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Philippians:

Earthly Conduct of Heavenly Citizens

by

Dwight Edwards

Chapter 1:1-30

1:1 "Paul and Timothy, servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:"

As usual, Paul introduces himself and addresses the recipients of his letter. Though Paul alone wrote this let- ter, he says it comes from Paul and Timothy. The reason may be that since he was going to send Timothy to them (2:19), he wanted to elevate Timothy in authority. Beginning the letter by naming Timothy as virtually his right hand man would set the stage for Timothy's gaining of their respect.

This letter is addressed to all the saints, not just a chosen few. Thus, this epistle is relevant to every believer for instruction and application.

Why does he address them as "saints in Christ Jesus''? It seems somewhat redundant to address them this way, since a saint is someone in Christ Jesus. Perhaps Paul is wanting to stress unity by using this dative of sphere.

Perhaps most significant from all this is the fact that we as saints live in two spheres at the same time: "in Christ," "in Philippi." It is important to note the order Paul gives here: first in Christ, second in the world. Too many times as Christians we reverse the order. Our position in Christ should drastically affect how we live in our city.

If we focus only on being "in Christ" then it will be easy to fall into a monastic, self-absorbed approach to spirituality. five may become "salt" and "light," but it will be of little value since we will be divorced and separated from those who desperately need to see the supernatural. Christ was a "friend of sinners."

If we only concentrate on being "in Philippi" (i.e., the world) then we may easily become absorbed into our culture and be salt that has lost its savor. We will become a thermometer rather than a thermostat--one who merely re- flects the conditions around us rather than altering them.

The truly "dangerous" Christian is one who takes care to concentrate on both, somewhat like Moses; meeting with God on the mountaintop and then transporting His glory to the people below and impacting his culture. Ex.

34:29-35.

Paul concludes this verse "with the elders and deacons." This clearly shows that there was a distinction be- tween elders and deacons in the early church. It also shows a plurality of elders in the church, for as far as we know there was only one church in Philippi.

This is a very unique way of addressing this church. No other letter is addressed in the same manner.

This book is being written to the saints, elders, and deacons in Philippi. Not one person is exempt from the contents of this book. Much of the book speaks about selflessness and servanthood. Thus it could be that Paul wants to make it crystal clear that the leaders of the church must also obey what he says. This is especially important since any church's leadership greatly determines the spirituality of that church. Hence the "elders and deacons" must be servants as "all the saints."

Also it is interesting to note that the "pastor, preacher, minister, etc." of the church is not mentioned. This is because the only head of the local church is Christ (Col. 1:18) and the pastor(s) are only "undershepherds" (I Pet. 5:1-5). The New Testament gives no support for one man running a church, it is always to be a plurality of qualified leadership. See I Tim 5:17, Titus 1:5, I Pet 5:1-4, Acts 20:17, etc. This insures a necessary system of checks and bal- ances and also keeps any one person from receiving the glory which belongs to Christ alone.

1:2. "Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."

Paul gives a standard greeting here. We see that grace and peace in the believer's life must come from God and Christ. God is addressed here as our Father and Christ is our Lord. This is an important balance to keep in perspec- tive. We are thoroughly secure in the father --> son relationship we have with God, for we are eternally ACCEPTED

in the Beloved. Eph. 1:6. Nothing, but nothing can separate us from the love of God. It must also be remembered how- ever, that Christ is our Lord. We have been bought with a price and our bodies are no longer our own. We now are the property of Jesus Christ and are subject to His desires for our life. Therefore we are ACCOUNTABLE as well as AC- CEPTED.

Churches out of balance usually have one of these truths missing. The legalistic church is settled into a mas- ter --> slave relationship only. The libertine church is settled into a father (overly indulgent) --> son relationship. The balanced church sees both sides of the coin.

1:3. "I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,"

Paul begins his prologue with "I continually give thanks to my

God. . . .

" The word translated "I give

thanks," (eucharisto) is present tense and each use in the N.T. is directed towards God. Paul's life was permeated with a spirit of thanksgiving, regardless of circumstances, and we are enjoined to live accordingly. I Thess. 5:18.

He describes the reason for his thanksgiving as "upon every remembrance of you" or "as often as I make mention of you." BAG lists both of these as possible translations. It is clear that these believers brought a deep sense of rejoicing to Paul's heart whenever he thought of them. What is it that stirs our heart to rejoicing? Is it our posses- sions, our accomplishments, our pleasures; or is it the person of God, the people of God, and the program of God? III Jn. 3,4.

1:4. "always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy,"

Paul continues his accolade of praise to God and describes the occasion of his thanksgiving. This verse gives us a look into Paul's tremendous heart for prayer. (1) He prayed FREQUENTLY--"always (pantote) at all times." I Thess. 5:17; Eph. 6:18; Is. 62:6,7. (2) He prayed SPECIFICALLY--"making request (deesin--the word for "a specific petition arising from a need," Rienecker) Eph. 6: 18,19. (3) He prayed SELFLESSLY--"for you all" (lit.--"on behalf of all of you") I Tim. 2:1,2; Mtt. 6:9,10.

(4) He prayed JOYOUSLY--"with joy" Acts 16:25, Is. 56:7. For Paul, prayer was the matrix of his ministry, the womb from which all spiritual ministry came forth.

1:5. "for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now,"

Paul now gives the REASON for his thanksgiving to God (1:3a). The gospel (evangelion--"good news, won- derful announcement," etc.) could refer either to the basic message necessary for regeneration (I Cor. 15:1-4) or to the entire body of Christian doctrine (Rom. 16:25). Probably it has reference to both here.

The word for "fellowship" (koinonia) basically has the meaning of "partnership" and was often used to de- scribe business partners, husband and wife, etc. In what sense then were the Philippians "partners" with him in the ad- vance of the gospel? No doubt they were partners with him in the obedience and proclamation of the gospel. But in view of the circumstances behind this letter. we ought to carefully consider the use of koinonia as found in Heb. 13:16, Rom. 15:16, II Cor. 8:4, and 9:13. In these places it refers to sharing or giving of money or goods. Thus it could well be that Paul has in mind particularly their monetary partnership with him in the spreading of the gospel. This is strengthened greatly by 4:15 which uses the same key words: evangelion (gospel) and koinonia (sharing, fellowship).

One of the major purposes for this letter is to thank; them for their financial help (4:14-17) and so this would fit in well with the context of the book.

The idea of monetary partnership with those proclaiming the gospel is very vivid in the N.T. We can win friends for eternity by properly investing "unrighteous mammon." (Lk. 16:9) Also 4:14-19 will further emphasize this great truth; also III John 6-8.

Note also the consistency of their giving, "from the first day until now." Theirs was not an occasional offering given at a moment of crisis (as is so often the case today), but a steady supply of ammunition to those battling the kingdom of darkness in other locations.

The essential thing to see from this passage is Paul's perspective on laboring together for the same cause (i.e., the gospel). The Philippians were SENDERS, Paul and his companions were GOERS. One was the arrow, the other was the bow. Neither was more important than the other for they were INTERDEPENDENT. When William Carey went to India he told his friends, "I will go down but you must hold the rope." Who are we helping "hold the rope"

for, through prayer and financial support? We can only do so much, but most of us could probably be holding more ropes than we are.

1:6. "being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;"

Paul continues his flow of thought by describing his confidence in God's continuance of their good work until the day of Christ. Having expressed his thanks for their financial support "from the first day until (achri) now," he now expresses his conviction that this good work will continue to bear fruit until (achris) Christ's return (4:17).

The other possibility in interpreting this passage is that God will continue the sanctification of these believers until Christ returns. Gal. 3:3 is an excellent support for this option in that it uses two key words in this verse: "begin" (enarchomai) and "complete" or "perfect" (epiteleo).

The verse could easily be translated, "being confident of this same thing, that the One having begun a good work by (en) you will continue it until the day of Jesus Christ." Thus the same God who inspired them to give to him will multiply the value or fruit (4:17) of their gift until the day Christ returns! There is much to commend this view:

(1) The occasion of the letter. (2) The similar idea found in 4:15-18, especially 4:17--"the fruit which is abounding (pres. ptcp.) to your ac-

count."

(3) The use of the same words in II Cor. 8, 9, another important passage concerning financial giving. a. "COMPLETE" (EPITELEO)--II Cor. 8:6,11b. "FELLOWSHIP" (KOINONIA)--II Cor. 8:4c. "WORK" (ERGON)--II Cor. 9:8

This is a tremendous promise which should stimulate us to greater giving. Our support of a missionary may well begin a spiritual avalanche as one impacted life touches and sets off another and that one another, and another, etc. Who can possibly calculate the minions of lives the Philippians have impacted over the centuries as God has kept their deposit "earning interest" through this letter! It is God's work from beginning to end; He is simply looking for channels to begin the initial work through! II Tim. 1:12, Phil. 4:17, Is. 60:22, Jn. 6:9-13.

1:7. "just as it is right for me to thinly this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace."

This verse probably ought to be taken back to 1:3,4 rather than a continuation of vs. 6. His thanksgiving to-

wards God for them (3) and his joy in praying for them (4) is well justified ("just as it is right "

sons why "it is right for me to think this of you

all. . . .

. . .

"). He gives two rea-

(1) The place they held in his heart. In light of the tremendous opposition Paul faced, the faithful support of these believers was a tremendous source of joy and encouragement (4:1).

(2) The partnership they shared with him in advancing the gospel. They were faithful friends at all times, whether he was in prison ("in my chains") or out ("in the defense and confirmation of the gospel"). Regardless of Paul's state, they were all "partakers" (co-partners) of the grace. "Grace prompted them to alleviate his imprisonment, to cooperate with him in defending and propagating the gospel, and to suffer for its sake." VINCENT

1:8. "For God is my witness, hour greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ."

Paul continues to amplify on the place they held in his heart. "For" (gar) probably should be related back to "

heart. . . .

7a, "just as it is right to think (or "feel," phroneo) this of you all because I have you in my

Only God could know the depth of affection which Paul had for these believers, so he writes, "

. . .

God is

my witness." The word for "greatly long" (epipotheo) is a very strong word for desire, used of a baby longing for its mother's milk (I Pet. 2:2) and of a thirsty deer for water (Ps. 42:1). Not only do we see the INTENSITY of Paul's love

but also the EXTENT of it--"for you all." How could Paul love that deeply and widely? The answer is given in the rest of the verse, "with (or 'in') the affection (lit. 'compassion,' splanchnon) of Jesus Christ." This love was not generated from Paul, but from Christ Himself. The word for "affection" or "compassion' is often used of Christ (Mtt. 9:36, Mk. 1:41 ) and is a word which speaks of being deeply moved internally. J.B. LlGHTFOOT writes, "The believer has no yearnings apart from his Lord; his pulse beats with the heart of Christ."

Two very critical ingredients are revealed in these verses for developing deep and heartfelt love for other be-

lievers:

(1) CONSISTENT AND INTENSE PRAYER FOR THEM (1:3,4)

(2) DESPERATE DEPENDENCE UPON THE POWER OF CHRIST (1:8)

1:9. "And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment."

Paul now launches into the GOAL of his longing and affection for them (vs. 8)--THEIR SPIRITUAL MA- TURITY (9-l l ).

He prays first of all for two primary features of their love.

(1) ITS ABUNDANCE--"

. . .

that your love may abound still more and more

"

. . .

The word for "abound" (perisseuo) means to "have in abundance" or "overflow." These believers had al- ready demonstrated love in abundance, but Paul prays that it will overflow even more. (I Thess. 4:12) God desires that genuine love (agape) be the badge of our discipleship (Jn. 13:34,35) and that it only increases as time goes on.

(2) ITS DISCERNMENT--"

. . .

in knowledge and all discernment

"

. . .

Love that is blind and undiscerning is not real love. God desires that our love be not only RICHLY ABUN- DANT but also WELL-DIRECI ED.

KNOWLEDGE (epignosis) may be described as " a firm conception of those spiritual principles which would guide the no in their relations with one another and the world." (LKGNT)

DISCERNMENT (aisthesis) is "insight, experience, denoting moral understanding." (BAG) It is closely re- lated to the word translated "senses" in Heb. 5:14.

Probably the difference between these two words is that "knowledge" speaks of clear perception in a broad, general sense; while "discernment" emphasizes the particular, practical applications of this knowledge. "knowledge" is the general regulator and guide. "Discernment" applies "knowledge" to the finer details of the individual life, and ful- fills itself in the various phases of Christian tact." VINCENT

There is a very significant balance to be noted in this verse--LOVE and TRUTH. This balance is noted in

many places, particularly Eph. 4:15--" but, speaking the truth in

love. . . .

" Also II Jn. 1-3; Jn. 1:14; Pr. 3:3,4; Ps.

89:14. If love is the river of blessing, then truth is its banks directing and controlling its flow. Our lives must be char- acterized by COMPASSION and CONVICTION. If we lack COMPASSION we will have a message but no audience. If we lack CONVICTION we will have an audience but no message.

"Truth without charity is often intolerant and even persecuting, as charity without truth is weak in concession and untrustworthy in judgment. But charity, loyal to truth and rejoicing in it, has the wisdom of the serpent and the harmlessness of the dove." JOSHUA SWARTZ

1:10. "that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ,"

Paul continues his prayer by describing the purpose for their "knowledge and all discernment"--"that you

may approve the things that are

excellent. . . .

" The word for "approve" (dokimazo) was used of assaying metals, test-

ing for genuine money, or sifting wheat from chaff. Fundamentally it means "to approve after testing." Thus we are being enjoined to sit t through the objects or choices at hand and pour out ourselves for "the things that are excellent." The word translated "excellent" means "differing" (l Cor. 15:41, Gal. 4:1) or "better" (Mtt. 6:26, 10:31, 12:12).

