Philippians 1:

v6: We are all “diamonds in the rough” and Christ is perfecting things within us until our death if we abide in Him.

v12-14: Paul recognizes that his circumstances caused more good things to happen, even though they sometimes included imprisonment. This is a classic example of having God’s perspective (spirit) and proving Romans 8:28 again, “…God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” If we, therefore, can have this same attitude toward what God allows to happen to us, we are maturing in the spirit. It is an indication that we really do trust that God is in control. This alone can be a difficult lesson to learn for us. By nature, we want to control things, especially if it means our comfort. In Paul’s case, more people heard about him because he was put in prison, therefore more heard the Gospel.

v15-18: Unfortunately, some preached the Gospel from selfish ambition and distanced themselves from Paul. We have these types today. Paul’s reaction is godly — he rejoiced no matter what the motive the Gospel was being delivered to people because they were hearing the Gospel. As much as I cannot tolerate self-centered preachers, I have heard people over the years testify that they came to Christ though their ministry. As for me, those preachers will remain a turn-off and God will judge them (and He has in several cases over the years). I do still rejoice in someone else’s salvation no matter what source they responded to, but I can never advocate certain ministries.

v21-24: This describes the win-win situation for us – If we die, we will be with Jesus in glory. If we live longer, Jesus can do more wonderful things through us for ourselves and others.

v28-29: Not to be alarmed by our opponents. Expect them. The spirit in them hates the righteousness of Jesus seen in us. As we walk in the spirit, we will have opponents, and God uses what they do and say against us (Jesus) as a means of judging them. So we do not have to judge (condemn) them, nor say nasty things about them. If push comes to shove, we may have to simply say, “The Lord rebuke you.” That’s all. No railing judgment against them (Jude v9).

Philippians 2:

v3-4: Regard others as more important than ourselves. I find this uncommon unfortunately. Therefore this is what our priorities need to be:

1st = Jesus
2nd = Others       =     JOY!
3rd = Yourself

v5-8: This is the main passage that reveals how God, in the role of a Son, denied Himself all His rights as God via humility, a willingness to become a man, and a willingness to die as a criminal in the eyes of the society He lived in. This split role of Father-Son allowed Him to do this. Even though He is the highest authority, He allowed Himself to experience the temptation to not submit to a higher authority as the Son had to obey the Father (Hebrews 5:8). If He came to earth as “The Father,” how could He then learn obedience? He had to limit Himself temporarily in order to fulfill The Law and His redemptive quest. All this allowed Him to be tempted by Satan and to learn how to trust something He could not see. Therefore, on Judgment Day, no soul can say to God that He doesn’t know what it’s like to live in the flesh, unable to see God, and to be tempted to sin.

v9-11: Once again the Bible is asserting as strongly as it can: Jesus is the ONLY way to eternal life. This chapter explains the WHY.

v15-18: This encourages us to be the Light for others as our nation and culture gets worse.

v21: Describes most people of earth – “They all seek after their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.”

Philippians 3: God warns us through Paul to beware of the “false circumcision.” In the context of his culture, Paul is referring to Jews who rejected the Gospel, but it can to refer to anyone who trusts in their own qualifications, deeds, or accomplishments to earn God’s favor and salvation. Paul says to “Put no confidence in the flesh” (v4). He then says if anyone could do this, he is the one that could (even though he knows it’s futile). He lists his “qualifications.” The man did it all correctly and what was the outcome? He was persecuting Christians until a resurrected Jesus stopped him on the Damascus Road. So the phrase “put no confidence in the flesh” means that if we are to accomplish anything for God, we cannot rely only upon our innate or acquired abilities. The Spirit of God, who makes all things possible, must be the One at work through us if something of eternal value is to be realized (John 15:5).

People having great talents can be prone to fail with this crucial issue. As a trained educator, I have a choice to rely upon my training and experience to pull off a great teaching, or submit to and rely upon the Holy Spirit, who glorifies Jesus (John 16:14), to give me the right words at the right time to the right person or people. Big difference. When Paul got this revelation from Jesus, he was willing to “throw away” all his “credentials” in order to have Christ. Now this does not mean that he did not use any of his knowledge learned from the great teacher Gamaliel (Acts 22:3), but it does mean that he was no longer proud about his knowledge and yielded to the Holy Spirit to accomplish God’s purposes. Any ability or knowledge in Paul was now sparked and used as the Holy Spirit saw fit.

v13: A healthy thing for us to do: “forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead.” Sometimes our past failures/disappointments keep us from achieving good things.

v14: But Paul presses on to Christ and keeps his eye on Him as the greatest prize one could ever be given. This is the antidote for allowing our past to haunt and hold us back.

v18-20: A warning against living for this world because this world, and all of its attractions, can veer our hearts away from loving and serving God. We are all actually smack-dab in the middle of many spirits vying for our affection. This is why the Word tells us that God is a jealous God and that the Holy Spirit guards over us with tender jealousy (James 4:4-5). If we walk on earth as though our actual citizenship is in Heaven and not on this earth (Hebrews 11:13), we should have the feeling that we are strangers or aliens in this world. This world as a whole will never accept true believers in Christ (John 14:17). The people who belong to this world (worship worldly things and live for temporal things) will never understand the true Christian. They will either shake their heads in confusion regarding our attitudes and actions, or hate us (Acts 17:6; 1 Corinthians 2:12-14; 1 John 2:15). So be encouraged not to conform to the loves and lusts of this world, because the love of our Father is not in them (1 John 2:15). This world will not last forever, and our flesh and blood days are very short.

Philippians 4:

v6-7: “Be anxious for nothing.” Here’s a challenge for us. How can we do this? Faith in God, and having an attitude of thankfulness no matter what we are going through. If we do this, the promise is for inner peace that only our God gives. Furthermore, it promises to guard our hearts and minds along our way. This world will never be able to give us this.

v8-9: A great anti-TV verse. God tells us that our minds need to dwell on things that are pure, honorable, good repute, right, worthy of praise. This has an amazing affect on our emotional and spiritual health. By practicing these listed things we will have peace inside.

v11-12: Learn to be content in whatever circumstance we find ourselves. This, too, helps our emotional health. Contrary to our modern “prosperity preachers,” Paul did not live in abundance all the time. If this “gospel” was accurate, then Jesus would have been one of the wealthiest Christians in history. There is also no evidence that even suggests that any of the original Apostles had lots of money.

v13: A great inspirational verse – “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

v19: Another big one – “My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus.” Notice it says, “needs” not wants.