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Philippians 3:8 The Priceless Prize
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, AUGUST 4TH, 1910,
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON
“That I may win
The very high value that the apostle Paul set upon the Savior, is most
palpable, when he speaks of winning Him. This shows that the Savior held the
same place in Paul’s esteem as the crown did in the esteem of the runner at
the Olympic games. To gain that crown, the competitor strained every nerve
and sinew, feeling as though he were content to drop down dead at the goal
if he might but win it. Paul felt that were he to run with all his might, if
that, were the way of winning Christ, were he to strain soul and body to win
Him, he would be well worth the effort. He shows his value of Christ by
speaking of Him as the prize he panted to win. He uses the very same word
which the soldier would use concerning the victory, when, with garments
rolled in blood, amidst confused noise and clouds of smoke, he counts all
things but little if he may but hear the shout of triumph. So, Paul,
regarding Christ as more glorious and excellent than mountains of prey,
considered such a prize to be worth all the fighting, even though he should
agonize and sweat with blood. He would be well worth dying to win. I take it
that he speaks of Christ here as though he felt that he was the very climax
of his desire, the summit of his ambition. If he might but get Christ, he
would be perfectly satisfied; but if he could not get Him, whatever else he
might have, he would still remain unblessed.
I would to God that you all felt the same. I wish that the ambition of every
one of my fellow-creatures here assembled — and, indeed, the wide world
over, — were this, that they might win Christ. Oh, if they did but know His
preciousness, if they did but understand how happy and how blessed He makes
those to be who gain Him, they, too, would give up everything else for this
one desire, — that they may win Christ. I hope that, perhaps, a few words of
mine may be blessed of God the Spirit to stir up such a desire in the hearts
of the congregation now assembled below then shall I begin?
I. While You Have Not Christ, You Are In A Very Ill Condition, — Should Not
This Make You Long For Him?
Consider, my dear hearer, thou who art Christless to-night, what thou art,
and where thou art. Thou art a sinner, — that thou knowest. Without Christ,
thou art an unpardoned sinner, a condemned sinner, and ere long thou wilt he
a sinner judged, sentenced, and cast into hell! Dost thou not know that?
Thou art a diseased sinner. Sin is the leprosy which is in thee; and without
Christ, thou art sick without a physician. For thee there is no balm in
Gilead, no physician there. Thy sickness is mortal. It will certainly be thy
ruin, for thou hast no Savior. Thou art a mortal man; thou canst not doubt
it. Thou wilt soon die, and canst thou tell what it will be to die without
Christ? Hast thou ever formed an idea of what it will be to pass into the
realm of separate spirits with no rod to lean on, and no staff to comfort
thee in the dark valley? Man, thou art an immortal being; thou knowest that,
too. Thou wilt not cease, to be when thou diest. Thou wilt live again; and
what will it be to live again without Christ? It will be to live the life of
a condemned spirit, withered by the wrath of God, scathed by the lightning
of divine justice! Canst thou think of that without dismay?
“Sinner, is thy heart at rest?
Is thy bosom void of fear?
Art thou not by
Speaks not conscience in thy ear?
“Can this world afford thee bliss?
Can it chase away thy gloom?
false, and vain it is;
Tremble at the worldling’s doom.”
Why, even now, man, I think I can see thee. Thou art like the ship upon the
lake of Gennesareth, tempest-tossed. The winds howl about her, every timber
creaks, the sail is rent to ribands, and the mast is going by the board; and
for thee there is no Savior to come and walk the billows, and to say, “It
is I; be not afraid!” At the helm of thy ship there sleeps no Savior who
can arise, and say to the waves, “Peace, be still!” Thou art a ship in a
storm, with none to rescue thee, seeing that thou hast no Savior. The devil
has scuttled thee. There are holes bored through and through thy spirit’s
hope and confidence, and it will go down before long in depths of
I think I see thee again. Thou art like Lazarus in the grave, and by this
time thou art foul and noxious, for thou hast been dead these thirty or
forty years, and that death has festered into putrid corruption. Yes, there
thou art, and thou hast no Christ to say, “Roll away the stone.” Thou hast
no Christ to say, “Lazarus, come forth!” no Savior to bid thy friends
loose thee, and let thee go! I think I see thee yet again. Thou hast been
singing of the dying thief. We often sing of him; and thou wilt die as the
thief died, only — only there will be no Christ hanging on the cross, from
whom thou shalt hear the words, “This day shalt thou be with me in
Unto what shall I liken thee, and wherewith shall I compare thee? A soul
without Christ! Why, it were better for thee, man, that thou hadst never
been born if thou shalt continue so! Thou wouldst be better off with the
mill-stone about thy neck, and cast into the sea, if that would make an end
of thee; thou wert happier far than thou art now without Christ, for without
Christ thou art without God, and without hope in the world. Thou art a sheep
lost on the mountains, and no Shepherd to find thee; a soul wandering in the
blackness of darkness, and no lamp to guide thy wandering footsteps; and
soon thou wilt be a desolate spirit, without a ray of comfort, without a
home, shut out in the blackness of darkness for ever! Does not that make
thee long for Christ? It would, if I could make thee feel what I can only
say. I can only deal with your outward ears, my Master must deal with your
hearts; and I do pray him, by his almighty Spirit, to make you feel so
wretched without Christ that you will not dare to sleep to-night until you
have sought him, and laid hold upon him, and said to him, “I will not let
thee go, except thou bless me.”
