- Paul had been beaten in
Philippi. The attitude of the church toward Paul had made up that previous
beating. They were supporters of Paul whether he was in a dungeon or
riding a wave of revival. The Church at Philippi was no ‘fair weather
friend.’ Their commitment to him while still in prison was an assurance
that they were the type of Church that would be a tremendous blessing to
the Kingdom of God.
- Paul prayed for an
increase in love, knowledge, and depth of insight. He prayed for such
things because in order to thrive in this world the Church would need
discernment and they would need to maintain their ‘separateness’ from the
The more they grew in knowledge of the Lord the more fruit they would bear.
- Paul wants to make sure to
appeal to every saint in this letter because the purpose of this letter is
to collect a missionary offering. He wants to touch more than the hearts
of the leaders; he needs to connect with everyone.
- Paul viewed his
imprisonment as a way to advance the gospel to a different group of
people, the Roman guard, rather than as a hindrance to his work of
spreading the gospel. He realized that what the enemy may have meant for
evil was indeed for the good of the advancement of the Kingdom of God. As
Christians we should have the same view of adversity as the Apostle Paul.
Often times the Lord uses our difficulties to place us in positions and
around people that we normally would not have an opportunity to be.
- Paul saw life as an
opportunity to advance the gospel and death as a promotion. Paul’s chief
concern was that, while living, he would do everything possible to advance
- Paul resisted the
temptation to pout and to complain about his circumstances. He also
resisted the temptation to be critical of others that preached the gospel
out of false motives. Paul rejoiced that the gospel was preached, the
motivation was immaterial for him. It is also clear from Paul’s letters,
however, that the proclamation of false doctrine was something that he
would not tolerate under any circumstances.
- As Christians, we should
desire: to conduct ourselves in a Christ-like manner, unity, like-minded
fellowship, to place others before ourselves, humility, and to be lights
in the darkness of this world.
We should seek to avoid: selfish ambition, conceit, complaining and arguing.
- Humility is the best
one-word definition for Christ-likeness.
We can achieve this worthy goal because God is at work in us through the power of the Holy Spirit to accomplish just that!
- When the world looks at
the Church they must see a united people and hear a united message. The
only way that this can be achieved
is by the exercise of humility on the part of the individual
members that make up the body of Christ. Each one must humble himself and
take on the role that the Heavenly Father has designed them to fulfill. If
they are faithful to that task then the goal of unity can be accomplished.
Without individual humility, corporate unity is impossible.
- Epaphroditus was willing
to place is own life at risk in order to serve the lives of others. He was
obviously a man of great humility who desired to bring unity to the body
of Christ through his efforts. Both Timothy and Epaphroditus exhibited the
traits of unity in the godhead and the humility of Christ that Paul had
just finished discussing in the previous section.
- The constant theme of this
section is that both Timothy and Epaphroditus placed others before
themselves. Neither one were interested in being in the lime light. If we
are going to be elevated in our position we must make sure that Christ
does the elevating. Our elevation among our peers should not be the goal.
The goal must be the elevation of Christ. If that is our goal then Christ
will elevate us in the eyes of those around us in the same way that He has
elevated the stars above to shine in the darkness.
- Believers are to: worship
by the Spirit; glory in Christ Jesus; and put no confidence in their own
- All of our religious and
church achievements don’t amount to much. Our diplomas, certificates,
ribbons, trophies, giving, and attendance records will look like a pile of
trash when stacked up against the glory of Christ. We are to embrace
suffering rather than chase after rewards. The ultimate reward is death
because only when we have achieved death can we truly achieve life.
- Paul wanted to experience
the power of resurrection. Death via suffering was the only road that
would lead to such a reward for the apostle Paul and he was more than
anxious to make the journey.
- Christians are told to
press on, not give up, they still have an even greater prize to grab hold
of. While they are straining toward the prize they are to forget the past
struggle and live with thanksgiving for what they have already attained.
Christ should be their singular focus!
- Christians should have an
appetite for the things of God. The world, in contrast, has an appetite to
feed the flesh. The feeding of the flesh will lead to destruction; the
feeding of the spirit will bring everlasting life. When we feed the flesh
our bodies are doomed. When we feed the spirit our bodies are destined for
glorification. Focusing on Christ provides both direction and
encouragement for the believer.
- Our relationship with the
Lord should fill us with rejoicing. If we are not people who are rejoicing
then it is because our thoughts are focused on all of the wrong things. It
is far too easy to focus on the wrong things in life. Paul provides us
with an excellent list of what we should be thinking about and there is
nothing in that list that can be purchased
in a store or on the internet.
- We need each other! The advancement of the Kingdom of God is not a one man show. The missionary is empowered by the Holy Spirit to proclaim the message and empowered by the giving of the saints to sustain himself on the field. One without the other will not advance the gospel. The work of the advancement of the gospel cannot take place in fits and starts. This is no sprint; this is a marathon. Marathons are ran at a steady pace and require continuous fueling of the body. The work of the Great Commission functions in the same way.