Philippians 1:18-20 Commentary

Philippians 1:18. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed (3SPPI) and in this I rejoice (1SPAI) . Yes, and I will rejoice (1SFPI) (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: ti gar? plen hoti panti tropo, eite prophasei eite aletheia|, Christos kataggelletai, (3SPPI) kai en touto chairo (1SPAI) alla kai charesomai, (1SFPI)

Amplified: But what does it matter, so long as either way, whether in pretense [for personal ends] or in all honesty [for the furtherance of the Truth], Christ is being proclaimed? And in that I [now] rejoice, yes, and I shall rejoice [hereafter] also. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)

KJV: What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.

NIV: But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, (NIV - IBS)

NLT: But whether or not their motives are pure, the fact remains that the message about Christ is being preached, so I rejoice. And I will continue to rejoice. (NLT - Tyndale House)

Phillips: But what does it matter? However they may look at it, the fact remains that Christ is being preached, whether sincerely or not, and that fact makes me very happy. Yes, and I shall go on being very happy (Phillips: Touchstone)

Wuest: What is my feeling in view of these things? (Supposing they do purpose to make my chain gall me). The only thing that follows is that in every manner whether in pretense or in truth, whether insincerely or sincerely, Christ is being announced; and in this I am rejoicing, and certainly I will continue to rejoice." (Eerdmans)

Young's Literal: what then? in every way, whether in pretence or in truth, Christ is proclaimed -- and in this I rejoice, yea, and shall rejoice.

What then?: ti gar?: (Ro 3:9; 6:15; 1Co 10:19; 14:15)

Such being the case, how does it affect me? This essential thing Paul sees in spite of all their envy and selfishness is that Christ is openly publicly proclaimed. Paul's attitude towards his persecutors indicates he was more concerned with the salvation of the lost than with vindication for himself. This is the same attitude we find in Jesus in Php2:5-8 where He laid down His holy privileges that men might be redeemed.

What matters it? (Moule)

ONLY THAT IN EVERY WAY WHETHER IN PRETENSE OR IN TRUTH CHRIST IS PROCLAIMED: hoti panti tropo, eite prophasei eite aletheia|, Christos kataggelletai, (3SPPI): (Phil 1:14, 15, 16, 17; Mt 23:14; Mk 12:40) (Mk 9:38, 39, 40; Lk 9:45, 9:50; 1Cor 15:11; 2Jn 1:9, 1:10, 1:11)

Only that in every way whether - "With beautiful significance he modifies the thought that it matters not. There is one respect in which it matters; it promotes the diffusion of the Gospel." (Moule)

Pretense (4392) (prophasis from prophaíno = to appear before, be apparent <> pró = before + phaíno = to appear, to shine before) (Click word study on prophasis) refers to an ostensible presentation with an ulterior (Ulterior = going beyond what is openly said or shown and especially what is proper) motive which is often untrue.

Pretense refers to that which is professed rather than that which is one's heart intention or purpose.

Prophasis is an outward show or appearance, a pretense or pretext designed to cover one's real intent. Pretext is defined as the purpose or motive alleged or an appearance assumed in order to cloak the real intention or state of affairs and suggests subterfuge and the offering of false reasons or motives in excuse or explanation.

The detractor's proclamation of Christ was from impure motives (cf 1Cor 4:5).

Paul didn't allow his circumstances to steal his joy and this is a lesson we all need to learn. To Paul what mattered most was that the truth of Christ was proclaimed and thus he made the volitional choice to rejoice, all the while learning how to be content in whatever circumstances he was in. Here we see that Paul would rejoice even if what motivated their proclamation of Christ was a desire to attack him. Paul's detractors preached the true gospel, and it had an impact for the "gospel is the power of God (not of wrongly motivated men) for salvation to everyone who believes. (see note Romans 1:16)

A selfishly motivated preacher can still be used of God, though not as much as he could be otherwise. The power of the gospel is more powerful than the package it comes in.

Note that the emphasis is on preaching Christ but if one deviates from that teaching John warns us that "Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. The one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting. (2Jn 1:9 1:10)

AND IN THIS I REJOICE. YES AND I WILL REJOICE: kai en touto chairo (1SPAI) alla kai charesomai (1SFPI):

Rejoice (5463) (chairo a primary verb) (Click word study of related word chara = joy) means to to feel joy or great delight.

Rejoice is used to describe a little lamb skipping around for joy. It describes a physical change in your countenance. You can't fake this. It is a physical expression of joy and something that radiates to people around you. You can walk around and say that you are rejoicing but if it's not seen then you are not rejoicing.

Notice how Paul interweaves "joy" or "rejoice" through all 4 chapters (Click for all 12v) Note that "I rejoice" is in the Active Voice indicating it is a choice of his will to rejoice.

Robertson adds that the second "rejoice" is "volitive (i.e., involves a choice of one's will) use of the future indicative. Paul is determined to rejoice in spite of the efforts of the (opponents) to prod him to anger.

A good example to emulate but remember don't try this in your own strength but "allow yourself to be continually strengthened by the grace (sanctifying power to do supernaturally what I cannot do naturally) that is in Christ Jesus (see note 2 Timothy 2:1)

As Paul explained you will come to learn the secret that you "can do all things through Him who strengthens your heart and mind. (see note Philippians 4:3)

Paul wasn't concerned about himself because he knew he was expendable (cf note Philippians 2:3; 2:4). He also knew that God was his covenant defender and would vindicate him in due time for He Himself has said "VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY." (see note Romans 12:19). Paul was free to rejoice in the proclamation of the gospel, however base the motives of those proclaiming Christ the Lord. At least, they weren't preaching Buddha or some false god, but Christ.

Joy in the
Letter to the Philippians

Click blue links for passages

7 uses of chairo = rejoice

5 uses of chara = joy

2 uses of sugchairo = rejoice with

Paul lived to see the gospel proclaimed--he didn't care who received the credit. That should be the attitude of every pastor, teacher, elder, deacon, leader, and layperson in the body of Christ. In all that he suffered Paul didn't quit, lash out, break down, or lose his joy. That's because the cause of Christ was being furthered and His name proclaimed. The truth about Lord Jesus was all he cared about. How could he manifest such an attitude? As alluded to above, it is only possible by reliance on the One Who said

My grace (transforming power, power to live a supernatural life) is sufficient (enough) for you, for (My) power (inherent ability) is perfected (made complete, brought to its intended goal) in (your) weakness (the way "up" in Christianity is "down"!) (2Co 12:9-note, 2Co 12:10-note)

Trials and slander cannot be handled in our flesh, but only when we are filled with (controlled by) the Spirit Who bring forth the fruit of joy under even the most adverse conditions. Who are you relying on today to give you the strength to forbear and bear up under when treated unjustly especially if it's someone in your own church?

When faced with difficult circumstances remember Nehemiah's exhortation

"Do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength." (Neh 8:10 & the result Neh 8:12) (Torrey's Topic "Joy")

Bad circumstances increase (or mature) the joy of those who respond biblically because these afflictions lead to a deeper trust in the sovereignty of Almighty God. Joy derived from circumstances is fleeting, but joy derived from the Spirit of Christ is lasting. Paul refused to be downcast by the wrong motives of some. Paul’s joy was not tied to his circumstances or his critics but was from the LORD (cf. Ps 4:7, 8; Romans 12:12 [note]; 2Cor 6:10).

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What's Your Motive? (READ: 1 Corinthians 1:1-17) In every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached. --Philippians 1:18

Burt Gutras is a communications technician who fine-tunes aviation electronic equipment. But his passion is volunteering for the Smith County Amateur Radio Emergency Service (SCARES). He provides indispensable communication when police are searching for missing persons.

Burt's comments reflect his selflessness: "In the case of missing persons--and it happens more often than people realize--we go out hoping that we can find them before something bad happens. Whether you find them yourself is not important. The important thing is that they are found."

Is that our attitude toward lost sinners? Do we pray for other believers who use different methods than ours to rescue the lost? Are we free from feelings of rivalry or jealousy? Or are we so prejudiced in favor of our own rescue team that we would rather have people remain alienated from God than be brought to Him through the efforts of others?

Paul expressed his great concern over the competing factions he saw in the body of Christ (1Cor. 1:11, 12, 13). He wanted the Corinthians to be united so that the message of the cross of Christ could go out unhindered.

Let's ask the Holy Spirit to give us an unselfish attitude. Our motives should be as pure as our goal. — Vernon C. Grounds (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Like a mighty army moves the church of God;
Brothers, we are treading where the saints have trod.
We are not divided, all one body we--
One in hope and doctrine, one in charity. --Baring-Gould

He who is not against us is on our side. - Jesus (Luke 9:50)

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Church Competition: Three churches, located on different corners of the same intersection, didn't get along together. One Sunday each of them opened their meeting with a rousing song service. It was a warm day and all the doors and windows were wide open. One congregation began singing the old hymn, "Will There Be Any Stars in My Crown?" The strains had barely faded away when the congregation across the street started singing, "No, Not One, No, Not One!" They had scarcely finished when the third church began singing, "Oh, That Will Be Glory for Me."