O ye souls out of Christ, I could, with half a moment’s thought, stop and
burst into tears, and say no more; but I must command myself, for I must
speak to you; and I do pray you, by the living God, unless you are beside
yourselves, if you have any love to your own souls, fly to Christ; seek the
Lord; try to lay hold upon him, for as you now are, your position is
perilous in the extreme!
“Come, guilty souls, and flee away
Like doves to Jesu’s wounds
This is the
Wherein free grace abounds.
“God loved the church, and gave his Son
To drink the cup of wrath;
Jesus says he’ll cast out none
That come to him by faith.”
II. We will now change the strain, but not the object. Remember, that All
The Things In The World Are Vain Without Christ.
The world’s goods, its substance, its riches, its pleasures, its pomp, its
fame, what are all these without Christ? They are a painted pageantry to go
to hell in! They are a mockery to an immortal spirit. They are a mirage of
the wilderness, deluding the traveler, but not yielding to his desires one
substantial drop of joy. There have been those in this world who have tried
it, and they say, “It sounds, it sounds, it sounds, because it is empty and
hollow as a drum.” It is
“False as the smooth, deceitful sea,
And empty as the whistling wind.”
There is nothing in it all.
“Honour’s a puff of noisy breath,
And gain a heap of yellow clay.”
And what is even power itself but anxiety and care? Solomon knew the world
at its best, and his verdict upon her was, “Vanity of vanities, saith the
Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.” Without Christ, sinner, you
will find the world to be unsatisfactory. When you have tried it at its
best, you will turn from it, and say, “I have been deceived! I have eaten
the wind, and I am not satisfied. I am like one that feasteth in a dream,
and waketh, and, lo! he is hungry.” Without Christ, you will not even find
this world to be comfortable. Perhaps there are none so unhappy as those who
are surrounded with what we think to be the means of happiness. I know this,
if I had to find the extreme of wretchedness, I should not go to the dens of
poverty, but I should go amongst men surrounded with the trappings of
wealth, and find you hearts broken with anguish, and spirits wrung with
griefs which they could not tell. Oh, yes! the world is a heap of chaff; the
only solid treasure is to be found in Christ; and if you neglect him, you
neglect all that is worth the having.
Besides, all this world must soon pass away. See how it melts! Or, if it
melts not from you, you must melt from it. There down goes the ship; she
floated gaily but an hour before, but she foundered, and she is gone; and
now, merchant, what wilt thou do? Thy vessel has gone down with all thy
treasure on board, and thou art left penniless! Oh, happy are they who lay
up their treasure in Christ, for no shipwreck need they fear! But, oh! —
“This world’s a dream, an empty show,” —
which cannot satisfy an immortal soul.
Further than this, let me remind you, my dear healer, that if you have not
Christ, nothing else will avail for you. A profession of religion will only
be a sort of respectable pall to throw over the corpse of your dead soul.
Nay, a profession of religion, if you have not Christ in it will be a swift
witness against you to condemn you. What right have you to profess to be a
follower of Christ, unless Christ be in you the hope of glory? And to have
listened to the ministry of the Word will be of no use to you if you do not
get Christ. Alas, alas! what can our poor sermons do? Our prayers, our
hymns,-what are they all? Ah! and what will your baptism be, and what will
the Lord’s supper be, unless by faith you grasp a Savior? These ordinances,
though ordained of God himself, are wells without water, and clouds without
rain, unless they get us Christ, who is the sum and substance of them all.
