Don’t keep the faith, spread it!The “word of life” refers to Scripture and, more specifically, to the Gospel. Jesus said,"It is the Spirit Who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken toyou are spirit and are life" (John 6:63).When many professing followers then turned away, Jesus asked "the twelve, You donot want to go away also, do you?"Peter responded, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life"(John 6:66-68).Many years later, the apostle John opened his first epistle by declaring, "What wasfrom the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what wehave looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life — and thelife was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternallife, which was with the Father and was manifested to us" (1 John 1:1-2).Philippians 2:1616“holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glorybecause I did not run in vain nor toil in vain.”It is important to note that the day of Christ is not synonymous with another similarterm, the Day of the Lord, which focuses on the punishment of the unrepentantwicked.God is going to ask everyone two questions: 1. What did you do with My Son? 2. What did you do with the resources I gave you?Paul reminded the Thessalonians, "You yourselves know full well that the day of theLord will come just like a thief in the night.The Day of the Lord:While they are saying, Peace and safety! then destruction will come upon themsuddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape"(1 Thess 5:2-3; 2 Thess 2:1-8).But the day of Christ will be solely for believers to judge their works (Phil 1:6,10).It will be a time of judgment, in the sense that believers will "appear before thejudgment seat of Christ," and the focus will be only on rewards, not punishment, "sothat each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to whathe has done, whether good or bad" 2 Cor 5:10;1 Cor 3:8;3:13-14
Philippians 2:17-18“But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and serviceof your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all. You too, I urge you, rejoice in thesame way and share your joy with me.”When believers see another Christian living out Gods standards triumphantly, they areencouraged.Phil 2:17-30 presents three men whose lives are exceptional patterns for godly living.These three — Paul, Timothy, and Epaphroditus — were together in Rome at this time.Paul was a prisoner in his own rented quarters and though chained to a soldier, hewas free to carry on his work unhindered (Acts 28:16,30-31).Timothy, the apostles son in the faith (1 Tim 1:2), had been with him for some time.Epaphroditus had been sent from the Philippian church to bring financial support forPaul and to minister to his needs.The men were knit together geographically, spiritually, and ministerially in a commoncause.Each was passionately devoted to the Lord Jesus Christ, not consumed with his owninterests.For the Lords sake, each had risked his health, his freedom, and even his life.Although all three exemplified the qualities Paul has previously stressed, each alsoreflected distinct personal and spiritual characteristics.Paul might therefore be described as the sacrificial rejoicer,Timothy as the single-minded sympathizer, andEpaphroditus as the loving gambler.Love compelled Paul to serve unreservedly and sacrificially.He was keenly aware that he had a special calling, giftedness, and empowermentfor which the Lord would hold him accountable. He wrote of that accountability tothe Corinthians: "Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ andstewards of the mysteries of God. In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards thatone be found trustworthy" (1 Cor 4:1-2).Because of that accountability, Paul exercised self-discipline: "I discipline my bodyand make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not bedisqualified" (1 Cor 9:27).
He was confident "that in the day of Christ he would have reason to glory because hedid not run in vain nor toil in vain“ (Phil 2:16).One cannot help wondering why Paul had such great confidence in his ownexample.Most believers would be reluctant to offer themselves as an example, believing itwould be presumptuous and prideful. But the Holy Spirit empowered Paul to thatconfidence.Because Paul was Spirit led and obedient, he did not have the self-conscious sense ofinadequacy that the majority of believers possess.Though he was humble and had a deep sense of his weakness (1 Tim 1:15 chief), hecould still use himself as an example because his motives were pure and his life holy.(+ or – influence?)With both sincerity and genuine humility he therefore could admonish the Corinthians,"Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ" (1 Cor 11:1; 4:16).“Even if” is more appropriately rendered "because I am being poured out as a drinkoffering." That whole phrase translates the single Greek word spendo, which means"to be poured out as a libation" (2 Tim 4:6).Pauls example was evident in the price he was paying in pouring out his life to Godlike an Old Testament drink offering.Paul was not here speaking of his eventual martyrdom.The present tense clearly indicates that he was speaking of his current experience asa prisoner in Rome.He saw his life, not his death, as his ultimate act of sacrifice to the Lord. He was aliving sacrifice, not a dead one (Rom 12:1).Both Jews and Gentiles would have understood the implied imagery of a drinkoffering, or libation, a ritual that was familiar to many ancient people (Lev 23:18,37; 2Kings 16:10-16; Jer 7:18; Hos 9:4).After placing the sacrificial animal on the altar, the priests would take wine (orsometimes water or honey) and pour it either on the burning sacrifice or on theground in front of the altar.That act symbolized the rising of the sacrifice into the nostrils of the deity to whom itwas being offered.
Service translates leitourgia, which was most commonly used of religious service andis the term from which the English word liturgy derives.In 2 Corinthians, Paul used it of financial offerings given for "supplying the needs of thesaints" (2 Cor 9:12).Like Peter, Paul saw all believers as being priests of Jesus Christ, "living stones, who arebeing built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrificesacceptable to God through Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 2:5).The Philippians were partners with Paul in sacrificial service to God (1:25-30; 4:10-19).They were suffering severely for their faith in an extremely hostile pagan environment.The more the church grew, the more it was resented and persecuted.Paul went on to explain, "To you it has been granted for Christs sake, not only tobelieve in Him, but also to suffer for His sake" (1: 29).Service to the Lord is in itself a privilege and a cause for rejoicing.Believers are to rejoice not in spite of their suffering for Christ but because of it (Acts5:41), knowing that "all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted" (2Tim 3:12).Believers greatest joy comes at the point of greatest sacrifice, because serving Godis the supreme purpose of their existence.Unfortunately, many believers experience joy in much the same way as the worlddoes.When circumstances are favorable, they are happy; but when circumstances areunfavorable, they are sad and sometimes resentful.The only things that bring them joy are those that promote their own interestsand welfare.But when believers seek to do the Fathers will and please Him, they view sacrifice forHim with joy.The reason many of us know little about Pauls kind of joy is that we know little abouthis kind of sacrifice.
It is difficult for self-centered, worldly believers to understand how missionaries can livefor years under primitive, demanding, and often dangerous conditions yet stillmaintain their joy.Through it all they rejoice, because, like Paul and the Philippians, they offer their livesas a continual sacrifice to God.They have the same attitude as Peter and the other apostles who, after beingflogged and ordered "not to speak in the name of Jesus, . . . went on their way fromthe presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffershame for His name" (Acts 5:40-41).