Philippians 1:19-25

Philippians 1:19-25

Philippians 1:19-25 expresses Paul’s sense of celebration, identifies his source of strength, and his reason for confidence.

Philippians 1:19-25 surpasses a positive attitude to one of celebration

But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy. (ESV, Psalm 5:11)

Throughout the Bible, Christ-followers are encouraged to rejoice and express joy. Why? Because a relationship with Jesus Christ releases you from the bondage of sin and grants you eternal life with him. And that should cause an ongoing celebration.

V. 19 I will rejoice…

So Paul ends v.18 and begins v.19 by repeating the same word…rejoice. Just in case you missed it the first time. Rejoice is the Greek word chairo and the Greek word chara is translated joy.

James, the half brother of Jesus, goes more extreme with the idea. He instructs Christ-followers to express joy even in the midst of difficult circumstances.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (ESV, James 1:2)

REFLECT AND RECORD

Consider a difficult circumstance you’ve experienced. How would you rate your level of joy as you navigated it? What factors contributed to how it went? What might you have done differently?

Philippians 1:19-25 identifies Paul’s source of strength

V. 19 for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance

Christianity doesn’t pretend you can summon a power from within. Instead, it recognizes that we are weak. Vulnerable. And gain our strength and support from a community of believers and the power of God.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (ESV, 2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

Paul readily and unashamedly identifies his source of strength: the prayers of the Philippian church and the presence of the Holy Spirit. We don’t understand how prayer works. But know that it does. And Paul regularly asked for prayer support in his ministry. Jesus too, regularly prayed and encouraged the same from his followers. And he told several parables about the impact prayer has in the life of believers.

Furthermore, Christ-followers lean on the Holy Spirit for help. In fact the Holy Spirit is often identified by the Greek word paráklētos, which means advocate and helper.

REFLECT AND RECORD

Take a moment to reflect on and describe times when you sensed the prayer of others. What about when you felt weak and the power of the Holy Spirit sustained you. What did you learn about Christian community and the power of God from those times?

Philippians 1:19-25 explains the reason for Paul’s confidence

V. 21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

Paul is unsure of his future. The Greek word for deliverance in V.19 is soteria, which means salvation. Does Paul mean salvation from prison and physical freedom or spiritual salvation if he’s martyred?

It’s not clear. But he’s good either way.

V. 22 If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me

If he lives, Paul will faithfully serve God. He doesn’t plan to retire, kick back, and enjoy the good life. That comes in heaven.

V. 25 I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith,

Rather, Paul feels responsible as a spiritual mentor to the Philippian church. He wants to support and encourage them on a path of discipleship that is characterized by joy. And demonstrate a Christian life that serves as an example. One still worth following today.

In what ways do you encourage others in the Christian faith? Would you describe your witness as someone who cowers or stands courageously for Christ? How well do you exemplify what discipleship looks like?

Join me next week in a look at Philippians 1:26-30. Also, check out my Christian detective novel Soul Pursuit, and Finding Grace, the next one in the series.

About Chip Tudor:

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.

Philippians 1:19-25

Philippians 1:12-18

Philippians 1:12-18 conveys Paul’s passion in sharing the gospel. And how the message is delivered despite his imprisonment and the rivalry of other preachers.

In Philippians 1:12-18 Paul presents a positive attitude despite his circumstances

Difficult circumstances challenge your attitude. And this impacts how well you navigate those circumstances. Because they cause self-pity. Which makes your attitude worse. And piles on more self-pity that spirals down the drain of depression.

REFLECT AND RECORD

Think about a difficult circumstance you’ve experienced. What impact did your attitude have on how well you navigated it? How did it resolve? What part did your Christian faith play in getting you through it?

V. 12 What has happened to me has really served to advance the Gospel

The Greek word for advance is prokopēn and means advancement in spite of barriers that hinder progress.

What barriers and hinderance does Paul mean? Well, he’s in prison. And sitting in a jail cell instead of out preaching is a hindrance and barrier to evangelistic progress. As well as an attitude killer that could easily plunge him into a downward spiral. But he refused to take that path and instead, made the most of his circumstances.

The Praetorium refers to the residence of the Roman governor and the Praetorian guard was a branch within the Roman military assigned to the security of the imperial family. Paul is under their supervision while he waits for his trial.

So he shares the gospel with the soldiers guarding him. And the captivity you’d expect to halt spreading the gospel becomes the expression that carries it forward.

Chains for Christ…

Furthermore, it grows clear his only offense is a passion for sharing the gospel message. You can almost imagine the soldiers exchanging prisoner updates during their shift change. “Good luck with the crazy preacher and his Jesus resurrection story.”

Do you see the irony? The amazing paradox of God’s truth? That a prisoner shares with his captors how to experience true freedom?

Philippians 1:12-18 demonstrates how Paul’s attitude positively influenced others

Hang around someone down in the dumps and they can drag you down too. But those with a positive outlook will lift you up. Provide encouragement in your difficulties. And that’s the approach Paul took.

V. 14 Are more bold to speak the word without fear

Paul’s determination to share the gospel and his enlistment of the Praetorium guard to serve in his salvation army was inspiring. It influenced other Christ-followers to share their faith as well.

