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PHILIPPIANS 2:19-23

PAUL AND SPIRITUAL GROWTH!

TIMOTHY, PAUL'S "LIKEMINDED" HELPER!

AMD THE APOSTLE'S KEEN INTEREST IN THE SPIRITUAL WELFARE OF HIS CHURCH MEMBERS!

"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 ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath 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."

 

 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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LESSON 1, VERSE 19:

After I preached last night, on the way to the motel, I stopped by the store to purchase a couple of things for supper. Yes, I cook in the room, with so many places now providing microwaves and refrigerators.

While shopping I saw a man who attends the Church, which happens to be in Rome, Georgia. He shared part of an interesting testimony with me.

Let me get to the point. The Brother mentioned a passage of Scripture. I've had it on my mind, or heart, since our conversation.

Paul wrote these words to the Church at Philippi. "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 ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath 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." Philippians 2:19-23

The Church there, in what I'd call northern Greece, did not give Paul "trouble" like many of his other congregations did.

Certainly not like the Galatians.

Or even the Corinthians.

But still, the Apostle wanted, even needed, to know how his beloved Philippians were doing. Whether they were, or were not, growing in grace!

And since he, Paul, could not go visit the Church, he planned to send Timothy. "Necessity" was laid upon Paul, using his own words elsewhere, he just had to know the welfare of this congregation of saints!

Why couldn't Paul go?

He was in prison! Probably in Rome, when he wrote the Epistle or Letter to the Philippians.

If any preacher ever had an "Elisha" to accompany and help him in his later years, as did Old Testament "Elijah" ... Paul had such a person in younger Timothy!

No doubt!

It's just that Paul couldn't "spare" Timothy at that present moment. If we have figured rightly, Paul wrote four Epistles during that time of imprisonment.

Now this is all happening during his first Roman incarceration, not the second one, not that terrible "dungeon" experience!

I have no doubt that Timothy was a necessary member of the letter writing team! In fact, you could call Timothy a co-writer of Philippians I guess. "Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ." Paul just did, here in Philippians 1:1.

The point of this whole new series of Bible Studies is this, "How are you progressing spiritually?"

Maybe this too, "Are you growing in Christ?"

This was one of the most important issues on Paul's mind, ever. The spiritual welfare of his converts, wherever they may have lived.

Paul again, in the Text's first verse. "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." Philippians 2:19

Notice how Paul "trusts" the Lord Jesus, even in the small mundane decisions of life! The man won't even send a coworker on a journey without divine approval! Can God oversee all that, even the trivia of our lives?

Yes!

If He has counted the hairs of my head, He certainly cares about every other aspect of my being!

Everything I do!

You too!

So much so that Solomon wrote: "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." Proverbs 3:5-6

That verb Paul just used, "trust," is spelled "elpizo," meaning "to hope, to have full confidence" in someone! "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."

What would be the result of such a trip, of Paul obtaining such information?

That he might be "of good comfort!"

What's that?

Paul can't really rest until he knows the Philippians are thriving spiritually! That they are virtually problem-free as a Church!

Wow!

"Be of good comfort" translates "eupsucheo." The verb means "to be of good soul," literally! To be at ease! To be at peace! To be relieved of tension!

Where are Pastors like this today?

Who care for our well-being more than they care about their salaries?

Who care about our fellowship with God more than about their own itineraries?

Now remember, I have pastored churches for over forty years, so I am preaching to myself first!

Paul is seemingly "addicted" to the spiritual growth of the Philippians! And that's a strong word! Remember the family of a certain "Stephanus" now. Here's the 1st Corinthians 16:15 description of those folks, "Ye know the house of Stephanas, who are the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints." Wow!

Paul's that way, too!

Look at this list, of Paul's sufferings. Then notice what he added last! "I am in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches." 2nd Corinthians 11:23-28, the "churches" were a daily concern to Paul!

If the Philippians are all right, Paul is "of good comfort!"

"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." Philippians 2:19

Is our spiritual "state" that important?

Yes!

So I ask each of you our dear readers this morning, "Are you growing in Christ?"

Does any sin, small or large, have you bound and choked in your Christian life?

Are your prayers being answered?

Are you studying God's Word?

Like Paul admonished the Corinthians once, "Examine yourselves!"

Yes, we should!

"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." Philippians 2:19

If today were spiritual "report card" day, what would our overall status be?

Failing?

Average?

Above average?

Or maybe, dare we hope, doing well?

