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Wednesday, March 6 2013
Philippians: Some Preach The Truth In Envy And Strife
The Church of God (see Can You See The Church?) has always been composed of a diversity of people with a wide variety of personalities. Amazingly (just as much so when the very same egotistical behavior is seen today), there were those who preached the Truth, but did so as self-proclaimed "leaders" (see What Do Leaders Do?) with a competitive attitude of "envy and strife" toward their brothers and sisters who were also preaching the Truth, but in the humble way that the Messiah commanded. "Minister" means servant, not "master" (or "mister," which is merely a variant spelling of "master"): "20:25 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. 20:26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; 20:27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: 20:28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." (Matthew 20:25-28 KJV)
The apostle Paul experienced such predatory behavior, but notice how he put the Messiah's Truth above mere humans, regardless of how they were behaving i.e. "What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice." Paul rightfully left the matter up to the LORD's Judgment, in due time.
"1:15 Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: 1:16 The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: 1:17 But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. 1:18 What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice." (Philippians 1:15-18 KJV)
In the time of the apostle Paul, Philippi was a major city of Macedonia, in what is today northern Greece. The Greek Empire had peaked and declined by that time; Rome was then taking its turn as the ruler of the "world" (both the Greeks and Romans regarded their empires, and whatever they could add to them, as the "world"; see also A History Of Jerusalem: Greeks, Ptolemies, Seleucids and A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars). For the most part, Paul's major journeys (apart from his being taken to Rome as a prisoner) were through Turkey (e.g. Ephesus, Antioch, Troas) in Asia, and Greece (e.g. Corinth, Thessalonica) in Europe.
Some debate whether Paul's work was missionary (seeking converts) or ministry (serving converts) in nature, but it was logically both. People were converted by Paul the "missionary" and then helped in their Christian growth by Paul the "minister" - although each task is best-suited to a particular, and often contrasting, personality i.e. those who are given the task of facilitating the conversion of deceived people in a world that is hostile to the Truth (even for some time after conversion has begun), versus the gentle pastor of converted "sheep."
As recorded in Luke's second epistle (see Acts: Luke's Second Letter To Theophilus), Paul visited Philippi during his second missionary journey.
"16:11 Therefore loosing from Troas, we came with a straight course to Samothracia, and the next day to Neapolis; 16:12 And from thence to Philippi, which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, and a colony: and we were in that city abiding certain days.
Paul also visited Philippi during his third missionary journey.
"20:1 And after the uproar was ceased, Paul called unto him the disciples, and embraced them, and departed for to go into Macedonia. 20:2 And when he had gone over those parts, and had given them much exhortation, he came into Greece, 20:3 And there abode three months. And when the Jews laid wait for him, as he was about to sail into Syria, he purposed to return through Macedonia. 20:4 And there accompanied him into Asia Sopater of Berea; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timotheus; and of Asia, Tychicus and Trophimus. 20:5 These going before tarried for us at Troas. 20:6 And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread [see The Messiah's Days Of Unleavened Bread], and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days." (Acts 20:1-6 KJV)
Paul's epistle began with his greeting to the "saints" - a word which actually means "one separated from the world and consecrated to God" (see the Fact Finder below).
"1:1 Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:
As stated in the verses quoted above, Paul arrived in Philippi "after the uproar was ceased" - the riot in Ephesus that erupted after Paul's peaceful preaching was regarded as a threat to the worthless idol that the city worshipped (see Ephesians: Put On The Whole Armour Of God). It had become the routine for Paul, and he had grown accustomed to it - and to his being thrown in jail because of the violent reactions that others had to Paul's preaching the Truth. Paul was again being held in Roman custody when he wrote the epistle to the Philippians - looking forward to the liberation that the Messiah will bring to His people on the day of His return (see When And Where Your Eternal Life Will Begin).
"1:3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 1:4 Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, 1:5 For your fellowship in the gospel [see The True Gospel Of Christ] from the first day until now; 1:6 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:
Paul was, at times, blunt in his writing. At other times however he gently brought others to knowledge, sometimes in a way that his teaching seemed like something that they realized on their own. Such was the case with his epistle to the Philippians. He wasn't somehow bemoaning the injustice that was being done to him; he was making them aware that the same fate awaited many of them. There is no other reason for him to write what he did, so that "many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear."
