Thursday, December 12, 2013

For To Me, To Live Is Christ And To Die Is Gain

Philippians 1:1-30 NIV

1Paul and Timothy, servants of CHRIST JESUS,

To all GOD’s holy people in CHRIST JESUS at Philippi, together with the overseers and deaconsa :

2Grace and peace to you from GOD our FATHER and the LORD JESUS CHRIST.

Thanksgiving and Prayer

3I thank my GOD every time I remember you. 4In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy5because of your partnership in the Gospel from the first day until now, 6being confident of this, that HE Who Began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the Day of CHRIST JESUS.

7It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the Gospel, all of you share in GOD’s Grace with me. 8GOD can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of CHRIST JESUS.

9And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight,10so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the Day of CHRIST,11filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through JESUS CHRIST—to the Glory and Praise of GOD.

Paul’s Chains Advance the Gospel

12Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters,b that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the Gospel. 13As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for CHRIST. 14And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in The LORD and dare all the more to proclaim the Gospel without fear.

15It is true that some preach CHRIST out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the Gospel. 17The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. 18But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, CHRIST Is Preached. And because of this I rejoice.

Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, 19for I know that through your prayers and GOD’s provision of The Spirit of JESUS CHRIST what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.d 20I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always CHRIST Will Be Exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.  

21 For to me, To Iive Is CHRIST and to die is gain. 

22If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with CHRIST, which is better by far; 

24but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.

25Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26so that through my being with you again your boasting in CHRIST JESUS will abound on account of me.

Life Worthy of the Gospel

27Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ. 

Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in The One Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the Gospel 28without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by GOD. 29For it has been granted to you on behalf of ChRIST not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for Him, 30since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.

Philippi was a Roman colony in Greece. That means it was originally settled by Roman soldiers who had retired from the Army. This meant that the city would be particularly loyal to Rome; serving as a thorn in the side of the Greeks should they choose to revolt. It is also a city with which Paul has a close connection. 

You might recall these events from the book of Acts:

·         Paul was given the vision of the Macedonian calling to him to come over to that area and preach the gospel.

·         In response to this he went to Philippi, and there met Lydia, the "seller of purple." 

There was evidently no Jewish synagogue in the city, which means there were very few Jews in the city. This is to be expected in a Roman colony. Lydia invited the apostle and his friends to her home, and that was the beginning of the church in Philippi.

·         The most prominent incident recorded for us is Paul driving out the demon from the slave girl who foretold the future. 

This caused a riot, and eventually resulted in Paul and Barnabas being thrown in prison.

·         At midnight, when Paul and Barnabas were singing hymns, God's kind Providence sent an earthquake to release them. 

The jailer was converted. 

You'll also recall that the magistrates were frightened to know that Paul was Roman, and they had beaten him without a trial. It seemed politic Paul and Barnabas to move on.

Paul Writes from Rome

Of course, Paul is not writing from Philippi. He's writing from Rome. In fact, he's writing from a prison in Rome, where he is chained to a couple of members of the Praetorian Guard. Eventually, this will lead to his martyrdom. In the meanwhile he sees it as a marvelous opportunity to evangelize the soldiers chained to him. 

No comments:

Post a Comment