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).

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.

Counted Loss for Christ

Philippians 3:4-7 Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinks that he has whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church [congregations]; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 

‘Circumcised the eighth day’ – Part of the Abrahamic covenant all Hebrew males were to be circumcised at the age of eight days (Gen. 17:12; Lev. 12:3).

‘Stock of Israel’ We can read the history of Israel’s stock in Genesis 29:21-30 and 35:16-29.

‘Pharisee’ – a sect of self-righteous and zealous Jews who held to the letter of their interpretations of the law and their traditions, regardless of whether they nullified the Word of God or not. They were Christ’s bitterest enemies (3:4-6; Mat. 15:2; 23:1-33; Mark 7:8-13; Luke 11:42; Gal. 1:14).

‘Zeal’ – Paul zealously persecuted the congregations and Christians (Acts 7:58; 8:1-3; 9:1-2; Gal. 1:13).

‘Blameless’ – As to meeting every requirement of Judaism, being of pure stock, and of fanatical zeal he had no superior (3:4-6; Gal. 1:13-14; 2Cor. 11:22).

‘But what things were gain to me, I counted loss for Christ.’ All these advantages (of Philippians 3:4-6), the honour and respect which I held among the Jews, as well as my future with them, I counted loss for Christ.

‘Loss’ [Greek: zemia] loss as applied to trade, especially the voluntary loss incurred by casting wares overboard to lighten a sinking ship (3:8; Acts 27:10, 21).

Beware of…

Philippians 3:1-3 Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe. Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. 

‘Rejoice in the Lord’ – Let your happiness be in the Lord (4:4; 1Thess. 5:16; 1Pet. 1:8) for the joy of the LORD is our strength (Neh. 8:10). When we live in thanksgiving and joy because of who the Lord is and what He has done for us, all complaining will cease. Through complaining we lose what we received, the enemy knows this and focus all his attacks on stealing our joy. We have a choice between allowing this or resisting him (Jas. 4:7; 1Pet. 5:7-8; 1Jn. 5:18).

‘To write the same things to you.’ – he wrote the same doctrines that he had preached and written to others.

‘Dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.’ Jews are called three things here: Dogs – the very things they called others (Mat. 15:26-27); evil workers, Judaizing teachers; the concision, mutilators [Greek: katatome], but the verb katatemno occurs in the Septuagint of heathen mutilations (Lev. 21:5; 1Kin. 18:28). Paul regards circumcision as no better than heathen practices. False teachers lie in wait to catch ignorant souls by their fallacies there are ten marks of false teachers: They cause divisions among Christians. They cause offences against truth (Rom. 16:18). They do not serve God (Rom. 16:17-18). They serve their own bellies (3:19; Rom. 16:18;). They use slick tongues to deceive (Rom. 16:18). They are enemies of the cross (3:18). They walk contrary to the gospel (3:17). They glory in their shame (3:19). They mind earthly things (3:19). They bring in heresies (2Pet. 2:1).

The founders of false religions and human philosophies pamper the flesh and give their victims elated feelings of importance to make an appeal to them for their own benefit and popularity, making followers for themselves instead of for Christ.

‘For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.’ Four points about Christians here: The true circumcision – that of the heart (Rom. 2:29). Worshipers in spirit (John 4:24). Rejoice in Christ (3:1; 4:4; 1Pet. 1:1-25). Have no confidence in the flesh (3:3-4; 2Cor. 5:16).

Be of Good Comfort

Philippians 2:19-25 But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state. For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s. But you know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he has served with me in the gospel. Him therefore I hope to send presently, so soon as I shall see how it will go with me. But I trust in the Lord that I also myself shall come shortly. Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants. 

‘Timotheus’ – this is Timothy who was converted by Paul on his first trip (Acts 14:6-7 with 1Tim. 1:2). Part Jew and Greek, uncircumcised, but a good Christian (Acts 16:1-3). A miracle worker like Paul (1Cor. 16:10). Paul’s companion from here on (2:19; Acts 16:1-3; 17:14-15; 18:5; 19:22; 20:4; Rom. 16:21; 1Cor. 4:17). On a mission (Heb. 13:23). It is believed by some that he was Paul’s scribe in writing Hebrews and Galatians. He had the gifts of the Spirit (1Tim. 4:14; 2Tim. 1:6). He was a great student of Scripture (2Tim. 1:5; 2:15; 3:15).

