selfless servants

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selfless servants

Philippians 2:19-30 (JDV)
Philippians 2:19 Now I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon so that I too may be encouraged by news about you.
Philippians 2:20 You see, I have no one else of like disposition who will genuinely care about your interests;
Philippians 2:21 all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.
Philippians 2:22 But you know his proven character, because he has served with me in the gospel ministry like a son with a father.
Philippians 2:23 For this reason, I hope to send him as soon as I see how things go with me.
Philippians 2:24 I am confident in the Lord that I myself will also come soon.
Philippians 2:25 But I considered it necessary to send you Epaphroditus – my brother, co-worker, and fellow soldier, as well as your missionary and servant to my need –
Philippians 2:26 since he has been longing for all of you and was distressed because you heard that he was sick.
Philippians 2:27 Indeed, he was so sick that he nearly died. However, God had mercy on him, and not only on him but also on me, so that I would not have sorrow upon sorrow.
Philippians 2:28 For this reason, I am very eager to send him so that you may rejoice again when you see him and I may be less anxious.
Philippians 2:29 For this reason, welcome him in the Lord with great joy and hold people like him in honor,
Philippians 2:30 because he came close to death for the achievement of Christ, risking his life to make up what was lacking in your ministry to me.

selfless servants

Paul had told the Philippians that they should have the same attitude as Christ, who “humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death” (2:8). He put us ahead of himself. Now, Paul gets the chance to brag about two of his fellow missionaries, who demonstrated this kind of selfless obedience as partners with Paul in his ministry. Timothy is commended because he genuinely cares for the interest of the churches. Epaphroditus remained committed to his mission even after he became deathly ill. These are the kind of servants who make their master proud, because they understand his heart.

Lord, give us the heart of selfless servants, putting your mission and your flock first.

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See also

https://commandsofchrist.wordpress.com/2009/12/07/chapter-13-forget-your-fears/

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fourth gain

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fourth gain

Philippians 2:12-18 (JDV)

Philippians 2:12 For this reason, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, so now, not only in my presence but even more in my absence, work out your own rescue with fear and trembling.
Philippians 2:13 You see, it is God who is achieving things in you – both to want and to work according to his good intention.
Philippians 2:14 Do everything without grumbling and arguing,
Philippians 2:15 so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God who are unblemished in a crooked and corrupted generation, among whom you shine like stars in the world,
Philippians 2:16 by holding firm to the word of life. Then I can boast in the day of Christ that I didn’t run or labor for nothing.
Philippians 2:17 But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrificial service of your faith, I am still glad and rejoice with all of you.
Philippians 2:18 In the same way you should also be glad and rejoice with me.

fourth gain

In 1:21, Paul said that if he were to die for his faith, it would be gain. I already said there were three ways this would be considered gain. He would consider such a death “gain” for him, because it would be a witness to his faith in Christ. It would be a gain for Christ, because it would honor Christ with his body. It would also be gain for the gospel, because as Tertullian put it “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church” (Apologeticus, Chapter 50).

Here is the fourth way that a martyr’s death would be gain. Paul spoke of being “poured out as a drink offering on the sacrificial service of (the Philippians’) faith. If his death accentuated the truth of the gospel which the Philippian Christians were believing and preaching, it would be gain for him, because his whole life is centered around decalring that gospel.

Lord, may we hold firm to the gospel, so that those who gave it to us at the cost of their lives will not have died in vain.

watch the video


See also

https://jeffersonvann.com/2013/07/02/acst-61-the-advents/

https://marmsky.com/2011/05/06/joy-from-others/

https://www.afterlife.co.nz/2013/08/looking-at-1-thessalonians-510/

https://jeffersonvann.com/2013/08/02/looking-at-1-thessalonians-510/

https://hence4th.org/2019/08/06/the-advents/

Posted in commitment, discipleship, gospel, Uncategorized, witness | Tagged | Leave a comment

emptying our expectations

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emptying our expectations

Philippians 2:1-11 (JDV)

