(part12) Phil.1:12-18 




      A PERCEPTION  But I would ye should understand, brethren,

A PROBLEM        that the things happened unto me

J.H. Jowett called this section of Philippians “the fortune of misfortune”.  Catastrophe and calamity are difficult to understand.  There are no accidents with God and He doesn’t make mistakes.  We may freak-out into a fatalistic mood swing in our emotions while we pay lip service to the fact that God is sovereign, but God is in control and what looks like a slip or what appears a drastic gaffe we need to release to His purpose.

Not till each loom is silent,

And the shuttles cease to fly,

Shall God reveal the pattern?

And explain the reason why

The dark threads were as needful

In the weaver’s skillful hand

As the threads of gold and silver

For the pattern which He planned

(Poem Author Unknown)

Getting tossed into prison is a far from positive note on any one’s resume but Paul is telling those in Philippi; and, the Spirit of God is speaking to us, saying “Relax, understand My purpose.”

A PROVIDENCE have fallen out rather

So how far do we stretch this stuff?  Is there really a sane line we need to maintain when we hammer negatives into positives?  There are hindrances, obstructions and interferences and there is nothing profitable about living in denial.  On the other hand, God’s Spirit challenges us that nothing is impossible with God so don’t be all devastated at each difficulty.  The gears don’t always mesh smoothly so we’re not to be stoic defeatists.

A PURSUIT       unto the furtherance of the gospel;

There is the Divine side of things and the human side of things and that is what prayer is all about.  Prayer is our vehicle of passage to find “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth”

This word furtherance is a nautical term meaning “to make headway,” “to forge ahead.”  When we are heading somewhere if we are going to experience “furtherance” we are making progress on the journey.  Furtherance is what is known as a reverse invasion.  What appears on the surface, as a ground loss in warfare is actually ground being increased.  Like all paradoxical absurdities this is truth standing on its head to get attention.

You and I may feel at times like we’re going backwards.  We may look at our Nation or our World today and it appears that everything is in a mess and on the decline.  But God is not stumped; nothing hinders Him.  He is moving ahead and asks us to be on board with His purpose of spreading the glory of Christ no matter what the circumstances.

We have a natural suspicion that all things don’t work together for good and a hunch that only the positive experiences in life are God’s blessing.  This is more then a subconscious feeling lurking in the shadows.

John Bunyan while imprisoned in Bedford Prisons where he wrote Pilgrims Progress stated in a sermon: The Advantages of Disadvantages:

“I never had in all my life so great an inlet into the Word of God as now. Those Scriptures that I saw nothing in before are made in this place and state to shine upon me. I have seen that here which I am persuaded I shall never in this world be able to express.”


      THE RESTRICTIONS So that my bonds in Christ

THE RECOGNITION  are manifest in all the palace,

                                                  and in all other places; 

Paul’s imprisonment was not a criminal charge but a Christ charge.  It is impossible to confine Christ for no one can imprison an infinite message.  The Sovereign of the universes will not be stymied.  Is there a force trying to thwart truth and prevent the perfection of Jesus’s salvation message?  Yes, there is growing animosity spilling out everywhere.  We cannot live in denial to the oppression of those who reject Jesus.  But we are not to crumble in paranoia.


      The Challenge          And many of the brethren in the Lord, 

The threat of harassment or any kind of rejection can cause us to feel timid and discouraged about saying we’re believers in Jesus.

If there is an increasing risk of loss of individual comfort and freedom in our stand for Christ we could be tempted to defect into various degrees of betrayal.

The Confidence        waxing confident by my bonds, 

Paul was an outspoken leader in His love for Christ and He shared Jesus in every circumstance.  The negative effects of facing persecution to the point of imprisonment had a positive upshot instead.  Paul’s bold leadership in sharing the Gospel even in jail was powerfully effective.

To say that Paul was a fanatic about sharing his relationship with Jesus Christ with everyone is putting it mildly.  He was extreme, passionate and fervently dedicated to impacting everyone with his or her need of Jesus.

John Phillips wrote: “God in Christ had invaded time, and only the truths that related to Him were important in this life. Salvation from sin, a home in Heaven, union with Christ, life in a new dimension, and life driven by a new dynamic were the glorious realities that everybody needed to know. Paul’s sole goal in life was to make Christ known

Paul wrote: “I suffer trouble, as an evildoer, even unto bonds; but the Word of God is not bound” 2 Tim. 2:9

The Courage             are much more bold

Word Studies in the Greek N.T. writes: “The words “waxing confident” come from a word which means, “to persuade.” These Christians had been persuaded by the brave and fearless example of Paul in prison, and had come to a state of settled confidence in the Lord.”

The Communication  to speak the word without fear 

“To speak” means to break silence.  It’s much more comfortable to be a closet Christian, to be an undercover secret agent.  Jesus can be an inconvenient, awkward admission and we are uncomfortable confessing our love of Him.  In the first century to believe in Jesus was more then just politically incorrect it might have meant for me imprisonment, torture and even a gruesome death to present my belief in Christ.

James Boice wrote in his Expositional Commentary that: “Some passages of the Bible have to be understood by the emotions as well as by the mind. To understand them fully you must put yourself into the shoes of the Bible characters and try to feel as they felt.”

Do we really feel that problems are a positive?  James says: “count it all joy with you fall into diverse trials” Jesus taught: “blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and say all manner of evil against you falsely for my name”

It should be are constant prayer, that we could speak the Word without fear.  Phillips renders Matthew 10:29-33 in this way:

“Two sparrows sell for a farthing, don’t they? Yet not a single sparrow falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge. The very hairs of your head are all numbered. Never be afraid, then – you are far more valuable than sparrows….  Every man who publicly acknowledges me I shall acknowledge in the presence of my Father in Heaven, but the man who disowns me before men I shall disown before my Father in Heaven.’