The thought here is, as BAG nicely translates, "the things that really matter." Often the choice is not between

good and bad, but between good and best. That which is best is that which is of ENDURING VALUE, "the things that

really matter." "Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for food which endures to everlasting also Isa. 51:6-8, II Pet. 3:10-15.

life. . . .

" Jn. 6:27

The goal of this abounding and perceptive love is now given--"that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ."

The word for "sincere" (eilikrinees) means "pure, genuine, etc." It may mean "tested by sunlight," though the etymology of this has never been proven conclusively. In any case, the emphasis is upon a life of open integrity; one which is devoid of hypocrisy and insincerity. The Latin word from which "sincere" is derived literally means "without wax" (sincerus). In that day pottery which had been cracked was sometimes waned over to conceal the flaw. When the pottery was used for cooking or heated in some other way, the was would melt and the crack would become evident. Thus pottery which was genuine and pure was considered sincerus--"without wax." The "sincerity" of our faith is

demonstrated best when the heat is on; for it is under difficult circumstances and "fiery trials" that the flaws in our character become most clearly evident. God is seeking men and women who demonstrate the reality of Christ regard- less of circumstances.

"Without offense" (aproskopos) means "without stumbling" or "without causing others to stumble" (I Cor. 10:32). Both would make good sense in this context. The discerning overflow of love (9) should lead to a life which is pure before God (SINCERE) and sensitive towards men (WITHOUT CAUSING OFFENSE). The last phrase ''till (eis) the day of Christ" can equally be translated "in the day of Christ." If we translate "in the day" then the reference would be to the judgment seat of Christ. (I Cor. 3:12-15; II Tim. 1:18, 4:8) If it is to be taken "till the day" then Paul is praying for consistency of maturity. Both are true and probably there is no real need to choose between the two.

1:11. "being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God."

Paul now gives the MEANS by which they may become "sincere and without offense till (or in) the day of Christ." "Being filled" (pepleeromenoi) is a perf. pass. ptcp. and would be better translated "having been filled." This participle modifies the proceeding verb "you may be" and describes the MEANS or CAUSE for their being "

"sincere

. . .

and without

offense. . . .

The term "fruits of righteousness" refers to the produce of righteousness; "the fruit which righteousness pro- duces" (VINCENT). The term "fruit" (karpos) in the N.T. can refer to CHARACTER (Gal. 5:22,23), CONVERTS (Col. 1:6, Jn. 4:36), GOOD WORKS (Jas. 3:18, Rom. 6:21,22), PRAISE (Heb. 13:15), and CONTRIBUTIONS (Rom. 15:28, Phil. 4:17). Here it is probably being used in a broad sense, incorporating all of these. It seems though that all of these different kinds of fruit come forth as the by-product of CHARACTER (i.e., fruit of the Spirit, Gal.

5:22,23).

Notice where this "fullness of fruit" comes from--"which are by Jesus

Christ. . . .

" It is only as we allow

Christ to live His resurrected life through us (Gal. 2:20) that genuinely righteous fruit will be borne. This is in perfect

accordance with Jo. 15:4,5 where we are told that we are merely the branches through which Christ will bear fruit, for apart from Him we can do nothing. Our primary responsibility is to "abide," not bear fruit. Fruit will be the inevitable by-product of living in deep and intimate communion with Christ and desperately depending upon His power. (Rom.

15:18)

As we allow our lives to be consumed by the person and power of Christ, they will flame up "to the glory and praise of God."

This great prayer gives at least four important ingredients for the kind of life God desires for us, one that is "sincere and without offense till the day of Christ."

(1) OVERFLOWING LOVE WHICH IS WELL- DIRECTED (9) (2) DISCERNING EVALUATION WHICH IS ETERNALLY- DIRECTED (l0a) (3) UNWAVERING DEPENDENCE WHICH IS CHRIST- DIRECTED (11a) (4) ABOUNDING FRUITFULNESS WHICH IS GOD- DIRECTED (11b)

1:12. "But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel,"

Paul now continues his train of thought after digressing somewhat in vss. 8-11. It would appear that the things which had happened to Paul would have cut down the progress of the gospel. Being imprisoned would seem to have bound the gospel for the time being. "Not so," says Paul. In fact his imprisonment has actually helped further the gospel. The word translated "furtherance" (prokopeen) literally means to "cut forward" or "advance" as in blazing a trail through a forest. The gospel has "cut forward" despite Paul's bondage. The fact that Paul wants them to know this seems to give further support to 1:5-7 being about monetary support of the gospel. They had invested in the gospel through Paul. It appeared that their investment was in holding because Paul himself was in holding. But Paul wants to assure them that such is not the case at all.

1:13. "so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ;"

Paul now describes why his imprisonment has caused the gospel to be furthered. First, the whole of the palace has become aware of Paul's imprisonment because of the gospel. BAG says that "PRAETORIUM" refers to the imperial guard (about 9,000 Roman soldiers) and "TO ALL THE REST" is the remainder of the palace. This would

seem to make good sense. Thus the gospel has now reached some of the most influential people in Rome, those resid- ing in the governor's residence. It is marvelous to see God's sovereign wisdom in this passage and in Paul's seemingly unfortunate circumstances. Every six hours the guards would exchange places in being chained to Paul. Thus for two years (Acts 28:30,31 ) Paul was able to communicate the gospel with the emerging leaders of Rome. Of his own initia- tive he could never have reached the people he did during those two years! Truly God causes the wrath of man to praise Him!

We also should actively pursue those people God has sovereignly "chained us to"--roommates, lab partners, T.A.'s, etc. They may ultimately be people of great influence and we may be God's messenger to them.

1:14. "and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear."

Paul now gives the second reason that the gospel has been furthered by his bonds. It has caused many of his fellow Christians to become far more bold. They are now speaking the word without fear. The participle "having be- come confident" would seem to be causal here: "because of having become confident." Seeing Paul's suffering for the sake of the gospel has inspired them to follow in his footsteps. His chains have given them fresh confidence and so they are much more bold to speak the word fearlessly. I think we see at least three characteristics of a good witness for Christ from this verse.

(1) HE IS VERBAL--The walk must back the talk but the talk must explain the walk.

(2) HE PROCLAIMS GOD'S WORD--They spoke "THE WORD." This is just what Timothy was to pro- claim ( 1I Tim. 4:2). It is our sword in battling Satan for the souls of men.

(3) HE IS BOLD--"The righteous are bold as a lion without fear.

. . .

" (Pr. 28:1). These men were bold to speak the word

1:15. "Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from good will:"

Paul now gives the true motives behind the preaching of the gospel. It is important to note that Paul dis- cerned motives, he was a realist. Certainly in our day, there are men preaching Christ out of impure motives and it is not wrong for us to discern this. But we need to also come to the same ultimate conclusion that Paul did. The differ- ence between "discerning" which is commanded (I Thess. 5:21) and "judging" which is prohibited (Matt. 7:1-5) is probably this:

(1) DISCERNING evaluates what is presently occurring and distinguishes between what is good and bad, righteous and unrighteous. Heb. 5:14

(2) JUDGING not only evaluates, but goes on to pronounce final judgment; moving from the sphere of jury to judge and even executioner. It is, in essence, playing God. Jas. 4:11,12; Rom. 14:4

It is difficult to understand why jealousy and strife could cause one to preach Christ. In some way it was de- signed to hurt Paul (17) and so this strife and jealousy must have been directed towards Paul. We should strive to emu- late those preaching Christ through good will (eudokian). Thayer translates "kindly intent" which makes a little better sense. We should preach Christ because of good will or kindly intent towards those who are dead in their sins. Jealousy and strife are the results of being self-centered; good wit is the result of being Christ-centered and other-centered.

1:16. "The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains;"

Instead of preaching out of love they are preaching out of selfish ambition (eritheias). This word was used to describe a selfish worker interested only in his own pay or a politician in the self-seeking pursuit of office regardless of means. Thus these men were in the ministry for either money or ego--two revolting motivations in the eyes of God. It is interesting to note the contrast between LOVE and SELFISH AMBITION. If these are in direct contrast as it ap- pears, then LOVE is the antithesis of selfish ambition or self-seeking. True love is selfless, other-centered.

These men were supposing that their success would hurt Paul and thus add pain to his already painful situa- tion. They assumed Paul had the same motivations for ministry as they! Their preaching was pure but their motives very impure.

1:17. "but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel."

This last group is preaching Christ out of love. It is difficult to know for sure who this love is being directed towards. No doubt this love is directed towards Christ and unsaved men. But if "KNOWING" is causal, then the love

would seem to be directed towards Paul. Verse 17 would seem to confirm that Paul's emphasis on love here is directed towards him. These men knew that Paul had been appointed as the gospel's D.A. He was the most qualified attorney for the gospel at the time. But he was not free to defend his client to the public, since he was imprisoned. Thus, these fellow believers, out of love for their beloved friend, had stepped out to fill in the gap for Paul. Whereas they may well have been fearful (vs. 14) previously, perfect love had cast out all fear and they were taking up Paul's responsibil- ities. How Paul must have cherished these faithful men.

1:18. "What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice."

Here is Paul's amazing response to these men's attempt to hurt him. There is no trace of vindictiveness in his response but only joy that Christ is being preached. Though these men are preaching from impure motives, nonethe- less they are preaching the gospel which is the power of God unto salvation. It would have been a different response if these men had been teaching a different gospel. (See Gal. 1.) Paul's great concern was for the success of the gospel. not for the success of his own personal ministry. Note that he doesn't say it is alright for these men to preach. He rejoices that they are out sharing the gospel. Of course he is not rejoicing in their impure motives, but in the preaching of the gospel. These men are bringing condemnation upon themselves but at least they are bringing salvation to others. If "

they were preaching a false gospel, they would be bringing damnation upon others. "But also I will

rejoice. . . .

Not only is Paul now rejoicing but he says that he will rejoice. It would seem best to connect this with verse

19.

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

Paul continues his reason for "rejoicing" in this verse. "For" connects back to the immediately proceeding statement--."yes, and I will rejoice. (18b) It seems that this statement is also what Paul is referring to by "this." Thus he is saying that his resolve to continue rejoicing regardless of circumstances ("I will rejoice" is not a prophetic predic- tion, but a personal resolve) will be one of the factors that will lead to his "salvation" or "deliverance." The great ques- tion at this point is defining what kind of "salvation" (or "deliverance") Paul had in mind. The word "salvation" (so- teeria) means "deliverance, rescue, preservation, etc." and is always determined by its context. In other words, the word "save" means nothing apart from the question "from what?" While many have seen this passage as referring to Paul's "deliverance" from prison, the surrounding verses do not seem to confirm this very well. The "salvation" which seems to make best sense in this content is salvation "from dishonoring God in difficult circumstances."

"For me," says Paul, "real 'deliverance' (or 'salvation') will consist of magnifying Christ whether I live or die. For this, I will need your prayers and the help of God's Spirit."

In a very courageous way, therefore, Paul elevates his natural human concern with "deliverance" (or, "salva- tion") from trouble to the level of a spiritual concern that he will be "delivered (or, 'saved') from failing to honor God in whatever befalls him." HODGES

This would come about also as the result of:

(1) THEIR PRAYERS--"through your prayers

" The word Paul uses for "prayers" (deesis) emphasizes

. . . specific petition (see notes on 1:41. We see here Paul's clear recognition of dependency upon their prayers. No wonder he saw prayer as the matrix of ministry, the womb from which all vital work for God's kingdom springs forth. "God could have chosen to do His work on this earth in any fashion He wanted, but He chose in His sovereignty to do it in response to prayer." C. S. LEWIS "But, meanwhile, also prepare a guest room for me, for I trust that through your prayers I shall be granted to you." Philemon 22

(2) CHRIST'S SPIRIT--"and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ." The word used for "supply" (epi- choreegias) was used to describe the lavish outfitting and supplying of "a chorus at the public feast" (LKGNT). The thought is that no expense was spared in order that a top notch performance might be achieved. How beautifully this word picture ties into what follows!

1:20. "according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death."

Paul describes here the performance he is aiming for through the "lavish supply" of Christ's Spirit. His "body" is the theatre and the production is "the magnifying of Christ--whether by life or death." "According" (kata) ties this verse back to vs. 19 and indicates that vs. 20 is "in accord" with vs. 19. This helps further substantiate that the "salvation" of vs. 19 is described here in vs. 20.

"Earnest expectation" (apokaradokia) is a word "composed of the preposition 'away,' the noun 'head,' and the verb 'watching,' and indicates watching something with the head turned away from other objects. It indicates the con- centrated, intense hope which ignores other interests and strains forward as with outstretched head. ROM. 8:19" (LKGNT) What Paul's attention was riveted upon is described in the rest of this verse:

(1) THE LAMP NOT BE PUT UNDER A BASKET (Mtt. 5:15) "that in nothing I shall be ashamed."

(2) THE LAMP BE PUT ON A LAMPSTAND THAT IT MAY GIVE LIGHT TO ALL WHO ARE IN THE HOUSE (Mtt. 5:15) "but that with all boldness (parreesia--'openness') as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body whether by life or by death."

Paul's passion in life can be well summed up from this verse: ALL OF CHRIST THROUGH ALL OF ME AT ALL TIMES IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES. Note what the purpose of the lavish supply of Christ's Spirit is for--the magnifying (lit.- enlarging) of Himself. God only funds His own projects!

