A STUDY GUIDE FOR THE BOOK OF PHILIPPIANS
A STUDY GUIDE FOR THE BOOK OF PHILIPPIANS Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
The fruit of righteousness is produced in every true Christian.
The new, born-again inner man, being filled with the Virtue of Christ, loves God and loves his fellow creatures.
He behaves righteously because he is of Christ and dwells in Christ.
We Christians are to reveal in our conduct the new nature that has been born in us.
This is the burden of Paul’s prayer for the saints and elders in Philippi.
After we have been a Christian for a period of time the new creation that is being formed in us begins to govern the way we act, speak, and think.
People notice the change in us.
When men see our good works they will glorify the Father who is in Heaven.
Christians are to have one supreme goal—the full knowledge of Christ.
We are to live by His Life and share His sufferings.
In so doing we attain to the first resurrection from the dead.
That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. (Philippians 3:0,11)
Table of Contents
A STUDY GUIDE FOR THE BOOK OF PHILIPPIANS
1.How did Paul view himself and Timothy?
2.To whom was Paul writing?
3.What two Divine blessings did the Apostle Paul confer on the saints and on the overseers and deacons?
4.For what does Paul thank God?
5.Why did Paul experience such joy as he prayed for the saints in Philippi?
6.Of what was Paul persuaded and confident?
7.Why did Paul feel justified in believing that God would complete the work of redemption in the saints in Philippi?
8.Of what was God a witness?
9.What was Paul’s prayer for the saints in Philippi?
10.What change in Paul’s circumstances had occurred?
11.What had resulted from this change in Paul’s circumstances?
12.What effect did Paul’s confinement among the palace guard have on the Christians in Rome?
13.What motives were behind this increase in the preaching of Christ?
14.What was the attitude of those who were preaching from good will?
15.What was the attitude of those who were preaching Christ from envy and strife?
16.What was Paul’s response to the fact that Christ was being preached in pretense as well as from sincere motives?
17.Why did Paul keep on rejoicing, even though some were proclaiming Christ from unrighteous motives?
18.What was the nature of Paul’s life?
19.How did Paul view physical death?
20.What would be true if Paul continued to live for awhile in the physical body?
21.What was Paul debating in his mind?
22.Of what had Paul become confident?
23.How were the saints to conduct themselves?
24.What did Paul, whether present with them or absent from them, desire to hear concerning them?
25.How will the fearlessness of the saints in Philippi affect the enemies of the Gospel?
26.How will the fearlessness of the saints in Philippi help their own faith?
27.What had God granted to the saints in Philippi?
28.What were the believers experiencing?
1.What does Paul present as being the proper attitude of Christian people toward one another?
2.In what way could the Philippians make Paul’s joy complete?
3.What type of attitude and motive was to be avoided?
4.What type of attitude and motive was to be adopted?
5.How is each saint to regard his brother and sister?
6.What should each saint be seeking?
7.Whose attitude should we adopt?
8.In what form and nature has Christ always existed?
9.What was Christ willing to do with respect to His equality with God?
10.In what form did the Divine Christ appear on the earth?
11.How else did Christ lay aside His majesty?
12.What has the Father done in response to Jesus’ willingness to lay aside His Divine glory and to die on the cross?
13.What is true of the name of Christ?
14.How did the saints in Philippi respond to the Apostle Paul while he was with them?
15.What was Paul requesting now?
16.What actually was taking place in the personalities of the saints in Philippi?
17.How is the saint to do all things?
18.What do we demonstrate ourselves to be when we do all things without grumbling or arguing about our duties?
19.What is true of us when we conduct ourselves in this twisted and depraved world in a blameless and sincere manner?
20.What is seen and heard in us when we behave in a sincere, unblamable manner?
21.If the saints in Philippi were to hold fast to the Word of Christ, what effect would this have on the Apostle Paul?
22.How did Paul perceive himself?
23.How did Paul feel about his being a drink offering added to the sacrifice of faith of the saints?
24.What did Paul urge the saints to do?
25.What was Paul’s hope in Christ?
26.Why would Paul be able to trust Timothy’s report of the condition of the saints in Philippi?
27.What was Paul’s opinion of the majority of Christian workers?
28.What had Timothy proved himself to be?
29.When was Paul going to send Timothy to Philippi?
30.What was Paul’s confidence, in the Lord?
31.What had Paul thought it necessary to do?
32.How did the Apostle Paul regard Epaphroditus?
33.How was Epaphroditus feeling?
34.How sick had Epaphroditus actually been?
35.How did Paul view the recovery of Epaphroditus?
36.Why was Paul prompt in sending Epaphroditus back to his friends in Philippi?
37.How were the saints in Philippi to receive Epaphroditus on his return home?
38.What attitude was the church to take toward Epaphroditus?
39.How did Epaphroditus demonstrate his character, and his love for Christ?
1.What was Paul’s general admonition to the saints and overseers in Philippi?
2.How did Paul feel about his written exhortations to the saints in Philippi, and no doubt to the saints in the other churches?
3.Of what kinds of people are the saints to beware?
4.Who are the true circumcision?
5.In what ways was Paul ahead of most men in fleshly religious efforts, having more reason to put confidence in the flesh?
6.How did Paul regard the merit he had gained from his Hebrew background and his religious works?
7.How did Paul regard all that he could gain in the world, including a standing in righteousness and approval by the works of the Law of Moses?
8.What was true of Paul’s accomplishments in the world?
9.What was Paul’s opinion of all the things he had lost in order to gain Christ?
10.In what state did Paul desire to be found?
11.What was the Apostle Paul’s supreme goal in life?
12.To what state was Paul seeking to attain (to advance; to arrive)?
13.Had Paul at this time (A.D. 62, just before his first court appearance), already attained to the "out-resurrection"?
14.What was Paul’s attitude of spirit and mind while he was confined in the barracks awaiting his first trial?
15.What should be true of each member of the Body of Christ who is mature in his walk in Christ?
16.What will happen to each saint who has an attitude different from this?
17.Until we arrive at the mark, how should we keep on living?
18.Who will serve as an example and pattern for living for the saints in Philippi?
19.What is true of many so-called Christians and Christian teachers?
20.What is the end of those who are the enemies of the cross of Christ?
21.What is the God of those who are the enemies of the cross of Christ?
22.In what is the glory of those who are the enemies of the cross?
23.On what is their attention fixed?
24.Where is the citizenship of the true saint of Christ?
25.What is the true saint eagerly awaiting?
26.What will our Savior do for us when He returns?
27.By what means will Christ transform our mortal body until it conforms to His own body of glory?
1.What was Paul’s attitude toward the saints in Philippi?
2.What did Paul urge the saints to do?
3.What was Paul’s exhortation to Euodia and Syntyche?
4.Who was the "true yokefellow", the true comrade, whom Paul was addressing in verse three?
5.What did Paul ask his true comrade to do?
6.Who else had assisted Paul in the work?
7.What was the imprisoned Paul’s exhortation to the saints and elders of Philippi?
8.What spirit were the saints to show toward all people?
9.What awareness should guide the saints’ every deed, word and thought?
10.What should be the attitude of the saint toward all relationships, events, circumstances, and things of the world?
11.What are we to do about our needs and desires?
12.What is true of the peace that comes to us from God?
13.What does the Divine peace do for us?
14.On what kinds of matters should the saint allow his mind to dwell?
15.How were the saints in Philippi to behave?
16.What would be their reward if they modeled their behavior after the Apostle Paul?
17.Why was Paul rejoicing greatly in the Lord Jesus?
18.Was Paul telling the Philippians that he was suffering want and needed their material assistance?
19.What had Paul learned in Christ?
20.Who was giving Paul wisdom and strength, peace and joy, at all times and in all places?
21.What does Paul say about their aiding him with the money that they sent to him by the hand of Epaphroditus?
22.When had the Christians in Philippi assisted Paul with material support?
23.Did Paul desire to get money from the saints in Philippi?
24.What did he desire?
25.How did Paul regard his present state?
26.How will God respond to their sending money to Paul?
27.To whom does the Apostle Paul ascribe glory forever?
28.How does Paul conclude his letter to the saints, overseers, and deacons of Philippi of Macedonia?
A STUDY GUIDE FOR THE BOOK OF PHILIPPIANS
1. How did Paul view himself and Timothy?
As the bondservants of the Lord Jesus Christ.
2. To whom was Paul writing?
To the saints in Christ in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons.
3. What two Divine blessings did the Apostle Paul confer on the saints and on the overseers and deacons?
Grace and peace from the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Grace is the favor and blessing of God given to an individual so that his whole life is touched with Divine righteousness, holiness, protection, provision, fullness of joy, goodness, and mercy. In the ultimate sense, grace is the Presence of God through Christ.
Peace is the absence of fighting and fear and the presence of Divine assurance and comfort, green pastures, and quiet waters.
4. For what does Paul thank God?
For his memories of the Macedonian saints—memories filled with affection and confidence.
Epaphroditus, a member of the Philippian church, had come to Paul in Rome to give him an offering from the church—the fourth such contribution these saints had made for Paul’s support. Epaphroditus had become sick in Rome. When he recovered, Paul sent him back to Philippi with this letter.
Paul and Timothy had founded the Philippian church in northern Greece about A.D. 51.
5. Why did Paul experience such joy as he prayed for the saints in Philippi?
Because of their fellowship in the Gospel from the first day that they heard it.
They were supporting Paul with material goods. They had been exposed to persecution because of Paul’s preaching (Acts 16:12-40; I Thessalonians 2:2). Apparently the saints in Philippi were sound in doctrine and in practice. We do not see in this epistle the warnings and rebukes that are found in Galatians, First Corinthians, and Romans for example.
