Position and Privilege in Christ, part 3

Our Position and Privilege in Christ pt 3                      August 2, 2020
Complete Trust and Focus: Life or death in Christ Jesus      Philippians 1:18 – 30

Opening prayer
Worship in Song: #48 I will Sing of the Mercies, #50 God is So Good
Reading of Psalm 89:1 – 18
Sharing and Prayer
Worship in Song:   #560 Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus

Phil 1:18 What does it matter? Just that in every way, whether out of false motives or true, Christ is proclaimed. And in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice

Paul has one focus in life – that Jesus Christ is proclaimed. Because Christ is being proclaimed Paul is resolute that no matter the circumstances or situation he is in he will rejoice.

Psalm 89:16 In Your name they rejoice all day long,
by Your righteousness they are exalted
                          17a  For You are the glory of their strength

19 because I know this will lead to my deliverance through your prayers and help from the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

When believers pray, the Holy Spirit provides!

Spirit of Jesus Christ is the Holy Spirit, Paul doesn’t mean that having a Christ-like spirit, the attitude of Christ, is what will deliver him. There are those who practice being Christ-like without actually surrendering, or believing in Jesus. They believe it is in their own power to exercise peace, humbleness, and love. Their actions and devotion are commendable but the missing key is the fact that we can’t save ourselves from our sin nature. We need Jesus!

20 My earnest/eager expectation and hope is that I will not be ashamed about anything, but that now as always, with all boldness, Christ will be highly honored in my body, whether by life or by death.

Paul may have coined the word “Apokaradokia” which translates “earnest” or “eager expectation”.
Literall “to look intently into the distance with outstretched hand”
We picture the young child who sees a beloved parent coming from a long way down the block. The child eagerly stretches out arms and hands in eager anticipation.

 For me, living is Christ and dying is gain. 22 Now if I live on in the flesh, this means fruitful work for me; and I don’t know which one I should choose. 23 I am pressured by both. I have the desire to depart and be with Christ—which is far better—

Paul feels the pulling tension of two opposing realities, “hemmed in and under pressure from both sides.” There was a strong, equal pull from both desires: release or the sword.

“To depart” Paul uses a soldier’s term which means to weigh anchor or break camp. There is no going back. It’s time to press forward, to move ahead to the next phase.

24 but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you. 25 Since I am persuaded of this, I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that, because of me, your confidence may grow in Christ Jesus when I come to you again.

Paul’s life was literally in the hands of the magistrate – whither he lived or died was entirely out of his control. He had no say in the matter, other than to clearly and truthfully state his case on the authority he had due to his Roman citizenship and his position as a citizen in Christ’s kingdom. He certainly didn’t have a death wish,  he viewed his life as completely in God’s hands. His trust and confidence in his position in Jesus Christ was secure and complete.

Don’t mistake his attitude for indifference, but for determinations that in either life or death Jesus would be honored.

Paul knew people were praying for his deliverance and he had confidence that their prayers, along with the Holy Spirit would bring about the outcome that God desired.

He was able to be at peace since his focus was completely on glorifying Jesus Christ. If he lives he’s thrilled to continue to share Jesus. His life was not precious for its own sake but centered on Jesus. Whole-hearted devotion is not focused on self but on glorying Jesus Christ.

Every time our prayers are answered we grow in confidence and trust in God’s goodness.

27 Just one thing: Live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.

In the original language Paul uses the term “politeuomai” “To live as a citizen”. In other Epistles he often writes of the Christian’s walk here he deliberately used the term to live as a citizen. The people of Philippi, a major Roman colony understand the responsibilities and expectations of being a citizen of a specific country. The believers understand that they’re no longer participants in a pagan society but were now citizens of heaven, bought with the blood and redemption of Jesus.

… Then, whether I come and see you or am absent, I will hear about you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind working side by side for the faith that comes from the gospel, 28  not being frightened in any way by your opponents. This is a sign of destruction for them, but of your deliverance—and this is from God.

Paul is encouraging them to not depend on him, or his presence – he wants them to be strong in the Spirit of the Lord God. He uses terms of gladiator combat in these verses:
Don’t be frightened; Take a firm stand; Join in combat; One spirit – a unified offensive: One soul – unity extending to inward disposition.

29 For it has been given to you (Literal: it has been graciously conferred – grace) on Christ’s behalf not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for Him, 30 having the same struggle that you saw I had and now hear that I have.

Jesus said to them all, “If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” Luke 9:23

Jesus didn’t promise us a life of ease and wealth. He knew his followers would be persecuted and suffer in his name. In the face of suffering Christians are to be joyful knowing that they’re following Christ, with confidence and trust that our lives are in God’s hands.

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