Given the choice between life or death, most of us would immediately choose life. In sharp contrast, Paul desired to depart and be with Christ—though he also understood the necessity to remain for a time and encourage others in their faith. Rejoicing in all circumstances, he lived and died to glorify God. Exploring the basis of Paul’s joy, Alistair Begg reminds us that God alone determines the length of our earthly pilgrimages, which should always point others to Christ.
18What 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, 19for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, 20as 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. 21For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. 23I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. 24But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. 25Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, 26so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.
Even as a prisoner, the Apostle Paul remained confident about his direction and purpose in life: “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” When pride and jealousy fostered division among the Philippian Christians, then, Paul redirected their focus to Jesus, the supreme example of sacrificial love. Passionate that all should share in God’s grace, he also provided principles to guide the Church in all generations as we set our sights on Him.
In Volume 1 of this series, Alistair Begg examines the loving, Gospel-centered partnership Paul enjoyed with the Philippians. Concerned that neither their fellowship nor their witness would be jeopardized, Paul promoted unity through humility, charity, and practical obedience. By trusting in God’s providence and promises, we too can learn to rejoice in all circumstances and display faith that is attractive to a watching world.
|Partners in the Gospel||Philippians 1:1-6|
|Feelings and Longings||Philippians 1:7-11|
|Christ is Preached||Philippians 1:12-18|
|Desires and Necessities||Philippians 1:18-26|
|Take a Stand||Philippians 1:27-30|
|Living in Harmony||Philippians 2:1-4|
|The Attitude of Christ||Philippians 2:5-8|
|Name Above Every Other Name||Philippians 2:9-11|
|Who is Doing What?||Philippians 2:12-13|
|Becoming Children of God||Philippians 2:14-18|
|That's What Friends Are||Philippians 2:19-30|
The Apostle Paul was in no doubt as to his direction and purpose in life. In the very heart of this letter to the Philippians, he makes his focus clear. "I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus" Throughout this letter, Paul urges upon these dear Philippian believers the need for them to be equally focused when it comes to the matter of living for Christ.
This series of studies will not only prove useful for the Christian who is seeking to get "back on track," but also to the local church that is seeking to discover its identity in Christ and fulfill the purpose God has for it. The problems that had arisen among Philippian Christians could not be allowed to jeopardize their enjoyment of one another’s company, nor their witness before the watching world. Like a skillful shepherd, Paul establishes them in the truths necessary to live for Christ.
|Righteousness From God||Philippians 3:1|
|I Want To Know Christ||Philippians 3:4|
|Christian Maturity||Philippians 3:12|
|Where Do I Belong?||Philippians 3:17-4:1|
|Love, Joy, Peace||Philippians 4:2|
|The Power of Proper Thinking||Philippians 4:1|
|Learning for Living||Philippians 4:8|
|The Secret of Contentment||Philippians 4:10|
|Spiritual Investing, Part One||Philippians 4:14|
|Spiritual Investing, Part Two||Philippians 4:14|