6. Of what was Paul persuaded and confident?
That God who had begun a good work of redemption in them would complete and perfect that work until the Day of Christ.
7. Why did Paul feel justified in believing that God would complete the work of redemption in the saints in Philippi?
They were in Paul’s heart and Paul was in their hearts. They were supporting Paul and associating themselves with him in his imprisonment, and also in the defense and confirmation of the Gospel. They were sharing the Divine grace that had been given to him.
8. Of what was God a witness?
Of the love of Christ in Paul that was directed toward the saints in Philippi.
Only someone who has been poured out in love for other people can understand what Paul was saying in verse eight. Most Christians have many opportunities throughout their lifetimes to bear witness of Christ. It appears that to some Christians there is given a missionary love for a specific race, nation, or group of people. It is the love of Christ that is being expressed toward the particular group of people.
Missionary love is one of the most powerful forces that can dwell in the human heart. The Christian who is blessed with the love of Christ for other people is more than willing to lay down his or her life for the people toward whom he is directed. He is ready to be broken to pieces and sown in their hearts so that the consuming love of Christ may find full expression and perform its transforming work.
9. What was Paul’s prayer for the saints in Philippi?
That their love would abound in knowledge and in all discernment and understanding; that they would be able to recognize and approve the things are excellent; that they would be pure and blameless until the Day of Christ; that they would be filled with the fruit of righteous behavior attained through Christ, such righteousness bringing glory and praise to God the Father.
The fruit of righteousness is produced in every true Christian. The new, born-again inner man, being filled with the Virtue of Christ, loves God and loves his fellow creatures. He behaves righteously because he is of Christ and dwells in Christ.
We Christians do not always show in our conduct the new nature that has been born within us. This is why Paul was praying for the saints and elders in Philippi.
A tree does not bear fruit the day it is planted. After we have been a Christian for a period of time, the new creation that is being formed in us begins to govern the way we act, speak, and think. People notice the change in us. When men see our good works they will glorify the Father who is in Heaven.
10. What change in Paul’s circumstances had occurred?
He had been moved from his own hired house in Rome, where he had been chained to a soldier, into the barracks of the Praetorian Guard which was attached to the palace of Caesar in Rome. Paul had been in custody for two years (A.D. 61-63) and it was time for him to appear before Nero.
11. What had resulted from this change in Paul’s circumstances?
The spreading of the Gospel.
This is true of all our experiences in Christ. If we will allow the Lord to direct our paths, committing our way to Him and acknowledging Him, all the things that happen to us will result in the building of the Kingdom of God.
Truly, God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who have been called according to His purpose.
As a result of Paul’s being moved the members of the Imperial Guard now had learned of Paul’s imprisonment for the sake of the Gospel. It seems that all of Rome had become aware of Paul and his message.
12. What effect did Paul’s confinement among the palace guard have on the Christians in Rome?
Paul’s closer confinement gave them courage to speak the Word of God without fear.
The history of the Christian church reveals that when a Christian worker, such as a missionary, is tortured and killed, a number of other believers who may not have been as fervent or who had been unmoved previously will now "come to life" and move forward to take the place of the one who has been invited to suffer for Christ and the Gospel.
13. What motives were behind this increase in the preaching of Christ?
Some were preaching from envy and strife, others were preaching from good will, from love for Paul, that he was in prison in Rome because of his defense of the Gospel.
14. What was the attitude of those who were preaching from good will?
They loved Paul and were supporting him, knowing that Christ had chosen Paul to defend the Gospel.
15. What was the attitude of those who were preaching Christ from envy and strife?
Apparently they hated Paul and were attempting to harm him.
They were contentious, preaching the Gospel from a wrong motive. Some scholars believe they were Jewish teachers who were jealous of Paul’s popularity as a teacher and were attempting to gain preeminence over him in the teaching of the Kingdom of God while he was in custody.
Other scholars are of the opinion that Paul’s enemies proclaimed the Gospel with the intention of bringing Paul to the attention of the Roman government. Their hope was that the officials would do away with this man whose message could be regarded as detrimental to the government.
It is easy for the Christian disciple to understand that the tribulation falling on the Apostle Paul would inspire and embolden other saints to pick up the banner of Christ and march forward with renewed courage.
It is difficult for us to conceive of men seizing this opportunity to outdo Paul as a successful teacher, or, worse yet, announcing the Gospel of Christ so that Paul would be persecuted by the Romans.
Yet it is true that such wickedness always has surrounded the preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God—and does to this day. We Christians, however, while we recognize these facts of life, are to remain as free from malice and bitterness as little children. We are not to fret ourselves in any manner because of those who are practicing evil or harming us in any manner—intentionally or not. We are to keep our gaze fixed on the Lord Jesus, worshiping Him and giving thanks to God continually.
16. What was Paul’s response to the fact that Christ was being preached in pretense as well as from sincere motives?
Paul kept on rejoicing because Christ was being preached.
17. Why did Paul keep on rejoicing even though some were proclaiming Christ from unrighteous motives?
Because he knew that the proclaiming of the Gospel of Christ would result in his salvation, as the Philippian saints kept on praying for him and the Spirit of Christ was being supplied to him.
Perhaps Paul was saying that as long as Christ was proclaimed, whether by men of good will or men with evil motives, Paul’s commission as an apostle would be achieved. The prayers of the saints in Philippi, and the abundant supply of the Spirit of Christ, would insure that all that happened would turn out for good in the Kingdom of God, and that Paul would be delivered from harm and finally stand in Glory before the Son of Man.
Paul’s goal was that Christ would be magnified and exalted in his body, whether through his living or through his dying. Paul was striving to win the crown of righteousness. Later on in this epistle we find that he was determined to know Christ completely, experiencing the power of His resurrection and sharing in His sufferings, thus attaining to the out-resurrection from among the dead.
Paul earnestly expected and hoped that he would not be put to shame in any matter but that he would be able to continue boldly magnifying Christ in his physical body.
18. What was the nature of Paul’s life?
Paul’s life was Christ. "Paul" was crucified with Christ and Christ was living in Paul’s personality. This reminds us of the fact that the Father was dwelling in the personality of Christ.
The saint stands in relation to Christ as Christ stands in relation to the Father.
The Father sent Christ into the world. Christ came down from Heaven, not to do His own will but to perform the will of the Father. The Father was dwelling in Christ. The words and deeds of Jesus were the words and deeds of the Father.
Christ has sent the saints into the world. We continue in that love of the Father and the Son. We are not to seek our own will but are to perform the will of Christ. The Lord Jesus is dwelling in the disciples. As we are willing to be changed into the death of Christ it will begin to be true of us to an ever-increasing extent that our words and deeds are not our own but proceed from Him who has sent us into the world.
19. How did Paul view physical death?
To every cross-carrying disciple physical death is gain. It is only the unsaved individual or the fleshly Christian that clings to life in the world. The true saint endures with patience the tribulations that come upon him in the world, so he may attain to a better resurrection. He looks forward to physical death as his release from the pain of the present life and as promotion into joy and glory that he can behold only dimly at the present time.
As we have stated, Paul had been moved from his own rented quarters (Acts 28:30) to closer custody in the barracks of the Praetorian Bodyguard that was attached to the palace of Nero. This was not a pleasant environment for the Apostle. All he saw and heard throughout the day was the crude behavior of the Roman soldiers. Also, Paul’s life was in constant danger because of increasing wickedness and intrigue in Nero’s court.
At one time in his life Paul had been caught up to the third Heaven, up into Paradise. But now he was living in the midst of military men. No doubt there was much profanity, much filthy behavior taking place. To a man of prayer and holiness such surroundings indeed would be a cross to bear, especially for someone raised as an orthodox Jew.
We can be sure Paul had a longing to leave the harsh, ungodly Praetorian barracks and pass over into the Presence of Jesus, the saints of all ages who had gone on before, Paul’s own deceased relatives and friends, and the elect angels. The spirit realm is a place of delight and joy according to the saints who have had visions of Heaven.
The marvel of Christianity is that we believers do not have a greater longing to go to be at home with Jesus. It is true for each diligent disciple that to die is gain. In some cases the Lord Jesus must make our circumstances very painful before we begin to desire to be absent from the body and at home with Jesus.
20. What would be true if Paul continued to live for awhile in the physical body?
He would be able to keep on working fruitfully in the Kingdom of God.
21. What was Paul debating in his mind?
Whether it would be better for him to go home to be with Jesus or to remain in his body in order to minister to the needs of the Christian people.
We can understand the pressures that were on Paul at this time. To go to be with Jesus would mean exceedingly great joy and delight in the spirit realm. But there were few—if any—human beings living on the earth who could impart to the churches the wisdom, the strength, the courage, the determination, the inspiration, the example that were Paul’s to give by the Lord’s grace.
So this rugged, faithful Jew awakened each day to obnoxious confinement in a military barracks, bearing on his spirit the burden of all the churches of Christ. Paul had a few years remaining before he could write to Timothy that his course was finished and the crown of righteousness was his.
Marvelous grace has come to the Body of Christ because of the remaining years of Paul’s imprisonment in his physical body. Also, Paul’s own personality would have become more mature, better prepared to pass into the Presence of the infinitely pure, infinitely gentle Jesus.
22. Of what had Paul become confident?
That it was more needful for him to live a while longer in his body so that the spiritual needs of the saints in Philippi and in other areas would be met.
Having become assured of this, Paul knew he would continue to live on the earth in order to promote the growth in Christ of the saints and their joy in believing.