I use those words because of what Jesus said in His Matthew 21:25 parable, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."

What a question!

An important question, too!

                                                                        --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 2, VERSE 20:

Twice in two verses, tandem verses at that, Paul uses the same term. I'll capitalize and underline that phrase now. "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." Philippians 2:19-20

Paul longs to know the "state" in which the Philippians are living. Their "status." Their "manner of life," spiritually of course.

The Greek noun used here, "your state," is "peri." When the possessive pronoun is added, "your state," then the text reads "peri humon." It's a plural pronoun, too.

Furthermore, "peri," one's "state," literally means "the things around you!" Truth be told, "peri" really is a preposition, not a noun! It has here been converted into a "substantive," a "noun," for Paul's particular purposes in this specific verse.

The Apostle has used this technique previously. Back in Philippians 1:27, for example. There "peri" is translated "affairs." Watch. "Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel." Paul is just the kind of preacher who must know how his "flock" is doing!

"Peri" comes from a verb, naturally. And "peiro" means "to pierce" something! "To go all the way through" it! Absolutely from one end to the other!

When Paul seeks to determine the "state" of the Philippians, he wants to carefully discern the quality of their faith, of their lives, through and through!

Are they growing in the Lord?

Have they stalled?

Are they sliding backward?

What is their "state?"

And Paul craves this information so much, so badly, that he's willing to give up his most trusted companion, Timothy, to find out the Philippians' true spiritual "condition!"

Again our Text, the part we are studying now. "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." Philippians 2:19-20

Well actually, Paul wants to know a bit more than just how they are doing! He wants to be assured they are going forward, progressing, advancing in their walk with God!

As a Church!

As a Group!

As a Body of Believers!

And younger Timothy is the man to send! Why, his very name means "honoring God," at least according to the software package in my laptop.

If one really honors God, guess what? He will also honor God's people! "And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also." 1st John 4:21, where loving the Creator involves loving His creatures too!

Our text again, this time abbreviated. "But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I may  know your state. For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state."

The adjective "likeminded" is critical here. It's the little word "isopsuchos!" The prefix "isos" in Greek means "equal." And the noun "psuche" means one's "soul."

Timothy is "equal" in "soul," compatible in spirit, a holder of the same convictions and feelings and goals ... as Paul himself!

Likeminded!

Here's proof that a teacher has a dramatic impact on his or her student!

Proverbs 13:20 expresses the same truth, but this way. "He that walketh with wise men shall be wise."

When men spent vast amounts of time with Jesus, also, our Lord influenced and impacted them! Big time! "Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus." Yes!

Hosea 4:9 expressed it this way, "And there shall be, like people, like priest." Wow!

Paul loves people, God's people!

So does Timothy!

Paul wants to see the Philippians growing in Christ!

So does Timothy!

Paul will go to any length to see this happen!

Apparently, so will Timothy!

Even to the point of traveling from Rome to northern Greece, to Macedonia, to the city of Philippi! A very dangerous journey in those days!

Well, what about us preachers?

Do we love God's people? To this extent?

Paul once preached these words. "As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith." Do good to everybody, but if you must make a choice, do good to the saints of God first! The Scripture I just referenced is Galatians 6:10.

Preachers, do we also want to see the children of God grow in grace?

And to what extend will be give ourselves to see this occur?

How great a priority is the saints' welfare, their spiritual state, to you and me?

Enter Solomon now. One of his Proverbs anyway. "Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds." Wow, Proverbs 2:23. There's that word again, "state!"

Except in the Old Testament of course it is not "peri," that's a Greek word. It is instead "paniym," literally, one's "face!"

Philippians: know the "surroundings" of each Christian's life! That's "peri," if you remember.

Proverbs: know the "faces" of each God child of God! And that's "paniym" once again!

So I ask each of us today?

How are you doing in your Christian life?

What surrounds you this morning, as a Christian?

What does your face reveal about your Christian walk?

Are we progressing in our faith?

Or digressing?

"Timothy, at any cost, sail over to Philippi. See how they are doing, the saints there, the Church! For I, the Apostle Paul, just must know their state!"

So the imprisoned Paul willingly gives up his helper, his personal assistant, young Timothy, for who knows how long, so the Philippians can continue growing in Christ Jesus their Lord!

Now that's a Pastor, for you!

Do I even care that much about my own spiritual welfare?

Do you about yours?

Spiritual growth, it must be far more important than we ever thought!

