INTRODUCTION TO OUR SERIES:
Background to Philippians…
The Apostle Paul wrote the epistle (personal letter) (1:1) to the Philippian church, probably during his imprisonment in Rome. The letter was written from a heart of love and concern for the Philippians. Due to Paul’s imprisonment, he could not personally visit with the church so he sent this letter with Timothy to encourage them and bring back news of their condition to Paul. (2:19).
Some of the main divisions of the book include:
1. Introduction to the book: 1:1-2
2. Paul’s thankfulness for the Philippians: 1:3-11
3. News of Paul’s imprisonment and dedication: 1:12-26
4. Following Christ’s example is our duty: 1:27-2:18
5. Paul’s representatives and the need to treat them kindly: 2:19-30
6. Paul’s example of living a joyous life: 3:1-11
7. The Christian’s heavenly calling: 3:12-21
8. The need for Godly living: 4:1-9
9. The love offerings of the Philippians: 4:10-20
10. Closing to the book of Philippians: 4:21-23
Php 1:12-14 KJV – “But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places; And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.”
But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel;
Paul desired for the Philippian believers to come to recognize one of the main purposes of trials, abuse and persecution in the life of a Christian… for the gospel to be advanced among the lost. In Paul’s case, he was suffering abuse in the form of unjust imprisonment at the hands of the idolatrous Roman government.
Even in the midst of his abuse, Paul understood that the Lord has allowed this imprisonment to fall upon him so that the gospel could be shown through his words, actions, and lifestyle and so that other Christians would be encouraged to boldly proclaim the gospel to the lost around them…
So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places;
Paul did not deserve this imprisonment, he was in this prison for the cause of Christ. As he spent time in prison, all who cared for him, due to his spotless testimony, came to understand that he did not deserve to be imprisoned. In that sense, his “bonds in Christ” were clearly seen by those around him. He was in prison for Christ’s sake, not for wrongdoing on his part.
What a wonderful testimony Paul possessed! To lead such a righteous life that, when persecuted, everyone realized the persecution was undeserved. As they watched Paul’s life, they saw truths about Christ and, in his words, they heard about Christ. Even while in prison, the life and words of Paul were furthering the gospel message to the lost around him.
And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
Not only did Paul’s imprisonment open doors of opportunity for Paul to spread the gospel message, but it also encouraged others to spread the good news of Christ to those around them. Paul’s courage and spotless testimony in the midst of his imprisonment, was an encouragement for other Christians to take a firm, bold stand for Christ also.
May we all learn some important truths from this aspect of Paul’s life…
1. All the trials that come upon God’s people are an opportunity for the gospel to be proclaimed through our lives and voices.
2. Our words and actions during these trying times of life can affect the lives of both lost and saved around us. As we remain faithful to the cause of Christ, the gospel will be proclaimed to the lost while encouragement to serve will be received by those who are saved.
3. We should always strive to lead lives that are unspotted by this world. In doing so, we can have confidence, and proclaim to those around us, that the trials that come our way are not due to the chastening hand of the Lord but have come upon us to further the gospel.
We should always remember that others are constantly watching us. How we handle the trials, and good times, of our lives affect others. No matter what type of situation we are currently in, may we all strive to live God honoring lives and show Christ to all those around us!
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