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

Paul now continues ("for") the life-death motif found at the end of vs. 20. Probably no verse better summa- rizes Paul's life (except perhaps Gal. 2:20) than this. While still on earth, Paul saw life as inextricably bound up in Christ.

(1) HE WAS HOPELESSLY ADDICTED TO THE PRESENCE OF CHRIST - Phil. 3:8-10. (2) HE WAS DESPERATELY DEPENDENT UPON THE POWER OF CHRIST - Gal. 2:20. Rom. 15:18. (3) HE WAS UTTERLY ABANDONED TO THE PROGRAM OF CHRIST - Col. 1:28,29. (4) HE WAS PASSIONATELY JEALOUS FOR THE PERSON OF CHRIST - Col. 1:14-l9, Rom. 15:17,18. How do we fill in the blank: "For me to live is ?" Some questions which help answer this are:

(1) Where do I tend to spend spare time and money? Mtt. 6:21 (2) What objects or persons give emotional delight as I mentally brood over them? (3) Where do my thoughts flow in spare time? (4) To what or whom do I turn during times of emotional upheaval or crisis?

Obviously, very few of us are at the point of spiritual maturity described here by Paul, but that should not keep us from striving to fill in the blank with CHRIST, alone.

Paul goes on to state that death is the entrance to "gain," not the exit from living. It is not death to die To leave this weary road And 'midst the brotherhood on high To be at home with God. It is not death to close The eye long dimmed by tears And wake in glorious repose To spend eternal years. It is not death, to bear The wrench that sets us free From dungeon-chain to breathe the air Of boundless liberty. It is not death to fling Aside this sinful dust And rise on strong, exulting wing To live among the just. Jesus, thou Prince of life Thy chosen cannot die

Like Thee, they conquer in the strife To reign with Thee on high.

There is a close connection between the first half of this verse and the second. The more fully our life is bound up in the person and program of Christ, the greater "our gain" in heaven. II Cor. 4:17,18.

1:22. "But if I live on in the flesh. this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell."

Paul expands upon the options of life or death. If he continues his sojourn on earth--"But if I live on in the flesh"--then he sees it as an opportunity to bear more fruit through ministry. Again we see Paul's strict singleminded- ness--he saw himself as an instrument for the unleashing of God's glory as long as time permitted. However, this un- leashing would be a costly process--"fruit from my labor"--and the prospect of leaving the battlefront and going home was appealing indeed. So appealing, in fact, that he adds, "yet what I shall choose, I cannot tell (lit.--I do not know)."

1:23. "For I am hard pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and he wrath Christ, which is far better."

The dilemma of going home or staying on the battlefield is further explained. Paul notes that he is "hard-pressed" (sunecho--"to hem in on both sides") in what to choose. There are cogent reasons for either option. He describes first his strong desire for going home. The word he uses for "desire" (epithumias) is the same word for "lust." In fact, this is only one of the two times Paul uses this word in its noun form in a positive sense (I Thess. 2:17 being the other). Thus we see one of the "lusts of a godly man's heart"--to be with Christ. In a very real sense Paul yearned for death in order that his union with Christ might be tasted and savored to the full. Other Christians through the ages have also felt this same strong stirring in their breasts. "I go to my everlasting rest. My sun has risen, shone, and is set- ting--nay, it is about to rise and shine forever. I have not lived in vain. And though I could live to preach Christ 1,000 years, I die to be with him, which is far better." GEORGE WHITEFIELD

The word for "depart" (analusai) means to "unloose" or "undo"; and was used of a ship being loosed from its moorings and allowed to sail back home. If God was finished unloading cargo through the apostle's life then Paul was

keen to get back home. The reason is clearly given--"

and be with Christ, which is far better." This phrase should

. . . literally be translated, "much more better"; which intensifies the personal benefit he would experience. Indeed the joys and glories of heaven will thoroughly obliterate the heartaches and sorrows of earth in comparison. Rom. 8:17,18.

"In Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore." Ps. 16:11.

"I am not tired of my work, neither am I tired of the world; yet when Christ calls me home, I shall go with the gladness of a boy bounding away from his school. Perhaps I feel something like the young bride when she contemplates resigning the pleasant associations of her childhood for a yet dearer home--though only a little like her, for there is no doubt resting on my future." A. JUDSON

1:24. "Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you."

Paul now explains why he should prolong his pilgrimage here on earth. God still has more cargo to unload to the Philippian believers through him. Paul is willing to temporarily forestall his desire (going home to be with Christ) in order to fulfill their need.

In a very real sense the man of God is one caught between two worlds. He yearns for the eternal rest while thrust into the fierce conflict between good and evil. Heaven becomes a passion for us (as opposed to a mere desire) only when earth is stripped of her glamour and seen in proper perspective: a battlefield upon which the eternal souls of men are being fought over. It is those believers who are in the thick of the fray that. like Paul, long most intensely to return home.

1:25. "And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith."

The purpose for his "remaining in the flesh" is now given. He says he will "remain" (meno--abide' remain) and "continue with" (sumparameno--remain alongside to help) them for a specific purpose. He seeks to help in the furtherance of their spiritual progress and joy. The word for "progress" (prokopeen--to cut forward) was last used in 1:12. Paul desires not only the "cutting forward" of the gospel but also the advancement in maturity by those who had responded to the gospel. Col. 1:28.

The phrase "joy of faith" might equally be translated "joy from faith" which would fit in nicely with this book. Like Paul, their joy was not to be rooted in favorable circumstances but in an unfaltering Lord. Hab. 3:17-19.

1:26. "that your rejoicing for me may be more abundant in Jesus Christ by my coming to you again."

Paul desires that their rejoicing (or boasting) not be in his work, but "in Jesus Christ," Who alone is the One responsible for Paul's coming to them again and for any ministry which occurs. Rom. 15:18.

1:27. "Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel,"

Paul now exhorts them as to what they are to do in the meantime. This is a major turning point in this epistle as it concludes the prologue (1:1-26) and introduces the body (2:1- 4:1). It also gives us the theme or "controlling idea" of the book.

He singles out ("only") what they are to concentrate upon whether he is present or absent. They are to incar- nate, or "flesh out" the gospel of Christ.

The word Paul uses for "let your conduct" is of vital significance. It is the Greek word "politeuomai" and is used by Paul only in this epistle. The noun form is used in Phil. 3:20 "citizenship." BAG translates this word, "dis- charge your obligations as citizens." Because Philippi was a Roman colony this word becomes extremely interesting and noteworthy. The Romans took great pride in their citizenship and took very seriously its accompanying responsi- bilities. This comes out very clearly in Acts 16 in the chapter which describes the founding of the Philippian church:

Acts 16:12--"and from there to Philippi, which is the foremost city of that part of Macedonia, a colony. And we were staying in that city for some days."

Acts 16:21--"'and they teach customs which are not lawful for us, being Romans, to receive or ob- serve."'

Acts 1 6:37--"But Paul said to them, 'They have beaten us openly, uncondemned Romans, and have thrown us into prison. And now do they put us out secretly? No indeed! Let them come themselves and get us out."'

Acts 16:38--"And the officers told these words to the magistrates, and they were afraid when they heard that they were Romans."

Thus Paul is playing on their naturally strong sense of Roman identity, citizenship, and responsibility; but di-

recting it first and foremost to their new and real citizenship--heaven. "For our citizenship is in heaven

. . .

" (Phil.

3:20). He is exhorting them to live "worthily" of their heavenly identity and to conduct themselves in a manner that

well represents their eternal homeland. From this we may gain a fitting title for this great epistle: EARTHLY CON- DUCT OF HEAVENLY CITIZENS. This entire letter will describe in one way or another how we, the citizens of heaven should conduct ourselves during our brief stay on earth.

In the rest of these verses (27b-30) Paul describes the "affairs" (lit. "things concerning you") which he desires to hear about them. The things which he longs to hear about them are:

(1) UNITY OF PERSONS--"

that you stand fast in one spirit

" "A house divided against itself cannot

. . . stand" nor can an army effectively advance against the enemy while its ranks are turned against one another. This theme of unity will run throughout the entire epistle (2:1-16, 4:1-3).

. . .

(2) UNITY OF PURPOSE--"

. . .

with one mind (lit. 'soul') striving together for the faith of the gospel."

This unity has a specific purpose undergirding it: THE ADVANCEMENT OF THE GOSPEL. The word translated "striving together" (sunathleoo) is found only elsewhere in Phil. 4:3. It means to "contend or struggle along with someone." The church united is also to be the church militant. seeking to break through the gates of hell (Mtt. 16:18) with the gospel of Christ, to turn men "from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance" (Acts 26:18).

1:28. "and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God."

The word used for "terrified" (pturomenoi) means to be "terrified or intimidated." It was used of a horse shy- ing away from battle.

Paul now gives instructions concerning the opposition we will face as we struggle together for the faith of the gospel. The certainty of opposition is seen clearly from here and vs. 29. All who live godly in Christ Jesus will face the consequences of going against the grain of this world. Yet as opposition assails us, how are we to respond? We are not to be intimidated or frightened. He doesn't tell us to retaliate against them or Rive in to them. He gives us the super-

natural response--don't be intimidated. Go about with our business as usual and don't allow these agents of Satan to terrify or intimidate us.

Paul now gives a further result of this supernatural response. First, it is a sign to the unbeliever of his impend- ing judgment and eternal destruction. If they can't win over Christians in this wicked world while Satan is still ruler, what will happen at the restoration to righteousness? Our response becomes a sign to them of our confidence in the living God, Who will vindicate the righteous and judge the wicked. This response is to be modeled after Christ's before Pilate. No doubt Christ's response somewhat unnerved this godless man.

Secondly, this response is a sign to us of salvation. Because of our ability to respond supernaturally we see unmistakable evidence that we are saved from the destruction which awaits these adversaries. We never could have re- sponded this way before we were saved. It is also a foretaste of the ultimate vindication which will be ours when Christ returns to reign. "That" appears to be referring to "salvation" which clearly comes to us from God.

1:29. "For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,"

Paul is giving another reason for not shirking back from those that would oppose and persecute us. Suffering for Christ is our birthright. God has not only graciously allowed us to believe in the name of Christ, He has also gra- ciously allowed us to suffer on behalf of Christ. Interesting that Paul uses "granted" here, showing that suffering for Christ is a privilege. And he was not the only one who was to be sharing in this privilege--so were the Philippians as well as us.

When suffering for Christ is properly understood it is most certainly a privilege, a gracious grant. Because of these sufferings, eternity becomes a richer experience.

1:30. "having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear is in me."

Paul now concludes this first discourse on how they are to live. This is the fourth in the progression beginning with "stand fast." They are to (1) stand firm in the faith, (2) launch out into aggressive evangelism, (3) not be intimi- dated by those opposing their efforts, and (4) continue in the battle for men's souls regardless of the cost. The phrase "having the same conflict" (agona) probably refers to Paul's persecution for the gospel. The Philippian believers had "seen" his persecution previously (Acts 16:19-34) and now they "hear" of it once again (Phil 1:13).

Thus we have seen in 1:27-30 a synopsis or summary of the "countercultural lifestyle" we are to live while stationed here on earth. We are to be a unified, advancing army; unwavering in our assault upon the gates of hell, en- during any and all of Satan's opposition in God's global conquest of fallen earth.

Chapter 2:1-30

2:1. "Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of lore, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy,"

Having stated the theme of the epistle in 1:27 (Earthly Conduct of Heavenly Citizens), Paul now launches into the body of the letter (2:1-4:1). The first major section runs from 2:1-30 and deals with the central theme of SELFLESSNESS.

Paul begins by appealing to they relationship in Christ. All these four terms for affection appear to be fairly similar and all four (really five) are distinctly peculiar to believers. Based on the encouragement which is in Christ, the comfort which comes from divine love, the oneness (fellowship) of an those drinking from the same Spirit, and the tender mercies of these believers, they are to live a certain way. They are to live in love and harmony, not because of their natural fondness for one another (though that may be there), but because of they divine responsibilities as mem- bers of the household of God. This unity is not the result of natural oneness but supernatural bonding. This is why Paul's appeal for unity begins by focusing upon their relationship in Christ, not their relationship towards one another.

2:2. "fulfill my joy"

On the basis of his appeal in vs. 1, he now asks for them to "fulfill" or "fill up" his joy. We know that he al- ready had joy because of them (1:4) but now he asked that this joy be filled to the brim. Note what gave him joy--not money, acclaim, possessions, etc.--but their unity and spiritual maturity. III Jn. 1:4.

"by being line-minded, harrying the same love, being of one accord, of one mind."

Paul now details what will "fulfill" his joy. Again we see the great stress on unity. He wants them to be one in mind, love, and soul. What a dynamic fellowship that would bet If we want to fill up God's joy then we must do these same things.

Essentially these are all phrases emphasizing UNITY OF PERSONS and UNITY OF PURPOSE, closely re- lated to 1:27. In Christ's prayer found in Jn. 17 we are given insight into the reasons why unity among believers is ab- solutely essential--vs. 23: "I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me."

(1) FOR SANCTIFICATION--" (2) FOR EVANGELISM--"

. . .

that they may be made perfect (mature, complete) in one

"

. . .

. . . and that the world may know that You have sent Me

. . .

"

Thus, in this book which emphasizes so strongly the earthly practice of our heavenly position, it is not sur- prising to find Paul stressing unity so emphatically.

