Philippians 1C

Chapter 1:12-30

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  • Last week, we refreshed ourselves on some introductory points of Paul’s letter to the Philippians.

    • And in doing so we covered Paul’s flow throughout this letter, more specifically, the reality of the believer’s perspective in suffering.

      • Tonight, as we approach the text we are going to begin to see Paul expound a bit more on this idea of suffering for the believer.

    • And in doing so we will see how Paul will use himself as an example by which to encourage the believer.

      • All the while, Paul will point us to the one in whom has set the template for his suffering, the Lord Jesus Christ, Himself.

    • If I were to outline our time tonight, we are going to see the following:

      • 1. Circumstances as Opportunities (vv.12-14)

      • 2. Right Message, Wrong Motive (vv.15-18)

      • 3. Christ is Exalted (vv.19-26)

      • 4. A Worthy Response (vv.27-30)

    • And I have entitled the title for tonight’s teaching, “How will you see it?”.

      • With that being said, I invite you to meet me in Philippians 1:12-14.

Philippians 1:12 Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel,
Philippians 1:13 so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else,
Philippians 1:14 and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear.
  • The Apostle Paul, after coming out of the introductory points of his letter, begins to move into practical experience on how the believer should view suffering.

    • He begins demonstrating, by way of real experience, how his present circumstances have become gospel opportunities.

      • However, for others to understand this reality, they must first have a proper perspective.

    • Notice, Paul begins with the phrase, in verse 12, “Now I want you to know brethren”.

      • The phrasing presupposes that the writer knew that the recipients of this letter would have a different way of seeing his present circumstances.

      • That instead of seeing this situation as an opportunity, the Philippians would have assumed the opposite. (Hinderance of some kind)

    • However, Paul lets them know that his circumstances have actually served as a platform of Gospel progression.

      • That where perhaps Paul’s circumstances could have been seen as a hinderance for ministry, it became gospel opportunity.

    • Paul, in other words, is needing the Philippians to change the lens by which they are seeing these circumstances be unraveled.

      • For when we change our perspective on present trials and tribulations, it provides us opportunity to see God at work in our lives.

      • And through a proper perspective, it can become, both a testimony to others by which the Gospel can be shared and proclaimed.

      • As well as provides us encouragment as we are going through it.

  • Paul mentions that his present imprisonment, because of the gospel, has caused Christ to be well known throughout the praetorian guard and to everyone else.

    • In other words, his relationship and service for Christ is what has caused him to be in this predicament.

      • Yet within this shared hardship, the Gospel of Christ is being advanced.

      • You have to love Paul’s spiritual outlook on various circumstances. He provides the following outlook in 2 Timothy 2:8-9:

2 Timothy 2:8 Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descendant of David, according to my gospel,
2 Timothy 2:9 for which I suffer hardship even to imprisonment as a criminal; but the word of God is not imprisoned.
  • In other words, Paul is saying, even when you try to imprison and chain the messenger of the gospel, the message of the Gospel cannot be chained!

    • Plainly put, the circumstances Paul faced did not sour his view of Christ nor did it hinder Paul’s ability to promote Christ.

    • For some, the moment that trial is introduced into their lives, the pressure causes buckling or a break down in their walk with the Lord.

      • However, Paul says in a few words, may it never be!

      • May our suffering both identify us with Christ and may His message be made known through us! (Our testimony).

    • Furthermore, we find that through Paul’s imprisonment, Christ was made known to several witnesses: 1) The whole praetorian Guard and 2) “everyone else”.

  • The Praetorian guard were a group of about 10,000 elite soldiers assigned to guard members of high rank within the Roman government.

    • Along with their role, they were assigned to guard prisoners who sought to appeal a case before Caesar – in this case, men such as Paul.

      • The training and skill of these men were great! Somewhat like that of the Marines or the Secret Service.

    • And we find here in our text, that Paul was chained to one of these men in his rented home in Rome.

      • This means that day by day, hour by hour, these men would rotate consistently chaining themselves to Paul all the while hearing the Gospel.

    • Paul wasted no time while under house arrest. He used every opportunity as a way to make Christ known in every situation he found himself in.

