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PAUL'S AMAZING ADAPTABILITY IN THE FACE OF GREAT DIFFICULTY!

"For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." Philippians 1:21

 

 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
II Timothy 2:15

 

"But I would ye 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. What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice. For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." Philippians 1:12-21

 

LESSON 1, INTRODUCTION:

Let's study Philippians 1:12 and the few verses that follow. There Paul, as in other places too, exhibits a godly "adaptability" that's truly amazing!

Our soon-to-be-analyzed Paragraph reveals Paul as the subject of hatred. Strong animosity! Some are even trying to make his imprisonment more unbearable!

Yet, in the midst of all that contention, we find the Apostle rejoicing, praising the Lord, and preaching the Word!

He has a God-given ability to "reverse" the many difficult situations of life that came his way! To "turn" them to the Glory of God!

Take time to read the Text. You will see what I mean, but especially verses 15-18. Paul, from jail, writes: "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. What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice." Philippians 2:15-18

"So what that people hate me?" Thus asked Paul. "It matters not that they preach so as to 'hurt' my legal standing! To add to my hardships here in this Roman prison! Regardless of their hateful motives, Christ is preached! That fact alone makes me happy! Praise the Name of the Lord!"

Talk about turning things around!

And Paul does this again and again!

Listen to him again in 2nd Corinthians 1:8-9. "For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life." He had just about given up! Troubles, pressures! Heavier than he could bear! Beyond his ability! He was so depressed he no longer wanted to live!

This is bad!

But, then, immediately, the next verse. "We had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead." We were walking dead men so that the Life of Christ might shine through us!

Wow!

And this one, 2nd Corinthians 7:5-6. Here's Paul nearly in a panic again! "For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears." No rest! Couldn't sleep! Troubles everywhere! When it rained, it poured! Contention externally! Fears, "phobias" literally, inside! Paul sounds unstable!

But, then again, a metamorphosis occurs! "Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus." God uses the darkness of the gloom to highlight the brightness of Christian fellowship! The Paraclete, the Comforter has come too! That term for "cast down" means about as "low" as a person can go!

And once, when inflicted with a life-long physical impediment, Paul tells: "There was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure." Painful! Cumbersome! Maybe even embarrassing! Chronic illness!

Add to this "unanswered" prayer! "For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me." And God said "No!"

But again, unexpectedly, here it comes! Transformation! "And the Lord said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong." Wow, 2nd Corinthians 12:7-10

From weakness to power, Paul's sickness to Christ's strength!

Godly adaptability!

Why, someone who lived like this might even someday write: "All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."

Or, "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."

This man, Paul, follows the same Spirit as did the Old testament Prophets! Habakkuk, for example, read his words carefully! "Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds' feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments." Habakkuk 3:17-18, that's adaptability!

You can't keep a man like this "down!"

Woman either!

See it all yet again, Pauline style! "We are troubled on every side ... yet not distressed; we are perplexed ... but not in despair; persecuted ... but not forsaken; cast down ... but not destroyed.  Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus ... that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body." 2nd Corinthians 4:8-10

Adaptability!

Jesus is our Example, too. Facing Calvary, that torturous Death, He said: "The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot. The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage. I will bless the Lord, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons. I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore." Psalm 16:5-11

More than conquerors!

It's miraculous!

Thank you, Lord!

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 2, VERSE 12:

We are studying Philippians 1:12-21, that whole context.

Preachers, it teaches us how to respond when folks "hate" us or at least are "unkind" to us as Men of God!

When they react to our preaching!

Today, Verse 12, as we begin.

Paul is writing. "But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel." Philippians 1:12

We know he's speaking to other Believers in Jesus, using the term "brethren" as he so often does. "Adelphos" means those "born out of the same womb."

"Should understand" translates "ginosko," but as an infinitive. It means "to know, to learn." The verb "would" is "boulomai," expressing "to desire, to wish, to want."

The "things which happened" to Paul include his imprisonment. Likely in Rome. His mistreatment, arrest, and persecution. A whole list of "bad" things, humanly speaking, could be added here. All of which we do not know. Luke does not tell us everything about Paul's life, nor does he himself!

Now get this. The verb "fallen out," which sounds a bit like "chance or fate" or so-called "luck," means nothing like that at all! It is "erchomai" and means "to come, to appear, to arise," implying something that has been providentially sent from God to Paul! Not happenstance, but a divine appointment!