Philippians 2:1 If then there is any encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of care, if any partnership with the Breath, if any affection and mercy,
Philippians 2:2 make my joy complete by thinking the same way, having the same care, united in throat,intent on one purpose.
Philippians 2:3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves.
Philippians 2:4 Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
Philippians 2:5 Adopt the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus,
Philippians 2:6 who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be exploited.
Philippians 2:7 Instead he emptied himself by assuming the form of a servant, taking on the likeness of a human. And when he had come as a man,
Philippians 2:8 he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death– even to death on a cross.
Philippians 2:9 For this reason God highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name,
Philippians 2:10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow– in the sky realm and on land and under the land –
Philippians 2:11 and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

emptying our expectations

Paul encourages the Philippian Christians to respond to Christ’s selfless attitude by adopting it themselves. As Grownups, we adore children for their cuteness, honesty and openness, and that helps us to overlook their innate selfishness. But as children mature, we expect them to learn to be less selfish and more considerate.

Christ did not empty himself of his divinity or his majesty or his righteousness. He emptied his expectation of getting what all those things deserve.

Christ’s choice to empty himself of all the things he deserved as God’s only Son is the ultimate example of the selfless attitude that accompanies Christian maturity. He was able and willing to look beyond what he deserved to do something for us that we did not deserve.

Lord, grant us the maturity that empties our expectation of what we deserve.

watch the video

See Also:

https://jeffersonvann.com/2013/01/29/acst-56-the-saved/

https://hence4th.org/2019/03/12/assembly-body-bride-the-saved/

https://marmsky.com/2011/05/05/joy-from-unity/

https://www.afterlife.co.nz/2014/07/to-die-is-gain/

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contending together for the faith

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contending together for the faith

Philippians 1:27-30 (JDV)

Philippians 1:27 Just one thing: live your lives worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or am absent, I will hear about you that you are standing firm with one breath, from one throat, contending together for the faith revealed by the gospel,
Philippians 1:28 not being frightened in any way by the opponents. This is proof of destruction to them, but of your rescue – and this is from God.
Philippians 1:29 You see, it has been granted to you on Christ’s behalf not only to believe in him, but also to endure this for him,
Philippians 1:30 since you are having the same struggle that you saw in my case and now hear in my case.

contending together for the faith

Paul told the Philippian Christians that he only wanted one thing from them. He wanted them to live their lives worthy of the gospel of Christ. He explained that they could do so by contending together for the faith revealed by the gospel, standing firm with one breath, coming as if from one throat.

It is in the context of persecution against the gospel that the Philippians could live their lives worthy of it. Paul had already been imprisoned, so his message to the Philippians came with its own illustration. He was demonstrating the kind of courageous witness that he called the Philippian Christians to mimic.

Paul says that proclaiming the gospel in such an environment of persecution is actually a gift. Not everyone will have the privilege of witnessing to Christ in this way. It is an honor.

Also, Paul says that by declaring the gospel boldly under the fire of enemy opposition, the Philippians will be proof of something called “destruction”(1:28). He is referring to the destruction the persecutors will experience at the end of the age, when Christ returns. And the rescue that the Philippians will experience will happen then, too.

Lord, give us the courage to contend together for the faith, trusting you for our ultimate rescue and vindication.

watch the video


See also:

https://jeffersonvann.com/2013/08/29/acst-63-the-destinies/

https://www.afterlife.co.nz/2020/02/contending-together-for-the-faith/

https://marmsky.com/2011/05/05/joy-from-unity/

https://www.afterlife.co.nz/2013/08/only-two-destinies-eternal-life/

https://www.afterlife.co.nz/2016/07/q-resurrection-chronology/

https://hence4th.org/2019/08/27/the-destinies-destiny-of-the-saved/

https://www.afterlife.co.nz/2020/01/translation-notes-on-philippians-127-30/

https://www.afterlife.co.nz/2018/01/set-apart-destruction/

https://hence4th.org/2019/05/14/set-apart-for-destruction/

 