Of course, this is just a humorous story, but it reminds us that a spirit of divisive competition does exist among some churches. Naturally, we will want to support our own church, pray for it, and rejoice in its growth. But we must never feel self-satisfied or be critical of churches that have problems or are not growing. If there is a place for "competition", let it be to oppose those who deny scriptural fundamentals and the gospel. But if a church is true to God's Word and is winning people to Christ, regardless of its label, let's rejoice. That should be our attitude when faced with the competitive motives of envy and strife. Let's avoid church competition. - R De Haan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Christ is made the sure foundation,
Christ the head and cornerstone;
Chosen of the Lord and precious,
Binding all the church in one.
-- Neale

The fruit of Christian unity
grows out of our union with Christ

Philippians 1:19. for I know (1SRAI) that this will turn out (3SFMI) for my deliverance through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: oida (1SRAI) gar hoti touto moi apobesetai (3SFMI) eis soterian dia tes humon deeseos kai epichoregias tou pneumatos Iesou Christou,

Amplified: For I am well assured and indeed know that through your prayers and a bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ (the Messiah) this will turn out for my preservation (for the spiritual health and welfare of my own soul) and avail toward the saving work of the Gospel. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)

KJV: For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,

NIV: 1for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. (NIV - IBS)

NLT: For I know that as you pray for me and as the Spirit of Jesus Christ helps me, this will all turn out for my deliverance. (NLT - Tyndale House)

Phillips: for I know that what is happening will be for the good of my own soul, thanks to your prayers and the resources of the spirit of Jesus Christ. (Phillips: Touchstone)

Wuest: For I know positively that this [the fact that Christ is being proclaimed] shall result in deliverance and preservation for me [lest I become discouraged in and because of my imprisonment which restricts my opportunity to proclaim the good news] through your petition and through the full-proportioned support and aid of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. (Eerdmans)

Young's Literal: For I have known that this shall fall out to me for salvation, through your supplication, and the supply of the Spirit of Christ Jesus,

FOR I KNOW THAT THIS WILL TURN OUT FOR MY DELIVERANCE: oida (1SRAI) gar hoti touto moi apobesetai (3SFMI) eis soterian : (Ro 8:28; 2Cor 4:17 18 1Pet 1:7-8)

For (1063) (gar) is a conjunction introducing an explanation and here explains why Paul can "doubly" rejoice in Phil 1:18. The ground for Paul's rejoicing is a sure knowledge (eido/oida) that he will be vindicated. Paul was absolutely certain that fetters would one day give way to freedom (one way or another) on earth and/or in heaven! See importance of pausing to ponder this strategic term of explanation. As an aside, Paul was not surprised by his imprisonment for the sake of the Gospel, for he knew that he had been "appointed for the defense of the Gospel." (Phil 1:16) and "For this reason I also suffer these things" (2Ti 1:12) adding that "according to my gospel...I suffer hardship even to imprisonment as a criminal; but the word of God is not imprisoned." (2ti 2:8-9)

I Know (I know positively = he has no doubt!) (1492) (eido/oida) in the perfect tense refers to Paul's firmly settled conviction ("I am well assured and indeed know" = Amplified) and certainty that his present trials would turn out for his good because he knew the truths he himself had recorded such as....

"God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose" (Ro 8:28-note, cp the OT "version" = Ge 50:20) and that

"momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison... for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal." (2Cor 4:17-note; 2Cor 4:18-note)

Paul pondered present predicaments in light of his hope in the glory of God, for he knew "that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us." (Ro 8:18-note)

This - To what does this refer? This could refer to the things that had happened to Paul as described in Phil 1:12-18.

O'Brien says this (touto) "in our context, refers to what Paul has spoken of in the recent past (ta kat eme, Phil 1:12, rather than the immediately preceding touto Phil 1:18), especially those conditions of his imprisonment and trial which contributed to the proclamation of Christ. But more particularly the ominous future developments are implied, such as a court decision leading either to release or execution, during which he will still be responsible for honoring Christ (Phil 1:20)." (New International Greek Testament Commentary)

Wuest says "The word “this” refers to the fact that Christ is being more widely announced as a result of Paul’s imprisonment."

Vincent says this refers to "This preaching of Christ in every way."

New American Commentary - A significant question to answer in 1:19 is the reference to “this” (“this shall result in my salvation”). The NIV translates “what has happened to me.” The pronoun must look to the mixed preaching of the Christians at Rome. In that way, many brought their accusations against Paul and his righteousness. Like Job, he would stand vindicated at last.

Will turn out (apobaino from apó = from, out of, + baíno = to go, come) means literally to go away from (as to go away from a ship to the land, disembarking from a boat or ship when it comes to land) (Lk 5:2; Jn 21:9) and figuratively of a resultant state, meaning to turn out, to end up, to lead to (Lk 21:13; Phil 1:19; Ex. 2:4; Job 13:5, 16)

Deliverance (4991) (soteria from sozo = rescue from grave danger, heal, protect and preserve) (Click word study on soteria) refers to one's rescue but can also be rendered “well-being” or “escape” and thus presents several possible interpretations including Paul’s ultimate salvation (as in Ro 5:9); his deliverance from threatened execution (see MacArthur's note); his vindication by the Roman emperor’s ruling or his eventual release from prison. Whatever Paul’s precise meaning, the key thought is that Paul knew his current distress was only temporary and that he would be delivered from it. He was absolutely sure that his present circumstances were temporary and that one way or another (“by life or by death”) he would be delivered.

MacArthur - The primary deliverance of which he was speaking could not have been from execution, however, because in Phil 1:20 he qualifies his expectation with the words “whether by life or by death.”

O'Brien writes that "At Phil. 1:19 the apostle is not referring to his immediate acquittal and discharge from prison. Instead, his confident assertion (like Job’s) that his present state of affairs will work out for his salvation points to his vindication in the heavenly court (note the confidence of 2Ti 4:8). This is certain whether ‘he receives a favorable or an unfavorable verdict before Caesar’s tribunal’. His soteria is his ultimate vindication, not some ‘deliverance’ from his present plight; consequently, he will not be ashamed whether he lives or dies (Phil 1:20–21)." (Ibid)

In his last written communication Paul testified to the Lord's power to deliver (using a different word rhuomai, not soteria) writing that "the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me, in order that through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished, and that all the Gentiles might hear; and I was delivered out of the lion's mouth. The Lord will deliver me (play the old Maranatha song He Will Deliver Me) from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen." (2Ti 4:17-18-note) Beloved, whatever prison, persecution, trial or affliction you are in today, rest assured that our Great Deliverer will deliver you in the final day -- so hold fast to Jesus our Deliverer (cp 1Thes 1:10-note).

Paul is quoting Job's reply to Zophar in the phrase "this will turn out for my deliverance" which is a word for word quote from the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Hebrew of Job 13:16 - Lxx = kai touto moi apobesetai eis soterian)

Job was a righteous man who suffered greatly, yet he was delivered because God always delivers the righteous. Job was convinced of his "deliverance" as he affirmed in (Job 19:26) declaring "Even after my skin is destroyed, yet from my flesh I shall see God". Job knew that either out of death or through death God would deliver him. Paul knew and trusted God's dealings with Job in the Old Testament and he knew he could trust Jehovah to deliver him even as He had Job. Like Job, Paul wasn't being chastened by God. He was confident his circumstances would work out for good whether he was released from prison, vindicated at his trial, delivered from execution, or passed into glory as a martyr for death to a believer is the ultimate most glorious deliverance. (meditate on these other OT verses on deliverance - Ps 22:4-5, 8; 31:1 33:18-19, 34:7 41:1).

Expositor's Bible Commentary adds "After Job had become a laughingstock because of his suffering and his friends turned into preachy pietists who turned away from him when he refused to accept their interpretation of his situation, Job remained confident that the heavenly court would reverse all human verdicts."

Peter O'Brien elaborates on Paul's quote from Job 13:16 - In words that correspond exactly to the LXX of Job 13:16 the apostle spells out the content (hoti means "because") of his firm conviction: ‘this will turn out for my salvation’. He has applied these words of Job to his own situation, not because they were vaguely or marginally parallel, but because he, like Job, is certain of his vindication. In the original context of this OT book Job 13:16 is part of Job’s response (Job 12:1–14:22) to his three friends, and this reply concludes the first round of speeches (Job 4:1–14:22). Job states that he is prepared to speak out no matter what the consequences (Job 13:13). Even though he was held in contempt for his misfortune (Job 12:4), Job looked confidently to his vindication by God. At Job 13:2 he bluntly stated to those who chastised him, ‘I am not inferior to you’, and declared that he would maintain his ways ‘even though he slays me’ (Job 13:15). Unlike the ‘godless man’ who would not dare come before God as he does, Job has prepared his case and asserts, ‘I know (oida ego) I will be vindicated’ (Job 13:18). This vindication is his ‘hope’ (Job 13:15). (New International Greek Testament Commentary)

THROUGH YOUR PRAYERS AND THE PROVISION OF THE SPIRIT OF JESUS CHRIST: dia tes humon deeseos kai epichoregias tou pneumatos Iesou Christou: (2Co 1:11 Ep 6:18, 6:19) ("Spirit of Christ" Ro 8:9; Gal 4:6; 1Pe 1:11)


Through (dia) is a preposition which gives us a significant spiritual insight in this passage, for dia is a marker of instrumentality or circumstance whereby something is accomplished or effected and in the present context signifies by means of. In the mysterious workings of God, He graciously hears the cries of the saints for Paul and grants soteria (however that was to be manifest as discussed above). This begs the simple question -- Am I regularly interceding for others, not out of guilt or legalism but out of love and in the power of the Spirit? Paul makes it clearly that while we have the responsibility to do the actual intercession, it is the Spirit Who enables our supernatural communication with the Father. And so we read in Ephesians 6:18 (note) "With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints." Notice that phrase "in the Spirit" which means "in the sphere of the Spirit, that is, directed and empowered by the Spirit." (Wuest Word Studies) John MacArthur adds that "To be “filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18-note) and to walk in His leading and power is to be made able to pray in the Spirit, because our prayer will then be in harmony with His. As we submit to the Holy Spirit, obeying His Word and relying on His leading and strength, we will be drawn into close and deep fellowship with the Father and the Son." (Commentary on Ephesians). So the only way we can truly intercede is when we are filled with, controlled by and enabled by the Holy Spirit. If prayer is our wartime walkie talkie, the Spirit is the "battery power" and the enabler of the transmission of the "radio signal" so to speak. Beloved, begin each morning seeking His filled, by confessing sin and acknowledging your need for His supernatural power all through the day. When you fail and fall, depending on your strength when the test comes, then get back up, tell Him of your failure and repeat your cry of dependence upon Him and His power. He is faithful to forgive and to fill! (1Jn 1:9-note, Eph 5:18-note). How else could we possibly obey the command (present imperative) to "Pray without ceasing?" (1Thes 5:17-note)

Paul was confident he would be delivered (see below for what "deliverance" might mean) through the prayers of the saints (cf other examples of his dependence on and humility to seek prayer - Ro 15:30-note, Ep 6;18, 19-notes; 1Th 5:25- note) in concert with the Spirit of God. Paul knew the Word of God is effected through the sovereign will and purpose of God, and that God brings His purposes to pass in concert with the prayers of His children. He also knew that "the effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much" (James 5:16)

Paul knew his beloved Philippians were actively interceding for his needs and this encouraged him greatly. Do you pray for your spiritual leaders (and others) regularly? Do they know you are sincerely supplicating for them and not just giving "lip service"? Send your pastor, teacher, elder, missionary or fellow believer an email today to let them know you are interceding on their behalf before God's "throne of grace."