To Paul, in the lives of all Believers in Jesus Christ, every single event, no exceptions, is God "sent!" Remember, Paul is the one who wrote Romans 8:28. "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."

Wow!

The noun "furtherance" is "prokope." It means "advancement, progress," that kind of idea. It is build by blending "pro" and "kopto," meaning "to cut" a trail "before" or "in front of" a bold pioneer as he slowly advances through a jungle or some thick underbrush! Blazing a pathway, for others to follow!

Many would here have called Paul a "jailbird." He instead calls himself a "trailblazer!" (If you want an interesting Bible Study sometime, follow this word "prokope" through the New Testament! It gets exciting!) An adventurer! An "advance" man for Jesus!

"Gospel," spelled "euaggelion," means "good news" literally. And that it is!

Paul is in jail!

He may be executed!

But he refuses to admit defeat!

Or even be depressed or discouraged!

He, instead, sees the Gospel marching forward, even through such hardship! And this little godly prisoner is leading the charge!

What a man!

What a preacher!

Even more so, what a God he worships!

Yes, think about it one more time. "But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel."

Amen!

                                                                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 3, VERSES 13-14:

Watch the Apostle Paul, the Spirit-filled optimist, place a bright "outlook" on a very dark situation!

He's in prison as he writes, remember.

"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." Philippians 1:13-14

"Yes, I'm in jail, " he muses!

"But for Christ's sake, not my own!"

"Yet my witness," continues Paul, "is spreading throughout Caesar's whole kingdom!"

"My witness for Jesus."

"And other Brethren who are seeing this, my boldness to preach the Gospel, have also become more forthright in proclaiming our Lord as well!"

In other words, Paul's bravery and courage and stamina had helped others not to be so fearful. The Apostle's preaching had literally bred a whole army of witnesses for Jesus' sake!

People do watch when we are suffering!

One Christian's proper handling of "hard times" may encourage others to "fight the good fight of faith" too!

The word "bonds," twice used by Paul in today's verses, is spelled "desmon" and means "chains, ropes, bands," anything really that binds and restricts a prisoner's movement.

Paul was "in chains" as he wrote Philippians!

But Paul does not claim ownership over these shackles! They are his bonds "in Christ." They are his by virtue of his preaching the Word of God! This "in Christ" business can transform and uplift any life situation! Bring Jesus into every arena of your being! "Christ in you, the hope of glory," Paul later writes in Colossians 1:27.

The verb "manifest" translates "phaneros," meaning "to make apparent, to make evident, to bring into the light!" Obviously this means that Paul is witnessing and testifying and preaching to every single guard and soldier and servant he sees! Day after day! Loads of Gospel truth!

And, by the way, some of them are getting saved! By Philippians 4:22, Paul can truthfully write to other Churches: "All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar's household." Wow, new converts to Jesus! And Caesar's employees at that! I see Paul the soul-winner behind that!

And "palace" in Greek, "praitorion," is usually the "head-quarters" in any Roman establishment. Here he's likely taking about Rome and the imperial Palace itself! Archaeology now calls it the Praetorian Hall. We're talking verifiable history here, folks.

"So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places," by now everybody knows Paul! That little godly man in confinement for preaching about a resurrected Saviour!

And here's even better news! "And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear." Paul's boldness was contagious! His "success," the power of the Holy Spirit upon him, had encouraged other preachers to again tell the truth! To proclaim the Gospel, whatever the costs!

"Waxing confident," spelled "peitho," means "persuaded, being brought to belief, reassured." A bold act by one Man of God, Paul, had helped other less intrepid preachers to step forward! To get back in the race, to re-enter the arena, wresting the devil and his cohorts! To preach again God's precious Word!

Paul's jail time had actually become a source of revival, a time of refreshing, to other Believers in Christ!

That's amazing!

"To speak," in Greek "laleo," emphasizes "conversation," one's daily talk and interaction, as well as pulpit speech! They "talked" about Jesus everywhere they went! " Like Malachi 3:16. "Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name." Yes!

"Without fear" encapsulates "aphobos." Literally, no phobias! No hang-ups! No impediments!

Proclaiming God's Word, boldly, once again!

They must have thought, "If Paul can do it and see souls saved, even from prison, so can we!"

Paul had truthfully "provoked others to good works!" From a jail cell! "And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works," he would later write in Hebrews 10:24.

