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"Yes, I am coming quickly." Amen.
Revelation 22:20

This is a Home Bible study. It exists to promote the Word of God as it's written, which means nothing added or taken away, and minus opinions.

The Bible is the only source of Divine Truth in the world today. Although it is both helpful and informative in many ways, the Bible often doesn't tell us everything we want to know but the Bible does tell us everything we need to know.

My role is to guide you through the Scriptures; to explain what this book says and in some cases what it does not say because this is just as important.

Ultimately, you have a decision to make concerning your salvation - no one can make it for you. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator God, has given everyone the ability to make choices - this is is called "Free Will." I pray you consider your choice wisely.

II Timothy 2:15

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.


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Friday, February 15, 2019

Philippians 1:27 - (L 12)


Home Bible Study©
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15)

Established November 2008                                                 Published Weekly on Friday

This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men (and women) to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.  (1Timothy 2:3-4)

Welcome to Home Bible Study©

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 (Philippians 1:20).

Here Paul reveals his single-mindedness regarding his God-given agency and the manner in which he conducts himself in the performance of his responsibilities to the Lord, the church, and those who are presently outside of Christ.  Come what may Paul earnestly expects to magnify Christ (who lives within him), whether it be by (his) life or by (his) death - Romans 8:10; Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 3:17-19.

Last week we saw Paul leave his state of indecisiveness about his future to being optimistic he would remain alive to continue serving the Lord and the Believers in Philippi “for their furtherance (spiritual growth) and joy of faith:” (1:25)

In verse 1:26 we see this optimism expressed:  …that your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again. Paul’s saying his deliverance from “the lion” (should that happen) is attributed to Jesus Christ, and this knowledge should bolster the Philippians’ assurance in the Lord.

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Please open your Bible at Philippians 1:27.

Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ:  that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;

Up until now, Paul has been talking about himself and his present situation.  Beginning in verse 1:27, he changes course, so to speak, shifting the focus from himself to the Philippians.  But the subject matter remains the same.  Paul continues to refer to the advancement (furtherance) of the gospel of Christ; and here he calls the Philippians to be of the same mind.

Only (above all) let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ:  (1:27a)

To understand what Paul’s saying we need to get a handle on the word conversation.  We’ll do this by looking at scripture.  Let’s all turn to the book of Acts at chapter 16:12-40.  Here the Apostle Luke recorded some of Paul’s activities during his initial visit to Philippi.  For instance we find the very first convert in Macedonia was the merchant woman Lydia, and Paul and Silas removed an evil spirit from a slave girl.  Afterwards Paul and Silas found themselves on the wrong side of her masters and were jailed.  Let’s drop in at verse 16:18b:  But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her (the slave girl).  And he (the evil spirit) came out the same hour.  And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone (obviously these men were profiting from her actions so), they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers, And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city, And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans (16:18b-21).

Our city in this scripture passage refers to Philippi.  The last two words in verse 21 tell us these people considered themselves Romans.  Why is that?  Philippi was a smaller version of Rome and we should not overlook Roman citizenship was a big deal back in the day.  These folks were proud of the fact they were Romans.  During the civil war, Octavian defeated Anthony.  After the battle, a number of soldiers from Rome were settled there and the town of Philippi became a Roman colony or polis, an ancient Greek city state.  Even though Philippi was about 800 miles from Rome, the people were in lock-step with the Roman mind-set and lifestyle.  Consequently, they dressed like Romans, spoke like Romans, and lived like Romans.  This is why we’re here.  It’s important we understand the Philippians swore their allegiance to Rome and were recognized as Roman citizens.
   
The Strong’s Greek Lexicon defines the word conversation as Politeuomai (pol-it-yoo’ om-ahee), a verb; Strong’s Greek #4176.  “Citizenship” is the noun form of conversation, but Paul used the verb form which meant:  “To conduct oneself (behave) worthily as a citizen of the city or state.” 

Recently I mentioned three of the problems this church was experiencing.  Here Paul shows his concern for their disunity based on the conflicts that existed and persisted between these saints (2:1-3).   There is another example of disunity in Philippians 4:2:  I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they (what) be of the same mind (or live in harmony with one another) in the Lord.  Here Paul pleaded with two women, naming them individually, because they were unable to resolve their differences.

So from this we understand the word conversation, as Paul wisely used it, means “To conduct oneself (or behave) as a citizen of the city or state.”  Paul knew the Believers in Philippi would understand what he meant.  The Philippians viewed their polis (a city-state form of government) as a partnership with other people for the benefit of all.  The individual developed his abilities, skills, and talents not only for their own good but for the good of the entire community. 

