Chained, but NOT Bound

Philippians 1:12-14

Phl 1:12  

I want you to know, brothers,[fn4] that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel,

Phl 1:13  

so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard[fn5] and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ.

Phl 1:14  

And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word[fn6] without fear.

 

What happened to Paul had to be terrifying to the natural man; but, apparently, Paul had learned how to rise above the dictates of his flesh.

This holds for me a powerful example of what it means to keep my eyes on Jesus, not looking at nor considering the circumstances.

“Hey! How ya doin’,” the pastor greeted his friend.
“Fine…under the circumstances,” the friend replied.
The pastor retorted, “What are you doing under there?”

The humor in that setup continually reminds me to maintain my focus. Sometimes, the situation becomes heavier than others, and I falter. But, what I have discovered as I pray about my failure, is that the situation became heavier when I began to consider it. Therefore, I am still looking for the secret to not give in to the temptation to consider, worry, fret, question, or whatever my circumstances.

I am learning to commit my way to the Lord on a daily basis. I am learning to commit my thoughts. I am still learning what all that means and how it is carried out on a daily, moment-by-moment basis.

Paul found himself chained, his freedom to move about openly hindered. Yet, it in no way took away from his commission to preach the gospel.

Rather than be frustrated about his plans to travel, he just relaxed in the Lord and continued to do what he had always done–preach Jesus.

It is when I begin to focus on my plans for the kingdom and then see how they are not working out that I become frustrated. A lack of money can do it. A lack of a place to meet can do it. A cross word from a loved one can do it.

But, as we work our way through this study, I will eventually see why Paul was able to say, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!”

Maybe I will be further along in my journey by then, and will have a more encouraging note to write.

NOTE: There is an ongoing study of the epistle to the Philippians. It is a verse-by-verse study by all who participate.
Won’t you join us?

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Philippians 1:9-12

Php 1:9-12
And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;
10 That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;
11 Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.
12 But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel;    KJV

We have been studying these four verses this week, and giving our insights, thoughts, and applications at Philter48, a forum set up by a couple of brothers in the Lord for this purpose. Everyone is welcome to participate in this ongoing study as we seek to live out what it means to have “every joint supply” (Ephesians 4:16) that which is necessary for the Body.

It is a verse-by-verse study, which can sometimes become tedious, and sometimes bring up things that are not necessarily the main intent of the passage, but always enhances our understanding and experience in the Lord. So, join us, please.

Paul is stuck in prison as he writes this letter. Rather than asking for prayer for his release or safety or any other personal thing at this time, he prays for the saints at Philippi. (For those who do not know how to pronounce that word, I’ll steal a line from Swanny who wrote Fill-A-Pie).

When he prays for the saints at Philippi, I take that as a prayer for me also, and a lesson is contained within the prayer itself.

Paul indicates that the Philippian saints were a manifestation of love when he prays that their love may abound even more.

But, this is not some sort of a fuzzy, touchy-feely kind of love, as we shall see further into the letter. It is a love that is manifested in action. Here, though, the apostle wants their love to abound by increasing in knowledge and judgment.

We can see from this that true agape love does not just accept and tolerate anything and everything that comes along, but is most truly shown by its exercise of discernment. It is a love that knows how to distinguish between good and evil, and between the good and the not-so-good. And that discernment has a purpose: to keep one pure and blameless until the day of Christ.

In other words, it is not enough to just love. It is not enough to just know. It is not enough to distinguish. One must act on love’s discerning knowledge.

That action, that doing what is called for in the moment by reason of a loving awareness, will produce the fruits of righteousness in the believer.

Lest they forget and think that it is by their good efforts, Paul reminds them that it ALL is by Jesus Christ. The love, the knowledge, the discernment, the sincerity, and the blamelessness are all of Him. He provides, leads, and guides; and it is up to me to do. But even the doing is of Him.

When will I ever get to the place where I realize on a moment-by-moment basis that I am nothing without Him? When will I get to the place that I do not secretly long for some sort of recognition?

 

NOTE: For a good read about one who is learning to trust the Lord on a moment-by-moment basis, read This is The Day.

The New Church

Philippians 1:1-10

We have been studying the first 10 verses of Philippians for this past week. You can find some of the insights gained and shared on the forum here. Others from around the country are participating in the study by adding their comments. You are invited to participate by posting your comments also.

What the blog world and this type of sharing has done is open for me another illustration of what the church is supposed to be–how it should function. We are all members of the Body of Christ with a particular and unique function. If one part of the body does not function properly, the body is deficient in that area. Paul addresses this plainly in his first letter to the Corinthian church, 12:12-27.

When we come together in most of today’s church meetings, it is mostly a spectator situation.

Pay close attention to the similarity of the following two words: spectator and spectacle.

Our spectator attitude has given way to needing spectacle to keep us involved. The larger the church, the greater the show. This may be what many desire, or think they need; but it is not for me.

I do not gather with the saints to be entertained.

I gather with the saints to be involved.

You might say, “That’s fine for you, Dale. You’re a teacher. So, of course you are going to be involved.”

No. The invovlement I am talking about is having everyone involved in some way, some form, some capacity. I am never satisfied if I am the only one who is funtioning.

Paul wrote further in the afore-mentioned letter that each one should have a “hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation.” (14:26) This cannot happen in our modern church of the one-man show. Neither should it be, though, a three-ring circus.

But, if we do not begin to move in the direction of a more open church, the one-man show will soon be replaced by the one-world church; and the true people of God will not be visible.

Blogging has enabled me to hear “every word of God” by which I am to live (Matthew 4:4). Blogging has given a voice to many who otherwise would not be heard. This has not, and will not, replace the local gathering of the saints.

But, I sure am enjoying this particular aspect of the new expression of the Bodyof Christ.

NOTE: Immediately after posting the above, I went ‘surfing’ by clicking on one of the hyperlinked tags at the bottom of this post. I found this, and was amazed how well it fit. I’ve copied it from the blog and added it below, but here is the link.

A Bible teacher gave a summary of Christian history’s movement in a class to beginning students:

“Christianity started in Palestine as a fellowship; it moved to Greece and became a philosophy; it moved to Italy and became an institution; it moved to Europe and became a culture; it then came to America and became an enterprise; an enterprise–that’s a business.”

After a few moments a young lady, the youngest student in the class, raised her hand, asking a simple question, “A business? But isn’t it supposed to be a body?”

When the teacher said, “Yes,” the girl continued, “But when a body becomes a business, isn’t that a prostitute?”

The answer is yes; American professing Christendom is a prostitute, and any professing Christian, church, or organization that uses the message or the body for financial gain is guilty and will prove to be false.

But not the true church of Jesus Christ, who is continually becoming a holy bride, preparing for her Bridegroom. Don’t confuse the two- the true body of Jesus Christ is not Christendom.

A Study in Philippians

Beginning with the New Year, there will be an ongoing study of the book of Philippians.

There are many contributors to this study, and you are invited to join in the discussion by adding your comments and insights as we progress through this wonderful book.

The study is being hosted by  Philter48, which is set up by two brothers in the Lord. It is being handled in a forum format. This allows the various authors access to establish a new thread for discussion, and for you the reader to participate at any level you so desire.

The insights offered by such a variety of believers and the lively discussions engendered should make for interesting and enlightening reading each day.

Therefore, add this link to your “Favorites” and check back often. Or, you can click on the Philippians Category to the left and get into the discussion. Either way, you don’t want to miss out on this opportunity to hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches.

I look forward to your participation in this new way to tap into the vast resources of the Body of Christ, with each part supplying that which is useful for building up the Body in love.