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EPISTLE TO THE PHILIPPIANS - Chapter 2 - Verse 30

Verse 30. Because for the work of Christ. That is, either by exposing himself in his journey to see the apostle in Rome, or by his labours there.

Not regarding his life. There is a difference in the Mss. here, so great that it is impossible now to determine which is the true reading, though the sense is not materially affected. The common reading of the Greek text is, parabouleusamenov; literally, misconsulting, not consulting carefully, not taking pains. The other reading is, paraboleusamenov; exposing one's self to danger, regardless of life. See the authorities for this reading in Wetstein. Comp. Bloomfield, in loc. This reading suits the connexion, and is generally regarded as the correct one.

To supply your lack of service toward me. Not that they had been indifferent to him, or inattentive to his wants, for he does not mean to blame them; but they had not had an opportunity to send to his relief, Php 4:10, and Epaphroditus therefore made a special journey to Rome on his account. He came and rendered to him the service which they could not do in person; and what the church would have done, if Paul had been among them, he performed in their name and on their behalf.

{d} "to supply" 1 Co 16:17 {&} "lack" "deficiency"

 

REMARKS.

1. Let us learn to esteem others as they ought to be, Php 2:3. Every person who is virtuous and pious has some claim to esteem He has a reputation which is valuable to him and to the church, and we should not withhold respect from him. It is one evidence, also, of true humility and of right feeling, when we esteem them as better than ourselves, and when we are willing to see them honoured, and are willing to sacrifice our own ease to promote their welfare. It is one of the instinctive promptings of true humility to feel that other persons are better than we are.

2. We should not be disappointed or mortified if others think little of us—if we are not brought into prominent notice among men, Php 2:3. We profess to have a low opinion of ourselves, if we are Christians, and we ought to have; and why should we be chagrined and mortified if others have the same opinion of us? Why should we not be willing that they should accord in judgment with us in regard to ourselves?

3. We should be willing to occupy our appropriate place in the church, Php 2:3. That is true humility; and why should any one be unwilling to be esteemed just as he ought to be? Pride makes us miserable, and is the grand thing that stands in the way of the influence of the gospel on our hearts. No one can become a Christian who is not willing to occupy just the place which he ought to occupy; to take the lowly position as a penitent which he ought to take; and to have God regard and treat him just as he ought to be treated. The first, second, and third thing in religion is humility; and no one ever becomes a Christian who is not willing to take the lowly condition of a child.

4. We should feel a deep interest in the welfare of others, Php 2:4. Men are by nature selfish, and it is the design of religion to make them benevolent. They seek their own interests by nature, and the gospel would teach them to regard the welfare of others. If we are truly under the influence of religion, there is not a member of the church in whom we should not feel an interest, and whose welfare we should not strive to promote, as far as we have opportunity. And we may have opportunity every day. It is an easy matter to do good to others. A kind word, or even a kind look, does good; and who is so poor that he cannot render this? Every day that we live, we come in contact with some who may be benefited by our example, our advice, or our alms; and every day, therefore, may be closed with the feeling that we have not lived in vain.

5. Let us in all things look to the example of Christ, Php 2:5. He came that he might be an example; and he was exactly such an example as we need. We may be always sure that we are right when we follow his example, and possess his spirit. We cannot be so sure that we are right in any other way. He came to be our model in all things, and in all the relations of life.

(1.) He showed us what the law of God requires of us.

(2.) He showed us what we should aim to be, and what human nature would be if it were wholly under the influence of religion.

(3.) He showed us what true religion is, for it is just such as was seen in his life.

(4.) He showed us how to act in our treatment of mankind.

(5.) He showed us how to bear the ills of poverty, and want, and pain, and temptation, and reproach from the world. We should learn to manifest the same spirit in suffering which he did, for then we are sure we are right.

(6.) And he has showed us how to die. He has exhibited in death just the spirit which we should when we die; for it is not less desirable to die well than to live well.

6. It is right and proper to worship Christ, Php 2:6. He was in the form of God, and equal with God; and, being such, we should adore him. No one need be afraid to render too high honour to the Saviour; and all piety may be measured by the respect which is shown to him. Religion advances in the world just in proportion as men are disposed to render honour to the Redeemer; it becomes dim, and dies away, just in proportion as that honour is withheld.

7. Like the Redeemer, we should be willing to deny ourselves in order that we may promote the welfare of others, Php 2:6-8. We can never, indeed, equal his condescension. We can never stoop from such a state of dignity and honour as he did; but, in our measure, we should aim to imitate him. If we have comforts, we should be willing to deny ourselves of them to promote the happiness of others. If we occupy an elevated rank in life, we should be willing to stoop to one more humble. If we live in a palace, we should be willing to enter the most lowly cottage, if we can render its inmates happy.

