Philippians 1:12-26 Paul’s Basis For Joy

by | Mar 24, 2023 | New Testament, Philippians

QUESTION- Is joy the goal of your life, or is joy a byproduct of seeking and achieving your goal?
If your goal is joy through things/people/personal accomplishment, many things can prevent that.
If your goal is to know and share Jesus, the only thing that can stop you is you changing your mind.

The Goal of the Christian should be knowing Jesus & making Him known.
That doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy other aspects of life, i.e. possessions, accomplishments, etc.
Paul did many things other than preach, etc., but the determining factor in his life was Christ.

For the Christian, when a bottom line is needed in our lives, that bottom line should be Jesus.
Everything else, though possibly good, is not eternal.
Use the temporal to accomplish the eternal but decide to let the eternal be the directing factor.

I. Furtherance Of The Gospel Was Paul’s Goal Vs. 12-18 

A. The Gospel Through His Life Vs. 12-14 

1. Paul had first visited Philippi in Acts 16.
2. He had preached the gospel there and cast a demon out of a young slave girl.
3. The girl’s owners objected, for they had made money on her as a fortune teller.
4. That ended up in them beating Paul & Silas and throwing them in jail.
5. Paul and Silas sang in jail. God brought an earthquake; they were set free and they encouraged the Philippian believers after the event.
6. Maybe the Philippians now wondered why Paul wasn’t set miraculously freed.
7. Paul’s life wasn’t about “being free”, it was about preaching Christ.

a. This time, being in jail furthered the cause
b. The palace guard came to know that the charges against Paul and Silas were false.
c. They came to understand that the motive of Paul & Silas’ life was Jesus
d. Paul’s chains were because of his faith, not because he was a rebel.
e. His predicament allowed for others to really know of his faith in Jesus.
f. Other brethren in Christ grew in their confidence to speak of Jesus.
g. Paul’s imprisonment was going far in furthering the gospel.
h. Paul was constantly chained to a Palace guard. They were elite soldiers. (see 4:22)

8. His life and motives were more clearly seen.
9. During this time, Paul wrote Philippians, Ephesians, and Colossians.
10. If Paul’s goal was furtherance of the gospel, then it didn’t matter what happened.
11. Even if they killed him, his death would further the gospel message.
12. People would talk about why he died, how he lived, etc. Just like we are now.
13. NOTE- What is the goal of your life, and what can interrupt/prevent that pursuit?

B. The Gospel Through Others Vs. 15-17 

1. Paul’s goal was that people would hear about Jesus.
2. Some preached with a competitive spirit, wanting to out-preach Paul or perhaps become better known that Paul.

a. For them, there was competition in it. They envied Paul’s success in preaching and they had selfish ambition.

b. They supposed their successes would discourage Paul, and they disliked Paul. They wanted success for themselves & failure for Paul.

c. Others preached Christ out of good motives and with support for Paul.

3. A.W. Tozer- “Dear Lord, I refuse henceforth to compete with any of Thy servants. They have congregations larger than mine. So be it. I rejoice in their success. They have greater gifts. Very well. That is not in their power nor in mine. I am humbly grateful for their greater gifts and my smaller ones.  I purpose to pray for others and to rejoice in their prosperity as if it were my own. And indeed it is my own if it is Thine own, for what is Thine is mine, and while one plants and another waters it is Thou alone that giveth the increase.” (The Price of Neglect, 104-105)

C. Ultimately- Furtherance Of The Gospel V. 18 

1. To Paul, it didn’t matter so much why people preached Christ.
2. As long as they preached the true gospel, he found reason to rejoice.
3. Paul would not have rejoiced over a perverted gospel message.
4. Good intentions with an incorrect message weren’t reason for rejoicing.
5. Wrong intentions with the right message were a reason to rejoice.
6. Why?  His goal was that people would hear about Jesus.

II. Paul’s Joy 

A. Put Jesus First Vs. 20, 21 

1. Paul’s goal in life was not to have joy, but to know Christ and make Him known.
2. Paul was confident that no matter what happened, he wouldn’t be ashamed.

a. Ashamed- to disfigure, to dishonor, to make ashamed.
b. According to that goal, Paul was confident of that success

3. It mattered not whether he lived or died.  It was a win/win situation for him.
4. If Paul lived, his course was set.  If he died, his life & death would magnify Jesus.
5. V. 21 “Goal Check”-   Fill in the blank: “For me to live is_____, to die is _______”.
6. If “things” are the goal, that pursuit can be hindered, & end when you die.
7. If “knowing Jesus & making Him known” is the goal, nothing can stop you, and death is the ultimate achieving of that goal.

B. Others Second Vs. 22-26 

1. If he lived, it would be that his life might bear fruit for others.
2. He would rather depart and be with Jesus, but Jesus’ plan and will came first.
3. Paul had a sense that he was still needed among the Philippians.
4. His presence would be for the same goal. Know Jesus a make Him known.

C. Himself Last 

Matthew 16:24-26 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?