Before people get the wrong impression, ancient Rome was a Republic not a socialist state like Cuba, Venezuela, or Russia.  In fact, the government of the USA is modeled after ancient Rome, in part.   People believe America is a democracy, but it’s not; it’s a Republic.  Basically, this means all citizens of the USA have certain inalienable (absolute) rights and responsibilities and this is why Paul emphasizes or highlights this point.  Our Bill of Rights guarantees all American citizens the privilege of free speech (within the limits of the law), freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, the right to keep and bear arms, the rights against unreasonable search and seizure, rights preventing cruel and unusual punishment, the right to fair and speedy trial by our peers, etc.  We all exercise one of our responsibilities every April 15 when we pay our federal, city, and state taxes.  We do this for the benefit of all and to keep our nation financially solvent. 

Bearing this in mind, the Philippian saints had willingly given their loyalty to Rome and because of this they were afforded certain rights as its citizens.  Make no mistake they considered Roman citizenship a prized possession.  Paul isn’t disputing the facts, he’s merely saying “Since you’re citizens of a free state, live as one;” i.e. live consistent with the culture, goals, and values of the free state.  The idea being expressed here is they were to live (use their abilities, skills, and talents) for the good of others and not just for themselves.

Why?  We find the answer in Philippians 3:20:  For our conversation (Noun, meaning: citizenship) is in heaven; from whence also we look (expectedly) for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: (See Ephesians 2:19).

Paul informed these Believers they possess a duo-citizenship.  It’s true they are free citizens of Rome, but it’s also true they are citizens of heaven.  Therefore they were to conduct themselves as such.  How should citizens of heaven behave?  I’m glad you asked.  Let’s review some Bible verses on the subject.  By the way, this becomes personal in a hurry because Paul’s writing about Believer’s personal conduct. 

 “(insert your name here) walk (live your life) worthy of the vocation (the bestowment of God’s distinguishing grace upon a person) wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness (Freedom from pride, humility, humbleness of mind), and meekness (gentleness), with longsuffering (patient, not easily provoked), forebearing (withholding from action) one another in love, Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:1-3). 

In this same letter to the church at Ephesus, Paul describes 7 foundational elements that make up the unity of the Spirit:  there is one body (the Church) and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism (no water required); one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all (Ephesians 4:4-6). 

There’s more going on here than meets the eye, however, suffice to say here our Apostle Paul sets forth seven unique elements of the Holy Spirit that form the biblical basis for church unity and each one is prefaced with the word “one.”  In this instance, “one” is not the loneliest number…

Remaining in Ephesians, let’s turn to chapter 4:25-32 so as to get a better handle on what Paul means by “conduct yourself yourselves as citizens of heaven.”

Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are (what) members one of another.  Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:  Neither give place to the devil.  Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.  Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.  And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.  Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

Our Apostle Paul urges all Believers to walk worthy of their calling and calls them to preserve the bond of peace:  Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any:  even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.  And above all these things put on charity (love, compassion, good will), which is the bond of perfectness.  And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful (Colossians 3:12-15). 

Thus, we understand every true Believer is to strive “to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3).  Our conduct, therefore, must be worthy of the call to peace in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Furthermore, genuine, heart-felt love for one another is “the bond of peace” (See Galatians 5:22-23). 

Unity means “oneness,” but are we experiencing this today?  I think not.  Its’ been said we all live in a Christian nation, but the prudent observer recognizes American citizens are divided over many religious issues.  Most recently New Your State passed a law permitting an abortion up to the moment of delivery and I read this morning the state of Virginia is seeking a similar law.  As of now, I count eight states that permit infanticide.  One state in particular is considering legalizing killing an infant after it’s born.  Fact:  Roe vs Wade or the bill that became the law of the land was founded on a lie, and the bills approved or being approved by these states are fabricated on an expansion of that lie.  These folks ignore the fact an unborn infant, and certainly one that has arrived in this world, is a human being.  One woman I encountered recently said, it’s her body and her choice, and she refused to listen to counter arguments and that’s the thing.  People have adopted a mindset on this issue and will not budge despite being shown the facts.  They are blind to the truth.  Let’s be clear, the manner in which any culture treats its children and the aged reveals its heart and confirms the Word of God: 

And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually (Genesis 6:5).

Keep thy heart with all diligence; For out of it are the issues of life (Proverbs 4:23).

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?  I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings (Jeremiah 17:9-10).