So, rather than sitting around feeling sorry for himself! Or getting discouraged and depressed! Or quitting the ministry! Paul just looks for the bright side of a dark situation!

And he found one!

"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." Philippians 1:13-14

Praise the Lord!

                                                                                       --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

Another thought ...

Today's Text sort of reminds me of a Proverbs Verse. "For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again." You truly can't keep a godly man down! Knock him over ... and he just gets up again! And again! And yet again!

Resiliency!

Buoyancy!

Steadfastness!

Holy Spirit endowed faithfulness!

Determination!

Like Jesus, who "never failed nor was discouraged!" That's what Isaiah 42:4 says about Him. "He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law."

Amen!

 

 

LESSON 4, VERSE 15:

It's one of the boldest verses in all the Bible!

Brutally honest!

Talk about current events!

Paul is writing from jail, in Rome. He knows what's happening, spiritually speaking, though! And he is about to write a "balanced" assessment!

"Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will." Philippians 1:15

The pronoun "some" is plural. "Tines," from "tis," means "certain" people! It can even mean "several" people. Also "whoever."

"Indeed" translates "men," pronounced just like it looks. That is, "truly, certainly, surely!"

The verb "preach" translates "kerusso," a common term meaning "to announce official news as an emissary of the King!" It always includes the idea of authority. It's the right word for New Testament preaching, used over five dozen times therein.

These bitter men, whoever they were, knew how to preach. And, notice, they preached "Christ" too! "Christos" is God's Anointed" Messiah, the Lord Jesus Himself!

But now comes the suprise!

A certain crowd of these "preachers" so hated Paul that they were preaching merely, or partly anyway, to "hurt" Paul! To stir up animosity toward the Apostle, to cause him trouble at his upcoming trial!

The word "envy" is "phthonos," a very strong word! Just-as-well say it means "ill will." It strongly dislikes its "target," Paul! It wishes actively to see him harmed! Ancient uses of "phthonos" include "plotting against one's enemy!" Also "praying for his ruin!"

Paul's detractors here actually thought that by "preaching" a lot, perhaps stirring up the people, causing undue and extra turmoil, the Roman authorities would come down harder on Paul, sentencing him to a longer term or maybe even executing him!

Now that's hatred!

That's "phthonos" envy!

The noun "strife" is "eris," that is, "contention, wrangling, a party spirit, partisan behavior." This might even suggest a desire to cause a "split" among Paul's friends! "Sowing discord" among the brethren! "Separating chief friends!" Being "divisive" instead of promoting harmony!

"Sneaky," aren't they?

Subtle, under the guise of preaching, they have an ulterior motive! Destroying the Apostle Paul!

They might say things like these. Don't you all know the danger of hanging around with a prisoner, especially this "Paul?" Such will ruin your reputation, your testimony! You might end up in jail yourself! Let's choose another leader! Others are certainly more center-of-the-road too! And he's going away for a long time anyway!

They're apparently preaching the truth, but with the desire of hurting Paul and his ministry!

And Paul knows it!

"Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will."

But, thank God, some were also preaching Christ "of good will!" Trying to help Paul win the lost! "Eudokia" means "kind intentions!" Benevolence! A spirit of helpfulness!

They wanted to see Paul "successful" in reaching the Gentiles for Jesus! They're helping! They "like" Paul, no jealousy at all!

What a contrast!

Same activity, preaching Jesus, but different motives, starkly so!

One group wants to hinder Paul!

The other, to help him!

Get ready now!

What does Paul do?

Does he "attack" the bitter ones? They are dangerous to him, you know! Does he "name" names? Does he condemn them to doom?

No!

On the other hand, does he overly exalt his "freinds?" Nearly deifying them, flattering them, praising them to the extreme?

No again!

He just says this, not today's verse, but critically important. "What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice."

The Gospel is being preached?

Whatever the motives!

Maybe someone will be saved!

Paul viewed himself as "expendable" ... if the Gospel could advance!

What a magnanimous view of life!

What a high regard for the Message of the Cross!

What humility!

Paul, including all his writings, may be most Christ-like right here!

The Cause of Christ!

To this great Apostle, that must remain supreme!

                                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 5, VERSES 16-17:

It's important what we do for Jesus, but why we do it may be even more important!

Our motives!

And often only God knows those things!

We ourselves might be ignorant of them!

Our motives!