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three way gain

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three way gain

Philippians 1:19 You see, I know this will lead to my rescue through your prayers and help from the Breath of Jesus Christ.
Philippians 1:20 My eager expectation and hope is that I will not be dishonored by anything, but that now as always, with all courage, Christ will be highly honored by my body, whether by life or by death.
Philippians 1:21 For me, to live is Christ and to die is a gain.
Philippians 1:22 Now if I live on in the flesh, this means fruitful achievement for me; and I don’t know which one I should choose.
Philippians 1:23 I am torn between the two. I long to return and be with Christ – which is far better –
Philippians 1:24 but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for your sake.
Philippians 1:25 Since I am persuaded of this, I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith,
Philippians 1:26 so that, because of my presence among you again, your pride in Christ Jesus may increase.

three way gain

Paul had been talking about his imprisonment, and explaining how it was working out to his gain because even the Roman soldiers guarding him were hearing the gospel. Now, he considers what might happen. The choices are two — but not the two that you might expect. Many read this passage as if Paul had adopted the pagan notion of survival at death. He did not. He believed that death is real, and that a resurrection would be necessary to live again.

No, the two real options that Paul was considering are mentioned in verse 20: “that … Christ will be highly honored by my body, whether by life or by death.” So, either Paul’s imprisonment would end with his execution, which would be gain for him because he would honor Christ as a martyr, or Paul would be released, in which case Christ would be honored by his rescue. He mentions a third option in verse 23, but “to return* and be with Christ” is not a reference to his death. Paul had told the Thessalonians that when Christ returns all believers who have died would return to life and be with him (1 Thessalonians 4:17).

I know that a lot of Christians have been taught that everyone survives death, so that death is not really death. I just challenge them to consider that such a belief is actually read into the text here. Paul knew that he really could die, but he also knew that if he did, his death would not be permanent, because he would be raised to life again when Christ comes. But he would consider such a death “gain” for him, because it would be a witness to his faith in Christ. It would be a gain for Christ, because it would honor Christ with his body. It would also be gain for the gospel, because as Tertullian put it “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church” (Apologeticus, Chapter 50).

*  The Greek word ἀναλύω is only found one other place in the New Testament (Luke 12:36), where is is translated return.

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that greater power

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that greater power

Philippians 1:12 Now I have decided for you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually advanced the gospel,
Philippians 1:13 so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard, and to everyone else, that my imprisonment is because I am in Christ.
Philippians 1:14 Most of the brothers have gained confidence in the Lord from my imprisonment and dare even more to speak the word fearlessly.
Philippians 1:15 Yes, some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of good intention.11
Philippians 1:16 These preach out of care, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel;
Philippians 1:17 the others proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, thinking that they will cause me trouble in my imprisonment.
Philippians 1:18 What does it matter? Only that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is proclaimed, and in this I celebrate. Yes, and I will continue to celebrate.

that greater power

David Young Jr. wrote, “Sometimes things seem to go from bad to worse. Out of the frying pan and into the fire kind of bad. Yet, have you ever stopped to consider that God may be using some of what we find as “bad” to proclaim his glory? It is all too easy to just see the events before us and not consider that greater power of God who does the miraculous.”*

Paul understood that the very thing that was most wrong about his life at the moment was actually being used by God to do something right: to advance the gospel. He could have become bitter and disillusioned, and I am sure he felt that way at times. But he held to a strong trust in God’s sovereignty, a tenacious belief in God’s control over everything.

Thank you Lord, for that greater power, at work even in the bad things that happen.

* * Maranatha Daily Devotional “God Cares for his Own” Wednesday, January 20, 2016.

today’s video

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only get better

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only get better

Philippians 1:6-11 (JDV)

Philippians 1:6 I have confidence in this, that he who started a good achievement in you will keep perfecting it until the day of Christ Jesus.
Philippians 1:7 In fact, it is right for me to think this way about all of you, because I have you in my heart, and you are all partners with me in favor, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel.
Philippians 1:8 You see, God is my attestor, how deeply I miss all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
Philippians 1:9 And I pray this: that your care will keep on growing in knowledge and every kind of discernment,
Philippians 1:10 so that you may evaluate the things that are superior and may be pure and blameless in the day of Christ,
Philippians 1:11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God.

only get better

Paul’s is confident that the Philippian congregations will only get better. The fact that they have stayed true to him, supporting him even after he was imprisoned — showed that they had not given up on the gospel which Paul was called to defend and confirm.