And you have a sphere of influence too. Your family…friends…co-workers. Are all watching you. Taking some of your cues. Following your behaviors. Receiving your messages. What kind are you sending?

Of course, Paul’s boldness for Jesus Christ landed him in prison. Although we don’t face those dire consequences, our culture is growing increasingly hostile to Christ-followers. To God’s truth. And pushing us to make a public choice.

Will I stand up for Christ or bow before the culture?

Philippians 1:12-18 tells us about rivals with selfish motives.

V. 15 Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will.

The Greek word for selfish ambition is eritheía which means self-seeking. It tells us not everyone sharing their faith did so with the same motives as Paul. It was true then and now.

Selfishness and rivalry are everywhere. Even In ministry. Between churches. Among church people.

REFLECT AND RECORD

What are some selfish ambitions you see within the church. How are rivalries played out? Describe your thoughts on what motivates them.

But aren’t we all on the same team? Yes. But we’re all still sinners. With different views on scripture, sense of God’s calling, and motives. Which aren’t always pure. Because–come on, be honest–we all struggle with selfish ambition.

And it taints our motives. Even in how and why we serve.

Is there motive you have that is not so pure right now? If so, confess it to God and seek his forgiveness.

Philippians 1:12-18 provides the antidote to self-seeking ministry and rivalry.

V. 18 whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.

Paul affirmed the believers who shared their faith with pure motives and called out those with impure motives. But he didn’t judge, which gives us an example to follow. Instead, we should examine our own motives, ask God to purify our hearts, and commit ourselves to His service.

Keep in mind this wasn’t the first time people used religion for self-gain. Jesus’ response to temple money changers demonstrates God’s view towards religious opportunists.

And even though Paul recognizes the religious opportunists were personally attacking him, he didn’t let it drag him down into a ministry rivalry. But flipped it into something positive. How?

By keeping his eyes on the mission and glorifying God for the results rather than who gets the credit.

This should represent our primary ministry goal although it will present a major, ministry challenge. And yet, offer us the greatest reward and sense of satisfaction in the Kingdom of God.

Join me next week in a look at Philippians 1:19-25. Also, check out Finding Grace, my new Christian detective novel.

About Chip Tudor:

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.

You Might Be A Binge Christian If

You Might Be A Binge Christian If

You might be a binge Christian if you demonstrate certain behaviors. What do I mean by a binge Christian? I’m mean part-time Christian commitment. Like a short-term sugar high. Consume lots of sweets for a short time period, take a long break, and binge again. A binge Christian exercises faith the same way. God and church in snatches. On and off. Hot and cold. Drop in and drop out.

You might be a binge Christian if you accept Jesus as your Savior but not your Lord

You’re all about God’s grace and salvation. Securing a Get-Into-Heaven-free card. But consider ongoing righteous living optional because it cramps your style.

What the world offers is fun and exciting. Following Jesus is about obeying rules. And rule following is a drag.

To be fair, Jesus does demand discipleship. And warns it may involve a cost. But those who truly follow Jesus obey him because they want to, not have to. And strive for faithfulness, not perfection. It’s where you discover the fruits of God’s Spirit…the good life we all really seek.

Salvation without Lordship presents another risk. Did you make a real commitment to Jesus or simply repeat the sinner’s prayer like a religious formula?

Because Jesus warned that some who are expecting a heavenly reward, will instead, receive an unpleasant surprise.

You might be a binge Christian if you attend church mostly on special occasions

You attend church faithfully every…Christmas, Easter, and Mother’s Day. Perhaps even more…like once a month. And sacrificially give some of your spare change for extra credit. To punch your “good works” card. And keep your religious toe in the water. Just in case.

Although you might increase to a level of “regular church attendance” when something goes wrong in your life and you need divine intervention. So you binge on church for several weeks until things work themselves out. Like paying spiritual penitence to God or driving a spiritual bargain.

If you help me, God, I’ll serve you in return. But only until things are going smoothly again.

You might be a binging Christian if you act like a spiritual consumer

Sundays are more about your “worship experience” than reverence before an almighty God. And you evaluate the Sunday sermon with a one to ten rating for it’s spiritually uplifting value. Rather than consider with an open heart what God is saying to you.

Of course, there are bonus points for personal application that you insightfully see lacking in others. Evaluate church ministries based on their spiritual benefit. And participate based on what you get rather than what you give.

While serving is more of a feel good exercise rather than genuine concern for others.

You could be a binge Christian if you compartmentalize your identity

We all play different roles in life–work, family, church, and social. And balance different expectations in each one. Fulfill different responsibilities. Manage different spheres of influence.

However, a Christian identity is fixed. You are in Christ. A Child of God. A follower of Jesus. And no matter what role you play, the character of Christ should be visible. The desire to imitate him apparent. If not–and there is little resemblance in your various roles–you should ask yourself why?

Because Christian character and integrity should look the same regardless of your role. And behavior consistently demonstrate your core beliefs. When you compartmentalize to the point of compromise, your identity is fleeting and superficial. And presents a schizophrenic lifestyle that eventually bleeds over.