Prayers (1162)(deesis) refers to urgent requests or supplications to meet a need and are exclusively addressed to God. Deesis prayers arise from one's sense of need (which reflects a humble heart) and in knowing what is lacking. This individual's plea is in turn made to God to supply for the need. Deesis in the New Testament always carries the idea of genuine entreaty and supplication before God. It implies a realization of need and a petition for its supply. In Classical Greek deesis (in contrast to the Biblical uses) was not restricted to sacred uses, but was employed of requests referred to men.

Jamieson on through your prayers - The Greek intimately joins the two nouns together, by having but one preposition and one article: “Through your prayer and (the consequent) supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ (obtained for me through your prayer).”

Spurgeon on Paul's request for prayer in 1Thes 5:25 - This one morning in the year we reserved to refresh the reader's memory upon the subject of prayer for ministers, and we do most earnestly implore every Christian household to grant the fervent request of the text first uttered by an apostle and now repeated by us. Brethren, our work is solemnly momentous, involving weal or woe to thousands; we treat with souls for God on eternal business, and our word is either a savour of life unto life, or of death unto death. A very heavy responsibility rests upon us, and it will be no small mercy if at the last we be found clear of the blood of all men. As officers in Christ's army, we are the especial mark of the enmity of men and devils; they watch for our halting, and labour to take us by the heels. Our sacred calling involves us in temptations from which you are exempt, above all it too often draws us away from our personal enjoyment of truth into a ministerial and official consideration of it. We meet with many knotty cases, and our wits are at a non plus; we observe very sad backslidings, and our hearts are wounded; we see millions perishing, and our spirits sink. We wish to profit you by our preaching; we desire to be blest to your children; we long to be useful both to saints and sinners; therefore, dear friends, intercede for us with our God. Miserable men are we if we miss the aid of your prayers, but happy are we if we live in your supplications. You do not look to us but to our Master for spiritual blessings, and yet how many times has He given those blessings through His ministers; ask then, again and again, that we may be the earthen vessels into which the Lord may put the treasure of the gospel. We, the whole company of missionaries, ministers, city missionaries, and students, do in the name of Jesus beseech you "BRETHREN, PRAY FOR US."

The provision of the Spirit - I love the Amplified rendering "a bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ."

MacArthur writs that "it seems Paul was speaking here not so much about Christ’s provision of the Spirit to believers at salvation as of the Spirit’s provision of divine power and protection after salvation."

Paul alluded to one aspect of the provision of the Spirit in Romans 8 writing "And in the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God." (Ro 8:26-27-note) And so here we see that the Spirit enables believers to pray when they are weak and not sure what to pray. The Spirit is also the source of the believer's power, a power that especially is made effective in our weakness (2Cor 12:9, cp Eph 3:20 where the power that works within is the Spirit). And of course the Spirit would enable the fruit of Galatians 5:22-23 even (especially) in adverse circumstances.

Provision (2024) (epichoregia from epi = upon + choregeo = supply, furnish) (Click study on verb epichoregeo) means literally to furnish or supply upon and refers to lavish or generous giving or furnishing abundantly not in a stingy manner. The picture is of a provision which is generous and lavish. As Wiersbe says Paul

The Bible Knowledge Commentary adds that provision ("help" in NIV) "carries the meaning of support, much as a ligament provides support in a physical body."

Wiersbe observes that "Paul was not depending on his own dwindling resources; he was depending on the generous resources of God, ministered by the Holy Spirit." (Bible Exposition Commentary) We need to adopt the same approach when we find ourselves in difficult circumstances! We need to renounce self-reliance and rely on the Spirit's sufficiency!

In the present context epichoregia refers to the gift of God's Holy Spirit, Who was "poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that being justified by His grace we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life." (Titus 3:6-note, Titus 3:7-note)

The root of epichoregia is the Greek choregia. In the ancient Greece at the great festivals the great dramatists like Euripides and Sophocles presented their plays and all had a chorus. But to equip and train a chorus was expensive, and public-spirited Greeks generously offered to defray the entire expenses of the chorus. That gift is described by the word choregia. Later, in war time, patriotic citizens gave free contributions to the state and choregia was used for these gifts. In later Greek papyri the choregia was common in marriage contracts where it described the support that a husband, out of his love, undertook to give to his wife. Choregia in the present context underscores the generosity of God, a generosity which is born out of His love, even as the love of a citizen for his city or of a husband for his wife were but faint shadows by comparison.

The only other NT use of epichoregia is by Paul describing the building up of the body of Christ explaining that it is Christ "from Whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies (epichoregia), according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. (Eph 4:16-note)

Barclay gives us his version of the historical background on this word group, writing that epichoregeo "is one of the many Greek words which have a pictorial background. The verb epichoregein comes from the noun choregos, which literally means the leader of a chorus. Perhaps the greatest gift that Greece, and especially Athens, gave to the world was the great works of men like Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, which are still among its most cherished possessions. All these plays needed large choruses and were, therefore, very expensive to produce. In the great days of Athens there were public-spirited citizens who voluntarily took on the duty, at their own expense, of collecting, maintaining, training and equipping such choruses. It was at the great religious festivals that these plays were produced. For instance, at the city of Dionysia there were produced three tragedies, five comedies and five dithyrambs (a passionate choral hymn in honour of Dionysus). Men had to be found to provide the choruses for them all, a duty which could cost as much as 3,000 drachmae (Ed note: A drachma was a Greek coin made of silver, roughly equivalent to the Roman denarius, and one denarius was approximately one day's wage, which makes 3000 drachmae equate with a relatively large sum of money, so large that only a very wealthy person could provide...which is an interesting thought when we look at the use in Peter. Certainly all who are in Christ now have access to "all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." Col 2:3, and have abundant spiritual riches accessible for the "production" of abundant life and godliness as Peter explained in 2Pe 1:3 [note]; 2Pe 1:4 [note]). The men who undertook these duties out of their own pocket and out of love for their city were called choregoi, and choregein was the verb used for undertaking such a duty. The word has a certain lavishness in it. It never means to equip in any cheese-paring and miserly way; it means lavishly to pour out everything that is necessary for a noble performance. Epichoregein (Ed note: note the prefix preposition epi which means "upon") went out into a larger world and it grew to mean not only to equip a chorus but to be responsible for any kind of equipment. It can mean to equip an army with all necessary provisions it can mean to equip the soul with all the necessary virtues for life. But always at the back of it there is this idea of a lavish generosity in the equipment. So Peter urges his people to equip their lives with every virtue; and that equipment must not be simply a necessary minimum, but lavish and generous. The very word is an incitement to be content with nothing less than the loveliest and the most splendid life." (Daily Study Bible) (Bolding added)

Vincent explains that the derivation of the verb (see note 2 Peter 1:5) epichoregeo is "from choron, a chorus, such as was employed in the representation of the Greek tragedies. The verb originally means to bear the expense of a chorus, which was done by a person selected by the state, who was obliged to defray all the expenses of training and maintenance. In the New Testament the word has lost this technical sense, and is used in the general sense of supplying or providing. (Cp Gal. 3:5, in 2Pet 1:11 epichoregeo is translated "abundantly supplied" referring to our entrance into God's eternal kingdom!)

The Spirit of Jesus Christ (the Spirit of Christ - Ro 8:9-note, the Spirit of Jesus - Acts 16:7) - The Holy Spirit is Jesus' "C.E.O." in the church age, His Administrative Agent and our Helper Whom Jesus sent (Jn 15:26, 16:7, Lk 24:49 as did the the Father - Jn 14:25, 16) to enable us to live this supernatural life and be our Comforter in times of affliction as Paul was currently experiencing.

Vincent on the provision of the Spirit - Either the supply furnished by the Spirit, or the supply which is the Spirit. It is better to take it as including both. The exact phrase, Spirit of Jesus Christ, is found only here. Spirit of Christ occurs Ro 8:9; 1Pet. 1:11. The Holy Spirit is meant; called the Spirit of Jesus Christ, because through the Spirit Christ communicates Himself to His people. “The Spirit is the living Principle and the Organ of the proper presence of Christ and of His life in them” (Meyer).

Philippians 1:20. according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame (1SFPI) in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted (1SFPI) in my body, whether by life or by death (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: kata ten apokaradokian kai elpida mou hoti en oudeni aischunthesomai, (1SFPI) all' en pase parresia os pantote kai nun megalunethesetai (3SFPI) Christos en to somati mou, eite dia zoes eite dia thanatou.

Amplified: This is in keeping with my own eager desire and persistent expectation and hope, that I shall not disgrace myself nor be put to shame in anything; but that with the utmost freedom of speech and unfailing courage, now as always heretofore, Christ (the Messiah) will be magnified and get glory and praise in this body of mine and be boldly exalted in my person, whether through (by) life or through (by) death. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)

KJV: According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.

NIV: I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. (NIV - IBS)

NLT: For I live in eager expectation and hope that I will never do anything that causes me shame, but that I will always be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past, and that my life will always honor Christ, whether I live or I die. (NLT - Tyndale House)

Phillips: It all accords with my own earnest wishes and hopes, which are that I should never be in any way ashamed, but that now, as always, I should honour Christ with the utmost boldness by the way I live, whether that means I am to face death or to go on living. (Phillips: Touchstone)

Wuest: And this is exactly in accordance with my undivided and intense expectancy and hope, namely, that with respect to not even one thing shall I be put to shame [defeated], but in every boldness, courage, and fearlessness of uninhibited freedom of speech as always so also now, Christ shall be conspicuously and gloriously manifested in my body, whether through [a continued] life [on earth] or through [a martyr’s] death, (Eerdmans)

Young's Literal: according to my earnest expectation and hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, and in all freedom, as always, also now Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether through life or through death

ACCORDING TO MY EARNEST EXPECTATION AND HOPE: kata ten apokaradokian kai elpida mou: (Ps 62:5; Pr 10:28; 23:18; Ro 8:19) (Click discussion of hope)

Earnest expectation (603) (apokaradokia from apo = from + kara = the head + dokeo = look, watch) is only used twice in the NT but is a picturesque Greek word which literally means to watch with one's head erect or outstretched and so to direct attention, with intense expectation and earnest watching.

