The Epistle to the Philippians - Chapter 1

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IN the Epistle to the Philippians there is not much doctrine, but Christian experience as it ought to be in the power of the Spirit of God-as it was in fact in Paul's case. You never get the working of the flesh or the word sin in the Epistle, but the operation of the Spirit of God leading the saint to walk in the Spirit. All through it is the working of the Spirit in varied aspects of Christian life.
Chapter 1. The general character of Christian life in the presence of life and death.
Chapter 2. The likeness to Christ in graciousness of walk.
Chapter 3. The energy of Christian life that carries Paul through circumstances.
Chapter 4. The entire superiority to all circumstances. Paul had a thorn in the flesh at the very time; so it was not absence of flesh, but walking in the power of the Spirit.
Verse 1. Office was local, not so gift. Order is gone and it is a mercy it is, in one sense, because else I should have to recognize the clergy and all the corruption. Man always spoils at the outset what God sets up. All will be set up in Christ, the second Man, that failed in the first, in all its various forms and shapes.
Verse 6. Personal dependence on the Lord to carry on the work.
Verses 9-11. Paul was not content merely that the Philippians should do no wrong, but that they should have spiritual discernment as to the best thing to do, namely to glorify Christ. The fruit of righteousness is the expression of the life of Christ, not merely the natural consequences of the life but its manifestation. The day of Christ brings Christ more personally before us than the day of the Lord.
Verse 18. You find things that are done in the spirit of evil that you can rejoice in, though you cannot go with them (cf Luke 9:4949And John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us. (Luke 9:49)).
Verse 19. Nothing is looked at as accomplished in the Epistle. All our blessings in Christ are looked at as at the end. Paul looks at the Christian as running the race, therefore it is not doctrine. I have eternal life, but it is looked at as the end. Satan seems to have got the victory as to the Apostle, but he says "this shall turn to my salvation." I have got righteousness but it is not displayed except in glory. The consequence of Israel being delivered from Egypt was that it brought them into the wilderness. There I am dependent but have the comfort of God's faithfulness. I am held in infallible safety, but have to be held-kept by the power of God, but need to be kept, and would not come to a good end if I were not. I need grace every minute, though not more safe when in heaven. For the race you find the " ifs." He will perfect, but He needs to perfect and I to be perfected-a constant action on the part of God. So Israel in Deut. 8 God was not uncertain what He was about, but putting them into and through all the exercises, and when they came to the end they found that God had been thinking of everything for them. They had not been thinking of it by the way, but it was all " to do thee good at thy latter end."
Verse 28. Satan in the darkness and opposition to the truth. We are apt to be cowed by the power of evil. Where there is boldness it is the ruin of the adversaries; they have got in collision with the power of God, not of poor man. It is a question between God and Satan. The instruments of Satan are cowed (cf Josh. 2:9-249And she said unto the men, I know that the Lord hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you. 10For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed. 11And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the Lord your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath. 12Now therefore, I pray you, swear unto me by the Lord, since I have showed you kindness, that ye will also show kindness unto my father's house, and give me a true token: 13And that ye will save alive my father, and my mother, and my brethren, and my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death. 14And the men answered her, Our life for yours, if ye utter not this our business. And it shall be, when the Lord hath given us the land, that we will deal kindly and truly with thee. 15Then she let them down by a cord through the window: for her house was upon the town wall, and she dwelt upon the wall. 16And she said unto them, Get you to the mountain, lest the pursuers meet you; and hide yourselves there three days, until the pursuers be returned: and afterward may ye go your way. 17And the men said unto her, We will be blameless of this thine oath which thou hast made us swear. 18Behold, when we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by: and thou shalt bring thy father, and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all thy father's household, home unto thee. 19And it shall be, that whosoever shall go out of the doors of thy house into the street, his blood shall be upon his head, and we will be guiltless: and whosoever shall be with thee in the house, his blood shall be on our head, if any hand be upon him. 20And if thou utter this our business, then we will be quit of thine oath which thou hast made us to swear. 21And she said, According unto your words, so be it. And she sent them away, and they departed: and she bound the scarlet line in the window. 22And they went, and came unto the mountain, and abode there three days, until the pursuers were returned: and the pursuers sought them throughout all the way, but found them not. 23So the two men returned, and descended from the mountain, and passed over, and came to Joshua the son of Nun, and told him all things that befell them: 24And they said unto Joshua, Truly the Lord hath delivered into our hands all the land; for even all the inhabitants of the country do faint because of us. (Joshua 2:9‑24)). The man four years in prison, chained to a soldier, encourages those who were not in prison. It is not when the trial is there that we suffer the most, where there is faith; but when we are expecting and looking at it: when in it we look out of it at God. If we do not lean on God the enemy can have his own way and run after us.