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Josh Tollett
I am foolish; he is wise. I am fearful; he is courageous. I am nothing; he is everything.
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For the sake of lasting joy
Philippians 1:18-21
There is a kind of thinking and feeling, centered on Christ, that fuels a desire to magnify Him at any cost for the sake of our lasting joy.
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Published March 11th, 2017; Updated March 11th, 2017
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Main point summary
Paul will rejoice because he is certain that his chains of imprisonment will result in bringing glory to Christ, whether through his living or dying.
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There is a kind of thinking and feeling, centered on Christ, that fuels a desire to magnify Him at any cost for the sake of our lasting joy. God uses the exemplary lives of the saints who have gone before us to encourage and exhort us to follow their example and to run the race with endurance. In this connection, we are given more commands in scripture to follow Paul's example than any other Biblical figure (apart from Jesus). I believe that the glimpse that the Bible gives us into Paul's life is meant to do something to us. It's meant to fan into flame a greater desire to know Christ as Paul did. I think that is a primary reason for this text. Paul says "to me to live is Christ and to die is gain." "To me" could be drawn out more explicitly by saying "as far as I am personally concerned, the living is Christ and [my] death is gain." So Paul is not speaking here in terms of absolutes for all Christians. He is speaking in terms of his own manner of thinking. So thinking this way does not come automatically, it must be obtained. It is this way of thinking that fueled Paul's way of life and his experience of joy. Paul's manner of thinking and feeling about Christ fuels his eager expectation of being filled with courage in order to magnify Christ at any cost. In other words, the reason Paul can say that "I know that this [imprisonment] will turn out for my deliverance," is because of the way he thinks about his life. Life amounts to one thing for Paul: "the living is Christ." Finally, Paul's joy is certain because he is convinced that the Spirit of Christ will fill him with the courage to magnify Jesus through his living or dying in prison. This is amazing. Paul's joy in every circumstance is contingent on whether he is able to magnify Christ. If Christ is not glorified in him, then his joy will abate. So, he not only expects Christ to be magnified, but he eagerly expects and hopes for this. It is the fountainhead of his joy. So, let us press on to learn the secret of Paul. Let us strive to adopt his manner of thinking and feeling. Let's press on in prayer and deep study to know Christ in a way that alters us to such a degree that we will count our greatest joy as being able to magnify Christ at any cost.
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NT
Philippians 1:18-21
esv
na28
Yes, and I will rejoice,
Ἀλλὰ καὶ χαρήσομαι,
[because] I know that [this will turn out for my deliverance]
οἶδα γὰρ ὅτι τοῦτό μοι ἀποβήσεται εἰς σωτηρίαν
through your prayers
διὰ τῆς ὑμῶν δεήσεως
and through the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ
καὶ ἐπιχορηγίας τοῦ πνεύματος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ
progression
actionpurpose
[according to] my eager expectation and hope
κατὰ τὴν ἀποκαραδοκίαν καὶ ἐλπίδα μου,
i that I will not be at all ashamed,
ὅτι ἐν οὐδενὶ αἰσχυνθήσομαι
but that [I will have] full j courage
ἀλλʼ ἐν πάσῃ παρρησίᾳ
negativepositive
ideaexplanation
[so that, as at all times, even now,] Christ k will be honored in my body,
ὡς πάντοτε καὶ νῦν μεγαλυνθήσεται Χριστὸς ἐν τῷ σώματί μου,
l whether by life
εἴτε διὰ ζωῆς
or by death.
εἴτε διὰ θανάτου.
alternative
actionmanner
For to me m to live is Christ,
Ἐμοὶ γὰρ τὸ ζῆν Χριστὸς
and to die is gain.
καὶ τὸ ἀποθανεῖν κέρδος.
ground
What does he mean by the living is Christ? The death is gain? Ans.: v. 22 clarifies the living to mean "fruitful labor." and v.23 that death is "to be with Christ"
Distinct statement: Paul's believes that his imprisonment will result in his deliverance.
Main idea: The prayers of the saints and the support of the Holy Spirit will secure his deliverance.
Paul has one aim in life, knowing, serving, and pleasing Christ.
na28
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Disclaimer: The opinions and conclusions expressed on this page are those of the author and may or may not accord with the positions of Biblearc or Bethlehem College & Seminary.