It will be of no use to you that you were regular in your private prayers,
that you were good to the poor, that you were generous to the church, that
you were constantly in your attendance upon the outward means of grace. I
say, as I said before, that all these are but a painted pageantry for your
soul to go to hell in, except you have Christ. You may as surely go down to
the pit by the religious road as by the irreligious. If you have not Christ,
you have not salvation, whatever else you may have.
“Give me Christ, or else I die,” —
should be your daily and nightly prayer; for all else must destroy you if
you have not a Savior.
And let me tell thee, dear healer, that thy repentance, if it does not lead
thee to Christ, will need to be repented of; and thy faith, if it be not
based upon his atoning sacrifice, is a faith that is not the faith of God’s
elect; and all thy convictions of sin — all the visions that have scared
thee, all the fears that have haunted thee, — will only be a prelude to
something worse, unless thou gettest Christ. There is one door, and if thou
goest not through that, climbing up some other way, though it be never so
tedious, will not answer thy turn. Thou must even go down to hell after all
thine efforts, all thy repentings, all thy believings, unless thy soul can
“My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesu’s blood and righteousness;
dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesu’s name:
Christ, the solid rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.”
Oh, how this ought to make you long for Christ, when you think that
everything else is but a bauble when compared with him: and bethink you what
a state you are in as long as you are destitute of him!
III. I must not tarry, so let me remind you, my dear hearer, though you
cannot possibly know how anxious I am to speak so that you may feel what I
say, that Nothing Can Make Ammends To You For Losing Christ.
I know how it is with some of you. You say you cannot afford to follow
Christ. Your trade — your wicked trade, you would have to give that up; for
it happens to be an ungodly calling. Well now, friend, let me take thee by
the button-hole a minute. Which hadst thou better be, a beggar and go to
heaven, or a duke, and go to hell? Come, now, which hadst thou better do, go
to heaven with an empty pocket or go down to the pit with a full one? All ye
who worship Mammon, I know how you will answer, but you who have souls above
earth, I hope you will reply, “Nothing in the form of wealth will
compensate us for losing our souls.” Men have been known, on their dying
beds to have their money-bags brought to them, and they have put them to
their hearts, and have said, “This won’t do,” and they have taken up
another, and put it to their palpitating hearts, and said again, “This
won’t do.” Ah, no, it cannot cure a heart-ache; what can it do for a soul
in eternity? Is it not a painful thing to attend upon some men who die rich
in ill-gotten gain? What are they the better for their wealth? They only
have it said of them, “He died worth so much;” that is all, but they
sleep, in the same earth, and the same worms devour them. There is more
fighting over their graves, and more joy because they are gone, among the
heirs who divide the plunder, while, oftentimes, the poor man has the honest
tears of his children shed upon a coffin which they have had to contribute
to purchase out of their little savings, and the grave itself has been
prepared by the charity of some who found in their father’s character the
only patrimony which he had to bequeath. Oh, may God grant you grace to
perceive that all the riches you can ever get would never make up for losing
Some lose Christ for the sake of fame. It is not a fashionable thing to be a
Christian. To be a Christian after the world’s sort, I grant you, is; but
after the sort of the New Testament, it is not; and many say, “Well, it is
not fashionable,” and they bend to the fashion; and many do the same in
another way, for young men are laughed out of going to the house of God, and
young women are decoyed from attending the means of grace by the laughter,
and jeers, and jokes of their companions. Remember that they can laugh you
into hell, but they can never laugh you out again; and that, though their
jokes may shut the door, their jokes can never open that door again. Oh, is
this all? Will you sell your souls to escape from a fool’s laughter? Then,
what a fool you must be yourself! What, are you so thin-skinned that you
cannot bear to be questioned, or to be asked whether you are a follower of
the Lord Jesus? Ah, sir, you shall have that thin skin of yours tormented
more than enough in the world to come, when shame, which you dread so much,
shall be your everlasting portion! O soul, how canst thou sell Christ for
the applause of men? How canst thou give him up for the laughter of fools?
Some give Jesus Christ up for the pleasures of the world, but can the giddy
dance for a few minutes of this life be worth the torments of the world to
come? Oh, weigh, like wise men, — as merchants weigh their goods against the
gold, — I pray you, weigh your souls against the pleasures of this world.
