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Tag: Philippians

The Source Of Thanksgiving

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7. Considering his wrongful imprisonment by the Romans, Paul’s admonition is astonishing. In the clutches […]

The School Of Adversity

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“But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel.” Philippians 1:12
Paul was probably the most effective Christian missionary in history. His dynamic evangelistic and Bible teaching ministry resulted in many conversions and the subsequent formation of several Asian and European churches. Far from robbing the apostle of his effectiveness his imprisonment actually led to the advancement of the gospel. First, Paul diligently witnessed to his captors who were taken from the ranks of the elite palace guard (Phil. 1:13; in this verse “palace” is literally Praetorium, i.e. the place of the powerful royal bodyguards.) Second, the curtailment of his public preaching ministry, coupled with his resolute courage in the face of danger, motivated other Christians to begin proclaiming the good news of Christ in place of the incarcerated apostle.
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The Joy and Suffering of the Furtherance of the Gospel (1)

Originally published in Precious Seed, Vol. 65 Issue 1 (2010.)
The gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ holds the answer to the momentous problems facing mankind today. In spite of this, the good news encounters opposition wherever it is proclaimed. The Adversary, Satan blinds men’s minds against it, 2 Cor. 4. 4, the world system allures people away from it, 1 John 2. 15-17, and the flesh rebels against its claims, Gal. 4. 29; 5. 17. The Lord Jesus foretold this sobering situation, saying:

If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me, John 15. 18-21.

Paul taught the same principle to his converts, affirming that ‘…all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution’, 2 Tim. 3. 12; see also Acts 14. 22. Elsewhere he told his ‘child in the faith’, Timothy, to ‘…endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ’, 2 Tim. 2. 3. John puts it succinctly: ‘Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you’, 1 John 3. 13. Of course, the apostles were not ‘armchair theologians’ who lacked the knowledge of the vicissitudes of real life. They themselves suffered for their identification with Christ and His gospel. For example, Paul’s experience of persecution and hardship for the progress of the glad tidings is clearly set forth in his epistle to the Philippians. What is more, this encouraging letter demonstrates the unassailable joy that the believer possesses in Christ in spite of the difficulties that serving Him brings about in this life.
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The Death of the Cross

“And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” Phil. 2:9i
To modern people the cross is at best a ubiquitous Christian symbol or at worst a mere piece of jewelry. In the ancient world things were far different. In Bible times the cross was a form of execution, “…reserved for the most notable and notorious ne’er-do-wells of antiquity.”ii It was not something one spoke about in polite company; nor was it a desirable end to one’s life. Every facet of crucifixion was meant to demean and demoralize the condemned one. Though it meant a lonely, tortuous death, the Lord Jesus willingly went to Golgotha and laid down His life in obedience to His Father. To fathom the profound shame associated with this act, modern sentimentality about the cross must be stripped away. To appreciate what Christ did for His people one must perceive the humiliation connected with this form of execution.
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