No Comparisons and Demands
In the last message we covered what it really means to “Work out your salvation”. Again, Paul is not talking about Eternal Salvation. He is speaking of operating in you through the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ so that Christ is put on display, so that you can say “for me to live is Christ.” Your situation is just for magnifying the Gospel. Everything is just a platform for the Gospel. This is the victory that salvation provides. We need to remember that this is not a demand on us. It all comes out of a realization of what we have in Christ. It just means that you are well fed. You are satisfied with Christ, and when you are satisfied with Him, it changes the direction of things. It changes the way you think and what you care about.
We do not want to compare ourselves with others. We do not want to compare ourselves to Paul. In every situation everyone around him came to know about Christ and the Gospel went out everywhere. That is Paul. He is the minister of grace for the gentiles. His role was so significant, and he suffered accordingly. We may have a “quieter” situation. What the Lord is looking at is the heart. The widow’s “two mites” are every bit as grand to the Lord as the more extravagant displays because it is all of his grace. You do not get to decide how much influence you have. You do not get to decide how much you think about Jesus. It is according to your growth and according to revelation. That is according to His choice and His placement of you in the Body and how much supply there is at the moment. The way the blood flows and life flows in a body, certain organs get “more.” That is just the way it is. So, whatever you do, do not read Philippians, and turn it to a demand for yourself. Only let it generate in you an appetite for more.
A couple of people have said this lately on my wall responding to the teachings. They’ve said things like, “My whole way of looking at the Bible is changing. I see Christ now. I do not go to it to look for things to do anymore. I see that it is God really wanting to show me Christ. When I am focused on Him, the atmosphere has changed.” We are not here taking up a demand or putting demands on each other. We are here in grace. Grace reduces the demand on you and puts it all on Christ’s shoulders. It literally cancels the demand on you. We are crucified. There is nothing to measure. How much of this salvation we enjoy, and exhibit is up to the Lord. All we want to do is keep learning and growing, not so much paying attention to the fruit, but the root, which is Christ, the “root of David.” He is the root and the offspring. He is the source of it all and He is also the expression that comes out.
Paul compares Himself to the Drink Offering
Php 2:17-18 Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all. (18) For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me.
This is a reference to the drink offering. Some translations even say, “even if I am poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith.” Whenever I talk about fellowship, I am brought back in my mind to the priesthood. This is one example. The drink offering, was a cup of wine poured out on the sacrifices, as in Exodus 29:40 and Lev 23:13. It represented (in type) an overflow of the priest’s satisfaction. In reality I do not think the priests actually enjoyed their service, but it was all a picture of what we now have in Christ as reality. I’m not sure we would have enjoyed serving in the tabernacle. But everything they were doing was a picture foreshadowing spiritual realities fulfilled in Christ and in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. The priesthood shows us that in relationship with Him, God provides an offering and requires an offering. He requires what He provides, which is Christ, typified by all the offerings: the burnt offering, meal offering, peace offering, sin offering and trespass offering. On sone of the offerings there was a “drink offering” poured out. That represented (again, in type) the priest’s enjoyment.
If you are in the fellowship and Christ is the offerings and you’ve been handling Christ and you’ve been recognizing and appreciating what He is to God and for you, that produces joy which is likened to wine. The wine at the wedding feast is the enjoyment of our union with Him. It is produced from God’s satisfaction with Him as well. It is a mix of our satisfaction and His satisfaction and it is realized in the “Fellowship of the Holy Spirit.” It is a drink offering to be poured out on the sacrifice.
Paul said, “even if I am being poured out as a drink offering.” He was saying “through my enjoyment of Christ (which is clearly on display in Philippians), I’ve become a drink offering to be poured out. I’m full of satisfaction”. He says he was to be poured out on the sacrifice and service of their faith. Our faith is our sacrifice and our priestly service. What is our priestly service? To believe in Jesus. When we believe in Jesus, we are brought near to God through Him. He is our offering. He offered Himself once for all for our sins and perfected us forever, but He also brings us near.
