Philippians 1 -- 4
The radical religious enemies of Christ had followed Paul and opposed him throughout Asia Minor and Europe, and had finally succeeded in having him arrested in Jerusalem. Paul was imprisoned, not for theft, murder, or any evil doing, but for telling others how to be saved from their sins and to become followers of Christ. His plan and his thoughts were all centered on pleasing Christ. Since he was a Roman citizen, he could refuse a trial in Jerusalem and could appeal his case to Caesar. He remained in prison in Caesarea for two years, waiting for a transfer to Rome where he would stand trial before the Emperor.
As a Roman citizen, Paul had the privilege of renting his own house. However, to prevent escape, it was required that he remain chained to a Roman guard both day and night. Through all this, Paul let it be known that he was content to leave the outcome of his trial wholly in the hands of his Lord: Whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain (Philippians 1:20-21).
His imprisonment in Rome gave him the opportunity to share the Good News about Jesus with the elite guard of the Roman Empire. This was a great opportunity, as there was a change of guard three or four times a day. Paul wrote to the Philippians: I want you to understand . . . that what has happened to me has served to further the Gospel; So that my bonds in Christ have become known in all the palace (1:12-13).
Paul's one supreme goal was holding forth the Word of Life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run (lived my life) in vain, neither labored in vain (to no eternal purpose) (2:16).
Our profession in life may be politics, the military, business, education, manual labor, or homemaking, but our primary occupation should be as ambassadors for Christ (II Corinthians 5:20). Regardless of our circumstances, Paul reminds us: Let the peace of God, which passes all understanding . . . keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7).
In closing this letter, Paul wrote: All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar's household (4:22). Many of his guards, and even members of the emperor's own household, became followers of Christ. We all have a natural desire for physical comforts, security, and material things. However, in making our decisions, our first loyalty should be to Christ, where there is a storehouse of spiritual wealth, peace, and the presence of the Lord that, in contrast, makes all earthly possessions appear worthless.
Paul had renounced a prominent career for a life of unceasing hardships and persecutions, destined to end in violent death. Fully knowing what the future held, he said: I have suffered the loss of all things, and consider them but dung (worthless), that I may win (the approval of) Christ . . . That I may know . . . the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death (Philippians 3:8,10).
Government Officials: Rep. William Goodling (PA) and Sen. Strom Thurmond (SC) · BPM Staff: Steve Harle · Pray for Bible Pathway Distributors · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio Broadcast sponsored by Mrs. Bett Brown · Country: Maldives (226,000) 400 miles southwest of Sri Lanka · Major languages: Divehi and English · Christian witnessing is banned · 99.9% Muslim; .1% Christian · Prayer Suggestion: Pray for the will of God before making decisions (Joshua 9:14).
Memory Verse for the Week:
I Peter 1:22