NLT Life Application Study Bible, Third Edition - Flipbook - Page 81
2 Cor 5:8
2 Tim 4:6
2 Tim 2:11
1 Thes 2:2
2 Cor 13:13
1 Pet 3:8
P h i l i pp i a n s
Christ, whether I live or die. 21For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even
better. 22But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So I really don’t know which
is better. 23I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be
far better for me. 24But for your sakes, it is better that I continue to live.
25Knowing this, I am convinced that I will remain alive so I can continue to help all
of you grow and experience the joy of your faith. 26And when I come to you again, you
will have even more reason to take pride in Christ J esus because of what he is doing
Live as Citizens of Heaven
27 Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner
worthy of the Good News about Christ. Then, whether I come and see you again or only
hear about you, I will know that you are standing together with one spirit and one purpose, fighting together for the faith, which is the Good News. 28Don’t be intimidated in
any way by your enemies. This will be a sign to them that they are going to be destroyed,
but that you are going to be saved, even by God himself. 29For you have been given not
only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him. 30We
are in this struggle together. You have seen my struggle in the past, and you know that
I am still in the midst of it.
2. Joy in serving
Have the Attitude of Christ
Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love?
Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate?
2Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one
another, and working together with one mind and purpose.
new role or find a new job, often God puts us in a certain place because
that’s exactly where he wants us to serve. Whether it is an actual prison
or a place that feels like one, God wants you to serve him faithfully and
joyfully exactly where you are until it is time to move on to your next
assignment of service.
1:19-21 This was not Paul’s final imprisonment in Rome, but he didn’t
know that. Awaiting trial, he knew he could either be released or ex
ecuted. He trusted Christ, however, because he knew Christ would deliver
him, dead or alive. Paul’s desire was that when he stood trial he would
speak courageously for Christ and not be timid or ashamed. Whether he
lived or died, he wanted to exalt Christ. As it turned out, he was released
from this imprisonment but arrested again two or three years later.
1:20-21 Those who don’t believe in God think that life on earth is all
there is. Therefore, it is natural for them to strive for what this world
values: prosperity, popularity, power, pleasure, and prestige. For Paul,
however, to live meant to tell others about Christ, who alone could
help them see life from an eternal perspective. Paul’s whole purpose
in life was to speak out boldly for Christ and to become more like him.
Thus, Paul could confidently say that dying would be even better than
living, because in death he would be removed from worldly troubles,
and he would see Christ face-to-face (1 John 3:2-3). Either way, Paul
would be giving his life as a sacrifice to God. If you’re not ready to
die, then you’re not ready to live. Make certain of your eternal destiny;
then you will be free to s erve—devoting your life to what really counts,
without fear of death.
1:24 Paul had a purpose for living when he served the Philippians and
others. We also need a purpose for living that is greater than ourselves
and goes beyond providing for our own physical needs. Why are you
here? What is your purpose for living?
1:27 Paul encouraged the believers to be firmly united in the face
of attacks from within the church and from the hostile world around
them. They needed spiritual solidarity to be of one mind. Paul may have
been recalling the image of the Roman phalanx, a military formation
where soldiers would fight shoulder to shoulder as a unit. How sad
that much time and effort are lost in some churches by fighting against
one another instead of uniting against the real opposition! It takes a
courageous church to resist infighting and to maintain the common
purpose of serving Christ.
1:29 Paul considered suffering for Christ to be a privilege. We don’t
naturally consider suffering a privilege. Yet when we suffer, if we faith
fully represent Christ, our message and example affect us and others for
good. Suffering has these additional benefits: (1) it takes our eyes off of
earthly comforts, (2) it weeds out superficial believers, (3) it strengthens
the faith of those who endure, and (4) it provides an example for others
who may follow us. When we suffer for our faith, it doesn’t mean that
we have done something wrong. In fact, the opposite is often true—it
may be verifying that we have been faithful. Trust God and believe that
he has a purpose in it. Paul and his fellow apostles considered it a high
honor to be identified with Christ in suffering (see Acts 5:41). Use suf
fering to build your character and draw you close to your Savior. Don’t
resent it or let it tear you down.
1:30 Throughout his life, Paul suffered for spreading the Good News
(see 2 Corinthians 11:23-27 for a list of many of Paul’s sufferings). Like
the Philippians, we are in conflict with anyone who would discredit the
saving message of Christ. All true believers are in this fight together,
uniting against the same enemy for a common cause.
Paul never urges Christians to seek out suffering, as if experiencing
pain were a virtue. But we should not forget those who do suffer. If your
cupboard is full, share your food. If you control the wheels of power,
work for justice and mercy. If you are wealthy, give generously to those
who are poor. When life is comfortable, willingly take a share of the
suffering being experienced by others, find a way to help them, and so
demonstrate to the world that the gospel is true.
2:1-5 Many p
hristians—live only to make a good impres
sion on others or to please themselves. But selfishness brings discord.
Paul therefore stressed spiritual unity, asking the Philippians to love one
another and to be one in spirit and purpose. When we work together,
caring for the problems of others as if their problems were ours, we
demonstrate Christ’s example of putting others first, and we experi
ence unity. Don’t be so concerned about making a good impression or
meeting your own needs that you strain relationships in God’s family.