“弟兄们，我愿意你们知道，我所遭遇的事更是叫福音兴旺， 以致我受的捆锁在御营全军和其余的人中，已经显明是为基督的缘故。 并且那在主里的弟兄多半因我受的捆锁就笃信不疑，越发放胆传 神的道，无所惧怕。 有的传基督是出于嫉妒纷争，也有的是出于好意。 这一等是出于爱心，知道我是为辩明福音设立的； 那一等传基督是出于结党，并不诚实，意思要加增我捆锁的苦楚。 这有何妨呢？或是假意，或是真心，无论怎样，基督究竟被传开了。为此，我就欢喜，并且还要欢喜； 因为我知道，这事借着你们的祈祷和耶稣基督之灵的帮助，终必叫我得救。 照着我所切慕、所盼望的，没有一事叫我羞愧。只要凡事放胆，无论是生是死，总叫基督在我身上照常显大。” 腓立比书 1:12-20
Philippians 1: 12-20. The substance of any sermon is whether the preacher follows what he preaches. Paul here has prayed in verses 9-11, that we may know what God views as excellent and in doing so, our love for God will overflow because we have seen God's heart. In real life, Paul is imprisoned (vs 13) and has understood that this circumstance has caused other believers to be more trusting in the Lord (vs 14) than before, and many evangelists have been sharing Christ more than before. This result of course sounds like a winning situation until you see why the evangelists have been doing it…they are preaching so that Paul will be blamed more and more and suffer more and more (vs 17). Yet, Paul knows the the purposes of the Father. He can spiritually see that though the circumstance is difficult but it is God approved and whether his ending is life or death (vs 20), he is excited by the knowledge that his current terrible circumstance is bringing believers to Christ. His love grows. His love for God and his love for the people (even those who are preaching to increase his suffering). He loves them because his eyes have been opened in 'real knowledge and discernment' (vs 9). Do you look at your circumstance and see God's working his part in you？ Are you willing to let him work and then to love him and his people more？ Paul did and his life reflects the joy and the peace we too can have when Jesus is in the driving seat.
FAITH BRINGS PEACE Bible Reading: Romans 5:1-11
1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope.5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.6 For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.11 And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
Paul now begins to deal with the results of salvation. In chapter 4 we saw the happiness that comes to a man who has been forgiven. Paul then mentions the peace that comes into a heart that has found Christ. This is one of the results of being accepted by God in Jesus Christ. For example, there are many people who have struggled with a guilty conscience. Their lives have been full of conflict because of it. Now they discover that God's peace has flooded their soul and they are at rest.
Then Paul states that there are further results of having put our faith in Jesus Christ. Since coming to Christ and finding new life, we have a different attitude toward testings and trials. Now we can accept them as being for a definite purpose. Testings will help us grow and that means the further development of our Christian character.
All of this strengthens our hope in Christ. We will never be disappointed in Christ because of the certainty of his love. This is made real to us by the indwelling Spirit of God.
All these things are the result of our salvation in Christ. Paul moves back to the wonder of it in verses 6-8. Here is the proof of the love of God. It wasn't because we were good that God loved us. He loved us when we were sinners in his sight. Paul calls us God's enemies in verse 10. Yet God loved us even so.
Isn't that wonderful? It was the death of God's Son that reconciled us to God. But Christ is alive again and his work today is to help maintain us in our Christian walk. It is his intercessory prayer at the throne of God that keeps us in the time of temptation and testing.
Why not stop and praise God for all he has done? Ask him to make his peace real to you day by day and to help you understand how he is working in your life continuously.
A VERSE FOR TODAY: 'Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee.'