Philippians 1:19 For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,
20 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.
21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
22 But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not.
23 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:
24 Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.
We noted earlier that Paul had been imprisoned in Philippi and had been given the opportunity to witness to the jailer and his family. A church was born in Philippi. The book of Philippians was written during Paul’s imprisonment in Rome. The apostle Paul spent several years in prison. The apostle Paul was never a political prisoner. He was a prisoner of the Lord Jesus Christ. He was in prison because the Jewish false teachers hated the truth and wanted him silenced. They wanted to kill him. God had other plans. God’s will must be done. The Romans, who were pagans, were used to protect Paul from the Jewish false teachers.
In verse 19, Paul was trusting that the preaching of the Gospel was the power of God unto salvation for the Jews and the Greeks. He was looking forward to be released from prison through the prayers of the saints. He was not scheming and looking for a lawyer that could spin a good yarn before the officials. He was trusting in the Lord to turn the hearts of the officials to release him. He was also dependent upon the Lord to keep the false teachers from getting their way. His trust and his hope was in the Spirit of Jesus Christ. That is where every born again Christian should have their hope. Lawyers are ready to take your money. They may know the twist and the turns of the law better than you do. They do not know the Lord and thus they cannot accomplish what God wants done. He wants His name and His Word proclaimed to all people.
In verse 20 we see Paul’s desire expressed again. His primary hope and goal was not to get out of prison. His primary goal and purpose was to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ.
Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
The wicked know how to use Jesus’ name in vain. They need to be reminded that He is the only Saviour. They also need to be reminded of their need to be saved. Paul did not want to be ashamed before the Lord. That is what matters.
Peter had been ashamed earlier in his life when he denied Jesus Christ three times. He went out and wept bitterly. If a true saint is walking faithfully with the Lord, he or she has nothing to be ashamed of in this world. If a true saint is not walking faithfully with the Lord he or she has much to be ashamed of both now and at death.
Jesus Christ needs to be magnified in all things. Paul was content to do so whether it was by his life being extended on earth, or in his death at the hands of wicked people.
Verse 21 sums up the testimony every true Christian should have. If this is what we live for, then we will know God’s peace and joy. Christians do not need to be sitting on pins and needles when they face life’s challenges. Whether facing persecution for our faith, or facing some health issue, the true child of God is saved by God’s grace and he or she is walking by faith and that faith is in the salvation provided as a gift through the Lord Jesus Christ. The true child of God knows that death here is the entrance to heaven. That is a gain.
In verse 22 Paul was not referring to the “flesh” as is sometimes used. He was not speaking of walking in sin. He was speaking of remaining alive on this earth. He was looking at the blessing he had already known in seeing lost sinners saved in Philippi. That was the fruit of his labour. He was also trusting that others would be saved yet, through his faithful testimony. The true child of God is always looking for opportunities to proclaim God’s goodness to others. Paul ended verse 22 with the honest answer of a true saint. There is the desire to live here and be a faithful servant of the Lord. There is also the desire to be in glory and be a servant of the Lord. The true child of God trusts God to bless him or her according to His will.
Verses 23-24 continues to make that point. Paul knew the ultimate reward of the saint is to be with the Lord. He also knew that the true saint is saved to glorify God on this earth. That is why he could say what he said in verse 21. God will always have a few people on this earth who will be a witness for Him. There are professing Christians who live very much for themselves. They choose pleasure over truth. They choose a compromised religion over truth. They want the world more than they want Jesus Christ. Those who are truly saved, will be drawn by the Lord to be able to genuinely repeat the words of the Lord in verse 21. They will be refined to be more Christ-like as they live on this earth. That is the blessing of being a child of God.
Today is another day to go to a good church and learn of the Lord Jesus Christ. You can stay home and join a good church via the internet, but that is not the same as being in a good church where the Lord would want you. There will be some shut-ins who do not have the health needed to get out. There are others who choose not be be blessed of the Lord.
We would encourage you to listen to the Lord today and take the opportunity He has granted you to be in the house of the Lord!
I Kings 12:27 If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah.
Jeroboam was chosen by God to be king of the newly divided nation of Israel. He was also promised by God to be blessed as king if he would walk in the fear of the LORD. Jeroboam was a wicked man who chose not to listen to the LORD. He understood the impact of going to the house of the LORD. He knew that the house of the LORD was the place where people would hear the Word of the LORD and that would work in their hearts to turn them to the LORD and then back to loyalty to king Rehoboam. Jeroboam did not want that. He did not want to trust the LORD, who had made him king. He could have been a godly king who would exalt the LORD and thus the people would have been loyal to him under their loyalty to the LORD.
When a person’s heart is right with the LORD, he will make wise choices in other areas of life as well. When a person’s heart is not right with the LORD, he cannot make wise choices in other areas of life. James 1 shows us this truth very clearly. The apostle Paul was a true child of God and he had no doubt of what he needed to be doing. He was a child of God first and foremost. He wanted his life to count for God’s glory in all things. That is why he could remain in prison if need be. He could also be a free man if that was God’s will. Either way, he was going to preach the Gospel to all he met. He rejoiced in seeing the saints and he rejoiced in seeing a lost sinner be made a saint through the forgiveness of God.
Psalm 100:1 Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.
2 Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
3 Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
5 For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.