The Furtherance of the Gospel

Philippians 1:12-17 But I would you should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places; And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. 

‘The things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel.’ My sufferings for Christ have furthered the gospel by provoking others to zeal for Christ (1:12-19). Everything we do must further the gospel in others’ lives (Mat. 5:16; 7:12), thus must our attitude always be like Christ’s was when He chose to lay His life down (1Pet. 2:21-23) even though He did nothing to please others, only that which God commanded (John 14:10).

‘Palace’ [Greek: praitorion] is the court in Rome where Paul was tried before Caesar. Here it refers to Caesar’s palace. The apostle’s defence caused his doctrines to be known in the palace and all other places (4:22).

‘Affliction to my bonds’ – from 2Timothy 1:16 we see that others were ashamed of Paul in chains. His life had been one of suffering and labour for Christ. Now from all appearances, he was abandoned by his friends and in the hands of ruthless men. He was in prison and in chains, yet he was triumphant overall and unshaken in his faith. He felt no evil and feared no man or devil. Sin had lost its power, death its sting, the grave its victory, and hell its torments. No murmuring came from his lips or bitterness from his heart. He was a man’s man and God’s faithful servant, ready to die for the cause of Christ and the gospel.

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).

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).

And Peace, from God our Father

Philippians 1:2 …and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Christians are to demonstrate virtuous thoughts, feelings and actions at all times of which peace is one of the most needed yet less exercised. These virtues we are to show before men are the perfections of wisdom, knowledge, justice, truth, love, patience, holiness, goodness, grace, joy, peace, faith, and other attributes and powers of the Divine Trinity. These virtues are to be demonstrated by Christians to angels and men (1Pet. 1:12; 1Cor. 4:9; Eph. 3:9-10)

1Thessalonians 4:11-12 instructs us to study [to work hard] to be quiet, and to do our own business and to work with our own hands. The thought is that of a disposition and life of peace, and contentment; even temperament; to be meek, and learn self-control in all things; not to permit anything to disturb or cause a display of temper tantrums or disturb the peace of others. There were a few idle, tattling people in their congregation, who, instead of working, went from place to place carrying on gossip, meddling with the business of others, and causing splits or divisions. Hence, the commands to quit such practices, to do their own business, let others alone, hold their peace, walk honestly toward the world, and work with their own hands so they would have no time to meander and gossip.

We have ten commands from Scripture that can cure all worry: Permit the peace of God to garrison or keep your heart and mind through Jesus Christ (Php. 4:7). Renounce all worry; then by prayer, supplication, and thanksgiving, make all requests known to God (Php. 4:6; Jas. 4:7). Think on right things (Php. 4:8). Keep mind stayed on God (Isa. 26:3). Use the weapons of spiritual warfare (2Cor. 10:4-6). Put on the whole armour of God (Eph. 6:10-18). Have faith in God (Matt. 6:25-34; 7:7-11; 17:20; 21:22; Mark 11:22-24). Live and walk in the Spirit (Gal. 5:16-26; Rom. 6:14-23; 8:1-13). Do not cast away confidence (Heb. 3:6, 12-14; 6:11-12; 10:19-23, 35-39). Cast all your cares upon God (1Pet. 5:7).

‘From God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.’ Another reference to two separate divine Persons in the Godhead.

