Philippians 1:29, 30
For to you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;…
There is reason given, by way of encouragement, for their steadfastness in suffering. "For unto you it was freely given on the behalf of Christ, not only to believe upon him, but also to suffer for his sake."
I. THE DISPENSATION OF SUFFERING ASSIGNED TO THE SAINTS. Their sufferings fall not cut by chance. They are divinely ordered. They are even divinely given.
1. Their ability to endure these sufferings is the gift of Christ. "In the world ye shall have tribulation; in me ye shall have peace." "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."
2. Their comforts in sufferings are the gift of Christ. Thus they are led to rejoice in tribulation, for he has sent his Comforter to dwell in their hearts.
3. The sufferings in question are profitable to themselves as well as honoring to the Lord. He doth not afflict willingly, but for our profit. Through our suffering we may glorify the Lord by encouraging and confirming the faith of others.
4. The sufferings will not be without, reward. "If we suffer with him, we shall also reign with him" (2 Timothy 2:12). "Blessed are you when men persecute you... for great is your reward in heaven" (Matthew 5:11, 12).
II. FAITH IN CHRIST MUST GO BEFORE SUFFERING FOR HIM, "Unto you it is given... to believe upon him."
1. Faith is God's gift, as it is the first effect of regeneration, which is God's work. Christ purchased for us, not merely salvation, but all the means thereunto. It is the Lord who opens our eyes, renews our wills, and persuades and enables us to accept Christ in the gospel.
2. It is by this faith we are enabled to suffer patiently. Without the shield of faith we could not resist the anger of persecutors. By faith we are made strong at the root like the seaweed that grows on the rock, no matter how much it may be lashed hither and thither by the ceaseless action of the waves.
III. ENCOURAGEMENT TO PATIENT PERSEVERANCE BY THE EXAMPLE OF THE APOSTLE. "Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me." There must be a right spirit as well as a good cause to suffer for.
1. The similarity between the sufferings of the apostle and those of his converts.
(1) It was in the same place - Philippi. (Acts 16:19.)
(2) It was, probably, from the same adversaries, Gentiles and Jews.
(3) It was a conflict in both cases trying to flesh and blood.
2. The sufferings of the ministers of Christ ought to encourage their people to like patience and firmness. - T.C.
Parallel VersesKJV: For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;