In a book titled Rut, Rot or Revival, The Problem of Change and Breaking Out of The Status Quo by A.W. Tozer we read the other side of the coin: “Do not try to pray down something that the Lord is telling you to do.  We are to witness boldly about Jesus Christ, not just pray about witnessing.  We have His commandment and as John says if we have His commandment and keep it, or in other words do it, Jesus will manifest Himself to us in special ways. John 14:21

The thought I take from this is not that we should not pray, no, we should pray as much as we breathe.  But prayer is not a closet of inactivity in which we wait for the idealization of circumstances.  The Jordan river would not part until the Israelis put their foot into it’s raging full waters.  We have to take steps and step in.        





                  Some indeed preach Christ even of envy

Envy is an attitude of spite.  This lack of kindness boils in resentment at seeing the success of another.  It is strange that there was a jealous begrudging over the influence Paul was having as a communicator.

CAUSTIC PREACHING      and strife;

Strife means factious rivalry, it is being divisive, contentious and controversial.  We see this in the competitive spirit of various denominations where there can be hair splitting and axe grinding about an assortment of non-essential positions.

There is no room in the ministry for being competitive.  We are to each just serve Christ,  not seeking credit or recognition.  We’re not trying to outdo, outshine or outdistance one another.

Kent Hughes writes: “These preachers were not heretics or apostates. They were not preaching another gospel or another Christ, if they had been, Paul would have said, as he did to the Galatians, “Let him be accursed” Galatians 1:8, 9. Paul’s detractors were preaching the Biblical Jesus. They were not anti-Christ but anti-Paul.” 

The Greek historian Xenophon said, “The envious are those annoyed only at their friends’ successes.” So envy is more set on depriving the other person of the desired thing than to gain it.

John of the Cross described its pathology in the church: “As far as envy is concerned, many experience displeasure when they see others in possession of spiritual goods. They feel sensibly hurt because others surpass them on this road, and they resent it when others are praised.”

CONSCIENTIOUS PREACHING and some also of good will: 

Good will is sometimes translated “good pleasure” and “desire” it implies a gracious purpose, a good object being in view, with the idea of a resolve to please another.

We see good will used in Eph. 1:5; Rom. 10:1 and 2 Thess. 1:11.

Eph. 1:5: “having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

Rom. 10:1 my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.”

2 Thess. 1:11: “we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power.”

Good will is the word used when the Angels announced the birth of Jesus saying glory to God in the highest and on the earth peace, good will to men.

John MacArthur refers to this as “the positive motive of desiring what is best for others.”


                The one preach Christ of contention, 

When preachers become territorial, possessive and illogically controlling, it produces a spirit of conflict and controversy.

It’s not “our church”, it’s not “our people” and it’s not “our truth”.  Christ is the head of the church and we are His people, He is the Lord of all truth.

CORRUPT PREACHING not sincerely, 

When the purity of the gospel is mixed with the dirt of contention, jealousy and insincerity, it’s perplexing and confusing.

CALLOUS PREACHING supposing to add affliction to my bonds:

The word “affliction” suggests the aggravating and the burning friction of a prisoner’s chains against his ankles and wrists.

These preachers were hoping their success would irritate Paul. They hoped that thoughts of their freedom (compared to his incarceration) would gall him. It is hard to imagine how anyone could be so mean-spirited, but there are people who take pleasure in other people’s reverses.

COMPASSIONATE PREACHING V.17 But the other of love,

Love is focused on sacrifice not self-enhancement.  Love reaches out to strengthen, encourage and promote another.  Self-enhancement is narcissistic egomania.

What a concept, to be energized and motivated by love for others in all that we say and do for others.  How tragic that we can share a message of love with base intent.


                knowing that I am set for the defense of the gospel.

Kent Hughes writes “Life will have its ups and downs for all of us. There will be times when we will feel metaphorically chained by the circumstances of life—misunderstood, maligned, ignored, spitefully used. But if the gospel is first in our life, we will be able to say with Paul, “What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice”

DETERMINED PROCEEDS V.18 What then? Notwithstanding,

          every way, whether in pretense, or in truth, Christ is preached;

          and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.

Isaiah 55:11 “My word … which goes forth from My mouth … will

not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and

without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.”

John Eadie writes, “The virtue lies in the gospel, not in the gospeller; in the exposition, and not in the expounder”




      A PERCEPTION  But I would ye should understand, brethren,

A PROBLEM        that the things happened unto me

A PROVIDENCE have fallen out rather

A PURSUIT           unto the furtherance of the gospel;


      THE RESTRICTIONS So that my bonds in Christ

THE RECOGNITION  are manifest in all the palace,

                                                  and in all other places;

TREPIDATION IS AVERTED V.14 And many of the brethren in

                                           the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are

                                     much more bold to speak the word without fear.     




     CRUEL PREACHING V.15 Some indeed preach Christ even of envy

CAUSTIC PREACHING      and strife;

CONSCIENTIOUS PREACHING and some also of good will:


                                                        The one preach Christ of  contention,

CORRUPT PREACHING not sincerely,

CALLOUS PREACHING supposing to add affliction to my bonds:

COMPASSIONATE PREACHING V.17 But the other of love,

CONCERNED PREACHING knowing that I am set for

                                                              the defense of the gospel.

DETERMINED PROCEEDS V.18 What then? Notwithstanding,  

                      every way, whether in pretense, or in truth, Christ is

                      preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice

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1 Response to 13. THE POWER OF JOY IN THE PRISON OF PAIN IN PHIL. (part12) Phil.1:12-18

  1. Jill Stephens says:

    Stupendous & Relevant!! Who is your proofreader ? Love you


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