Sermon on Sunday May 5, 2019 by Pastor Philip Long
1 This letter is from Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus. I am writing to all of God’s holy people in Philippi who belong to Christ Jesus, including the elders and deacons.
2 May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.
3 Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God.
4 Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy,
5 for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now.
6 And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.
7 So it is right that I should feel as I do about all of you, for you have a special place in my heart. You share with me the special favor of God, both in my imprisonment and in defending and confirming the truth of the Good News.
8 God knows how much I love you and long for you with the tender compassion of Christ Jesus.
9 I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding.
10 For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return.
11 May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ —for this will bring much glory and praise to God.
12 And I want you to know, my dear brothers and sisters, that everything that has happened to me here has helped to spread the Good News.
13 For everyone here, including the whole palace guard, knows that I am in chains because of Christ.
14 And because of my imprisonment, most of the believers here have gained confidence and boldly speak God’s message without fear.
15 It’s true that some are preaching out of jealousy and rivalry. But others preach about Christ with pure motives.
16 They preach because they love me, for they know I have been appointed to defend the Good News.
17 Those others do not have pure motives as they preach about Christ. They preach with selfish ambition, not sincerely, intending to make my chains more painful to me.
18 But that doesn’t matter. Whether their motives are false or genuine, the message about Christ is being preached either way, so I rejoice. And I will continue to rejoice.
19 For I know that as you pray for me and the Spirit of Jesus Christ helps me, this will lead to my deliverance.
20 For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die.
21 For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better.
22 But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So I really don’t know which is better.
23 I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me.
24 But for your sakes, it is better that I continue to live.