Your Love May Abound

Philippians 1:9-11 And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That you may approve things that are excellent; that you may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God. 

‘That your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment.’ Five requests for congregations in Philippi (1:9-11): Increased love in knowledge and judgment. Approval of excellent things. Sincerity to the end. Without offence till the day of Christ. Filling with fruits of righteousness.

If we want to increase our love for God, we need to study His Word to get the necessary knowledge of Him and then we will experience this knowledge when discerning between judgement for either blessing or curse when we are doers of the Word and not just hearers (Jas. 1:22-26).

‘All judgment’ [Greek: aesthesis] discernment.

‘Excellent’ [Greek: diaphero] differ. We are to test all things and disapprove of those that differ from the gospel (1Thess. 5:22).

‘Sincere’ [Greek: heilikrines] pure, uncorrupted. The word means without wax, an allusion to finishing cloth with gummy materials hiding flaws until carefully examined by looking through it in sunlight. The Greek might be translated “sun-judged.”

‘Without offence’ [Greek: aproskopos] not striking against; not stumbling; void of offence to God or man; neither stumbling nor causing others to stumble (1:10; Acts 24:16; 1Cor. 10:32; 1Pet. 1:17).

‘The day of Christ’ – In the day when Christ comes to receive saints unto Himself (1:6, 10; 2:161Cor. 1:8; 5:5; 2Cor. 1:14).

‘Fruits of righteousness’ – Fruits of that justification which comes by faith and the new creature experience (2Cor. 5:17-18; Rom. 5:1-11).

In My Heart

Philippians 1:7-8 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, you all are partakers of my grace. For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ. 

‘Meet’ [Greek: dikaios] righteous, just.

‘I have you in my heart’ – Interpenetration: 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 (2Cor. 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 (Acts 17:28); 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.

‘Defence’ [Greek: apologia] a verbal speech in defence (1:7, 17; Acts 22:1; 25:16; 1Cor. 9:3; 2Cor. 7:11; 2Tim. 4:16).

‘Confirmation’ [Greek: bebaiosis] making fast or sure; establishing. It is a legal term for a guarantee (Heb.6:16).

‘Partakers’ [Greek: sungkoinonos] joint-partakers of a thing. Translated partaker (1:7; Rom. 11:17; 2Cor. 9:1-15) and companion (Rev. 1:9).

‘Grace’ – is an eternal bond uniting all men who receive it (Rom. 12:3; John 1:17).

‘Bowels’ [Greek: splangchnon] inward parts. Used figuratively of the seat of affections (1:8; 2:1; 2Cor. 6:12; 7:15; Luke 1:78; Col. 3:12; Phm. 1:7, 12, 20; 1Jn. 3:17). Used literally in Acts 1:18.

Being Confident

Philippians 1:3-6 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; Being confident of this very thing, that he which had begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ

‘Prayer’ [Greek: deesis] supplication and entreating; continued strong and incessant pleadings until the prayer is answered (Luke 18:1-8).

‘Confident’ [Greek: peitho] Translated “persuade” 22 times; “trust” 10 times; “obey” 7 times; “confidence” 9 times; and “assure,” “believe,” “agree,” “yield,” and “make one’s friend,” 1 time each. The idea here is being confident that there will be nothing lacking on God’s part in performing the work He has started in them until the final work of grace is performed in them. This confidence in God is based upon meeting certain conditions.

There are thirty-five conditions of assurance given in this book: To become a subject of God’s grace (1:6). To be partaker of God’s grace (1:7). To abound more and more in love (1:9). To approve things that are excellent (1:10). To be without offence till the end. To be sincere until the end (1:11). To be filled with fruits of righteousness. To let your manner of life be as becomes the gospel of Christ (1:27). To stand fast in one spirit and one mind with others striving together for the gospel. To be not terrified by enemies (1:28). To suffer for His sake (1:29). To be like-minded with Christ (2:2). To have the same love (2:2). To be of one accord, of one mind with others (2:2; 3:16). To let nothing be done through strife and vainglory (2:3). To esteem others better than yourself (2:3). To be interested in others (2:4). To let the mind of Christ be in you (2:5). To obey the gospel (2:12). To work out your own salvation (2:12-13). To do all things without murmuring and disputing (2:14). To be blameless, harmless, and without rebuke among men (2:15). To hold forth the Word of Life (2:16). To beware of dogs, evil workers, and the circumcision party (3:2). To press toward the high calling (3:13-16). To walk by the gospel standard (3:16). To be followers of me and mark enemies of the cross of Christ (3:17-20). To stand fast in the Lord (4:1). To help all workers of Christ (4:3). To rejoice in the Lord always (4:4). To let your moderation be known to all men (4:5). To be anxious for nothing (4:6). To let requests be known to God. To think on right things (4:8). To do what you have learned, received, heard, and seen in me (4:9).

