Philippians Recap (audio file)
Citizenship: Christ is the…
…Focal point of the book…
- in this 4 Chapter book, there are 37 times that Paul uses the name Jesus, or Christ, or Jesus Christ specifically. 19 times, some form of the word “him” is used in reference to Christ. 12 times the word Lord is used in reference to Christ. So a total of 68 times that Christ is referenced in this short book.
- Some of the ways that Christ is referenced include: Paul and Timothy are “servants of Christ Jesus”; The saints are “in Christ Jesus”; Paul looks forward to the ‘day of Christ”; Paul’s imprisonment is “for Christ”; There are other people out there “preaching Christ”; Paul rejoices that “Christ is Proclaimed”; Paul is confident that no matter what happens to him, “Christ will be honored in his body”; for him, “to live is Christ”; Paul exhorts us to “live our lives in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ”; he tells them that it has been granted to us that we will suffer “for the sake of Christ”, we are to be encouraged “in Christ”; Christ gave us the ultimate example of humility on the cross, which also brought our salvation; Because of his humility and obedience on the cross, God highly exalted him and gave him the name above all names; Timothy seeks the interest of Christ above his own interests, Epaphroditis nearly died “for the work of Christ”; Paul calls us to Glory in Christ Jesus, and tells us that “whatever gain [he] had [he] counts as loss …because of the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus Christ”; he tells us that the righteousness that he possesses does not come from himself in the law, but through faith in Christ; he says that “Jesus Christ has made [him] his own”; he says that “our citizenship is in heaven and from it we await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ”; and that this savior because of his glorious body subjects all things to himself; he says that when we pray, the peace of God will guard our hearts and minds “in Christ Jesus”; he says to them that God has riches in glory “in Jesus Christ”; he reminds them to greet every saint “in Christ Jesus”; and prays that the “grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.” You may think as you read this book that Paul is the active agent in the book, but after reading through these references, it is clear that Jesus is busy in the book of Philippians, is he not?
- 9 references to “the gospel”
- 22 references to “God”
- … Flag of our Citizenship… 1:27-30, 3:20
- all through this book there are references to how are understanding of Jesus’ work will impact our lives. He uses the imagery of citizenship several times to describe believers. He also describes the effect of being citizens of the Gospel or of heaven, as a unifying effect. We walk in one spirit, one mind, striving side by side. All the basis of our unity must be Jesus Christ alone. We are not to let secondary issues stand in the way of our unity in Christ.
- …basis of our righteousness…3:8-11, 1:11
- ….example of our humility…2:1-8
- …source of our contentment…4:12-13
- …cause of our rejoicing…
- 10 times in the book uses the words “joy” or “rejoicing” that is remarkable when you consider his situation.
- …receiver and giver of the glory…2:9-11
- Colossians 3:17: And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
- 1 Corinthians 10:31: So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
Jesus is the point of this book. He is everything we need, he is the basis of what Paul wants to point us to.
Now the question of ultimate importance for each one of us is this: is Christ all of these things for you?
“I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.”
Spiritual knowledge of Christ will be a personal knowledge. I cannot know Jesus through another person’s acquaintance with him. No, I must know him myself; I must know him on my own account. It will be an intelligent knowledge—I must know him, not as the visionary dreams of him, but as the Word reveals him. I must know his natures, divine and human. I must know his offices—his attributes—his works—his shame—his glory. I must meditate upon him until I “comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge.” It will be an affectionate knowledge of him; indeed, if I know him at all, I must love him. An ounce of heart knowledge is worth a ton of head learning. Our knowledge of him will be a satisfying knowledge. When I know my Saviour, my mind will be full to the brim—I shall feel that I have that which my spirit panted after. “This is that bread whereof if a man eat he shall never hunger.” At the same time it will be an exciting knowledge; the more I know of my Beloved, the more I shall want to know. The higher I climb the loftier will be the summits which invite my eager footsteps. I shall want the more as I get the more. Like the miser’s treasure, my gold will make me covet more. To conclude; this knowledge of Christ Jesus will be a most happy one; in fact, so elevating, that sometimes it will completely bear me up above all trials, and doubts, and sorrows; and it will, while I enjoy it, make me something more than “Man that is born of woman, who is of few days, and full of trouble”; for it will fling about me the immortality of the ever living Saviour, and gird me with the golden girdle of his eternal joy. Come, my soul, sit at Jesus’s feet and learn of him all this day.
“The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost.” -C. H. Spurgeon
This age is peculiarly the dispensation of the Holy Spirit, in which Jesus cheers us, not by his personal presence, as he shall do by-and-by, but by the indwelling and constant abiding of the Holy Ghost, who is evermore the Comforter of the church. It is his office to console the hearts of God’s people. He convinces of sin; he illuminates and instructs; but still the main part of his work lies in making glad the hearts of the renewed, in confirming the weak, and lifting up all those that be bowed down. He does this by revealing Jesus to them. The Holy Spirit consoles, but Christ is the consolation. If we may use the figure, the Holy Spirit is the Physician, but Jesus is the medicine. He heals the wound, but it is by applying the holy ointment of Christ’s name and grace. He takes not of his own things, but of the things of Christ. So if we give to the Holy Spirit the Greek name of Paraclete, as we sometimes do, then our heart confers on our blessed Lord Jesus the title of Paraclesis. If the one be the Comforter, the other is the Comfort. Now, with such rich provision for his need, why should the Christian be sad and desponding? The Holy Spirit has graciously engaged to be thy Comforter: dost thou imagine, O thou weak and trembling believer, that he will be negligent of his sacred trust? Canst thou suppose that he has undertaken what he cannot or will not perform? If it be his especial work to strengthen thee, and to comfort thee, dost thou suppose he has forgotten his business, or that he will fail in the loving office which he sustains towards thee? Nay, think not so hardly of the tender and blessed Spirit whose name is “the Comforter.” He delights to give the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. Trust thou in him, and he will surely comfort thee till the house of mourning is closed forever, and the marriage feast has begun.