Philippians 1:15 15 “ Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife , but some also from good will;”
Phthonos ( envy ) is the desire to deprive others of what is rightfully theirs, to wish that they did not have it or had it to a lesser degree.
Envy , wishing others did not have what they have, is closely related to jealousy , which is wishing to have what someone else possesses.
One of the solutions to this problem of envy is for every Christian to recognize that he has a gift . We do not all have the same gift. The body could not function if we did.
The problem is that some folks who have one gift are envious of a someone who has a different gift. You will remember that Paul told the Corinthians that the gifts are to be exercised in love .
If you exercise your gift in love , you will not envy someone else. "...Love envieth not; love does not brag, and is not arrogant" ( 1Cor. 13:4 ).
Envy says, "I don't think much of you," Pride says, "What do you think of me?" That is the difference between envy and pride , and the believer is warned against both.
1 Corinthians 4:7 7 “For who regards you as superior? What do you have that you did not receive ? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?”
Strife (eris) which means "to stir up" -- referring to demons, the spirits, that stir up strife. Envy and strife ! These two hurt the church.
Alcohol and other drugs on the outside of the church cannot hurt it nearly as much as the envy and strife on the inside of the church.
Philippians 1:16 16 “the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the Gospel;”
Philippians 1:17 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 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,”
Paul saw the larger picture. Because those envious men were actually preaching the true Gospel, people were being saved.
In other words, if the cause of Christ was being served, even in pretense by those envious detractors, Paul was glad.
God's Word is always powerful , whatever the motives of the one who proclaims it.
The last thing the prophet Jonah wanted to happen was for Nineveh to repent at his preaching; but the message he gave from God produced repentance in spite of his ill intentions (Jonah 4).
God always honors His Word, and His Word always bears fruit . "My word . . . which goes forth from My mouth . . . will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it" (Isa 55:11).
As the nineteenth-century Scottish minister John Eadie wisely commented, "The virtue lies in the Gospel , not in the gospeller; in the exposition, and not in the expounder."
Absolutely nothing could steal Paul's God-given joy . He was expendable; the Gospel was not. His own privacy and freedom were incidental, and he cared nothing for personal recognition or credit.
Neither the painful chains of Rome nor the even more painful criticism of fellow Christians could keep him from rejoicing , because Christ was being proclaimed and His church was growing and maturing.
Paul's example of selfless humility shows that the worse circumstances are, the greater joy can be.
When the seemingly secure things in life begin to collapse, when suffering and sorrow increase, believers should be drawn into ever-deeper fellowship with the Lord.
It is then that we will most fully experience the enduring joy the apostle knew so well.
This joy is far greater and more satisfying than any fleeting circumstantial happiness. And this unmixed joy comes not because of circumstances but in spite of them and through them.
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.”
Philippians 1:19 “ For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance” (1:19 a) Oida ( know ) means to know something with certainty . Paul was convinced that his present suffering at the hands of both unbelievers and believers would turn out for his deliverance.
Paul quotes directly from the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament), citing Job's reply to Zophar: "This also will be my salvation" (Job 13:16). Job correctly understood that his terrible suffering was not God's punishment for sin .
Paul was never too big a man to remember that he needed the prayers of his friends.
He never talked to people as if he could do everything and they could do nothing; he always remembered that neither he, nor they, could do anything without the help of God . (John 15:5 vs Philip 4:13).
When we are in sorrow, one of our greatest comforts is the awareness that others are bearing us up to the throne of grace .
When we have to face some back-breaking effort or some heart-breaking decision, there is new strength in remembering that others are remembering us before God.
When we go into new places and are far from home (Amisa), it is an upholding thing to know that the prayers of those who love us are crossing continents to bring us before the throne of grace.
There is no distance in the Spirit. We cannot call a man our friend unless we pray for him.
Like Job, Paul fully believed that God would one day deliver him , both from physical afflictions and from the false accusations of those who wrongly insisted that all of his suffering was the result of iniquity.
A few years earlier Paul had assured the believers in Rome that " God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose" (Rom 8:28); now he applied that marvelous truth to his own life.
Paul knew that his present circumstances were temporary . One way or another, "by life or by death," he would be delivered from them.
Paul was saying that all that was happening to him in this very difficult situation was the best thing for him both in time and in eternity.
God put me in this situation; and God means for it, with all its problems and its difficulties, to make for usefulness in time, and for my joy and peace in eternity.
Philippians 1:21 “ For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
The Greek phrase rendered to live is Christ and to die is gain contains no verb. It literally reads " to live Christ, to die gain ." Paul knew that living is Christ, because he would continue to serve Him while he lived.
He also knew that dying would be gain because then he would be in God's presence, able to worship and serve Him in holy perfection (v. 23).
Paul fully understood that wealth, power, influence, possessions, prestige, social standing, good health, business or professional success, and all other such things are transitory .
Security and insecurity depend on what/Who your life is built around. If beauty/job = insecurity. If Christ = security.
Few can say with Paul with utter sincerity: “ for to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain ”.
