Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

Index by Subject

Mining the Scriptures: Philippians 1:15-18

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The gospel of Christ is God’s power of salvation (cf. Romans 1:16). When it is preached, it convicts the hearts of those who are honest and sincere. In the preaching, the message is what is important, not the messenger. That is not to say that God will not hold accountable those who preach, but are hypocrites. He will. That is not to say that when a messenger is personally unworthy of the message that it may not have a negative impact. I very well may.

However, whenever the gospel is preached it is a good thing! No matter if the motivation is impure or pure, no matter if the messenger is unworthy or worthy. Paul understood this, and rejoiced, though the preaching of the gospel may have impacted his own comfort and safety. Preaching the gospel will not save the preacher if his heart is not right, but it certainly has the ability to save the one who hears it. Praise God for His word!
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Mining the Scriptures: Philippians 1:12-14

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Our text establishes clearly the apostle Paul’s priorities in life. Though the “things which happened to me” included imprisonment and possible loss of life, Paul considered it a fortunate turn of events. Because of his trip to Rome and house arrest, the gospel was preached to individuals who otherwise would not hear it. Paul wrote of those in Caesar’s palace who were aware that his “chains are in Christ” (13).

A further benefit was the courage taken by others from Paul’s example. Because he preached boldly despite persecution, others were emboldened to do the same. This serves to illustrate the benefit of a godly example. If you live for Christ despite opposition, others see that and are encouraged to do the same.

Paul rejoiced because the gospel was preached. He didn’t care what it cost him personally. He understood the purpose of the message, and made its spread his life’s work (cf. Romans 1:15-16).

Mining the Scriptures: Philippians 1:3-8

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The apostle Paul truly had a great love for his brethren in Philippi. He said as much when he wrote, “I have you in my heart,” (7) and “how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ” (8). This love stemmed equally from his “deep concern for all the churches” (cf. 2 Corinthians 11:28), and from their fellowship “in the gospel from the first day until now” (5).

For Paul, the expression of love went far beyond mere platitudes. It was shown in the continual petitions he made on their behalf before God. He thanked his God “upon every remembrance of you” (3). His opportunity to pray on their behalf was described by the apostle as a joy because of their assistance, and his affection.

His commendation was deserved. Because of their ministration to him, he described the Philippians as “both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel … partakers with me of grace” (7). Not all of us are capable of such active defense of the faith as the great apostle. However, it is within the capabilities of all Christians to have fellowship in grace by helping those who do!

Mining the Scriptures: Philippians 1:1-2

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Paul’s salutation in this epistle is similar to other letters he wrote. His letter is addressed to the “saints in Christ Jesus.” The term saint indicates one who has been set apart by God. It denotes those who have been cleansed from sin, and are called to obedience and good works. This is, of course, accomplished through the work of Jesus Christ.

Bishops and deacons are given special note. The term “bishop” is a term used interchangeably with the terms “elder” and “pastor” indicating men who are ordained to the position of oversight in a local congregation. The term deacon indicates a man who is given a special work of service. The term indicates an attendant or servant.

Both of these offices are important, and the men who serve in them are first to be qualified (cf. 1 Timothy 3; Titus 1), and then treated honorably for their work’s sake (cf. 1 Timothy 5:17). It is proper that they were singled out by Paul in his greeting.

Paul, in expressing his desire that they receive grace and peace from God and His Son, relates perhaps the most precious sentiment possible for the Philippians.

Mining The Scriptures: Philippians 1:9-11

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Philippians 1:9-11

This prayer of Paul is interesting in that it is on behalf of the Christians at Philippi, and expresses his desire for their continued growth.

He prays for their love to “abound more and more”, but notice how the apostle links love to knowledge and discernment. Why is it that love must be with discernment? So that “you may approve the things that are excellent.”

In our day, love is undiscerning, and tolerant even of error and evil. When evil is tolerated by God’s children, it has the unhappy effect of compromising purity and godliness. It is Paul’s desire that the Philippians (and we) be “sincere and without offense.” In order for that to happen, discernment had to accompany their (and our) love.

We must avoid being influenced to evil. Christians should be careful to develop sufficient knowledge of what God approves, that we might instead be “filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Christ.”

Mining The Scriptures: Philippians 2:1-4

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Philippians 2:1-4

In Philippians 4:2, the apostle admonished two ladies, Euodia and Syntyche, to “be of the same mind in the Lord.” The admonition is the only indication given in the epistle of possible problems in the church in Philippi. The church was strong, but not perfect, and the admonition to unity was timely. Such is certainly needed in our time as well.

In Philippians 2:1-4, the means of obtaining such unity is found. Paul here again exhorts the brethren to be “like-minded”, and indicates that his can be done when each esteems “others better than himself” (vs. 3). In effect, humility is the source of unity.

When people are self-willed, division results. If I want what I want, and am unable to compromise, and you are the same; then our goals will often conflict. Thus, division results.

As Christians, we should look out for the interests of our brethren — it is only then that we will all have the mind of Christ.