2:3. "Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit,"

Paul appears to now be giving the means by which to fulfill vs. 2. The verb "do nothing" appears to be im- plied though it is not found in the text. We are to do nothing "according to" or "resulting from" selfish ambition or an eagerness for empty glory. What exactly does he mean by these terms? "Selfish ambition" (eritheian) is the same term used in 1:16. I think the emphasis here is on personal ambition in this world. We are not to be motivated by the desire to see our name spotlighted in evangelical circles. We are not to serve Christ for the praise and position given to us by other believers. Our ambition is to be "pleasing to Him" (II Cor. 5:9) and to hear the words "well done" from Him alone. "Conceit" (kenodozian) is a graphic description of the glory this world affords us. Literally the word means "empty glory." It may appear beautiful and attractive but it is, in fact, empty. For one day the glory of man will wither like a scorched flower when the light of God's glory has risen upon the earth. And in that day tall the glory of Man will be seen as absolutely vain and empty. Thus to live for the glories of this day is a very hollow pursuit. Contrast Jn.

5:44.

"but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself."

Here is the antidote for selfish ambition and the pursuit of empty glory. We are to view others as being "held above" (lit. translation for "better" (huperechol) and thereby to hold ourselves as lower than them. This is the exact opposite of the natural man. "Esteem" speaks of accounting or reckoning (Jas. 1:2). We don't have to feel others to be more important but in our dealings we must account them to be. The obvious contrast is between lowliness and exalta- tion. Note that it is a combination of both. True humility is not putting ourselves down but rather lifting up others. If we concentrate on lifting up others, putting down ourselves will take care of itself. As we go through life exalting Christ and others, then genuine humility will be inevitable. If we exalt ourselves then God will take care of our humil- iation for He promises to humble the proud. It is much less painful to do it the first way.

2:4. "Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others."

Paul continues this discourse on selflessness. If we are looking out for others' interests then we will certainly be exalting them and lowering ourselves. Our focus is to be fined on the needs and importance of others. What hard words these are! Our souls know they are true but plead with us not to take them seriously. If we followed these in- junctions it appears that all we hold precious would be thrown out the window. After all, if we no longer exalted our- selves then who would there be to exalt us? And if we lived only for the benefit of others, who would watch out for us? Our problem is that we want to be called a "living sacrifice" without dying on the altar of servanthood.

2:5. "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,"

Paul now finishes his exhortation by holding up Jesus Christ as the impeccable illustration of what he has been saying. If vss. 3 and 4 have seemed to require "too much" of us, we do well to remember that we are doing noth- ing more than what Christ did for us.

2:6. "Who, being in the form of God,"

We now start at the very beginning of Christ's journey into the valley of humiliation. Before Christ invaded this planet, He existed in the form of the eternal God. It seems very possible that this eternal form was eternally marked by His crucifixion for when He was risen, He still bore the same wounds. Christ left His eternal abode with the Father knowing He would never be the same again. For all eternity He will wear the scars that secured our salvation.

"did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,"

We see Christ's first decision in this magnificent process. This phrase might better be translated, "did not es- teem equality with God a thing to be held to." He "reckoned" or "accounted" that His equality with God was not some- thing to be clutched on to forever. Out of love for us and the joy set before Him, He released His grip on equality with the Father and began sliding down the rope of humiliation. Christ had a perfect right to bold on to what was His. But He did not cling to His rights, but rather He let go of them with an five fingers.

2:7. "but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant,"

We now see what Christ let go of in order to take hold of. The phrase "made Himself of no reputation" comes from the word kenosis--which means to be "empty." "Emptied" can be used in reference to being "empty handed" (Lk. 1:53). This imagery would fit in well with vs. 6 and "taking" which follows. Christ "emptied Himself," i.e., He caused to fall from His grasp all the privileges and rights that were rightfully His. This was His second decision or action down the valley of humiliation. Thus Christ let go of His rights by grasping hold of servanthood. This is the means to emptying oneself. As we take hold of the form of servanthood, then giving up one's rights takes care of itself. Note the contrast of "form." Christ went from the highest "form" (of God) to the lowest "form" (of a slave).

Thus, this second step was the combination of emptying His hands of all rights by grasping the role of a

slave.

"and coming in the likeness of men."

He came in the likeness of men. This was the starting of His new form as a servant (lit. slave). He came ar- rayed in flesh and blood; was tempted in all points as we, yet without sin. He clothed Himself with what we ourselves are clothed with, and so He can sympathize with our infirmities. We see here the neat step in His descension of the valley of humiliation. He radically identified with us who He was ministering to.

2:8. "And being found in appearance as a man,"

In vs. 5-7 we have Christ's descension into humanity. Vs. 7-8 describe Christ's descension beneath humanity, i.e., His willingness to die at the hands of mere men. This phrase seems to be the starting point for this second act of descending and it is synonymous with the proceeding phrase.

"He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross."

Here is His final decision in descending into the valley of humiliation. Not only did He descend from heaven into humanity. Once He was among men He was willing to be trampled under their feet and to be crucified at their hands. The first thing we see is Christ's volitional choice to place Himself beneath other men. Just as He made a voli- tional choice in heaven (vs. 7) to leave His privileges and rights and come to earth, now He made a volitional choice to leave His privileges and rights as a man to become a servant of men. He humbled Himself under the mighty hand of

God and God exalted Him in due time. Christ humbled Himself and became

obedient. . . .

This shows the strong cor-

relation between humility and obedience. So often disobedience is the result of pride (Garden and Satan). We want to be "as God' and have the world revolve around us. We want to decide what to do and not to do. Saul was obedient as long as he was humble but when he stopped being "small in his own eyes" he became disobedient. Uzziah is another example of this. We basically have two choices in life: self-exaltation which results in disobedience, or self-humilia- tion which results in obedience. Christ chose the latter. Christ's obedience was steadfast, sacrificial, and selfless. He obeyed not only when it was convenient but also when costly. His life was not one of sporadic obedience but of stead- fast obedience, no matter the cost. He set His face like a flint and walked the rugged road of discipleship to comple- tion. He descended all the way down the valley of humiliation, to the lowest level of being crucified.

We have now seen Christ's mindset go from the zenith of equality with God to the depths of humiliation. He left His splendor and privileges in heaven to come to this sin infested earth. Naked He was born, despised by men; naked He died despised by men. He did not just give up most of what was His, He gave up everything. His entire life was lived in the shadow of a cross, each step bringing Him nearer to the ultimate in shameful deaths. God is beseech- ing us, really commanding us, to be characterized by this same mindset.

In verses 6-8 we find five characteristics of genuine servanthood as reflected in the life of Christ. (1) Willingness to release all personal rights (2) Willingness to become enslaved to the needs of others (3) Willingness to radically identify with those ministering to (4) Willingness to see others as more important

(5) Willingness to obey continually, regardless of personal cost

2:9. "Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,"

We now see the glory which followed the grind, the eternal sunshine following the earthly night. 'Therefore" begins this section with a ringing contrast. Because of vss. 6-8, vss. 9-11 now follow. The crown always follows the cross.

We see two primary things God has done for the suffering Savior.

(1) God has exalted Him to the loftiest heights. God has placed Christ as the King of kings and the Lord of lords. (Heb. Lab, Ps. 2)

(2) God has given Him a name which supersedes all other names. (Heb. 1:4)

The use here of "name" speaks primarily of a title. Many men have great titles beside their names, many have a long list of degrees as well. But God has bestowed upon Christ the name (note the article) which hangs above all names or titles. Note again the process though. While on earth His name was often despised and He had no great titles. He was called "a friend of sinners," 'blasphemer" etc. Because He did not conform with the world of His day, He did not have an important title beside His name, distinguishing Him. Yet because He did not live to make His name great on this earth, God has made His name supremely exalted in the world to come.

2:10. "that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,

Paul now tells us the purpose or result of Christ's superior name. it is difficult to tell whether "that" should be purpose or result, both make good sense. The point is clear; every knee shall bow to Christ one day, wherever they are. This is almost certainly a quote from Is. 45:22,23. The bowing of the knee is a symbol of submission, an act of Wor- ship. The three regions described may well be heaven, earth, and hell. Again we see the vindication of servanthood. Christ was wit it g to make others more important than Himself and now God has made Christ eternally more impor- tant than anyone else.

2:11. "and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

Here is the second phase of Christ's dominion over all humanity. Not only will all men realize Christ's Lord- ship but they also will vocalize it. Those tongues which had blasphemed the name of Christ will one day bless Him, by faith or force. All this will result in further glory unto God.

All men will come to the conclusion that Christ is Lord sooner or later. We need to help them realize it now when they can bow and confess by faith. These obviously are two important things God wants out of men: internal submission and worship which is externally demonstrated in deeds and words.

The scenario described in vss. 5-11 might be pictured thus:

2:12. "Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but

2:12. "Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence,"

Paul now continues his charge to these believers. "Therefore" is an important conjunction as it ties this verse into what has just proceeded it. In view of Christ's exaltation through humiliation, Paul now makes this charge. five see the past obedience of these believers, especially in Paul's presence. Again we see the stress on obedience, not just knowledge. Paul wanted consistent obedience, not only while he was there but much more when he was absent. The measure of our effectiveness in ministry is greatly determined by how people live in our absence. We have accom- plished nothing if our disciples only live for God when we're around and then go back to disobedience or complacency when we leave. They must learn to feel responsible to God, not to us.

''work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;

Here is Paul's great concern for them. They are to "work out" their own individual salvation. "Work out" seems to be very synonymous with "obeyed" (12a). They had obeyed in the past and they were to continue down the path of obedience which would result in their "salvation."

What does Paul mean by "salvation" here? It clearly cannot be getting into heaven as this would contradict justification by faith alone. There are some key terms which will help, I believe.

(1) "Therefore" (because of this) i.e., because of Christ's humiliation and exaltation. (2) "Your own" Christ has just been used to illustrate one who "saved" His life by losing it.

(3) "Fear and trembling" are used together in LXX in Ps. 2:11. "Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling." This Psalm is in clear reference to the millennial kingdom and the King's exaltation in it.

Thus I believe we are being exhorted to emulate the life illustrated by Christ in vss. 5-8 in order that we may also be exalted in the same way (though not to the same degree!) as He was. "Salvation" then is being used in the sense of salvation from a wasted life or uselessness. It is used this same way in I Pet. 1:9, Mtt. 16:25, Mk. 8:35, Lk. 9:24, Jn. 12:25, etc.

All this closely parallels the book of Hebrews. Especially prominent is chapter 1 and its covenant of grant references. Christ worked out His salvation in a very real sense, and we must learn to think of salvation as something other than simply getting into heaven.

If we live our life according to our natural desires and drives then we are guaranteed to "lose" it. That kind of life will have no eternal or enduring value and will be utterly ended as soon as it is finished. If however, we do with our lives what Christ did with His (i.e., lose it), then we are guaranteed that it will endure for eternity and there will be eternal reward for that life.

Thus we end up "saving" our life from being wasted on our natural desires and dries.

No wonder we should work out this salvation with "fear and trembling." The stakes are eternally high and once our life has been lived there is no reversing of what has been done. Every day we give to the wrong thing is a day lost for eternity. "God has given to man but a short time on earth, yet upon this time does all eternity depend." (JEREMY TAYLOR)

2:13. "for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure."

Paul now gives another good reason for the working out of their salvation. "For" is probably giving cause or reason. They are not working out their salvation by their own strength or fleshly wisdom, but by the power of God. God is the One working in them to desire and do His will.

Another slant on this is to tie it back to "fear and trembling" in vs. 12. The reason they are to work out their salvation with "fear and trembling" is because of this verse. God is at work in them and through them. They are re- sponsible to cooperate in the process, not perfect themselves. Thus knowing that God is working in us to give us the desire and power to do His will should give us a real sense of awe and reverence' especially since we'll be held ac- countable. We see an important two-fold work God is carrying on in our lives: TO DESIRE HIS GOOD WILL, and TO DO HIS GOOD WILL. Note the order; desire--first, doing--second. This is usually how we respond: we do if we have the desire. It could be that this helps define "salvation" in vs. 12. Perhaps this salvation comes as the result of de- siring and doing God's will, not our own. Certainly this is true, for only He that does the will of God abides forever. I Jn. 2:17.

A very critical balance is found in vss. 12 and 13 in regards to the sanctification process. Verse 12 stresses our responsibility to "work out" while verse 13 stresses God's role of "working in" and "through" us. The two must ever be kept together or we will depart from God's ordained process for sanctification. If we only concentrate on vs. 12 we will become legalistic or ascetic, relying on our own strength for spiritual power. If we dwell on vs. 13 only we will be- come passive and complacent. Eve are to live a life of "disciplined dependence"--fully cooperating with the spirit of God to accomplish in and through us all He desires, regardless of the cost to us.

2:14. "Do all things without murmuring and disputing,"

Having dealt with their relationship to God he now deals with their relationship to each other. We see many important characteristics in this nest verse.

They are to be an active people. "Do" indicates the performing of something, probably connected with vs. 13. (I Cor. 15:58) They are to be a unified and cooperative people. Nothing is to be done in a spirit of grumbling or com- plaining. These two words appear to be synonymous and are tremendous handicaps to any body of believers that want to be used by God. These two things are also on the opposite end of selflessness and so it is appropriate that Paul would name these in this chapter.

2:15. "that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,"

Paul now gives the reason for vs. 14. "That" would appear to be introducing a purpose clause. Note again Paul's preaching of reason along with responsibility. Here is the reason for fulfilling verse 14. It will cause them to be- come blameless and pure. The difference between these two words appears to be one of internal vs. paternal. "Blame- less" appears to emphasize external purity while "harmless" emphasizes internal purity. Note the tremendous effect not grumbling or complaining can have on our lives: an internal transformation which will result in external purity.

