Stand Fast in the Lord – Part 2

Philippians 4:1-3 Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved. I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord. And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellow-labourers, whose names are in the book of life. 

‘Fellowlabourers’ [Greek: sunergos] fellowlaborer (4:3; 1Thess. 3:2; Phm. 1:1, 24); fellowworker (Col. 4:11); workfellow (Rom. 16:21); labourers together (1Cor. 3:9); companion in labour (2:25); fellowhelper (2Cor. 8:23; 3Jn. 1:8); and helper (Rom. 16:3, 9; 2Cor. 1:24).

‘Book of life’ – from Exodus 32:32-33 God confirmed Moses’ belief that names can and will be blotted out of the book of life when men incur the eternal death penalty. It is also the first mention of the book of God in which the names of the righteous are written. The psalmist predicted it in the case of Judas (Ps. 69:20-28). Christ warned of it regarding all who would not overcome sin (Rev. 3:5; 22:18-19). This – God’s word, not man’s – is definite, not doubtful; it is universal and eternal in the application, not local and limited.

It is referred to in Scripture under various terms: “Thy book” and “My book” (Ex. 32:32-33); “the book of the living” (Ps. 69:28); “the book” (Dan. 12:1); “the book of life” (Php. 4:3; Rev. 3:5; 13:8; 17:8; 20:11-15; 22:18-19); and “the Lamb’s book of life” (Rev. 21:27). Just because “book of life” does not appear in all of these passages does not mean the reference in any one instance is to something else. Just as we have several names for the Bible – “the holy scriptures” (Rom. 1:2; 2Tim. 3:15); “the oracles of God” (Rom. 3:2; Heb. 5:12; 1Pet. 4:11); “the law and the prophets” (Luke 24:25-44); “the word of God” (Mark 7:13; Rom. 10:17; Heb. 4:12); “the sword of the Spirit” (Eph. 6:17); and others – so we have several names for the book of life.

Stand Fast in the Lord – Part 1

Philippians 4:1-3 Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved. I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord. And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellow-labourers, whose names are in the book of life. 

‘My joy and crown’ – we see the same reference of love and gratitude made to the congregations of Thessalonica in 1Thessalonians 2:19-20.

‘Stand fast’ – from 1Thessalonians 3:8 Paul reminds the Christians to stand fast in the Lord, for we live only if we stand fast in Him (Heb. 3:6, 12-14).

‘Euodias … Syntyche’ – Two women, who were the leaders of the congregation at Philippi, differed on some unknown point (4:3).

‘Yokefellow’ [Greek: suzugos] comrade; friend. Refers perhaps to Epaphroditus, the apostle to Philippi (2:25).

‘Women which laboured with me in the gospel’ – perhaps Euodia and Syntyche of Philippians 4:2.

‘Laboured’ [Greek: sunathleo] wrestling together, not in contention with, or against one another to build up human establishments which oppose each other in the gospel, but in union against the enemies of the gospel.

‘Clement’ was taught to be the same one who was afterwards a bishop in Rome and who wrote an epistle to the Corinthians, which still exists.

To be continued…

The Lord Jesus Christ – Part 2

Philippians 3:20-21 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. 

‘Vile’ [Greek: tapeinosis] humiliation (Acts 8:33); low estate (Luke 1:48; Jas. 1:10); and vile (3:21). It refers to the low state of sin and shame into which the body of a man has degenerated. Instead of it being immortal, glorious, and powerful as the ruler of all creation as originally planned (Gen. 1:26-31; Ps. 8:3-6), it is now vile, depraved, sinful, sickly, mortal, and subject to the lowest humiliation and eternal ruin (2Cor. 4:16; Rom. 1:18-32; 6:19; Gen. 3:19).

‘Fashioned like unto’ [Greek: summorphos] conformed to. It has reference, not to exact outward features, but to the substance of the body, which will be changed from mortality to immortality; from a natural body to a spiritual body; from corruption to incorruption; and from weakness and humiliation to glory and power (1Cor. 15:35-58). It will be flesh and bone like Christ’s body of glory (Luke 24:39; Zech. 13:6).

‘According to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.’ The power that made the body and all things originally will be the power that will make the resurrection bodies in a moment (1Cor. 15:51) and subdue all things to God again (1Cor. 15:24-28; Heb. 2:9-18).

The Lord Jesus Christ – Part 1

Philippians 3:20-21 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. 

‘Conversation’ [Greek: politeuma] citizenship; city; civil rights; state; society; or government.

‘We look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.’ What to look for [Greek: apekdechomai] It is scriptural to look for the rapture or coming of the Lord in the air for the saints, to take place any time (3:20; Tit. 2:13), but not the second coming. The rapture and second coming are two events separated by at least seven years. They are not two phases or two stages of one coming, but two distinct comings – one a coming in the air (not to the earth) before the tribulation, and the other a coming to the earth immediately after the tribulation (1Thess. 4:16 with Matt. 24:29). One is the coming for the saints (3:21; John 14:1-3; Luke 21:36; 1Cor. 15:23, 51-54; 1Thess. 4:13-17; 2Thess. 2:1, 7; Col. 3:4) and the other is the coming to earth with the saints to set up the kingdom (Zech. 14:5; Jude 1:14; Rev. 19:11-21).

