Philippians: Chapter 1:12-30

Philippians:  Chapter 1:12-30    August 5, 2019

Suffering from Persecutions, their extreme poverty but very generous.  

Rejoicing in Spite of Suffering

We really cannot appreciate the next several verses unless we can put ourselves in the shoes of Philippian Christians.

  • It had been at least four years since they had seen Paul;
  • they had heard rumors of the things that had happened to him
  • They were worried.
  • A news bearer came to updated them on Paul, but some time had elapsed.  
  • They would be asking serious questions:
  • Was Paul still in chains?
  • Was he sick?
  • Had he already come to trial? 
  • Or had he been martyred?
  • they had no way to deal with these speculations.

  • But now they had a letter from Paul!  At lease he was alive! 
  • How eagerly they would have read it.
  • Can you imagine them reading the first eleven verses with references only to themselves? 

The Advance of the Gospel – Paul personal part of the letter about his own condition and explains his present circumstances.

Philippians 1:12 Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel.

What is happening to Paul from other Scriptures in Acts.

  • Important statement what is happening, not hinder, spread of Gospel
  • No doubt the Philippians grieved greatly that Paul was a prisoner. 
  • At least he was alive and God’s blessing and power was still with him 
  • At the time of writing to the Philippians he would have no confidence he would ever be free again.
  • Things have turned out quite different from what Paul had planned for himself. 
  • He had carried the gospel to various parts of the world: Syria, Crete, Asia Minor (what we know as Turkey), and Greece. 
  • He planned to go west even to Spain after returning once more to Jerusalem and then to Rome.
  • Instead, he found himself on trial for his life.
  • He faced entirely false accusations leveled at him by his own people (Acts 21:28). 
  • He was nearly lynched by a religious mob and ended up in a Roman prison, having escaped a flogging only by pleading Roman citizenship (22:22ff).
  • His whole case was a mockery of justice: although right was on his side, he could not secure a hearing. 
  • He was the subject of unjust and unprovoked insults and shame (23:2), malicious misrepresentation (24:5; 25:6), and a deadly plot (23:12ff; 25:1ff).  He was kept imprisoned due to corrupt officials.
  • Then came the storm at sea, and then to chains in Rome awaiting—for two years—the uncertain decision of an earthly king.
  • Nevertheless, still imprisoned, still chained, still unheard, still uncertain, he looks back and marvel, “what happened to me served to advance the gospel.”
  • All the frustration, all the delays, all overshadowed by the fact that it served to spread the gospel whom otherwise he never had access to before.

Philippians 1:13  As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ.

This refers to people: to the Roman soldier Guard, the official bodyguard of the emperor, which also took charge of all imperial prisoners.

These very soldiers that guarded him were brought to hear the gospel;

it is evident that great numbers of them believed (Cf. Phil 4:22). 

From Paul’s point of view, the chains were to keep them from getting away!

Can you imagine being chained to Paul for a full shift?

Romans know Paul suffer for Christ and not for any wickedness.

Philippians 1:14  And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.  {encouraging words}

Many Christians who saw Paul in chains in Rome became encouraged to preach the gospel with boldness the message about Jesus fearlessly.

Christian Troublemakers

Philippians 1:15 It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill.

**Acts 15:1 Certain people came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the believers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.” 

  • Paul said the motives of many ministers are not pure.  Preach for the wrong reason.
  • We have the same problems in the church today against Followers of Jesus that did exist in some form in the church of the first century.
  • Some individuals {Judaizing Christians} did preach a different Jesus because of Paul’s success, and thereby striving to hurt him with the people and enraging Rome.
  • He suffered from false friends as well as from enemies

Some manuscripts reverse the order of the verses:

Philippians 1:16-17 NIV  The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel.  (17)  The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains.  {For Roman to come down hard on Paul}

Philippians 1:16-17 NKJV (16) The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains; (17) but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel.

**Galatians 1:8  But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! 

Those who preached Christ from the wrong motive supposed to add affliction to Paul’s chains. Their competitive hearts didn’t only want to win for themselves; they also wanted Paul to lose.

The selfish ambition motives of these believers were anything but good, but implies that they did not preach to honor God or to help Paul but rather to gain applause and followers for themselves – power and money.

  • Paul speaks of those who preached Christ out of “envy and strife” and “contention.” 
  • These were Christians who were trying to get Paul into trouble with their preaching!  
  • Christians are well known for arranging their firing squads in circles!
  • In other books, Paul indicated that most of the Christians had deserted him.
  • It is not generally recognized how poorly Paul had been received in Rome.  The pastors were jealous of Paul. 
  • They neglected him for that reason.  When the pastors forgot their duty, the people followed suit. 
  • In time Paul was almost forgotten.
  • The proof of this lies in the fact when Onesiphorus, a visitor to Rome, tried to find Paul some years later, no one could tell him where Paul was. 
  • It was only by a diligent search that he found him (2 Tim 1:16-17).

**2 Timothy 1:17 On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he searched hard for me until he found me. 

Paul very likely lost his life as a result of the trouble caused by the trouble making Christians in Rome?

