Let us notice some blessed benefits in the believer’s relationship with the Lord. It is a priceless and personal privilege to be partakers of and identified with Him, our dear Lord Jesus Christ.
“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” Phil. 1:3-6.
OUR POSITION – IN CHRIST: the Apostle Paul begins this epistle by addressing the saints “In Christ.” Oh, what a position! It is so important that we be currently aware of and living in the enjoyment and power of it. Realization of our position should make a great difference in our spiritual condition, and should affect our disposition. Sometimes we seem so prone to forget, or we ignore or take it for granted. This ought not to be. Thank God, Jesus Christ is indeed our Ark of safety. There is no better place, nothing more secure, than being in Him. There is no condemnation, and from Him there is no separation. We have been crucified with Him, raised up and seated in heavenly places. Glory to God! What a lofty place we have “in Christ Jesus!”
OUR PROVISION – BY CHRIST JESUS: “For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ…But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” Phil. 1:19; 4:19. Full salvation, complete deliverance – body, soul, and spirit – is wrought for us, being worked in us; and we can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth us – 4:13. Happy is the man that finds in the Spirit of Christ his satisfying portion. Lord, help us look nowhere else.
OUR PRIVILEGE – PREACH CHRIST: “And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the Word without fear. Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to by bonds: But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defense of the Gospel. What then? Notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretense, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice” Phil. 1:14-18.
Preaching Christ was not a privilege given exclusively to Paul alone. Thank God, we each may be partakers in the ministry of the Gospel, sharing the labor and the rewards alike. Preaching Christ is not all done from the pulpit. Paul did not try to exclude any, even though he knew that not all had the right attitude or purpose. Yet, we read of real victorious rejoicing, on Paul’s part. We, to, when fully following Paul and are in fellowship with Him, can also rejoice when and wherever Christ is truly preached.
OUR PURPOSE – LIVE CHRIST: In order to live Christ, we must let self cease, and allow Him to do the living. “According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die in gain” – Phil. 1:20-21. This is such a special privilege. It is indeed awesome to consider. “I am crucified with “Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me” – Gal. 2:20. We may also enjoy this earnest expectation of Christ being magnified in our bodies. Our Apostle Paul here expressed the attitude of a real living sacrifice. We are enriched and shall be eternally rewarded by surrendering the control of our life to the Lord.
OUR LIFE’S PRODUCT – BY CHRIST JESUS: “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; that ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ; being filled with the fruit of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God. But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the Gospel” – Phil. 1:9-12.
God desires from us productive lives. The Apostle wrote that he desired that fruit abound to the saints’ account. We also, as we fall deeper in love with the Lord, want to be fruitful “unto the glory and praise of God.” The fruit spoken of here is produced out of a righteous life. “The fruit of the Spirit,” that Paul speaks of in Galatians 5:22-23, is also traits of the life of Christ being reproduced in us. The only fruit that can possibly come froth from us “unto the glory and praise of God” is by Jesus Christ. Therefore, let us wholeheartedly trust Him for truly productive lives.
OUR PROSPECT – WITH CHRIST: In verse twenty-three, Paul spoke of “having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ,” Oh, how Jesus wanted this, He had real joy set before Him. In Proverbs 8:30-31, we read of Jesus as wisdom personified, being daily His Father’s delight; and yet His delights were also “with the sons of men.” Oh, how much He wanted us with Him. He prayed for it in His high priestly prayer, recorded in John 17:24. This was His will on the way to the Cross where He paid for it. Jesus has so fully provided for and prepared the way that we be “with Him” forever.
Paul’s desire to depart, and ours, is not just to get out of our troubles or away from the presence of sin and corruption which serve to make us very, very homesick. II Cor. 5:1-8, We groan, we who have the earnest of the Spirit (a little foretaste of Heaven) a token of that which is better in the world to come. We groan, yet our groaning is not just to get out of these limited, corrupt, decaying, dishonorable, weak natural bodies. Oh, yes, that too! What a relief! But that is added, extra.
Paul speaks of being “willing rather to be absent from the body.” The real yearning, the deepest longing from within, is to be “with Him” (Present with the Lord). Because we love Him, we want to see Him face to face – “Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together WITH HIM” – I Thess. 5:10. “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” – I Thess. 4:17.
OUR PRIZE – WIN CHRIST: “what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ. I press toward the mark for the Prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” – Phil. 3:7-8,14.
This winning Him is very clearly above and beyond that of Savior. There is going to be a wedding. At the marriage supper of the Lamb there will be blessed guests, there will be precious powerful servants. Some gathered there will enjoy Him as the most gracious Host ever. Some there at that glorious feast will really appreciate Him as the most kind, gentle, and generous Master. But, to the winners, He will be their Bridegroom.
OUR PERFECTION – LIKE CHRIST: – “Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing. For our conversation is in Heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself” – Phil. 3:15-16, 20-21.
In whatever measure and in whatever way we have come to partake of the mind of Christ, having His attitude of heart, let us keep going on in the same way; for in Him in perfection. This is why God would have us “grow up into Him in all things” – Eph. 5:15. Christ is formed in us – Gal. 4:19. We are being changed inwardly into His likeness – II Cor. 3:18. So we can see that some will be more like Jesus than others.
The purpose of Him who “hath made us accepted in the Beloved” is that we be “conformed to the image of His Son” – Eph. 1:6; Rom. 8:29. He “who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will” has purposed also that we “be to the praise of His glory” – to the praise of the glory of His grace – Eph. 1:11-12.
“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is” – I John 3:1-2. When we receive a body “fashioned like unto his glorious body,” this will be the final touch of perfection into His own likeness.