‘Who shall change our vile body that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.’ This is the 4th and last New Testament prophecy in Philippians (3:21). The Greek word metaschematizo means to transform; change the fashion; refashion. Translated “transform” (2Cor. 11:13-15); “transfer in a figure” (1Cor. 4:6); and “change” (3:21).

To be continued…

Be Perfect

Philippians 3:15-19 Let us, therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in anything you be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing. Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as you have us for an ensample. (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)

‘Perfect’ [Greek: teleios] mature; complete. Here it is used of full growth, as men, and not children, in Christian knowledge – thoroughly instructed and deeply experienced, as in 2Corinthians 2:6; 14:20; Ephesians 4:13; Colossians 1:28; James 1:4; 3:2; Hebrews 5:14; 1John 4:18, to be full of Christ who was perfect in all conduct.

‘Followers’ [Greek: summimetes] fellow-imitators.

‘Mark’ [Greek: skopeo] look out for. Be alert for those who cause divisions and have no religious fellowship with them so that the flock may be protected (3:17; Rom. 16:17). Also translated “look at” (2Cor. 4:18); “look on” (2:4); “take heed” (Luke 11:35); and “consider” (Gal. 6:1).

‘Ensample’ [Greek: tupos] example (3:17; 1Cor. 10:6, 11; 1Thess. 1:7; 2Thess. 3:9; 1Tim. 4:12; 1Pet. 5:3); pattern (Tit. 2:7; Heb. 8:5); manner (Acts 23:25); fashion (Acts 7:44); form (Rom. 6:17); figure (Acts 7:43; Rom. 5:14); and print (John 20:25).

‘Enemies of the cross of Christ’ – Anyone adding or taking away from God’s Word to suit their own purpose or to justify certain sin, are seen as false teachers of His Word. Five facts about false teachers: They are enemies of the cross (3:18). Their end is destruction (3:19; 2Cor. 11:14-15; Heb. 6:8; 2Pet. 2:20). Their god is their belly (3:19; Rom. 16:18; Isa. 56:10-12; Ezek. 13:19). Their glory is in their shame (3:19). They mind earthly things (3:19; Rom. 8:5-6; 2Pet. 3:3, 13-20; cp. Matt. 7:15).

Forgetting Those Things

Philippians 3:13-14 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 

‘One thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth into those things which are before.’ One thing Paul did – there are three parts to this one thing: He forgot the ground he had covered in the race (2Cor. 9:1-15). He knew, as should we, that one cannot waste time over the past (3:13). He reached forth to that which was before him in the race. He explained that he strained every nerve and muscle and use every ounce of his strength to win, thus putting in all effort to complete what he started in obeying God in writing the epistles and serving the congregations by setting Christ forth as the perfect example. He knew, as should we, that his future depended on it: we are running for our lives (3:13). He pressed toward the mark (3:14), that is, he pursued the white line in the stadium upon which all runners must keep their eyes fixed, lest we are disqualified for the prize (3:14; 2Cor.9:1-15). To be able to live godly lives as we are commanded to do (Matt. 5:48; 2Cor. 13:11; Col. 1:28; 4:12; Heb. 13:20-21; Jas. 1:4; 1Pet. 1:16; 5:10), we need to focus on what lies ahead and forget the this of the past that can bring only discouragement through past disappointments, rejections and failures. Failing to do so will lead to not reaching the high calling of God.

‘High calling of God’ – Heavenly calling; God calling us on high.

I Follow After

Philippians 3:12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 

‘Either were already perfect’ – two things Paul had not yet attained: [1] The resurrection or the prize (3:11-12, 14). This is another way of saying he had not finished his course and was not yet glorified (3:20-21). [2] Perfection. [Greek: teleioo] to make a full end; consummate (3:12). Translated perfect (3:12; Luke 13:32; John 17:23; 2Cor. 12:9; Heb. 2:10; 5:9; 7:19; 9:9; 10:1, 14; 11:40; 12:23; Jas. 2:22; 1Jn. 2:5; 4:12, 17-18); fulfill (Luke 2:43; John 19:28); and finish (John 4:34; 5:36; 17:4; Acts 20:24). This kind of perfection refers to the complete and glorified state. It does not imply that he was lacking in spiritual experience or that he was deficient in grace or that the body of sin was still cleaving to him or that he was yet struggling with an “old man” in him or that he was not yet sanctified.

