Godly love and expansion
The Apostle Paul had an affection for the Philippian body of believers. "Inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you are all partakers of my grace." 1:7.
Did you ever know somebody just so dear to your heart? This is how Paul felt because they joined with him in labor and persecution. Togetherness in good and bad is something we can feel in our spirit. It is just present although it is hard to define. It is similar to freedom because it is just there in the sense that nobody can market it, bottle it up and call it freedom. People may be foolish enough to believe it but that is besides the point. Togetherness is something we can recognize and realize because it gives us comfort. This warm emotion is our witness that a body of believers is bound by the spirit of love in Jesus Christ.
It is certainly better than a divided church with seven different doctrines running around and people fighting all the time. People recognize togetherness so in this case Jesus Christ was at the center of this unity. Some of the characteristics are sympathy, concern and availability but it goes deeper than this because there is an openness in the spirit of the family; however, it is always backed up with responsibility and accountability for the welfare of the other person. If this is the case everybody will receive a reward in heaven because life is a test and they probably received an A.
For God is my record how greatly I long after you in the bowels of Jesus Christ.1:8. Not everyone was nice in this fellowship but he even had an affection for them. The phrase ... "In the bowels of Jesus Christ" ... is the soft concern that our Lord has for us as His children. If we can have the same spirit that Jesus Christ has for us toward other people even if our discernment from the Holy Spirit knows the bad in their heart then there is no doubt we are a man or lady in the very heart of God.
"And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment."1:9. Once again we see the most important truth listed first that we are to have in our hearts.
This love comes with an attachment because love is really supposed to abound in all knowledge and judgment. The reason why Paul said this is because he knew that love can not grow without these two qualities. If we do not have biblical knowledge and judgment then love would be blind. If I only had love that is dangerous because people can get hurt including myself. It is certainly not the will of God to just have love without studying the Bible and coming to sound conclusions for your life.
"That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ."1:10. We need to understand the laws of God through His Son Jesus Christ, settle with them in our hearts and apply them to our life. How many Christians go to church and do this in their life? Not many but it is a practice that must be done daily if the sanctifying process is to take place in our lives through the power of the Holy Spirit.
The reason why Paul uses the word "Sincere" is because God wants us perfected and honest before Him and other people If this is not happening in our hearts and lives the last part of this verse will not come true because we will be with offence. It is a good idea to always be mindful not to offend God or people. Can Jesus Christ be offended by something we do? The answer is yes and I think it is more than obvious that we can do something to another individual that hurts them either on the inside or outside.
If you do not know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Lord then consider repenting of all your sins and inviting the Son God in your life. You may be saying, "I'm not a bad person" but we all sinned before God so we need a new birth through the Lamb of God who shed His blood for the remission of our transgressions.
The truths that the Apostle Paul is sharing in this passage is for believers in Jesus Christ for the purpose of being sanctified through proper application to the word of God in their lives. You can also pursue this excellence in Jesus Christ by first accepting Him into your heart and then apply what the Bible teaches for your journey on earth. Even the greatest Christian often falls short of living the Christian life through the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. I read the Bible and talk to the Lord about my shortcomings all the time. The struggle is evidence that we are truly redeemed through Jesus Christ. It is the person that says, "Yes O.K maybe I will get to that one of these days" and just goes about his or her business. May I say that is the easy way out and I learned the hard way that nobody gets away with anything. That is not the way God programed the universe. If we just obey Jesus Christ we would save ourselves much hardships.
"Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God."1:11. Let me ask you a question. When you walk through life do you feel you are filled with the fruits of righteousness? Answer honesty. Being fruitful is being useful for God but we can only receive it from Jesus Christ so we should ask God directly for this because this can not be conjured up on our own. We do not have one ounce of righteousness in and of ourselves. If we could do this on our end the last part of this verse will never come true which says ... "Unto the glory and praise of God." We would just give ourselves the trophy. We obey by faith and God grants us the fruits of righteousness.
"But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel."1:12. Paul was concerned that his imprisonment in Rome would be a stumbling block to the people that got saved through his ministry. He wanted this church to explain that the message that Jesus Christ redeems people from their sins is expanding because of this confinement he was now facing.
I noticed something very interesting. Every time I see a sincere Christian get martyred in one way or another (it does not have to be physical death) I see the gospel being expanded in a different form. It is like God is saying He is honoring that "Death" and life is given to people that don't even know Jesus Christ. The antitheist of what evil intended to do is taking place and God is getting the glory.
"My bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace and in all other places."1:13. Did you ever notice that people are just curious by nature? Individuals started asking questions and groups were getting answers about the gospel of Jesus Christ.
That is my prayer for this ministry and others that people will start asking questions about Jesus Christ. He died a horrible death on the cross for you and rose from the dead on the third day. Jesus Christ is the perfect sacrificial atonement for our sins and I just hope anyone out there in internet land will make sure they are right with God through His Son Jesus Christ.
God Bless you,