We can be thankful that Paul did live another five or six years. After the Epistle to the saints in Philippi, Paul wrote Colossians, Philemon, Ephesians, I Timothy, Titus, and II Timothy. The Body of Christ would have been denied much growth and joy if Paul had been allowed to go to Glory at the time he was writing to the Philippians?
Paul had an understandable desire to be set free from his imprisonment in the military barracks and to once again pay a visit to his friends in Philippi. He trusted that his Presence among them would cause them abundant rejoicing in Christ.
23. How were the saints to conduct themselves?
As people worthy of the Gospel of Christ.
24. What did Paul, whether present with them or absent from them, desire to hear concerning them?
That they were standing firm in one spirit, with one soul striving together for the faith of the Gospel, not in any way frightened by those who were opposing them.
25. How will the fearlessness of the saints in Philippi affect the enemies of the Gospel?
It will be a sign to the enemies of their (the enemies’) coming destruction.
26. How will the fearlessness of the saints in Philippi help their own faith?
It will be a sure evidence and sign of their salvation, which will be coming from the hand of God.
27. What had God granted to the saints in Philippi?
The privilege not only of believing on Christ but also of suffering for His sake.
28. What were the believers experiencing?
The same battle, the same struggle, that they saw in Paul when he first came to them and which, as they had heard recently, he was still fighting.
In the days in which we are living there has crept into the Gospel of Christ a soft, pleasure-loving, ear-tickling deception which is leaving the believers unprepared for the tribulations that are just ahead. The fear of God has been removed from the churches. There is a spirit of assurance that is not from God. The Scriptures warn us to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.
Divine grace is being used as an excuse for sinful behavior. God is pictured as a kindly gentleman who will do good but no harm. This overconfidence appears to be one of Satan’s chief weapons for the last days. The "saints" in many instances are asleep in the lap of material luxuries.
The true discipleship of Christ is a prolonged battle. It is not an easy way. To possess our souls and to overcome Satan and the world require the grace of God and patient endurance until the day we die or until the Lord returns. The Christian passes through many tribulations. God delivers us from all afflictions provided we continue to persevere each day in His will.
There are few letups in the struggle. We are soldiers in the fiercest of wars. God gives grace and glory to those who remain faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ.
We are to serve Christ, laying down our lives for His sake and the Gospel’s. In the ages to come we shall be rewarded for setting aside our own pleasures and comforts today. This is the true Christian walk. The current frivolous adaptation of the ancient, apostolic Gospel is a dangerous form of deception—a far more serious threat to our salvation than is direct persecution and opposition by wicked men who are declaring openly their intention to destroy us.
The term Israel means "he struggles with God."
1. What does Paul present as being the proper attitude of Christian people toward one another?
A common encouragement in Christ, a common comforting because of their mutual love, a brotherly support because of their all sharing the same Holy Spirit of God, tender affection, and sympathy toward each other.
2. In what way could the Philippians make Paul’s joy complete?
By all being of one mind, by living together in love, by being of one soul, one purpose.
3. What type of attitude and motive was to be avoided?
Self-seeking, personal ambition, vainglory, pride.
4. What type of attitude and motive was to be adopted?
Humility of mind, modesty.
5. How is each saint to regard his brother and sister?
As being more important than himself.
6. What should each saint be seeking?
Not just his own interests but the interests of others as well.
7. Whose attitude should we adopt?
The attitude of Christ.
8. In what form and nature has Christ always existed?
That of the Lord God of Heaven.
9. What was Christ willing to do, with respect to His equality with God?
Christ was willing to surrender His glory, not forcibly grasping and retaining it. He laid aside His Divine majesty. He took on Himself the form and nature of a bondservant.
10. In what form did the Divine Christ appear on the earth?
He appeared as a man.
11. How else did Christ lay aside His majesty?
He humbled and abased Himself, obeying God to the extent of dying as a criminal on the cross.
12. What has the Father done in response to Jesus’ willingness to lay aside His Divine glory and to die on the cross?
The Father has exalted Jesus exceedingly and has given to Him a name that is lifted above every other name.
13. What is true of the name of Christ?
At that name, every creature in Heaven, on earth, and under the earth shall bow in reverence, in obedience. Every creature of God shall confess with his mouth that Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
14. How did the saints in Philippi respond to the Apostle Paul while he was with them?
They obeyed him as Christ’s ambassador.
15. What was Paul requesting now?
That in his absence they would be even more zealous to follow his example and admonitions, working out their own salvation with fear and trembling.
16. What actually was taking place in the personalities of the saints in Philippi?
God’s power was working in them, creating within them both the desire and the working of His good pleasure.
17. How is the saint to do all things?
Without any grumbling, disputing, questioning, arguing, reasoning, faultfinding, discontentedness.
18. What do we demonstrate ourselves to be when we do all things without grumbling or arguing about our duties?
Blameless, guileless, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverted generation.
19. What is true of us when we conduct ourselves in this twisted and depraved world in a blameless and sincere manner?
We shine as lights in the world.
When men see our good works they will glorify our Father who is in Heaven. They will understand that we are His sons, His children, and that we are doing the works of our Father.
20. What is seen and heard in us when we behave in a sincere, unblamable manner?
The Word of life, the Word of Christ.
21. If the saints in Philippi were to hold fast to the Word of Christ, what effect would this have on the Apostle Paul?
Paul would be able to rejoice in the Day of Christ that he had not run his race of discipleship in vain or labored among the Philippians in vain.
22. How did Paul perceive himself?
As a drink offering being poured out on the sacrifice of faith that the saints in Philippi were offering to God.
It [the daily sacrificial lamb] is a continual burnt offering, which was ordained in mount Sinai for a sweet savor, a sacrifice made by fire unto the Lord. And the drink offering thereof shall be the fourth part of an hin for the one lamb: in the holy place shalt thou cause the strong wine to be poured unto the Lord for a drink offering. (Numbers 28:6,7)
23. How did Paul feel about his being a drink offering added to the sacrifice of faith of the saints?
He was full of rejoicing in fellowship with them.
24. What did Paul urge the saints to do?
To enter his rejoicing in the fellowship of joy.
25. What was Paul’s hope in Christ?
That he soon would be able to send Timothy to them so that Paul’s mind would be set at ease when he was certain of the condition of the church in Philippi.
26. Why would Paul be able to trust Timothy’s report of the condition of the saints in Philippi?
Because Paul regarded Timothy as one who was as dedicated and sincere as himself with respect to the work of the Gospel of Christ. Paul knew of no other man who would care for the spiritual welfare of the saints with a fatherly concern equal to his own.
27. What was Paul’s opinion of the majority of Christian workers?
They were seeking their own interests, their own aims, their own goals, not those of the Lord Christ.
It probably is true that most Christian work throughout history has proceeded apart from the cross, apart from the leading of Christ, apart from the guidance of the Holy Spirit. This may appear to be too sweeping an indictment but it is what Paul is saying.
Denominational barriers exist, not because Christ is setting saint against saint but because men are seeking to gain fruitfulness and dominion apart from union with Christ. It is not possible that the one Head, Christ, would encourage one part of His Body to attempt to draw members away from another part of His Body. Therefore we know that many Christian leaders are walking and serving according to their fleshly ambitions.
The cross reconciles all believers. The cross causes dependence on the power of Christ. The cross removes King Self from the throne of our heart and installs King Jesus thereon.
No doubt it is true that during the spiritual darkness that even now is filling the earth, the believers in Christ will be divided into two camps: those who are filled with Christ, and those who claim to be Christians but are not filled with His Life. As soon as this separation and the fruit of it have become mature, the Lord Jesus will return.
Then the "synagogue of Satan" will understand that Christ loves His true, cross-carrying saints. Then the righteous will shine in the Kingdom of their Father.
28. What had Timothy proved himself to be?
A true son of Paul who lovingly and faithfully served with his "father" in the Gospel of Christ.
29. When was Paul going to send Timothy to Philippi?
Just as soon as Paul knew what Nero or his subordinates were going to do to him, when his trial would be and the outcome of it.
Sometimes it is well for us to call to mind the painful conditions under which many of Paul’s Epistles were written.
30. What was Paul’s confidence, in the Lord?
That he himself would soon be able to pay a visit to the saints and overseers in Philippi.
31. What had Paul thought it necessary to do?
To send Epaphroditus back to his home in Philippi.
Epaphroditus was a member of the Philippian church who had been sent by that church to bring money for Paul’s support—the fourth of such offerings. Epaphroditus became ill while in Rome. The news of his illness caused sorrow and anxiety among his friends at home. When he recovered he desired to return to Philippi, and so Paul sent him back, carrying the present letter to the saints and overseers there.
32. How did the Apostle Paul regard Epaphroditus?
As his brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier—the person sent from the church in Philippi to minister to Paul’s needs.
33. How was Epaphroditus feeling?
He was longing for his friends in Philippi and was upset because they had heard of his serious illness.
34. How sick had Epaphroditus actually been?
He had nearly died.
35. How did Paul view the recovery of Epaphroditus?
As being the mercy of God extended to Epaphroditus, and also to Paul so that he would not be burdened with a new sorrow in addition to the troubles he had already.
36. Why was Paul prompt in sending Epaphroditus back to his friends in Philippi?
In order to set his own mind at ease concerning the anxiety of the Philippians over the welfare of Epaphroditus.
Notice the attitude of Paul toward Divine healing. Some who are teaching Divine healing today are very zealous. They would have us believe that if someone is not healed it is the fault of the sick individual, and also of those who pray for him or her. Divine healing has become a religious magic and obligation instead of a sign of the validity of the Gospel or a blessing that often accompanies our growth in the Lord.
