Paul starts his letter to the Philippians by dealing with the issue of security. Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6) Humanly speaking things did not look so good for Paul. However, his outlook did not stem from his circumstances, but from Christ who had saved him and promised to see him through. For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. 2 Timothy 1:12)
Godly character is an important part of the Christian life. Character is defined as "qualities or features that distinguishes one person from another." Bob Jones Sr. said, "The test of a man's character is what it takes to stop him." That being the case, Paul was a man of immeasurable character. Nothing short of death was going to stop him from serving and rejoicing in Christ. Christians must realize that the conditions they are under do not lessen their responsibility to serve God. Someone had said that Heaven's stars shine the brightest against the darkest sky. How true! These were dark days in Paul's life, but his chains were not going to hinder his joy and love for Christ. Notice several things about Paul.
Consider Paul's Predicament as he sits in a Roman prison, possibly facing the death penalty for preaching Christ. Yet he still had a concern for his dear friends at Philippi. Although Paul was in a dreadful predicament he did not allow his dilemma to cut him off from those to whom God had called him to minister. Paul's situation did not alleviate his call to service. We must keep our eyes on Christ rather than our circumstances.
Paul identifies himself and Timothy as servants of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:1) There is no doubt that Paul was the prince of preachers; a pioneer preacher amidst pagan darkness taking the gospel where it had never been. Under the inspiration of God Paul wrote two thirds of the New Testament. He won souls everywhere he went; he planted churches; he trained preachers, and served God with unequaled success. How did he identify himself to the Philippians? He did so as a servant. The meaning of this word differs from our ordinary use of the term. The word servant carries the idea of being devoted to another, to the disregard of one's own interests. Paul was not bound by force to obey his master, He did so as a voluntary act of complete surrender, on the grounds of love.
Paul's peace is evident. Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:2) Here are two of the sweetest words in the English language—grace and peace. Paul knew real peace and the origin of it. Paul could wish them peace but he could not give them peace. That must come from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. It is only after one has by God's grace been forgiven of his sins and made a new creature in Christ that he can experience true peace.
Paul had the peace of God that only a believer can experience. He could have had quite a pity party sitting there in jail. He chose rather to focus on peace. Paul never preached a 'woe is me' sermon. He never charged Jesus with not doing right by him. He just continued to rejoice and serve others. The world knows nothing of this kind of peace and joy. There is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked. (Isaiah 48:22) To the believer Jesus said, These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33) Paul's peace came from an unwavering trust in the Saviour that had overcome the world.
True and lasting peace is the fruit of a right relationship with God. There is no real or lasting peace without God's grace. There is a false peace that this world searches for, but to no avail. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. (1 Thessalonians 5:3) Where God has not worked and divine grace transformed the heart there is no real peace. Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (Romans 5:1-2)
Paul thanks and praises God for the precious memories of his days at Philippi. I thank my God upon every remembrance of you. (Philippians 1:3) What a heart for people! Even in prison Paul's heart was consumed with a passion and love for God's people. This world can rob you of your freedom, but no matter what the circumstances are you still have your heart. No wonder the Bible commands us, Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. (Proverbs 4:23)
We see that Paul's Prayer life was not hindered by his hardship. Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy. (Philippians 1:4) Paul would later exhort the Thessalonians to Pray without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17) Like Samuel of old Paul knew the responsibility of prayer. Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way. (1 Samuel 12:23)
Paul treasured their ... fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now. (Philippians 1:5) What a picture of the family of God! Paul's partnership with the Philippians was not broken even though he was imprisoned and unable to be with them. They were still family. The word fellowship simply means to have in common. Merrill Unger said:
"Fellowship means companionship, a relation in which parties hold something in common, familiar interaction."
You cannot have real Bible fellowship with someone unless you have something in common. For Christian fellowship, this means to be cleansed by the precious blood and be saved.
Paul had full confidence in Christ and His ability to accomplish the work of salvation which He had started. Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6) Assurance is absolutely necessary in order to overcome this world and live the victorious Christian life. Biblical confidence comes from knowing and trusting Christ. Being confident of this very thing. Paul started this verse by affirming his confidence in Christ's character and ability to bring his salvation to fruition. There were four things that led to Paul's confidence.
Paul's confidence was in the Saviour Who hath begun a good work. (Philippians 1:6) in every believer. Notice that the work has only begun! It is not yet finished. He is in the process of making trophies of grace out of His children. Let us not forget that it is God who is doing the work. As we study the Scripture we find three phases to the work of God in a Christian's life. They are:
Every believer can have confidence in the fact that God is at work in his life. This is a promise that he can take to the bank. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it. (1 Thessalonians 5:24)
Paul states that the work of Jesus has only begun.There is something else. The phrase He will perform it, speaks of His continuance in our lives. Praise God He is not finished with us. His way is not to start something and not finish it. No! Jesus Christ is the author and finisher of our faith. (Hebrews 12:2) He is the author and finisher—that which He starts, He will complete. He didn't salvage us just to keep us out of hell. He saved us for a purpose! God is going to conform us to the image of Jesus Christ. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (Romans 8:29) So many stumble over the word predestination and miss the word conformed, losing sight of the fact that God's purpose is to bring about Christ-likeness in the believer. Predestination means to foreordain to a destiny. Our destiny is to be like Christ.