‘Know the proof of him’ – This known proof of Timothy is stated in Acts 16:1-3; 17:14.

‘With the father’ – Timothy worked with Paul, not for him (1Cor. 16:10).

‘How it will go with me’ – He was confident of being liberated (2:24; 1:19, 25-26).

‘My brother, and companion in labour, fellow-soldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants.’ Seven facts regarding Epaphroditus: A brother in Christ (2:25); a companion in labour [Greek: sunergos] fellow-labourer in (4:3); fellow-soldier [Greek: sustratiotes]; your messenger [Greek: apostolos] apostle; Minister [Greek: leitourgos] public servant; had a physical breakdown because of overwork (2:26-30); was healed (2:27-29).

Do All Things Without Murmurings

Philippians 2: 14-18 Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That you may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom you shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all. For the same cause also do you joy, and rejoice with me. 

‘Do all things without murmurings’ – we are warned in Psalm 55:22 to cast thy burden upon the LORD – Man is commanded to do one thing; then God will do two things. All promises are conditional. Christians tend to emphasize the promises and ignore their conditions. Then they murmur and complain when the promises aren’t fulfilled. There is more to Christianity than its benefits (1Cor. 15:19). From Jude 1:15-16 we see that God’s judgment will come over those who murmur and complain.

‘That you may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.’ Six results of obedience to Philippians 2:12-14: [1] Blameless before God. [Greek: amemptos]. Blameless in legal righteousness like Paul (3:6), as well as in keeping the commandments. At the rapture, Christ will meet the saints in the air (1Thess. 4:16) and take them to heaven where they will be presented before God the Father and established in eternal and unblameable holiness by God (1Thess. 3:13). [2] Harmless to men. [Greek: akeraios] God desires that we show wisdom by discerning and choosing good from evil (Rom. 16:19). [3] The sons of God Sonship – adopted sons share the same rights and privileges as one born in the family. (Rom. 8:14-16, 23; 9:4; Gal. 4:5; Eph. 1:5). [4] Without rebuke by man [Greek: amometos]. From 1Timothy 3:7 we see the necessary standard of having a good report from outsiders. [5] Shine as lights (Mat. 5:14-16). When God’s word is in us we can bring light as the sun and moon (John 15:1-5). [6] Hold forth the word of life. Be lighthouses to guide people safe to the harbour of safety and rest (2Cor. 4:4).

Work Out Your Own Salvation

Philippians 2:12-13 Wherefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worked in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. 

‘Obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.’ We all have the responsibility of working out our own salvation until it is completed (3:21; Rom. 6:22; 8:23; 1Pet. 1:5-13). It is everyone’s own responsibility to ask to receive (Matt. 7:7; Jas. 4:7-8) and allow God to complete the work He has begun in us (1:6). God can only bring salvation in us to completion when we are willing to die to the self (Matt. 10:11-13, 37-38).

‘Fear and trembling’ – Why fear and trembling if there is no possibility of a fall and a failure? From 1Corinthians 9:27 we see Paul’s warning to keep our bodies under and bring them into subjection: lest by any means we should be castaways. From Hebrews 6:4-9 we see that Christians can backslide, tearing down the foundation of repentance that is already laid. Should they ever again be admitted into Christ, they will have to build again the foundation of repentance and do their first works again (Heb. 2:1-4; Rev. 2:5) and that Christians can fully apostatize from Christ, completely rejecting Him and His atoning work, so that it is impossible to renew them again to repentance (Heb. 10:26-29; 2Pet. 2:20-22).

