I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have complete boldness, so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.
I. CONSIDER THE APOSTLE'S CONCERN FOR HIS OWN SALVATION. He does not refer here to his release from captivity, but to the salvation of his soul.
1. Salvation has several significations in Scripture. It sometimes means conversion, sometimes sanctification, sometimes glorification, - that is, some one or other of three different parts of it; or it signifies all three together. In the first sense it is a past act and complete; in the second, it is a present experience and progressive; in the third, a blessed expectation. The apostle does not use the word here in the first, but in the second and third senses.
2. We are not to suppose that he had any doubt concerning his salvation, but merely that he sought that spiritual growth and that enlargement of spiritual labors that would determine the degree of his blessedness hereafter.
II. HIS SALVATION WAS TO BE PROMOTED BY SANCTIFIED TRIALS. He refers here evidently to the perplexities and troubles by which ungentle and unloving brethren had tried "to raise up affliction to his bonds."
1. Affliction has no naturally sanctifying tendency. It embitters, it hardens, it deadens the soul.
2. It is affliction sanctified by a loving Father that deepens and purifies spiritual experience. (Hebrews 12:7-11.) There are two means suggested towards this end.
(1) Intercessory prayer. "This shall turn out to my salvation through your prayer;" for even a great apostle was dependent upon the intercession of the humble disciples of Philippi.
(2) The supply of the Spirit. "And the abundant supply of the Spirit of Christ." This supply, as the answer to their prayers, would minister to him joy, peace, holiness, strength, patience, and zeal. It is the Spirit proceeding from Christ, sent by Christ, who, taking the things of Christ, shows them unto us, and so establishes our safety.
III. THIS SALVATION IS IDENTIFIED WITH HIS SUCCESSFUL PROMOTION OF THE GOSPEL. "According to my earnest desire and hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but as always, so now also with all boldness, Christ shall be magnified in my body whether by life or by death."
2. It would ensure the glorification of Christ in his body, by his labors if he lived, by his edifying patience and peace if he died.
IV. HIS CONVICTION OF THIS PACT. "I know that this will turn out to my salvation." He knew it:
1. From his knowledge of the discipline of the covenant.
2. From his knowledge of God's promises.
3. From his own past experiences of God's dealings with himself. - T.C.
According to my earnest expectation and my hopeI. PAUL HAD AS EXPECTATION.
1. This seems natural if we regard his character and temper.(1) He was a warm-hearted man, an intellectual man, a man, moreover, whose natural gifts had not been cramped but had a healthy development, and who had healthy cravings. While he did not think more highly of himself than he ought, neither did he think more meanly.(2) He was a born leader, not fitted for service so much as for rule: finding few or none with dignity enough to compel his homage. A man of ambition, with a splendid secular career before him.
2. When Jesus spoke to him Paul found a Master, and at once a new object of expectation and hope was found.
II. THE EXPECTATION WAS THAT CHRIST WOULD BE MAGNIFIED IN HIM.
1. Notice the change of self-estimate. Had Paul joined some secular cause he would have regarded himself as conferring a favour: but when he joined the Church he only congratulated himself on finding mercy. This self-abnegation was because he found Christ all in all.
2. He expected that Christ would be magnified in his body: it seems more natural for us to think his spirit. But the body is the manifestation of the spirit. In the spirit Christ is felt, in the body He is seen. If the life is degraded Christ is not in the spirit.
3. He expected that Christ would be magnified in his body irrespective of time or circumstance, life or death. Christ's grace is sufficient for this.
III. OF THIS EXPECTATION HE WAS NOT ASHAMED BUT ENTERTAINED IT BOLDLY.
1. Some Christians feel ashamed of a bold, vigorous magnification of Christ. "What will the world say?"
2. Some Christians feel afraid to magnify Christ. "What will the world do?"
(A. J. Bamford, B. A.)I. "EXPECTATION" AND "HOPE" ARE WORDS WHICH CONNECT THE HEART WITH THE FUTURE.
II. NO POWER CAN SO LIGHT UP THE FUTURE AND THROW OVER IT THE HUES OF IMMORTAL BEAUTY AS CHILDLIKE TRUST IN GOD.
III. THE UNEXPECTANT AND HOPELESS MAN IS LIVING ONLY HALF A LIFE; but he who is living on false hopes and expectations is wasting life.
IV. IT IS RIGHT THAT THE BODY SHOULD BE TURNED TO MORAL ACCOUNT. Christ purchased the whole man. The passions are not to have their own wild way. The blood is not to be the master of the man.
V. THE POSSIBILITY OF BEING READY FOR LIFE OR DEATH.
(J. Parker, D. D.)I. Every bad man is an injury to creation. God may, it is true, overrule this for the general good. If an unholy man has been of any service he has been made so in spite of himself; he never designed it or desired it. If he has, like a lighthouse, served as a warning to others, that is God's work. Every good man is useful and aims to be. But how is a good man to be useful.