      • Now, if we were to take an honest assessment of our lives, have we been able to see these moments of trial as platforms of grace?

      • I’m sure that it got to a point within Paul’s time in Rome that rather than being seen as a prisoner, Paul saw the rotation of guards as a door of opportunity to preach to a new person.

    • Furthermore, the text mentions that along with the Praetorian guard, that this cause of Christ reached “everyone else”.

      • Who could “everyone else” be?

    • Everyone else would have included everyone from unsaved Jews in the Roman community, to Gentiles and even fellow believers in Rome.

      • It’s not hard to see that with Paul’s imprisonment for Christ word traveled quickly.

      • If social media was available during that day, Paul would have been on every Facebook and YouTube story talking about Jesus.

    • And what became so profound is that through these difficult circumstances, a way for the Gospel to spread throughout the region was made.

      • It spread so quickly that Acts 28:23 tells us that the people were even coming to Paul, imprisoned, to hear about the Kingdom of God preached.

      • Check out the text:

Acts 28:23 When they had set a day for Paul, they came to him at his lodging in large numbers; and he was explaining to them by solemnly testifying about the kingdom of God and trying to persuade them concerning Jesus, from both the Law of Moses and from the Prophets, from morning until evening.
    • What the text seems to show us is that Paul’s circumstances made way for the gospel to go to places he couldn’t go, being in chains!

    • In other words, the circumstances provided conditions by which made way for the Gospel to go forth.

      • Here’s a question to ask ourselves: “How are you using your present circumstances as opportunities to share the gospel with others?”

      • Are our circumstances geared more towards minimal glory to the Lord (self-focus) or maximum glory for the Lord (Christ-focused)?

      • Clearly, Paul saw that in all things and in every season, Christ can and must be glorified!

  • It’s in verse 14 that we see the results of Paul’s outlook on his circumstances, because he mentions that his circumstances have caused courage to be increased in many!

    • The word for courage in Greek is tolmao which speaks to one being bold.

      • This boldness is based upon one being able to endure or overcome without fear in the face of danger.

    • Consider that, for many, seeing Paul’s circumstances meant that the next potential step for him could have indeed been death.

      • And perhaps this is what Paul had in mind when he said this in verse 20: “Christ will even now be exalted in my body, whether by life or death.”

      • We will see how Paul’s use of death in verse 20 comes into play when we arrive to verses 19-20.

    • Paul clearly knew what it meant for Him to proclaim Christ – It was life or death.

      • It’s like when the pressure cooker of life has been put on, the question becomes, “What will it produce in the end?”

      • Prayerfully it produces steadfastness and dependency upon the Lord, all the while being further conformed into Christ’s image.

    • And because of the believers hearing about Paul’s circumstances, they too became emboldened by the Spirit to stand firm!

      • That where this circumstance could have been opportunity to tuck tail and run, it became the means of propelling them into greater gospel proclamation.

  • I remember when Steve had passed in 2021, I found myself wrestling with the question, what’s next?

    • What am I going to do? The man that had trained me and was a Spiritual father to me has gone. What am I to do?

      • Do I go back to teaching high school and leave ministry or do I move forward.

    • And I remember, when I got the news of his passing, that I could sense the Holy Spirit emboldening me to step up in ways I couldn’t imagine!

      • It was in that moment that I recalled Steve’s words to me my first week at the Fellowship. He said, “There’s no going back!”

    • Friends, our circumstances have a way of being a vehicle by which will:

      • 1. Propel us into maturity for Christ

      • 2. Increase our witness for Christ

      • 3. Give us spiritual eyes to see like Christ

      • And my prayer for each of us is that our trials are promoting these very things!

    • We now move to Paul’s next personal example of circumstances in verses 15-18 only this time they are stemming from within the believing body.

Philippians 1:15 Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will;
Philippians 1:16 the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel;
Philippians 1:17 the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment.
Philippians 1:18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice,
  • We find that Paul is continuing the same train of thought as found in verses 12-14 regarding present circumstances.

    • And in this case, Paul discusses the word being preached from two types of people: 1) Those who preach out of envy and 2) those out of good will.

      • Furthermore, Paul mentions that the difference between these individuals is their motives for preaching.

