Philippians 1

            Paul and Timothy, who are bond-servants of Christ Jesus, are writing to me and all of the saints in Philippi, including the elders and deacons.  They prayed that God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ provide me with grace and peace.  Paul also thanked God every time he remembered the Philippians. In all of Paul’s prayers for the Christ followers in Philippi, he prayed with a heart full of joy because of their partnership in the gospel from the first time they had heard of it until now.

Paul was very confident that the One who began a good work in me will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. Paul believed that it was right for him to feel the way he did about those at Philppi, as they had a very special place in his heart.  Whether he was imprisoned or defending and confirming the gospel, they shared together in God’s grace.  God knows how much how Paul longed for the Philippians with the affection of Christ Jesus.

Paul’s prayer for me is that my love would overflow more and more in real knowledge and depth of insight, so that I may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ.  I am to be filled with the fruit of righteousness, which comes through Jesus Christ – to the glory and praise of God! Paul’s prayer for me is that my love would overflow more and more in real knowledge and depth of insight, so that I may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ.  I am to be filled with the fruit of righteousness, which comes through Jesus Christ – to the glory and praise of God!

Paul wanted those who read this letter to know that everything that happened to him helped to spread the gospel.  As a result of his imprisonment, the entire palace guard and everyone else knows that he is in chains because of Christ.  Also, because he is in chains, many of his fellow Christ followers have found far more courage and boldness to speak the word of God Some indeed preach Christ out of envy and strife, but some are preaching with pure motives.

The latter preach out of love, as they know Paul is in prison because of his defense of the gospel.  The former, however, preach Christ from selfish ambition, rather than from pure motives.  They are trying to cause Paul distress while he is in prison.  But, what does it matter?  Whether or not their motives are pure, the message about Christ is being preached, so Paul chose to rejoice.  And he will continue to rejoice! For Paul knew that his circumstances would turn out for his deliverance through their prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

For Paul lived in the eager expectation and hope that he would never do anything that would cause him shame, but that he would always be bold for Christ, as he had been in the past; and that his life would always honor Christ, whether he were to live or die.  For to Paul, to live is Christ and to die is gain! But if Paul lived on in the flesh, that means fruitful service for Christ, and it is hard to know which is better.

He was torn between two desires:  to continue living or to be with Christ.  To be with Christ is far better for him, but it is better for the people at Philippi that Paul continue to live.  Paul was definitely convinced of this – he would continue with them so that they would grow and experience the joy of their faith!

So that their proud confidence in Paul would abound in Christ Jesus through his coming to see them again. Whatever happens, Paul teaches all of us to conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.  Then it would not matter if Paul came to see the Philippians or simply heard about them.  For he would know that they were standing firm in one spirit, striving with one mind for the faith of the gospel without being intimidated in any way by those who oppose the gospel.

This will be a sign to them that they are going to be destroyed, but that you are going to be saved, even by God Himself! For it has been granted to me on behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake.  I will experience some of the same struggles Paul faced, and he was in the midst of that struggle while writing this letter.

Philippians 2

            Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ?  Any comfort from His love?  Any fellowship with His Spirit?  Is there any tenderness or compassion?  Paul writes that he would be truly joyful if I, and all Christ followers, agreed together wholeheartedly, maintained the same love, and worked together with one heart and purpose!

I should not do anything out of selfishness or vain conceit, but I am to be humble and to consider others as more important than myself!  Not only should I look out for my own personal interests, but I also am to be concerned about the interests of others. I should have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had!  Being in very nature God, Jesus did not consider equality with God a thing to be grasped.

Instead, He made Himself nothing, took on the very nature of a servant, and appeared in human form. And being found in appearance as a man, Jesus humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross!  For this reason, God highly exalted Him and gave Him a name that is above every other name. One day, at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth.  And every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father!

Therefore, regardless of whether or not a mentor or fellow Christ follower is watching me, I am to work out my salvation with fear and trembling.  For it is God who is working in me to will and to act according to His good purposes; therefore, I am to do everything without complaining or arguing, so that I may become blameless and pure, a child of God who is above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation.  My life should shine brightly before them like stars in the universe!

Paul wants me to hold fast to the word of life, so that when Christ returns, he will have reason to glory that he did not run or labor for nothing.  But even if he were to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of my faith, he would be glad and rejoice with me!  And I too, should be glad and rejoice with him.

Paul was hoping in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to the Philippians as soon as possible, so that he could be encouraged when he received news concerning them.  Paul didn’t have anyone else like Timothy, who took a genuine interest in the welfare of the Philippians.  All the others seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus.  However, the Philippians knew how Timothy had proved himself and served Paul in the work of the gospel as a son serving his Father.  Paul planned to send Timothy as soon as he found out what was happening to his situation.