8. Christ was obedient unto death, Php 2:8. Let us be obedient also, doing the will of God in all things. If in his service we are called to pass through trials, even those which will terminate in death, let us obey. He has a right to command us, and we have the example of the Saviour to sustain us. If he requires us, by his providence, and by the leadings of his Spirit, to forsake our country and home, to visit climes of pestilential air, or to traverse wastes of burning sand, to make his name known; if he demands that, in that service, we shall die far away from kindred and home, and that our bones shall be laid on the banks of the Senegal or the Ganges—still, let us remember that these sufferings are not equal to those of the Master. He was an exile from heaven, in a world of suffering. Our exile from our own land is not like that from heaven; nor will our sufferings, though in regions of pestilence and death, be like his sufferings in the garden and on the Cross.

9. Let us rejoice that we have a Saviour who has ascended to heaven, and who is to be for ever honoured there, Php 2:9-11. He is to suffer no more. He has endured the last pang; has passed through a state of humiliation and woe which he will never repeat; and has submitted to insults and mockeries to which it will not be necessary for him to submit again. When we now think of the Redeemer, we can think of him as always happy and honoured. There is no moment by day or by night in which he is not the object of adoration, love, and praise—nor will there ever be such a moment to all eternity. Our best friend is thus to be eternally reverenced, and in heaven he will receive a full reward for all his unparalleled woes.

10. Let us diligently endeavour to work out our salvation, Php 2:12,13. Nothing else so much demands our unceasing solicitude as this, and in nothing else have we so much encouragement. We are assured that God aids us in this work. He throws no obstructions in our path, but all that God does in the matter of salvation is in the way of help. He does not work in us evil passions, or impure desires, or unbelief; his agency is to enable us to perform "his good pleasure," or that which will please him—that is, that which is holy. The farmer is encouraged to plough and plant his fields when God works around him by sending the warm breezes of the spring, and by refreshing the earth with gentle dews and rains. And so we may be encouraged to seek our salvation when God works in our hearts, producing serious thoughts, and a feeling that we need the blessings of salvation.

11. Christians should let their light shine, Php 2:14-16. God has called them into his kingdom that they may show what is the nature and power of true religion. They are to illustrate in their lives the nature of that gospel which he has revealed, and to show its value in purifying the soul and in sustaining it in the time of trial. The world is dependent on Christians for just views of religion, and every day that a Christian lives he is doing something to honour or dishonour the gospel. Every word that he speaks, every expression of the eye, every cloud or beam of sunshine on his brow, will have some effect in doing this. He cannot live without making some impression upon the world around him, either favourable or unfavourable to the cause of his Redeemer.

12. We should be ready to die, if called to such a sacrifice, in behalf of the church of Christ, Php 2:17. We should rejoice in being permitted to suffer, that we may promote the welfare of others, and be the means of saving those for whom Christ died. It has been an honour to be a martyr in the cause of religion, and so it ever will be when God calls to such a sacrifice of life. If he calls us to it, therefore, we should not shrink from it, nor should we shrink from any sufferings by which we may honour the Saviour, and rescue souls from death.

13. Let us learn, from the interesting narrative respecting Epaphroditus at the close of this chapter, to live and act as becomes Christians in every situation in life, Php 2:25-30. It was much to have the praise of an apostle, and to be commended for his Christian conduct, as this stranger in Rome was. He went there, not to view the wonders of the imperial city, and not to run the rounds of giddy pleasure there, but to perform an important duty of religion. While there he became sick—not by indulgence in pleasures; not as the result of feasting and revelry, but in the work of Christ. In a strange city, far from home, amidst the rich, the great, the gay; in a place where theatres opened their doors, and where places of amusement abounded, he led a life which an apostle could commend as pure. There is nothing more difficult for a Christian than to maintain an irreproachable walk when away from the usual restraints and influences that serve to keep him in the paths of piety, and when surrounded with the fascinations and allurements of a great and wicked city. There strangers, extending the rites of hospitality, often invite the guest to places of amusement which the Christian would not visit were he at home. There the desire to see all that is to be seen, and to hear all that is to be heard, attracts him to the theatre, the opera, and the gallery of obscene and licentious statuary and painting. There the plea readily presents itself that an opportunity of witnessing these things may never occur again; that he is unknown, and that his example, therefore, can do no harm; that it is desirable, from personal observation, to know what is the condition of the world; or that perhaps his former views in these matters may have been precise and puritanical. To such considerations he yields; but yields only to regret it in future life. Rarely is such a thing done without its being in some way soon known; and rarely, very rarely, does a Christian minister or other member of the church travel much without injury to his piety, and to the cause of religion. A Christian man who is under a necessity of visiting Europe from this country, should feel that he has special need of the prayers of his friends, that he may not dishonour his religion abroad; he who is permitted to remain at home, and to cultivate the graces of piety in his own family, and in the quiet scenes where he has been accustomed to move, should regard it as a cause of special thankfulness to God.

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