      • However, before we move too quickly, notice who Paul is talking about? He uses the word “Some”.

      • The question becomes: “Who are these individuals proclaiming Christ?”

    • These individuals who are proclaiming Christ with ill-motives are not false teachers, rather these are orthodox teachers of the word of God.

      • Yet, these local ministers and preachers of the gospel are seeking to take advantage of Paul’s situation to increase their following.

    • In other words, to these preachers, Paul’s imprisonment is an opportunity to advance their personal agendas.

      • All the while the other ministers who are proclaiming the gospel are doing it in good will.

      • Meaning, in their hearing of Paul’s imprisonment, they join in unity with Paul on advancing the gospel through suffering.

  • Within many Christian circles, one of the biggest downfalls is the ugliness of the human heart intermingled in the work of ministry.

    • One of my favorite sayings from Steve was: Ministry would be so much easier if it didn’t have to deal with people.

      • And his meaning behind that statement was that when it comes to people and ministry, we are all broken people trying to point to a perfect Savior.

      • And the reality is, this does not always come across well.

    • There are many ministries that have been created simply to get a larger following because the focus is more views and site visitations.

      • Other ministries and churches will preach the gospel all the while the heart behind it is to garner crowds and bigger buildings.

      • There are even ministries that will seek to capture audiences out of a desire to get their message or teachings because of envy.

    • Whatever the case may be, you have to love Paul’s position in it all which is found in verse 18a.

      • Paul says, “What then?”

      • Another way of putting it would be, “And if that is their desire, so what?!”

    • Paul is saying that regardless of their motives, if they have a right message, then praise God!

      • Because at the end of it all, the Lord measures the motive! (Proverbs 16:2, 1 Corinthians 16:14, James 4:3, 1 Corinthians 4:5;)

1 Corinthians 4:5 Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God.
    • Paul’s perspective becomes radically different than the average person’s response in this matter.

    • For some ministers and ministries, folks would be up in arms at another ministry or church being started in their area because of “competing interest”.

      • Instead, Paul is saying, “If my circumstances cause an increase in an accurate gospel going forth, Praise God!”

    • Unfortunately, at times, we come across what I call “territorial Christians” who seek their own selfish interest, rather than seeing the greater picture.

      • And the greater picture is, Christ being magnified and shared throughout a lost world.

      • That rather than “click rates” and “likes” on social media, we should be more concerned with uncompromised truth being proclaimed accurately!

    • So, Paul sets the tone for us all in how we are to approach our walks in Christ.

      • That we should walk in humility and unity with our affections and focus on Christ and His message and not our personal agendas.

      • The moment that we lose sight of that, we begin to center everything around us.

      • And as a result, our lenses become skewed and our perspectives inward focused rather than Christ-focused.

    • In it all, Paul sees what could have been a messy situation as a joyous one!

      • As a matter of fact, Paul is so secure in his personal relationship with Christ and the ministry entrusted him, that Paul rejoices, doubly.

      • Notice in verse 18b he says, “Yes and I will rejoice!”

    • How can Paul have such an eternal perspective?

      • Because Paul realizes that the end result of Gospel transformation in this life leads to both his sanctification and glorification in Christ.

      • But most importantly, Christ is made known!

    • In other words, these circumstances are producing something in me, both to and for the Glory of Christ!

      • Paul is now going to mention how this provision of progression through his circumstances would be achieved in verses 19-20. Check out the text:

Philippians 1:19 for I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,
Philippians 1:20 according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.
  • Paul recognizes that his present circumstances served as a means of gospel advancement no matter what he faced.

    • And it was by way of the prayers of the saints and the provision of the indwelling Holy Spirit, that Christ would complete His work in Paul’s life.

      • Paul was confident that these various circumstances would turn out for his deliverance.

      • The word for “deliverance” is soteria which is the typical translation for the word, salvation.

      • It can mean deliverance, rescue from danger, or to make safe.

    • Looking at this word, we can eliminate the fact that Paul is talking about his salvation in the first tense – he has already been justified.

      • So, it begs the question, “What tense of salvation is Paul referring to?”