Next he calls us "children of God without reproach." We are children possessed (gen. of possession) by God yet stationed in this "world." We live in the midst of a crooked (morally astray) and depraved (morally rebellious) generation. This phrase is almost certainly coming out of Deut. 32:5. The reference apparently is to all men though it is difficult to nail down. No doubt the men of this world are "crooked" in that they have turned from the straight and narrow road leading to eternal life. Secondly, they are "perverse" or "depraved" in that they delight in their ungodli- ness.

And in the midst of this godless society we are to shine out in stark contrast to the darkness of this world. "Lights" speaks of "heavenly bodies of light" very frequently. We are to be lights from heaven stationed upon an earth characterized by darkness. We are now "light in the Lord" and are to reflect the glory of the Lord in our day.

2:16. "holding fast the word of life,"

The phrase "holding fast" (epecho) could be translated either "observing carefully" or "holding forth." Both are essential, for personal and public ministry. While vs. 15 emphasizes the servant of God's CHARACTER, this verse emphasizes his MESSAGE.

We are to have a VISUAL (15) and VERBAL (16) impact on those around us.

We find at least three characteristics of one who is a "light" in this crooked and perverse "generation" from vss. 14-16.

(1) Uncomplaining in spirit (2) In contact with the people of this world, but not contaminated by their ways (3) Holding to and holding forth the word of God

"·so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain."

This concludes the entire spectrum of vss. 14-16. (14--command, 15-purpose, 16a--means, 16b--result) As they fulfill 14-16a it will result in glory and boasting for Paul in the day of Christ. "Rejoice" or "boast" can speak of a pride which is not sinful; rather the satisfaction of a job well done for the Lord. I think this is the thought here. As these believers continue down the path of maturity, fulfilling their design in life, Paul will have great satisfaction in the day of Christ. The satisfaction will stem from the fact that he has not labored or run "for emptiness."

This closely parallels with I Thess. 2:19 where those believers are called "crown of rejoicing." Apparently mature believers at Christ's return will be a crown of rejoicing to whoever has greatly benefited their spiritual progress. Thus these believers will be a source of great joy for Paul in the day of Christ.

2:17. "Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you."

Paul begins with "but even if" to contrast what he has been speaking of. He has just been speaking of running and laboring. The last word of vs. 16 comes from "labored" (kopino)--working to the point of weariness. They knew in no uncertain terms that Paul's efforts on their behalf had cost him time and again. And now Paul wants to reassure them that he has no regrets whatsoever as to the effort he has expended for them.

First Paul describes his ministry towards them in graphic terms. He likens himself to a drip offering being poured out for others. The exact translation of this is hard to nail down. BAG translates "sacrifice and service" as "sac- rificial service," which would make good sense here especially if "your faith" is genitive of purpose. Thus, the whole "

might read "but although I pour myself out in sacrificial service upon (or for) your Whatever the exact translation should be, the principles are clear.

faith. . . .

Service and sacrifice are inseparable. They go hand-in-hand; and the ministry requires that we pour ourselves out for others, just as Christ did for us.

(1) The purpose of the ministry is to be directed towards the faith of others. Col. 1:28,29. Paul didn't enslave himself to their wants but to their needs.

(2) The abundant life comes as the by-product of the crucified life. Although Paul was in the process of los- ing his life for their sake, he was filled with joy. Is. 58:10-12.

(3) The last phrase is a little difficult to Interpret. The best options appear to be that he is sharing with them in their rejoicing; or he rejoices for them. The former appears to be the best option at this point as it seems the most natural reading. Paul was one who was able to let his emotions flow. Not only was he able to rejoice for them, but with them too. Often leaders are afraid to let their joy for others' growth go outside themselves.

2:18. "For the same reason you also be glad and rejoice with me."

Paul wants to be sure that these believers do not feel guilty for what Paul has done for them but that they re- joice with him. Just as Paul was rejoicing in his sacrificial service for their faith; so they too were to rejoice. He didn't hold his effort on their behalf over their heads as a club to beat them whenever they didn't come through spiritually. Rather, he wanted them to share in the joy.

2:19. "But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, that I also may be encouraged when I now your state."

Though Paul couldn't be there himself, he felt responsible for their spiritual welfare. So, first he writes them this letter. Now, he tells of his expectation to send Timothy to them. "Hope" is more than a wishful hope--it is "confi- dent expectation." Note where Paul's expectation was grounded. Not in Timothy but the Lord Jesus. The same Lord who commissioned Paul would also send Paul's son in the faith. Note the sense of urgency Paul is feeling towards these believers. He didn't just leave their spiritual maturity up to God, he felt keenly responsible also.

"That" would appear to be introducing a purpose clause. Timothy would report to him the things concerning those believers. And Paul was so keenly interested in them that his soul would be encouraged and refreshed by what he heard. Apparently he expected to hear favorable things!

We see Paul's selflessness in where his soul derives joy--from the things concerning others.

2:20. "For I have no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state."

Paul now tells why he has chosen to send Timothy. First, he has no one else who is as close in soul to him. The word "like-minded" is most literally translated "like-soured." Paul's soul was bent on accomplishing two things:

Phil. 3:10,11 and Col. 1:28. Apparently Timothy's was also. Paul now gives one of the most important characteristics of being "like-soured": a genuine concern for the welfare of others. What Paul had been discussing in Phil. 2:3-5, he and Timothy were doing in everyday life. They were not just putting on a show of affection for these believers, they were sincerely concerned about their estate. It seems to me that here we have one of the primary prerequisites for spiri- tual maturity. It did not involve merely how much he knew, but how much he cared.

2:2l. "For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus."

The second reason for sending Timothy is now given. No one else qualified for the task. What disqualified them? They were primarily seeking after the things which pertained to themselves, not the things which pertained to Christ. The genitives here appear to be genitives of possession. These believers were seeking after the things which be- longed to them (or so they thought). They were concerned about saving. their own lives and making this time on earth comfortable. While they were seeking after their own things, the things of Christ were passing them by. How opposite to Phil. 2:5-11.

Paul only gives two options for a man to seek after: the things of Christ or the things of self. We choose each day one of these paths whether we realize it or not.

2:22. "But you know his proven character, that as a son with his father he served with me in the gospel."

These believers didn't have to be told of Timothy's character, for they knew of it by experience. First, he Di- vas a man of INTENSE LOYALTY. He related to Paul as a son to his father, and he labored with him accordingly. Secondly, he was one of INTENSE SERVANTHOOD. We see this in "served" (edouleusen)--serve as a bondslave. Thirdly, we see INTENSE COMMITMENT. He served not in the pursuit of his own things but in "the gospel." The phrase "in the gospel" probably refers to working "in the furtherance of the gospel" (1:12).

The point of all this appears to be that Timothy was a faithful man. God does not use just anyone, we must qualify just as Timothy had to.

2:23. "Therefore I hope to send him at once, as soon as I see how it goes with me."

Paul wraps up what he began in vs. 19. The last part of this verse is somewhat difficult to interpret. It appears that Paul wanted Timothy around for a little longer until he was sure of what would happen to him. But in reality he was almost certain of what would happen because of the neat verse.

It is important to note that Paul was willing to give his best to these believers.

2:24. "But I trust in the Lord that I myself shall also come shortly."

Not only is Paul expecting to send Timothy, but he is also confident that he will come quickly himself. Again we see his trust or confidence is not in the Roman system of justice, but in the Lord. Since the Lord wanted him free, no system or government could keep him in bondage.

2:25. "Yet I considered it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier, but your messenger and the one who ministered to my need; "

Paul now begins an exposition on Epaphroditus. He has just finished speaking glowingly of Timothy and in the same way he now describes Epaphroditus.

We see the third of three persons Paul wants to send to the Philippians: himself, Timothy, and Epaphroditus. We see here that Paul was much more interested in sending individuals than letters, though he didn't neglect the latter. But a living epistle is of greater value than a written one for it not only tells what to do but demonstrates how to do it also. Possibly we have three levels of fellowship described here:

"brother"--a fellow member of the body of Christ

"fellow worker"--a fellow laborer in the harvest

"fellow soldier"--a fellow soldier in the battle

Each term increases in honor and lessens in number of participants. Epaphroditus was all three as probably only a few other men were in Paul's life. Many are brothers, some are workers in the field, but only a relative few are willing to do real combat with the prince of this world.

How many of these terms would Paul ascribe to us?

Here is an important use of "messenger" (apostolos)--one sent forth. He was sent forth by the Philippians to minister to Paul's need. Already we see the great selflessness of this man. He has given up his personal rights to meet the needs of others.

2:26. "since he was longing for you all, and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick."

Paul now gives one of the main reasons he sent Epaphroditus. Epaphroditus was greatly longing for these fel- low believers in Philippi. Note how Paul's heart for people had infected Epaphroditus. He also was yearning after these believers and so Paul thought it best to go ahead and send him. Secondly, Epaphroditus was distressed because they thought he was sick. This is truly amazing! Epaphroditus was more concerned about their emotional welfare than his own physical condition. Today, often believers aren't even touched by other's illnesses, much less being distressed in the same way Epaphroditus was. Eve see a tremendous heart for people here!

2:27. "for indeed he was sick almost unto death;"

Paul now affirms that Epaphroditus was indeed sick. In fact he was so sick that he almost died. Here is anoth- er case of a godly believer suffering sickness. The path of discipleship is not an easy one and sickness may well be a part of that path.

"but God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow."

We see that God had mercy on this saint as well as Paul. He had mercy on Epaphroditus physically and he had mercy on Paul emotionally. This last phrase is a bit difficult to interpret. It could be more sorrow added to his al- ready sorrowful state. It could also be as BL&D say--an endless procession of grief. I tend to lean towards the second option.

It is important to note that deep, piercing sorrow is a characteristic of a godly man. Is. 53:3,4. Paul makes no mention whatsoever of his trying to hide or suppress that grief. If Epaphroditus had died there is no doubt that Paul would have wept greatly just as Christ did when Lazarus died.

2:28. "Therefore I sent him the more eagerly, that when you see him again you may rejoice, and I may be less sorrowful."

Paul now concisely states why he sent Epaphroditus. First, he sent him to increase the joy of the believers. They would rejoice at seeing him again and Paul desired that they have this joy. Secondly, it would ease his burden and concern for them. Epaphroditus would be there to minister in his behalf Thus Paul sent him off "the more eagerly" or "more hastily." The will of God is not something to saunter after but to hasten after.

2:29. "Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness, and hold such men in esteem;"

Paul now tells what kind of reception he should receive. They are to welcome him warmly with all joy. "Re- ceive" speaks of eagerly receiving or expecting. It seems to me that this refers not only to his arrival but also his stay with them. Again we see the phrase "in the Lord" (2:19,24). Here the thought probably has to do with unity. All the Philippians were to eagerly receive him primarily because of their relationship in the Lord.

On top of this they are to hold all men marked by this same maturity "in esteem"--in high regard and honor. This parallels I Thess. 5:12,13. Apparently Christian leaders and teachers are to be held in high regard by those they are ministering to. This means we are to rejoice for their ministry and not attack whatever weak points we think we see.

2:30. "because for the world of Christ he came close to death, not regarding his life, to supply what was lacking in your service toward me."

Here is why Epaphroditus ought to be highly regarded. He came very close to death in his service on their be- half. Note that it was not scholarship that entitled him to honor, but servanthood. It was his work for Christ, or on be- half of Christ, that nearly cost him his life. The phrase "not regarding his own life" is better translated "gambling his own life." Because of taking up the Philippians' cause for the sake of Christ, he almost lost his life through illness. Yet even in this life there often comes honor for those who are willing to lose their life for Christ's sake. The end of this

verse sounds as though Paul is rebuking them for not meeting his needs. This, however, is not really the case. The idea here appears to be that Epaphroditus was their representative in filling up what was left of their service towards him--- namely--the gift. The Philippians couldn't be there personally so they sent Epaphroditus to represent them. This repre- sentation nearly cost him his life as it may also us. The work of Christ is still being carried out today by the Epaphrodi- tuses and Pauls and Timothys of the 20th century. This work is still as valuable and costly as it was then and we can expect very possibly to draw near unto death in the carrying out of it to completion.

Chapter 3:1-21

3:1. "Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord."

Having concluded his discussion of Timothy and Epaphroditus, Paul comes back to the theme of rejoicing which concluded 2:17,18. There they were to rejoice in Paul's service on their behalf. Here they are given a new ob- ject of rejoicing. They are to rejoice "in the Lord." This is the first time this phrase is used in Philippians or anywhere else in Paul's writings. It is heavily re-emphasized in 4:4. It appears that we are beginning a distinctly new section of the book. "Finally" (to loipon) can also be translated "in addition," and this makes better sense here.

"For to me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe."

Paul now begins laying the foundation for what he is to talk about. "The same things" would certainly seem to refer to the things he is about to say. Apparently these were things he had already written or spoken to them and was about to repeat. "Tedious" (okneeron) according to BAG is "troublesome," though the rest of the N.T. usages indicate "slothful." L&S also list "troublesome" and this seems best. Perhaps Paul had previously only spoken these things and now was going to write them. Important to note Paul's willingness to sacrifice for others. He was more than willing to take the time and effort to write these believers. Note again how greatly God used this deposit of faithfulness. Not only did this chapter affect the Philippians, but it has changed the lives of untold saints through the last 2,000 years. Sup- pose Paul had decided it was too much trouble to write? It is for us to faithfully serve no matter the cost and it is for God to use our service Whenever and wherever He sees fit.

What follows is as "safe" for us as it was for them. If we take heed to what now follows it will act as a "safe- guard" (NASB) from Satan's subtle attacks on our faith.