Listen to Hebrews 4:12, talking about motives! "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." This precious "Word of God" here can have a two-fold meaning. It could indicate the Living Word of God, the Lord Jesus. Or it might equally indicate the Written Word of God, the Bible.

However, in both Cases, the "dividing asunder" and "discerning" are the same! This implies Divine ability to see the "motives" behind our actions!

Again, not just what we do, but why we do it!

Paul, writing in Philippians 1:16-17, gives us a great example! Two groups of preachers involved in one great action, preaching the Word of God ... but doing so with at least two different motives behind it!

"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."

What does it mean to preach Christ in "contention?" Contending with Paul, obviously.

The noun is spelled "eritheia," meaning "selfish rivalry, egotistic ambition, political maneuvering, party spirit or partisan spirit, faction, placing one group up against another!"

Preaching God's Word to "spite" someone else!

To further "hurt" the Apostle Paul, his chances of getting an acquittal at trial!

To increase Paul's "affliction!"

To lift and promote their views, "everything by law,"  above Paul's Spirit-inspired views, "everything by grace!"

What a sad motive for preaching, a wrong motive!

Paul just said they preached "not sincerely!" Again: "The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds."

That is, "not with purity!"

Foul motives!

"Sincerely" equals "hagnos" in Greek, "chaste or clean!"

"Supposing" is "oiomai," a verb meaning "to think or mentally evaluate."

"To add" translates "epiphero," meaning "to bring upon, to inflict, to pronounce."

And "affliction" is "thlipsis," a bunch of "trouble or distress," from a verb that means "to press down hard" on someone! Pressure of various kinds! Squeezing them, metaphorically.

"Bonds" is that term for "chains" again. Paul is shackled to a guard, even as he writes!

Their preaching may have been, Paul hinted so, "straight" doctrinally! But their motives were absolutely ungodly!

Now here's the other set of motives some Preachers possessed. "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." I've capitalized the pertinent clause.

These preachers, the second group, proclaimed the Truth, "Jesus saves," partly because they loved Paul!  "Love" here is "agape." God's love!

Preaching out of hate!

Or, preaching out of love!

Can motives be any more different?

Basically, the same Message!

But, fundamentally so, different reasons for uplifting Jesus!

The word "defence" is "apologoia," speech in favor of a subject. A justification or explanation of the Truth of Jesus Christ!

One crowd hated Paul and preached, partly so anyway, to hinder the Apostle's well-being!

The others loved Paul and tried to carry on his great work, hoping to encourage the old man!

To which group do I belong?

And you?

I want to preach It right, the Word of God!

But I want to do so with a pure heart as well!

Motives, they're important!

                                                                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

lesson 6, verse 18:

Paul the Apostle was determined to make Christ and His Work foremost, preeminent, in every way.

Even if Paul himself suffered loss, Christ must be exalted!

From Paul's pen, invigorated by the Holy Spirit, flow these words: "What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice." Philippians 1:18

If Jesus is a man's central Focus, other doctrinal issues being "straight" as well, Paul can rejoice in that man's ministry!

Even if that man is not in Paul's "camp!"

"Notwithstanding" translates "plen" in Greek, meaning "moreover, besides, nevertheless, but rather." Paul is coming to a logical conclusion.

The phrase "every way" is "pas tropos," that is, "in all manner, in every fashion, by various methods."

Do keep in mind however, fundamental Bible Preaching is implied here!

"Pretence" is "prophasis," a false "light" placed on a matter! To use a "blinding" effect, perhaps! Fake! A false front! A "pretext," one lexicon says. A "pretended cause." Doing something "under cover," under a "cloke" twice in Scripture!

These men preached a good Message, but underneath it all was an intense hatred of Paul! And a strong desire to do him harm! Even kill him perhaps!

The noun "truth" is "aletheia," The word is blended from "a" ("not or no," a negative prohibitive) and "lanthano" (to be "hidden" or kept "secret").  Thus, real "truth" is that which cannot be forgotten! Cannot be lost! Cannot be mislaid! It can't be kept quiet for long, either! At least, by definition.

That's the way to preach the Word of God too! Openly! No secrets! No hidden sins! Transparently!

"Christ" or "Christos" is the "Anointed" One of God! The Messiah! Jesus, God the Son!

The verb "preached" is different here, no longer "kerusso," but now "kataggello," implying "to announce or proclaim as do the angels!" To report, to make known, to promulgate! It's even "teach" once in the New Testament. This may not be the deepest or most authoritative preaching known to man, but it at least conveys the Gospel!