Wuest translates it as "undivided and intense expectancy". The picture in this verse is that of Paul's concentrated intense hope which ignores other interests and strains forward. That which one looks forward to with eagerness and desire signifies “strained expectancy, eager longing,” the stretching forth of the head indicating an “expectation” of something from a certain place

The only other use of apokaradokia is by Paul who explains

that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us, for the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God." (see notes Romans 8:18; 8:19)

Here in Philippians, Paul is saying that his head is erect and outstretched and his attention is turned away from his current adversities and is riveted upon just one objective, the exaltation of Christ.

Apokaradokia was used in Greek writings to describe the alert watchman who peered into the darkness, eagerly looking for the first gleam of the distant beacon which would announce the capture of Troy. Paul’s heart attitude here is that of a concentrated, intense, confident waiting or watching which is closely related to the concept of hope.

Paul maintained a keen anticipation of the future, as when someone stretches his neck to see what lies ahead. These are words of a confident faith. Paul trusts God mightily here as reflected by his attitude of concentrated intense hope. This bedrock attitude liberated him so that he had no fear of death.

Another man after God's own heart had learned to "preach to his soul" exhorting

My soul, wait (rest) in silence for God only, for my hope (KJV = expectation) is from Him. (Psalms 62:5) (Spurgeon's Commentary)

Paul was confident in the promise of heaven including reception of his glorified body. Hope and expectation are closely linked together as illustrated by the NASB and KJV translations of Psalm 62:5. Remember that hope is not "I hope so" but instead is a certain expectation of future good.

Paul was not concerned about the verdict of his earthly trial, but only for his earthly testimony for Christ, his life. What a contrast Solomon paints

The hope of the righteous is gladness, but the expectation of the wicked perishes. (Pr 10:28)

Biblical hope will stabilize your soul and motivate a walk of holiness and steadfastness.

THAT I WILL NOT BE PUT TO SHAME IN ANYTHING BUT THAT WITH ALL BOLDNESS: hoti en oudeni aischunthesomai (1SFPI) all' en pase parresia: (Ps 25:2; 119:80, 119:116; Isa 45:17; 50:7; 54:4; Ro 5:5; 9:33; 2Co 7:14;10:8; Ep 6:19, 6:20; 1Pe 4:16; 1Jn 2:28) (cf Isa 49:23, quoted in Ro 9:33, Ps 25:2,3) (Php 1:14; 2Cor 4:14, 4:15, 4:16) (see Torrey's Topic "Holy Boldness")

Paul was determined not to be dishonored in anything or by anyone. He vividly demonstrated that right actions are not determined by environment but by right thinking.

David prayed

O my God, in Thee I trust, do not let me be ashamed. Do not let my enemies exult over me. (Ps 25:2)

The psalmist adds

May my heart be blameless in Thy statutes, that I may not be ashamed...Sustain me according to Thy word, that I may live; and do not let me be ashamed of my hope. (Ps 119:80, 116)

Peter encouraged his afflicted readers reminding them that

if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not feel ashamed, but in that name let him glorify God. (1Pe 4:16-note)

Finally John gives us the "formula of the fellowship of the unashamed" exhorting us as

little children (to) abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming. (1Jn 2:28)

CHRIST WILL EVEN NOW AS ALWAYS BE EXALTED IN MY BODY: os pantote kai nun megalunethesetai (3SFPI) Christos en to somati mou: (Php 2:17; Ro 6:1,19; 12:1; 1Cor 6:20; 2Cor 5:15; 1Th 5:23)

Living for Christ makes life worth living.

Be exalted (3170) (megaluno from megas = great, strong) means to raise in status, to give dignity and honor. Paul did not say, “I will exalt Christ”; instead, he said, “Christ will be exalted.”

Paul did not rely on his own boldness, but rather on the help of the Holy Spirit (cf Jn 16:14) to produce exaltation of Christ through Paul. Paul wanted his witness to heighten the effect of God’s power and plan. This attitude reminds one of that of Stephen, whose martyrdom Paul himself had witnessed (Acts 7:58) and through whose death Christ was exalted resulting in an incredible spread of the gospel (Acts 7, 8:1, cp Jn 12:24, 25, 26).

Paul knew that he had been bought with a price and therefore strove to glorify God in (his) body (1Cor 6:20) for Christ

died for all, that they who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. (2Cor 5:15)

In a parallel passage Paul reminded the Roman saints that

not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord's. (Ro 14:7, 8-note)

Lord Shaftesbury said

Perish all things, so that Christ be magnified.

Awaiting trial, Paul knew that he could either be released or executed; however, he trusted Christ to work it out for his deliverance & His glory. If the verdict were to go against him, Christ would be glorified in Paul’s martyrdom. If Paul was to be released, he would welcome the opportunity to continue serving the Lord (cf Shadrach Da 3:16, 17, 18).

WHETHER BY LIFE OR BY DEATH: eite dia zoes eite dia thanatou: (Php 1:23, 24; Jn 12:27, 12:28; 21:19; Acts 20:24; 21:13; Ro 14:7, 14:8, 14:9; 1Cor 15:31; 2Cor 4:10; Col 1:24; 2Ti 4:6, 4:7; 2Pe 1:12, 1:13, 1:14, 1:15)

Paul admits to the Philippians that he may not be released from this present imprisonment, but it may instead result in his martyrdom. There was however no difference between life and death as far as Paul was concerned, as long as that life or death magnified, glorified, and exalted his precious Lord. In Paul’s difficult position, as a prisoner of the Roman empire, there was a danger of failure on his part to maintain that bold and fearless testimony which was his habit all through his missionary career. This testimony had to do here not only with his spoken words but also with his life, for one's life testifies to the veracity of his lips. It was the intense desire of his heart that Christ be magnified in him, whether by a life lived in the fullness of the Spirit or in a martyr’s death. Paul’s desire was that the Lord Jesus might be seen in his life in all His beauty, that He might be conspicuous, that He might get glory and praise to Himself through Paul.

Paul's parting words to the Ephesian elders convey a similar thought regarding his estimation of his own life

I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, in order that I may finish my course, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God. (Acts 20:24)

And in another letter he writes

I die daily (1Cor 15:31).

And again he writes (New Living Translation)

Through suffering, these bodies of ours constantly share in the death of Jesus so that (expressing purpose) the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies. (2Cor 4:10)

Paul was a purpose driven man - his purpose being that his Lord would be exalted through his life and/or through his death.

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A. W. Tozer wrote,

"In this day of universal apprehension when men's hearts are failing then for fear of those things that are coming upon the earth, we Christians are strategically placed to display a happiness that is not of this world and to exhibit a tranquility that will be a little bit of heaven here below"

Do those who know you see in your life a joy based in heaven or on earth?

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Eager For Heaven - The street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass. —Revelation 21:21

My neighbor Jasmine, age 9, was sitting on the front porch with me one summer evening. Out of the blue she started talking about her bad choices and how she needed God's forgiveness. We talked and prayed together and she asked Jesus to be her Savior.

Questions about heaven started pouring out of her: "Are the streets really gold? Will my mom be there? What if she isn't? Will I have a bed, or will I sleep on a cloud? What will I eat?" I assured her that heaven would be a perfect home, and that she would be with Jesus, who would give her everything she needed. She replied with excitement, "Well, then let's go right now!"

The apostle Paul had a heavenly perspective too (Philippians 1:23). His testimony was, "To me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain" (Php 1:21). He knew that this life was about knowing, trusting, and serving God. But he also knew that life in heaven would be "far better" because he would "be with Christ" (Php 1:23). He wanted to stay here so that he could minister to the Philippians and others, but he was ready to go to heaven at any time to see Jesus.

Jasmine is ready to go now. Are we as eager for heaven as she is? —Anne Cetas (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

No matter what we learn of God
And of the fullness of His grace,
The picture will not be complete
Until we meet Him face-to-face. —Branon

Those who have their hearts fixed on heaven
will hold loosely the things of earth.

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"I'm A Present!" (Read: Romans 6:1-14) - Present yourselves to instruments of righteousness. --Ro 6:13-note

A few days before Christmas, the 3-year-old daughter of Pastor Jeff Callender was caught up in the excitement of gifts and giving. He writes, "One morning she was picking up, examining, shaking, and guessing what was inside every package. Then, in a burst of inspiration, she picked up a big red bow that had fallen off one present and held it on the top of her head. She looked up at me with twinkling eyes and beamed a smile as she said, 'Look at me, Daddy! I'm a present!'"

Every child of God should say that to the heavenly Father. In view of all He has done for us, we are to offer ourselves to Him freely, including our bodies. Doing that, we will "put to death the deeds of the body" (Ro 8:13-note). And we will present ourselves to the Lord as a living sacrifice (Ro 12:1-note). Those who truly surrender their all to the Lord can say with Paul, "Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death" (Phil. 1:20).

Christmas is the time when we commemorate God's greatest gift to mankind--His Son Jesus Christ. As we contemplate the love that prompted such giving, may our response be one of yielding our lives to Him for His glory.

Let's echo the words of that little girl, "Look at me, Father! I'm a present!" --R W De Haan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

What shall I give to Christ today,
To Him who gave Himself for me?
I'll give to Him my life, my love--
For time and for eternity. --Anon.

To make something of your life,
give your life to God

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Magnifying Our Master (READ: 2 Corinthians 11:23-28) - I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. —2Ti 4:6-note

As a man of unwavering steadfastness, the apostle Paul had a fixed ambition. He spelled it out in his letter to the Philippians: "Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death" (Phil 1:20).