The Scriptures do not support the viewpoint the if someone is not healed immediately it is because they or we are not doing God’s will. We must learn to be patient with God and to allow Him to work with us. We cannot force healing by exercising human faith. The writer has been healed supernaturally several times, but never by attempting to produce healing through his own ability to believe.
Divine healing comes to those who are serving the Lord. A consistent, diligent discipleship is more apt to obtain healing than a sudden attempt to exercise faith. The Lord heals the righteous in His time and in His way.
And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee (Exodus 15:26).
He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me (Psalms 18:19).
"Because he delighted in me."
If we will be diligent to keep the Word of the Lord He shall heal us. The emphasis is upon a consistent, holy walk before Him.
This is not to embrace or encourage the doctrine that if we are sick it is God’s will. We are to pray repeatedly, as Paul did, that the Lord remove sickness from us. Only when we have heard from the Lord that the affliction is from Him are we to cease beseeching the Lord and accept that He is showing His strength through our weakness.
People who do not ask may not obtain healing!
Divine healing comes to us as we place our trust in God’s Word, asking Him repeatedly (as necessary) to heal us, meanwhile loving and worshiping Him. We have faith that God will heal us, but we do not achieve that healing by seeking to manipulate the spirit realm by our "faith."
In this episode concerning Epaphroditus, Paul reveals that Divine healing comes to us in line with the Father’s will, not by our attempt to exercise "faith." Epaphroditus recovered because God in His love showed mercy toward him, and also toward Paul.
Attempts to perform miracles in the physical realm through "faith," apart from a life of cross-carrying obedience to Christ and a sense of the Lord’s leading and timing, have no place in the Kingdom of God.
37. How were the saints in Philippi to receive Epaphroditus on his return home?
With all joy in the Lord.
38. What attitude was the church to take toward Epaphroditus?
The church was to hold Epaphroditus, and men like him, in honor.
39. How did Epaphroditus demonstrate his character, and his love for Christ?
By disregarding his own life in his efforts to give the help to Paul that the Philippian Church was not able to provide.
1. What was Paul’s general admonition to the saints and overseers in Philippi?
"Rejoice in the Lord."
It is a wonderful revelation of the power of Christ to realize that Paul, who was living in distressing circumstances in a military barracks, awaiting his trial before a government that had become wicked, was encouraging people who were not in prison to keep on being glad and happy in Christ. An immature saint would have been bemoaning his own circumstances, pleading continually for prayer that he would be delivered "from the devil."
2. How did Paul feel about his written exhortations to the saints in Philippi, and no doubt to the saints in the other churches?
Paul did not become weary of admonishing the saints, and it was a safeguard for them.
3. Of what kinds of people are the saints to beware?
Dogs—people who behave like beasts, evil workers, those who are circumcised in their flesh but not in their hearts.
"Dogs," "evil workers," and "the concision [mutilation]" may be referring to the Judaizers. The Judaizers were Jews who came to the new Christians and attempted to persuade them that part of the Law of Moses, including circumcision, was to be included in the Christian faith. Paul warned the churches, particularly the church in Galatia, to beware of such teaching.
Also, there were many in the early churches who were full of adultery, the love of money, and rebellion against authority. The Books of Second Peter and Jude have much to say concerning wicked people who were gathering with the saints.
But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction (II Peter 2:1).
For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [immorality], and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ (Jude 1:4).
When Jude speaks of the coming of the saints to execute judgment, he is referring to Divine judgment upon false Christians.
To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him (Jude 1:15).
The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? (Isaiah 33:14).
The false Christians are a synagogue of Satan. In due time they shall worship God at the feet of the true saints.
Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee (Revelation 3:9).
4. Who are the true circumcision?
Those who worship in the Spirit of God, who glory and boast in Christ alone, and who do not place any confidence in what human flesh can do to please God.
5. In what ways was Paul ahead of most men in fleshly religious efforts, having more reason to put confidence in the flesh?
Circumcised on the eighth day as a baby.
Of the race of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews.
According to the Law of Moses, a Pharisee.
According to zeal, a persecutor of the churches of Christ.
Blameless in terms of the righteousness that comes from observing the Law of Moses.
6. How did Paul regard the merit he had gained from his Hebrew background and his religious works?
As being loss in terms of his grasp of Christ, his living by the Life of Christ.
7. How did Paul regard all he could gain in the world, including a standing in righteousness and approval by means of the works of the Law of Moses?
As being loss, in that such standing and approval would detract from the perfection and completeness of his relationship to Christ.
8. What was true of Paul’s accomplishments in the world?
He had let go of everything so he could cleave perfectly to Christ.
The concept of forsaking the world so we may cleave perfectly to the Lord Jesus Christ needs to be emphasized in our day. The religions of the world teach men and women how to gain something for themselves, whether by denial of the material realm in order to gain a paradise, or by acquiring power in the material realm through the worship of demons or through the application of soulish, supernatural principles. In some instances, the Christian Gospel has been infected by these various religious disciplines.
Sometimes the problem is that of a self-seeking, self-centered approach to the Gospel so that ministry, gifts, and other works of service are conducted according to one’s own needs or the needs of others instead of to the Glory of God.
People today are asking how Christ or how His churches can meet their needs. Enterprising pastors and teachers are polling people to find out their needs and desires (particularly their desires) and are designing "worship services" according to the expressed desires.
The true Christian Gospel, while it ultimately brings us gain, is not oriented toward our getting what we want. It is oriented toward the Lord acquiring what He wants. When the Gospel is used as a means of obtaining what we want, deception and confusion follow.
The Christian Gospel operates on a greater scale than is true of all other religions. The Gospel is the means of bringing into existence the vision and plan of the almighty God of Heaven. The Kingdom of God is the establishing of the worship of God and obedience to God on the part of all creatures in Heaven and on the earth.
It has pleased the Father to make Christ the Center and Circumference of all creatures and all things in Heaven and on the earth. We Christians are to be the firstfruits of the new Christ-centered creation.
We miss the mark when we proclaim that Christ came to give people this or that or to set them free so they can realize their own destiny. Christ did not come to set people "free." He came to make them His own possession. There is a critical difference here. It is the difference between the False Prophet and the Holy Spirit.
God has several objectives He is accomplishing through the Lord Jesus: the filling of the universe, spiritual and material, with Christ; the construction of a living, eternal temple for Himself; the perfecting of a bride for His Son; the creation of a Body for His Son; the bringing forth of many sons of God, many brothers of Christ, in the image of Christ; the training of priests and kings to rule the worlds to come; the destruction of Satan and all his works; the multiplying of His own Divine Being.
God’s objectives cannot be achieved while we are preoccupied with our own needs and desires. They can be achieved only as we are willing to "die," to lose ourselves in the will of Christ. It is impossible for us to press into the Kingdom of God until we forsake everyone and everything else. No man can serve two masters. We must cast aside our own life for Christ’s sake and the Gospel’s.
This does not mean we are to ignore our loved ones or our circumstances. It does mean, however, that in our heart we are to place every person, every thing, and every circumstance on the altar of God until the will of Christ has free course in our life. Paul had done this. He was clinging to nothing except Christ.
The true Christian saint, the overcomer, is the one whom the Holy Spirit is setting free from all idols so he or she may come to know Christ more perfectly.
9. What was Paul’s opinion of all the things he had lost in order to gain Christ?
They are dung, trash, rubbish, garbage, refuse.
The concept of winning Christ, of gaining Christ, is an important idea for us to consider. Obviously, Paul was not referring to believing in Christ for salvation. No doubt Paul was not struggling to be saved from wrath at this point in his life. What, then, does he mean when he states that he has forsaken everything in order to win Christ, to gain Christ?
It is clear from the passage we are studying that there is more to Christianity than our initial acceptance by faith of the Lord and Savior, Christ. The true Christian discipleship is a lifelong effort to gain Christ.
It is not that we earn a favored position with the Lord Jesus, although an element of that may be present. Rather it is true that there is so much of Christ to grasp that our diligent attention is required every day of our life in order to make any substantial progress in laying hold on the Glory that is in Christ and is Christ.
We could compare Christ to a grand piano. A person could have a grand piano in his house for fifty years and not be able to play one composition on it. With a good teacher and several hours of practice each day he could become a fairly proficient performer before many years had passed.
So it is with Christ, We can make a profession of Christ for fifty years and still remain unchanged in personality. With the help of our Teacher, the Holy Spirit, we can become a conquering saint, a prophet of God, if we give ourselves wholly to the things of Christ.
Paul turned away from all competing interests and affections, goals and ambitions, and devoted himself to coming to know the fullness of the Glory of Christ. As a result, Paul was changed into the image of Christ. Paul’s Epistles have borne an incalculable amount of fruit over the face of the whole world since the first century.
Truly, there is a reward for seeking the Lord!
We can agree with Paul that his temporal desires and ambition, prevented by his circumstances during his lifetime, indeed were rubbish in comparison with the spiritual fruit that has been borne as the direct result of his Epistles. We need to stop and realize that this also is true of each of us. Who will be able to measure the fruit of our own life if we give ourselves wholly to gaining Christ?
10. In what state did Paul desire to be found?
Paul wanted to be found in Christ and Christ in him. Paul wanted to have God’s approval on himself and his actions such that God viewed him as a righteous person.
Paul did not want one drop of God’s approval to result from his keeping any aspect of the Law of Moses. He wanted God’s approval to result from the fact that he had become an eternally inseparable part of the Lord Jesus. Paul wanted Christ’s own righteousness to be his righteousness. Paul desired to have a faith and trust that Christ’s righteousness had become his own righteousness apart from the observance of any part of the Law.