Of course, no Christian gets it right all the time. That is not the point. And the bottom line question is not about your behavior. But who has your heart.

About Chip Tudor:

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and freelance copywriter. He publishes humorous Christian drama, books, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.

When It Hurts So Bad You Can’t Stand It

When It Hurts So Bad You Can’t Stand It

When it hurts so bad you can’t stand it, Jesus will ease your pain. He offers comfort, peace, and new purpose to those who take refuge in him. Here’s why.

When it hurts so bad you can’t stand it, know that Jesus shares your pain and offers comfort

Pain is an inescapable part of life. From scraped knees, to traumatic psychological wounds, and deep emotional loss. Jesus suffered all of this and more. He understands what you’re going through. And supports those who lean on him.

He also suffered pain and unjust condemnation. And quietly accepted it as part of his mission.

He was mocked by his accusers and executed in the most brutal manner of the day. The one reserved for the most vile criminals.

And yet, he did so willingly. To take your place and mine. Because we are guilty of sin before God.

He suffered humiliation. Agonizing torture. Excruciating pain. And finally, death. At the hands of people who hated him. But he loved in return. People that wanted to kill him. But he wanted to save.

He died so we can live. And comforts those who turn to him.

When it hurts so bad you can’t stand it, know that Jesus mends broken hearts and offers peace

It’s a natural question when we suffer unjustly: Why, God, did you let that happen? Sometimes it takes years to receive an answer. Sometimes you never do.

The death Jesus suffered doesn’t make sense either. Why, God, did you let your own son die? He never wronged anyone. But compassionately healed. And taught people how to live relationally with one another. How to know and find peace with God.

It’s much more than inner peace. Or lack of conflict. But an incomprehensible peace. Where you are reconciled to God.

And that is the only answer for the death of Jesus. It is our emancipation from sin.

Therefore, Jesus knows the depth of your pain. And heals the brokenhearted.

When it hurts so bad you can’t stand it, know that Jesus offers joy and new purpose

The joy of the Lord strengthens you. It doesn’t replace sorrow or eliminate hurt. But you can experience joy in spite of them.

Because joy is not dependent on circumstances. It sees beyond them and is based on God’s promise of an eternal future. Where there is no more sorrow and no more pain.

However, God’s grace is present in this life too. Because He promises to make things work out for good. When you love and trust Him. And submit to His will.

Of course, none of this is easy. Or comes naturally.

You must act by faith. Believing that Jesus is God. And God is sovereign with an eternal plan that has your best interest in mind.

He is your source of strength. Provides reason for living. And hope for the future. Where all questions are answered. And healing is complete.

About Chip Tudor:

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and freelance copywriter. He publishes humorous Christian drama, books, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.

Lessons From The Christmas Story Shepherds

Lessons From The Christmas Story Shepherds

The Christmas Story Shepherds offer several lessons for us today. Here are four of them from the account in the book of Luke.

The Christmas Story Shepherds Show That God Has Different Values

Sheep were an important resource in this day. As a source of food, clothing and religious sacrifice. So protecting them was important. Unfortunately, however, shepherding was a lowly occupation. Living outside in close company with animals and therefore, considered unclean. Which meant they could not worship at the temple.

So you would normally expect them to be the last ones to learn about the birth of Jesus. But God chose them to be the first.

Why? Because God operates by a different set of values. He starts at the bottom rather than the top. By placing a high value on humility and a low value on pride. And sets aside, social and economic status.

Because in God’s value system, the last will be first and the first will be last

The Christmas Story Shepherds Show The Gospel is Inclusive

The angels made it clear that the good news and great joy was for all people. The Greek word can also be translated all nations.

In other words, Jesus came to save every single person in the entire world. This is what sets the Christmas story apart. It flips the switch when compared to other religions. Rather than man trying to make his way up to God, it’s the only one where God makes his way down to man.

The Christmas Story Shepherds Encourage Us To Fact Check For Ourselves

The Shepherds were visited by a host of angels. Pretty important delivery method in divine messaging. And yet, the Shepherds didn’t just take their word on it. They checked it out for themselves.

It’s a good word for us today. Yes, ultimately the Christmas story and the Gospel of Jesus Christ must be accepted by faith. But faith is not blind or uninformed. You don’t exclude intellect. Turn off your brain. God’s Word is meant to be critically studied. Thoughtfully considered. And carefully examined.

So don’t simply take someone else’s word for it. Read the Bible for yourself. Not just random parts, but the whole thing. Whatever you decide, at least you can say it’s an informed decision.

The Christmas Story Shepherds Encourage Us To Share The Good News

The Shepherds were convinced that this good news was real. All of them, not just one or two. And there was no hesitation. No concern about who to tell. They went home praising God and made known what they were told about the child. And all who heard it wondered.

Two thousand years later and the Christmas story is still relevant. Still good news. Worth sharing. And causes wonder.

And changes every life that responds to it.

About Chip Tudor:

Chip Tudor is a freelance copywriter, published author, playwright and pastor. He publishes drama at www.chiptudor.com, books on Amazon.com, and articles on his blog.

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