Episode #175. Today we’ll read Philippians chapter 1 together: It’s all here…thanksgiving and prayer; the advance of the Gospel; and living for Christ.
Joy: You’re listening to the Lifting Her Voice podcast, Episode #175. Today we’ll read Philippians chapter 1 together: It’s all here…thanksgiving and prayer; the advance of the Gospel; and living for Christ.
Welcome to the Lifting Her Voice podcast. I’m your host, Joy Miller, and I invite you to grab your Bible and join me as we simply read God’s word together. Some things require discipline and sometimes that’s just not easy to muster by yourself, no matter how badly you want to do it or how much you know you should. It’s just easier to do it with a friend. So refill your coffee or tea, get comfortable in your favorite chair and follow along as I read aloud. I’m so glad you’re here!
We’re back to Sunday school! I mean with the kids, not grown-ups. It was great. We only had three, but it was fun. I love teaching kids – and consequently learning myself – critical thinking skills when it comes to reading the Bible. It’s so easy to take everything at face-value instead of asking ourselves what God is trying to teach us about Himself and His Kingdom. Jesus used lots of parables with similes and metaphors in His teaching. We learned there are at least 30 parables in the New Testament! The Kingdom of heaven is like….
Our jobs is to take short stories like the Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin, and the Lost Son – all found the Luke chapter 15 – and figure out what we are learning about God. The kids figured out right away that Jesus wasn’t really talking about sheep, coins, and sons. Smart kids.
A New Book
We’re not in the Gospels anymore, are we? The new book we start today and its four short chapters is the book of Philippians. It is widely accepted that Paul wrote this letter, he wrote it from prison in Rome in approximately AD 60, and the intended audience was the church at Philippi. This is a book of joy and pursuing contentment. There is only one major theological theme in Philippians, and we will explore that in chapter 2.
Chapter three highlights Paul’s spiritual autobiography and goes on to define pursuing Christ-likeness as our most defining element of spiritual growth. Despite Paul’s imprisonment, he is joyful and thankful and content. You will probably recognize so many familiar verses and passages in Chapter 4 and will come away refreshed and encouraged and joyful that you know Christ. If you already know something about Philippians or it’s already one of your favorites, let me know at Lifting Her Voice.com, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
Philippians Chapter 1
Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus:
To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thanksgiving and Prayer
I give thanks to my God for every remembrance of you, always praying with joy for all of you in my every prayer, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. I am sure of this, that he who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Indeed, it is right for me to think this way about all of you, because I have you in my heart, and you are all partners with me in grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel.
For God is my witness, how deeply I miss all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. And I pray this: that your love will keep on growing in knowledge and every kind of discernment, so that you may approve the things that are superior and may be pure and blameless in the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God.
Advance of the Gospel
Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually advanced the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard, and to everyone else, that my imprisonment is because I am in Christ. Most of the brothers have gained confidence in the Lord from my imprisonment and dare even more to speak the word fearlessly.
To be sure, some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of good will. These preach out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel; the others proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, thinking that they will cause me trouble in my imprisonment. What does it matter? Only that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is proclaimed, and in this I rejoice.
Yes, and I will continue to rejoice because I know this will lead to my salvation through your prayers and help from the Spirit of Jesus Christ. My eager expectation and hope is that I will not be ashamed about anything, but that now as always, with all courage, Christ will be highly honored in my body, whether by life or by death.
Living Is Christ
For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Now if I live on in the flesh, this means fruitful work for me; and I don’t know which one I should choose. I am torn between the two. I long to depart and be with Christ — which is far better — but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for your sake. Since I am persuaded of this, I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that, because of my coming to you again, your boasting in Christ Jesus may abound.
Just one thing: As citizens of heaven, live your life worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or am absent, I will hear about you that you are standing firm in one spirit, in one accord, contending together for the faith of the gospel, not being frightened in any way by your opponents. This is a sign of destruction for them, but of your salvation — and this is from God. For it has been granted to you on Christ’s behalf not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, since you are engaged in the same struggle that you saw I had and now hear that I have.
I hope I didn’t read this chapter too fast! There is such passion in Paul’s writing here; it’s contagious. Paul is so affectionate toward the Philippians; they were eager participants in the birth of this new church. It seems redundant to repeat one of my life verses here since I’ve quoted it to you so many times. But redundant or not, Philippians 1:6 bears repeating. I am sure of this, that he who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. I have derived so much encouragement from this verse that I’m nearly convinced God put it in His word just for me. But I am absolutely willing to share!
I love how Paul views his imprisonment. I fear I would not be as mature were I in prison. But with pure single-mindedness, he seems to view any and every situation through the lens of the furtherment of the Gospel. In this case, the guards at Caesar’s household have noticed that Paul is in prison for his faith and how that speaks to them of commitment. Furthermore, this same commitment has inspired confidence and boldness in his fellow workers in Christ.
Many around him are getting their knickers in a twist because much of the preaching is being done out of selfish ambition. Not Paul though. Don’t you just love when he shrugs his shoulders and asks what it matters? Christ is still being preached!
Stay or Go?
And finally, and perhaps best of all in this chapter, Paul is transparent about the tension that we all feel. Yes, our desire is to let go of so much of the nonsense we endure everyday in this world and be face to face with our Lord. However, we know that there is work to be done. Even in our own circles, there are loved ones who are not in Christ. It is better if I stay…to pray, to minister to, to lead them to or back to Christ. Let’s pray.
Oh, Lord, help me to be like Paul. Give me his single-mindedness, his vision, his passion for furthering the Gospel. Romans 10:17 tells us, So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ. Help us all to be one of Your messengers, Lord. Amen.
Thank you for joining me here today. I pray God will grow in you what has been planted and watered here. In this time of unprecedented struggle worldwide, we can look to God for guidance and comfort. Be sensitive to those in your circle of influence who need a word of encouragement and invite them to join us. If you like this show, it would be great if you give it a five-star review. Don’t forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. See you right here tomorrow. Be well!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible(r), Copyright (c) 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible(r) and CSB(r) are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
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