Philippians 1 [Clear Word]
22. PASTORAL PASSION
1 Greetings from Paul and Timothy, willing servants of Jesus Christ, to the members of the church at Philippi, including the elders and deacons. 2 Grace be to all of you and peace from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 I thank God every time I remember you. 4 And every time I pray for you, I do so happily, 5 thanking God for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now. 6 I'm confident that the good work God began in you He will continue until the day you meet Jesus Christ. 7 It's all right for me to feel this way because you're so close to my heart. I'll never forget how you shared in God's grace with me, both when I was free to preach the gospel and since I've been in prison. 8 God is my witness how I long for you with the love that comes from Jesus Christ. 9 I pray that the love you have for one another will become deeper and stronger and that it will be intelligent and morally discriminating 10 so you will be able to test what is good and to live blameless lives until you meet the Lord face to face. 11 I want you to be filled with the fruits of the Holy Spirit which come from your continued relationship with Christ. This will bring honor to God. 12 My brothers, I want you to understand that the things that have recently happened to me have not hindered the spread of the gospel. 13 My imprisonment for Christ has been instrumental in taking the gospel right into Caesar's palace and into many other neighborhoods in Rome.14 Many of our brothers in the Lord have become bold and more confident of their faith because of my imprisonment. They preach the gospel courageously and without fear. 15 Unfortunately, some are motivated to preach Jesus Christ because it either gives them a sense of power or they like to be in the thick of anything controversial. But there are those who preach Christ out of good will and with genuine concern for people. 16 They preach the gospel sincerely and with love for others, wanting to see them saved in His kingdom. That's why I'm in prison, because I preached the good news about Jesus Christ so people will accept Him and be saved. 17 But, as I said, there are those who preach Christ as a smokescreen from which to promote their own distorted ideas. These kinds of people seem to delight in making things hard for me. If they keep stirring things up, it will put Christians in a bad light, and soon the government will classify all of us as troublemakers. 18But it doesn't matter if some of these preachers are making trouble for me. The important thing is that Christ is being preached, whether it is in pretense or in truth, and in this I rejoice. 19 I don't doubt for a minute that even my imprisonment will turn out to the good of the gospel, not because of me, but because of your prayers and the powerful working of Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit. 20When I'm brought before Caesar for trial, I will not be ashamed of the gospel. I will testify for Jesus Christ just as sincerely and boldly as elsewhere and will continue to exalt Him, whether Caesar releases me or not. 21 If I'm released, it will be to the glory of Christ; if I receive the death sentence, it also will be to the glory of Christ and maybe even more so. 22 If I could choose to live I would, and I would go right back to work for the Lord, but I don't have that choice. 23 So I've been wrestling with mixed emotions. On one hand, I would prefer to be sentenced to death and in the next moment of consciousness see Christ, which would be much better than staying here in this old world. 24 On the other hand, it's more important for me to stay here and continue helping you. 25From what I've heard, I'm convinced that I'll be released and have the joy of watching you progress and grow stronger in the faith. 26 I know you'll be glad to see me again, and together we'll encourage each other in the Lord. 27 No matter what happens to me, continue to be good citizens and live as men and women who have been changed by the gospel of Jesus Christ. And whether I'm able to visit you again or not, I want to hear that you're standing together as one, all having the same spirit of commitment and the same determination to be loyal to Christ. 28 I also want to hear that you're not being intimidated by those who oppose you. What they're doing is a sign of their own destruction, whereas your firmness is a sign of your salvation and eternal life. 29 This experience you're going through will strengthen your faith. Not only has God given you an opportunity to believe on Christ, but now He's giving you a chance to test your love for Him to see how genuine it is. 30 You're going through some of the same conflicts and struggles I've been going through for years, some of which you personally witnessed when I was jailed in your city, only now, I'm jailed in Rome.