Oh, where is the pleasure? Even Tiberius, in his desert island, when he had
ransacked the world to find a new joy, could not, if he could give us all
the mirth he knew, tell us of anything that would be worth the casting away
of the soul. This pearl is too priceless for the world to attempt to
purchase it. I pray you, be wise enough to feel that nothing can compensate
you for this loss, and do seek Jesus and may you find him to-night!
IV. A fourth observation, upon which I shall not enlarge, is this, — Depend
Upon It, That Whatever You Lose For Christ’s Sake Will Be A Blessed Loss For
Gregory Nazianzen, a foremost father of the Christian Church, rejoiced that
he was well versed in the Athenian philosophy; and why do you think be
rejoiced in that? Because he had to give it all up when he became a
Christian; and said he, “I thank God that I had a philosophy to throw
away.” He counted it no loss, but a gain, to be a loser of such learned
lumber when he found a Savior. Says an old divine, who would refuse to give
up a whole sky full of stars if he could buy a sun therewith, and who would
refuse to give up all the comforts of this life if he could have Christ at
so goodly a price?” That grand old Ignatius, one of the earliest of the
Church fathers, said, “Give me burning, give me hanging, give me all the
torments of hell; if I may but act my Savior, I would fain be content to
bear them all as a price.” And so might we. Did I not tell you of the
martyrs Sitting and singing in old Bonner’s damp coal-hole, and one of them
writing, “There are six brave companions with me in this paradise, and we
do sit and sing in the dark all day”? Ah, yes, they were no losers. Did not
Rutherford say, when he declared that he had but one eye, and his enemies
had put that out, — for that one eye was the preaching of the gospel, an eye
to the glory of God, and his enemies had made him silent in Aberdeen, so
that he used to weep over his dumb and silent Sabbaths, yet did be not say,
“But how mistaken they are! They thought they sent me to a dungeon, but
Christ has been so precious to me, that I thought it to be the king’s
parlour, and the very paradise of God”? And did not Renwick say that,
oftentimes, when he had been out among the bogs on the Scotch mountains,
hunted over the mosses, with the stars of God looking down upon the little
congregation, that they had far more of God’s fellowship than bishops had
ever had in cathedrals, or than they themselves had ever had in their
circles, when, in brighter days, they had worshipped God in peace? The
dragoons of Claverhouse, and the uniformity of Charles II. were incapable of
quenching the joy of our Puritanic and Covenanting forefathers. Their piety
drew its mirth from deeper springs shall kings could stop, or persecution
could dry up. The saints of Christ have given Christ their all, and when
they have given all, they have felt that they were the richer for their
poverty, the happier for their sorrows; and when they have been in solitude
for Christ, they have felt that they have had good company, for he has been
with them to be their strength and their joy. You may have Christ at what
price you will, but you will make a good bargain of it. I charge thee, my
dear hearer, if it should come to this, that thou shouldst have to sell thy
house and thy home, if the wife of thy bosom should become thine enemy, if
thy children should refuse to know their own father or to look him in the
face, if thou shouldst be banished from thy country, if there should be a
halter for thy neck, and nor grave for thy body, thou wouldst make a good
bargain in taking up my Lord and Master; for, oh he will own you in the day
when men disown you; and in the day when he cometh, there shall be none so
bright as those who have suffered for him.
“And they who, with their Leader,
Have conquer’d in the fight,
For ever and
Are clad in robes of white.”
Yes, if you suffer with him, you shall also be glorified together. God grant
you grace to feel this to be true, and to make any sacrifice so long as you
can but “win Christ, and be found in him.”
V. If Ever You Do Get Christ, You Will Find Him All Gain, And No Loss.
The apostle says, “That I may win Christ.” It is all winning, and no
losing. Why, if you get Christ, you will get life. Does He not give life and
immortality to those that have him? Yea, saith he, “he that believeth in
me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” If you get Christ, you will
get light. He said, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me
shall not walk in darkness.” The Sun of righteousness shall arise upon you.
