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# 6: 1-13-17 E

Philippians 1:19-26
Paul has been sharing with his dear friends in Philippi the remarkable outcome of his incarceration in
Rome. His guards, members of the Praetorian cohort, have come to recognize that Paul was imprisoned for
his faith - which made them receptive to the gospel.
In addition, many of the believers in Rome, seeing that Paul was in chains, were now preaching the gospel
boldly in their city. Some were motivated to do this out of love - for the Lord, for Paul, and for their fellow
man, who is perishing. Sadly, other believers were doing it based on selfish motives - to garner a following
for themselves, and in their rivalry against Paul, desiring to give him grief.
But Paul was able to rejoice, even in their case - because he recognized that the cause of Christ prospered,
whenever the gospel was preached. It was because Paul put the Lords interests before his own that he was
able to see the good in what was happening - what God was accomplishing through it - and that gave Paul
the right perspective on his imprisonment - the heavenly perspective.
And it was this perspective that Paul wished to impress upon his friends in Philippi, who were suffering
under similar circumstances, regarding persecution by their city, and internal strife in their assembly - that
they might be able to rejoice, as Paul rejoiced - not in the circumstances, but in the Lord.
This was Pauls conclusion to the matter, which we find in verse 18 - he found cause to rejoice, in what
God was doing. Notice how Paul writes about this - in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.
The second mention is actually in the future tense: Paul rejoices in the present time, and will rejoice also in
the future. And as Paul continues with his letter, he begins to express his innermost ponderings, concerning
just what his future circumstances will be - in which he already knows, he will rejoice.
We continue in verse 19.
[Philippians 1:19-26]
So we see that Paul is considering what will be happening to him in the future - that is, when his
imprisonment comes to an end. Paul believes that it is most likely he will be released. But as he shares his
thoughts on the subject with his friends in Philippi, its clear Paul sees that the possibility exists that he will
not be released; that he will instead be executed.
Apparently, at this point in time, Paul did not have any definite indication from God as to how things would
go, for him; the Lord had not revealed that, to Paul. Now, there are many future happenings that the Lord
did reveal to Paul. But not this one.
Why do you suppose that the Lord did not reveal the outcome of Pauls imprisonment? If Paul knew how it
would turn out, would he have had to exercise faith, trusting the Lord, during his time in prison - and for
the outcome of it? No. So in not revealing the outcome, the Lord was giving Paul the opportunity to grow,
in his faith - to progress in his walk with the Lord - which Paul readily took.
At the same time, it is through the faith that Paul exercised - his unwavering belief in the Lord - that the
Lord got the attention of the palace guard, and others in Rome - and that the Lord inspired others to preach
the gospel with boldness.

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So God gives the believer opportunity to exercise his faith, for his good; and if the believer does so, then
God works through his faith, for the good of others; and through it all, God shows Himself glorious - as the
Savior.
Now, as the Savior, God always saves His own - always. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall
be saved (Acts 2:21) - and they cant be unsaved. Because you have entrusted yourself to Jesus, He has
you - and no one can snatch you out of His hand (Jn 10:28).
But what does this mean when it comes to physical death? Well, believers have been dying for centuries clearly our bodies are not spared from physical death; we will all experience death, if Jesus does not return
for us, while were still living. So our natural bodies are not saved from death.
But God is still our Savior; and He still has us. He delivers us on the other side of death, in a new body - a
spiritual body. So the Savior doesnt save us from death - but through it.
Paul is one who clearly understood this. Paul wrote to Timothy that death has been so transformed for the
believer, that as Savior, Jesus has abolished death (2 Tim 1:10) - Hes done away with it. Death no longer
has dominion over the believer, any more than it does, over Christ (Rm 6:9).
For us, physical death has been converted from an inexorable end to this life, to an entryway into a better
one. For the believer, death has become a door.
This is why Paul had the confidence he did to preach the gospel in perilous circumstances, throughout the
Roman Empire. His confidence was in the Lord, as his Savior; that ultimately, the Lord would deliver him
- if not from death, then through it.
We see this clearly in something Paul wrote to the assembly in Corinth. Turn to Second Corinthians
chapter 1. Paul began this letter expressing how the Father had comforted him and his fellow missionaries
through all of their sufferings. He went on to write about what they had experienced, in Ephesus.
[Second Corinthians 1:8-10]
v. 8 Paul is most likely referring to the riot in Ephesus that took place on the part of the pagan Gentiles,
against the preaching of the gospel. Paul and his fellow missionaries came very close to losing their lives.
v. 9-10 What Paul is saying is that it was as if a judicial sentence had been passed against them - death.
They had no control over it; no say. All they could do was choose to trust God - God, who raises the dead God, who had given them eternal life. They had entrusted themselves into the Lords hands for salvation;
now they trusted Him, for whatever happened to their bodies.
In the past, God had delivered them from so great a death - through the so great a salvation of Jesus
Christ (Heb 2:3). And in this case, in the present, the Lord delivered them from being killed. So in the
future, Paul and his fellow workers trust that the Lord will still deliver them - that He will always deliver
them - whether from death, or through it.
[Return to Philippians]
This is what Paul wishes to communicate to his friends in Philippi - that they are always safe, in Jesus their lives, eternally secure.