‘Worked in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure’ If one will not obey in working out His own salvation, will God continue to work when man refuses to permit Him? Man’s power to will and to do as he pleases should not be puzzling. Such power comes from God but the use of it lies with man. One who will not use this power to work out His salvation will be held responsible. All people possess the power but not all use it (John 3:16-20; Mark 16:15-16; 1Jn. 1:9; Rev. 22:17).

At the Name of Jesus

Philippians 2:9-11 Wherefore God also had highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 

‘Had highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name.’ Seven steps in His exaltation: God highly exalted Him (2:9; Eph. 1:21). God gave Him a name above all. At the mere mention of His name, every knee must bow (2:10). Everything in heaven must bow. Everything on earth must bow. Everything under the earth must bow. Every tongue shall confess His Lordship to the glory of God the Father (2:11).

‘That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow …’ This is the 2nd New Testament prophecy in Philippians (2:10-11) that is unfulfilled.

‘Of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth.’ There are three worlds that are inhabited: Heaven (2:10; Job 1:6; 2:1; Dan. 4:35; Col. 1:15-18; Rev. 12:12; 13:6). Earth (2:10; Col. 1:16; Rev. 12:12). Underworld. [Greek: katachthonios] under the earth; subterranean; infernal world (2:10; cp. Ps. 16:10 with Mat. 12:40 and Eph. 4:8-10). This includes the angelic inhabitants in Tartarus (2Pet. 2:4; Jude 1:6-7; 1Pet. 3:19); the pre-Adamites and demon inhabitants of the abyss (Luke 8:31; Rev. 9:1-21; 20:3, 20:7); the giant races that have no resurrection (Gen. 2:4; Isa. 26:14); the human inhabitants of Sheol/Hades (Ps. 9:17; 16:10; 71:20; Pro. 9:18; 15:24; Isa. 14:9; Ezek. 31:14-18; 32:18-27; Luke 16:1-31; Rev. 20:11-15); and all other inhabitants of the infernal world (2:10; Rev. 5:13). This proves that hell is not the grave.

Of No Reputation Part 2

Philippians 2:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men

He could do nothing of Himself in all His earthly life. He attributed all His works, doctrines, powers, etc. to the Father through the anointing of the Holy Spirit (John 8:28). This is proved by the following facts in Scripture: (1) He was limited to the status of a man (2:6-8; Heb. 2:14-18; 5:8-9). (2) He was God’s agent using God’s power of attorney (John 8:28; Acts 10:38). (3) He was our example that we should walk in His steps (1Pet. 2:21-23). (4) The temptations prove that He was limited as a man so that He could overcome as a man and not as God (Heb. 4:14-16; 5:7-9). (5) Isaiah (Isa. 7:14-16) speaks of the Messiah being born without knowledge enough to know to refuse the evil and choose the good. (6) Isaiah (Isa. 11:2; 53:1-12) speaks of the Messiah being limited as an ordinary baby, showing that God would give Him the spirit of wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge, and fear of the Lord. If He had these attributes as God from all eternity and did not lay them aside in becoming a man when was this ever true of Him? (7) Isaiah (Isa. 50:4-11) predicted that the Messiah would be born without the tongue of the learned, without knowing how to speak a word in season to help any soul, and that He would be wakened day by day to increase in knowledge and wisdom. (8) Isaiah (Isa. 42:1-7; 61:1-11) speaks of the Messiah receiving His power to manifest divine acts by the anointing of the Holy Spirit and not by retaining His own former natural attributes and powers. Is it necessary for God to be anointed with the Holy Spirit to do what He is naturally capable of doing? If it became necessary to anoint Jesus during His earthly life, then it proves He did not retain His former glory and attributes which He had from all eternity when He emptied Himself to become like men in all things (2:6-8; Heb. 2:14-18; 5:8-9). (9) History records that Christ was limited as a baby and grew in body, soul, and spirit, grace, wisdom, stature, and favour with God and man (Luke 2:40, 52). Even after His manhood, His full anointing and gifts of the Spirit, He was still limited in knowledge (Mark 13:32). He even learned obedience by the things He suffered (Heb. 4:14-16; 5:7-9).

To be continued…