NLT Life Application Study Bible, Third Edition - Flipbook - Page 83
1 Cor 12:6
1 Cor 10:10
1 Thes 2:19
2 Tim 4:6
1 Cor 16:10
1 Cor 10:24
1 Cor 4:17
1 Tim 1:2
P h i l i pp i a n s
Shine Brightly for Christ
12Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that
I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation,
obeying God with deep reverence and fear. 13For God is working in you, giving you the
desire and the power to do what pleases him.
14Do everything without complaining and arguing, 15so that no one can criticize you.
Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full
of crooked and perverse people. 16Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of
Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was
not useless. 17But I will rejoice even if I lose my life, pouring it out like a liquid offering
to God,* just like your faithful service is an offering to God. And I want all of you to share
that joy. 18Yes, you should rejoice, and I will share your joy.
Paul Commends Timothy
the Lord J esus is willing, I hope to send Timothy to you soon for a visit. Then he can
cheer me up by telling me how you are getting along. 20I have no one else like Timothy,
who genuinely cares about your welfare. 21All the others care only for themselves and
not for what matters to Jesus Christ. 22But you know how Timothy has proved himself.
Like a son with his father, he has served with me in preaching the Good News. 23I hope
to send him to you just as soon as I find out what is going to happen to me here. 24And I
have confidence from the Lord that I myself will come to see you soon.
Paul Commends Epaphroditus
25Meanwhile, I thought I should send Epaphroditus back to you. He is a true brother,
co-worker, and fellow soldier. And he was your messenger to help me in my need. 26I am
sending him because he has been longing to see you, and he was very distressed that you
2:17 Greek I will rejoice even if I am to be poured out as a liquid offering.
2:12 “Work hard to show the results of your salvation,” in light of the
preceding exhortation to unity, may mean that the entire church was to
work together to rid themselves of divisions and discord. The Philippian
Christians needed to be especially careful to obey Christ now that Paul
wasn’t there to continually remind them about what was right. We, too,
must be careful about what we believe and how we live, especially when
we are on our own. In the absence of Christian mentors who hold us
accountable, we must focus our attention and devotion even more on
Christ so that we won’t be sidetracked.
2:13 What do we do when we don’t feel like obeying God? He has not
left us alone in our struggles to do his will. He wants to come alongside us
and be within us to provide help. God gives us the desire and the power
to do what pleases him. We find the secret to a changed life when we
submit to his control and let him work in and through us. In our struggle
against temptation, we must ask God to help us both do his will and
desire to do his will.
2:13 To change our desires to be more like Christ’s, we need the power
of the indwelling Holy Spirit (1:19), the influence of faithful Christians,
obedience to God’s Word (not just exposure to it), and sacrificial service.
Often it is in doing God’s will that we gain the desire to do it (see 4:8-9).
Do what he wants and trust him to change your desires.
2:14-16 Why are complaining and arguing so harmful? If all that people
know about a church is that its members frequently argue, complain, and
gossip, they get a false impression of Christ and the Good News. Belief
in Christ should unite those who trust him. If people in your church
often complain and argue, they lack the unifying power of Jesus Christ.
Stop arguing with other Christians and complaining about people and
conditions within the church; instead, patiently work on your issues and
let the world see Christ.
2:14-16 Our lives should be characterized by moral purity, patience,
and peacefulness, so that we will shine “like bright lights” in a dark and
depraved world. A transformed life effectively demonstrates the power of
God’s Word. Are you shining brightly, or are you clouded by complaining
and arguing? Don’t let dissensions snuff out your light. Shine out for God
until Jesus returns and bathes the world in his radiant glory.
2:17 The drink offering was an important part of the sacrificial system
of the Jews (for an explanation, see Numbers 28:7). Because this church
had little Jewish background, the liquid offering may refer to the wine
poured out to pagan deities prior to important public events. The point
is that Paul regarded his life as a sacrifice.
2:17 Even if he had to die, Paul was content, knowing that he had helped
the Philippians live for Christ. When you’re totally committed to serving
Christ, sacrificing to build the faith of others brings a joyous reward.
2:19, 22 When Paul wrote these words, most vocational training
was done by fathers, and sons stayed loyal to their family businesses.
Timothy displayed that same loyalty in his spiritual apprenticeship with
Paul. Timothy was with Paul in Rome when Paul wrote this letter. He
had traveled with Paul on Paul’s second missionary journey when the
church in Philippi was begun. (For more information on Timothy, see
his profile on page 2109.)
Just as a skilled workman trains an apprentice, Paul was preparing
Timothy to carry on the ministry in his absence. Paul encouraged younger
Christians to learn, to observe, to help, and then to lead. Paul expected
older Christians to teach, to model, to mentor, and then to turn over
leadership. The benefits of such a process are new enthusiasm and vision,
new methods and energy. Are you a teacher? Whom are you apprenticing
for God’s work? Are you a learner? How are you showing your eagerness
to fulfill the mission God has for you?
2:21 Paul observed that most believers are too preoccupied with their
own needs to spend time working for Christ. Don’t let your schedule
and concerns crowd out your Christian service to and love for others.
2:23 Paul was in prison (either awaiting his trial or its verdict) for preach
ing about Christ. He was telling the Philippians that when he learned of
the court’s decision, he would send Timothy to them with the news.
Paul wanted them to know that he was ready to accept whatever came
2:25 Paul first used Timothy and then Epaphroditus as living examples
of the selfless life that Jesus lived. Epaphroditus had delivered money
from the Philippians to Paul; then he returned with this thank-you letter
to Philippi. Epaphroditus may have been an elder in Philippi who, while
staying with Paul, became ill (2:25-30; 4:18). After Epaphroditus recovered,
he returned home. He is mentioned only in Philippians.