‘Until the day of Jesus Christ.’ This is the 1st New Testament prophecy in Philippians (1:6) and it is unfulfilled. This proves that part of this good work will be done on the day of Jesus Christ (1Cor. 1:8). At least the redemption of the body will be accomplished on the day of the Lord Jesus Christ (3:21; Rom. 8:17-24; 1Pet. 1:5-13).

Grace Be unto You – Part 4

Philippians 1:2 Grace be unto you…

Not one scripture teaches unconditional grace, or that God gives grace to men who disobey the gospel. There are thirty things that grace cannot do (continued): Make any man a child of God in the sense Jesus was (John 1:14, 18; 3:16). Force God to continue blessing any man who sins (Ezek. 18:4; Rom. 6:16-23; 8:1-13; Gal. 5:19-21; Jas. 5:19-20). Make the sins of the saved different from the sins of the unsaved (Rom. 6:16-23; 8:12-13; 2Cor. 6:9-11; Gal. 5:19-21; Col. 1:5-10; 2Pet. 2:20-22). Condemn sinners and excuse saints who commit the same sins (Rom. 6:16-23; 8:12-13; 14:10-12; Gal. 5:19-21; 6:7-8; Ezek. 18:4, 24-28; 33:12-16; Rev. 2:5, 16, 22; 3:2). Operate in the life of a free moral agent without his consent (John 3:16-20; 7:17; 8:34; 2Pet. 3:9; Rev. 22:17). Impart eternal life to men who serve sin and satan (Mat. 6:24; Rom. 6:16-23; 8:1-13; Gal. 5:19-21; 6:7-8; 1Jn. 3:8). Keep man from moral falls if they wilfully sin (Rom. 6:16-23; 8:1-13; Heb. 6:4-9; 10:26-29; Ezek. 33:12-20). Force God to go contrary to His own program of grace (Rom. 1:16; 1Jn. 1:7; Heb. 3:6, 12-14; 10:26-29). Cancel the law of sowing and reaping (Gal. 6:7-8; Rom. 6:16-23; 8:12-13; Ezek. 18:4, 24-28; 33:12-16; Rev. 2:5-22). Guarantee unconditional favour to anyone (2Cor. 6:1; Gal. 1:6-8; 2:21; 5:4; Heb. 12:15; Jas. 5:19-20). Guarantee unforfeitable life without conditions being met (Rom. 6:16-23; 8:12-13; Gal. 5:19-21; 6:7-8; Jas. 5:19-20; Heb. 10:26-29). Guarantee sinlessness to men unless conditions are met (1Cor. 3:16-17; Rom. 6:16-23; 8:12-13; Gal. 5:16-26; 6:7-8; Heb. 6:1-9; 10:26-29; 12:14-15). Encourage anarchy in God’s government (Gen. 2:17; Rom. 6:16-23; 8:12-13; 1Cor. 6:9-11; Gal. 5:19-21; 6:7-8). Force God to be lenient with rebels (Ezek. 18:4; Rom. 6:23; 8:12-13; Gal. 6:7-8). Give any man a pardon that guarantees him salvation and eternal life regardless of how he lives in sin and rebellion (Ex. 32:32-33; Ezek. 18:4; 33:10-20; Rom. 6:16-23; 8:12-13; Gal. 5:19-21; 6:7-8).