      • It leaves us with Paul speaking about either his sanctification (current living state/maturity) or glorification (rapture/presence of the Lord).

    • We see that Paul is understanding that what He is going through is all a part of God’s plan for him in an effort to complete the work God started in Paul.

      • Remember, it was Jesus in Acts 9:15-16, who told Ananias about the ministry Paul would take while on the Damascus road.

      • And check out how the Lord describes Paul’s coming ministry for Him.

Acts 9:15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel;
Acts 9:16 for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.”
  • So, it’s not by surprise that throughout the duration of Paul’s ministry that suffering would be an indication of Christ’s work through him to the Glory of God.

    • Furthermore, it’s in Acts 20:1-6 that we find that there was an assassination attempt on Paul’s life that led him to flee.

    • Check out what Luke records in Acts 20:1-6:

Acts 20:1 After the uproar had ceased, Paul sent for the disciples, and when he had exhorted them and taken his leave of them, he left to go to Macedonia.
Acts 20:2 When he had gone through those districts and had given them much exhortation, he came to Greece.
Acts 20:3 And there he spent three months, and when a plot was formed against him by the Jews as he was about to set sail for Syria, he decided to return through Macedonia.
Acts 20:4 And he was accompanied by Sopater of Berea, the son of Pyrrhus, and by Aristarchus and Secundus of the Thessalonians, and Gaius of Derbe, and Timothy, and Tychicus and Trophimus of Asia.
Acts 20:5 But these had gone on ahead and were waiting for us at Troas.
Acts 20:6 We sailed from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread, and came to them at Troas within five days; and there we stayed seven days.
  • Remember, Acts 20 documents Paul’s third missionary journey and as we read, we see that a visit to Philippi occured again.

    • And the visit to Philippi occurred because of a previous attempt on his life.

  • So Paul, again, is recognizing something regarding his imprisonment. This prison is the means which is keeping him alive by God’s grace.

    • And all the while this place that is meant to keep one locked up and oppressed has become a platform of Gospel progression throughout the region.

      • So, Paul tells Philippi that their continued prayers and the Spirit of Christ provide him the steadfastness by which he can endure.

    • And in all this, Paul says that every situation, whether a threat on my life, a beating in public, or wrongful imprisonment, Christ is exhausted!

      • That both in life and in death, I am secured in Christ, therefore He becomes the focus!

      • Friends, this radically changes how we are to see our circumstances in this life!

    • This eternal perspective provides us with a boldness that no matter what comes, it is well with my soul!

      • In plain terms, Paul’s very life is at the Lord’s disposal however the Lord so desires to use Paul (and us)!

      • So, Paul will now move into a time of personal praise and exaltation as to how this reality plays out in his very life. Look at verses 21-26.

Philippians 1:21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
Philippians 1:22 But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose.
Philippians 1:23 But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better;
Philippians 1:24 yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake.
Philippians 1:25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy in the faith,
Philippians 1:26 so that your proud confidence in me may abound in Christ Jesus through my coming to you again.
  • Paul uses himself as an example for the saints in Philippi to show that we are to live for Christ and to have eyes for eternity in all things.

    • And in doing so, Paul relates this experiential joy in Christ, both in life and death.

      • Now, to those who do not know the Lord, to hear how death can be something to joyously anticipate makes no sense.

    • In fact, most infomercials that come on TV today are products and manufactured drugs that promote anti-aging solutions.

      • Other products and work-out routines seek to somehow delay the inevitable – death!

      • In an article from in 2021, it was reported that Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos invested in an anti-aging start up.

      • And the focus of this company is to develop drugs that would pro-long human life.

    • What becomes certain is that people are afraid of death because many don’t know what is to come!

      • However, for the believer, we know where we will be in the end.

      • Paul gives this joyful encouragement regarding believers who have died in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14.

1 Thessalonians 4:13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope.
1 Thessalonians 4:14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus.
  • Paul’s point here is that death is not the end for the believer. There is life beyond the grave.

    • And this hope, Paul says, is certain! Why? Because of what was witnessed in Christ being raised from the dead.

    • And because Christ has been raised from the dead, all those who are in Christ (having been justified) will be raised as He was!