11. What was the Apostle Paul’s supreme goal in life?
To know Christ; to know the power of His resurrection; to know the fellowship of His sufferings; to be changed into His death.
Every Christian "knows" Christ in that he understands that Christ is God’s Son who gave His life for our sins. He recognizes the fact that Christ rose from the dead and one day will return to the earth as King of kings and Lord of lords.
Most of us know the names of a number of people. We have read of famous personages, past and present. Also, we may have many friends and relatives. But it probably is true that there are only a few people whom we know intimately.
In order to know someone intimately we must devote time and attention to him or her, sharing joys and sorrows, communicating victories and setbacks, hopes and fears, plans and frustrations. Paul had suffered the loss of all things so he might gain an intimate knowledge of Christ.
Why must the believer let go of all other interests in order to gain an intimate knowledge of the Lord Jesus?
First, let us consider the fact that Christ is a powerful king. Kings do not readily commit themselves to other people. A king may have one or two trusted counselors or mentors in whom he confides. The surprising and extraordinary fact is that the Lord Jesus Christ enters an intimate relationship with anyone other than God the Father.
Also, Christ is God. He is the Word of God, the Eternal Life of God from the beginning. The more complex and profound a person is the more time and involvement it takes in order to come to know him or her intimately and thoroughly. Christ is infinitely complex, infinitely profound. In Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. It is possible that we will be coming to know Christ as He truly is throughout an immeasurable future.
In addition, Christ is the One who loves us. The intense, fiery love of our Creator will allow no competing affections. The Lord’s name is jealous. The most ardent human love is but a pale shadow of the love of God for us. Divine love is not a general affection, such as an earthly king may have for his subjects. It is an intense, personal love—that which is portrayed in the Song of Solomon.
Much of our Christian discipleship is occupied with the removal of our idols from us so we may love Christ with an undivided heart.
Paul’s supreme goal in life was to deepen and broaden his relationship with the Lord Christ. Paul was ready to turn away from every created thing and circumstance that the Holy Spirit pointed out to him as a hindrance to his love for Christ and Christ’s love for him.
Paul wanted to know, to experience, the power of Christ’s resurrection.
And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places (Ephesians 1:19,20).
If Satan had the power to prevent it, Satan would have prevented the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. The triumphant resurrection of Christ means that the power of Satan has been eternally overcome. Therefore the believer who is abiding in Christ is eternally victorious and indestructible.
The power by which Christ rules is the power of His resurrection Life.
Who is made [a priest], not after the law of a fleshly commandment, but after the power of an endless life (Hebrews 7:16).
There is no other power in the universe as great as the power of the Spirit of God—the power that raised the Lord Jesus from the spiritual prisons that are within the earth and lifted Him to the highest throne of all.
Paul’s desire, that for which he dismissed all other interests, is to live and move and have his being, not by flesh and blood energy and wisdom but by the energy and wisdom that flow from the throne of almighty God. Paul understood well that the person who is living by eternal resurrection life can never be overcome. He is as Moses’ bush that burns on and on and never is consumed.
The individual who is living by Christ’s Life is eternally alive. The person who is living only in his flesh and blood life is perishing while he lives.
The overcomer of the church in Smyrna is promised the "crown of life" if he is faithful to death. To receive the crown of life means to be given the authority and power of resurrection life—authority and power great enough to subdue all the enemies of Christ, to compel them to bow the knee in homage and confess that Jesus is Lord.
We could change the course of the world today if we possessed that authority and power. We will possess it as soon as we are willing to die to our self-centered ambition and allow the Lord Jesus Christ to reign as God’s King within us.
Paul sought to know the fellowship, the sharing, of Christ’s sufferings to the point of becoming changed into His death.
If there is a "secret" to the life of victory in Christ, that secret is the personal cross of the saint. The cross of Christ, and our personal cross as well, is the "foolishness of God"—a foolishness far beyond the wisdom of men. The cross of Christ and of the victorious saint separates Christ from the False Prophet and the conquering saint from the self-seeking "believer."
As we said, we could and we would change the course of the world today if we possessed the authority and power of the crown of life, the reward promised to the conqueror in Smyrna. This crown is given to him who is faithful unto death. Rightly so!
If we were given all the authority and power we desired we indeed would become the False Prophet, destroying ourselves and those around us.
The cross stands between us and the power that Christ has assigned to the Church. The suffering and death of the cross casts out our self-will, our self-seeking, our personal ambition, our desire for self-aggrandizement, our self-centeredness, our willingness to manipulate all persons and circumstances—even God Himself—in order to achieve our own desires.
Paul was seeking glory and honor, but he was seeking glory and honor in God’s way, that is, by the route of the cross of Christ. Paul was seeking the power of an endless and incorruptible life, but he understood that the abundant spiritual life Christ promised springs forth within us only as the dead fleshly appetites and soulish ambition are pruned back, are circumcised, by painful experiences.
We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body (II Corinthians 4:8-10).
Paul was given visions of God. On the heels of the visions came the messenger of Satan to pierce his flesh. Christ explained to Paul that this suffering was necessary if Christ was to be exalted in Paul’s life and ministry.
We may be seeking power. God is seeking to fill all things with His beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore we are brought down to death by trouble, by perplexity, by persecution, by blow after blow falling on us. God keeps on raising us up, and the power that raises us spills over onto other people and raises them up.
We always are being pressed into Christ’s sufferings, pressed into the mold of His death on the cross. It is the death of pain, of weakness, of helplessness, until we grow accustomed to trusting in God alone for all things, for all our needs and desires. Christ raises us up, thereby filling us, and all persons and circumstances related to us, with Himself.
God will never give His glory to another person. If we would receive the Glory of God we must die so that Christ can live in us. We must become an eternally inseparable part of God through Christ.
And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one (John 17:22).
The Glory of God has been given to the Lord Jesus. The Lord Jesus has given that Glory to us. The fact that Jesus has given His Glory to us is so staggering in its consequences, so completely beyond anything we could imagine or desire, that we shall not understand the value of what has been given until we are well into the Kingdom Age.
12. To what state was Paul seeking to attain (to advance; to arrive)?
The resurrection from the dead.
The Greek term employed here is out-resurrection. It is not used elsewhere in the New Testament unless one regards the term first resurrection as its equivalent, which is how the author regards it. It is our point of view that Paul’s "out-resurrection" is the same as the "first resurrection."
But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection (Revelation 20:5).
Philippians 3:11 is a remarkable verse. It does not fit our traditional understanding of the resurrection from the dead.
The term out-resurrection implies an earlier resurrection, a first resurrection from among the dead.
There may be no greater doctrinal need in our day than the understanding of the first resurrection and our need to attain to it. The Christian discipleship always is to be pursued with the intention of attaining to a "better resurrection."
The context of 3:11 suggests the out-resurrection concerns knowing the power of Christ’s resurrection and sharing His sufferings, and also the change of our mortal body; for Paul states a few verses later:
Who shall change our vile body [our humbled body—Rotherham], that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself (Philippians 3:21).
No doubt the out-resurrection is the resurrection of which Paul spoke in Romans 8:11, I Corinthians 15:52, and I Thessalonians 4:16; and the Apostle John revealed in Revelation 20:4-6.
. . . and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years (Revelation 20:4).
By the expression "and they lived" (above) John is speaking of the transformation into life of our mortal body, because our new born-again inner nature already is eternally alive in Christ at the right hand of the Father.
The following passage refers to the resurrection and ascension of our new born-again inner nature.
If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God (Colossians 3:1-3).
When Paul was seeking to attain to, to advance to, to arrive at the out-resurrection from the dead, he must have been referring to the transformation into life of our physical body. Unlike our physical body, our spiritual nature experiences resurrection life the moment we receive Christ as our Lord and Savior.
If Paul indeed is speaking of the first resurrection, the transformation into life of our mortal body, the astonishing fact is that Paul is teaching us that we are required to press forward into the life and death of Christ in order to attain to it.
Our traditional understanding, on the other hand, is that every person who makes a profession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and is baptized in water will participate in the first resurrection from the dead.
Our traditional understanding does not agree with the third chapter of the Book of Philippians nor is it in harmony with the parables of the Kingdom of God that Jesus taught us. The Lord Jesus taught us that the Kingdom of God is as a tiny seed that grows until it fills all things, and also that many hearts in which the Seed of the Kingdom is planted do not bear any lasting fruit—certainly not the fruit of an all-powerful body.
Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: and when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away (Matthew 13:5,6).
The Kingdom of God is more than a label we attach to our personality. The Kingdom of God is more than a ticket to Heaven. The Kingdom of God is more than a religious doctrine about which we attempt to gain a correct knowledge and understanding.
The Kingdom of God, the resurrection, is a living Seed that enters us causing us to be born-again. If we would attain to the out-resurrection we must conscientiously nourish the living Seed. Otherwise the Seed, the resurrection life, will wither away or be choked out before it can bring any fruit to perfection (Luke 8:5-16).
Also, the traditional understanding that we receive the full measure of eternal life the moment we believe in Christ does not correspond to the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation—the promises to the overcomer.
We believe the second and third chapters of Revelation are describing increments in attaining to the first resurrection from the dead. It is helpful to contemplate the rewards mentioned here. They are not the kinds of rewards we usually associate with going to Heaven. The climax of the rewards agrees with the description of the first resurrection from the dead.
To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne (Revelation 3:21).
And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: . . . . (Revelation 20:4).