No matter what Paul might be called upon to suffer, no matter what hardships he might undergo, he was determined that his life would be a means of magnifying Jesus. And without flinching, he held tight to that determination through peril, pain, and imprisonment, and even willingly offered his body as a sacrifice.

Some of us may not be able to see how Jesus could be magnified in our bodies. We may think that it can be done only during times of persecution for our faith. But that is not the case.

Our hands can magnify the Lord as we write letters of encouragement. Our feet can magnify Him as we go on simple errands of helpfulness. Our voices can magnify Him as we give our testimony and sing His praises. Our hearts can magnify Him as we express in prayer our love for the redeeming Christ. Our ears can magnify Him as we gratefully listen to sermons exalting His grace.

If we know Jesus, we can lift Him up to others in our daily lives. —Vernon C Grounds (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Take my will and make it Thine-
It shall be no longer mine;
Take my heart-it is Thine own,
It shall be Thy royal throne. -Havergal

You are one of a kind-designed to glorify God as only you can.

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One Life is Enough - A mature Christian said longingly, "Oh, that I could turn back the clock 20 years and go on ministering for the Lord!" That's a commendable wish but impossible to fulfill. One life is all we're given. Within God's sovereign purposes, one life, whether long or short, is enough.

In Acts 20:22, 21, 23 and Acts 21:11, God revealed that tribulations and possible death awaited Paul in Jerusalem. But instead of avoiding Jerusalem, Paul declared, "None of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus" (Acts 20:24). Paul's goal was not to extend his ministry but to complete it.

Our goal, like Paul's, should be to glorify Christ in our body, "whether by life or by death" (Phil. 1:20). Then, if necessary, we can afford to lose our liberty and our very lives. We can be sure God will use others to carry on His work and bring it to completion.

Paul's death did not bring his influence to an end. In Acts 20:28, he bequeathed his ministry to the church overseers, and we're still reaping the benefits of his life today.

Life is brief--"a vapor" (James 4:14). With Christ's help, let's invest our lives in something that will outlast us. —Joanie Yoder (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Only this hour is mine, Lord--
May it be used for Thee;
May every passing moment
Count for eternity. --Christiansen
© Renewal 1965 Singspiration, Inc.

Living for Christ makes life worth living.

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Worse Than Dying (Read: 1 Corinthians 9:11-23) - It would be better for me to die than that anyone should make my boasting void. —1Corinthians 9:15

The apostle Paul said he would rather die than give the impression that he was serving the Lord for money. That's why he supported himself while preaching in Corinth. To him, anything that marred his testimony for Christ was worse than dying.

Down through the centuries, many have held that same conviction and have proven it by dying as martyrs rather than denying their Lord. Most of us will not face a "deny Christ or die" ultimatum. But our lifestyle must reflect that we believe some things are worse than dying.

On New Year's Eve 1951, I was deeply impressed as I read Paul's declaration in Philippians 1:20. He said that his supreme expectation was that he would be ashamed "in nothing." His only hope was not that he be released from prison but that Christ would be magnified in his body, "whether by life or by death." I was also struck by his confident statement in Php 1:21, "For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain." Since that evening, I've told the Lord many times that I would rather die than do anything to dishonor His name, break the hearts of my wife and family, or disappoint those who respect me.

Yes, some things are worse than dying, and dishonoring Christ is one of them. —HVL (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

I'd rather die than bring disgrace
Upon my Lord, His name debase;
So I will live my life each day
To honor Christ and walk His way. —Hess

To keep your testimony alive,
you must die to sin.

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Supreme Sacrifice

George Atley was killed while serving with the Central African Mission. There were no witnesses, but the evidence indicates that Atley was confronted by a band of hostile tribesmen. He was carrying a fully loaded, 10-chamber Winchester rifle and had to choose either to shoot his attackers and run the risk of negating the work of the mission in that area, or not to defend himself and be killed. When his body was later found in a stream, it was evident that he had chosen the latter. Nearby lay his rifle—all 10 chambers still loaded. He had made the supreme sacrifice, motivated by his burden for lost souls and his unswerving devotion to his Savior. With the apostle Paul, he wanted Christ to be magnified in his body, “whether by life or by death.” (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

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Robert P. Lightner said,

Paul’s concern was not what would happen to him but what testimony would be left for his Lord. Release would allow him to continue preaching Christ. But martyrdom would also advance the cause of Christ.

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"Christ may be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death" (Phil. 1:20)

It is the business of a Christian to so manifest the spirit of CHRIST in his life that men and women will fall in love with our blessed LORD. People generally know little about CHRIST, but a devoted life magnifies and glorifies Him, thus leading them to trust Him for themselves. A striking instance of this came to my notice some years ago when I was engaged in a special evangelistic campaign among the mission stations of northern Arizona where devoted workers were seeking to present CHRIST to the Navajo and Hop Indians.

In company with Fred G. Mitchell, veteran Missionary to these neglected people, I sent one day to the mission hospital at Ganado. There my attention was drawn to a Navajo woman who occupied a bed in one of the small wards. She could not speak any English and my Navajo education was limited to about half a dozen words, so we could not carry on any animated conversation. Standing near her, Mr. Mitchell told me her story.

In the desert some ten weeks before, the missionary doctor had found her in a dying condition. The real circumstances were so horrible I shall not commit them to paper. Her cries of anguish had drawn the doctor to the place where she had lain helpless for four days and nights without foot or drink. By that time, her case seemed absolutely hopeless. She was paralyzed from the waist down, could not move about; gangrene had set in and she was in a most pitiable state. A cursory examination led the doctor to feel that her case was hopeless. But he wrapped a clean blanket about her filthy body, put her in his car and hurried her to the mission station. He learned afterwards that the Indian medicine man had pow-wowed over her for some forty-eight hours and then announced that she was possessed of an evil spirit that could not be driven out. It was best to get her as far away from the hogan as possible, as otherwise the demons would haunt the place where she died, making it unsafe for others to dwell there.

In the hospital, further examination convinced the doctor that an operation might possibly save her life, but it would be a most dangerous and delicate one, and with perhaps one chance in a hundred that she might recover. The little group of missionaries were called in for prayer and the doctor undertook the operation. Mr. Mitchell told me that for nine days and nights afterwards he kept the patient under almost constant observation. Finally her fever disappeared and it was evident that she was on the road to recovery. As consciousness returned and she found herself in the comfortable hospital bed, waited on by a kind, little Navajo Christian nurse and assiduously looked after by the doctor, she was filled with wonder and amazement. When able to speak, she inquired of the nurse,

"Why did he do this for me? My own people threw me out to die; nobody wanted me; and he came and brought me here and has brought me back to life. Why did he do it? He is no relative of mine. I am a Navajo, and he is a white man. I cannot understand why he should do all this for me."

The nurse replied, "It is because of the love of CHRIST."

"Love of CHRIST," she exclaimed. "I never heard of 'love of CHRIST.' What is the 'love of CHRIST?' What do you mean?" The nurse tried to explain, but felt she was not making it clear; so she called for one of the missionaries.

For some fifteen days after that, one missionary or another talked to the patient for a few hours each morning. In order to make her understand, it was necessary to go clear back to the creation and make plain why CHRIST came into the world. The young woman listened with deep interest, her large gazelle-like eyes searching the missionary's face constantly as if for confirmation of so wonderful a story.

Finally, when she seemed to be well on the road to life again and her mind was clear and bright, the missionaries thought the time had come to urge her to definite decision. So they held another little prayer meeting together and then once more Mr. Mitchell told the story of redeeming love and tenderly inquired, 'My dear younger sister, (which is the characteristic way of addressing a Navajo Indian younger than oneself) do you not take this blessed SAVIOUR for yourself? Will you not put your trust in Him, turning away from the idols of your people, and worship the one true and living GOD? He has come to earth in the person of His Son and now He asks you to trust Him for yourself."

In simple words he presented the claims of CHRIST for sometime, but there was no answer. The woman lay there perfectly quiet, but it was evident she was thinking everything over. After some little time the door at the other end of the ward was opened and the doctor looked in just to make sure that everything was all right with his patient.

She looked up and her bright eyes expressed the gratitude she felt as she softly replied in the liquid tongue of the Navajos, "If JESUS is anything like the doctor, I can trust Him forever." She had seen CHRIST magnified in a man and her heart was won.


F B Meyer...

Phil. 1:19-20

The Two Parties.

As we have seen, there were two parties in Rome. The one was devoted to the Apostle, and were doing their best to help him in preaching of the Gospel of our Lord. These disciples were imbued with the spirit of their master, and were carried along in the current of his own devotion. "In his bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the Gospel, they were all partakers with him of grace." The work they did was of good-will and of love, because they knew that he was set for the defence of the Gospel.

The other party refused to accept the Gospel in its simplicity. They belonged to the Judaising party, and held that it was necessary for a man to pass through the ceremonies of the old covenant, in order to participate in the benefits of the new. Throughout his life the Apostle was constantly troubled by the presence of these men, and his stay in Rome seems to have stirred them up to still greater activity. They preached Christ of envy and strife, not sincerely, but of faction, thinking to raise up affliction in his bonds.

But out of this aggravation of his anxieties he managed to extract a new-found joy, to quote his own inimitable words, "What then? only that in every way, whether in pretence or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and therein I rejoice, yea, and will rejoice." When the heart is absolutely right with God, when God is the one great fact which underlies all facts, it is able to elicit joy for every circumstance in life, as musicians music from the roar of the torrent, and the rush of the storm.

It is a serious question which each should ask, Is God the underlying fact in my life? Do I detect His presence in every storm shower, and sunbeam, in the dark night as well as in the day, in my losses and sorrows as well as in halcyon hours of summer joy? To such an one every wind wafts argosies across the sea laden with blessing, dreaded evils pass him by without molestation, the very Judases of life bring cups which have been mixed by the Father's hand. When God is real to us, and we receive all things either by His permission or appointment, we can find occasions for joy where other men see unmitigated grief, chinks of blue in the dark sky, and songs in the night.

Why Paul Rejoiced. For Christ was Proclaimed.