    • Therefore, Paul has no angst or worry regarding a possibility of death, such as the assassination attempt that was on his life in Acts 20:1-6.

      • Paul says in few words, whether I continue living and working for Christ in life or my life is cut short by death, Christ is exalted in both!

    • For Paul, living meant fruitful labor contributing to his rewards in the life to come. (v.22)

      • And at the same time, death meant being with Jesus in His presence, face to face, to receive his rewards!

      • Therefore, both circumstances rendered a joy of being either in Christ or with Christ!

  • Unfortunately, today, even among Christian circles, many have become so content in this life that to think about death is a scary thing.

    • And this comes about because we too often tie ourselves to the glitter and glam and things of this world.

      • We begin to grow emotional ties to temporary matters rather than anchoring our affections to eternal things.

    • So Paul says, I’m not so tied to this world that I want to remain in it!

      • This is why we often proclaim, Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus, Come!

      • As one lyric to a song my wife and I love to sing says: “The earth is ghetto I want to leave!”

    • So, it’s at this point that Paul comes across a bit of a conundrum as it relates to what he wants to see for himself.

      • He mentions in verse 23 that he is “hard-pressed” from both directions regarding living or dying and what he would rather have.

      • This is not Paul condoning nor promoting suicide by any means because the death would not be of Paul’s personal doing.

      • Rather, Paul is wrestling with the beneficial outcome of both situations as it relates to those in whom he has led to Christ.

    • Paul sees death, more as a benefit for himself, whereas life being more of a benefit to the Philippians themselves.

      • And as I thought about this, Steve came to mind. Lord, “Why did you take Steve when you did?”

      • Because, in my mind, having him here would be a benefit to us all to continue growing in the word of God.

      • Yet, God had other plans for Steve and knew that the Lord would provide all who He needed to continue the work that Steve began.

      • So, although we grieve the loss of the founder of this ministry, know that Steve is rejoicing because he is with the one in whom he taught about.

    • So, Paul recognized that the work the Lord had set out for him to accomplish was not done yet!

      • That Philippi and the other churches needed to be written to, encouraged, developed, etc.

      • Therefore, by God’s grace and providence, the Lord continued with Paul’s ministry of suffering which provided confidence for many others.

      • And we see that reality even today as we are studying this very book written by Paul.

      • So, I ask you this question, “Why are you not dead yet?!” Answer: Because the Lord still has work for you to do!

    • Lastly, we see that through Paul remaining in life with them it served as development for their confidence, which was rooted in Christ and patterned by Paul.

      • What I mean by that is that as these Philippians observed Paul’s life and witnessed his work for Christ, that they in turn would imitate Paul.

    • This is why in Philippians 3:17, Paul says this:

Philippians 3:17 Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us.
    • So, Paul now moves to a practical means by which the believers in Philippi, and even us today, are to conduct ourselves, positionally in Christ.

      • Check out verses 27-30.

Philippians 1:27 [Only] conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
Philippians 1:28 in no way alarmed by your opponents—which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God.
Philippians 1:29 For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,
Philippians 1:30 experiencing the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear to be in me.
  • We find Paul now transitioning from experiential matters to more personal exhortations towards the Philippians.

    • A better reading of the beginning of verse 27 is found in the NIV where it translates, [“Whatever happens”] rather than, “only”.

      • In other words, whether circumstances permit me to come and see you or my absence keeps me from you, walk in a manner that is worthy!

      • What an encouraging piece from Paul’s heart to the Philippians!

    • To put it differently, Paul is letting the Philippians know they should walk in a way that reflects, positionally, who they are no matter who is watching.

      • We see this reality in the fact that Paul says that they ought to “conduct themselves in a manner worthy”.

    • That entire phrase in Greek is a political term and was especially known by Roman citizens.

      • It means to “live as a citizen” and for Roman citizens, there were given many privileges.

    • One privilege was that they would not have to encounter rough treatment that non-Romans normally would.

