We are talking about discernment and approving that which is excellent. In the last message we saw that he prayed that their love would abound in discernment so that they would be able to approve that which is excellent in order to be sincere and without offense unto the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ unto the glory of God. Now he is going to show himself as the pattern:
Php 1:12-17 But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places; And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. Php 1:18 What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretense, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.
Here we see Paul “not complaining”. You could say, “well he’s not complaining and that’s what we are supposed to learn.” But that is not really the lesson. Paul is approving that which is excellent by the spirit. He is singly focused on why he is there. He is not under condemnation; he is not believing the accusations. He hasn’t fallen into thinking like “oh, what did I do wrong, Lord? How could I end up in such a place? I’m so sorry I offended everyone!” He is not falling for that stuff.
When you serve Christ, the enemy will come and put you on a massive guilt trip and tell you, “look at this huge mess you’ve made. You stirred up all of this division everywhere and now everyone is upset. You are suffering for it and it just shows that you are a reprobate.” If you are not strong in your conscience and you do not know how to encourage yourself in the Lord and stand in the Gospel, you will fall for it. That stuff is strong and there are spirits attached to those kinds of accusations and lies.
Present Tense Salvation makes Everything a Platform for the Gospel
Paul knows that he is there for the furtherance of the Gospel. He says, “the things which happened to me have turned out for the furtherance of the Gospel.” In other words, this whole thing is an embarrassing, scandalous situation. He just wrote to Timothy and said “do not be ashamed of me, the prisoner of the Lord. Do not be embarrassed of my bonds” (1 Tim 1:16;2 Tim 1:8,9). Apparently many were ashamed or embarrassed regarding Paul’s situation. But Paul saw through all of this and recognized that this was actually the Lord shining a spotlight on him for the furtherance of the gospel.
A few months ago, I had a similar realization that the Lord was shining a spotlight on a situation to allow me a chance to speak to it. He wanted me to speak more to it and I did. It made people even angrier, and yet their offense became a platform. It is really amazing how the Lord did that. People would not have even heard of me otherwise. Everyone knew who I was for a little bit. That was for the furtherance of the Gospel. Paul says, “my bonds are manifest as being in Christ in all the palace”. For Paul, this was a dream come true!
For the Gospel to reach the palace means that those in Caesar’s household are being impacted by his witness. That is pretty incredible! He says that may of the brethren are “waxing bold because of my bonds”. When persecution, insults and scandal and accusations become so outlandish and ridiculous that it is no longer ambiguous that this guy is being unfairly treated, it makes people bold. All of the sudden people start rising up and preaching. We saw a bunch of this in the last few months. It is hard not to compare to our situation. A bunch of people started getting really bold. He says, “they’re speaking the Word of God without fear.” Paul says in another place “I suffer as a prisoner in chains, but the word of God is not bound.” This is the example. The enemy thinks he can shut Paul up, but all it did was put the spotlight on Paul even more and allow for even more release of the Word. Nothing is stopping, the Gospel’s influence is just getting larger!
Paul says that some preach Christ even out of envy and strife. These are brethren in the Lord. He said, “many of the brethren in the Lord are waxing confident… to speak the word more boldly and without fear.” Then he says, “some of them preach Christ even out of envy and strife.” There are genuine believers who walk in the flesh who actually preach Christ out of envy. They may think, “why is Paul such a big deal? I am a big deal! I was called by the Lord.” He encountered that in Corinth.
There were brothers who thought they were “something” and Paul was “nothing”. They said he was contemptible and drew attention to their own supposed spirituality and powerful speaking. They boasted and made big speeches and even had supernatural signs. You can be in the flesh and do all of this stuff and even preach the genuine Gospel. It is amazing. It does not mean you are not saved, because they are brethren “in the Lord.” But they are actually stirring up trouble for Paul. By preaching the Gospel out of envy, they make disciples after themselves and get in there and insert themselves in the mix. They get people’s eyes off Christ and destroy the unity of the Body of Christ and make it about “I am of Paul, I am of Cephas, I am of Apollos” (1 Cor 3:4). People who walk in the flesh automatically do that.
There are genuine Gospel preaching believers who will not listen to a teacher because they are jealous. They can preach the gospel and at the same time cast shade on Paul. On the one the word is bearing fruit, but on the other hand it is stirring up affliction for Paul. Some preach Christ not sincerely, but out of “contention.” Their heart is not so much about getting people saved but making disciples for themselves and turning people against Paul and boasting in their flesh. Others preach out of love, knowing that Paul is for the defense of the Gospel. But Paul says, “either way, Christ is preached, and I rejoice.” He is not rejoicing in a false Gospel. They must be preaching the real gospel, or he would not rejoice. It is not “another gospel”, it is the real thing. In order for people to be preaching the real Gospel, they had to be standing on the revelation that came through the Apostles (including Paul). Even if they reject him, his ministry is still penetrating.
This is another thing I saw in the last few months. I saw that people had to change their language and backpedal to accommodate and conform to the truth that people were accepting. They did not do that because they sincerely loved the truth. They did it so they could continue being accepted and have ground to continue making their accusations. This is the first time I ever understood this passage though. I actually saw how people had to submit to the Lord’s word one way or another. Praise God! It was a wonderful revelation to see this. I should not put myself in this so much, but it is how I can relate to this passage that I have never been able to relate to so clearly before.