Our Lord, who begins the work of salvation in us, will continue to performthat work. The word perform means to, "bring to an end, accomplish, perfect, execute, or complete." There was no doubt in Paul's mind concerning his eternal security in Christ. The Bible teaches that those who are truly saved shall never perish.How sad that there are those who go about in fear of losing their salvation. As believers we have the word of our Saviour that we are safe and secure. And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. (John 10:28-29) By believing on Christ, the Christian receives a salvation that cannot be lost, forfeited or taken away. Nothing can separate the believer from the love of Christ. Once an individual has put his faith in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Lord saves him, then he is saved forever. There will never be a time from that day forward in which he is not saved. He cannot lose his salvation. It cannot be taken from him. He cannot sin it away. He is secure for eternity.
Those who hold to the Bible doctrine of eternal security are simply exercising faith in the words and promises of God. When Jesus said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. (Hebrews 13:5), we believe Him. When He said, All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. (John 6:37), we believe Him. When Jesus says, And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. (John 10:28), we simply take God at His word. Paul's confidence concerning the security of the Philippian believer's was not based on their ability to hold out or do good works and perform, but on the power of God to perform in them a good work unto completion. Praise God! We do not have to hold on to Christ—He is holding onto us. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it. (1 Thessalonians 5:24)
Time and time again we see Paul looking for and pointing others towards the Lord's return. Without a vision the people perish and the Christian needs to keep his heart focused on the return of Christ. The expression the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6) refers to the coming of Christ. This is the day of the believer's glorification to which John referred. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. (1 John 3:2) Having already saved us, God will complete His Divine work of grace in our lives with His return, by glorifying the saints. What a day that will be! The return of our Lord is indeed our hope. Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. (Titus 2:13)
Paul reminds the Church of Philippi of his care for them. I have you in my heart.Compassion is one of the great characteristics of God's people. A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. (John 13:34-35) A Christian is known by his compassion for others—especially the brethren. We see here that Paul's compassion manifested itself in other traits in his life.
As Paul continues to write, we can easily pick up on his love for the Philippian believers. Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace. For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:7-8) The Philippian believers were dear to the heart of Paul. This is the ministry! Not buildings, not bank accounts, not denominations, but people. We live a materialistic society. Depraved man is driven by greed and covetousness—sadly the same worldly desires have infiltrated the Church. Christians are no longer pilgrims passing through this world. They have become settlers content with its pleasures and possessions. Paul had no love for this world. Paul's love for both his Saviour and his people is what drove him.
And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment. (Philippians 1:9) Paul's compassion led him to action on the part of the Philippians. Paul's action boiled down to two words—I pray. Paul wasn't a be ye warmed and filled Christian. He invested in the lives of others. There is no doubt about it! Prayer is the most neglected privilege of the Church. Probably one of the Christian's greatest failures is the failure to pray. Oh the seriousness of praying for one another! Samuel said, Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way. (1 Samuel 12:23) It is sin to be a prayerless Christian. A prayerless Christian is a powerless Christian. The Bible commands us to pray without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17) E. M. Bounds said, "Men are to pray—to pray for the advance of God's cause. Prayer puts God in full force in the world. To a prayerful man God is present in realised force; to a prayerful Church God is present in glorious power."
The Bible teaches us to pray, always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit. (Ephesians 6:18) The attitude of the Christian is to be one of continual prayer. John R. Rice used to say, "Every failure is a prayer failure." God challenges every believer to pray and to prove Him. Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not. (Jeremiah 33:3) The great Christians of old accomplished amazing things with the power of God because they walked with God in prayer. Uncle Bud Robinson prayed daily:
"O Lord, give me a backbone as big as a saw log, And ribs like the sleepers under the church floor. Put iron shoes on me and galvanized breeches, And give me a rhinoceros hide for a skin; And hang a wagon load of determination up in the gable end of my soul. Help me to sign the contract to fight the devil as long as I have got a fist, and bite him as long as I've got a tooth, and then gum him till I die. All this I ask for Christ's sake."
That is the kind of prayer we need today. Apart from prayer, we will have no power for Christian service. Sam P. Jones said, "No man was ever conquered on his knees in prayer to God." Prayer moves the hand of God. Robert Hall, a great preacher of the last century has well said, "The prayer of faith is the only power in the universe to which the Great Jehovah yields. Prayer is the sovereign remedy."
