The true church will remain green with the vine and continuously produce fruit.
Just as Paul encouraged the Philippian church, it is necessary that we stay fruitful (vs. 11). The way we grow in the Lord will have its effect not only on us, but on everyone around us.
Php 1:9 And this I pray, that your love may abound (increase, exceed) yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;
…….You are never done! *Our love for others whether lost or saved will usher in a greater understanding of the presence of God. When we understand what creates the atmosphere that ushers in the presence of God, He will abide more often. The Spirit of God abides where His love can be displayed in perfection.
Php 1:10 That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;
…….Paul here encourages that their approval for things that are excellent is much needed, but not so much as disproving things in such a way that it becomes offensive to others. It is not our duty to continually call people out that aren’t perfectly fitting in the way religious popularity expects. While our expectations can be offensive, it is offensive to God to expect others to abide without a struggle in the flesh.
Php 1:11 Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.
…….Verse 11 is the closing of this paragraph by showing the Philippians where our true virtue in Christ remains. That virtue comes from being filled with the fruits of righteousness; which is the blessed outward growth by the state of being right and blameless with all men and with God! We must be the tree that produces the sweetest of fruit, and that is by staying green with the vine of Christ as explained in John 15:2-5.
John 15:2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
15:3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
15:4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
…….Stay fresh! Don’t let the blessings of yesterday be the source of food that produces stagnant waste of today.
The Advance of the Gospel
Php 1:12 But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel;
…….How amazing can it get?! Our relationship with Christ that is, that no matter what we go through we can point it all to the glory of Christ! How? When we go thru tribulation and sickness, our reactions provide the opportunity for Christ and His Spirit to get the total glory! How did you make it they will ask? Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit says the Lord (Zechariah 4:6)!
Php 1:13 So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places;
…….I love the word manifest here! It literally means to shine like a light! Paul said that his bonds (the chains, fetters and every tool of imprisonment) in Christ (or because of following and preaching Christ) became appearing under a spotlight in the palace of his imprisonment! Not only the palace but all over the place! His overcoming was the “Hot Topic” and the “main attraction”! For what? For the glory of Christ! I can see it now, the guards conversating about how no matter what they do to this man Paul, he continues to worship and bounces right back with the right attitude! Because of this even the jailers, guards and other prisoners were saved and delivered!
Php 1:14 And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
…….Because of the way Paul stayed dedicated to Christ and received the due reward, others around had the confidence to do what they were called to do! I say it all the time and I’ll say it again, people are watching you!
Look at how Paul views those who preach Christ differently, whether by style or by different preference.
Php 1:15 Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will:
Php 1:16 The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds:
Php 1:17 But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel.
Php 1:18 What then? notwithstanding (nevertheless, regardless), every way, whether in pretence (outward showing), or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.
…….Paul testifies here that no matter how the Gospel is being distributed, he still rejoices simply because of the fact that Christ is being preached! What is your focus on preaching styles and preferences? That’s what I love about a new convert. They don’t have enough theological intelligence to get in the way of someone preaching a little differently than what they know is straight line Gospel. Too many young ministers have been set back by a deadhead who’s focus is only on creating more deadheads. Let your focus only be on the furtherance of the Gospel!
Php 1:19 For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,
…….Do you know that there is a supply of the Spirit that you can tap in to?! The supply is never ending and always available!
Php 1:20 According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.
…….One thing Paul never let go of was his boldness to defend the Gospel. Salvation and living for Christ never retires. The Spirit of God can and will usher us all the way to our final end. For Paul, it gave him the courage to run to the chopping block. Was it because he wanted to die? No. It was because he knew his race wasn’t just over, but complete. Not only was it complete, but he knew who was waiting for him on the other side of death and that was our Lord Jesus Christ!
Php 1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
…….Think about that. Paul is evaluating his very near future and comes to the conclusion that to live is to be like Christ and to Christ’s work, even though to die would be greater gain personally. We will never look forward to death until we have fulfilled the purpose of life!
Php 1:22 But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot (know) not.
…….With the expression to live is Christ and to die is gain, it would be easy to become weary of the thought of no more physical pains and struggles. But not for Paul, to live is still Christ. Christ is the fruit of our labor! He shows that the struggle was not one of misery, but one of great joy! Though dying would bring the greatest of bliss, living is still Christ!!! His relationship with this decision is so great that he couldn’t and most likely wouldn’t even dare to try to make up his mind!
Php 1:23 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:
Php 1:24 Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.
…….Because abiding in the flesh is much more needful for others, in our greatest times of weakness, Christ within us is our power and strength!
Php 1:25 And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith;
Php 1:26 That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again.
…….Oh if we could only understand how much others need what Christ has poured inside of us! Do you feel empty? Where are you pouring out?! He refills those who exhaust themselves for others.
Php 1:27 Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
…….Regardless of who or what minister is set among us, the greatest weapon we have in Christ and His Spirit is unity! When we learn to encourage those who are within, those without will desire what we have!
Php 1:28 And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.
…….To anyone facing persecution he says, be terrified of nothing or no one. When there is a target on your back, may it be one of Christ that others may see what you stand for with confidence and boldness!