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"Amillennialism 101" -- Audio and On-Line Resources
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"To Live is Christ" -- Philippians 1:12-30

The Third in a Series of Sermons on Paul's Letter to the Philippians

Paul is confined to house arrest in Rome.  But the Apostle has one-overarching desire–that Jesus Christ be proclaimed to everyone.  Paul’s desire to see this happen stems from two important factors.  The first is Paul’s dramatic conversion on the Damascus Road (as recounted in Acts 9).  Paul had been instantaneously transformed from an arch-persecutor of Christ’s church to a shepherd of Christ’s flock.  Paul was called to serve that one whom he had been persecuting, when the Risen Jesus appeared to Paul and called him to preach the gospel to the Gentiles–including those in Philippi.  The second factor is Paul’s understanding of his office as apostle, and the concern that his ability to preach that gospel will be hampered by his imprisonment.  The Philippians too are concerned about Paul’s imprisonment, not only for the Apostle’s personal circumstances, but for the on-going success of the gospel mission.  Paul will assure them that even house arrest in Rome will not stop him and others from preaching the gospel.  Whether Paul lives or dies, Jesus Christ will be preached and the gospel will progress.

Paul has already undertaken three missionary journeys and fully trusts in the power of Jesus, so that even though confined to house arrest, Paul still preaches Christ crucified to those with whom he comes into contact while in Rome–whether that be people who visit him, others likewise confined, members of the Praetorian Guard, or even members of Caesar’s own household.  The proclamation of the gospel is not limited to Paul–God has called others to preach it as well.  Although human sinfulness and pettyness threatens to get in the way, Paul tells the Philippians that he is not concerned with the question of why people preach Christ crucified (their motives), only that they do so.  Since this is the case–the gospel is being preached throughout the empire by preachers for all sorts of reasons–Paul can rejoice in the midst of his imprisonment because Christ is still being preached in both Rome and in Philippi.  The Apostle might be hampered by his ordeal, but Jesus’ power is most evident in times of human weakness.

We are continuing our series on Paul’s letter to the Philippians.  We are now in the second half of the opening chapter (vv. 12-30).  We have seen in prior sermons that Paul is writing while under house arrest in Rome to a congregation of Gentile Christians in Philippi, a church which Paul was privileged to help found some ten years or so earlier.  He began his letter to the Philippians with the traditional salutation and thanksgiving, but Paul also includes a heart-felt prayer for the Philippians (vv. 3-11), petitioning the Lord to grant the Philippians abounding love for each other, a love which will be grounded in knowledge and discernment (v. 9).  Paul also prays that the Philippians may approve of what is excellent so that they may be pure and blameless on the day of the Jesus Christ (his second advent).  Paul sees all of these things not as a product of human attainment, but as the fruit of that righteousness which comes through faith in Jesus Christ.  Knowing that God has already begun his good work of new creation in them, Paul is confident that Jesus will see that good work through to that day when he returns to raise the dead, judge the world, and make all things new.

So when we pick up with our text in verse 12, Paul is in mid-thought, so to speak.  After praying for the Philippians, he begins to address a number of concerns the Philippians expressed to him through Epaphroditus, one of their own number sent from Philippi to offer Paul encouragement and support.  In verse 12, Paul informs the Philippians that “I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.”  The Philippians are understandably concerned about Paul and the outcome of his appeal to Caesar.  The Philippians fear that the worst might happen–that Paul will put to death while in Rome, and the progress of the gospel will come to a halt.  But far from impeding the progress of the gospel, Paul’s imprisonment advanced the cause of Jesus Christ.

To read the rest of this sermon:  Click Here

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