Tell us again Paul. "But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I may  know your state. For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state."

And thank you, Lord, for placing other likeminded Pastors in this old world! Back in Jeremiah 3:15 God promised His people this blessing. "And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding."

Wow!

And, in a real way, that's the purpose for which this Bible Study Website exists. The growth of our readers, you folks, your spiritual growth in Christ!

God grant it, I pray.

                                                                    --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 3, ONE MORE VERB IN VERSE 20, AN IMPORTANT ONE:

Yesterday I omitted one word from Philippians 2:20, but an important word! Too significant to forget!

Paul is writing to his beloved Philippians. I think they were the sweetest of all Paul's converts. They were always good to him, as well.

He, while under Roman "house arrest," became concerned about the Church's welfare, about their "state." Paul always had a keen interest in the spiritual growth of every Christian he knew!

Paul had decided to send a young preacher to check on the Philippians, no doubt to bring the Apostle an eye-witness report of their progress in the Christian life.

That preacher, Timothy.

Paul tells the Philippians, "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."

Then he adds, yesterday's verse now, "For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state." Wow, Philippians 2:20.

The word that's so powerful here is "care," the verb.

Timothy will "care" for the Philippians.

Like Paul, or nearly like Paul, "cared" for them!

The Greek verb is "merimnao," which is astounding!

Let me give you the word picture behind this little gem.

"Meros," its ultimate root, means a "part" of something, a "piece" of it.

Then "merizo" means "to pull something apart!" To tug and tug until it comes into pieces!

Then there's "merimna," a noun that is usually defined as  "worry, fretfulness, anxiety!" It actually means "anything that pulls your heart to pieces!" That which so "disturbs" your thoughts and plans that you are "torn in many different directions!"

Wow!

So when Timothy is said to be a "caring" pastor, in our world today he is being described as a preacher who will so love his people that he "worries" about them a lot! Their welfare is always on his mind, pulling his thoughts and prayers in many different ways!

That's some kind of care, now!

Paul, being in jail, cannot himself go to Philippi. Yet he is "bothered" about their spiritual condition, how they are "doing" in the Lord.

So, nobody else but Timothy can go!

He alone "feels" like Paul, "cares" like Paul, for these precious Christians in northern Greece, in the city of Philippi.

"For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state."

If you, and few do any more, if you have a preacher that "cares" or "oversees" or "watches" you like this, thank the dear Lord!

That's how a true shepherd acts toward his sheep.

He worries about them constantly!

Paul labeled this kind of "care" for the Churches as one of the "burdens" of the Christian life, of his ministry!

Look!

"Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches." 2nd Corinthians 11:24-28

See, caring for the Churches is listed right along with shipwrecks and beatings and all the rest!

Apparently it's work, this "caring" for other's spiritual growth!

And that noun "care" is, of course, "merimna."

Timothy will exercise that kind of "care" for the Philippians, when he arrives in town!

One more word, an adverb, I'll underline it. "For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state." Philippians 2:20

Timothy, like Paul, will not have to "manufacture" this kind of concern!

It's in him, naturally!

The word, "gnesios," rendered "naturally," means "genuinely." It's from a word that means "legitimately born."

We would have said that Timothy was a "natural born" Pastor, one who "nurtures" his people out of real concern! No doubt that "gift," that level of "caring" for God's people was bestowed on young Timothy when he was born-again, saved! It just had to be tended and developed and matured. And Paul took care of that!

Wow!

What a combination!

What a team!

Paul and Timothy!

No wonder the Philippians did so well in their Christian lives!

And, truth be told, many of you are doing well also ... because God has placed a dear Pastor in your life, one who "naturally cares" for you state!

Praise the Lord!

Maybe I had better say, Thank the Lord!

Amen.

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 4, VERSE 21:

Today Paul makes a truly amazing statement, even for him.

Still in the context of how well Timothy will "care" for the Philippians, for their spiritual well-being, Paul adds: "For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's." Philippians 2:21.

Timothy is different, obviously.

But most others are, frankly, selfish!

That's what Paul means. "For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's."

And you know what?

He's not talking about politicians here, or chariot drivers or tentmakers, he's still talking about preachers!

"For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's."

Shame on us preachers!

The verb "seek" is "zeteo," to actively "search or strive or demand" things! And the "tense" it uses suggests durative action, they are never satisfied! Always trying to "pad their own pockets!" Always "looking out for number one!"

That kind of thing.