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When the believer really understands this, he truly can be free from himself - and his natural tendency to
try to preserve, or safeguard, or extend the life of his body.
It gives him the confidence to move forward with the Lord into new areas of faith, where the Lord can use
him. And he can do so with joy - the exhilaration that comes, from new adventures with the Lord. Instead
of being care-filled for himself, the believer becomes care-free - and then, so useful, to God.
Returning to our passage, we see that Paul begins first with an expectation that he has - a right expectation.
Lets read that again.
v. 19-20 Now, Paul is not saying he knows, like God knows - hes indicating that this is what he is
expecting.
So what does he expect? That he will be delivered. From what? Well, the simplest sense would be
delivered from his imprisonment, right? And Paul did mean that, principally. Looking ahead in the letter,
we see that Paul did expect to be released; he was trusting in the Lord that he would soon come to visit
again in Philippi (2:24).
Paul expects this to be the outcome, based in part on the prayers of the Philippians for him; that as these
believers petition the Lord on Pauls behalf, that the Lord will choose to work through their requests to
rescue Paul - which would strengthen their faith, and give glory to God.
And Paul further expects that the Lord will accomplish this rescue by giving Paul the supply of the Spirit
that Paul needs, to secure his release. This refers to the Holy Spirit within Paul helping him, giving him
specific aid, in his time of need.
An example of this can be found in the words of Jesus to His disciples. Turn to Luke chapter 21. Jesus was
beginning to speak to His disciples about the coming judgment on Jerusalem and the unbelieving Jews, in
70 AD. But He wants them to know that, as His disciples, they will be persecuted before that judgment on
the Jewish nation - by both Jews and Gentiles.
Jesus gave them instructions, concerning this time - before Jerusalem was destroyed.
[Luke 21:12-15] The Holy Spirit, who dwells in believers, would enlighten each disciple as to what to say,
when they were brought before the authorities of this world. The Spirit of truth would guide them into all
truth. What the Spirit hears from Jesus, He will speak, glorifying Jesus (Jn 16:13-14) through the disciples;
the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.
[Return to Philippians]
Through the prayers of the saints and the words of the Spirit, Paul is certain that Christ will be magnified in
his body. The term with all boldness tells us exactly what he has in mind, by this.
The Greek word for boldness used here specifically means freedom or frankness in speaking. It is
plainness of speech that conceals nothing, and passes over nothing.
What is Paul talking about? About his court defense, before the emperor Nero. Now, I originally thought it
likely based on verse 7 that Paul had already made his defense before Nero, and was just awaiting the
verdict. But because this word in verse 20 specifically means bold speech, I think it more likely that Pauls
trial was still ahead of him - but imminent.