It may be that the rest of this chapter is giving the pathway to spiritual rejoicing and safety. It is found "in the Lord" and not in various forms of the flesh.

3:2. "Beware of dogs, beware of evil orders, beware of the mutilation!"

Paul now describes who they are to beware of and look out for. Note that Paul felt responsible to warn his sheep about the wolves in sheep's clothing lurking in the forest. We ought also warn our sheep.

No doubt his primary reference here is to legalizers--Jews mixing the law and grace.

Paul is very graphic in his description of these false teachers. They are dogs (lowest animal in Mid-Eastern culture) ravenous for any prey they can find. They are workers of evil rather than righteousness. They mutilate by their teaching rather than mend broken lives. And so the first safeguard is to know who to beware of.

3:3. "For we are the circumcision,"

Paul completes his play on words here as he uses the proper word for circumcision. He is using "for" as ex- planatory, it seems, since he goes on to explain various characteristics of the N.T. circumcision. The various character- istics of those who belong to the N.T. circumcision, as opposed to the false "mutilators," are now described:

"who worship God in the Spirit,"

Here is the first of the list. In contrast to those of the false circumcision who worship (supposedly) God by the flesh, we are to be worshippers in spirit. A good cross reference here is Gal. 3:3 where flesh and spirit are well con- trasted. "Worship" (latreuo) has the meanings "worship" and "serve" fused together inseparably. Thus we worship and serve God by means of His Spirit. The primary emphasis is the means by which we are to serve and worship God. It is to be done in utter dependence upon His Spirit which has been deposited within us to desire and do His good will. Note the contrast here with the end of this verse.

"rejoice in Christ Jesus,"

Here is the second characteristic. They glory not in the law (Rom. 2:23), nor outward appearance (II Cor. 5:12), nor especially in men (I Cor. 3:21); but they glory in Christ Jesus, the One Who created all and is the source of

all. This last contrast is especially important as it was one of the great problems in I Corinthians. Men have a natural tendency to glory in other men and to look for a king like the other nations around them. And yet one of the marks of spiritual maturity is that we glory in Christ Jesus, rather than those who are simply instruments of Christ Jesus.

We need to watch who we display our first allegiance towards. Is it Christ and His word, or one of His ser- vants and their interpretation?

"and have no confidence in the flesh,"

The last of these three characteristics is now described. This seems to say negatively what the first character- istic said positively. We do not put tiny confidence in the flesh. Unlike the Judaizers of the day, Paul and his men did not put any trust in what their own flesh could do for them. What exactly is the "confidence" here referring to? From the content it appears to be referring to trusting in good works of the flesh to get into heaven (verse 4 and following). We know that Paul also put no confidence in the flesh for sanctification either, and so this is probably implied also. Serving Christ and becoming like Him could not be done in the power of the flesh, for supernatural work requires su- pernatural energy and power. And so Paul's (and also our) confidence or trust was not in his ability but in God's great power.

The common denominator of this verse seems to be internal vs. external. The Judaizers' worship was primari- ly external, centering around the flesh in its various expressions. We are to worship internally, centering upon the Spirit and His various expressions.

3:4. "though I also might have confidence In the flesh."

Paul now begins his personal testimony concerning his battle with the flesh. It seems impossible that Paul is saying he has confidence in the flesh. Rather, he seems to be saying that he has good reason to have confidence in the flesh. Therefore he "might" (NASB) have confidence in the flesh if it wasn't for his conversion to Christ.

"If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so:"

Paul now challenges the fleshiest of the flesh to stand up. Whoever he or she is, no matter how much reason they have to boast of in the flesh, Paul has more. If anyone wants to match fleshly credentials, Paul is more than will- ing for he has a very impressive array. In fact, he now describes them:

3:5. "circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews;"

First, Paul gives his pedigree. As far as being an elite Jew, Paul had highly excelled. He was circumcised on the eighth day as was expected. He was, of course, not a Gentile convert but from the generation or race of Israel. Next, he was of the tribe of Benjamin, the tribe which gave Israel her first king. He was a "Hebrew among Hebrews." This seems to mean that he was a spiritual thoroughbred. And no doubt from what follows, Paul was a Hebrew among Hebrews.

It is important to see that one's pedigree will not get him into heaven. Eph. 2:8,9.

"concerning the law, a Pharisee;"

We now see his practice. In regards to the law he was very committed (in contrast to the Sadducees). It is im- portant to note that he joined the strictest of sects in regards to keeping the law, whereas a lesser man might well have joined an easier sect.

3:6. "concerning zeal, persecuting the church;"

Paul not only had knowledge but zeal. His zeal extended even to persecuting the church, which not many of the Pharisees were willing to do. Though Paul's zeal was misdirected, it helps us see the personality of this man who never did anything half way. For Paul, it was all or nothing and once that drive was harnessed in the right direction, he was greatly used for God's kingdom.

We should not forget that men with misdirected zeal may hold great potential for the kingdom of God. They need to see what true success really is.

"concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless."

Finally, we see his wholehearted practice. Not only did Paul know the law but he kept it. So much so, in fact, that he was blameless (amemptos)--"externally pure" according to it. Paul is not saying one can attain righteousness through the law, but that if one could, he had done it. Again we see Paul's all-out effort at whatever he pursued.

Verses 4-6 might well be entitled "Paul's Pursuit of Fleshly Success." In the past, Paul had presented his body a living sacrifice to these things because he felt they would insure a successful life and true significance.

3:7. "But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ."

Paul now begins his description of what Christ has caused him to do in response to these things. "But" is an important conjunction here, contrasting true and false spirituality. All the previously mentioned things and anything else be was counting on to win God's favor are now tossed away. We see an eternal accounting decision taking place. On one hand Paul has all the things (5,6) that are gain for hi Note that none of these things are gain for Christ or any- one else, they are all trophies of his flesh. In men's eyes Paul was a man of great stature, for his credentials were very, very impressive. And he could have clung to these fleshly trophies and displayed them to the world of his day, thus winning much admiration from men. Truly these things were gain for him. But now Christ has entered into the ac- counting. And though these fleshly trophies might win Paul favor from men, they had absolutely no power to win fa- vor from Christ. In fact, these trophies of the flesh were now a wall between Paul and Christ. Until Paul could quit trusting in them for eternal merit, he could not have Christ. (Rom. 4:5) And so Paul was willing to take these great tro- phies and throw them into the garbage, so that he could have the righteousness of Christ which is by faith alone. The perfect tense of "counted" would seem to best be taken as consumative. Paul appears to be stressing his completed de- cision to regard all these things as loss to his own flesh.

It is difficult for us to realize what a great decision this was for Paul. A whole lifetime of accomplishments had to be thrown away as worthless if he were to take hold of Christ. The accomplishments of any life without Christ are really dead works which will one day be thrown away. Why cling to them? We see here that Christ is worth infin- itely more than anything we hold dear. Also important to see is that this verse is talking about justification.

3:8. "But indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord,"

Paul now shifts from a past decision ("counted") to a present decision ("count") which he is continually mak- ing. His past decision was in regards to gaining Christ, this decision is in regards to knowing Christ. Paul continues to customarily evaluate the worth of all the things he might pursue or become involved in. And he considers all things a lost cause if they do not in some way help in the deepening of his experiential knowledge of Christ. They are account- ed as loss because they simply are not worth it. For nothing can compare with "the surpassing greatness of the personal knowledge of Christ Jesus." This is a treasure above all other treasures, and more valuable than any earthly trinket. Note M&M use of "excellence"--one competitor excelling all others. What a great description of this! There are many competitors trying to win first place in our heart, and seeking to gain our undivided loyalty. Money, sports, friends, school, etc. are just a few of the competitors fighting for control of us. Yet in this arena, only one competitor is really worthy of out complete allegiance. It is personally knowing Jesus Christ intimately. This is "surpassingly greater" than any other thing or person upon this earth. Note that this is speaking now of sanctification.

"for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish,"

It appears that Paul is referring back to vs. 7. All his trophies of the flesh he has forfeited on account of Christ (see 7). How does he presently evaluate this great loss? He sees these past things as nothing more than "dung" (skubala)--putrid relics of his past way of life. Important to note why he felt this way--he was focused upon something infinitely greater than what he had been holding onto. One indication of our spiritual maturity is in how much worth we still place in past trophies of the flesh. Do we see them as dung in comparison to what we now have in Christ?

"that I may gain Christ."

This again is very synonymous with verse 7. The things (5 and 6) which he held dear were now thrown away as dung so that he could gain Christ. It may sound like Paul was having to give up many things in order to become a believer. In reality he was having to give up those things which were keeping him from exercising saving faith, name- ly, the various trophies of his self-righteousness. No man can take hold of the righteousness of Christ without first emptying his hands of his own righteousness.

3:9. "and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;"

Paul now gives the result of gaining Christ. Most importantly, Paul will now be found in Christ instead of be- ing found against Christ as he previously would have been. The rest of the verse further amplifies this. This amplifica- tion is again very similar to vs. 7. The contrast is between true and false righteousness. False righteousness was Paul's own righteousness which he obtained from his relationship to the law. Naturally, it was really nothing more than filthy rags (Is. 64:6). True righteousness was God's righteousness imputed to Paul because of his relationship to Christ. This relationship was secured by Paul placing his faith in Christ, and Christ alone, to make him righteous. II Cor. 5:19-21.

3:10. "that I may know Him"

We now have the continuation of Paul's purpose in gaining Christ. Note carefully that it was far, far more than simply getting into heaven.

First, Paul wants to experience a first hand knowledge of the PERSON of Christ. He wants to know Him; not a creed or doctrine or denomination, or know about Him. And so we see the first object Paul wants to pursue, the per- son of Christ. And the Living Word is revealed to us through the written word.

"and the power of His resurrection,"

Secondly, Paul not only wants to know the person of Christ but also the POWER of Christ. That power is the same mighty power that raised Him (Christ) from the dead. And if this power can bring life to one who is dead, think what it can do for us who are now living. This power is essential for sanctification and service and is the means where- by the word of God is applied in and through the life of the child of God.

"and the fellowship of His sufferings,"

Now we go on to the third stage. Not only His PERSON and POWER, but also His PERSECUTION. By ac- quiring these first two, this third one is inevitable for us as it was for Stephen. Paul actually desired to be a partner in the Messiah's earthly suffering. And so we ought also follow this same pattern. It's relatively easy to pursue the first two, but far more difficult to endure this third calling to Christlikeness. Christ's suffering includes more than physical or verbal abuse; it would also include Christ's self-denial and sacrifice. However "sufferings" (pathema) is primarily used in the N.T. to refer to persecution for the name of Christ.

"being conformed to His death,"

The result of sharing in His sufferings is now seen. As we share in the fellowship of His sufferings, we are more and more molded into the likeness of His death. This is very similar to II Cor. 4:1 1,12 where we are always be- ing given over to death. Thus we are being conformed to Him in the area of His death. Just as the Son of man had to "suffer many things" and "be rejected" and "even killed," so also is the disciple obligated. We may not physically die for Him (martyrdom) but we certainly share in His procession to the point of death.

3:11. "if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead."

Here is the culmination of all verse 10. He desires to arrive, by whatever it takes, to the resurrection from the dead. It seems probable that this is in reference to spiritual resurrection (Rom. 6:3 and not physical. The primary sup- port for this is verse 12 where Paul speaks of this as being in reference to perfection or maturity. He says He has not yet attained this and it would seem very strange for him to say this in regards to physical resurrection. This also would perfectly culminate Paul's great desire--to become a carbon copy of Christ. The process is described in vs. 10 and the results are given at the end of 10 and here in vs. 11. To live as though we were resurrected saints requires the personal, experiential knowledge of the things discussed in vs. 10.

Are we willing to pay the price for this goal and result? What we are willing to sacrifice is an unerring indica- tor of our life's passion.

In summary, Paul, having rejected his former path to spiritual success (4-6), now describes his present and true path. In essence, the goal and passion of his life looked something like this:

TO KNOW (EXPERIENTIALLY) CHRIST'S:

PERSON (Him)

POWER (the power of His resurrection)

PERSECUTION (the fellowship of His sufferings)

PERFECTION (being conformed

resurrection from the dead)

3:12. "Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected;"

Paul is quick to assert that he has not yet reached the goal described in 10 and 11. It is helpful to realize that even Paul did not reach perfection in this life. This is also a key verse for countering those who believe the sin nature is eradicated at conversion. Apparently Paul's was not. The active and passive voices of the verbs may be denoting the proper balance in the process of sanctification. On one hand we are to strive to obtain Christlikeness, and on the other hand we must be brought to maturity by the work of Gods' spirit.

It is a good practice for spiritual leaders to openly admit their shortcomings. It is equally important that it be seen that they are working to correct them.

"but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me."

Here is the perfect balance to the first half of this verse. Paul realized that he was not perfect but that did not in any way quench his thirst for righteousness. He continued on in hot pursuit of becoming like Christ. Many believers are content to lay in the mud because they know they will never be perfectly clean in this life. How contrary to Paul! Paul's phrasing of this is quite graphic, using a play on words. He reaches out to take hold of that for which Christ took hold of him. The reason Christ "took hold" of us or "made us His own" is to make us like Himself, not simply get us into heaven. We ought also be in pursuit of Christ's goal for our lives so that we take hold of that for which we were taken hold of.

3:13. "Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended;"

Paul again reiterates what he has just said in verse 12. He wants them to know in no uncertain terms that he has not yet reached perfection or Christlikeness. Our people need to know that we are not PERFECT saints but PRO- GRESSING saints. I Tim. 4:15.