Wow!

Instead, we should be seeking "the things which are Jesus Christ's."

How are His people faring today, the Lord's people?

Not how did my portfolio perform last week?

How much of His Word have I studied today?

Not, "Hand me that novel, please!"

Who today in the Body of Christ is hurting? How can I minister to them?

Instead of "My back aches a little bit. I'll stay home today. They can just take care of themselves!"

"For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's."

Contrast this philosophy with Paul in Romans 9 and 10. "Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: who are Israelites ...." Paul is willing to be "accursed," to die and even go to hell, if the Israelites could be saved and prosper spiritually!

Double Wow!

And listen to Jesus, talking about us preachers and our caring for the people of God. "The good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep." John 10:11-13

Again, Paul talking about Timothy. "For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state."

On the other hand, Demas was a different kind of helper. "For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica." 2nd Timothy 4:10

A hireling!

Loving the flesh more than loving God!

Some, still preachers I think, nearly worship themselves! "Whose God is their own belly," said Paul.

If this accusation was true in Paul's day, two thousand years ago, think how much more so it is accurate now!

"For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's."

Lord, help us!

Here's Paul while pastoring in Ephesus. This is his theological lifestyle! "I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house. Remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears." Acts 20:31

Yes, Paul cared!

Timothy did too!

Do we?

                                                                   --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

Apparently ...

Spiritual Growth is that critically important in the eyes of God! Listen to Paul one more time. Then I'll stop for today. I promise. "My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you." Like an expecting Mother, just going into labor, in severe pain, Paul travails for the Galatians to be more and more like Jesus!

Let me say it one more time today, Wow!

That was Galatians 4:19, the "travail" verse I just used. 

 

 

LESSON 5, VERSE 22:

It seems like the verses in our current series have each contained one critical word, fundamental to the understanding of the whole point Paul was trying to emphasize.

Verse 21 is no exception.

Paul is talking to the Philippians, about his "son" in the faith Timothy. The Apostle really gives the young man an amazing complement.

"But ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel." Philippians 2:21

The phrase beginning with the little word "as" is a figure of speech called a simile, at least in English it is. "As a son" likens Timothy, whose real Dad according to the flesh was a Greek, to one of Paul's own children!

Of course, as far as I know, Paul had no literal, earthly children.

Still, spiritually speaking, "in the Lord," Timothy is that close to Paul.

Furthermore the noun used for "son" here is "teknon," from a root verb meaning "to help, to assist," even at times "to punish!" The idea is that a child, when grown, will help, assist and protect (punishing the enemies) of a parent!

That's amazing!

I also heard a Greek teacher once say that "teknon" had the nuance of meaning, the shade of meaning, that suggested "a son who is becoming like his father!"

If so, wow!

What a tribute Paul just bestowed upon Timothy! "As a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel."

That's closeness!

That's harmony!

That's real unity!

The verb "hath served" is interesting too, "douleuo." It actually means "to be a slave" to someone! Yes, the noun supporting it is "doulos," behind which is "deo." And "deo" means "to tie or bind with a chain or rope!" Again, like a slave!

Timothy so "served" Paul, not by just helping him preach the Word but assisting in everything else too! Like Elisha did the older Elijah, I suspect. "But Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the Lord, that we may enquire of the Lord by him? And one of the king of Israel's servants answered and said, Here is Elisha the son of Shaphat, which poured water on the hands of Elijah." 2nd Kings 3:11, where Elisha even helped bathed Elijah, taking care of such menial needs! That's servanthood, for sure.

And just remember that the word "gospel" means "good news." It's spelled "euaggelion," a blend of the prefix "eu" and "aggelos." Literally, "good" plus "angel" or "messenger." A pleasant word is the gospel! "Good news from a far country!" Proverbs 25:25

But with everything I've said so far, we've still not reached that "critical" word! Here it is now, "But ye know the proof of him," that is of Timothy. No matter what Paul says about Timothy, the Philippians themselves know the young preacher too. He's apparently been in Philippi on more than one occasion.

Words can at times be cheap. But with Timothy, his life authenticated what Paul just said. That "as a son" he had served Paul, and the Lord, quite well!

And there's "proof" of such.

"But ye know the proof of him."

First the verb "know," spelled "ginosko." It means "to learn" something, usually with effort on the student's part. It's first-hand information. It can be "eye-witness" data.

