JohnSWilson3 Blog

“to the glory and praise of God.”
April 10, 2010, 2:16 pm
Filed under: M Letter to Philippians

In Philippians chapter 1 Paul has expressed his wonderful affection and love for these Christians and makes the point that our love for one another is really “the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ – to the glory and praise of God.” Our love for one another shows forth the glory of God! That’s the whole point! That’s the big picture! God wants Jesus, the Messiah, the Christ to fill every corner of this earth, to show the glory of God! “The fruit of righteousness” that springs naturally from our abounding or growing in love for Jesus through one another. God wants growth, the growth of Jesus life to shine through our lives.

This leads Paul to describe how that looks with him. For God to express this love through Paul God has brought Paul into prison. Sometimes for us, it may be some other trial or stressful event. How will we let Jesus express Himself in these instances? Will we rely on the natural thing to do and fight back or become defensive or go into denial or some other thing that anyone else would do? Or will we let Jesus’ life take over? Will His grace and truth, His fruit of righteousness shine forth? I know I’m still learning to let Jesus be in control in those moments. My flesh wants to take over. I realize it when it happens, a word not spoken rightly and so on. I have to ask for forgiveness. Forgiveness – it is what wells up in me in those moments. Only Jesus can do that. Perhaps if Christians, those who truly follow Jesus as Lord learned to accept their weaknesses, learned to rely on Jesus more seeking Him in prayer, and forgave or sought forgiveness perhaps we could let Jesus shine a little more brightly in our lives.

For Paul, suffering was part and parcel of the Christian experience. To the Corinthian Christians he told them how he had struggled with difficulties but realized those struggles were meant to keep him from becoming conceited. Paul learned that God is not after our being comfortable but after His glory being expressed, being displayed to all. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” that’s what Jesus told Paul. So Paul said “I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

“Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. as a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.” Paul let Jesus have His way in his life completely. Wow! “The fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ” is to bring “glory and praise” to God! That fruit is love. As Paul had written to the churches in Galatia some time ago “the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” Reaping a harvest is advancing the gospel, the fellowship of God with man! God’s glory expressed!

Paul’s proclamation of the message of salvation, that “through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses” always seemed to meet with adversity. As he would share with the Roman Christians: “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.'” Jesus desires to be Lord of everyone, that brings Him glory! But we want to be our own masters and the masters of others. But Jesus’ life, eternal life, is given to all who believe on Him! He frees us from this selfishness, which is sin as well as the law, through which we make every attempt to justify ourselves, or make us seem good enough. We are a people of habit. We don’t like change. We want our lives to count for us. But Jesus wants to give us a life of change, a life that is emptied of self, that is focused completely on Him, His glory, and love for one another. Every day He seems to bring something to me/us to show forth His glory! Advancing the gospel, the good news of Jesus is advancing Jesus’ lordship over all! That will put us out of standing, that will put Paul in prison.

But Paul always sees the good in things, Paul sees something Jesus is bringing about, no matter how terrible they may seem! “What has really happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.” Paul told the church of the Thessalonians that we are to “encourage each other,” and from his own time of living with them they encouraged, comforted, and urged them “to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.” The “gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction.” As a result of Paul letting Jesus be Lord over all of his life and proclaiming that same good news to others no matter the cost, the other brothers and sisters were also “encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.” This is not Bible bashing as I’ve heard it. It is living God’s word, letting Jesus live His life of lordship through us, and is done or expressed in both by what we say and what we do. When God’s life is so expressed in our lives does anything else really matter? Can we completely put ourselves into God’s hands and let Him determine the outcome? Can we decide to let Jesus be Lord and love unconditionally? Can we let Jesus be Lord of our gathering together and let Him lead our gatherings however He desires? Isn’t the gospel, the good news, about fellowship with Jesus, who is Lord over all?

How Jesus desires to be expressed, His glory displayed, to find a place in every corner of this earth to have a people who make Him Lord over all, no matter the consequences. To Paul I think he would stay away from the word “consequences” as this gives a negative connotation, because to Paul the results of following Jesus as Lord were actually benefits! Because Jesus’ glory, the advancement of His glory was all that mattered!

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