THANK YOU FOR ALL THE PRAYERS.
FINALLY, TOBY IS OK WITH HIS BACK,
THANK YOU FOR ALL THE PRAYERS.
FINALLY, TOBY IS OK WITH HIS BACK,
Php 1:1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons:
Php 1:2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thanksgiving and Prayer
Php 1:3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you,
Php 1:4 always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy,
Php 1:5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.
Php 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
Php 1:7 It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel.
Php 1:8 For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.
Php 1:9 And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment,
Php 1:10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,
Php 1:11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
The Advance of the Gospel
Php 1:12 I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel,
Php 1:13 so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ.
Php 1:14 And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
Php 1:15 Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will.
Php 1:16 The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel.
Php 1:17 The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment.
To Live Is Christ
Php 1:18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice,
Php 1:19 for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance,
Php 1:20 as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.
Php 1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Php 1:22 If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell.
Php 1:23 I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.
Php 1:24 But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account.
Php 1:25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith,
Php 1:26 so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.
Php 1:27 Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel,
Php 1:28 and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God.
Php 1:29 For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake,
Php 1:30 engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.
More on an Invitation to Pray at the Throne of Grace
Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Heb_4:16)
Seated upon the throne which rules this universe is the sovereign, holy, Judge of all humanity. Yet, He is also the “God of all grace” (1Pe_5:10). All who relate rightly to Him (through humble faith in Jesus Christ) can come boldly to that throne, praying with assurance that mercy and grace will be His response.
Truly, the Lord Jesus is the reason that we can answer the invitation to “come boldly to the throne of grace.” His death on the cross opened the way for us to come into God’s presence, allowing us to talk to Him directly in prayer. It is as though the Holy of Holies is now our family den. God is our Father, who delights to commune with His children as we pray to Him: “Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us” (Heb_10:19-20). This “new and living way” is the new covenant of grace. It is by the Lord’s grace alone that we can come to His throne of grace, that we might live daily by His grace.
At this inviting throne of God, we “obtain mercy.” Mercy is heaven’s wondrous companion to grace. Mercy is God’s provision for holding back from us the awful things that we actually deserve, due to our sin and rebellion. “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon” (Isa_55:7). Now, each day, His children can benefit from the faithful mercies of God. “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness” (Lam_3:22-23).
Also, at this inviting throne of God, we “find grace to help in time of need.” Our initial need was for the Lord’s saving grace, which brought forgiveness for our ungodliness and made heaven our eternal home “For by grace you have been saved through faith” (Eph_2:8). Our ongoing need would be for transforming grace for the developing of a godly life here on earth. “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age” (Tit_2:11-12). In prayer at the throne of grace, we find God’s continuing supply of grace. That grace is irreplaceable and sufficient to sustain us through, and use us in, the needy situations we encounter daily at home, work, school, church,—wherever.
O Lord, supplier of all mercy and grace, I rejoice that Your mercies are new every day. Have mercy on me, dear Lord! I praise You that Your all-encompassing grace is available through humble, trusting prayer. Pour Your grace out on me, dear Lord!
JESUS AS KING
“Pilate therefore said unto Him, Art Thou a King, then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a King.” — Joh_18:37.
OUR LORD’S Royalty is suggested by the opening paragraphs of St. Matthew’s Gospel, which emphasizes His descent from David; the wise men asked for Him who is born King of the Jews, and Herod feared His rivalry. All through the Gospel narrative, stress is constantly laid on the fact that He was King of the Jews and King of Israel, and it ends with the regal claim that all power and authority in heaven and earth had been entrusted to Him.
Jesus never abated His claim to Kingship, but always made it clear that His ideal was very different from that which was current among the Jews. His conception of Royalty was borrowed from Psa_72:4, where the King is said to judge the poor of the people, and save the children of the needy. It was the collision between His idea of Kingship and that of the Pharisees, which brought Him to the Cross.
For us the lesson is clear. We must begin with the recognition of the royal claims of Christ to our homage and obedience. He only becomes Saviour, in the fullest meaning of the word, when He has been enthroned as King in our hearts. With invariable precision He is described, first as Prince, then as Saviour, and that order cannot be altered without injury to our soul-life (Act_5:31; Rom_10:9; Heb_7:2). The whole content of the New Testament is altered when we view the Royalty of Christ as the chief cornerstone, not only of that structure, but of the edifice of character.
Let us not be afraid of Christ as King. He is meek and lowly, and full of understanding of the problems of our life. He shared our life, and was so poor that He had to trust in the kind offices of a friend to supply His physical needs, and in the palm branches of the peasant crowd for His palfrey and the carpeting of His royal procession; but as we watch it pass, the lowly triumph swells in proportions until it represents the whole race of mankind; and the generations that preceded His advent, and those that follow, sweep down the Ages of human history, proclaiming and acclaiming Christ as King. (Rev_15:3-4, R.V).
O God, may our hearts indite good matter, that our mouth may speak of our King. Whilst we adore Him as Wonderful may He become to us the Prince of Peace. Enable us to put the government of our lives upon His shoulder, and of His government and of our peace let there be no end. AMEN.