And he (Jesus) said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man.  For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: (Mark 7:20-22).

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.  For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth (2 Timothy 3:1-7).

People are at odds (not like-minded) over the inherent absoluteness of the Word of God.  The very thing meant to unite us does in fact divide us.  I’m sure you’ve noticed there are many different churches in the world, established and maintained by men who disagree about what the Bible says regarding the sufficiency of grace (alone) through faith (alone) in Jesus Christ’s finished work of the cross, according to the Scriptures (alone).  Then there are those who are less than satisfied with Paul’s apostolic authority, his gospel, and his description of the body of Christ.  Fact:  there exists a great divide among those who are currently outside of Christ’s body, even though this book clearly said the unity of the Spirit exists in Christ’s body, or the one church (Ephesians 4:1-6). 

The internal conflicts in Philippi didn’t warrant a harsh letter, after all, this isn’t the Corinthian church.  Still, they’re self-centered behavior was disruptive, unproductive, and not Christlike.  Our Apostle Paul is saying self-centered, unloving behavior is unacceptable in the Body of Christ:

If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.  Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.  Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others” (Philippians 2:1-4). 

Now we were talking about the Philippians duo-citizenship, so let’s look at a Bible verse in Colossians 1:12:  Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet (qualified) to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.  Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear son (Colossians 1:12-13).  

Combining these verses with what we’ve learned so far it’s fair to say, since every true Believer has been placed into God’s eternal kingdom, as representatives of heaven we’re called to stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving (fighting) together to preserve the bond of peace, for the faith of the gospel (1:27c). 

In using the Koine Greek word stand fast Paul evokes the imagery of a Roman soldier who will not “give ground” no matter what.   In like manner, Paul calls the Philippian saints to stand fast as one, fighting the good fight of the faith.  A Bible verse just came to mind, so let’s look at it.  As Paul’s life was nearing its end he said “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept (what) the faith: (2 Timothy 4:7). 

I pray one day future we’ll all be able to make a similar statement, having stood our ground, no matter what comes our way, striving together for the faith of the gospel.      

Let’s look at verse 1:27b:

…that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs,
Whether or not Paul visited Philippi again was up to the Lord.  Here he’s saying he desired to know how they were progressing in the faith.  One other thing I’ve picked up on is Paul didn’t want these Believers to depend solely on him.   He clearly said, “…that ye stand fast (how) in one spirit, with one mind.”  Paul wanted them to place their trust in Jesus Christ and not in him because the Lord will confirm them unto the end.    

Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 1:8).

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: (Philippians 1:6).

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:1-2).

Selfish people by nature are not interested in the needs of others, and thus conflict is the   direct result of two or more people desiring something else.  It’s difficult to preserve unity in any environment whether that is the home, our nation, or the church.  After all, we’re a nation of immigrants and each person entering this country brings their religious beliefs along with their luggage.  One thing I’ve learned over the years is people love their religious traditions.  I used to be one of them and by the way, so did Paul (Galatians 1:13-14).  However, I saw the Light and that’s the thing. Like-mindedness is possible, if people would seek and then embrace the Truth, rightly divided (1Timothy 2:3-4). 
     
(To be continued)

© Copyright 2011
GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
All Rights Reserved





































Friday, February 8, 2019

Philippians 1:25-26 - (L 11)


Home Bible Study©
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15)

Established November 2008                                                 Published Weekly on Friday

This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men (and women) to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.  (1Timothy 2:3-4)
  
Before we review the previous lesson I want to welcome everyone to HBS.

Last week we caught our Apostle Paul between the horns of a dilemma or two realities and both choices were desirable.  He couldn’t decide if he wanted to remain alive to continue serving the Lord and the Philippian saints or die and then be with the Lord.  But then this single-minded and tender-hearted apostle said, “Nevertheless, to abide in the flesh is more needful of you (1:24).  

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Please open your Bible at Philippians 1:25-26.

And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide (remain) and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith; that your rejoicing may be made abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again. 

We’ll start by looking at Paul’s remark in 1:26b “…by my coming to you again.”
This statement takes us back to Philippians 1:8 where Paul said “For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ.”

Paul first visited Philippi during his 2nd missionary journey (circa 51-52 AD).  The Apostle Luke recorded this information in the book of Acts.  Paul and Silas traveled through Syria and Cilicia (which is now southwestern Turkey) confirming the churches (Acts 15:40-41).  They came to Derbe and Lystra and found Timothy waiting for them (Acts 16:1).  The three men traveled throughout Phrygia and Galatia.  Paul desired to preach the Word in Asia but the Holy Spirit prevented him from doing so (Acts 16:6).  They then passed through Mysia to Troas, the island of Samothracia, and then to Neapolis in Macedonia (now northern Greece) where Philippi was located (Acts 16:7-12).