Probably some types of preaching cannot be done "in pretence," no matter what! Exposition comes to mind. Holy Ghost empowered preaching too!

Paul will "rejoice" whenever Jesus is preached, even at his own, Paul's own, personal cost!

Paul has just said something like this. "If a man 'hates' me but 'loves' Jesus, still preaching a true Gospel Message, I will not fight him. I will take pleasure in any success God sends him! My love for Jesus far outweighs my distaste for the petty hatred vented my way. After all, Jesus must increase and I must decrease! To God be the Glory"

Wow!

"Rejoice" is spelled "chairo," just meaning "to be glad." In fact, the "chairo" stem, when expressed as a noun, several times means "God speed!" Now this is indeed blessing one's enemies!

"Do rejoice," that verb, is present tense.

"Will rejoice" is, obviously, future tense!

Paul plans no change in behaviour!

Nothing "they" do is going to make him stop rejoicing in the advancement of the Gospel!

Even of some of the pioneers are hateful and spiteful!

Don't misunderstand.

Attitudes are  important!

But they do not totally cancel the Message!

Give me a slightly "cranky" Preacher who tells the truth, really preaches the Word ... rather than one of these ultra "sweet, love-everybody-at-any-cost, compromising" effeminate "Ministers," who knows not the Scriptures!

Any day!

Maybe I've drifted too far from my Text. Here it is again. Let the Holy Spirit teach it to you. "What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice."

 Some things, simply stated, are more important than my feelings!

I will rejoice today in the victories of the Word of God!

Wherever they occur!

                                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 7, VERSE 19:

Paul's vocabulary was magnificent. When translated into English it is, at times anyway, absolutely beautiful!

Today's Verse provides an example.

"For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ." Philippians 1:19

The verb "know" is a form of "eido" in Greek, "seeing" or "perceiving" or "discerning" a certain thing. It implies revelation or illumination from the Lord! This is God-given assurance!

The pronoun "this" is apparently a reference to Paul's whole jail experience. What he has suffered! Including the manipulation and mockery.

Behind all Paul's circumstances here, an unseen Hand is controlling the day to day events! So he believes! "The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD." Proverbs 16:33 just reminded us that what the world often calls "chance" is really the work of God!

"God," says the temporarily incarcerated Paul, "will give me victory!"

This is a preview of his great Romans 8:28 philosophy! "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."

Or, later, Romans 8:37. "Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us."

Amen!

Paul's whole "mess" ... ultimately will lead to better things! For the saint of God, there are always "good things to come!" Hebrews 9:11, because of Jesus!

Today's Verse again: "For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ." Philippians 1:19

The verb, future tense, "shall turn" is "apobaino." It means "to step," really "to step away" from something. It blends "apo" and "basis." Generally speaking, "to develop into" a certain situation.

Again, Paul sees God's Wisdom in control!

Then "salvation" is "soteria," and here probably does not refer to his "soul" salvation, the moment he was born-again, but points to his coming "deliverance," either from prison or from the hounding persecutors who have lied so much about the good Apostle.

But yet Paul's hoped-for freedom will only result in his further preaching of God's precious Word!

Paul, released and free, able to continue what God has called him to do! That's Paul's goal! And historically speaking, that is exactly what happened! Or so most fundamental Bible teachers believe.

But Paul strongly believes that two things will help contribute to his ultimate victory over these strange "Philippians 1" hindrances, namely, "your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ."

The Philippians' prayers were important to Paul! Any Christian's prayers were! He constantly sought them! "Finally, brethren, pray for us." So he writes the Thessalonians, among many others. In Colossians 4:12 Paul gives us his "word picture" for such intercessory prayer, "labouring fervently for you in prayers," using a verb, a present participle, that pictures a wrestler agonizing in the ring, straining to win the victory over an opponent!

Their prayers, these new converts at Philippi, will help deliver Paul from jail! To go on yet another preaching tour! To win more souls! To establish more churches! To write more epistles!

Pray! Pray! Pray!

Pray for God's workers in their fields of service!

Powerful prayer!

Personally, I try to enlist an "army" of prayer supporters everywhere I go! Without them, life would be quite different I'm sure. "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." James 5:16, or woman.

But Paul trusts also ... "the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ." What a term! Unique here in Scripture, used only by Paul.

