Reaching, encouraging and equipping for Christ
This week I want to start a new series of
messages based on the Book of Philippians. Over the coming weeks I want
to look at one chapter a week and work our way through.
The title of my message today is, “Living wholeheartedly for Christ”.
It is inspired by the Apostle Paul’s attitude in chapter one.
Introduction to Philippians
Paul’s Letter to the Philippians was written to the first church that
Paul established on European soil. Paul established the church on his
second missionary journey in 49AD.It was in the Roman province of
Macedonia. It was written while the Apostle Paul was in prison. On
Paul’s first visit to Philippi he was thrown in jail (Acts
16). On his second visit he was thrown in jail again.
The main reason for writing the letter was to thank the Philippian
Christians for the gift which they had sent to help him in his time of
need. He also uses this letter to reassure them, so that they may have
courage and confidence in spite of all his troubles and their own as
Paul pleads with the church to have the humble attitude of Jesus,
rather than to be controlled by selfish ambition and pride. He reminds
them that their life in union with Christ is a gift of God’s grace which
they have received through faith, not through obedience to the
ceremonies of the Jewish Law.
Some of the other themes of this letter are joy, confidence, unity,
and perseverance in the Christian faith and life. It also reveals the
deep affection Paul had for the church at Philippi.
Philippians 1:1-30 – This letter is from Paul and Timothy, slaves of
Christ Jesus. I am writing to all of God’s holy people in Philippi who
belong to Christ Jesus, including the elders and deacons. 2 May God our
Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. 3 Every time
I think of you, I give thanks to my God. 4 Whenever I pray, I make my
requests for all of you with joy, 5 for you have been my partners in
spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it
until now. 6 And I am certain that God, who began the good work within
you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when
Christ Jesus returns. 7 So it is right that I should feel as I do about
all of you, for you have a special place in my heart. You share with me
the special favor of God, both in my imprisonment and in defending and
confirming the truth of the Good News. 8 God knows how much I love you
and long for you with the tender compassion of Christ Jesus. 9 I pray
that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on
growing in knowledge and understanding. 10 For I want you to understand
what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until
the day of Christ’s return. 11 May you always be filled with the fruit
of your salvation–the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus
Christ–for this will bring much glory and praise to God. 12 And I want
you to know, my dear brothers and sisters, that everything that has
happened to me here has helped to spread the Good News. 13 For everyone
here, including the whole palace guard, knows that I am in chains
because of Christ. 14 And because of my imprisonment, most of the
believers here have gained confidence and boldly speak God’s message
without fear. 15 It’s true that some are preaching out of jealousy and
rivalry. But others preach about Christ with pure motives. 16 They
preach because they love me, for they know I have been appointed to
defend the Good News. 17 Those others do not have pure motives as they
preach about Christ. They preach with selfish ambition, not sincerely,
intending to make my chains more painful to me. 18 But that doesn’t
matter. Whether their motives are false or genuine, the message about
Christ is being preached either way, so I rejoice. And I will continue
to rejoice. 19 For I know that as you pray for me and the Spirit of
Jesus Christ helps me, this will lead to my deliverance. 20 For I fully
expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue
to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my
life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die. 21 For to me,
living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. 22 But if I
live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So, I really don’t know
which is better. 23 I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be
with Christ, which would be far better for me. 24 But for your sakes, it
is better that I continue to live. 25 Knowing this, I am convinced that
I will remain alive so I can continue to help all of you grow and
experience the joy of your faith. 26 And when I come to you again, you
will have even more reason to take pride in Christ Jesus because of what
He is doing through me. 27 Above all, you must live as citizens of
heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about
Christ. Then, whether I come and see you again or only hear about you, I
will know that you are standing together with one spirit and one
purpose, fighting together for the faith, which is the Good News. 28
Don’t be intimidated in any way by your enemies. This will be a sign to
them that they are going to be destroyed, but that you are going to be
saved, even by God Himself. 29 For you have been given not only the
privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for
Him. 30 We are in this struggle together. You have seen my struggle in
the past, and you know that I am still in the midst of it.
Today I want to share four main points as a part of my message. They
pretty much follow the structure of chapter one.
1. Paul’s thanksgiving and prayer
The first point comes from verses 3-11. This section is titled,
“Paul’s thanksgiving and prayer”. In this section, two main things
jumped out at me.
a. Paul’s joy with the Philippians
Verses 3 says, “Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God”.
The Philippians give Paul special joy because they have been his
partners in the Gospel. They have shared with him from the day they
first heard about Christ until the day of writing.Paul has a real
love for the Philippians because they believed in the message of
salvation and continued steadfastly in it. They took it so seriously
that they partnered in his work – in prayer, encouragement and
b. Paul’s prayer for the Philippians
In verse 9 Paul says, “I pray that your love will overflow more and
more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding”.