Paul was glad, .first because Christ was proclaimed. So long as that name was being passed from lip to lip, and enquiry was excited into all that it stood for, and men were beginning to feel after Him, if haply they might find Him as the Saviour from their sins, and the solution of life's mysteries, he was satisfied. Better half a loaf than no bread, and better the preaching of Christ from wrong motives than not at all. Better Christ pilloried than not lifted up before the thought of time. A good man may be glad when the world's press deals with Christian truth, even though it be travestied and misrepresented, it is better thus than that men should lose interest in Christianity. Nothing is more fatal than apathy and neglect.

For All Would Turn Out Well.

Paul rejoiced because he saw that everything would turn out right for him. "I know that this shall turn to my salvation." There has been a good deal of controversy as to what he meant by "salvation". Of course he was already fully saved, except that his body bore the marks of humiliation and suffering. It has been thought by some that he referred to his hope that his life might be preserved, and that release from captivity was not far away. In the Epistle to Philemon, which was written from Rome at the time of the writing of this Epistle, he says, "Prepare me also lodging, for I hope that through your prayers I shall be granted unto you." But it seems better to think that he believed that the coming of our Lord depended upon the extension of the Gospel throughout the known world, and that, therefore, all the preaching of the Cross which disseminated the knowledge of the Gospel, brought nearer that day to which he so often refers as the day of Christ, when the top stone should be placed upon the edifice, and complete salvation would come, not to him only, but to all those who loved the appearing. This yields a good sense to the passage. He rejoiced in the preaching of this hostile faction, because it made Christ better known, and in so far as men knew and accepted Him, the coming of His Kingdom was hastened, which meant peace, joy, deliverance, and perfect life. When that long-expected day was inaugurated, the last remains of sin would be destroyed in his heart, and the body of his humiliation would be changed for a body in the likeness of Christ. In this sense the word "salvation" is employed elsewhere, "He shall appear the second time without sin unto salvation."

How often has God overruled the designs and deeds of evil men for the glory of His name, the success of His Kingdom, and the salvation of His saints. What they mean for evil He turns to good. The oppression of Pharaoh, as we have seen, secures the establishment of Israel in their own land. The persecution of the Sanhedrin forced the early Christians to become evangelists throughout the empire. The Pope's bull against Luther inaugurated modern Protestantism. The persecution of the Stuarts urged the Pilgrim Fathers to lay the foundations of the great commonwealth in the United States. Truth has again and again been brought to the scaffold, and wrong has swayed the sceptre, but God is ever standing within the shadow "keeping watch upon His own." Be of good cheer, lift up your heads, your redemption draweth nigh!

For Christ was being Magnified.

Paul rejoiced also because Christ was being magnified. The word "expectation" has in it the idea of the uplifted head (Luke 21:28), the outstretched neck (Rom. 8:19). It is as when one stands on tiptoe, anxiously looking for the advent of an anticipated prosperous issue out of affliction. The expectation of creation which waits for the revelation of the sons of God, had its counterpart in the Apostle's experience as he craned his neck in intense hope and anticipation that the great purpose of his life would be realised in the magnifying of the Lord. Each morning, as he arose, his soul was stirred with passionate thought and ambition that the hours should be as full as possible with whatever might promote the glory of his Master. Whatever event happened, he always questioned how far it would enhance men's estimation of the Lord. He thought comparatively little of what befell himself in the various incidents of his life, so long as each one furnished an increment of glory to the Master who filled the entire horizon of his affections.

In the original Greek, their prayer and the supply of the Holy Spirit are so classed together as to be practically one. It is as though the Apostle felt that if only his Philippian friends would unite in earnest intercession, there could be no doubt as to the response. For them to pray for the Holy Spirit would be equivalent to his reception of Him. There are some prayers, concerning the answer to which we cannot be sure, for they deal with matters which are outside the promises of God, but wherever we claim for ourselves or others, things which God has offered us in Christ, we may be sure that to ask is to have.

Prayer Besought.

Throughout the Epistles the Apostle is constantly asking for the prayers of his fellow disciples. "Brethren, pray for us," occurs more than once. He bids them "help together by prayer." In that touching exhortation at the close of the Epistle to the Romans, he entreats them to strive together in their prayers for him that he might be delivered from his enemies, and might come to them with joy by the will of God; and in the Epistle to Ephesus and, probably, to the other Asiatic churches, he bids the disciples to pray always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints, adding significantly, "and for me." It is hardly possible to over-estimate the value of prayer, when some kindred soul really unites itself with us, in our temptations, sorrows, and efforts in the service of Christ. Full often some special influx of faith, hope, and courage is due to the fact that God is moving someone who loves us to strong entreaty and intercession on our behalf. The angels visited Sodom, laid their hands on Lot, and led him forth because Abraham, yonder on the heights, was pleading with God that if there were ten righteous, He would not destroy the city, not knowing that God was more eager to save Sodom than he to pray for it.

"The Supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ."

"The supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ" is a most interesting phrase. The Apostle describes the Holy Spirit as pre-eminently "the Spirit of Jesus Christ." Elsewhere he speaks of Him "as the Spirit of the Son," "as the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus," "as the Spirit of Jesus." There is ample warrant for this. Our Lord was conceived of the Holy Ghost, anointed by the Spirit at the waters of Baptism, filled with the Spirit as He was led up to be tempted, wrought His miracles and spoke His words in the power of the Holy Spirit, yielded Himself to the Father in death by the power of the Eternal Spirit, and was raised from the dead on the third day by the Spirit of Holiness, who is pre-eminently the Author of Resurrection Life. During the forty days, it was "through the Holy Spirit that He gave commandment to the apostles whom He had chosen." In answer to His intercession, He received the Holy Spirit in Divine fullness into His risen and exalted nature, and throughout the Acts He is represented as communicating the Spirit to those who seek Him by faith. Throughout this dispensation our Lord is, so to speak, the depository or storehouse of the Holy Spirit. It need hardly be said that the Spirit is equally Eternal and Divine with the Father and the Son, but during the present age, in the Divine economy, He is specially communicated through the nature of the Risen Lord to all members of His mystical Body, the Church, and works through them upon the world. We may be thankful, indeed, that as the blood circulates between the heart and the most distant member of the body, so does the Spirit of God unite us with Christ our Master. We are one with Him; the very thoughts and emotions that occupy Him are conveyed to us; because He lives we live also, by the direct impartation of His life.


The word supply demands our attention. It occurs, with its kindred verb, several times in the New Testament. It contains a suggestion of the choir or singing entertainment, which was supplied on public occasions by some wealthy citizen to grace a triumphal entry, or celebrate some auspicious anniversary. It stands for the free and spontaneous furnishing of that which enriches and quickens the lives of others. It is as though the Apostle felt, that in answer to the prayer for which he pleaded, there would be a constant impartation into his nature of that Divine Spirit whose entrance brings joy and strength.

It is an important question to ask how far we know that same Spirit, who enables sufferers to discover reasons for thankfulness in their afflictions, lifts us out of our private tribulation into the great current of adoration and praise which is ever flowing towards the Throne of the Lamb, turns anxieties and privations into fountains of blessing and salvation, and inspires the one consuming purpose that Jesus should be glorified whether by life or death.

How to feel as St. Paul did.

As we read these wonderful paragraphs, and see how eager the Apostle was for the "greatening" of Jesus, we feel the infection of his spirit and long to be animated by the same passion. There is no way of catching its fire, except by studying and obeying the laws on which the Holy Spirit is supplied to saints still. Nor is it enough to be acquainted with the method of operation, we must assiduously obey them, being sure that the Holy Spirit is a Spirit of method and order, and that He will immediately respond to the feeblest appeal made for His succour.

Let the poor dweller beside the Nile make the smallest channel in the time of flood, and the responsive water will forthwith flow into his little garden plot; so if by obedience and faith the channel is open towards the Blessed Spirit, there can be no doubt that He will immediately fill the heart with His abundance; though the glad recipient of His bounty will not concentrate his thought upon the Spirit of Jesus Christ, but pass through Him to Jesus Christ Himself. Just as we do not specially dwell upon the light which is the medium between the sun and our earth, but through sunlight live in contact with the mighty sun and orb of day; so those that are fullest of the Holy Spirit are fullest of the glory of Christ, and are most eager that He should be magnified in their bodies, whether it be by life or by death. (F. B. Meyer. The Epistle to the Philippians)


Charles Simeon...


Phil 1:18

WHEN our blessed Lord came into the world, it was said concerning him, that he was “set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel, that the thoughts of many hearts might be revealed.” And certainly his Gospel has been an occasion of displaying, in a far greater degree than at any former period, the extreme wickedness of the human heart, and, at the same time, the astonishing efficacy of divine grace to renew and sanctify the soul. The virulent opposition made to the Gospel by its professed enemies may, in some measure, illustrate the former. But the subtle contrivances of its professed friends to adulterate its truths and to subvert its influence, shewed a degree of malignity perfectly Satanic: whilst the virtues which have, by these means, been drawn forth into exercise, have been no less illustrative of the power and grace of Christ. In several of the apostolic Churches, there were not only some who perverted the Gospel by a mixture of self-righteous doctrines, but some who actually preached the Gospel for the very purpose of undermining its proper influence. In the context, this curious device is fully developed, and the mask is taken from the faces of these base hypocrites; whilst the effect of their endeavours on the Apostle’s mind is plainly declared.

By the Roman magistrates, St. Paul had been sent to Rome, and imprisoned. This, which seemed likely to stop the progress of the Gospel, had, in reality, turned out to the furtherance of it; because the zeal of many others was called forth, in a much greater degree, to advance its interests. But some, who sought only their own glory, took occasion, from his imprisonment, to practise on the minds of his followers, and to draw them away from him. Paul’s converts, however, were too well instructed to be wrought upon by false doctrines: and, therefore, these teachers preached the true Gospel itself, that so they might insinuate themselves into the affections of their simple-minded hearers, and thus fonn them into a party against the Apostle himself, and ultimately establish their own authority on the ruin of his. Hear the Apostle’s own account of it: “Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good-will; the one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds; but the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the Gospel. What then? notwithstanding every way, whether in pretence or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.”

