Sharing God’s grace
Published 7:53 pm Friday, July 30, 2010
Scripture: Philippians 1:18-29
Aim: To encourage the believers to stand fast in their Christian faith in the face of opposition.
Golden Text: “Ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel” (Philippians 1:27b).
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Paul made a statement that he is “set for the defense of the gospel” (vs. 17). He was in the jail at Philippi because of his activity as a faithful preacher of the gospel of Christ. He had spent about two and a half years preaching to both Jews and Gentiles. He had learned that the only position for the representative of Jesus Christ was a positive action in the declaration of the gospel regardless of the cost personally.
I. Paul rejoices in the preaching of the Lord Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:18-20). First, whether men preached Christ in truth, or whether men preached Christ as a means of contention, Paul rejoiced that Christ is preached. At least both groups are preaching Christ regardless of their motives (vs. 18).
Second, Paul knew that prayers of the saints and the work of the Holy Spirit would result in his deliverance from prison (vs. 19).
Third, Paul determines that he will maintain expectation and hope (regarding his deliverance from prison, vs. 20).
Fourth, Paul is determined that Christ shall be magnified by his life and death (vs. 20). In this he has confident expectation.
II. The principle of the Christian’s life in Christ is explored by Paul (Philippians 1:21-26). Paul explains, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (vs. 21). Paul knew that the living of his life for Christ was a blessed thing for him and others. He also knew that should he die, he would be blessed in receiving his reward from Christ.
Paul had a battle in his own mind as to whether to desire to live, or to die. Living for Christ is necessary in order that His will may be accomplished in this world in the lives of others. Dying will be his deliverance from this sinful world and the receiving of his rewards from his Lord (vs. 22-25). Paul rejoices at the thought of being with the brethren again (vs. 25-26). He also longs to be taken to be home with Christ.
The Christian ought to maintain the attitude that if God allows him to live, he will live for Christ. On the other hand, he ought to maintain the attitude that if God takes him in death, he will receive the blessed rewards, which his Lord has for him. Either way God should always be glorified!
III. Paul encourages the believers at Philippi to stand firm and faithful for the glory of God (Philippians 1:27-29). First, their manner of conversation (the manner in which they act) must be used to enhance and encourage the Gospel of Christ (vs. 27). It is important that the Christians maintain godly lives in order that they may influence others for the glory of God.
Second, Paul admonishes them to stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel (vs. 27). They are to stand firm regardless of adversaries that God may be glorified (vs. 28).
Third, the believer is given the privilege and honor of being persecuted and of suffering for the cause of Jesus Christ (vs. 29). Paul says that he and they are sharing in the same conflict that results from being a servant of God (vs. 30). Blessed are all who suffer for the honor and glory of Christ!
Suffering is never easy or enjoyable. Should the believer be called upon to suffer for his Lord, he should be ready, willing and able. In doing so he will bring great glory to God.