His prayer for them is that they would keep on growing in knowledge and discernment, even if he would not be available to teach them. He did not take purity and blamelessness for granted. He prayed earnestly for the Philippians to get pure and stay pure. That was the only way to be filled with the fruit of righteousness.

Lord, we make it our aim to keep true to the gospel, to keep growing in knowledge, and to get pure and stay pure. If we must change, we vow to only get better.

watch the video

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partnership in the gospel

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partnership in the gospel

Philippians 1:1-5 (JDV)

Philippians 1:1 Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus: To all the devotees in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and assistants.
Philippians 1:2 Favor to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Philippians 1:3 I give thanks to my God every time someone mentions you,
Philippians 1:4 always praying joyfully for all of you in my every prayer,
Philippians 1:5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.

partnership in the gospel

Paul and Timothy were writing a missionary newsletter to their supporting congregations in Philippi. Paul begins their newsletter with prayer that God would continue to favor those believers and give them peace, and he thanks God every time someone mentions these dear people. Why? Because they are supporting the work of spreading the gospel through his missionary team.

By supporting missionaries, believers are partnering in their mission. Without those who go, people will not hear the gospel. Without those who send and support, missionaries cannot go.

Lord, thank you for all the sending congregations who partner with missionaries in the gospel.

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no sequel

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no sequel

Jeremiah 52:31-34 (JDV)

Jeremiah 52:31 On the twenty-fifth day of the twelfth month of the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Judah’s King Jehoiachin, King Evil-merodach of Babylon, in the first year of his reign, pardoned King Jehoiachin of Judah and took him out from prison.
Jeremiah 52:32 He spoke kindly to him and set his throne above the thrones of the kings who were with him in Babylon.
Jeremiah 52:33 So Jehoiachin changed his prison clothes, and he dined regularly in the presence of the king of Babylon for the rest of his life.
Jeremiah 52:34 As for his provision, a regular provision was given to him by the king of Babylon, something for each day until the day of his death, for the rest of his life.

no sequel

Jeremiah concludes his book by recounting some of the historical events, including the fall of Jerusalem and the deporting and deaths of many of its leaders. The book begs for a sequel, but we do not get one. The people of God must wait for the seventy years of exile to be completed, and trust that the LORD will make good his promises. Sometimes we do not get the happy ending we long for in this life. We can take comfort from the fact that our LORD has plans for us that will be fulfilled long after we die. Nothing can separate us from his love.

LORD, give us patience to wait with confidence.

watch the video


e-books by Jefferson Vann

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Another Bible Commentary

A devotional commentary on every passage in the Bible (based on the English Standard Version –ESV).

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content-4429309-DIGITAL_BOOK_THUMBNAIL

an Advent Christian systematic theology

Systematic Theologies answer the questions that people have about God and the universe. This book is an example of a systematic theology written from a viewpoint shared by members of the Advent Christian denomination.

881 pages     Price: $4.99, US.

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words-from-the-collector

           Words from the Collector

               He collected everything from money to buildings to                               women, but he is most famous for collecting wise sayings.                   His name is Solomon, and one of the books we have from                     him is called Ecclesiastes.

               This is a new translation of that Old Testament book                             Ecclesiastes, and a reader’s guide to its content.

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             Finding Gold in Genesis

                 Gold can be found throughout the pages of this book. It is a                     simple book, with a new translation of Genesis, some                                devotional thoughts, and some prayers. But there is gold                          here.  I challenge you to find it.

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stripped city

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stripped city

Jeremiah 52:12-30 (JDV)