The third chapter of Philippians, the second and third chapter of Revelation, and Paul’s references to running a race, to competing with diligence in order to gain the crown of life, suggest that the first resurrection from the dead, including the gaining of a glorified body, will be the reward of the conquering saint. It will not be given on the basis of a mere profession of doctrinal belief.
Let us consider for a moment the fact that in the New Testament, the fullness of salvation is viewed as occurring at the end of our pilgrimage rather than at the beginning. He who endures to the end shall be saved.
Notice carefully the following:
But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition [destruction]; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul. (Hebrews 10:39)
We "believe to the saving of the soul." We are saved if we persevere in our faith throughout our lifetime.
To view salvation as occurring at the end of our life rather than at the beginning enables us to gain a clearer picture of the Christian life. The concept of today that once we make a profession of the Lord Jesus we are "saved," meaning that whatever we do after that cannot prevent our entrance into the fullness of glory and authority, has produced Christian churches that are far from God and His redemption.
If we would perceive salvation as a state of acceptance to God that indeed begins at a definite point of putting our faith in the Lord Jesus, and then must be pursued throughout out lifetime with all diligence, we would avoid the deadly complacency that has destroyed the spiritual life of the churches in the wealthy nations.
We shall be saved if we endure to the end. Our redemption is in the future. If we would attain to the future redemption, every moment of our life on earth must be spent in the pursuit of eternal life.
In the third chapter of Philippians, Paul is not speaking primarily of being saved from the wrath of God. Well then, what is Paul speaking of?
When we receive the Lord Jesus Christ by faith, believing that His blood has washed away our sins, we become candidates for Paradise. We will be saved rather than lost in the great and terrible Day of the Lord if we continue throughout our lifetime placing our hope and trust in the Lord.
But attaining to the first resurrection from the dead, the transformation of our body into the likeness of His glorious body; ascending the thrones of eternal life that govern the material creation; require a complete grasping of the power of Christ’s resurrection from the dead and a complete participation in the sufferings of the cross.
Many are called into the Kingdom of God but few are chosen to be members of the Bride of the Lamb. Among the members of the Kingdom of God there are some who bear Christ thirtyfold, some who bear Christ sixtyfold, some who bear Christ a hundredfold. Then there are believers who are saved as by fire, receiving no reward. Their works, their inheritance, and much of their personality is burned away in order that their spirit may be saved.
We enter the gates of salvation by receiving our Lord, Christ. Then, through His grace, we press forward into the Kingdom of God. The extent to which we gain the Kingdom will determine our inheritance, our status, our opportunities for fellowship with God and for service, throughout the ages to come.
Much of our inheritance will be reflected in the body of life that "swallows up" our mortal body. There is a reward for serving the Lord!
We shall reap what we sow. Those who serve the Lord carelessly will be rewarded carelessly. Those who serve the Lord with their whole heart will be rewarded with the Lord’s whole heart. Those who give little to the Lord will receive little from the Lord. Those who give all that they are to the Lord will receive all that the Lord is.
The first resurrection from among the dead, the "out-resurrection," is the resurrection of God’s priests and kings. It is a high honor in the Kingdom of God to participate in the first resurrection. Those who attain to the first resurrection will be given unimaginable authority and power, just as the Spirit of God has presented to us in the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation.
We can gain some concept of the degree of spiritual maturity that the first resurrection represents by the fact that the Apostle Paul, five or six years before his martyrdom, was still seeking to arrive at the level of closeness with God’s King—the Lord Jesus Christ—that would qualify him for participation in the first resurrection from the dead.
We are qualified to escape the wrath of God by believing in Christ and being baptized in water into the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
We attain to the first resurrection from among the dead by forsaking all other pursuits in order to be changed into the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus.
For several years the writer has wrestled with the problem of who will be raised from the dead and ascend to meet the Lord in the air when He appears.
The language of I Thessalonians 4:13-18 leaves the impression that all believers will be drawn to the Lord at this time. We must keep in mind, however, that Paul’s definition of a believer and what it means to "sleep in Jesus," and the current definition and understanding, may be far apart.
There are types and statements that imply only a firstfruits of the believers will be found worthy of participation in the first resurrection. We finally have come to favor this point of view—that only a firstfruits of the Lord’s people (and by the expression "the Lord’s people" we mean spiritual Israel, the family of God, the entire Church, the whole Bride of the Lamb) will be part of the first resurrection from among the dead.
If it is true that it is a firstfruits of God’s people who will be raised in the first resurrection, then the remainder of the Church will be raised in the general resurrection from the dead—that which will take place when the first heaven and earth pass away.
If the majority of the Lord’s people are to be raised in the general resurrection from the dead, then the resurrection at the coming of the Lord will be a special out-resurrection of a holy army of "mighty men" whose purpose will be to work with the Lord in governing the nations of the saved, and perhaps to assist the younger members of the Bride in their growth to maturity.
There is the story of Gideon’s army—300 men taken from the entire camp of Israel. The account of the trumpets, and the breaking of the clay pots so that the light shone, is probably the strongest Old Testament type of the coming of the Lord.
There is the separation of the Ark from the remainder of the Tabernacle of the Congregation and its final return as part of the Temple of Solomon. The removal and return of the Ark suggest a temporary separation from the whole Church of a fighting remnant, a "Zion" company, a firstfruits to the Lord.
The anointing of David as king over Judah before he was anointed king over all Israel speaks of a temporary rule of the Lord over a "Judah company."
Isaiah speaks of a godly remnant.
And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem (Isaiah 4:3).
Joel prophesies of a remnant who will serve the Lord in the last days.
And it shall come to pass, that whoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call (Joel 2:32).
"In the remnant whom the Lord shall call." The remnant!
Jude mentions a remnant who will return to judge the Lord’s household:
And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these [the ungodly in the churches], saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him (Jude 1:14,15).
A review of the context will reveal that these saints who come with the Lord, perhaps a remnant of the entire Church, will appear for the purpose of judging the ungodly in the household of God.
Then there is the fact that the Wife of the Lamb (perhaps a firstfruits of the Bride, according to our view) appears at the beginning of the thousand-year Kingdom Age, clothed in the white raiment of her righteous conduct:
And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness [righteous deeds] of saints (Revelation 19:8).
And then as the glorious holy city, at the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age:
And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife (Revelation 21:9).
The difference in the two appearings of the Wife of the Lamb may indicate that a warrior-firstfruits will appear with the Lord at the onset of the thousand-year Kingdom Age; and that during the thousand-year Kingdom Age the remainder of the Church will be ministered to in the spirit realm by the warrior-firstfruits, the Zion-barley-firstfruits company, the Lord’s holy remnant.
Barley is the first grain to ripen and was employed during the Levitical feast of Firstfruits.
Gideon is associated with barley.
And when Gideon was come, behold, there was a man that told a dream unto his fellow, and said, Behold, I dreamed a dream, and, lo, a cake of barley bread tumbled into the host of Midian, and came unto a tent, and smote it that it fell, and overturned it, that the tent lay along (Judges 7:13).
The firstfruits company is revealed in the Book of Revelation, standing on Mount Zion, in the place where David kept the Ark of the Covenant when it was separated from the remainder of the Tabernacle of the Congregation.
And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads (Revelation 14:1).
We see, then, that the concept of the first resurrection being a special, advance resurrection and ascension, an honor guard to greet the Lord Jesus when He comes to assume the government of Israel and of the other nations of the earth, has strong support in the types of the Old Testament as well as in some of the statements of the New Testament.
If the first resurrection is a special, advance resurrection of the Lord’s "mighty men," then Paul’s zeal in pursuing the out-resurrection to the end of his discipleship makes perfect sense.
Otherwise, Paul’s desire to attain to the out-resurrection is difficult to understand.
The statement that finally caused us to take the position that only a holy remnant will be raised at the next coming of the Lord, is as follows:
Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years (Revelation 20:6).
There are numerous people who believe in Jesus, who have, we believe, a genuine experience of sins forgiven. They truly love the Lord and His Spirit is in them. But we cannot see all of them serving as members of the royal priesthood. Many are babies in Christ. Their pastors feed them with diluted milk; for if they presented a stronger word their congregations would choke and die.
Such believers simply are not kings and priests in the Kingdom. They are not kings and priests today and they will not be made so magically when the Lord appears, by "grace," by forgiveness, by mercy, or by any other simple, quick means. They are not ready to be the judges who will sit upon the all-powerful thrones in the air that govern the spiritual condition of the nations of the earth. To think that immature, worldly Christians suddenly will be assigned such supreme authority and power is to indulge in fantasy.
Then too, the Lord warned us concerning the ten virgins who had lamps—the lamps representing the Word of God. Five of them had oil, that is, the Life of Christ dwelling in them. They were living by His Life. The other five had lamps but their oil had been used up. They were not accepted by the Lord when He came.
When we truly receive the Lord we are given a portion of oil, of the Life of Christ. In order to keep filled with oil we must take up our cross and follow the Lord, living daily by His resurrection Life. How many believers really live by the Life of the Lord?
The Lord through much tribulation will draw out a godly remnant in the days in which we are living.
We think we are correct in the conclusion we have drawn, that is, only a holy remnant of warrior-saints will rise to meet the Lord at His appearing. If there is a possibility we are correct, then every person who loves the Lord would do well to follow the example of the Apostle Paul and strive to attain to the first resurrection from among the dead.
13. Had Paul at this time (A.D. 62, just before his first court appearance) already attained to the "out-resurrection"?
In his own opinion he had not as yet arrived.
Verse 12 reveals to us that to attain to the first resurrection is the same as to have been perfected. To arrive at perfection in Christ is to arrive at the out-resurrection.
