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1. Thanksgiving and Prayer

1Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus that are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: 2Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3I thank my God upon all my remembrance of you, 4always in every supplication of mine on behalf of you all making my supplication with joy, 5for your fellowship in furtherance of the gospel from the first day until now; 6being confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ: 7even as it is right for me to be thus minded on behalf of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as, both in my bonds and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers with me of grace. 8For God is my witness, how I long after you all in the tender mercies of Christ Jesus. 9And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and all discernment; 10so that ye may approve the things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and void of offence unto the day of Christ; 11being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are through Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God. 12Now I would have you know, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the progress of the gospel; 13so that my bonds became manifest in Christ throughout the whole praetorian guard, and to all the rest; 14and that most of the brethren in the Lord, being confident through my bonds, are more abundantly bold to speak the word of God without fear. 15Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: 16the one do it of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel; 17but the other proclaim Christ of faction, not sincerely, thinking to raise up affliction for me in my bonds. 18What then? only that in every way, whether in pretence or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and therein I rejoice, yea, and will rejoice. 19For I know that this shall turn out to my salvation, through your supplication and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, 20according to my earnest expectation and hope, that in nothing shall I be put to shame, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether by life, or by death. 21For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22But if to live in the flesh, --if this shall bring fruit from my work, then what I shall choose I know not. 23But I am in a strait betwixt the two, having the desire to depart and be with Christ; for it is very far better: 24yet to abide in the flesh is more needful for your sake. 25And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide, yea, and abide with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith; 26that your glorying may abound in Christ Jesus in me through my presence with you again. 27Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ: that, whether I come and see you and be absent, I may hear of your state, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one soul striving for the faith of the gospel; 28and in nothing affrighted by the adversaries: which is for them an evident token of perdition, but of your salvation, and that from God; 29because to you it hath been granted in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer in his behalf: 30having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me.

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The Apostle's Affection and Hope. (a. d. 62.)

7 Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace.   8 For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ.

The apostle expresses the ardent affection he had for them, and his concern for their spiritual welfare: I have you in my heart, v. 7. He loved them as his own soul, and they lay near his heart. He thought much of them, and was in care about them. Observe, 1. Why he had them in his heart: Inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of my grace; that is, they had received benefit by him and by his ministry; they were partakers of that grace of God which by him, and through his hands, was communicated to them. This makes people dear to their ministers—their receiving benefit by their ministry. Or, "You are partakers of my grace, you have joined with me in doing and suffering." They were partakers of his affliction by sympathy and concern, and readiness to assist him. Thus he calls being partakers of his grace; for those who suffer with the saints are and shall be comforted with them; and those shall share in the reward, who bear their part of the burden. He loved them because they adhered to him in his bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel: they were as ready to appear in their places, and according to their capacity, for the defence of the gospel, as the apostle was in his; and therefore he had them in his heart. Fellow sufferers should be dear one to another; those who have ventured and suffered in the same good cause of God and religion should for that reason love one another dearly: or, because you have me at heartdia to echein me en te kardia hymas. They manifested their respect for him by adhering firmly to the doctrine he preached, and readily suffering for it along with him. The truest mark of respect towards our ministers is receiving and abiding by the doctrine they preach. 2. The evidence of it: It is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart. By this it appeared that he had them in his heart, because he had a good opinion of them and good hopes concerning them. Observe, It is very proper to think the best of other people, and as well as we can of them—to suppose as well of them as the matter will admit in all cases. 3. An appeal to God concerning the truth of this (v. 8): For God is my record how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ. Having them in his heart, he longed after them; either he longed to see them, longed to hear from them, or he longed for their spiritual welfare and their increase and improvement in knowledge and grace. He had joy in them (v. 4), because of the good he saw and heard of among them; yet still he longed after them, to hear of more of it among them; and he longed after them all, not only those among them who were witty and wealthy, but even the meanest and poorest; and he longed greatly after them, or with strong affection and great good-will; and this in the bowels of Jesus Christ, with that tender concern which Christ himself has and has shown to precious souls. Paul was herein a follower of Christ, and all good ministers should aim to be so. O the bowels of compassion which are in Jesus Christ to poor souls! It was in compassion to them that he undertook their salvation, and put himself to so vast an expense to compass it. Now, in conformity to the example of Christ, Paul had a compassion for them, and longed after them all in the bowels of Jesus Christ. Shall not we pity and love those souls whom Christ had such a love and pity for? For this he appeals to God: God is my record. It was an inward disposition of mind that he expressed towards them, to the sincerity of which God only was witness, and therefore to him he appeals. "Whether you know it or not, or are sensible of it, God, who knows the heart, knows it."