The apostle's very being was wrapped up in his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
He trusted, loved, served, witnessed for, and in every way was devoted to and dependent on Him.
His only hope , his only purpose , his only reason to live was Christ.
He traveled for Christ, preached for Christ, and was persecuted and imprisoned for Christ.
Ultimately, he would die for Christ . But even death, by God's marvelous grace, was for Paul's eternal gain .
This is the philosophy of Christian living: To live Christ; to die gain . Dr. William L. Pettingill says that gain is always more of the same thing.
If to live is Christ, then to die would be more of Christ . It means to go and be with Him.
The most important thing in life as a Christian is to have the reality of Jesus Christ in your life .
The most important thing is to have fellowship with Him so that your joy might be full.
The problem is that most people want the end but forget all about the means .
The means , in this case, is fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Everything else is the fruit of this fellowship.
Now we know why Paul was undisturbed by the criticism being leveled at him. You can't hurt a man who is in fellowship with Jesus Christ.
What could anyone do to such a man? "For to me to live Christ, and to die gain" is a high plane on which to live.
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.”
Adoniram Judson was the first overseas missionary sent out from the USA. In the early nineteenth century, he and his first wife went to India and, a short while later, to Burma, where he labored for nearly four decades.
After fourteen years , he had a handful of converts and had managed to write a Burmese grammar. During that time he suffered a horrible imprisonment for a year and a half and lost his wife and children to disease.
Like Paul, he longed to be with the Lord, but, also like the apostle, he considered his work for Christ to be infinitely more important than his personal longings.
He therefore prayed that God would allow him to live long enough to translate the entire Bible into Burmese and to establish a church there of at least one hundred believers.
The Lord granted those requests and also allowed him to compile Burmese-English and English-Burmese dictionaries, which became invaluable to the Christian workers, both foreign and Burmese, who followed him.
He wrote, "If I had not felt certain that every trial was ordered by infinite love and mercy, I could not have survived my accumulated sufferings."
Part of spiritual greatness is to know Christ intimately and to long to be with Him.
But spiritual greatness also includes being totally committed to the advancement of the kingdom and serving Christ on earth. Every believer should live with such tension.
Paul clearly did not escape that dilemma. He longed to be with the Lord, but if it was God's will for him to live on in the flesh, he rejoiced .
He knew that it would mean fruitful labor for him to the glory of God.
Fruitful labor is the work of the Lord, which the Holy Spirit always blesses.
When "the word of truth, the Gospel" is faithfully proclaimed it will be "constantly bearing fruit and increasing“.
Paul is not, of course, speaking of good works by which men vainly hope to redeem themselves.
All human works are powerless to save and actually impair the gracious, redeeming work of Christ.
Paul is rather speaking of the Spirit-empowered fruitful labor for which we are "created in Christ Jesus, the good works which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them" (Eph 2:10).
It is the fruit from "God Who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure" (Phil 2:13).
Spiritual fruit encompasses the Spirit-directed and Spirit-empowered motives and behavior built on the foundation of Jesus Christ (1 Cor 3:11). It can be divided into at least three categories:
Attitudinal fruit includes the "fruit of the Spirit" (Gal 5:22) action fruit consists of righteous deeds (Phil 1:11); fruit also includes converts (Rom 1:13).
Paul was in a quandary about his life and death, confessing, I do not know which to choose.
Paul's point seems to be that he had not yet decided which to choose because the Lord had not yet made it known to him which to choose.
Because he was not sure of the Lord's will in the matter, he was not sure of his own will.
It was not that Paul opposed the Lord's will or wanted to be in heaven if God wanted him to continue his ministry on earth.
He wanted to do both, and the two desires were equally strong and proper.
It is like the dilemma of a wife whose husband has been working far from home for many months and asks her to visit him for a while.
Though she loves him deeply and longs to be with him, she also loves her children and wants to stay near them.
Philippians 1:23 23 “But I am hard-pressed from both directions , having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better;”
Sunecho (hard-pressed) literally means "to hold together." It was often used of being hemmed in from both sides, as when walking through a narrow gorge .
Luke used the same word to describe the multitude in Galilee who were " pressing in on " Jesus (Luke 8:45).
and also of the Lord's warning, "For the days will come upon you when your enemies will throw up a barricade against you, and surround you and hem you in on every side " (Luke 19:43).
"My desire is to depart ," says Paul, and the phrase is very vivid. The word he uses for to depart is analuein .
“ Depart” is the word for loosening the mooring ropes, pulling up the anchors and setting sail .
Death is a setting sail , a departure on that voyage which leads to the everlasting haven (Heaven) and to God.
“ Depart” is also the word used for striking camp, loosening the tent ropes, pulling up the tent pins and moving on. Death is a moving on .
It is said that in the terrible days of WW II, when the Royal Air Force stood between Britain and destruction and the lives of its pilots were being sacrificially spent ,
they never spoke of a pilot as having been killed but always as having been " posted to another station ."
Each day is a day's march nearer home , until in the end when camp in this world is forever struck and exchanged for permanent residence in the world of glory.