In the uncertainty and chaos of life, it's good to be reminded of the promise you have in Christ.
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Philippians 1 (ESV)
1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,
all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi,
with the overseers and deacons:
God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you,
4 always in every prayer of mine
for you all making my prayer with joy,
5 because of your partnership in the gospel
from the first day until now.
6 And I am sure of this,
that he who began a good work in you
bring it to completion
at the day of Jesus Christ.
7 It is right for me to feel this way about you all,
because I hold you in my heart,
are all partakers with me of grace,
in my imprisonment
and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel.
8 For God is my witness,
how I yearn
for you all
with the affection of Christ Jesus.
9 And it is my prayer
that your love may abound more and more,
with knowledge and all discernment,
10 so that
you may approve what is excellent,
and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,
11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ,
to the glory and praise of God.
12 I want you to know, brothers,
that what has happened to me
has really served to advance the gospel,
13 so that it has become known
throughout the whole imperial guard
and to all the rest
that my imprisonment is for Christ.
14 And most of the brothers,
having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment,
are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
15 Some indeed preach Christ
from envy and rivalry,
but others from good will.
16 The latter
do it out of love,
knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel.
17 The former
proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition,
but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment.
18 What then?
Only that in every way,
whether in pretense or in truth,
Christ is proclaimed,
and in that I rejoice.
Yes, and I will rejoice,
19 for I know that through your prayers
and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ
this will turn out for my deliverance,
20 as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed,
but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.
21 For to me
to live is Christ,
and to die is gain.
22 If I am to live in the flesh,
that means fruitful labor for me.
Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell.
23 I am hard pressed between the two.
is to depart and be with Christ,
for that is far better.
to remain in the flesh
is more necessary on your account.
25 Convinced of this,
I know that I will remain and continue with you all,
for your progress and joy in the faith,
26 so that
in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus,
because of my coming to you again.
let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ,
so that whether
I come and see you
or am absent,
I may hear of you
that you are standing firm in one spirit,
with one mind
striving side by side for the faith of the gospel,
28 and not frightened in anything by your opponents.
This is a clear sign to them of their destruction,
but of your salvation, and that from God.
29 For it has been granted to you
that for the sake of Christ
should not only believe in him
but also suffer for his sake,
30 engaged in the same conflict
that you saw I had
and now hear that I still have.
Philippians 1 Summary
Christianity has always been a tough sell, and it didn't help Paul's early efforts that he was imprisoned and facing execution. After all, why would anybody believe a convict on death row?
But in God's providence, Paul's imprisonment served to advance the gospel, since Paul was able to share the good news with the guards and other prisoners (v12-13)! Plus, rather than being ashamed of Paul's imprisonment, other Christians gained confidence and are much more bold to speak the word without fear (v14).
Paul knows that his deliverance will come soon, and in one of two ways. If he were to be set free he could continue his work of spreading the gospel, but even the other alternative - execution - could be considered deliverance since Paul's life is rooted in Christ.
Notice how Paul frames it in v21, that for him to die is gain! He writes, my desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account (v23-24).
This is exactly how we're commanded to live as Christians. The world defines a worthwhile life as one filled with good things and lots of stuff, but instead, we're called to let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ (v27). In other words, our focus must be outward, for certainly our faith in Christ is a gift, but it's also been gifted that you should suffer for His sake (v29).
Verse 6 is an excellent verse to memorize and depend upon:
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
Know that in good times and bad, in life and in death, you belong in body and soul to your faithful Savior, Jesus Christ.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: God, our Father (v2) who began a good work in you and will see it to completion (v6)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Ask God for the strength to conduct yourself in a manner worthy of Christ (v27)
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: