Philippians 1

Philippians 1  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 7
The Apostle Paul in this epistle is the servant only, the loving brother, one with the saints, a partaker of their joy, not reproving or commanding, but whatever of exhortation is found comes in the way of his own experience. All his affections are let out on these saints, because they had entire fellowship with him in the gospel.
The apostle had been two years in prison. He was the depository of the truth; humanly speaking, all hung upon him. How unfortunate, men would say, it was, that a man like Paul should have
been stopped laboring and shut up in prison. Perhaps Paul thought so himself at first; but, during these two years, he learned infinitely more than probably he could have learned in other circumstances. He learned what resources there were in God both for himself and for the Church. He found in God for himself such a spring and source of joy, that lifted him above all circumstances, and enabled him from the monotony and retirement of his imprisonment to pour forth the love and rejoicings of his own soul to these Christians at Philippi, which we get in this epistle. Observe, in everything he can rejoice. If he thought of and prayed for the saints, it was always with joy, being confident in what God could and would do for them, though he himself was still shut up. If he heard that some thought by preaching the gospel in a spirit of contention to add affliction to his bonds, yet in this he could rejoice, because " CHRIST was preached." If he was permitted to come to see them, that would be for their mutual joy; but if the Lord appointed otherwise, and he should be offered up on the sacrifice and service of their faith, as a libation poured forth, he says, " I joy and rejoice with you all." The secret of Paul's joy was his knowledge of what Christ was, what God had made Him to him. He had seen the righteousness of God, and faith had made that perfect righteousness his. He had therefore thrown behind his back whatever was of himself, and counted all that he once boasted in as dung. Christ was now his object; God had set Him before him as the object of his affections, his desires, his pursuits. To follow on after Him was Paul's ardent desire. God had done everything for him, and the apostle could trust Him for all things. This made him free from all anxiety either for himself or the Church. He stood fast in the Lord, and could say to the Christians, " be followers together of me." Which of us could say so, could point to himself as an ensample? We have not Christ before us as our sole object, we all have some object, and what our object is that we are. Is your object the world, you are of the world. Is your object Christ, then you are Christ's. So Paul says in chapter iv., " So stand fast in the Lord, dearly beloved;" and, feeling the tide of joy rise in his soul from the position in which God had set him, he says, " Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand." The word moderation' might be rendered softness, gentleness.' And the apostle, set in the power of life in Christ, and realizing the speedy return of the Lord, (like Jesus, knowing that He came from God and went to God, took a towel and washed His disciples feet,) he could go forth and become all things to all men; he could rise above all circumstances, either poverty or abundance-he could rejoice in all. And so he exhorts his beloved Philippians. Trust all to God, and His peace shall keep your hearts. Not peace in God for the soul, but the peace in which God eternally dwells, so that the heart, free from care and anxiety which distract, is unfettered to pursue whatsoever is lovely, just, pure, of good report, and worthy of praise, and the God of peace shall be with you. Not peace from the harassments of a guilty conscience; and more than the peace in which God Himself dwells, even the presence of the God of peace. " The God of peace shall be with you."