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 3

Philippians 1:2 Grace be unto you…

Continued… 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: Set aside forever all condemnation for future sins (John 5:14; 8:34; Rom. 6:1-23; 8:12-13; Gal. 5:21; 2Cor. 5:10). Set aside failure of saved men to meet the many conditions of salvation (1Jn. 1:7; Rom. 6:1-23; 8:1-13; Jas. 5:19-20; Gal. 5:19-21; Col. 1:23; 2:6-7). Cancel free moral agency (Col. 1:23; 1Jn. 1:7; Rom. 6:16-23; Rev. 22:17). Keep men saved when they sin (Rom. 8:12-13; 1Cor. 6:9-11; Gal. 5:19-21; 6:7-8; Jas. 5:19-20; Heb. 6:4-6; 10:26-29; 2Pet. 2:20-21). Cancel the death penalty when saved men break the law (Rom. 6:16-23; 8:12-13; Heb. 10:26-29; Jas. 5:19-20; Ezek. 18:4, 20-24; 33:12-13, 18). Make God a liar who said every man that sins must die (Ezek. 18:4; Rom. 6:16-23; 8:12-13; Gal. 5:19-21; 6:7-8; 1Cor. 6:9-11; Rev. 21:8). Cancel the law of confession of sins before they are forgiven (1Jn. 1:7, 1:9; Rev. 2:5, 16; 3:19; Luke 13:1-5; Acts 2:38). Forgive future sins, for transgression and confession are necessary before forgiveness (1Jn. 1:9; Rev. 2:5, 16, 22; 3:19; Luke 13:1-5; Acts 2:38; Mark 6:12; Rom. 2:4-6; 2Cor. 7:10). Cancel responsibility of saved men concerning sin (Rom. 14:10; 2Cor. 5:10; Gal. 5:19-21; 6:7-8; Rom. 14:12). Be responsible should saved men backslide (1Tim. 2:4; 2Pet. 3:9; Rev. 2:5; 3:2; Jas. 5:19-20; Gal. 5:19-21). Free saved men from condemnation for future sins unless confessed (1Jn. 1:7, 9; Rev. 2:5, 22; 3:2; Jas. 5:19-20). Permit God to forgive unconfessed sin (2Chron. 7:14; 2Cor. 7:9-10; 1Jn. 1:9; 2Tim. 2:25; Rev. 2:5; 3:2). Bind men so that they cannot sin if they choose to do so (Rom. 6:16-23; 8:1-13; 1Jn. 1:7; Heb. 6:4-9; 10:26-29). Guarantee any man eternal life if he refuses to obey (Jas. 5:19-20; 2Cor. 3:16-17; 6:1-18; 2Cor. 9:1-15; Ezek. 33:12-20). Force obedience (Rev. 22:17; John 3:16-20; Rom. 6:16-23; 8:1-13; Gal. 1:6-8; 5:4; 6:7-8; 1Jn. 1:7).

Grace Be unto You – Part 2

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 can do: Grace can save the world (Gen. 6:8; Eph. 2:8-9). Grace can give one all good things (Ps. 84:11). Grace can bring men to repentance (Zech. 12:10). Grace can impart great blessings (Acts 4:33). Grace can bring salvation (Tit. 2:11-12; Eph. 2:1-22). Grace can impart faith (Acts 18:27). Grace can justify (Rom. 3:24-25; Tit. 3:7). Grace can overcome sin (Rom. 5:20). Grace can reign in life if permitted (Rom. 5:21). Grace can make one God’s elect (Rom. 11:5-6). Grace can give boldness (Rom. 15:15). Grace can make partaker of Christ (1Cor. 10:30). Grace can give power (1Cor. 15:10). Grace can inspire liberality (2Cor. 8:1-2, 8:6-9; 9:8). Grace can give endurance (2Cor. 12:9). Grace can call people to minister to others (Gal. 1:15). Grace can impart riches (Eph. 2:7). Grace can inspire singing (Col. 3:16). Grace can give seasoning to speech (Col. 4:6). Grace can give strength (2Tim. 2:1). Grace can teach (Tit. 2:11-12). Grace can give aid in suffering (Heb. 2:9). Grace can help in time of need (Heb. 4:16). Grace can give stability (Heb. 13:9). Grace can give life (1Pet. 3:7). Grace can help render true service (Heb. 12:28). Grace can become abundant (1Tim. 1:14). Grace can bring hope (2Thess. 2:16). Grace can give the ability to teach others (Eph. 3:8). Grace can change lives (1Cor. 15:10).

To be continued…

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).

In Sincerity

Ephesians 6:21-24 But that you also may know my affairs, and how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things: Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that you might know our affairs, and that he might comfort your hearts. Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen. To the Ephesians written from Rome, by Tychicus. 

‘Tychicus’ was probably an Ephesian. Acts 20:4; Col. 4:7; 2Tim. 4:12; Tit. 3:12.

‘Comfort your hearts’ – we are comforted by God’s merciful kindness according to His Word (Ps. 119:76).

‘Peace be to the brethren’ – Christ left us His peace, not the kind the world gives (John 14:27), that was His dying legacy. Permit the peace of God to garrison or keep your heart and mind through Jesus Christ (Php. 4:7).

‘Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity.’ God’s grace has always been conditional as we see in this verse, for it is stated that it is for those who love Jesus Christ in sincerity, that’s why believers can fall from grace and be removed from Christ (Gal. 1:6-8; 2:21; 3:1-5; 4:8-11, 19; 5:4, 19-21; 6:1-8).

‘Sincerity’ [Greek: aphtharsia] incorruption (1Cor. 15:42); immortality (Rom. 2:7).

‘Written from Rome’ – Written from Rome in 64 A.D. and sent by Tychicus along with Colossians and Philemon. It is the most impersonal of Paul’s epistles.