand against us.!So I do not worry about lies that have been spoken of me, or traps that may be set, for my God has it all under control.

vs 29-30 But wait...there is EVEN MORE...(I just love the way Paul writes)

We haven't just been given the favor to believe in Jesus, but also to suffer for His sake!
through the eyes of God, His word and His Spirit we should be seeing our ciscumstances differently than the world does. We are graced with the opportunity to suffer in the name of Jesus Christ. That comes about it many ways but lets take a look at Paul's life.

The Phillipians SAW Paul in jail before and that was is Phillipi. Remember in Acts 16 when He and Silas were going to pray they came across a slave girl who was demon possesed. Well, her owner didn't care too much for Paul casting the demon out of her, because now he didn't have a demon possesed girl who could tell the truth and bring them income. So the owners created an uproar and blamed it on Paul and Silas. The Roman officials had them arrested beaten, and put in stocks in the prison. The Phillipans SAW and HEARD the way Paul reacted with praising and worshipping as he sang. Even the Roman guard and his household became believers after this and the earthquake set Paul and Salias free, yet they did not run. They SAW this conflict and now they HEAR Paul to be in another one. Again he is in prison and they sent him a gift by way of the messenger Epaphrodites. The fires of persecution under the mad man Nero were beginning to balze at this time in History, which didn't make things look good for Paul, or for the Phillipians. And yet from a prison cell He writes of JOY!
When we are squeezed on all sides, what comes out?Is it worship and singing?? Do we pray for deliverance or do we run to others complaining? Do we take JOY in the fact that we have been given the favor to suffer for Christ? Or do we wriggle out from under the first sign of suffering because it makes us uncomforatable?

Our challenge from God's word, lived out in the life of Paul the humble apostle of God who calls himself the servant of Jesus Christ...let God contiue His perfect work IN us and THROUGH us, until the day we stand before Him.

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 Phillipians 1:6

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