Col 1:22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:
Heb 10:10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Every time we come to God, faith in Christ always the way. Anytime we approach the Father it is through Christ and in Christ. He is our representative; He is our person before the Father. Everything He is credited to us and we are a fragrance of Christ unto God (2 Cor 2:15). He is all the offerings. Our faith is the way He becomes our offering. It is the sacrifice and service of our faith. It is His sacrifice. Our work, our service, is just to believe. By believing in Christ and His finished work we are brought near to God.
What does a priest do? Come near to God. That is our priestly service, to come near based on the sacrifice of Christ. This is our faith. Now Paul’s saying, “I am a drink offering, that through my death I could be poured out on your sacrifice and service of faith.” I do not know if it is literal or not, but he is saying there is a mutual rejoicing there. He says, “I rejoice” and for the same reason “also you joy and rejoice with me.” He says, “I joy and rejoice” and they “joy and rejoice”. This is a joy “unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8).
There is a finishing “touch” through the drink offering that overflows and becomes joy that becomes rejoicing. It has got something to do with them being partakers with him of Grace in that relationship. He is there suffering for them. He says, “I don’t want you to faint at my sufferings for you which are your glory” in Ephesians. There is more going on in the spirit than we realize. We do not understand how much Christ is being processed through all of our experiences and what God is gaining out of it and what He is doing in the body of Christ. It is more than just the words we speak there is an operation of the “measure in each one part” according to Ephesians 4 for the building up of the body of Christ. It’s got to do with the flow of the life, the bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ and the measure of that spirit operating in each part that causes the growth and the increase of the body unto the building up of itself in love (Phil 1:19; Eph 4:16). God knows what that means, we do not. He sees the Body not only as the people but as a real organism. He knows what the joints are supplying and how the life is passing and flowing, and He knows all the situations that are required for the maximum growth. It is not just for the growth of the individual, but the growth of the body that God is focused on. This shows us a little “behind the scenes”, spiritually speaking. I do not want to over spiritualize it but Paul’s situation being in prison was very strategic from God’s point of view.
Paul’s environment contributed to making him become the “joint of the rich supply” to the body. Paul’s epistles from prison are the richest of all writings. He was “shut up” unto revelation. He did not have the distractions of his life and the riots and the burdens. He was in prison and “stuck”. When we talk about being shut up unto Christ we mean “shut up” unto revelation so that Christ becomes your enjoyment. The more we are shut up to Him, He is the only thing we have, and He has more opportunity to pour through you. It is very practical in terms of what God was doing to have Paul brought into this situation so that the “high peaks” of revelation could be released. The vision of God’s eternal purpose was pouring out as a rich supply from him, and he was becoming a “drink offering.” His ministry was producing their faith and also their faith is a sacrifice and service, their priestly service. He was becoming a drink offering. There is probably even more to these verses than we think. There is more spiritual reality going on than we have words to describe. Do not just glance past the verses. There is so much more to it than we realize. We are just scratching the surface of the kind of revelation that is in Christ.
Caring for Their State
Php 2:19-25 But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state. (20) For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state. (21) For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s. (22) But ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel. (23) Him therefore I hope to send presently, so soon as I shall see how it will go with me. (24) But I trust in the Lord that I also myself shall come shortly.
This shows us that the apostle does not “know everything”. He trusted in the Lord that he would come to them shortly, which never happened. However, he said he was going to send Timothy. Timothy is special, because there are so few who will genuinely or naturally care for the state of the saints. They all “seek their own things”. He is talking about ministers and servants of the Lord. He is saying they care for their own things. It is really to be divided in ministry and on the one hand be a gospel preacher and on the other hand building something for yourself and only caring for yourself. None of us are exempt from this temptation. None of us are altruistic like Jesus or Paul or Timothy.
What produces the genuine care for the saints? It is entirely a matter of revelation. The point is not that Paul or Timothy were specially caring in their nature. Their live was governed by vision. This is totally based on what you approve of. As we saw in Chapter One, it has to do with our love abounding in all wisdom and all discernment to enable us to “approve of things which are excellent.” The question is whether or not we can discern things spiritually or do we only see everything in the light of ourselves and our situation?
