Life Application Study Bible 3rd Edition NLT - Flipbook - Page 86
P h i l i pp i a n s 4
possessed me. 13No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it,* but I focus on this
one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14I press on to
reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ
Jesus, is calling us.
15Let all who are spiritually mature agree on these things. If you disagree on some
point, I believe God will make it plain to you. 16But we must hold on to the progress we
have already made.
17Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who
follow our example. 18For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in
my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross
of Christ. 19They are headed for destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about
shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth. 20But we are citizens of
heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as
our Savior. 21He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies
like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control.
1 Cor 9:24
2 Tim 4:7-8
1 Cor 2:6
1 Cor 4:16
1 Pet 5:3
1 Cor 15:28, 43-53
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters,* stay true to the Lord. I love you and long
to see you, dear friends, for you are my joy and the crown I receive for my work.
4. Joy in giving
Words of Encouragement
2Now I appeal to Euodia and Syntyche. Please, because you belong to the Lord, settle
your disagreement. 3And I ask you, my true partner,* to help these two women, for they
worked hard with me in telling others the Good News. They worked along with Clement
and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are written in the Book of Life.
3:13 Some manuscripts read not yet achieved it.
4:1 Greek brothers; also in 4:8. 4:3 Or loyal Syzygus.
terminology of perfection to convey the idea of being mature or com
plete, not flawless in every detail. Those who are mature should press
on in the Holy Spirit’s power, knowing that Christ will reveal and fill in
any discrepancy between what we are and what we should be. Christ’s
provision is no excuse for lagging devotion, but it provides relief and
assurance for those who feel driven and overwhelmed.
3:13-14 Paul had reason to forget the past—he had held the coats of
those who had stoned Stephen, the first Christian martyr (Acts 7:57-58;
note that Paul is called Saul here). We have all done things for which we
are ashamed, and we live in the tension of what we have been and what
we hope to become. Because our hope is in Christ, however, we can
let go of past guilt and look forward to what God will help us become.
Don’t dwell on your past. Instead, grow in the knowledge of God by
concentrating on your relationship with him now. Realize that you are
forgiven, and then move on to a life of faith and obedience. Look forward
to the prize of heaven later and a fuller and more meaningful life now
because of your hope in Christ.
3:16 Christian maturity involves acting on the guidance that you have
already received. We may feel that we lack experience or knowledge
of the Christian faith. We can always make the excuse that we still have
much to learn, but we should rest confidently in what we do know. God
stays on the job. He will direct us (Proverbs 3:5-6). We should live up to
what we already know and live out what Christ has taught us. God will
provide the plain teaching we need whenever we need it. (For more
on how God teaches us through the Holy Spirit, see 1 John 2:20-27.)
3:17-21 Paul criticized not only the Judaizers (see the first note on 3:2-3)
but also s elf-indulgent C
hristians—people who claim to be Christians but
don’t live up to Christ’s model of servanthood and s elf-sacrifice. Such
people satisfy their own desires before even thinking about the needs
of others. Freedom in Christ does not mean freedom to be selfish. It
means taking every opportunity to serve and to become the person
God made you to be.
3:17 Paul challenged the Philippians to pursue Christlikeness by follow
ing Paul’s own example. This did not mean, of course, that they should
copy everything he did; he had just stated that he was not perfect (3:12).
Rather, Paul was calling them to focus their lives on being like Christ, just
as he did. At the time this letter was written, the Gospels had probably not
yet been widely circulated, so Paul could not tell the believers to read the
Bible to see what Christ was like. Instead, he urged them to imitate him.
That Paul could tell people to follow his example is a testimony to his
character. Could you do the same? What kind of follower would a new
Christian become if he or she were to imitate you?
3:20 Citizens of a Roman colony were expected to promote the interests
of Rome and maintain the dignity of the city. In the same way, citizens
of heaven ought to promote heaven’s interests on earth and lead lives
worthy of heavenly citizenship. Too many Christians have failed to transfer
their citizenship to heaven. They still seek earthly pleasures and treasures
instead of heavenly ones. Paul told the Philippians to remember that they
were citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. Have you
transferred your citizenship? How are you promoting heaven’s interests?
3:21 The phrase weak mortal bodies does not imply any negative at
titude toward the human body. But the bodies we will receive when we
are raised from the dead will be glorious, like Christ’s resurrected body.
Paul promised this great privilege for every citizen of heaven. Those
who struggle with pain, physical limitations, or disabilities can find this
wonderful and certain hope in the resurrection especially comforting.
(For a more detailed discussion of our new bodies, see 1 Corinthians
15:35-58 and 2 Corinthians 5:1-10.)
4:1 How do we “stay true to the Lord”? This refers to what Paul has just
taught in 3:20-21. We stay true by keeping our eyes on Christ, remember
ing that this world is not our home, and focusing on the day when Christ
will bring everything under his control. Staying true means steadfastly
resisting the negative influences of temptation, false teaching, and per
secution. It requires perseverance, holding firm when we are challenged
or opposed (see 1:27-28). Don’t lose heart or give up. God promises to
give us strength of character. With the Holy Spirit’s help and with the help
of fellow believers, you can stay true to the Lord.
4:2-3 Paul did not warn the Philippian church of doctrinal errors, but
he did address some relational problems. These two women had been
workers for Christ in the church. Their broken relationship was no small
matter, because many had become believers through their efforts. It is
possible to believe in Christ, work hard for his Kingdom, and yet have