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Paul asked for the assemblies in Asia to pray for him in this regard, as well. Turn to Ephesians chapter 6 you might not even have to turn a page, in your Bible. Paul wrote this letter earlier in his Roman
imprisonment.
He had just written to these believers to put on the whole armor of God - for each of these churches to stand
together in the truth - so that the lies of the enemy, brought by false teachers, could not permeate their
assemblies. He told them to pray for themselves, concerning this, and then asked for them to pray for him,
as well.
[Ephesians 6:18-20] The mystery of the gospel simply means the revelation of its content, the good news
of Jesus Christ, to those who havent heard - so that He is a mystery to them, no longer.
As an ambassador, Paul will be representing Christ, in the Roman court. He is asking the believers to pray
that utterance is given to him - the supply of the Spirit - and that he will boldly proclaim the gospel, during
his defense.
[Return to Philippians]
Throughout his ministry, Paul has never shirked away from magnifying the Lord, with his preaching of the
gospel. In the Jewish synagogues, in the Greek marketplaces - before commoners, magistrates, governors
and kings - to unreceptive listeners, antagonistic foes, and even riotous mobs, Paul always proclaimed the
Lord Jesus Christ, and did so boldly.
Now he anticipates facing the most powerful man on earth, in the highest court under heaven. But Paul is
certain that he will continue to trust the Lord, and that he will not be ashamed - he will not fail to honor the
Lord, proclaiming Him openly, holding nothing back.
How can Paul be so sure of that, under such intimidating circumstances? Look at what Paul says; his
certainty is in accordance with his earnest expectation and hope.
What is Paul referring to? Paul is referring to his absolutely certain, future hope - of glory. That I know
so hope was ever before Pauls eyes, and he viewed all of his earthly circumstances through it.
Since Paul had such a certain hope of glory from God, Paul did not fear man - or what man could do to
him. So Paul knew he would proclaim Christ boldly, before the Roman tribunal. The gospel of Christ
would get its day in court, and Paul expected that it would be vindicated - and that he would be acquitted of
the charges, and released.
But unlike his heavenly expectation, Pauls earthly expectation is not absolutely certain - which is why, at
the end of verse 20, as Paul speaks of Christ being magnified, he specifically indicates, in his body whether by life or by death.
If he is acquitted, he will be released. Christ will be magnified in his body, through the Lords gracious
deliverance being seen, and through Pauls resumption of his ministry.
But how would Christ be magnified by Pauls death? If Paul was - wrongly - found guilty of instigating a
riot, he would surely be executed by the emperor - no one violated the Roman peace. But Christ would still
be magnified - if Paul was to die in way that showed he was sustained through it by the Lord Jesus Himself
- without fear, without resistance, committing all into His hands.

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Paul considers this to be deliverance, as well. This is evident by the Greek word that he chooses to use for
deliverance in verse 19. Its soteria, which fundamentally means salvation.
Soteria is deliverance with the idea of preservation - being preserved through something; not so much
deliverance by being rescued from something (a different word often used for that).
Paul is first using it here in the obvious sense of the passage to mean being rescued by the Lord from prison
- life. But he then employs the word in its truest sense - if rescue is not Gods will, then Pauls expectation
is that he will be preserved through death. So either way, Paul knows that this will turn out for his
deliverance.
So Paul has raised the possibility here that he will be executed - he is willing for that, if it means that Christ
will be glorified. He now goes on to explain how he can be willing, even for this.
v. 21 This is a familiar verse, isnt it? But now we see it in a new light, in the context of Pauls words to
his friends in Philippi. A very familiar verse, indeed. Lets see what we understand, of it.
To live is Christ. Paul didnt say, To live is FOR Christ - hes not talking about his new purpose in life,
since he believed - although he certainly had that.
Nor did Paul say, he lives THROUGH Christ - though that is true also; Christ gave Paul new life. Nor did
he say, he lives WITH Christ - in union with Him. True, but thats not Pauls meaning here, either.
Theres no preposition here; nothing modifies what Paul is saying. To live IS Christ - Christ Himself.
Above all, this is personal. Christ Himself is Pauls life. Christ is what living on earth is all about, to Paul.
I think Paul said something similar to the Galatian assemblies. Turn to Galatians chapter 2. Im going to
read a literal translation of verse 20, from Jay Greens Interlinear.
[Galatians 2:20]
I have been crucified with Christ; and I live, yet no longer I, but Christ lives in me. And that life I
now life in the flesh, I live by faith toward the Son of God, the One loving me and giving Himself over
on my behalf.
Paul chose to live in his earthly body by faith in Christ - living the eternal life that Christ had shared with
him, moment by moment - so that Paul could say, Yet no longer I, but Christ lives in me.
[Return to Philippians 1]
All who believe have received Christs eternal life for their bodies; but not all who believe choose to
constantly live by that Life. Do I? Do you? Paul did - and so he could say, For me, to live is Christ.
And for Paul, to die is gain. What would Paul gain, after he died? In death, the eternal life in his earthly
body would change it into a forever-living body of glory. Thats great gain.
Turn to Second Corinthians again - chapter 5. Paul was writing of the confidence of the believer - in both
life and death.
[Second Corinthians 5:1-8]

