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Prokop (Progress) - P2R Week 3-

 22.1.11



I am very happy to be part of the huge number of saints memorizing Philippians (P2R). I am studying along a commentary on Philippians by MacArthur ; which has proved to be something beneficial for my soul. So just as I did last week, I will post some interesting insights I have gleaned from these verses.

Prokop is the greek word that means "progress; advance".  Definitely a key word on this week's memory verses (Philippians 1: 12- 18).

Every trial in the life of the Christian should serve to advance the gospel. "It was the progress (the advance) of the gospel for which Paul lived so passionately" (emphasis mine) It was this way of living through trials that make him write the Epistle of Joy!

"One of the surest measures of a Christian’s spiritual maturity is what it takes to rob him of his Spirit-bestowed joy. Paul’s maturity is evident in the present text as he makes it clear that difficult, unpleasant, painful, even life-threatening circumstances did not rob him of joy but rather caused it to increase."

Philippians is known as the Epistle for joy, but we know that joy is not always present in the life of the believer; why? MacArhur says,

"The only certain cause for loss of joy in a believer’s life is sin, which corrupts his fellowship with the Lord, who is the source of joy. Such sinful attitudes as dissatisfaction, bitterness, sullenness, doubt, fear, and negativism cause joy to be forfeited. Consequently, the only way to restore lost joy is to repent and return to proper worship of and obedience to God.
Any thing other than sin -no matter how difficult,  painful, or disappointing- need not to take away the believer's joy."

This is a time to stop and ask ourselves, how do we react to those hard circumstances in life that we encounter? Paul was in prison, his circumstances were terrible, however, he rejoiced because he knew that he was put there for the defense of the gospel; he knew he was in prison with a  God- glorifying purpose, the advance of the gospel.

I have friends (for example Hollie and Persis) who have gone through very harsh times and have learned to give glory to God in the midst of their circumstances and have fought against their flesh to keep their joy. This humbles me and I learn from them.

"He {Paul} did not ignore or make light of his imprisonment (cf. 1:7,14, 17; Col. 4:3, 18; Philem. 9, 13), but it was incidental to his willing, joyous, and immeasurably privileged status as a bondservant of Jesus Christ (1:1)... Everything in Paul's life had  importance only to the degree that it affected the progress (the advance) of the gospel." (Emphasis mine)

So no, we are not to "confess" the opposite of what is happening, of the reality God has brought to our lives; but we must see beyond it!

Now, what is our reaction to the trials our  brothers and sisters in Christ are walking through? Paul says that many brothers became more confident in the Lord by his imprisonment  and spoke more boldly the word without fear (v. 14). To this MacArthur says,

"His strength became their strength, as his example touched them... courage is contagious"

Isn't this a wonderful example on how all that happens to us serves to advance the gospel if we give God the glory due to His name in all? I am thinking of this, if a Christian complains all through the period of trial he has to go through, then no one around him will be encouraged to walk with confidence before a sovereign God; so next time I walk through trials, I want to be an encouragement to the saints around me, always giving God the honor and speaking boldly the word without fear.

The last quote I want to share now is this:

"Absolutely nothing could steal Paul's God-given joy. He was expandable; the gospel was not. His own privacy and freedom were incidental, and he cared nothing for personal recognition or credit. Neither the painful chains of Rome nor the even more painful criticism of fellow Christians could keep him from rejoicing, because Christ was being proclaimed and His Church was growing and maturing"

Today I am grateful for the Epistle to the Philippians. There is so much to learn.. !

May we be willing to live passionately to advance the gospel of Christ through all the circumstances we walk through.




Some friends Memorizing Philippians share their thoughts (I encourage you to visit them):

Read my friend's Anne's reflections here.
Aaron  @Blogging Theologically shares his thoughts  here. 
Leslie Wiggins' reflections are here

What have you learned through this week's verses? Any helpful tips? Any insights you want to share? 

Join the conversation!



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Becky
If I am happy it is because of God! God, in His sovereign grace, has called me out of darkness into His Admirable light. He has opened my eyes and has shown me the way to Eternal Life. He has set my feet on a journey, and now I am walking Daily on My Way to Heaven. I did not find Jesus, He found me. I did not seek Him, yet He called me. I did not love Him, yet He loved me. I deserved death and He gave me Life. This is the place where I keep a journal of my life under His sun and by His grace!
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Borrowed Words

"It becomes us to spend this life only as a journey toward heaven... to which we should subordinate all other concerns of life. Why should we labor for or set our hearts on anything else, but that which is our proper end and true happiness?"

Jonathan Edwards

"I am still pondering God's greatness in His creation. I have so many questions that I would like to ask the Lord about the universe, creation, the fall of man... But when I'm in heaven, I wonder if I will even remember them. At that time, being in the presence of God will be enough. I'm thankful that I can look forward to that day."

-Persis

“Heaven is not here, it’s There. If we were given all we wanted here, our hearts would settle for this world rather than the next. God is forever luring us up and away from this one, wooing us to Himself and His still invisible Kingdom, where we will certainly find what we so keenly long for.”

- Elisabeth Elliot, Keep a Quiet Heart



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