Paul wanted them to continue to grow in their faith and be blessed by
God. He prayed they would have full understanding of the things of God,
be pure and blameless in their walk with the Lord and be filled with the
fruit of salvation.
Paul really loved the Philippians. He was like a spiritual father to
them as he planted the church at Philippi on his second missionary
journey in 49AD. This is why he experienced so much joy, prayed for them
and wanted the best for them.
Not only did he want them to keep growing, but he assured the
Philippians that God would continue to work on them. In verse 6 he said,
“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will
continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ
Not only did Paul pray for their continued growth, he knew God wanted
them to keep growing and would continue to work on them to see it
2. Paul’s joy that Christ is preached
The second main section is
Philippians 1:12-19. The title of this section in the NLT is “Paul’s
joy that Christ is preached”.
Verses 12-14 read, “And I want you to know, my dear brothers and
sisters, that everything that has happened to me here has helped to
spread the Good News. For everyone here, including the whole palace
guard, knows that I am in chains because of Christ. And because of my
imprisonment, most of the believers here have gained confidence and
boldly speak God’s message without fear”.Two things really jumped
out at me from these verses.
a. Paul is pleased being in prison
The first is that Paul is glad to be in prison. He tells us that the
whole palace guard knows he is there for the Gospel. Paul came in
contact with people he would not normally be able to share Christ with.
As we see from
Acts 16 Paul got to share his faith with the jailer and his family.
This is where the jailer asked, “What must we do to be saved?” Paul’s
response was, “Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, both you
and your family”. Paul was saying that if a father in a household
believed it would flow through to all the other family members.
b. Paul’s continued boldness encourages others
The second thing is from verse 14. Paul says that, “Most of the
believers here have gained confidence and boldly speak God’s message
Paul’s boldness despite being in prison gave others courage to
continue to talk about Jesus.
Acts 16 said they prayed and sang hymns while in chains! Most people
in prison would be afraid, worried and downcast. Not Paul, he sang hymns
and praised the Lord.
Paul’s boldness to preach the message of Christ landed him in prison.
However, this did not stop him and everyone knew why he was there. We
see the jailer family of the jailer came to Christ. And the other
believers were greatly encouraged in their efforts.
Paul’s commitment to preaching the Gospel inspires me nearly 2000
3. Paul’s life for Christ
The next point comes from
Philippians 1:20-26. It is titled, “Paul’s life for Christ”.
Verses 21-24 explains Paul’s heart. They give us a glimpse of his
“For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better.
But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So, I really
don’t know which is better. I’m torn between two desires: I long to go
and be with Christ, which would be far better for me. But for your
sakes, it is better that I continue to live”.
For Paul, living was all about Christ. Since his conversion on the
road to Damascus, he was all consumed with Christ. He desired earnestly
to go and be with Christ, but knew staying here would mean he could
continue His work in the world.
Paul knew he could help others come to know Christ, he could plant
churches, and he could strengthen the churches he had planted. In short,
his mission was to know Christ and make Him known.Over the years I
have known people like this. They have been completely sold out for
God’s Kingdom. Their life was hidden in Christ and His will was all they
wanted. Some are alive still serving, while some have gone to be with
I am so inspired by these three verses and the sold-out Kingdom
people I have met over the years. It is something that I aspire to
myself. I hope and pray that I can wholeheartedly say, “To live is
Christ, to die is gain”. How about you?
4. Live at citizens of heaven
The last section is
Philippians 1:27-30. It is titled, “Live as citizens of heaven”.
Verse 27 says, “Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven,
conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ.
Then, whether I come and see you again or only hear about you, I will
know that you are standing together with one spirit and one purpose,
fighting together for the faith, which is the Good News”.
As I have shared before, I like this idea of being a citizen of
heaven. As Christians we live in this world, but citizenship is of
another place – the Kingdom of Heaven. The moment we asked Jesus Christ
into our lives our citizenship status changed.
Paul reminds us in today’s passage to conduct ourselves worthy of
being a citizen of heaven. We need to live in a way that shows we no
longer belong to this world. We are like an Ambassador who serves in a
foreign country as a diplomat. They deal with their host country, build
relational bridges and represent the interests of their country in that
place. But in reality, their devotion and loyalty is to another place.
Not only does the Ambassador have to serve his country in that place,
but they need to represent the country well. All they do reflects on
their homeland. We are like this as Christians.So today let us
remember our spiritual passports are stamped as citizens of heaven. Let
us remember the words of
Colossians 3:17, “And whatever you do or say, do it as a
representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the
Today we have looked at the first chapter on
Philippians 1. We saw four main things.
1. Paul was thankful for the Philippians and he prayed that they
would grow in their faith.2. Paul was thankful that Christ was being
preached. Even though he was in prison.3. Paul lived his life for
Christ. To Paul to live is Christ, to die is gain.4. Paul asked them
to live as citizens of heaven. He wanted them to represent Christ well.
By Dave Quinn
Founder of PASSIONAustralia.org
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