Grace Be unto You Part 1

Philippians 1:2 Grace be unto you…

It is one of the greatest blessings that we can greet one another with, as we see Paul uses to bless his fellow believers from Philippi, but it is also the most misunderstood and overused part of the gospel blessings. Indeed, grace cannot be withheld from man because of demerit, lessened by demerit, or mixed with the law of works; but this does not prove that there are no conditions men must meet to get the benefits of grace. Not one scripture teaches unconditional grace, or that God gives grace to men who disobey the gospel. If so, then God is under obligation to save all, even sinners who disobey if He saves even one (Rom. 2:11). God is under obligation to saints only when they walk in the light and remain true to the gospel (1Jn. 1:7). He is not under obligation to sinners until they come to full obedience to the gospel. Grace teaches men to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts and to live soberly, righteously, and godly here and now (Tit. 2:11-12). If people do not obey its teaching grace can go no further. Anyone may: Receive grace in vain (2Cor. 6:1). Frustrate it in his life (Gal. 2:21). Fall from it (Gal. 1:6-8; 5:4). Fail of the grace of God (Heb. 12:15). Turn it into lasciviousness (Jude 1:4). Sin despite it (Rom. 6:1). Continue or discontinue in it (Acts 13:43). Minister it to others (1Pet. 4:10). Grow or not grow in it (2Pet. 3:18). Receive or reject it (John 3:16; Rev. 22:17; Heb. 12:15; Jas. 4:6).

To be continued…

To All the Saints

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

The letter to the Philippians was written from Rome about 64 A.D. by Paul. The immediate occasion for writing is disclosed in Philippians 4:10-18. Its theme is the joy of Christian grace and experience in all of life and death. Paul himself demonstrated the greatest joy in the greatest suffering and humiliation, starting the congregations (Acts 16:1-40). He mentions “joy” 14 times in the epistle. The keyword is “rejoice” (3:1). Christians are to rejoice in fellowship with one another (1:3-11), in afflictions of the gospel (1:12-30); in the ministry for saints (2:1-18), in the faithfulness of their teachers (2:19-3:1); in the Lord and not in Judaism or the flesh (3:1-21); in unity (4:1-3), and always in all things (4:4-23).

‘To all the saints in Christ’ – Those who are living as Christians (1Pet. 2:21-23), not just proclaiming it (Mat. 7:21-23) are always addressed as saints. We have the Old Testament saints (many listed in Hebrews 11), the New Testament saints will be those who are in Christ from His ministry on earth and lastly, the tribulation saints refer to those that will be saved during the tribulation (Rev. 6:9-11; 7:9-17; 15:2-4; 20:4-6). To say that all saints are sinners is unscriptural, for even if we were born into sin and lived in it, the moment we are born again, we are no longer identified by God’s Word as sinners – a man cannot be a saint and a sinner at the same time (Mat. 7:24; Rom. 6:16-23; 8:13). One cannot be holy and sinful and serve God and satan, or be a servant of sin and righteousness at the same time (Mat. 6:24).

‘Timotheus’ Timothy is associated with Paul in the address of the epistles to the Philippians and Colossians, and with Paul and Silas in the two epistles to the Thessalonians. Timothy was at this time with Paul in Rome (2:19).

‘Servants of Jesus Christ’ [Greek: doulos] one giving himself wholly to another’s will.

‘Saints in Christ Jesus’ All saved people are saints, so there are no grounds for making people saints after death (1:1; Acts 9:13, 32, 41; 26:10; Rom. 1:7; 1Cor. 1:2; 6:1-2; 2Cor. 1:1; Eph. 1:1; Col. 1:2; 2Thess. 1:10; Jude 1:3; Rev. 5:8; 13:7, 13:10; 17:6).

Be Strong in the Lord

Ephesians 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 

‘Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.’ Having laid before you your high calling and the great doctrines of the gospel, I will now show you the enemies that will oppose you and how you can overcome them (6:10-18).

‘Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.’ Twelve commands for saints: Be strong in the Lord (6:10). Be strong in His power (6:10). Put on the whole armour of God (6:11). Stand (6:13-14). Have your loins girded with truth (6:14). Put on the breastplate of righteousness (6:14). Have your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace (6:15). Take the shield of faith (6:16). Take the helmet of salvation (6:17). Take the sword of the Spirit (6:17). Pray in the Spirit (6:18). Be watchful in prayer (6:18).