Present Tense Salvation – Enjoyment of Supply
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,
Some translations say, “the rich supply” or the “bountiful supply”. It is the rich supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. This is a new title for the Spirit that is not seen prior to this in the Scripture. This is how Paul can say “God is my witness how I long after you all in the inward parts of Christ Jesus.” Why? Because He has the Spirit of Jesus Christ being supplied to him. The Spirit of Jesus Christ was never mentioned before in the New Testament or the old, but it is a revelation of who the Spirit is. The Spirit is the humanity of Jesus Christ made available to us as life. We do not quite grasp how intimate we can be with the Lord. We are one with Him in His humanity.
In Hebrews, it says as our High Priest He is touched with the present feelings of our infirmities (Heb 4:15). He feels our weakness and automatically intercedes as if it is His own. That is how tied in He is with us and intimately related He is to us. We are one with Him. We are bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh. He cherishes and nourishes His flesh (Eph 5:29). He cherishes every member of His body. We can know Him in a much deeper way than what we give ourselves credit for.
It is good to meditate on the presence of the Lord. Once you get the facts and you know, “He’s in me as life. I am a branch in the vine. His Spirit is in me. I have the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. He is my salvation and He is my life.” Then you can turn in and start talking to Him about it. “Lord, I thank you that you are my life. I thank you that I have your Spirit. Thank you that I am born of you and I am a member of you. Thank you that you dwell in me and I in you. Lord, let me see this. Let me grasp this. Let me taste it.” He will! We should be meditating on how present He is to us. Paul was full of that kind of enjoyment.
Paul said that this would turn out to salvation. Did he mean deliverance from his situation? No, he meant that this ability to continue to “approve that which is excellent” and “magnify Christ “in this situation, and see it in the right perspective is the result of the salvation (present tense) and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. He has been saved from his disposition, saved from himself, saved from his flesh, saved from his flesh’s tendency to think of itself and its murmuring and complaining. He could have been full of condemnation and fear and sorrow and self-pity. He was not. This was not because he decided to change his attitude, but because of the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ giving him this humanity of Christ in that situation. That was his salvation. So, there is a present tense salvation in Philippians.
Christ Magnified by the Supply of the Spirit
Php 1:19-21 For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, 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. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
What is the present tense salvation? It is that with all boldness, Christ, through the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, would be magnified in me so that my life is just Christ. No matter what I go through, it is Christ. “To live is Christ, to die is gain” (Phil 1:21). My expectation and my confidence and my hope and my boast is that Christ is exalted in me. That is not just a euphemism. Paul literally means it. He wants to be filled with the Spirit of Jesus Christ. That is present-tense salvation. That is how I transcend. That is how I live far above all my situations and anything that happens on this earth. I live according to my citizenship in heaven (Phil 3:20). I live according to my position in Christ. I live according to the manifestation of Christ who is my life (Col 3:4). I am triumphant! That is why he could say later in his epistle, “I know how to abase and I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13). This is living Christ. It is Christ being magnified in him and him enjoying Christ as wine to even become a drink offering as we discussed.
You have to understand this salvation to understand what he will be saying when we come to Phillippians 2, when he says “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. It is God who operates in you both to will and do of His good pleasure” (Phil 2:12). He is not talking about ultimate salvation there. He is talking about Christ in you. He has shown them himself as the pattern and is saying, “you have seen how Christ is working everything for the Gospel and he has given me a consciousness that this is all abounding to His glory. This terrible situation is actually a glorification of the Gospel and my bonds are being manifested in Christ in every place and people are being released to speak the word with boldness. Christ is being announced and even in the palace they know that my bonds are in Christ. I know that this is going to turn out to my salvation, not that I will necessarily be delivered from the situation, but that Christ is magnified in my body through the bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. I am living Christ. I have been brought through this situation. Everything is negative, and I have been taught to look not at those things which are seen but the things which are unseen. Now there is an eternal weight of glory being wrought into me while I believe and walk by faith and live by Christ (2 Cor 4:17-18). I am living in a different plane than what any of these people can understand who are preaching the Gospel out of contention. They have no idea. They think they are trying to add affliction to my bonds, but it is actually turning out to my salvation!”
That is what we have to see. We can have the victory in every situation not by us being “triumphant” but by Christ being magnified in us through the Supply of the Spirit. This is why I say it’s really foundation to have a meditation on who the Spirit of Jesus Christ is in me. How familiar am I with the fact that He dwells in me to be my satisfaction independent of my circumstances? Maybe not so much, or maybe a lot! The Lord will always give you the supply of Christ you need to meet whatever situation He brings you into. Sometimes He will bring you into a situation that is a “squeeze”. It will be for the bringing out of Christ. Some people say, “well why do I go through these things?” Because God wants you to know Christ. You know sometimes He has to turn you away from your environment and let you know Christ inwardly as supply and satisfaction. You could not have learned Him without that situation because your flesh is just too strong.