Paul had confidence from the Lord that he would be coming to see the Philippians soon. Paul also thought he should send Epaphroditus back to the people of Philippi.  He is a true brother, faithful worker, and fellow soldier who had been sent to Paul as a messenger and helper.  Epaphroditus longed to see them again and was distressed that they had heard he was ill.  And he was very ill and almost died.   But God had mercy upon him, and also spared Paul sorrow upon sorrow.

Therefore, Paul was even more eager to send him, so that the Philippians would be glad to see him and Paul would have his cares lightened.  They should welcome him in the Lord with great joy and honor men like him, because he almost died for the work of Christ, risking his life to make up for the help the Philippians could not give Paul.

Philippians 3

            I am to rejoice in the Lord!  Paul never tired of writing this, as he knew it would always be a good safeguard for me.  I should watch out for dogs – wicked men and their evil deeds.  They are like mutilators of flesh when they say that one must be circumcised to be saved.  But I am of the true circumcision as I worship in the Spirit of God; glory in Christ Jesus; and put no confidence in my human effort.

If anyone could have put their confidence in themselves, Paul had even more reasons, as he was circumcised when he was eight days old, came from a pureblooded Jewish family from the branch of Benjamin.  He was a Hebrew of Hebrews!  As to the law, he was a Pharisee; as to zeal, he had aggressively persecuted the church; and as to the righteousness found in the law, he was faultless.  Paul once thought these things were very important, but now he considers them worthless because of what Christ has done! Yes, everything else is worthless when compared to the priceless acquisition of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord!

For His sake, I should discard everything else, and consider it all as rubbish so that I may gain Christ and become one with Him.  I cannot count on my own goodness or my ability to obey God’s law, but I am to have faith in Christ and receive His righteousness, which comes by faith!

I am able to really know Christ and the power of His resurrection.  And to really know what it means to share in His sufferings and in His death, so that, somehow, I can attain to the resurrection from the dead! It is not that I’ve already attained these things or that I’ve already achieved perfection, but I press on toward the day when I will finally be all that Christ Jesus saved me for and wants me to be!

I should not consider myself as being all that I should be, but one thing I am to do – Forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus! As a mature Christ follower, I am to have this attitude of pressing on, and if I disagree on some point, God will reveal that to me as well.  And I must be sure to obey the truth I have learned already.

I should join with other Christ followers in following Paul’s example and learning from others who already follow him. This was written before and is being written again with tears of sorrow, as many people live as enemies of the cross of Christ.  Their future is eternal destruction; their god is their appetite; and they brag about shameful things.

They set their mind on earthly things, but my citizenship is in heaven, and I am to eagerly await a Savior from heaven, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will take my weak mortal body and change it into a glorious body like His own, using the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control.

Philippians 4

            Paul longed to see his beloved brothers and sisters in Christ and considered them to be his crown.  He urges all of us to stand firm in the Lord!  He also pleads with Euodia and Syntyche to live in harmony in the Lord, and he asks the leaders of the church to help these women who had worked hard with Paul in the cause of the gospel.  They had also worked with Clement and the rest of his co-workers, whose names are written in the Book of Life.

I should always rejoice in the Lord; yes, I should rejoice!  My gentle and considerate spirit should be evident to everyone!  The Lord is near.  I must not worry about anything; instead, I should pray about everything, presenting my requests to God with a thankful attitude! And the peace of God, which surpasses human understanding, will guard my heart and my mind in Christ Jesus!

I always should fix my thoughts on whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, and whatever is admirable!  If there is any excellence or anything worthy of praise, I should dwell on these things! Whatever I have learned or received or heard from Paul—I should put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with me.

Paul was rejoicing in the Lord that the church at Philippi had renewed their concern for him.  They had also previously been concerned, but did not have an opportunity to show it.  Not that Paul was ever in need, as he had learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  He knew how to get along with almost nothing and how to live in prosperity.  He had learned the secret of being content in any and every situation – whether well fed or hungry; whether having abundance or suffering need.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!

Paul was glad that the church at Philippi was helping him during his present difficulty.  They also were the only ones who gave him financial help when he was first preaching the gospel after he left Macedonia.  No other church did this.  Even in Thessalonica, they sent him help more than once.  Paul wasn’t looking for a gift, but wanted them to receive a well-earned reward because of their kindness.  At the present time, Paul had more than he needed, as he was amply supplied because he had received what they had sent via Epaphoditus.

The church at Philippi was a sweet-smelling sacrifice – acceptable to God and pleasing to Him! And my God will supply all of my needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus!  Now glory be to God, my Father, forever and ever!  Amen.

Paul extends his greetings to all of the saints in Christ Jesus, and the Christ followers with him also send their greetings.  And all of the other saints send their greetings as well, especially those who work in Caesar’s palace. Paul’s desire is that the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with my spirit.  Amen.

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