"but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,"

Again Paul balances recognition with responsibility. He pursues his responsibility, always recognizing his lack of perfection. What a great verse this is! We see here that Phil. 3:10,11 was Paul's great and primary goal in life. "Just one thing"--Paul could have dabbled at many things but he chose only one as his preeminent priority. He saw What God's goal for his life was and gave himself unreservedly to that goal. Can we also say with Paul: "one thing"? What other goals have caught our eyes and enticed our hearts? Anything else is a wrong life goal. It's not wrong to have other goals but they must all be goals which spring forth as the result of this one great goal.

Paul now gives us the means by which he pursues this goal. He first of all continually forgets those things be- hind him. Past successes and past failures are just that--PAST. Looking to the past will either make us discouraged or apathetic. Past failures will keep us discouraged, past successes will keep us apathetic or complacent. Thus we must consciously refuse to dwell on the things which lie behind us. There is no past defeat so devastating as to exclude us from going forward in the present; there is no past success so great as to exempt us from going forward to more victo- ry. Secondly, Paul stretches forth to what lies ahead. The word for "reaching forward" (epekteino) speaks of stretching out or straining forth, as a competitor in a race. Thus Paul "strains forth" to what lies ahead. He is intently eager to grab hold of what God has set before him and thus he is focused on what there is still to do, not what already has been done. We need to continually remind ourselves to forget about that which we no longer have any control over, and to reach forth to that which we still can deal with.

3:14. "I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."

Paul now describes his practice after having discussed his perspective. Interesting to note is the change of Paul's "chase" (dioko) from verse 6 to here. In vs. 6 "dioko" is translated "persecute." We see that Paul is also in the

process of working out his own salvation. He is continually pursuing God's goal for his life. Note also that Paul was not running aimlessly, he had a specific "goal" in mind. "The goal" would seem to be the goal of 10 and 11, i.e., spiri- tual perfection. Paul was not just running, he was running to win. For he recognized that beyond the "goal" lay an im- perishable "prize." What exactly is this prize which Paul is referring to? The lexicons seem to like "the upward calling

of

God. . . .

" The main idea here may be "the prize which is the upward (heavenly) calling of God in Christ Jesus."

Thus "the upward calling" is a genitive of apposition--further describing the "prize."

All this appears very synonymous to II Pet. 1:5-11. There is a goal (5-7) and a prize (11) very synonymous to here. It appears here that the prize is Christ-like character which results in eternal reward. Our "above calling" is to be conformed to the image of Christ. Rom. 8:29.

We have now seen what made Paul as dynamic as he was. He had God's goal for his life uppermost in his thoughts. He relentlessly pursued that goal, always keeping a proper perspective. His wholehearted bent of the soul was perverted in vss. 4-6 but now purified in vss. 7-14. We need to help people see that this is a goal that they can give everything they have to and will be utterly satisfied with the results.

3:15. "Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind;"

All mature believers are to have this same mindset. The "therefore" here also gives good support that 10-14 is basically speaking about being "mature." We see here that one of the marks of being mature in the faith is that our great goal in life is holiness, not happiness. No man can claim to be a mature Christian if this isn't his primary goal!

"and if in anything you thins otherwise, God will reveal even this to you."

If their minds were set on anything else, any other goal in life, God would reveal it to them. It would seem that this revelation must come through the convicting ministry of the Holy Spirit. It is comforting to know that when we get off the track God will point it out to us so that we can get back on.

3:16. "Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind."

This is a rather difficult phrase to interpret as well as translate. It seems that the emphasis is on presently liv- ing according to the same measuring line Paul has just given us. "Nevertheless" appears to contrast the end of verse 15. We, in contrast to the straying ones of 15b, are to: "walk in line by the same measuring line." five are to measure the aspirations of our life by the aspirations of God for our life and then we are to align ourselves to His standard. The im- agery of the race may well be in mind here again. Paul's lanemarker was 3:10-11. This also is to be ours if we want to win the prize of the upward calling of God. Secondly, we are to mind this same thing. This is synonymous with 15a. We, as a group of believers, ought to keep Christlikeness foremost in our minds. Think how this would revolutionize churches if we would take this lanemarker seriously and each be committed to it.

3:17. "Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern."

Paul wants his life goal not to be admired, but imitated. All of us are to be imitators of Paul since he so wholeheartedly imitated Christ. I don't think Paul is being proud here, but forthright and realistic. The truth is that all men are imitators and will imitate someone. Paul wants us to be imitators of those who are wholeheartedly devoted to Christ.

We are to watch closely all those who imitate Christ. "Who so walk" appears to be defining these men, name- ly they live according to the example set by Paul, Timothy, and Epaphroditus. Apparently we are to glean as much as we can from those walking according to the pattern set by Paul.

Is our life enough of an example that we would want others to pattern themselves after us? What must be al- tered to answer affirmatively?

3:18. "For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the ene- mies of the cross of Christ:"

Paul now explains why they should seek to imitate believers who are walking very closely with the Lord. "For" would seem to be causal here. In contrast to Paul and his companions, many walk in an ungodly manner. It is somewhat difficult to tell whether these are unsaved or carnal believers. These same terms could apply to both. Their lives make them enemies of the cross of Christ (Jas. 4:4).

We see the zealousness Paul had for the body of Christ. These men brought tears to his eyes because of the damage they brought to Christ's name and kingdom. The term "enemies of the cross of Christ" may have somewhat of a double meaning. No doubt these men are a hindrance to the spreading of the gospel. Secondly, though, they are in opposition to the lifestyle that the cross of Christ demands. Their life is in direct contrast to the discipline and sacrifice which those following Christ must endure.

3:19. "whose end is destruction,"

These men are headed straight for "destruction." This is the strongest case for these being unbelievers, since "destruction" frequently speaks of eternal destruction. It can, however, speak of temporal judgment (Acts 25:16, II Pet. 2:1, etc.) or ruin (Mk. 14:4 and maybe Heb. 10:39). Thus their end could be early physical death or a life which is utterly wasted (Jn. 15:6 or Mk. 8:34-38). One cannot say for sure either way, though Paul's usage tends to lean towards eternal destruction.

"whose god is their belly,"

Paul gives another graphic description of these men. Their God does not reside in the heavens but in their body. This is a graphic way of saying that they live only for the temporal pleasures of this life and their lives are en- slaved to the gratifying of their lusts. What constitutes one's God? What we tend to think about predominantly and what we get excited about when talking. These men are primarily excited about eating, drinking, sex, and fulfilling bodily appetites, rather than knowing Christ and making Him known.

"and whose glory is in their shame"

Next we see what they rejoice in. They find great glory in what they should find great shame.

"who set their mind on earthly things."

Here is the real root problem. Their minds are fully set on the things of this earth. Thus their entire lives are oriented towards the things of earth to fulfill their needs. I don't think this is saying that it is wrong to ever think about earthly things; this cannot be avoided. But the emphasis is on the present, customary mindset which is earthly, not heavenly; temporal, not eternal. Rom. 8:5,6.

There may be a progression here, going from the end to the beginning: THINKING (earth)--> DELIGHT- ING (shame)--> SERVING (stomach)--> END RESULT (destruction).

3:20. "For our citizenship is in heaven,"

Paul now gives the second reason we should imitate those walking closely with the Lord. Not only because of others' perversion, but now also because of our POSITION. Our "citizenship" resides not on this sin-infested earth but in the heavens. Thus we ought to live lives which well portray our position. This is very synonymous to 1:27 where the verb form of "citizenship" (politeuomai) is used. One early Christian wrote, "Our home is in heaven and here on earth we are heavenly citizens." Our mission on this earth is not to pass our days as comfortably as possible, but rather to worthily display our heavenly citizenship.

"from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,"

Our heavenly citizenship should radically affect our earthly perspective. The present tense of "eagerly wait" is probably gnomic and thus is a customary way of life. No doubt this was one of the primary reasons for Paul's dy- namic life. He was continually and eagerly awaiting Christ's return, and this perspective had an eternal impact on his earthly life. Eve who are heavenly citizens should also have a heavenly perspective which thoroughly controls our earthly lives. Note the proper balance concerning Jesus Christ here: SAVIOR and LORD. We are a heavenly colony stationed on earth until Christ comes from our homeland and makes this earth into His kingdom. Thus we too are to help in preparing the way of the Lord (Is. 40:3-5).

3:21. "who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself."

Here is the bright future which awaits all citizens of heaven. We will be transformed into His likeness (Rom. 8:29). Apparently Paul is demonstrating the complete transformation which will take place when our bodies are glori- fied. Our lowly body will be brought into conformity with His glorified body. The shekinah glory which radiated from Him on the Mount of Transfiguration will also radiate from us (Mtt. 13:43). Our outward and inner man will be brought into conformity with Christ so that "we shall be like Him"--1 Jo. 3:2. Note the use of "glory"--a visible mani- festation of the presence of God. This process is going on now and will be fully consummated at Christ's return.

This will take place by the power of Christ. It is His power, not our will, which will ultimately bring this to pass. It is also His power which must bring this process to pass in our lives presently. It is by means of this power that Christ brings us into conformity with Him. This power not only brings us into subjection to Him but also all things. One day all things again will be brought under His submission. And we are the first-fruits of this process.

Since this is our glorious future, it should have some profound implications for our present. We are on our way to our eternal homeland where we will receive our eternal bodies. In that day there will no longer be any tempta- tions to overcome, trials to endure, sins to defeat, opportunities for soul winning, etc. Then "time will be no more," and what we have done with our lives on this earth will be set in eternal cement as a monument to our foolishness or God's glory.

Chapter 4:1-23

4:1. "Therefore, my beloved and longed-for brethren, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, beloved."

Paul now begins his final series of exhortations. "Therefore" probably ties back to all of what has been said in chapter 3, especially towards the end. If they will stand firm in Christ, they will not fail in the goal Paul has described in 3:10,11 nor will they be swept away by the libertinism of 3:18,19. "So" probably refers to what proceeds and so if we are to "stand fast" in the Lord we must be carrying out the injunctions of chapter 3. An interesting paradox surfaces

here: we can only stand fast in the Lord by "pressing on" to become more like the Lord. A Christian who is not moving forward is really falling backward whether he realizes it or not.

Note the deep affection Paul has for these believers. He loved them and longed for them. No wonder they loved him and responded to him. Paul also was not afraid to verbalize his affection for them. He calls them his "joy." The man of God's heart ought to find his joy from two primary sources: Christ and people. One of the marks of spiri- tual maturity is that we rejoice in the same things God rejoices in. Secondly, he calls them his "crown." Probably this has reference to future joy. As we present men mature before Christ they will be a great source of rejoicing for us at the judgment seat of Christ. Note the similarity between here and 1:27.

4:2. "I implore Euodia and I implore Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord."

Here is one reason Paul has been writing so much about unity and selflessness. Apparently these two women were causing division among the body and Paul wants them to be unified and thus "fulfill his joy" (2:2). Interesting to note the double use of "implore" here. This is probably being used to add emphasis. Also though, it helps us see that both parties must make concessions for there to be real unity. We don't know who is at fault here and Paul does not pursue placing the blame on either party. The thing he is primarily interested in is the restoration of unity. And so he exhorts both sides to resolve their differences and to become of one mind. And what is the basis for this reconciliation? Their position. Because they both are "in the Lord," their minds ought also to be directed in the direction of Christ's mindset. We must be willing to resolve our minor conflicts in order to further our major cause: glorify God and reach the lost of this world.

4:3. "And I urge you also, true companion, help these women who labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow workers whose names are in the Book of Life."

Paul not only wants these two women to reconcile, but he asks that they be helped in the process. "True com- panion" is difficult to nail down. Some feel it is a proper name but there is no real support for this. It is masculine, sin- gular, and thus is addressed to a man, probably in a leadership position. This is a good verse to show the value of see- ing a counselor--an impartial third party. Note the glowing terms Paul ascribes to these women. "Co-labored" is used only in Phil. 1:27. The work for the advancement of the gospel is clearly not easy. It requires struggle and work just as for an athlete (note similar term) who would be victorious. These women were not the only ones who worked in the furthering of the gospel, Clement and others participated also. The last phrase is interesting: "whose names are in the Book of Life." Freeman notes that this may refer to the "register of citizen's names" found in every city. The imagery of citizenship would tie in well with the citizenship motif of Philippians.

4:4. "Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!"

It is clear that Paul is not very interested in sour-faced spirituality. One of the marks of genuine hope is joy (Rom. 15:1-31. If we are to represent heaven to earth, then joy should certainly be one of our trademarks, for in Christ's presence is fullness of joy. How do we obtain this joy? By rejoicing in the right object. We are to rejoice not in our situation but in our Savior, not in circumstances, but in Christ. The phrase "in the Lord" has been used frequently by Paul. We have been exhorted to "stand fast" in the Lord; to be of "one mind" in the Lord; and now to "rejoice" in the Lord (also 3:1 ).

Joy is not something that can be commanded, at least as an emotion. It appears there are times when this is an act of the will more than an overflow of the emotions. Jas. 1:2, Rom. 12:15. But the result of rejoicing in the Lord wild probably be a joyous life. The fact that "rejoice" is an imperative shows that rejoicing in the Lord is not a natural thing to do. We tend to rejoice in people or things and be apathetic towards God. As worthy representatives of Christ we should be a people who rejoice in their King and exult in Him. The last phrase "again I say rejoice" seems to be adding emphasis, especially on "rejoice." If we would concentrate on rejoicing in Christ so much of life would fall into place. We would be worshippers instead of worriers.