‘Follow after’ [Greek: dioko] to pursue. Same as persecuting in Philippians 3:6 and press in verse 14. Translated elsewhere “persecute” 30 times (Matt. 5:10-12, 44; 10:23; etc.); “follow after” (3:12; Rom. 9:30-31; 14:19; 1Cor. 14:1; 1Tim. 6:11); “ensue” (1Pet. 3:11); “follow” (Luke 17:23; 1Thess. 5:15; 2Tim. 2:22; Heb. 12:14); and “given to” (Rom. 12:13). The idea here is, I follow after and press toward the prize that others have already gained (3:12-14).

‘Apprehend’ [Greek: katalambano] to seize upon; lay hold of; take possession of; bring to an end. Translated “apprehend” (3:12-13); overtake (1Thess. 5:4); “take” (Mark 9:18; John 8:3); “attain to” (Rom. 9:30); “obtain” (1Cor. 9:24); “come upon” (John 12:35); “comprehend” (John 1:5; Eph. 3:18); “perceive” (Acts 4:1-37; 10:34); and “find” (Acts 25:25). He had not yet laid hold upon the prize of resurrection, perfection, and glorification (3:12-14, 20-21). These will be accomplished at the time of the rapture of the saints 1Thess. 4:13-18; 1Jn. 3:2).

The Power of His Resurrection

Philippians 3:10-11 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. 

‘That I may know him’ – this is life eternal (John 17:3).

‘Power of his resurrection.’ He longed for the resurrection of the body (3:11, 21; 1Cor. 15:1-58; 2Cor. 5:1-21).

‘The fellowship of his sufferings’ – Not fellowship with Him in His vicarious sufferings, but in the offence of the cross and martyrdom for truth (2Cor. 1:5-7; Col. 1:24; 1Pet. 4:13).

‘Conformable’ [Greek: summorphoo] to be formed or fashioned like. Paul wanted to know Christ and the power which was in His resurrection, and to share in His sufferings, even to die as He died.

‘Resurrection of the dead’ – This is the 3rd New Testament prophecy in Philippians (3:11) and is unfulfilled until the coming resurrections.

‘Of the dead’ [Greek: ek and nekron] out from among the dead. This means that some of the dead will be resurrected from among the rest of the dead. It refers to the resurrection of the righteous from among the wicked dead (3:21; Luke 20:35; 21:36; 1Cor. 15:23, 51-54; 1Thess. 4:13-17; Rev. 20:4-6).

Be Found in Him

Philippians 3:9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith

‘In him’ The so-called doctrine of interpenetration, that is, persons entering physical into each other, is false. The Bible does speak of the Corinthians and Philippians being in Paul’s heart (1:7; 2Cor. 7:3;); God being in Christ (2Cor. 5:19); Christ being in God (John 14:20); God and Christ being in each other (John 14:10-11); men being in both the Father and the Son (1Jn_2:24); men being in Christ (2Co_5:17); men and the Spirit being in each other (Rom. 8:9); Christ being in men (Col. 1:27; Rom. 8:10); man and Christ being in each other (John 14:20); all creation being in God (Acts17:28) and satan entering into men (Luke 22:3; John 13:27). However, these passages refer to being in union with, being consecrated to the same end – one in mind, purpose, and life. They do not teach the physical entrance of one being into another. It may be best understood by a man and woman becoming one in life together, being in each other’s plans, life, etc. Therefore, because we do not know any man after the flesh, not even Christ, it is vain for any man to profess a relationship with Christ according to the flesh, while he is unchanged in heart and life and dead in trespasses and sins.

‘Not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law.’ Man’s righteousness is not enough (Isa. 64:6; Luke 18:9-14; Rom. 10:1-13).

‘That which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.’ God’s righteousness comes through Christ (1Cor. 1:30) and by faith (Gen. 15:6; Rom. 3:22-26; 4:1-25; 9:30-31; 10:1-13).

The Excellency of the Knowledge of Christ Jesus

Philippians 3:8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ

‘Count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord; for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.’ I not only count all things a total loss to win Christ, but I depend upon Him to save my soul.

Twelve great practices of Paul as an example to other Christians: To worship God in Spirit (3:3; John 4:24). To rejoice in Christ alone (3:1, 3; 4:4). To have no confidence in the flesh (3:3-8). To count all things loss (3:7-8). To count all things but dung (3:8). To have no self-righteousness (3:9). I follow after knowledge (3:8, 12). I forget the past (3:13). I reach out for future things. I press toward the prize (3:14). I strive to be an example (3:15-19). I look for the Saviour (3:20).

‘That I may win Christ’ – Twelve great desires of Paul that should be shared by all Christians: That he may win Christ (3:8). That he may be found in Him (3:9). That he may have His righteousness. That he may know Him (3:10). That he may know His power. That he may fellowship of His sufferings. That he may be conformed to His death. That he may be in the first resurrection (3:11-12). That he may be perfect (3:12-13). That he may win the prize (3:14). That he may be one with all other believers (3:15-19). That he may be changed in the body (3:21).