"Supply" derives from "epichoregia." Strangely so, "choregeo" is our word choreography! It means literally "to lead the choir!" More so, "to furnish everything a choir needs to perform a cantata!" Including books, robes, platform, meeting hall, musicians, everything!

Get the picture?

The Holy Spirit is "everything" we need! He absolutely provides for us a complete "panoply" of whatever-is-lacking!

This "Spirit," this "Pneuma," this "Breath" of Almighty God, is here exclusively called by Paul "the Spirit of Jesus Christ!" Usually called "the Spirit of God," nine times by Paul even, the Third Person of The Trinity here is linked particularly to Jesus the Christ!

The Jesus Who had, by some, just been preached in a spirit of jealousy and vindictiveness and ill-will!

But the Jesus Paul served, without sin, works in the Power and Presence of a "Holy" Spirit, devoid of petty selfishness of any kind!

Even if the Philippians don't pray for Paul, it seems, the Apostle is confident of ultimate victory! The Holy Spirit alone guarantees such a thing!

Today we've seen ... two "phases" of help for the down-beaten Christian!

Amazing!

One is more human, the prayers of fellow Christians. The other is divine, the unlimited resources of God the Holy Spirit!

Remember this verse! It will be needed later! "For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ." Philippians 1:19

Nobody can say more in fewer words than Paul!

Paul and the Holy Spirit!

                                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 8, VERSES 20-21:

It's one of the greatest things Paul ever said!

You will probably agree.

And it's part of Today's Bible Study Text.

"For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." Remember this? This is Paul to the core! His very life philosophy!

When combined with the preceding verse, we read: "According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." Philippians 1:20-21

Paul is in one of the worst situations of his whole life, so far. In jail, in chains, no freedom!

Yet Paul is believing God for the best outcome possible, release and freedom to continue preaching God's Word!

But Paul, according to today's verses has resigned himself to whatever end God has chosen!

"Thy Will be done!"

He thinks, "If I live, glory to God!"

And "If I die, glory to God as well!"

How can a man like that be defeated!

"According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." Philippians 1:20-21

The expression "earnest expectation" is "apokaradokia," a train-like group of joined words meaning "the highest opinion" available to a person. One's best judgment!

"Hope" is "elpis," a godly "anticipation," usually of something that brings delight and pleasure. It, in the Christian sense, contains a bit of "blessed assurance," too!  Christian hope is not a "cross-your-fingers" or "rabbit's foot" or "four-leaf clover" kind of thing! No "chance" is involved whatsoever, no so-called "luck!" It's confidence in the revealed Word of God!

"Ashamed" is "aischuno," meaning "to disgrace, to disfigure, to embarrass." It is passive voice here.

"Boldness" is a lovely word. "Parresia" means "to say," prefixed by "everything!" To say all that's on one's mind! Not to hold back anything because of fear or hesitancy!

It's been Paul's lifestyle, since being saved, to tell the truth! The whole truth! Boldly so! That's why he wrote "as always," literally, "at all whens!" That is, "at all times."

Then Paul's life goal, maybe even his life Verse! That ... "Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death."

Wow!

The verb "magnified" is "megaluno," meaning "to make great!" To make big! To enlarge!

Paul's "body," his "soma," is totally dedicated to Jesus!

This is the man who later writes: "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service."

Paul is going to leave this world, naturally or unnaturally, serving Jesus! Dying from old age or some other physical malady ... or slain in outright martyrdom, decapitation being most likely!

"Life" is "zoe" in Greek. See our word zoology here.

And "death" is "thanatos." Think of the the British poet's poem "Thanatopsis," all about death. It's not Christian at all, but uses the word properly anyway.

If Paul lives, Jesus be glorified!

If Paul dies, Jesus be glorified!

What matters is not Paul, but the Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God!

So says ... Paul!

And so say all real Believers in Jesus as well!

Here's how an Old Testament Prophet worded it, his testimony! "Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation." Habakkuk's last words!

Paul adds, "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."

Mercy!

How can you hurt a man like this?

If he lives and preaches ... it's Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!

If he dies ... it's promotion to Heaven!

This is worship!

This Text today reveals Paul's evaluation of Jesus!

Jesus' worth in Paul's life!

That's exactly what worship is, "worth-ship!"

I mean that's the history of the word!

When you do anything to show the Lord what He's really worth in your life, how precious He actually is ... then you have worshipped!

Worshipped indeed!

Excuse me, Paul one more time. "According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."

Praise the Lord!

                                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

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