  • Then Paul began to make converts through the Praetorian Guard. 
  • His views spread through Rome, provoking jealousy among the leaders of the Roman congregation. 
  • Paul alludes to that here and in his 2nd letter to Timothy.
  • A Roman Christian, Clement, wrote a letter to the believers in Corinth about 90 A.D; in chapters 3 to 6,
  • Clement warns the Corinthians about the bad effects of jealousy which had resulted in suffering and death among God’s people. 
  • He alludes to seven examples from the Old Testament,
  • seven from more recent times, including Paul.(1 Clement 5).
  • Jesus warned his disciples that they would betray one another (Mt 24:10).

To Live Is Christ

Philippians 1:18  But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice,

  • Paul is saying, “Their motives are between them and God.
  • Whether the preaching was done for false motives or pure, whether for appearance’s sake or for the sake of what was right, Paul was pleased that the gospel was being spread
  • Paul called a curse down on those who corrupt the gospel.
  • The issue was motive and attitude, not doctrine or content.
  • If we really preach Christ, my own sincerity does not matter

**Galatians 1:9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!  

  • Because Jesus is preached, they made known the name of the Jesus, and announced that the Messiah had come.
  • The name of Jesus will be announced, and that will be something.
  • Some views of his life and work will be presented, which, though they may be far enough from full views, are yet better than none.
  • Though there may be much error in what is said, yet there will be also some truth.

  • Paul’s mind was filled with Christ.
  • Mentioned 17 times in this chapter alone
  • No Disappointments

Everything human is stained with disappointment, Paul expect deliverance

Philippians 1:19 for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.

Paul was so confident because he knew that the Philippians prayed for him

Paul expresses his positive attitude and confidence about how the God would work out this difficult situation he is in.  Salvation.

Philippians 1:20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed {deny the truth}, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted {magnified} in my body, whether by life or by death.

**2 Corinthians 4:10We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 

Paul lived his life not to preserve and promote himself, but to glorify Jesus

Whatever we do, we must reflex Jesus in our lives.  If Jesus was coming in 30 minutes, I would finish what I was doing, reflexing Jesus in my life.

Philippians 1:21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

To live, would be for extending the kingdom of Christ, to die, release from this life sufferings and use his death to further His kingdom.  Was Paul tired in life, all he have been through. 

**Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 

These two verses, one from the early days of his ministry and one from the end, summarize the Paul’s faith: the very heart of his life.

Philippians 1:22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know!

  • Paul was confident that God intended him to be fruitful
  • Live – opportunity to preach the gospel to others
  • He clearly saw the advantages of both life and death
  • The Christian’s Death Benefits: death holds no benefits for unbelievers. 
  • Subconsciously, every non-Christian knows this: death looms large as a dreadful enemy.
  • How grateful Christians can be that Christ came to free us from such terrors and worries of the mind!

**Hebrews 2:14-15 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death; that is, the devil;  (15)  and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 

Philippians 1:23  I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far;

What am I to do, live or die, be with Jesus is far better

Philippians 1:24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.

Paul understood that others still needed him; that his work was not yet done

He is sticking around for your benefit, Philippi!  For your sake and His flock.

Philippians 1:25  Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith,

Paul was not satisfied that the Philippian Christians should simply be saved, but that they should advance to maturity in Christ. He felt a responsibility to continue to teach them.

Philippians 1:26 that your rejoicing for me may be more abundant in Jesus Christ by my coming to you again.

  • Rejoicing literally means boasting because of the work of the Lord
  • They were overjoyed that God had preserved his life in prison and joint ministry would continue.
  • Do we not rejoice more in finding something that we lost than things we have
  • Paul was spared death because of Jesus and they rejoice together
  • We have no clear record of whether this desire was fulfilled, but there are early church traditions that it was. 
  • We know he was released from his first imprisonment, and allowed to go about in freedom for several years before being again apprehended and martyred for the sake of Christ, following him even unto death.

Christian Conduct – Privilege implies responsibility

Philippians 1:27 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, {with one mind} striving together as one for the faith of the gospel

  • Paul was told the church stayed together as one body and unity to be a productive body by increasing trust and belief in the good news of Jesus
  • Paul told the Philippians to be good, patriotic citizens of the kingdom of God.
  • conduct: means literally to live as a citizen.
  • Paul told them to be careful for this and nothing else, encourage them.
  • The Christians at Philippi knew what it meant to stand fast as Romans at the frontiers of the Roman world.  Striving together with united effort.  Not alone.

Some Christians publicly wash their hands of all involvement in community and national life.  No one looked more earnestly for the Lord’s quick return than Paul, but it was Paul who set with all the enthusiasm he could muster to claim the world for Christ! 

Stand Up and Be Counted, The battle is joined and there will be persecution

Philippians 1:28 NIV  without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God.

  • The fact that we are not frightened by them is an evident of Christ, it is an outward sign they are heading for big trouble. But to us, salvation.
  • This statement seems the church was now under persecution
  • The Philippians or we are not to be frightened, scared, terror-stricken or terrified in the face of their enemies.
  • Their courage would be proof of their salvation and of the ultimate failure and fate of their foes.

Philippians 1:29  For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him,

Suffering, attacks and challenges we face are ordained by God.

Notice Two things were granted: (1) The privilege of believing in Christ. (2) That of suffering for Christ. This is what happens to all Christians.

**1 Peter 4:16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.

Suffering is actually a gift from God, for in the midst of suffering He comforts us and enables us to rejoice

**2 Corinthians 1:5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. 

Philippians 1:30 since you are going through the same struggle {conflict} you saw I had, and now hear, that I still have. {still having}

You hear that I am now a prisoner threatened with death. You must expect similar conflicts.

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