4:5. "Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand."

Paul continues his exhortations for heavenly living on earth. The word translated "gentleness" (epiekes) is probably best understood as "yielded rights." We are to be gentle or yielded people. The use of "be known" seems sig- nificant here. People are to realize our yieldedness "experientially." We are to be sure that they realize by seeing us in action that we are a people who do not cling to our rights as do non-Christians The last phrase is crucial to being able to do this. Christ's return could be at any moment, thus the Lord is at hand. Knowing this, we can give up our rights; since He will soon take care of them. Another view is realizing the nearness and presence of Christ as we give up our rights on His behalf. Thus we give up our rights knowing that He is at hand to take care of us in whatever way He de- cides is best. It is our closeness to Christ that enables us to part with our personal rights.

4:6. "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your re- quests be made known to God;"

Paul now gives the antidote for worrying about one's rights. Since the Lord is at hand, let Him know about the problems at hand. First, we are told not to worry about anything. If we are to worthily represent God's kingdom we cannot be a worried, fearful people. The righteous are bold as lions and we are not to carry our burdens but cast them on the Lord (I Pet. 5:7). The rest of this verse tells the means by which we are to deal with worry. We are to take them to God and deposit them before His throne. Though God already knows our needs, we are to make them known, i.e., verbalize them to Him. As we do this it should be in an attitude of thanksgiving, whatever the outcome may be. Again, we either worry or worship.

4:7. "and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

Here we have the result of fulfilling verse 6. Instead of having our hearts and minds captured by worry, they will be captives of God's peace. "Of God" is probably a genitive of source. Thus God is the source of this peace, not the conditions around us. This peace is beyond our comprehension, for we cannot fully understand it; yet it is not be- yond our experience, for we can fully experience it in the present. "Will guard" is graphic, denoting a garrison, or one standing sentry. The peace of God will watch over and warn us against any intruders. If the peace of God is not ruling or standing sentry over our inward man, then an unwanted intruder has already entered. Here we see a distinction be- tween "heart" and "mind." It would seem that they are referring to our emotional and intellectual facilities. Not only are we to be characterized by joy, we also are to be under the control of God's supernatural peace.

4:8. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, what- ever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things."

Having dealt with our praying (6,7) we are now told what to think on; and in verse 9, what to do or practice.

We are to set our minds upon the things that will bring Christlikeness to our lives. Of course the word of God perfectly fills all these categories. Interesting though that he doesn't just say "mind the word of God." All these things are synonymous with Col. 3:1-3: "things which are above."

This verse could be talking about the way we look at and think about other people. We are to concentrate on the good things we see in them and quit dwelling on their faults and shortcomings. Either way, the principle and appli- cation is clear. As we mentally linger on these qualities, they will become part of our lives and thus our mindset will greatly cause us to be heavenly lights to earth.

4:9. "The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do."

Paul now covers the spectrum of things he wants them to do. We see Paul's great heart for discipleship here as well as his total commitment of life to Christ. There well may be a progression here: SEE (visual)--> HEAR (ver- bal)--> RECEIVE (accept)--> LEARN (embrace)--> DO (apply).

The truth is first demonstrated, then declared. From that point the Philippians accept it and then finally em- brace it. This ought to be our pattern of discipleship. We are responsible that the men we are working with see and hear the truth in us. Then they must respond by accepting and embracing the truth we have transmitted.

The goal of all this, though, is that they do the truth they have embraced. It is not enough for us to accept and embrace the truth, we must be equally zealous to do it also.

"and the God of peace will be with you."

Paul adds a note of divine assurance to them. Because of the phrase "the God of peace," this verse (and possi- bly 8) may be linked back to vs. 7 where "peace" also appears. Verses 4:7,9 are the only places in Philippians where "peace" is used other than the greeting, 1:2. If "finally" (8) is to be translated "in addition" (3:1 ) then this would fit well. Thus Paul is exhorting us to pursue four things if we would have God's peace reigning over our inner man:

(1) A LIFE OF CONSISTENT YIELDEDNESS (SUBMIT TO GOD) (2) A LIFE OF CONSISTENT PRAYER (CRY OUT TO GOD) (3) A LIFE OF CONSISTENT MEDITATION (THINK ON GOD) (4) A LIFE OF CONSISTENT OBEDIENCE (RESPOND TO GOD)

4:10. "But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity."

Paul now stops directly exhorting the believers and begins his final conclusion of the letter. Note the similari- ties between here and 1:5-7.

Paul tells them that their gift has caused him to greatly rejoice in the Lord. It is not the gift he is so joyful for, but the spiritual concern that the gift demonstrates. From the way he words the beginning of this verse-"revived your care"--a principle for increasing our concern for others may emerge. As we give to other believers it causes our con- cern for them to be rekindled or to increase. These believers were caring for Paul previously, but it was through the gift that Paul says their concern for him was revived or brought to bloom again.

4:11. "Not that I speak in regard to need,"

Paul wants to be sure that they realize he was not depending on their gift to meet his needs. Apparently Paul didn't see his situation as being so desperate that he couldn't survive without their gift. There is a good balance here:

we ought to appreciate and rejoice over other's gifts to us; but we shouldn't rely upon them as the basis for meeting our needs.

"for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content:"

Paul gives the reason ("for") for not being dependent upon their gift. It is not because he needs external cir- cumstances to be more favorable, but that he has learned to be content from within.

The word translated "content" (autarkeia) was a favorite of the Greek stoics and philosophers. They used it to describe the man who needs nothing externally to be satisfied in life--all he needs is within. Paul uses this word to emphasize that the believer (who has Christ dwelling within) has all that he needs beyond mere physical necessities. I Tim. 6:6, Phil. 4:13, Ps. 73:25.

An important thing to see here is that this satisfaction apart from external conditions is something Paul learned. It may have taken some time, but Paul's training has been consummated and he is no longer dependent upon worldly goods for earthly satisfaction. Me can expect to go through the same training process. As citizens of heaven, God wants to wean us away from being dependent upon the decaying delicacies of earth.

4:12. "I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound."

Paul now tells about his ability to live with little or much. "Abased" is frequently used in the O.T. in regards to fasting. Thus Paul knew how to live in the midst of nothing. He also knew how to live in the midst of "overflow" --"abound." There is apparently a very close connection between having nothing and humility. "Abased" can mean ei- ther. No doubt God takes away some of our wants to keep us humble and dependent upon Him. The passive voice of "abased" is significant. Paul didn't feel compelled to bring himself to nothing; but he was content when God did this to him. What possession do we think we could not live without happily?

"Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need."

Paul now further explains the first half of this verse. The use of "learned" is graphic. It speaks of being initi- ated into the secrets of one of the mystery religions. The idea seems to be that Paul had learned a very great and pre- cious secret: how to be totally satisfied with or without physical necessities. The use of "be full" and "hunger" may be from the beatitude found in Mtt. 5:6. What a great secret this is to learn! No doubt this should be one of our goals as believers: allow Christ to satisfy us independently of circumstances. Truly, "godliness with contentment is great gain!" I Tim 6:6.

4:13. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Paul summarizes what he has been saying in 11 and 12. Circumstances don't control him; rather, he through Christ controls them. "Do" (ischuo) can be to "empower or prevail." Acts 19:16,20. It seems that the idea of "prevail- ing" or "overcoming" makes more sense here. Paul is able to prevail against all different kinds of circumstances by means of Christ's power. Note the perfect balance here for Christian living. He sees that he is responsible to confront and overcome these various conditions. He realizes though that he can only do this as he completely depends on Christ's energizing power. The prevailing Christian neither shirks his responsibility nor despises God's enabling power for victory.

4:14. "Nevertheless you have done well that you shared in my distress."

Paul wants them to know that their gift was important. Though he didn't really need it, nevertheless they had done well in sharing together with him. The use of "well" (kalos) is important here. What they did was a beautiful thing, i.e., something that was visibly attractive to those who saw. Giving to others in time of need is truly a "good work." It is visible evidence that the invisible Christ is working in us and through us. Note the use of "shared with me" (sunkoivoneo) here and its same use in 1:7. These are the only places this compound is used in Phil. and thus gives further weight for the interpretation of 1:5-7.

4:15. "Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedo- nia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only."

Paul further commends them for outshining all other churches in regards to sacrificial giving. They stood by him in the beginning of the gospel when he vent out from Macedonia. The phrase "concerning giving and receiving" is somewhat difficult to nail down. Most likely it is a way of saying they had a missionary fund. No wonder Paul had such a special place in his heart for this church, they were faithful from day one. Note Paul's close connection between the gospel and himself. Important to see the use of "share" (koivoneo) here and its relationship to 1:5.

4:16. "For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities."

Paul continues the specifics of their selfless giving. While in Thessalonica he received money to help him minister the word. Note how quickly these believers learned to give of their money to the work of God. Perhaps we are not forthright enough in helping believers see that they have a financial responsibility before God. The phrase "once and again" probably means "again and again" (BAG). Genuine love is not afraid to give too much. Their commitment to Paul was not sporadic but frequent and regular.

4:17. "Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account."

We see now why Paul was so keenly interested in their giving. He was not seeking or desiring their gift for himself. (His needs were already cared for--I Thess. 2:9.) He desired that they give so that their heavenly account would increase. It is abundantly dear that Paul was very concerned about rewards and treasure in heaven. He wanted these believers to have treasure in heaven and that required investing in heaven's work. important to see that Paul wasn't too proud to take their money. If he had refused their offering he might have appeared more spiritual but he wood have curtailed the work God wanted to do through them. This gift is called "fruit," and it could either be a de- scription of their gift or a description of the byproduct of their gift. The present tense of "abounds" is very significant. Quite possibly it denotes continual action--"is multiplying." Their gift is continually multiplying itself as more and more lives are touched by it. What a tremendous promise to keep in mind as we give money to the Lord's work Our deposit is continually multiplying itself as those affected touch others who touch others, etc. This also gives good sup- port for interpreting 1:5-7.

4:18. "Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God."

Paul now tells them that their gift has arrived and been received by him. The plural "all" shows that this gift was more than one thing and whatever these things were, they abundantly met his needs. He has so much, that he feels he is overflowing. We see that Epaphroditus was the carrier of their gift. His description of their gift is very descriptive and full of praise. The Jewish imagery comes out clearly here. It is a "thusian"-sacrifice. As N.T. priests we are to offer spiritual sacrifices (I Pet. 2:5, Heb. 13:15,16). This sacrifice was obviously. a well-pleasing one, for it was a sweet smelling fragrance in the nostrils of God. It's exciting to realize that we can bring pleasure to God by the way we live. Our gifts and lives can be a delightful aroma to our Father. This sacrifice was also "acceptable." God did not reject it as unworthy, but accepted it as labor on His behalf. This gift was not only a sweet-smelling aroma in His nose, but also a well pleasing act in His sight. We ought to focus on these words as we present our spiritual sacrifices and be sure that they also will apply to us.

4:19. "And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus."

What a great promise Paul leaves them with' They had sacrificed to give to Paul's need and Paul reminds them that God will meet their every need. Note carefully, he promises to meet their needs, not their wants. He meets our needs out of His inexhaustible "riches"--wealth. Because God is so rich in being able to provide, we are also able to be rich in good works.

The context of this verse seems to indicate that Paul is speaking primarily of their physical and material needs. They had given sacrificially to Paul and Paul is assuring them that God is well able to fill in the deficit. If we will keep "firing away" at the targets God has placed before us, then He will continue to supply the necessary ammu- nition (II Cor. 9:6-8).

4:20. "Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen."

God alone is worthy of the glory of men for eternity. God is not just worthy of some glory, but all glory; He is the one person who is worthy of receiving the glory of our lives. This glory should and will extend to Him through- out eternity. Interesting correlation here with vs. 19. God pours out the riches of His glory on us so that we can in turn glorify Him.

4:21. "Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren who are with me greet you."

Paul now concludes this letter with final farewells and greetings. Paul was concerned for "every saint" in Christ, not just his close personal friends. No wonder God used him so greatly.

4:22. "All the saints greet you, but especially those who are of Caesar's household."

Paul sends the greetings of all the saints, especially of one particular household. This would certainly seem to be Caesar's household or palace. There is no other reference to another Caesar in the N.T. This helps confirm the "praetorium" of 1:13.

4:23. "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen."

Paul concludes with a similar prayer found in Gal. 6:18. Paul is praying that God's grace (His energizing power--II Tim. 2:1 ) be with them all. No doubt this is an important prayer we should pray for our disciples.

References in Text

BAG = Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament. Translated by William F. Arndt and F. Wilbur Gingrich (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1957).

BL&D = Blass and Debrunner, A Greek Grammar of the New Testament, University of Chicago Press, Robert Funk translator, 1961).

HODGES = Notes from Professor Zane Hodges class at Dallas Theological Seminary, Dallas, Texas. A. JUDSON = Adoniram Judson, Missionary to Burma. J.B. LIGHTFOOT = J. B. Lightfoot, St. Paul's Epistle to the Philippians (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1953). LKGNT = Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament, Rienecker & Rogers, (Zondervan, 1980.) M&M = James Hope Moulton and George Milligan, The Vocabulary of the Greek Testament (London: Hodder Stoughton, 1952).

VINCENT = M. R. Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament (Associated Publishers and Authors, Wilmington, Delaware, 1972).

GEORGE WHITEFIELD = George Whitefield's Journal.

This study was manuscripted from a series of lessons by Dwight Edwards, pastor of Grace Bible Church in College

Station, Texas.

Dwight attended Dallas Theological Seminary and has pastored in College Station for the past 16

years.