2923.) Philippians 2:12-30

Philippians 2:12-30 (NIV)

Prayer

Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ is the light of the world: Grant that your people, illumined by your Word and filled with your joy, may shine with the radiance of Christ’s glory, that he may be known, worshiped, and obeyed to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you thee and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Do Everything Without Grumbling

12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

from This Day with the Master,
by Dennis F. Kinlaw

REMEMBER THE FUTURE

In Philippians 2:12-13 Paul tells the people in Philippi to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling, for “it is God who works in you.” He never indicates that God will work redemptively in our lives in spite of us. God wants to work with us for our future, transforming us into the people he desires us to be.

Do you ever feel uneasy about the future? One of the best antidotes for that uneasiness is to look back upon the past and see the miracles of God’s prevenient grace:  how he worked in your life even before he brought you to himself. It helps to consider how many strings he pulled and what power he used to bring us to the place where we found Christ. Notice his providential, sovereign hand on you since that day, and remember that God’s will toward you has not changed. His will toward you is just as good today as it was yesterday, as good as it was when you were a sinner who did not know him and he was lovingly working to bring you to himself. And he will continue to work and bring you to ultimate, final, and full salvation.

That is why Paul can joyously look at circumstances that seem negative. When he is in prison (Phil. 1:7) and when he is in need of financial support (Phil. 4:12), he can rejoice. He knows what the will of the One who is sovereign over all is toward him. It is good, and it will not change. How appropriate to work with that will.

14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.

One of the features of Paul’s writing is his love of pictures from the life of the athlete.

And there is little wonder. In every Greek city the gymnasium was far more than a physical training-ground. It was in the gymnasium that Socrates often discussed the eternal problems; it was in the gymnasium that the philosophers and the sophists and the wandering teachers and preachers often found their audience. In any Greek city the gymnasium was not only the physical training-ground but also the intellectual club of the city. In the Greek world there were the great Isthmian Games at Corinth, the great Pan-Ionian Games at Ephesus, and, greatest of all, the Olympic Games, held every four years. The Greek cities were often at variance and frequently at war; but when the Olympic Games came round, no matter what dispute was raging, a month’s truce was declared that there might be a contest in fellowship between them. Not only did the athletes come, but the historians and the poets came to give readings of their latest works, and the sculptors, whose names are immortal, came to make statues of the winners.

There can be little doubt that, in Corinth and in Ephesus, Paul had been a spectator of these games. Where there were crowds of men, Paul would be there to seek to win them for Christ. But, apart from the preaching, there was something about these athletic contests which found an answer in the heart of Paul. He knew the contests of the boxers (1 Corinthians 9:26). He knew the foot-race, most famous of all the contests. He had seen the herald summoning the racers to the starting-line (1 Corinthians 9:27); he had seen the runners press along the course to the goal (Philippians 3:14); he had seen the judge awarding the prize at the end of the race (2 Timothy 4:8); he knew of the victor’s laurel crown and of his exultation (1 Corinthians 9:24; Philippians 4:1). He knew the rigorous discipline of training which the athlete must undertake, and the strict regulations which must be observed (1 Timothy 4:7-8; 2 Timothy 2:5). 

So his prayer is that he may not be like an athlete whose training and effort have gone for nothing. For him the greatest prize in life was to know that through him others had come to know and to love and to serve Jesus Christ.

–William Barclay

17 But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am GLAD AND REJOICE with all of you. 18 So you too should BE GLAD AND REJOICE with me.

Timothy and Epaphroditus

19 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. 20 I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare. 21 For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. 22 But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel. 23 I hope, therefore, to send him as soon as I see how things go with me. 24And I am confident in the Lord that I myself will come soon.

25 But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, co-worker and fellow soldier,

“My brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier”: Paul gives these important titles to Epaphroditus. He was a man Paul valued as a partner in the work of ministry.  Brother speaks of a bond to be enjoyed; worker speaks of a job to be done; soldier speaks of a battle to be fought. It is precious and rare when God grants to us relationships which operate on each of these three levels.

–David Guzik

who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs. 26 For he longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill. 27 Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow. 28 Therefore I am all the more eager to send him, so that when you see him again you may BE GLAD and I may have less anxiety. 29 So then, welcome him in the Lord with great JOY, and honor people like him, 30 because he almost died for the work of Christ. He risked his life to make up for the help you yourselves could not give me.

The ancient Greek phrase for not regarding his life uses a gambler’s word that meant to risk everything on the roll of the dice. Paul says that for the sake of Jesus Christ, Epaphroditus was willing to gamble everything.

In the days of the Early Church there was an association of men and women who called themselves the gamblers, taken from this same ancient Greek word. It was their aim to visit the prisoners and the sick, especially those who were ill with dangerous and infectious diseases. Often, when plague struck a city, the heathen threw the dead bodies into the streets and fled in terror. But the gamblers buried the dead and helped the sick the best they could, and so risked their lives to show the love of Jesus.

–David Guzik

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is a song we all need to be singing, every day, as we live in our comfortable lifestyles (often with silly complaining and without thankful hearts or overflowing joy) in a world so full of need: “Change my heart, O God.”

_________________________

New International Version (NIV)   Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
Charlie Brown.    http://www.normanramsey.com/stop-complaining-how-to-follow-jesus-with-faith/
house of the future.   http://www.plan59.com/images/JPGs/styling_house_of_the_future_00.jpg
Roman sports.   http://www.crystalinks.com/romesports.html
gambling with dice.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2018/09/philippians2-gambling.png

2 Responses to 2923.) Philippians 2:12-30

  1. Hi Rebecca,

    I really like the name of your website and what you have to say is rich and meaningful. Keep up the good work.

    Joyce

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