In discoursing on these latter words, I will shew,

I. What we are to understand by preaching Christ—

This is a term frequently made use of to express the preaching of the Gospel. In the passage before us, it is repeated no less than three times; and it is admirably adapted to convey at once to the mind the whole complex idea of proclaiming, in all its parts, the great mystery of redemption. Under this term is comprehended a full exhibition of,

1. Our need of Christ—

[The fall of man, and the consequent guilt and misery of the human race, form the ground on which a Saviour is necessary. The angels, that have never fallen, need no Saviour: but, as we have fallen, and are wholly incapable of restoring ourselves either to the image or favour of God, we need one to do it for us. This, then, must be fully opened, in order to preach Christ with effect: and all our hearers must be fully informed, that they are under the wrath of God—that they can never atone for their own sins—that it is impossible for them to renew their own natures—that their hope must be altogether in God’s mercy, through Christ—]

2. Christ’s suitableness and sufficiency to save us—

[Not all the angels in heaven were competent to this task. But the Lord Jesus Christ was God equal with the Father, and therefore was capable of accomplishing what no finite power could effect. By assuming our nature, he could suffer in our place and stead; whilst his Godhead imparted to those sufferings a value, sufficient to atone for the sins of the whole world. Besides, having now in himself essentially all the fulness of the Godhead, and a communicative fulness expressly treasured up in him, as our mediator, for the benefit of his Church, he can impart to every one of his members all that he sees to be needful for them in this state of trial and probation. And he has actually promised to all, who believe in him, a supply of all spiritual blessings according to their necessities. Now, this must occupy a very large share in the ministrations of those who would preach the Gospel aright. On the Godhead of Christ depends his sufficiency for the work assigned him: and on the discharge of all his offices, of Prophet, Priest, and King, depends the hope of all who trust in him. In these offices, therefore, he must be held forth to the faith of his people; that through him their minds may be enlightened, their iniquities cancelled, and their enemies subdued. In a word, a full exhibition of Christ in his mediatorial character is that which chiefly constitutes what we call the Gospel: and if we would preach it aright, we must “determine, with St. Paul, to know nothing amongst our people, but Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”]

3. The nature and blessedness of his salvation—

[We shall preach Christ to little purpose, if we do not hold him forth as a Saviour from sin. He had the name Jesus assigned to him for that express purpose, that he might be recognized by all in this particular view, as “saving his people from their sins.” To deliver them from wrath would be a small matter, if he did not also deliver them from sin: for sin, if suffered to retain dominion over them, would itself create a hell within them. I would speak it with reverence; but I should not speak too strongly, if I should say, that God himself could not make a man happy, whilst he continued under the power of his sins. There is a beauty and a felicity in holiness; a beauty, in that it assimilates a man to Grod’s image; and a felicity, in that it is a foretaste of heaven itself. This requires to be opened, in order to guard against a misapprehension of the Gospel salvation, as though it were nothing more than a deliverance from death and hell; and at the same time to give a right direction to every follower of Christ; and to make him aspire after holiness, as the perfection of his nature, and the completion of his bliss.]

But my text leads me to mark particularly,

II. With what different views this preaching may be maintained—

The Apostle speaks of some as preaching Christ “in pretence,” and of others “in truth.” And certain it is, that Christ is sometimes preached,

1. From unworthy motives—

[One would scarcely suppose this possible. But what has been, may be: and, as in the Apostles’ days, so now also, Christ is sometimes preached only as the means of advancing some personal and carnal ends.

Some, alas! preach Christ for gain; and make the proclamation of his Gospel an office, in the discharge of which they are to obtain a livelihood. Yes, “for filthy lucre sake” do multitudes engage in this service, and not “of a ready mind:” and, if there were nothing but a bare subsistence to be gained by it, they would leave the whole world to perish, rather than go forth to enlighten and to save them. Under this head, I must rank those also who engage in the sacred office as a mere profession (like that of law or medicine), in which they may occupy somewhat of an ostensible post, and sustain a respectable character in the world, at the same time that they desire only to pass their days in polished ease and carnal indolence.

There are others who preach Christ for popularity. It is found that there is nothing which so interests the feelings of mankind, as the Gospel; and wherever that is preached with any degree of clearness and energy, there people will flock to hear it. Now, to our fallen nature, distinction of any kind is gratifying: and, if a person can see himself followed by multitudes, who hang on his lips, and express delight in his ministrations, he will feel himself repaid, quite as well as by pecuniary compensation: and that many are actuated by this kind of ambition, whilst they profess to be led on by higher motives, there is too great reason to fear. Few, indeed, would acknowledge that they were influenced by such vanity as this: but, if they would mark what inordinate satisfaction they feel in a crowded audience, and what disappointment in a thin attendance, they might see, that, to say the least, their motives are very questionable. And, indeed, this very motive often gives a tone and direction to the ministrations of men, who will gratify a particular taste, not because they judge that style of preaching to be most scriptural, but because they see it to be most accordant with the public feeling: and they dare not to enter fully into what they themselves would think most needful, lest they should give offence to their hearers, and lessen the popularity which they supremely affect. Base is this motive, which prefers the estimation of men to the real welfare of their souls.

But there are others who more exactly resemble the persons whom the Apostle describes as “preaching Christ of contention.” Yes, even at this day it is no uncommon thing to preach Christ chiefly with a view to undermine the influence of some popular minister. Let a pious minister arise in the Established Church, and what labours will be used to draw-away his people: preachings, prayer-meetings, societies, will all be formed for this very end; and persons of popular talent be brought from a distance to further the base design. And, if a minister out of the establishment be extensively useful in converting souls to Christ, similar efforts will sometimes be made, not so much to save the souls of men, as to keep them from attending the ministry of one in another communion. I do not by this mean to say, that a minister in the establishment ought not to labour to keep his people firm to the establishment; for I conceive this to be his bounden duty, to which he has pledged himself, in his ordination vows: but to make this his main object in extending his ministrations, is to tread very close upon the heels of those who “preached Christ of envy and strife.”

But there are others, blessed be God, who preach Christ,]

2. From motives that are becoming a Christian minister—

[Yes, there are some, at least, who are like-minded with the Apostle; who know, by experience, what an evil and bitter thing it is to be under the guilt of sin, and the wrath of God. They know, too, by the same blessed experience, what it is to have found a Saviour, and to have obtained peace through his blood. And they desire to be instrumental in imparting this knowledge to their fellow men, and in bringing them to a participation of the same benefits. They feel, too, a love to that Saviour, who has so loved them, and given himself for them. They desire to make him known, and to exalt his name in the world. Gladly would they see. the whole earth subjected to his dominion, and all the kingdoms of the world united under him, as their common Lord. Hence it is that they preach him with ardour and with zeal. These were the motives by which the Apostle Paul was actuated; and, through the tender mercy of God, a goodly number of ministers are raised up to tread in his steps, and to “be followers of him as he was of Christ.”]

But, whether the motive of the preacher be good or bad, we must say of the preaching,

III. That, under any circumstances, it is a ground of joy—

It is doubtless much to be regretted that any person should execute such a sacred office from unworthy motives; and over the man who does so, we would weep with the deepest sorrow. Yet, whilst we mourn over him as involving his own soul in perdition, we cannot but rejoice in his act, on account of the consequences that flow from it.

We rejoice in it,

1. Because it diffuses truth—

[Truth, under any circumstances, is better than error, even as light is better than darkness. But if truth be viewed in its consequences, its importance will be found to exceed our utmost conceptions. The preachers who proclaim not the Lord Jesus Christ, disseminate error. Whether it be in denying the fallen state of man, or in establishing man’s righteousness, or in inculeating merely heathen morals, or in whatever way it is that men go beside the Gospel, or come short of it, the effect is the same: the preacher betrays the hearers to their ruin; and the people, so deceived, must “perish for lack of knowledge.” Contrast, then, with such a ministry the preaching of one who exalts Christ among his people, and points him out as “the way, the truth, and the life;” and the difference between them will be found exceeding great. As to the motives and principles by which the preacher may be actuated, the hearer has nothing to do with them: he is not called to judge of them: nay, he has no right to judge of them: he must leave that matter to Him who alone can search the hearts of men: but, in the truth exhibited to his view, he has the very same interest that he would have if it were declared by an angel from heaven: his mind is enlightened by it; and his feet are guided into the way of peace. However unworthy the preacher of it may be, God may work by it; as we have no doubt he did by the ministry of Judas, as well as by the other Apostles: and, in as far as truth is diffused instead of error, “we do rejoice in it, yea, and will rejoice in it.”]

2. Because the Lord Jesus Christ is exalted—

[I well know that Christ would not suffer the demoniacs to confess him. I know also, that, as far as the preachers themselves are concerned, Christ is dishonoured, rather than glorified, in those who preach him from unhallowed motives. But when he is truly preached, whatever be the motives of the minister himself, he is, on the whole, honoured; for his salvation is made known; his kingdom is enlarged; his authority is established; his name is glorified. This ought to be a matter of unfeigned joy to all. The angels, when they announced his advent to the shepherds, said, “Behold, we bring you glad tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people: for unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” If, then, the advent of Christ, whilst he was yet but a new-born infant, was so replete with joy to all people, much more must the full exhibition of his mediatorial work and offices be a source of joy; since in them is the whole mystery of his love unfolded, in all its height and depth, and “length and breadth.]

3. Because the souls of men are benefited—

[Men, I say again, have nothing to do with the motives of the preacher. But if they receive the truth in the love of it, they enter at once into the full liberty of the Gospel, and enjoy all the blessings of a finished salvation. Amongst the Jews, many who rejected Christ were empowered to cast out devils: and the persons dispossessed were as much liberated from the bonds of Satan as if the work had been wrought by the most distinguished Apostle. In like manner, the person who was instructed in the truth by the ministration of Judas, felt the power of the word as much as if he had received it from Peter or from John. The traveller is not less refreshed by a fountain in a desert, because he was led to it by the feet of beasts: nor are the waters of life deprived of their efficacy, because they have not been first tasted by him who puts the cup into our hands. It is the truth, and not the minister, that makes us free: it is Christ, and not the preacher, that saves the soul. Say, then, whether it be not a just ground of joy that the saving doctrines of the Gospel are proclaimed, even though it be by one who is a stranger to their power? Yes, “if Christ be preached,” by whomsoever it may be, and from whatever motive, “I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.”]