I. BY MAGNIFYING CHRIST.
1. Christ is the most splendid object in existence.(1) He is highly thought of in heaven. There He is seen as He is.(2) He is highly thought of in hell. The destruction of the lost comes from His presence and glory.(3) But while heaven and hell in different ways acknowledge the greatness of Christ there are men on earth who entertain the lowest thoughts of Him, although it was on earth that He displayed His love. But there is a rapidly increasing number who count all things loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Him.
2. While speaking of magnifying Christ it is proper to be reminded that there are some who do all they can to diminish Him.(1) Such are they who deny him.(2) But there are some who injure Christ though they deny Him not. They lessen Him as to the Divine dignity of His person, the magnitude of His work, the merits of His sacrifice.(3) There are those who magnify themselves under the pretence of magnifying Christ.
3. But while some dishonour Christ there are others who magnify Him. How?(1) Not by making Christ appear greater than He is — that is impossible. The highest created mind has never set conceived that He is so great as He is.(2) Not by a thoughtless chiming upon His name or by the use of a few phraseologies; but —(3) By receiving in the letter the truths respecting His incarnation, teaching, death, etc., and the spirit of those truths which give brightness to the intellect, love of righteousness to the heart, vigour and grace to the character, and bind the soul to the Infinite.
4. It was thus that Paul magnified Christ. Not only was the Christian system as a whole confirmed in Him, but its distinguishing doctrines.(1) That God is willing to pardon the chief of sinners.(2) That the power of God can make the greatest sinner ask for mercy.(3) That by the grace of God the greatest sinner may find mercy and be transformed into the greatest saint, apostle, missionary.
II. IN ORDER TO MAGNIFY CHRIST ALL THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF OUR LIFE MUST BE SUBSERVIENT TO THAT END.
1. Our active services.
2. Our afflictions.
3. Our life and conduct.
4. Our death.
(Caleb Morris.)I. HOW CHRIST IS MAGNIFIED IN THE CHRISTIAN'S LIFE. To magnify is to make great, or to. celebrate existing greatness. In the second sense only can Christ be magnified. Christ is magnified —
1. In the conversion of His people.
2. In their sanctification.
3. In their devoted labours in His cause.
4. In their trials and sufferings.
5. In the abiding results which their services secure.
II. HOW CHRIST IS MAGNIFIED IN THE CHRISTIAN'S DEATH.
1. By raising his soul above the dread which it naturally inspires.
2. By abiding hopes and consolations in his death.
3. Through the influence which his death exerts on those who survive.Conclusion: Our theme ought to lead us —
1. To see the power and glory of the Saviour.
2. The characters to whom only the text applies.
3. The grand aim of the Christian ministry.
4. That the Christian need not be painfully anxious about the events, of life.
(J. Burns, D. D.)I. HOW IS THIS PRINCIPLE MANIFESTED. As God of course He cannot be made great; only in His mediatorial character. In this He is made great.
1. By God the Father (Philippians 2:10).
2. By the angels. They did so when He was on earth. They do so in heaven.
3. By every individual partaker of His great salvation; by Paul and us.
(1) (2) (3) 4. In earnest evangelism. 5. In hopeful death. II. IN WHAT DOES ITS EXCELLENCY APPEAR. 1. This is all men's moral obligation. 2. The God greatest moral excellence. 3. The only right principle of action. 4. Because always honours it. (N. M. Harry.) (J. Hutchison, D. D.)
(2) (3) 4. In earnest evangelism. 5. In hopeful death. II. IN WHAT DOES ITS EXCELLENCY APPEAR. 1. This is all men's moral obligation. 2. The God greatest moral excellence. 3. The only right principle of action. 4. Because always honours it. (N. M. Harry.) (J. Hutchison, D. D.)
(3) 4. In earnest evangelism. 5. In hopeful death. II. IN WHAT DOES ITS EXCELLENCY APPEAR. 1. This is all men's moral obligation. 2. The God greatest moral excellence. 3. The only right principle of action. 4. Because always honours it. (N. M. Harry.) (J. Hutchison, D. D.)
4. In earnest evangelism.
5. In hopeful death.
II. IN WHAT DOES ITS EXCELLENCY APPEAR.
1. This is all men's moral obligation.
2. The God greatest moral excellence.
3. The only right principle of action.
4. Because always honours it.
(N. M. Harry.)Romans 8:19. It means the waiting with the head raised, and the eye fixed on that point of the horizon from which the expected object is to come. What a plastic representation! An artist might make a statue of hope out of this Greek term.
(J. Hutchison, D. D.)