The Reign of the Saints
And they shall reign for ever and ever — Rev_22:5
I venture to say that with this expression there creeps in a touch of unreality. It is difficult to associate thrones with the immortal life of our beloved dead. We can readily picture them as serving, for they loved to serve when they were here. Nor, remembering how they searched for it, is it hard to believe that they see His face. But to conceive of them as reigning and having crowns and sitting upon thrones introduces a note of unreality. For many of them that would not be heaven. It would be the last thing they would desire. For they were modest folk, given to self-effacement, haunting the shadowy avenues of life. And if individuality persists, they will carry over into another world those lowly graces that made us love them here. We can always think of an Augustine as reigning. But the saints we knew and loved were seldom Augustines. They were gentle souls, shrinking from publicity, perfectly happy in the lowest place. It is hard to see how natures such as that could ever be quite at home in heaven, if in heaven their calling were to reign. But the Scripture cannot be broken. It is revelation, not conjecture. If there is anything in it that offends the heart, we may be certain the error lies with us. So I believe that the difficulty here and the jarring note that grates upon the sensitive lie in our wrong ideas of reigning.
That there is something wrong in these popular ideas is demonstrated by one forgotten fact. It is that the saints do not begin to reign when they pass into the other world. If kingship were confined to heaven, the nature of it would lie beyond our understanding. It would be one of those things that eye had never seen, which God hath prepared for them who love Him. But kingship is not confined to heaven, according to the concept of the Scriptures. It is a present possession of the saints. We do not read that Christ will make us kings. We read that He hath made us kings (Rev_1:5). Loosed from our sins in His own blood, we begin to reign in the moment of redemption. And the reign in glory, which troubles meek souls, is not something different from that, but that enlarged and expanded to its fullness. This harmonizes with the general mind of Scripture in the glimpses it affords of immortality. It pictures it as a completion rather than as a contradiction. It takes such human things as love and service and tells us that in the land beyond the river such beautiful graces are going to be perfected. In what sense, then, do the saints reign here? How is the humblest child of God a king? There is no throne here, nor any visible crown, nor any of the insignia of regality. If we can grasp the kingship of believers amid all the infirmities of time, we have the key to understand the mystery of their reign forever and forever.
Our Reign Will Not Be in the Earthly Sense
And it is just here that a word of Christ’s casts a flash of light upon our difficulty. “The kings of the Gentiles,” He says, “exercise lordship, but it shall not be so with you.” Are not all our common thoughts of kingship taken from the royalty of such monarchs? Does not their state and the insignia of it fill our minds when we meditate on reigning? And Jesus tells us that this whole concept, gathered from the facts of earthly lordship, is alien now and alien forever from the lordship and dominion of His own. He that would be greatest must be least. The monarch is the servant. Kingship is not irresponsible authority: it is love that gives itself in glad abandonment. It is love that goes to the uttermost in service just as He went to the uttermost in service and so reigns forever from the cross. It is thus a Christian mother reigns amid the restless rebellions of her children. It is thus that many a lowly toiler reigns over the hearts and lives of everyone around him. It is thus the Salvation Army lassie queens it over the rough and reckless slum though she carry no sceptre in her hand and her only crown be the familiar bonnet. The kingship of believers here has nothing whatever to do with pagan lordship. At the command of the Lord Jesus we must banish such concepts from our mind. The only kingship of the saints on earth is that of the glad abandonment of love in an unceasing and undefeated service.
Now it seems to me that all our trouble vanishes when we carry that thought into the other world. If this be reigning, then in the life of heaven our dear ones will be perfectly at home. We would not have them other than we knew them when they were with us here amid the shadows. The thought of heaven would be too dearly purchased if it robbed us of their lowly, quiet gentleness. But if the sway they won over our hearts on earth, perfected, be their eternal reigning, then they can still reign and be the same. Reigning will not alter them. It will not render them irrecognizable. It will not touch that lowly loving service which made them so inexpressibly dear. It will only expand it into fullest kingliness, setting a crown of gold upon its head. They shall reign forever and forever.
“If you obey Jesus you will have a life of joy and delight.” Well, it is not true. Jesus said to the disciples, “Let us go to the other side of the lake,” and they were plunged into the biggest storm they had ever known. You say, “If I had not obeyed Jesus I should not have got into this complication.” Exactly. The temptation is to say, “God could never have told me to go there, if He had done so this would not have happened.” We discover then whether we are going to trust God’s integrity or listen to our own expressed skepticism.
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit” (Psalm 51:17)—that of a spirit God has made glad by a great forgiveness. The sign of this kind of broken heart is that the saint is untroubled by storms, and undismayed by bereavement because he is confident in God.
Reflection Questions: When things go badly, do I see it as an indication that I have been mistaken about God’s leading or about God’s love? Am I prepared to accept that perhaps neither is true? What better explanation is there?
Quotations taken from He Shall Glorify Me and Notes on Jeremiah, © Discovery House Publishers