Some people are so divided that they are defiled. They may be the busiest workers in ministry. However, it is driven by self-interest. YouTube especially has a lot of this. People seem to have transferred the “Facebook narcissism” to a so-called ministry and made it into merchandise. I have discovered that only a handful actually care about anything but their platform. When your loyal subscribers are saying, “look I don’t understand why you’re doing this” and you’re answering in such a personally offended way and saying things like “well, I guess the love of the many is growing cold and you’re the example!”, this shows that the concern is not for anything but themselves. I have seen this with almost all of the channels that anyone knows about. It seems like the bigger the channel, the worse it is. These are not people who are concerned about the state of the saints. They are seeking their own things. It is clear. You do not even need to speak to it anymore because it is so obvious and it is becoming more obvious. The Lord wants to manifest it because there are some people who are not clear yet and are being defiled by their contact with some of these ministries. When we become defensive and concerned only about our own interests it is due to lack of revelation and vision. We just cannot see anything bigger than ourselves. Timothy was different.
Php 2:25-30 Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labor, and fellow soldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants. (26) For he longed after you all, and was full of heaviness, because that ye had heard that he had been sick. (27) For indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. (28) I sent him therefore the more carefully, that, when ye see him again, ye may rejoice, and that I may be the less sorrowful. (29) Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness; and hold such in reputation: (30) Because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me.
Epaphroditus was a messenger sent from Philippi to take care of Paul’s needs on behalf of the Church. Here is another one that cared for the saints and not only for his own things. This passage gives us a glimpse of the way that there is still heaviness of heart with Paul. You see him enjoying Christ but it is not like he didn’t have sorrow and affliction. It is a mix there. It is the fellowship of the sufferings of Christ. Do not let anyone deceive you into thinking that they are so spiritual that they suffer nothing. Some people are “praise God all the time. God is good all the time” but it is learned behavior. “I’m not offended, I love everybody in Jesus name” and yet in the background they are backstabbing and doing all kinds of stuff. We just need to be who we are. Paul mentions his sorrows and he is not afraid to share that side with them.
Epaphroditus was sick, almost unto death. Yet his concern was that he could die there and then the Church would not know what happened to him. He was more worried about their hearts. They are at risk associating with Paul. Sending Epaphroditus was a sign of endorsement. Epaphroditus is aware of the stigma on Paul and the “precarious situation” that the Church was in. Now he was sick, away from his home church and more concerned about them than himself. Only the Gospel can produce this. Do not compare yourself. Do not think, “I should be like Epaphroditus and be more caring.” Remember, it is not the fruit that we focus on. We focus on the root – the bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ which was pouring out of Paul’s ministry as a drink offering. There was a supply there for all of this. It did not come from people; it came from Christ for that situation. Again, do not compare, only admire. Do not admire people, admire the work of Christ.
For the “work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life to supply your lack of service toward me.” In the King James it sounds like “you lack in service towards me”, but what he is saying is that we are just aware that he is the one standing in their stead representing them to Paul and that he is appreciated. But here we see Paul, Timothy and Epaphroditus filled with the “bowels” of Christ. Remember how Paul had said in Chapter 1, “I long after you all in the inward parts of Christ Jesus.” This is not Timothy or Epaphroditus and Paul on display, it is Christ on display. He is richly operating in this situation. You cannot reproduce that. But when you see Paul say, “I have none that will naturally care for your state for all seek their own things and not the things of Jesus Christ” we can at least say, “Lord, supply me with your Spirit and give me eyes to see so that I’m not like that!” There is an admonition there but again, we are not comparing ourselves.
- Philippians Chapter 1 – Introduction
- Philippians Chapter 2- Offense or Fruit – Depends on What We Approve
- Philippians Chapter 3- Present Tense Salvation – the Supply of the Spirit
- Philippians Chapter 4 – New Paths in God’s Salvation by the Supply of the Spirit
- Philippians Chapter 5 Lessons from Undercover Boss and Pinocchio
- Philippians Chapter 6 – 2:5-12 How Rich People Work It Out
- Philippians Chapter 7 – Genuinely Concerned for Your Estate
- Philippians Chapter 8 – Dogs, Evil Workers and the True Circumcision
- Philippians Chapter 9 Our Heavenly Conversation
- Philippians Chapter 10 -Gaining Christ and Being Found in Him