Jeremiah 52:12 On the tenth day of the fifth month – which was during the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon – Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guards, entered Jerusalem as the representative of the king of Babylon.
Jeremiah 52:13 He burned Yahveh’s temple, the king’s palace, all the houses of Jerusalem; he burned down all the great houses.
Jeremiah 52:14 The whole Chaldean army with the captain of the guards tore down all the walls surrounding Jerusalem.
Jeremiah 52:15 Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guards, deported some of the poorest of the people, as well as the rest of the people who remained in the city, the deserters who had defected to the king of Babylon, and the rest of the craftsmen.
Jeremiah 52:16 But Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guards, left some of the poorest of the land to be vintners and farmers.
Jeremiah 52:17 Now the Chaldeans broke into pieces the bronze pillars for Yahveh’s temple and the water carts and the bronze basin that were in Yahveh’s temple, and they carried all that bronze to Babylon.
Jeremiah 52:18 They also took the pots, shovels, wick trimmers, sprinkling basins, dishes, and all the bronze articles used in the temple service.
Jeremiah 52:19 The captain of the guards took away the bowls, fire-pans, sprinkling basins, pots, lamp-stands, pans, and drink offering bowls – whatever was gold or silver.
Jeremiah 52:20 As for the two pillars, the one basin, with the twelve bronze oxen under it, and the water carts that King Solomon had made for Yahveh’s temple, the weight of the bronze of all these articles was not countable.
Jeremiah 52:21 One pillar was 27 feet tall, had a circumference of 18 feet, was hollow – four fingers thick –
Jeremiah 52:22 and had a bronze capital on top of it. One capital, encircled by bronze grating and pomegranates, stood 7 1/2 feet high. The second pillar was the same, with pomegranates.
Jeremiah 52:23 Each capital had ninety-six pomegranates on the winds. All the pomegranates around the grating numbered one hundred.
Jeremiah 52:24 The captain of the guards also took away Seraiah the chief priest, Zephaniah the priest of the second rank, and the three doorkeepers.
Jeremiah 52:25 From the city he took a court official who had been appointed over the warriors; seven trusted royal aides found in the city; the secretary of the commander of the army, who enlisted the people of the land for military duty; and sixty men from the common people who were found within the city.
Jeremiah 52:26 Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guards, took them and brought them to the king of Babylon at Riblah.
Jeremiah 52:27 The king of Babylon put them to death at Riblah in the land of Hamath. So Judah went into exile from its land.
Jeremiah 52:28 These are the people Nebuchadnezzar deported: in the seventh year, 3,023 Jews;
Jeremiah 52:29 in his eighteenth year, 832 people from Jerusalem;
Jeremiah 52:30 in Nebuchadnezzar’s twenty-third year, Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guards, deported 745 Jews. Altogether, 4,600 people were deported.

stripped city

The devastation of Jerusalem was unthinkable. It’s buildings and temple courts were stripped bare, its citizens deported, its officials captured and killed.

The chronicler of this disaster writes as though he is weeping at his parchment. Yes, it was allowed by God, but that does not mean that the Babylonian empire could escape justice when it was time to pay for what they did.

There are many injustices taking place all around us this day, and God’s Holy Spirit is aware of them all. Nothing is hidden from Him. Nothing will escape his judgment.

If you are experiencing injustice, betrayal, abandonment, abuse — you can be sure that our Lord knows it.

Lord, we choose to trust you through the times of injustice, and hope for restoration in the future.

watch the video


sermon audio

e-books by Jefferson Vann

content-4405019-DIGITAL_BOOK_THUMBNAIL

Another Bible Commentary

A devotional commentary on every passage in the Bible (based on the English Standard Version –ESV).

655 pages     Price: $4.99, US.

Click-here-to-order-now-button


content-4429309-DIGITAL_BOOK_THUMBNAIL

an Advent Christian systematic theology

Systematic Theologies answer the questions that people have about God and the universe. This book is an example of a systematic theology written from a viewpoint shared by members of the Advent Christian denomination.

881 pages     Price: $4.99, US.

Click-here-to-order-now-button


words-from-the-collector

           Words from the Collector

               He collected everything from money to buildings to                               women, but he is most famous for collecting wise sayings.                   His name is Solomon, and one of the books we have from                     him is called Ecclesiastes.

               This is a new translation of that Old Testament book                             Ecclesiastes, and a reader’s guide to its content.

                                                  65 pages      $5.00 US 

Click-here-to-order-now-button

             Finding Gold in Genesis

                 Gold can be found throughout the pages of this book. It is a                     simple book, with a new translation of Genesis, some                                devotional thoughts, and some prayers. But there is gold                          here.  I challenge you to find it.

                 172 pages     $ 4.99 US

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