May we not, then, from hence observe,

1. How unlike to the Apostles are they who hate the preaching of Christ!

[There is no other subject in the world so odious to the ungodly as this. We may preach the Law as strictly as we please, and men will hear us with delight: but let us preach the Gospel, and men will be sure to be offended with us: and if this effect do not follow, we may be sure that we do not preach as Christ and his Apostles preached it. But what shall we say of those who thus take offence? St. Paul rejoiced in the Gospel, though so unworthily propagated from envy and strife: but these persons are grieved at it, even when delivered with the utmost sincerity and love. “They know not, alas! what spirit they are of:” but this they may know, that if they be not brought to an entire change of mind, so as to love the Gospel as the Apostle did, they can never hope to participate, with him, its joys in a better world.]

2. What cause have they for sorrow, who, though they hear the Gospel, make no suitable improvement of it!

[We are responsible for what we hear: and, if we hear of Christ, and receive him not into our hearts by faith, “it will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha, in the day of judgment, than for us.” Are there any of that character here present? How would the Apostle weep over you! He tells us, that “he had great heaviness and continual sorrow in his heart, on account of his unbelieving brethren:” and that is the feeling which I would cultivate in your behalf, and which I would recommend you to cherish in your own bosoms — — —]

3. How happy are they, who, whilst they have the Gospel faithfully ministered to them, experience in their souls its saving power!

[Verily, you are the blessed of the Lord. You have that in your souls which will turn every sorrow into joy. The Apostle quite forgot his own bonds, and the malignity of those who sought to add affliction to them. The honour of Christ, and the welfare of immortal souls, swallowed up all personal considerations, and filled him with ineffable delight. Let the Gospel operate in this very way on your minds. Live not below your privileges in this respect. Shew, that if men can bind the body, they cannot fetter the soul. Shew that your joys are altogether independent of them, and out of their reach. This is the way to prove what the preaching of Christ will effect; and will encourage all who behold you to live for Christ, and to suffer for his sake.]



Phil. 1:20

WHILST the great mass of mankind, like a ship driven with fierce winds and tossed upon tempestuous waves, are uncertain what may be the event of their trials, the true Christian is like a ship at anchor: he beholds the storm, but defies its power: he knows that every effort, either of men or devils, to destroy him, shall issue in his own welfare, and in their confusion. St. Paul was in prison at Rome, uncertain whether he should be set at liberty or put to death. He had adversaries also amongst the professed followers of Christ, who laboured to increase his affliction, by weakening his influence in the Church, and drawing away his converts to their own party. But he knew, that the more his afflictions abounded, the more were the prayers of God’s people offered up on his behalf, and the more would a supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ be poured out upon him. He was therefore satisfied, that, however matters might terminate with respect to temporal deliverance, they would issue in his final “salvation;” and that he should be so strengthened from above, as never to “be ashamed” of his profession, but rather that, as in past times, so to the latest hour of his existence, “Christ should be magnified in his body, whether it were by life or by death.”

This expression is very singular, and deserves more than ordinary attention. We propose therefore to consider.

I. In what sense Christ may be magnified in our body—

We may easily conceive that Christ should be served, or honoured by us; but how can he be magnified? Can we add any thing to his essential dignity? No; he is “God over all, blessed for evermore.” Can we add to his mediatorial honours? No; we cannot augment his kingly power, or give virtue to his priestly sacrifice, or enlarge his influence as the great Prophet of the Church. Can we add to the glory that he possesses in heaven? No; the angels and glorified saints are already glorifying him, day and night, with all their faculties and all their powers. Surely then (it may be said) this is a proud, if not a blasphemous expression. No; we must not so hastily condemn an inspired Apostle. You ask then, How can we magnify Christ? We answer, that he may be magnified by us both in word and deed: “O magnify the Lord with me,” says the Psalmist, “and let us exalt his name together.” This shews what may be done by our voices: and as to our actions, we may be said to magnify him, when in our conduct we set forth,

1. The purity of his law—

[It is not only in “bearing one another’s burthens,” but in obeying all the precepts of the Gospel, that we are to “fulfil the law of Christ.” Now the extent of this law is not in any degree imagined by the world at large: they have no idea of the motives, the principles, the conduct which the Christian code inculcates. But when a child of God is enabled to act up to his profession, he shews to all around him the beauty of holiness: he commends to them the law which he obeys: he constrains them to see and acknowledge its transcendent excellence: and in advancing thus the honour of the law, he honours also the Lawgiver: “In adorning the doctrine of God our Saviour,” he adorns and magnifies the Saviour himself.]

2. The perfection of his character—

[The Christian follows the steps of his Divine Master, and endeavours to “walk as he walked.” Now if his path be luminous, what must that of the Lord Jesus have been? The most eminent of our fallen race was no more in comparison of him, than a twinkling star (I should rather say, a glow-worm) in comparison of the meridian sun. If therefore the effulgence of a poor and sinful creature like ourselves be such as to attract the admiration of all that behold it, much more must the splendour of Emmanuel’s holiness exceed in glory; insomuch that the attainments of Paul himself have no glory by reason of his glory that excelleth.]

3. The blessedness of his service—

[If we see a person grudging every labour that be performs, we naturally conclude that his task is irksome, and that the master whom he serves is not (in his esteem at least) worthy of any high regard. But if we behold a person straining every nerve, and exerting himself day and night in the most arduous services, and, after all, complaining only that he cannot perform one half of what he wishes to do for his master, we conclude, of course, that he loves both his work, and his master too. When therefore we behold an exemplary and laborious Christian devoting all his powers to the service of his God, and all the while taking shame to himself as an unprofitable servant, we are constrained to say, that (in his eyes at least) his Lord is worthy of all honour, and the work in which he is engaged is perfect freedom. The devotedness of the servant is a high and public commendation of his Lord.]

4. The power of his grace—

[It is to this chiefly that the Apostle refers: and it is by a display of this that Christ is chiefly magnified. A river flowing with a rapid and majestic current to the sea, would defy the efforts of the whole world to turn it back again to its source; yet by the returning tide it is not only arrested in its course, but driven up again with equal rapidity towards the fountain-head. It is thus that a sinner, when rushing with the whole current of his affections towards this present world, is stopped in his career of sin, and turned back with an irresistible impulse towards high and heavenly things. Let men, yea, let all the angels in heaven, attempt to effect this change, and their united efforts would be in vain. Who then that witnesses this change, and beholds the believer’s victories over sin and Satan, and his progressive advancement in the ways of holiness, must not adore that power by which so great a miracle is wrought? In this Christ is indeed magnified: “the exceeding greatness of his power is made known;” and the sufficiency of his grace is incontrovertibly established.]

Let us now proceed to inquire,

II. By what means Christ may be magnified in our body—

St. Paul knew not whether his present imprisonment would issue in life or death: but in either case he hoped and expected that Christ would be magnified in his body; that is, either by the renewed services of his body, or its protracted sufferings unto death. In order then to magnify Christ in our body, we must,

1. Use our body as an instrument to fulfill his will—

[The Apostle was a fit pattern for us. Were his feet at liberty? he traveled from Judea round about into Illyricum, that he might carry to heathen nations the glad tidings of the Gospel. Were his hands at liberty? he worked by night, that he might be able to preach by day. Was his tongue at liberty? he preached Christ incessantly, and encouraged all to put their trust in him. It is thus that we also should act. We are not indeed called to execute like him the apostolic office, and, consequently, not to tread precisely in the Apostle’s steps: but we are called to walk in the same spirit, and to employ all the faculties of our body in the same manner. We should “yield all our members instruments of righteousness unto God.” We should consider our eyes, our ears, and all our powers, as consecrated to him, and to be used for him. And though our sphere may be very contracted, yet may every one of us find abundant scope for the exercise of piety and benevolence, if we will only put forth the powers that we have, and embrace the opportunities that are afforded us. Dorcas was limited in her means of doing good; yet were her exertions so great, that the whole Church at Joppa wept and deplored her loss: and we also may endear ourselves to multitudes, and greatly magnify the Lord, if in our respective places we improve the talents committed to our care.]

2. Endure cheerfully whatever we may be called to suffer for his sake—

[There is a kind of suffering which we should account no suffering at all: we should “mortify our earthly members,” and “crucify the flesh with its affections and lusts,” and cut off the right hand, or pluck out the right eye, that is an occasion of offence to us. But there are other sufferings, which though we may deprecate, we must expect and submit to, saying, “Not my will, but thine be done.” Reproaches, persecutions, imprisonments, and death, are, more or less, the portion of all who follow Christ. Doubtless they are not pleasing to flesh and blood: yet, as they may be the means of displaying the power and grace of Christ, we may not only bear them, but even “take pleasure in them.” St. Paul cheerfully submitted to them in this view: “We bear about,” says he, “in our body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be manifest in our body:” and, to manifest the importance of that thought, he repeats it almost in the same words in the very next verse. Let us meet our trials in the same way; and then, as he has told us, His strength shall be perfected in our weakness, and His name be magnified in our obedience.]


1. The self-indulging world—

[You seem to think your body made only that you might adorn, pamper, and gratify it. What resemblance then have you to the Apostle? Till you know the true use of the body, and employ it in its only legitimate exercises, you have no pretensions to the Christian character.]

2. The inactive professor—

[St. Paul intimates that there is but one alternative; you will either “be ashamed,” or “magnify Christ with your body:” if by any considerations you are deterred from glorifying Christ, you so far renounce all your principles, professions, and expectations: but if you value Christ as you ought, you will live and die for him. Judge which is better for yourselves, and more suitable to your obligations to him.]

3. The advancing Christian—

[What a noble ambition is yours! You are not contented to serve or enjoy Christ, but must also magnify him. Go on; and he will soon “make your vile body like unto his glorious body” in a better world: and whatever others may be, you shall “not be ashamed before him at his coming.”]