Without continual prayer, the soldier of Christ will be defeated and will fail in His work. No wonder the Bible says, Men ought always to pray, and not to faint. (Luke 18:1) and Pray without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17) Continual prayer is prevailing prayer. We must be persistent in our prayer life. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (James 5:16)
Not only do we see that Paul prayed, but look at what he prayed for. He prayed that theirlove may abound. (Philippians 1:9) Paul's prayer was that the Philippian believers would experience an increase in their love. The love that Paul prayed for was a sacrificial love that would result in service for the Saviour. Of course, many of the Philippians were sold out to Christ and were serving Him with all their hearts. Christian love is a key ingredient for serving Christ. We cannot operate without love. Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. (1 Corinthians 13:1)
Compassion leads to conviction. Love is not an excuse to ignore doctrine and to side-step God's standard of holiness. You will notice that the fruit of their love was not to be liberal or worldly. Not at all—it was just the opposite. Paul expected their love to grow and abound, yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment.
Paul's prayer was that their love would not just abound—but abound more in knowledge and in all judgment. (Philippians 1:9) Notice, Paul's prayer was not just that their love would abound. Paul knew that true love calls for knowledgeand judgment.
First, there is the Acquiring of Truth. The Christian life is a call to study. Every believer ought to be a serious student of God's word. Peter exhorted us to grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ... (2 Peter 3:18) As we read and study the Bible, we gather information about how God wants us to live. Many lose heart and fail Christ because they do not know God's word. My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. (Hosea 4:6) Jesus said, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures... (Matthew 22:29)That is why the Psalmist said, Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. (Psalm 119:11)
Second, there is the Application Of Truth. Judgment speaks of discernment and understanding. Judgment is the discernment to apply knowledge correctly. Spiritual discernment is the need of the hour. We live in strange times The Church has become so worldly and the world has become so churchy that you can hardly tell them apart. Discernment is something that God's people cannot do without. You will remember when the men of war gathered at Hebron to support of David in establishing his rule over all of Israel. Over 350,000 of the greatest soldiers of the day gathered with David. Among them the Bible says were, the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do... 1 Chronicles 12:32 That is discernment! To have the understanding to know what to do! David said, Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart. Psalm 119:34 Discernment not only enables you to know the difference between right and wrong and good and best, but it enables you to choose the right and the best.
Notice that their discernment called for decision. Paul prayed for their discernment so that they could approve things that are excellent. (Philippians 1:10) The word approve comes from a word used for testing metal to determine whether or not it is genuine. Once you discern whether something is right or wrong you have to make a decision. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. (James 1:22) Getting mad at the preacher and running off to some ear tickling Church does not alleviate your responsibility. Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin. (James 4:17)
Not only are we to be sincere, but we are to be sincere and without offence. (Philippians 1:10)before the world. The word sincere carries the idea of being "tested by sunlight" and "without wax." These are terms taken from the Potter's world. Pottery often developed cracks while being fired. Crooked merchants would fill the cracks with wax and paint over them. An soon as something hot was put in the piece of pottery, the wax would melt. In order to determine if a piece of pottery had been filled with wax the buyer would hold it up to the sunlight to examine it. If the piece had been cracked and filled, the sunlight would show it. Some dealers would stamp their products sine cera (without wax) as a pledge of quality. The Christian ought to be sincere when tested by the light.
Our new direction requires that we be without offence. (Philippians 1:10) in this dark world. Our life must demonstrate to a lost world that Christianity is real. The Greek word used here is "skandalon." It refers to the part of a trap to which the bait was attached. When the bait was placed in that trap, it drew the unsuspecting animal into its jaws of death. The thought here is, when a Christian is an offence, he becomes the bait that Satan uses to draw others into his trap. Believers must live a life that is above reproach. Paul's desire was that these believers would live so that no one would ever stumble because of their behavior.
Their conviction was to be permanent. It was not to be a temporary conviction, but one that would last till the day of Christ. (Philippians 1:10)Paul always reminded folks of the return of Christ. Man is so busy today with his own agenda that he has little or no time for God's plan, and the return of Christ. However, the Christian is both warned and admonished to be ready for that day. Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not. (Luke 12:40)This world will be taken by surprise at the rapture and it is a shame that so many Christians are so caught up with this world that they will be overtaken by the Lord's appearing as well.
The imminent return of Christ promotes purity among His people. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. (1 John 3:2-3) Every man that hath this hope! What hope? The rapture! The Christian who is expecting the any moment return of Christ will be a committed Christian. We should live at all times the way we would want our Saviour to find us when He returns. Jesus Christ asked the question, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?. (Luke 18:8)
The faithful Christian is ever watching for the return of his Saviour. There is a crown for the Christian who loves and watches for Christ's return. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:7-8) Man is so busy today with his own agenda that he has little or no time for God's plan for the return of Christ. However, the Christian is both warned and admonished to be ready for that day. For those who are faithful there will be a great reward for them.