‘Strong’ [Greek: endunamoo] to acquire strength. Translated “strengthen” (Php. 4:13; 2Tim. 4:17); “enable” (1Tim. 1:12); “be strong” (6:10; Rom. 4:20; 2Tim. 2:1; Heb. 11:34); and “increase in strength” (Acts 9:22).

Husbands

Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it 

‘Husbands, love your wives…’ Eight commands are given here for husbands: To be the head of the wife (5:23). To love their wives as Christ loved His body (5:25). To love their wives as their own bodies (5:28, 33). To nourish [Greek: ektrepho] bring up, care for, protect (5:29; 6:4; Rev. 12:6). To cherish [Greek: thalpo] to foster, warm in one’s bosom (5:29; 1Thess. 2:7). To be joined as one flesh (5:30-31). To leave their parents for their wives (5:31). To cleave to their wives (5:31; Matt. 19:5).

Husbands are not to rule their wives, but love, nourish and protect them as the head of the body and must be just as faithful to their wives as they want them to be to them; give them no excuse for sin. They must give their wives honour and use their superior strength in protecting her and as being heirs together of life (1Pet. 3:7).

‘The church, and gave himself for it’ – Sixteen facts: Christ and His body: Christ is head of His body (5:23). Christ is Saviour of us (5:23). Christians must be subject to Christ in all things (5:24). Christ gave Himself for us (5:25). Christ sanctifies us with the washing of the Word (5:26). Christ cleanses us with the washing by the Word (5:26). Christ will receive us to Himself (5:27; John 14:1-3; 1Thess. 4:16; 1Cor. 15:23, 51-58; Col. 3:4). Christ is making us glorious (5:27; 1Cor. 6:11; 2Cor. 3:18). Christ is making us spotless (5:27). Christ is making us perfect (5:27). Christ is making us holy (5:27). Christ is making us faultless (5:27). Christ nourishes us, cares for us, brings us up, and protects us (5:29). Christ cherishes us, fosters, and warms us in His bosom (5:29). We are part of Christ (5:30-32; 1Cor. 12:12-13, 27). We are one with Christ (5:30-32; 1Cor. 6:17; Rom. 12:4-5).

Christ is the Head, Saviour, Sanctifier, Purifier, Glorifier, Builder, Nourisher, Cherisher, Unifier, Protector, and the Receiver of all reborn Christians who are prepared to follow His Word and example as stated in 1Peter 2:21-23 (5:23-33). Water is used in a figurative sense of salvation (John 4:14; Isa. 12:3), of the Spirit baptism (John 7:37-39), and cleansing by the Word of God (5:26; John 15:3;). Since men are cleansed and born again by the Word (Jas. 1:18; 1Pet. 1:23), it is clear that being born of water means being born again by the Word of God.

Have No Fellowship

Ephesians 5:11-12 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.

‘Have no fellowship’ – Godly fellowship of kindred hearts through mutual consecration are allowed (Ps. 119:79) but not even the Lord has no fellowship with the wicked (Prov. 15:29). We are warned not to have fellowship (social and/or friendships) with the following: The ungodly and scorners (Ps. 1:1-6). Workers of iniquity (Ps. 6:8). Vain persons (Ps. 26:4). Evil workers (Ps. 26:5). Criminals (Pro. 1:10-15). The foolish (Pro, 9:6; 14:17). The angry man (Pro. 22:24). An excommunicated Christian (Matt. 18:17). Those causing divisions (Rom. 16:17). Backsliders (2Jn. 1:9-11). False teachers (1Tim. 6:3-5; 2Jn. 1:10). The disorderly (2Thess. 3:6). The disobedient (2Thess. 3:14-15). Unbelievers (2Cor. 6:14). Infidels (2Cor. 6:15). Fornicators (1Cor. 5:9). Covetous people, extortioners and idolaters (1Cor. 5:10). Railers and drunkards (1Cor. 5:11). Lovers of themselves, boasters, proud people, blasphemers, those who are disobedient to parents, unthankful and unholy people (2Tim. 3:2). Those without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce people and despisers of those who are good (2Tim. 3:3). Traitors, heady people, high-minded people and those who love pleasure more than God (2Tim. 3:4). Hypocrites – those who have “a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof” (2Tim. 3:5).

