(1-11) Paul loves the church at Philippi. It brings him joy! They participate in the gospel with him (probably financially and through prayer), and continue to support and encourage him in his incarceration. He is confident that God will continue to work in them and prays that their love will grow, but that it will grow with knowledge and discernment. He wants them to know how make good and righteous choices so that they will not be ashamed when they stand before Christ!
(12-26) Paul continues with a personal note to them: his imprisonment is being used by God. He continues to witness, and others are emboldened by his example. He doesn’t care if some are doing it simply for their own self-aggrandizement and promotion – at least Christ is being preached! He only and always wants to promote Christ, both in the way he lives and the way he dies. He knows that he will be delivered from prison because God still has a job for him to complete. But he’s ok with death too. Better than ok, for death is gain!
(27-30) Regardless, he hopes that they will stand firm, be unified, contend for the gospel, and not be intimidated by opponents. If they suffer, so what? Paul is experiencing suffering, and God is using it for the furtherment of the gospel. God uses suffering for His purpose (he “granted” it).
Here are a few diagnostic questions:
- Am I causing others to rejoice by the way I live my Christian life?
- Can I see the way God is using suffering in my life for His glory? How is He reshaping me? How are others being influenced by the way I live?
- Is my love growing with knowledge (that is brought by the Bible)? Am I practicing love from a Biblical perspective? Or am I falling into the trap of loving the way the world says I should love?
- Do I view death as a gain? Or am I clinging to this life like I don’t believe in a hereafter?
For worship: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pXL0dTzK5mc