The Philippian Christians have seen Timothy in action. Caring for Paul. Preaching God's Word, too. Doing anything asked of him! And on top of all that, remaining loyal to the aging Man of God!

Yes, "Ye know the proof of him."

Now to the noun, "proof," which is in Greek "dokime." It means "anything that has been analyzed, scrutinized, carefully studied in order to determine if it's genuine!"

The word is particularly found in contexts such as "coin making," where counterfeit items can so easily appear. The Greeks and Romans both had developed certain "tests" to determine of the item was real, or fake!

Timothy had been so tested, and was real!

Genuine!

How would we say it? Maybe "Tried but true!"

The "proof" of Timothy was evident!

Once Paul used this same idea, though with a different noun. When asking the Corinthians to make up an offering, cash money, for the needy saints in Jerusalem, Paul called such giving "the proof of their love!"

That's a fact. When a man's money is involved in a project, or a lady's money, be sure that his or her "heart" is there too!

The "proof" the Corinthians were "genuine," says Paul, was their showing the "money" rather than mere "words!" The background for this illustration is 2nd Corinthians 8:24, if you're wondering.

"Proof!"

Timothy brings with him "proof" of his faith!

"But ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel." Philippians 2:21

Now I must hurry.

Is there "proof" that Brother Bagwell is genuine?

Is there "proof" that you are?

Have we been tested by the circumstances of life, and found to be genuine!

Job, that great patriarch, was!

Paul too, again and again!

And according to Scripture, we all will be!

Some pass.

Some fail.

God knows who are real!

Even at the future Judgment Seat of Christ, this dichotomy prevails. Some do well, others do not.

"Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble. Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward." 1st Corinthians 3:12-14

The "wood, hay, stubble" folks failed the test!

The "gold, silver, precious stone" folks passed!

How are we doing?

Do our lives offer proof that our faith is strong?

Wow!

                                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 6, VERSE 23:

We are nearing the end of our Text, Philippians 2:19-23. Yet here something personal emerges that we just must notice.

Paul writes the Philippians, intending to send Timothy there as soon as possible. "Him therefore I hope to send presently, so soon as I shall see how it will go with me." Philippians 2:23

Paul, as you will remember, is in jail. He's not a criminal of course, but is incarcerated "for the Gospel's sake," for preaching the Word of God.

The verb "to send" used above "hints" at least at the idea of authority. "Pempo" is not the most powerful verb available to Paul, but it nonetheless shows that Paul is "in charge" of his team. The verb "hope" is "elpizo," and has the idea of "confidence" more than just blind anticipation. Also the adverb "presently" is significant, usually being defined as "instantly." But grammatically it is "exautes," precisely "out of oneself!" Paul loves these Christians so much that he is willing to send "part of himself" to Philippi, his very own son in the faith, Timothy! That's personal, for sure!

But one thing may intervene. "So soon as I shall see how it will go with me." Paul hopes to soon be released from prison himself! He told Philemon that the prayers of God's people would soon lead to the Apostle's release, "But withal prepare me also a lodging: for I trust that through your prayers I shall be given unto you."

The verb "shall see" is "apeido," an unusual term indeed. I can only find it one other place in the Bible, Hebrews 12:2. It literally means "looking away from one thing then looking toward something else." It's not future tense either, despite its appearance. It is subjunctive. Paul hopes to know something soon, about his legal case apparently. 

Then our King James translators take the expression "peri ego" and let it say "how it will go with me." That which is "around" me, matters of importance "surrounding" Paul's situation.

Paul just can't spare Timothy until he knows his own immediate future. This is wisdom in action. Once King David's people, in a time of war, told him, "But now thou art worth ten thousand of us." That being true, Paul would have been worth fifty thousand of us, I guess!

But I think there's a second reason Paul is waiting a bit to dispatch Timothy to Philippi. I now venture one verse further, just outside the realm of our Text proper. "But I trust in the Lord that I also myself shall come shortly." In Philippians 2:24 here it's obvious! Paul wants to come too! With Timothy, to Philippi!

Of all the Churches, Paul was perhaps most fond of these brethren! And looks to me like they did more for him than any other group, too!

And going back to the verb "send," earlier in today's lesson, "pempo" often suggests accompaniment, or at least it may do so.

Paul and Timothy, as a team, that would be a powerful addition or boost to any Church's spiritual wellbeing!

Maybe our Text this week has been too technical. But it does show how Paul was immensely concerned about the spiritual growth of his congregations.