‘Works of darkness’ – The mysteries of the heathen which the initiated went through in caves and dark secret places; the initiated being obliged on pain of death, to keep secret what they had heard, seen, and done (Col. 1:21; Rom. 13:12; Heb. 6:1).

‘Reprove’ [Greek: elengcho] testify, convince, and reprove their secret vices.

‘Shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.’ Whatever these secret heathen rites were, they were too shameful even to speak of. This no doubt refers to the Eleusinian and Bacchanalian mysteries, which were performed in the darkness of night, and were known to be so immoral and abominable that the Roman senate banished them from Italy. At these religious festivals, wine and women played the most important parts. Indecent emblems were carried in procession and ceremonies of the most immoral character were performed. Plato says that he has seen the entire population of Athens drunk at these festivals.

Be Renewed

Ephesians 4:23-24 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that you put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. 

‘Renewed’ [Greek: ananeoo] meaning the whole course of life now flows in a different direction (2Cor. 5:17-18). Be renewed in the attitude of your mind by renouncing its vanity (4:17), its darkness and blindness (4:18) and learning of Christ (4:20-21).

From 2Corinthians 5:17-21 we were given ten personal Gospel blessings: It brings one into Christ (2Cor. 5:17). One is a new creature (2Cor. 5:17). Old things are passed away (2Cor. 5:17). The Greek word for “old” is archaios, meaning ancient, original, old. Such things are no more in one. All things are new (2Cor. 5:17). The life is just the opposite of the old life. All things are of God (2Cor. 5:18). The true Christian does not permit anything in his life which is ungodly and unChristlike (Rom. 6:14-23; 8:1-13; Gal. 5:16-26). One is reconciled to God (2Cor. 5:18; Rom. 5:10; Eph. 2:14-18; Col. 1:20-21). He has part in the ministry of reconciliation (2Cor. 5:18-20; 1:18-24). He has been trusted with the Word of reconciliation (2Cor. 5:19; Mark 16:15-20). He is an ambassador of God in Christ’s stead (2Cor. 5:20; Prov. 13:17). He is the righteousness of God in Christ (2Cor. 5:21; Rom. 3:21-31; 8:4).

‘Put on’ [Greek: enduo] to be clothed with, put on (Matt. 27:31; Mark 15:20; Luke 15:22); be clothed with (Mark 15:17; Rev. 1:13); be clothed in (Rev. 15:6; 19:14), and arrayed in (Acts 12:21). Anyone clothed with this power will be able to confirm what he lives, and this is the only normal New Testament program (John 14:12; Mark 16:16-20). The new nature must be put on and it must manifest righteousness and true holiness (4:23-24). Salvation is a hope and not actually an unforfeitable possession until the next life (1Thess. 5:8; Rom. 8:20-25; 2Thess. 2:16; 1Pet. 1:5, 9, 13). Eternal life is also a hope now, even though we possess it (Tit. 1:2; 3:7; Heb. 3:6; 6:11, 6:11, 18-19; 1Pet. 1:3, 13). It will not actually be an unforfeitable and an eternal possession until the next life and at the end of a life of sowing to the Spirit (Matt. 7:13-14; 18:8-9; 19:28-29; Mark 10:29-30; Luke 18:29-30; Rom. 2:7; 6:21-23; Gal. 6:7-8; 1Tim. 1:16; 4:8; 6:12, 19; 1Pet. 1:5, 9, 13; 3:7; 1Jn. 2:25; Jude 1:20-24; Dan. 12:2; John 5:28-29).

‘The new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.’ This is the Spirit and nature of God in renewed man (4:23-24; 2Pet. 1:4; Rom. 8:9, 14-16).

‘Holiness’ [Greek: hosiotes] A normal Christian life consists of holiness (4:24; 1Thess. 4:7; Gal. 5:19-24; Heb. 12:14).