Monday, September 3, 2018
Philippians 4:20 – 23 To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen. 21Greet all the saints in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me send greetings. 22All the saints send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household. 23The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.
We have finally arrived at the end of the book of Philippians. I want to conclude this study with one key focus point. Tucked away in the middle of Paul’s greetings to the church in Philippi is a statement of Kingdom proportions. To get the full impact of what he says, let’s review.
Paul is in prison in Rome. He is under house arrest in the confines of Caesar himself. He had initially been arrested because he was supposedly subverting the Jewish faith with his testimony about the resurrection of Jesus. He was then charged under Roman law with worshipping someone other than Caesar as the supreme God. He knew what the consequences of his choice would be, but he also knew what it meant to be completely committed to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Because of his public stand for Jesus, he suffered beatings, stoning, shipwrecks, and imprisonment. Yet when He writes to the church in Philippi he says, “Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.” Paul understood that whatever consequences we suffer for our stand for Christ will be used by God to advance the Gospel and bring Him glory.
Here at the end of his letter he affirms that position when he writes, “To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever.” Then, in an amazing statement of fulfilled promise, Paul sends greetings to the Philippian people from all the saints in Rome, especially those who belong to the household of Caesar.
Not only had a church been started in Rome during Paul’s ministry there while in chains, but the Gospel of Jesus Christ had infiltrated the home of Caesar. Think about the history of the Roman Empire. For the next 250 years, Christianity would suffer severe persecution at the hands of the Romans. Then, in 312 A.D., Constantine would hear the Gospel message and become a Christian, and by the end of the century Christianity is the official religion of Rome.
Yes, much corruption to the original message of God’s grace would occur during that time, but the truth of Jesus Christ was allowed to freely be presented throughout the world. Today, we have the freedom of faith and the knowledge of the truth partly because one man chose to stand for Christ against all odds and in spite of all opposition and at all cost to personal liberty and safety.
Because Paul was willing to suffer for the cause of Christ, the Gospel became a part of the household of Caesar. These precious saints living for Jesus in the home of a man who demanded worship as God were encouraged by Paul’s example to stand for Jesus and speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.
My friends, there is no place on earth so corrupt and ungodly that the Gospel of Jesus Christ cannot infiltrate it and bring glory to God. But for that to happen it will take someone – maybe you – to take a stand for Jesus no matter what the consequences.
When the sinful people of the world see undivided love for Jesus Christ regardless of the human consequences, they will consider the claims of Christ as valid for their own lives.
When the people of God begin to love the people of the world with the love of God, the strongholds of Satan will be demolished.
It may not happen in your lifetime. It may take hundreds of years. But when God’s people live for God’s glory by courageously sharing the Gospel, then God’s glory will be realized!
Who will be the one to take a stand for Christ no matter what the personal cost? Who will be willing to suffer the rejection of family and friends so that the real heart issues of life can be addressed with the truth of Jesus Christ? Who will be the one willing to go into the prison of social shame for the glory of God? Will you be the one that opens the door into one of Caesar’s households so that the grace of God can begin a transforming work in a stronghold of Satan?
Be the one!
Be willing to stand for Christ anywhere He sends you, to the glory of God for ever and ever.
And like Paul, REJOICE while you do it!