Let's read it all now. See if things are "falling into place" any better. "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 ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath 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." I've included that last verse too, Philippians 2:19-24. It's all very touching!

Some personal business, from the life of Paul. Like a page right out of his travelogue! Or his journal!

Except it's divinely inspired!

Do I care that much about the spiritual progress of others? Only Brother Bagwell can answer that, I reckon. Him and the Lord.

I also want to ask this. Do you care about the spiritual welfare of your loved ones or your Sunday School Class or your acquaintances?

None of us measures up to Paul's example here.

But we sure can try!

I'll close today with this verse, a command to us all. "And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works." Hebrews 10:24, helping each other grow in Christ!

Yes, Lord.

                                                                       --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 7, CONCLUSION:

Paul ends the paragraph we've been studying with these words: "But I trust in the Lord that I also myself shall come shortly." Philippians 2:24

The strange thing about this verse is that Paul was in prison when he wrote it. Yet he plans, soon apparently, to visit the Philippian Church! Early in the Book, and quite often too, Paul mentions his incarceration.

For example in Philippians 1:7, that early, he talks about "his bonds," meaning "his chains!" Again in 1:13, "My bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places." Paul the prisoner has been witnessing!

But Brother Bagwell, we thought Paul died in jail. I mean died a martyr's death while imprisoned, likely at the hand of Nero the cruel, inhumane Roman Emperor.

That's right, best we know.

This is the same Paul who wrote from jail, obviously facing death: "For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." 2nd Timothy 4:6-8

Confusing?

Paul in jail in Rome, thinking he will be released soon, Philippians 2:24.

Paul in jail in Rome, thinking he will soon die, 2nd Timothy 4:6.

How are these two facts to be resolved?

We're pretty sure Paul was in prison in Rome twice!

The first time, this "Philippians 2" time, he was held by the Roman authorities, but Luke described it this way. "And when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard: but Paul was suffered to dwell by himself with a soldier that kept him. And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him." Acts 28:16 then 30-31, a soldier guarding Paul but he's allowed to preach, in his own lodging place, obviously an example of what might be called "house arrest."

But the second time, the "2nd Timothy 4" time, Paul is not under house arrest. He's being held apparently in a dungeon! Based on what he wrote Timothy, the last few lines he ever penned, he was in a cold place, a lonely place and a secluded place! He needed his coat, his books and a friend! From here, soon, Paul was led away to be executed. The time of his departure was at hand!

We believe things happened this way because there needs to be a slot of time between these two Roman jail sentences, time to write Books like Titus and First and Second Timothy, for example.

Paul has yet more traveling and preaching to do! And God allows him to do so. Remember what the Psalmist wrote to the Lord, "My times are in thy hand." So was Paul's! So is ours. Psalm 31:15 is completely right.

Therefore when Paul wrote the words of Philippians 4:24, he was pretty sure the end of this "under arrest" period was coming. His trial or court hearing, whatever, was perhaps already scheduled. And Paul knew he had done no wrong, not according to Roman law. Only "petty" charges had brought against the great preacher. By people who hated the Gospel of Grace!

To the Church at Philippi, "But I trust in the Lord that I also myself shall come shortly." Philippians 2:24

But if for some reason Paul still is not released, Timothy will be "on the way" quite soon! On the way to see the Philippians!

He will preach to them, oversee them, and eventually report back to Paul the spiritual condition of these beloved converts.

That's how verse 24 fits into the overall picture.

Now let's see if we can go back and "piece" it all together. Read it all, the whole paragraph, please. "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 ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath 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."

A glimpse into Paul's heart!

And there, if we read carefully, is a message, a longing, a very strong desire! It is this: spiritual growth!

Paul wants every saved person on earth to be advancing in his or her faith! That's his passion! His heart-throb! His reason for living!

And, particularly of the Philippians, he is sure it's going to happen! They will grow into maturity! Listen to Paul declare: "Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." Wow, Philippians 1:6.

If the Holy Spirit is in you, you will be growing in the Lord! That is, unless you have grieved Him or quenched Him along the way.

If you've done that, repent. Confess and forsake your wrongdoings. Then get back to loving the Lord!

And growing in Grace!

This same theme, growing in Christ, was so important to  Peter that he wrote his last words like this: "But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen." 2nd Peter 3:18, growth!

This is Sunday.

Let's all go to Church.

Listen to God's Word as it is expounded!

And grow in our faith!

                                                                       --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

SPIRITUAL GROWTH!

 

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