      • I mention this example because it speaks to why Paul demanded a public apology by the Roman body in Acts 16:35-39. Check out the text:

Acts 16:35 Now when day came, the chief magistrates sent their policemen, saying, “Release those men.”
Acts 16:36 And the jailer reported these words to Paul, saying, “The chief magistrates have sent to release you. Therefore come out now and go in peace.”
Acts 16:37 But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us in public without trial, men who are Romans, and have thrown us into prison; and now are they sending us away secretly? No indeed! But let them come themselves and bring us out.”
Acts 16:38 The policemen reported these words to the chief magistrates. They were afraid when they heard that they were Romans,
Acts 16:39 and they came and appealed to them, and when they had brought them out, they kept begging them to leave the city.
  • So being that Paul understood the significance of citizenry in Rome, he amplifies its use.

    • And in doing so, he lets the Philippians know, “Understand that you are a part of another Kingdom that is greater than where you presently reside.”

    • So being a citizen of the coming Kingdom means that this future reality comes with a new way of living that is unique to its citizenry.

      • It’s one thing to know your rights as a citizen but it’s another thing to live below the standards in which you have been graciously given!

    • So, Paul is saying, “Whether I am with you or apart from you, live how you ought to – in a manner that is worthy of Christ. (Your Testimony)

  • Paul lays out what I see as four things regarding what should emerge from our living in a manner that “positionally” reflects who we are in Christ despite opposition!

    • He says that this way of living looks like the following: (vv.27-28)

      • 1. Standing firm in one spirit (As one body)

      • 2. With one mind (Walking in soundness)

      • 3. Striving together in gospel unity (Enduring well together)

      • 4. And resilient amid opposition (No fear of man)

    • When the body of Christ in Rome failed to stand in these ways, not only did it bring into question who they represented –

      • But it would cause a hinderance in their witness for Christ.

    • In other words, “I know that positionally you have been justified, but why aren’t you living like you have been saved?!”

  • The fact that we have been justified is a work that God alone has done which means His righteousness alone has made you clean and right before God.

    • And what this means now is that you have the power in Christ to live, act, and behave in a way that reflects the grace that we have fully received.

      • The life of the believer must become a consistent reminder that God has done something magnificent in you, now get in line and live like it!

    • Furthermore, in verse 28, Paul makes the point that when we live on mission, not even the fear of man will cause trepidation in our lives because we know who holds our fate! (Verse 28)

      • That when the believer remains steadfast and unmovable in opposition, it becomes a sign of the unbeliever’s coming destruction!

    • Another way to see it is if the righteous who suffer are suffering unjustly by the hands of the unrighteous, how much more will the Lord judge those who have caused the suffering upon those in whom He has deemed righteous.

      • It’s what we find in Exodus regarding the Law of retaliation (an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth).

      • The reality is judgement is inevitable and every person will have to give an account for why they did not respond to the gospel. (Noah and The Flood)

      • Just imagine having lived a full life, not believing in God, only to come before a Holy God to give an account as to why you did not trust in Christ!?

      • Hopefully, it gives us a sense of great sadness for those who do not know Christ.

  • Finally, it’s in verses 29-30 that Paul says that it has been “granted” to the believer that we not only believe with Christ for salvation, but that we also suffer with Christ.

    • There is this sense of sharing in both the joys of Christ and the sufferings of Christ.

      • And Paul makes mention in his use of the word “granted” that this is a grace in and of itself.

    • That God can use the sufferings of this life to both shape and perfect us into the very image of Christ.

      • And unfortunately for some, we tend to see suffering as a bad side-effect of the Christian walk.

      • However, Paul reassures us that suffering is in fact a key ingredient of walking in a manner worthy of Christ.

    • Because if everything came easy and nothing was worth working towards, is there really a cost to be counted?

      • As my wife and I like to say, our walk with Christ is both an individual and group project.

      • Are we walking well with each other, are we uplifting each other, are we correcting each other, are we praying for one another?!

    • Because when we approach our walk in Christ as a battlefield in this world, we recognize that we aren’t alone!

      • More importantly, we know that we are able to overcome the adversity we face, because Christ overcame and His Spirit indwells us.

    • Paul’s point thus far is that when we have a proper perspective on what Christ has done, our outlook on circumstances begin to change.

      • Because it’s by going through those circumstances that we are fashioned knowing that it’s a type of grace to suffer with Christ.

      • Let’s Pray.