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v. 1 What would be our earthly house, or tent? Our mortal body. How can it be destroyed? By death. So
what is the building from God - the house not made with hands? Thats the glorified body of eternal life
that God has in store for us - its reserved in heaven for you (1 Pet 1:4) - in the plan of God, its already
there. And its eternal; it cant be destroyed.
As Paul continues, he likens the glorified body to clothing, for the soul.
v. 2-4 We desire to be clothed - to inhabit our heavenly bodies. Our soul of eternal life yearns for a body of
eternal life - thats the only fit clothing, for the soul. As believers, weve already received that Life for our
bodies - all that remains is putting it on - our glorification. After this body dies, we will put it on - and God
will not find us naked.
This speaks here of a judicial finding. As the Judge, God will find all men either naked or clothed. The
bodies of men in the flesh are destroyed in death, and as they have never received the Life of Christ for
their bodies, they dont have another body. They will be found naked - unfit, for the presence of God.
But believers will be clothed with their glorified bodies after death - so they will not be found naked; they
will be fit for Gods presence, in His heavenly home.
Every day on earth, we are groaning more and more for that heavenly body; and every day, were more and
more burdened by this earthly one, arent we? But even now, we have received the Life of that glorified
body, in this earthly one - and we have a Life coach, who dwells with us, in it.
v. 5 The Holy Spirit has been given to us as a guarantee that our bodies will be glorified, one day. And as
we learn to live by His leading, so that for us, to live is Christ, we become more and more assured of our
future - confident in what God has planned, for us.
v. 6-7 The confidence in this life comes, not from the fact that while were still in these mortal bodies we
are absent from the Lord, but in that, by faith, we can still walk right with our Lord, through this life.
v. 8 But Paul is saying that it is really our desire to be absent from the body, present with the Lord. Whats
another way of saying that? Our preference is to depart this life - to die - and to be with the Lord.
That was certainly Pauls desire. And it increasingly becomes our desire as the Lord becomes more and
more real, to us; as we become closer and closer, to Him.
[Return to Philippians]
While it is true that that the believer will gain his body of glory after he dies, and Paul certainly looked
forward to that, I think he has in mind here a more immediate gain that he would experience, after his
death. We see this as Paul continues, musing about what his preference would be - life or death.
v. 22-24 Now, does Paul actually have a choice here, in whether he lives or dies? No. Presumably he will
have his court date, and then the state will render its decision - whether he lives or dies. Of course, this will
really be the Lords decision, wont it? Paul doesnt get to make that decision.
So we take it that Paul is just considering what he would choose, if he had a choice, about it. And he
records his thoughts on it, for his friends.

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So what does he think? Well, he can certainly see that if hes released, he can continue in his labor to
preach the gospel, and teach believers - and that the Lord will continue to make his labor fruitful. That
would certainly be good.
But on the other hand, Paul has a personal desire - to depart and be with Christ - that is, to die - and Paul
considers this far better.
Here is the real gain that we saw back in verse 21 - for immediately upon death, Paul would be absent
from the body and present with - his dear Lord.
What could be better than being in heaven with the One who was what your entire life on earth was about?
Nothing. Upon death, Paul would immediately be in the Lords presence, and thus gain Christ - and be
together with Him, forever. This would certainly be his preference - for himself.
But then Paul is pulled in the other direction once more - toward life. Others need him - such as the
believers in Philippi. They need him to stay. They need him to continue in his ministry, with them. And
Paul feels torn, between the two choices.
And then Pauls personal preference is eclipsed - by his love for others.
v. 25-26 Because of their need, Paul is persuaded that the Lord will have him remain, and continue to
minister - to further establish believers, such as those in Philippi, so that they are well grounded in the truth.
We can see that his loving concern for others is greater than his desire for himself.
In his life, Paul made great progress in the faith - and found joy, in the journey. He sees his mission with
his friends in Philippi as helping them to do the same. Even as he records his thoughts concerning his
choice - which he really has no choice about - Paul intends this to teach them.
And what could they learn? That when there is no concern for self - no will for self, even whether one lives
or one dies - then one is entirely free - free to do the will of God - and from that comes satisfaction for the
soul - joy.
But how do you have no concern for yourself? Theres only one way - by trusting all to the Lord everything that happens, in this life. Thats obviously a learned process - but it can be learned. And like
any process, you make progress, going step by step - you walk. But as you do, each step will bring new joy
- until you become joy-filled - like Paul was.
As Paul concludes in verse 26, he now considers how his release would affect the Philippians. The word
translated rejoicing actually means boasting, or glorying. Paul is saying that when he comes again to
Philippi, the believers there will glory in Jesus Christ - they will praise the Lord for Pauls deliverance knowing it was the Lord who freed Paul - and that He did so, for their sake.
With the prospect of being restored to them, Paul will now turn his attention to the believers in Philippi - to
encourage them, in their walk of faith.
Reading: Chapter 1, 2:1-4, Eph 4:1-6, Col 1:10-12, 2 Th 1:3-10, 1 Pet 3:8-16, 4:12-14.