Luke reported when Paul visited Philippi he stayed there “for some days” (Acts 16:12).  The Bible doesn’t tell us how long that actually was but we know he developed a sincere love for these people:  Even as it is meet (suitable or proper) for me to think this of you all, because I have you (where) in my heart; (Philippians 1:7a).    

Now let’s examine verse 1:25.

And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide (remain alive) and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith;

I’m no Greek scholar, but I’m able to navigate the Greek Lexicon well enough to get the job done.  Two Greek words are used for “to know” in the New Testament Ginosko (ghin-oce’-ko), Verb, Strong’s Greek #1097, meaning:  to know, recognize, perceive.  The English expression “to be acquainted with” conveys the same meaning.

And Eido or Oida ((i’-do), Verb, Strong’s Greek #1492, meaning:  be aware, behold, consider; to see with physical eyes.  The English expressions “I see what you mean” and “I see what you’re saying” express this meaning. 

So, in layman’s terms, Ginosko means knowledge based on facts, i.e. what a person has learned or acquired and Eido or Oida means “seeing or perceiving that becomes knowing.” Regarding spiritual truth, it’s the bridge to mental and spiritual understanding.

Now that I’ve thoroughly confused y’all let’s get a better handle on these words by looking at a couple of biblical examples. 

Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: (John 8:55).

Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter (John 13:7).

To be clearer Ginosko frequently suggests the commencement or progress in knowledge, while Oida suggests the fullness of knowledge.   Equipped with this information we can return to Paul’s statement in 1:25:  And having this (what) confidence, I know (Oida) that I shall abide (remain) and continue with you all…

Putting this all together we see Paul turning from his previous state of uncertainty about his future to being confident his work (labor) wasn’t at an end.  Said differently verse 1:25 could read “I’m confident the Lord will see me through this dilemma and I will continue to advance the gospel in Rome and then Spain, the Lord permitting.” (Romans 15:24). 

I believe I’ve mentioned this before, but there’s no harm in repeating it.  In Paul’s day people were rarely sentenced to prison as punishment.  Instead, they were placed in a holding cell until their trial or execution.  We find evidence of this in the O.T.  because the Mosaic Law made no provision for long-term incarceration.  We looked briefly at Jacob’s son, Joseph, a few lessons ago.  He was imprisoned for two years awaiting trial before Pharaoh because he had been falsely accused of rape (Genesis 39:19-20, 41:1).  The prophet Jeremiah is another example.  He was accused of treason and imprisoned but was transferred to the temple guardhouse after an appeal to King Zedekiah who sought to protect him (Jeremiah 37:11-16, 37:17-21).  Jeremiah was later thrown into a cistern, not to imprison him, but to kill him (Jeremiah 38:1-6).

So, Paul was first imprisoned for two years in Caesarea (the seat of the Judean government - Acts 24:27), while awaiting trial before two Roman governors, Felix and his successor Festus.  I suggest y’all read Acts 21-26 to acquaint yourself with Paul’s predicament.  To be brief, Festus was stalling; he desired a bribe from Paul and was waiting for that to happen (Acts 24:26), but he also wanted out from under the burden of this trial.  As a Roman citizen Paul had the legal right to appeal his case before Caesar.  After some discussion Festus agreed to his request (Acts 25:1-12).  Once in Rome, Paul was placed under “house arrest for two whole years; chained to a Roman guard” (Acts 28:30) in anticipation of his trial before Nero.  Ironically, Paul is finally where he longed to be for many years:  For which cause also I have been much hindered from coming to you.  But now having no more place in these parts, and having a great desire these many years to come unto you… (Romans 15:22-23).

The thing a lot of people miss in all this is Paul had to be “a prisoner of Christ” in Rome in order to preach the gospel of grace to Caesar and his household.  It’s highly unlikely Nero would invite him over for dinner upon his arrival in Rome.  But because of his Roman citizenship Caesar would hear his side of the story.  But did that happen?  This trial was not recorded by Luke in the book of Acts, however by piecing together information from Paul’s writings we learn he did meet with Nero and was freed from house arrest.  I’ll put up a couple of Bible verse we’ve looked at before first that specifically say Paul would meet with the emperor of Rome:

And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man’s life among you, but of the ship.  For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee (Acts 27:22-24).