"1:12 But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; 1:13 So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places; 1:14 And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear." (Philippians 1:12-14 KJV)
Over and over Paul made the point that those who reject the Truth are the ones that need to fear. While some have regarded Paul's letter as being fatalistic, he was encouraging them that no man can take your life from you; others can only hasten, or delay, the day of Christ's return, from your conscious perspective (see Could Christ Return Tonight?). In the mean time, "For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you."
"1:15 Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: 1:16 The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: 1:17 But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. 1:18 What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.
Further forward he took them, as he taught them to stand strong, by his own example.
"2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
The bluntness Paul reserved for the carnal ones, "Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things."
"3:17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. 3:18 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 3:19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) 3:20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 3:21 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." (Philippians 3:17-21 KJV)
Studies For The Book Of Philippians
Fact Finder: (a) What is the "end time"? (b) What will be the "church" when Christ returns? (c) When will there no longer be a "church" - "people called out of the world"? When will the "church" become the Kingdom of God?
This Day In History, March 6
12 BC: Roman Emperor Augustus was named Pontifex Maximus, thereby incorporating the position into that of the Emperor. Augustus was the Emperor at the time of the birth the Jesus Christ (see Does Rome Have Christ's Birth Certificate? and A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars).
1521: Ferdinand Magellan discovered Guam (it was no discovery for the native people who lived there).
1617: Louis Hebert signed an agreement that entitled him to become the first farmer in New France (North America).
1629: In Germany, the Edict of Restitution ordered that all church property seized since 1552 be returned to the Roman Catholic Church.
1820: The Missouri Compromise was enacted by the U.S. Congress and signed by President James Monroe. It provided for the admission of Missouri into the Union as a "slave state," but prohibited slavery in the rest of the northern Louisiana Purchase territory.
1834: The city of York was officially renamed Toronto. The city had a population of 10,000 (the population of the "Greater Toronto Area" today is 6 million).
1836: The 13-day siege of the Alamo ended when Mexican troops under Santa Anna captured the mission fort.
1857: The U.S. Supreme Court's Dred Scott decision ruled that slaves were property, not citizens.
1899: Bayer registered "Aspirin" as a trademark of its brand of acetylsalicylic acid.
1900: Gottfried Daimler, engineer who built the first motorcycle, died.
1912: The Oreo cookie was introduced by Nabisco.
1933: All U.S. banks were closed by a proclamation from President Franklin Roosevelt. The closings were considered necessary after a series of major bank failures and runs on banks (in the 8 days preceding March 4, $1,500,000,000 had been withdrawn by depositors) and the closing of banks by a number of states beginning with Michigan in mid-February. Following passage by Congress of the Emergency Banking Act 3 days later, "sound" banks were permitted to reopen.
1944: 658 U.S. bombers began a daylight attack on Berlin from bases in Britain and dropped 2,000 tons of bombs.
1946: France stated that it would recognize Vietnam as a "free state" within the French Union, with French troops stationed there (which hardly made it a "free state"), but the final confirmation of the accord never came. French imperialism in southeast Asia resulted in the ancient nation of Vietnam being divided into North and South Vietnam, a foreign-imposed partition of the Vietnamese people that did not end until the early 1970s after the U.S. had involved itself in the Vietnamese civil conflict for over a decade (the U.S. replaced France in Vietnam).
1964: King Constantine II of Greece succeeded to the throne after the death of his father, Paul I.
1964: "The Nation of Islam" officially gave boxing champion Cassius Clay the name Muhammad Ali.
1987: A Townsend Thoreson ferry, Herald of Free Enterprise, capsized on its way out of Zeebrugge harbor in Belgium drowning 193 people.
2008: A Palestinian gunman murdered 8 students and critically injured 11 more in the library of the Mercaz HaRav yeshiva, in Jerusalem, Israel.