14. What was Paul’s attitude of spirit and mind while he was confined in the barracks, awaiting his first trial?
He was pressing toward a mark, he was pursuing a goal in Christ.
This indeed is remarkable. Toward what was he pressing?
What was he pursuing?
Paul at this time had been saved and filled with God’s Spirit for many years. His missionary work had born much fruit. Now he was in prison with a reasonable expectation of martyrdom. Had he not gained all the aspects of redemption that are possible to achieve in the world?
Isn’t it true that after we are saved, filled with God’s Holy Spirit, and labor successfully in the work of the Kingdom, there no longer is a personal spiritual level toward which to press while we are in the world?
Aren’t we supposed to wait patiently until the Lord Jesus comes and "carries us away to our eternal home in Heaven"?
We are supposed to wait patiently until the Lord Jesus comes in the power of His Kingdom and brings us into glory and honor. Meanwhile there is a mark, a goal that has been placed before us by the Lord Jesus. The mark, the goal, is the perfect and complete relationship to Christ to which we have been called.
Each saint who attains a complete relationship to Christ has already received the inner aspects of the first resurrection. The coming of the Lord Jesus will not bring the inner aspects of throne-life to the perfected saint. Rather, the coming of Christ will reveal to the creation, through the reviving and glorifying of the saint’s mortal body, the Divine Life and relationship that was accomplished during the saint’s life on the earth.
Paul was seeking to lay hold of that for which he had been laid hold of by Christ.
Has Christ indeed laid hold of you and of me that we may be brought into transformations, relationships, and positions of which we are largely unaware? That we glimpse dimly?
To what end are we being resurrected?
We would suggest that the upward calling of the new-covenant saint is identical to the commission given to human beings in the beginning:
To be in the image of God in spirit, soul, and body.
To be male and female, that is, to have the capacity for union with God and with all who are in God.
To be fruitful.
To have dominion over the creation.
As to image:
For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be changed into the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren (Romans 8:29).
As to union:
That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me (John 17:21).
As to fruitfulness:
Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you (John 15:16).
As to dominion:
To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne (Revelation 3:21).
Of the four parts of the original commission given to mankind, union is the most important. When God made man He made him male and female so it would be impossible for any individual to achieve image, fruitfulness, or dominion apart from union with another person. Only the Father, God, is capable of image, fruitfulness and dominion apart from union with another person.
The third chapter of Philippians concerns the complete union of the saint with Christ. Paul was laying aside all other goals so that he might pursue the one supreme goal of knowing the Lord Jesus Christ, of knowing the power of His resurrection from among the dead (not the power of Paul’s resurrection but the power of Christ’s resurrection), of sharing in Christ’s sufferings (not Paul’s sufferings).
Do not the power and the sufferings become Paul’s?
Yes, they do indeed. But the important aspect is that they are Christ’s power and sufferings. It is not what we attain to that is so vitally significant. The one true achievement of the human being is to enter all that Christ is, that Christ does, that Christ becomes, that Christ experiences, that Christ attains to and inherits.
We are coheirs with Christ. Not one thing we are or do is of value apart from the Lord. The necessary aspect of salvation is union with Him.
The difference between the False Prophet (religion), and Christ (Divine redemption), is as follows: the False Prophet and those who belong to him are seeking image, fruitfulness, and dominion apart from union with Christ, apart from union with God. Christ and those who belong to Him are also seeking image, fruitfulness, and dominion, but only as these elements flow naturally from union with God.
Therefore, all religious formulas, whether they have to do with fasting, meditation, faith, standing on the promises of Scripture, discipleship, patterns of baptism, gifts of the Spirit, organizational designs, or whatever else may be emphasized, are of the False Prophet unless their goals are achieved through union with the Lord Jesus Christ.
We do not seek to acquire the likeness of God in our life, or fruitfulness, or dominion, so we may become spiritually proficient or a powerful person. Rather, we seek to acquire union with God through the Lord Jesus Christ so that the Divine image, fruitfulness, and dominion, which are the true goals of every person, may be given to us lawfully and enable us to please the Father.
No human being ever finds rest and joy until he finds it in the heart of God.
This is what Paul was seeking—to be found in Christ, not having any accomplishments, any righteousness of his own. All that is of gain to Paul must come as a result of his union with Christ.
Divine union, Divine Life, Divinely ordained image, fruitfulness, and dominion are an upward calling. The call comes down to us from the throne of the almighty God and draws us upward toward that throne.
The call to union is the call to the Bride of the Lamb. Response to the call of Divine love requires that every other interest and affection be regarded as secondary and that all previous accomplishments and experiences be laid aside and forgotten.
The Bride of the Lamb turns away from every entangling relationship so that Christ may have undisputed first place in her heart. He will allow no competitors.
Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father’s house; so shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him (Psalms 45:10,11).
Paul was stretching toward the fullness of relationship to Christ, a fullness that the Lord caused to appear on the horizon of Paul’s spiritual consciousness. He was pressing forward in single-minded pursuit of this perfect, complete relationship.
Such pure devotion to Christ is admirable under any circumstance. The fact that Paul was seeking Christ with such intensity while he was in prison, with the zeal of one newly saved, should give us a different orientation to the Christian discipleship than the current "decision for Christ."
Our standard of discipleship is far below that presented by Paul. We may believe in one or two "works of grace" that give the seeker membership in a particular group. But the Scriptures point toward a lifelong pursuit of total union with Christ: with all He is, all He does, all He inherits.
"To attain to the first resurrection from among the dead." What a challenge! What a departure from our traditional thinking! Will our complacency, our indifference, force the Lord God to lower His standards?
Or will we be held to this Word?
If we are being held to the written Word of the Apostles of the Lamb, how many of us actually will attain to the first resurrection, the out-resurrection from the dead?
At the time of his writing to the saints, overseers, and deacons in Philippi, Paul had not as yet attained to the first resurrection.
Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ (Philippians 3:12).
Given the spiritual stature of Paul at this time, it becomes clear that the rewards of the overcomer can be gained by nothing less than total devotion to Christ.
We are invited to press forward until we are able to grasp that for which we have been grasped by the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul does not count being converted to Christ, being born-again, speaking in tongues, and working in the ministry as being anything more than Christian basics. The wealth of glory in Christ available to the believer goes far beyond the basics!
There are few if any of us who have laid hold on Christ to the degree to which we have been called. Are we to wink at the challenge and compare ourselves among ourselves?
Indeed we are not! We are to forget what we have achieved to this point. We are to acknowledge that God never commands us to do anything but that He stands ready with all the power and wisdom (grace) we ever will need to perfectly and completely fulfill all of His expectations concerning us. We are to reach forward toward the horizon that the Holy Spirit is revealing to us as an individual.
We are to fan our first love into a consuming fire. We must prepare ourselves to be cut to the bone and to the marrow of the bone. Our resolve must harden as the finest steel. God’s knife shall prune. It shall circumcise what is useless and dead in our personality.
We are to begin once more in Christ with the zeal and zest of the newly converted. We are to return to our first love and do our first works. We are to know nothing. We are to be as a child although we may have been in the ministry for several decades.
We may be satisfied with our present attainment in Christ. We are to remain satisfied no longer. We are to ask God for our own mark, our own goal. We do not doubt that Christ will present us with a clear goal. We do not doubt He will match our total sincerity with total sincerity. There is something terribly sincere about Calvary!
Having been shown that clear goal, that definite mark, we are to press forward with every fiber of our personality in order that we may arrive at that goal. We do not beat the air. We are running to win. We can gain the crown of glory, through the grace of Christ, if we are willing to bring our flesh under subjection to the Holy Spirit; if we are willing to be made weak in order that the wisdom and strength of Christ may be poured into us—and through us.
15. What should be true of each member of the Body of Christ who is mature in his walk in Christ?
He is to have the attitude of Paul, the attitude of stretching forward in pursuit of an intimate knowledge of Christ; the attitude of receiving His incorruptible, eternal resurrection life; the attitude of sharing His sufferings.
16. What will happen to each saint who has an attitude different from this?
God will bring him or her to the attitude that Paul is expressing here.
Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you (Philippians 3:15).
17. Until we arrive at the mark, how should we keep on living?
At the same level of holiness and obedience to God which we have already attained.
18. Who will serve as an example and pattern for the saints in Philippi?
Paul, and those who are adhering to the pattern established by Paul’s walk in Christ.
19. What is true of many so-called Christians and Christian teachers?
They are enemies of the cross of Christ.
So it is today. It appears there is a multitude of such teachers and they have many followers. They and their students profess faith in Christ. They speak in tongues, prophesy, claim to be washed in the blood, and call Jesus, Lord.
They teach us how to have power with God. They reveal to us how to use our faith to gain money, success in the world, and an abundance of material goods.
They are of the False Prophet. They are worshipers of the god, Money. They work on the emotions of the simple-hearted. They steal money from older people, telling them their money will be invested in the Lord’s work. These teachers are performing their lies and thefts in the name of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We are not to judge them, neither are we to participate or cooperate with them. They will be exposed in the Day of the Lord.
It appears certain that the Day of Christ will be the greatest surprise in the history of man. Many who have been prominent in the work of the Lord will be cast from the Presence of God and the Lamb because they are workers of evil. They love the present world and are using the things of Christ in order to become wealthy.
They are preaching and teaching today. They will be cast into outer darkness when Christ appears.
Jude spoke of those who "ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward." Balaam attempted to use the gift of God in order to make money. In so doing he opened his personality to deception.
Every person who attempts to use Christ in order to make money will be deceived. Balaam was slain by the Israelite army under Joshua. Every person who is using Christ to make money will be slain by the army of the Lord when it begins to take possession of the earth.