And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house (in Rome), and received all that came in unto him, Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him (Acts 28:30).

Now we'll look at Paul's remarks in 2 Timothy 4:16 where we find evidence Paul faced Caesar in Rome: At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me:  I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.  Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be (what) fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear:  and I was (what) delivered out of the mouth of the lion. 

First answer” or his first apology (Paul’s not offering an excuse for his conduct, as though he had committed a wrong as we understand the meaning of the word), the word apology here means “a plea;” a defence; an answer to charges brought against him.  The word “first” implies Paul either had a second trial or had reason to expect one; otherwise, why use the word “first?” (See Paul’s statement in 2 Timothy 4:6-8)

I also direct your attention to the phrase, “and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.  This statement may either mean he was delivered from Nero, who is compared to a lion, or he was spared being thrown to the lions in the Roman Coliseum.  This was a mode of punishment and/or entertainment, depending on one’s perspective, not uncommon in Rome under Nero.    

We also find our Apostle Paul attributing his deliverance entirely to the Lord, “the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me...  If Paul had the assistance of someone to help prove his innocence he would have mentioned them, don’t you think?  Instead, we learn with the exception of the Lord Paul faced Nero alone:  no man stood with me, but all men forsook me:  I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.  

Finally, there is this confident comment from Paul in Philippians 2:24:  But I trust in the Lord that I also myself shall come (to you) shortly.  In addition to visiting Philippi, he planned to travel to Colossae, even suggesting that Philemon get “lodging” ready for him:  But withal prepare me also a lodging:  for I trust that through your prayers I shall be given unto you.

We know Paul was released from prison in Rome around 63 AD because he later wrote a letter to Titus and two letters to Timothy.  Second Timothy, his last communication, was written from imprisonment in Rome (2 Timothy 1:8).  Paul was arrested and imprisoned in the Mamertine Prison.  The Mamertine Prison is an ancient prison located in Rome at the foot of Capitoline Hill overlooking the ruins of the Roman forum.  When it was built, this was Rome’s only prison and not a prison like we understand them today.  It was more like a dungeon where important state prisoners were lowered into, often prior to their execution.  Consisting of two underground cells, it once held a room under the city sewers in the lower chamber.  Historical sources have described it as dank and foreboding and inmates rarely stayed here for long periods of time.  Today, a sign on the exterior of the building proclaims it was the prison site of Peter and Paul as it is believed the apostles were both incarcerated here prior to their execution.

In 2 Timothy 4:16, we learn Paul did not expect to be acquitted.  He believed he’d be tried, convicted, and then sentenced to death and that’s what happened.  Paul was martyred in 68 AD under Nero’s reign.  Then in 70 AD, around the time of Passover, the Roman general Titus besieged the city of Jerusalem massacring much of its population.  They also ransacked and destroyed the Jewish Temple, fulfilling the Lord’s prophetic statement:  And as he went out of the temple, one of his disciples saith unto him, Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here!  And Jesus answering said unto him, Seest thou these great building?  there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down (Mark 13:1-2). 

Let’s look at Philippians 1:25b:  “…for your furtherance and joy of faith…”  In saying he’s confident he will remain (abide with them) he meant he’d be there to minister to their spiritual needs or their furtherance and joy (inner happiness which stems from spiritual growth) of faith.  Here we are reminded Paul was a man of action; his circumstances could not deter him.  Paul speaks of the Philippians’ faith increasing because no true Believer should be satisfied with where they presently are in their spiritual walk.  So, Paul’s saying if you think you’ve arrived; think again (Philippians 3:12). 

In the Philippian letter we discover this church faced three types of problems:  First, they appear to have faced persecution from those outside the church.  Paul mentions the persecution they were enduring in Philippians 1:27-30.  Second, they were threatened by the possibility of false teaching, similar to that which had infiltrated the other churches (See Philippians 3:1-3, 18-19).  Third, they struggled with conflicts between themselves (See Philippians 2:1-3, 4:2).  The Philippian Believers understood they were saved by grace but they were inconsistent in extending charity to one another, thus the ongoing need for spiritual growth. 

Let’s go to verse 1:26.

…that your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again.   Another way of saying this is “That your confidence in Christ Jesus may increase because of my deliverance and by my coming to you again.”  Paul believes he’ll be delivered from the “lion” and his future ministry to the Philippians is all but certain.  His deliverance from the “lion” and his coming to the Philippians again is to be attributed to the Lord Jesus Christ.

(To be continued)

© Copyright 2011
GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
All Rights Reserved