20. What is the end of those who are the enemies of the cross of Christ?
21. What is the god of those who are the enemies of the cross of Christ?
Their appetite for food.
22. In what is the glory of those who are the enemies of the cross?
23. On what is their attention fixed?
The things of the earth.
24. Where is the citizenship of the true saint of Christ?
25. What is the true saint eagerly awaiting?
The return to earth of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
26. What will our Savior do for us when He returns?
He will transform our mortal body until it is like His glorified body.
27. By what means will Christ transform our mortal body until it conforms to His own body of glory?
By the exercise of the awesome power by which He is able to bring all things under subjection to Himself.
1. What was Paul’s attitude toward the saints in Philippi?
They were beloved by him. He longed to see them. They are Paul’s joy and crown.
2. What did Paul urge the saints to do?
To stand firm in the Lord.
We are defending our position today. When the Lord returns we will move to the attack.
3. What was Paul’s exhortation to Euodia and Syntyche?
To learn to live in harmony as sisters in Christ.
4. Who was the "true yokefellow", the true comrade, whom Paul was addressing in verse three?
Perhaps Luke, or Silas, or a leading elder among the overseers of the saints in Philippi.
5. What did Paul ask his true comrade to do?
To help Euodia and Syntyche because these two women had assisted Paul in the work of spreading the Gospel.
6. Who else had assisted Paul in the work?
Clement, and other faithful Gospel workers whose names we do not know—names recorded in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
Some scholars believe that the Clement mentioned here was the prominent elder of apostolic times who was the Bishop of Rome. Origen so identifies him.
7. What was the imprisoned Paul’s exhortation to the saints and elders of Philippi?
"Rejoice in the Lord always! Rejoice! Rejoice!"
8. What spirit were the saints to show toward all people?
A spirit of forbearance, of reasonableness, of unselfishness, of consideration, of gentleness, of courtesy.
9. What awareness should guide the saints’ every deed, word and thought?
That the coming of the Lord Jesus is near at hand.
10. What should be the attitude of the saint toward all relationships, events, circumstances, and things of the world?
He should not be anxious or worried concerning any of them.
11. What are we to do about our needs and desires?
We are not to be anxious concerning any of them but are to let our requests be made known to God in prayer and entreaty, accompanied by thanksgiving for our multitude of blessings.
12. What is true of the peace that comes to us from God?
The Divine peace is beyond all comprehension, past every understanding.
The peace of God does not come after all problems are solved, all perplexities removed. The peace of God flows into our heart and spirit and mind in the midst of our confusions and dreads. Then we know that all is well even though we do not as yet witness the solution in the material realm.
13. What does the Divine peace do for us?
God’s peace guards our hearts and minds in Christ, preventing anxiety, worry, dread, fear, turmoil, distraction, confusion, strife, excessive ambition, extreme conscientiousness, perfectionism, from destroying our quiet rest, peace, joy, and assurance. Our Good Shepherd leads us into green pastures beside quiet waters.
14. On what kinds of matters should the saint allow his mind to dwell?
Whatever is true.
Whatever is honest, honorable, and worthy of reverence.
Whatever is just and righteous.
Whatever is pure.
Whatever is lovely.
Whatever is of good reputation.
Whatever is excellent and virtuous.
Whatever is worthy of praise.
Without doubt this exhortation is of the greatest importance to us today. There is so much evil. There is so much perversity. There is so much deception.
When we are not careful we soon find ourselves attempting to fight Satan’s fire with some fire of our own. Satan enjoys having us do this because he is the master of violence, of murder, of malice, of the lie, of dishonesty, of unrighteousness, of filthiness, of evil, of all that is perverse and destructive.
It is not good for the Christian to watch the television constantly, to read the newspaper carefully, to dwell on the wickedness in the world and in the church. To allow our mind to dwell on what is wrong in the world is destructive of righteousness, peace, and joy.
The Word of God commands us to refrain from fretting. How can we refrain from fretting if we permit our minds to dwell on what is perverse and unrighteous?
Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. (Psalms 37:2)
The Holy Spirit in Paul directs us to think continually of what is true, honorable, righteous, pure, lovely, worthy of praise. When we contemplate these things we are filled with righteousness, peace, and joy—with the Kingdom of God.
One person can look at the world and see the devil on every hand. Another person can look at the world and behold the Glory of God on every hand. We can dwell on what sin has accomplished or we can dwell on what God has accomplished. The choice is ours.
The Bible commands us to think about what is holy. The Bible commands us to refrain from fretting ourselves concerning what is evil, for it soon will pass away. If we would prove the will of God we must allow ourselves to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. Let us obey the Spirit of God in this aspect of redemption.
Paul was in prison at the time of writing the Book of Philippians. He was surrounded by unsaved Roman soldiers. There was no moment of Paul’s day in which he could escape to quiet, peaceful, godly surroundings. He could have become bitter, full of complaints and worries. Instead, he chose to think about all that is pure, lovely, and worthy of praise.
15. How were the saints in Philippi to behave?
According to the pattern of behavior they had learned, received, heard, and seen in Paul.
16. What would be their reward if they modeled their behavior after the Apostle Paul?
The God of peace would be with them.
17. Why was Paul rejoicing greatly in the Lord Jesus?
Because the church in Philippi had sent Epaphroditus to Paul with an offering of money for his support.
Paul’s statements in verses 10 and 11 reveal that it was not the money that was so pleasing to Paul, it was the fact that the believers in Philippi actually cared for him. Paul assures them that he understood they always were concerned for his welfare but sometimes did not have the opportunity to demonstrate their love.
The coming of Epaphroditus must have meant a lot to Paul. Paul had much time to sit and think while he was awaiting his trial. A thoughtful reading of the Book of Acts gives us some idea of the amount of opposition Paul met as he attempted to explain that Jesus of Nazareth is Christ, and that He died for our sins and rose again from the dead.
The Apostle Paul was a bold, determined individual. He preached Christ with the same zeal with which he had previously attempted to destroy the churches. He spent many hours arguing with the Jews.
The Jews on several occasions sought to kill Paul. Jewish teachers followed him around and tried to convince the Gentile Christians to be circumcised and keep the Law of Moses.
It appears that Paul was rejected more times than he was accepted. We can imagine, then, that the act of sincere love that was shown toward him as he waited patiently in the Praetorian barracks, not knowing what the outcome of his trial would be, was comforting to him, a blessing to him. It proved to him that his labor was not in vain in the Lord.
18. Was Paul telling the Philippians that he was suffering want and needed their material assistance?
19. What had Paul learned in Christ?
He had learned how to be contented, knowing that Christ would take care of his needs no matter what his circumstances were.
Paul knew how to live in humble circumstances. He knew how to live in the midst of material abundance. Paul could serve Christ when all physical comforts were available to him and he could serve Christ when he was cold, hungry, and in pain from being beaten for the Gospel’s sake.
Some people serve the Lord diligently when things are going well for them and also when there are many problems. Others serve the Lord only when they are comfortable and secure. Still others seek the Lord diligently only when they are in pain or danger. Paul was able to abide in Christ and do His will under all conditions.
20. Who was giving Paul wisdom and strength, peace and joy, at all times and in all places?
The Lord Jesus Christ.
21. What does Paul say about their aiding him with the money that they sent to him by the hand of Epaphroditus?
He tells them that they did the right thing by encouraging and supporting him while he was in prison, even though the Lord Jesus Himself was encouraging and supporting him.
22. When had the Christians in Philippi assisted Paul with material support?
When he left Macedonia and traveled south to preach the Gospel in Corinth.
Paul had preached in Philippi (Acts, Chapter 16). Then he had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia until he came to Thessalonica. There the preaching of Paul and Silas stirred up the Jews who gathered a multitude to attack the Apostles (Acts 17:5). Philippians 4:16 states that the saints in Philippi sent money on more than one occasion to Paul while he was preaching in Thessalonica.
Because of the persecution, the saints in Thessalonica sent Paul and Silas on to Berea (Acts 17:19).
The Jews of Thessalonica followed the apostles to Berea and stirred up the Bereans against them (Acts 17:13). At this point, the Berean saints conducted Paul to the sea and on to Athens. From Athens, Paul went to Corinth (Acts 18:1).
When Paul left Berea he was departing from the region of Macedonia and proceeding toward Achaia, in which the city of Corinth was located. The saints in Philippi were the only believers who continued to support Paul after he left Macedonia.
And when I was present with you [Corinthians], and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me the brothers which came from Macedonia [Philippi of Macedonia] supplied: and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself. (II Corinthians 11:9)
23. Did Paul desire to get money from the saints in Philippi?
24. What did he desire?
That they have the opportunity to show their love toward him and their support of the work of the Kingdom of God. Paul knew that the Father would accept this kind of fruit from the saints in Philippi and that it would add to their reward in the Day of Christ.
25. How did Paul regard his present state?
He now had an abundance of money because of the offering that the Philippians had sent with Epaphroditus. The money was a sacrifice that was well-pleasing to God, the aroma of a fragrant incense such as that which had ascended to God from the Altar of Burnt Offering of the Tabernacle of the Congregation.
26. How will God respond to their sending money to Paul?
God will provide for all their needs from His storehouse of riches in glory—riches that are given to the saints through the Lord Jesus Christ.
27. To whom does the Apostle Paul ascribe glory forever?
God the Father.
28. How does Paul conclude his letter to the saints, overseers, and deacons of Philippi of Macedonia?
Salute every saint in Christ. The brothers which are with me greet you. All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar’s household. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen (Philippians 4:21-23).