Get Christ, and you shall get health, your soul shall leave her sicknesses
with him who bore her sickness in the days of his flesh. Get Christ, and you
shall get riches, “the unsearchable riches of Christ.” You may be poor,
perhaps, outwardly; but you shall be rich yourselves, and be able to make
many others rich, — rich in faith, giving glory to God. Get Christ, and
prosperity shall not hurt you, your feet shall be like hinds’ feet, to stand
upon your high places. Get Christ, and he will turn your bitter Marahs into
sweet Elims. He is the tree which, when put into the brackish water, makes
it sweet to the taste. Affliction is no longer affliction when Christ is
with us. Then the furnace glows, not with heat alone, but with a golden
radiance, a present glory, when Christ treads the burning coals.
Get Christ, beloved, and you have got all your soul can wish for. Now may
you stretch your capacious powers to the utmost, and, with a holy
covetousness, and a sacred greediness, desire all you can. You may open your
mouth wide, for Christ will fill it. You may enlarge your desires, but the
infinite riches of Christ will satisfy them at their largest, and widest
stretch. Get Christ, and you have heaven on earth, and shall have heaven for
ever. Get Christ, and angels shall be your servitors; the wheels of
providence shall grind for your good, the chariot of God, which brings on
the events prophesied in apocalyptic vision, shall bring only joy and peace
to you; and you shall hear it said, both in time and in eternity,
“’Tis with the righteous well.”
Get Christ, and you have nothing to fear, and everything to hope for. Get
Christ, and sin is buried in the Red Sea of Jesu’s blood, while, you are
arrayed in the spotless righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ, — Jehovah
Tsidkenu himself. Get Christ, and — what more shall I say? Then may you swim
in seas of bliss, then may you walk Elysian fields of holy joy even here on
earth. Get Christ, and you need not envy the angels. Get Christ, and you may
count yourselves to be raised up together, and made to sit together in
heavenly places with him.
Surely all this ought to make the sinner’s mouth water to get Christ! It
ought to make his heart ache till he gets Christ. It ought to set his soul
a-hungering and a-thirsting till he gets Jesus. It ought to make him resolve
that he will not be kept back till at last he gets a firm hold upon the
VI. My last remark shall be this, We Shall Understand All This A Great Deal
Better Very Soon.
There is a curtain, but it is lifting, it is lifting, it is lifting; and
when it is lifted, what do I see? The spirit world! ’Tis death that lifts
the curtain; and when it is lifted, these present things will vanish, for
they are but shadows. The world of eternity and reality will then be seen. I
would summon a jury of the spirits that have passed that curtain, and they
would not be long debating about the question whether Christ is worth the
winning. I care not where you select them from, — whether from among the
condemned in hell, or from among the beatified in heaven. Let them sit, let,
even those who are in hell sit, and judge upon the matter and if they could
for once speak honestly, they would tell you that it is a dreadful thing to
despise Christ, now that they have come to see things in a true light, — now
that they are, lost for ever, for ever, for ever, — now that they are
crushed with knowledge and feeling which have come too late to be
profitable, — now they wish that they had listened to the ministrations of
truth, to the proclamations of the gospel. If they could have a sane mind
back again, they would shriek, “Oh, for one more Sabbath! Oh, to listen
once more to an honest preacher, though his words might be clumsy and
uncouth! Oh, to hear a voice once more say, ’Come to Jesus while the day of
mercy lasts!’ Oh, to be once more pressed to come to the marriage-feast, —
once more bidden to look to Jesus and to live!” I tell you sirs, some of
you who make so light of Sundays, and think preaching is but a pastime, so
that you come here to hear us as you would go to hear some fiddler on a
weeknight, — I tell you, sirs, the lost in hell reckon these things at a
very different rate, and so will you ere long, when another preacher, with
skeleton fingers, shall talk to you upon your death-bed. Ah! then you will
see that we were in earnest, and you were the players, and you will
comprehend that what we said to you demanded earnest, immediate attention,
though, alas! you would not give, it, and so played false to your own soul,
and committed spiritual suicide, and went your way like a bullock to the
slaughter, to be the murderers of your own spirits!
But suppose I summoned a jury of bright spirits from heaven?
Ah! they would not need to consider, but I am sure they would unanimously
say to you, if they might, “Seek ye, the Lord while he may be found, seek
the Lord and his strength; seek the Lord and his face evermore; put your
trust in Jesus, for he is sweet beyond all sweetness.” May you do this, and
may you sing, —
“Oh! spread thy savor on my frame,
No sweetness is so sweet;
Till I get up
to sing thy name
Where all thy singers meet.”
Pray that prayer.
Ask him to save you, and may the Lord
for Jesus’ sake! Amen.
Philippians 4:19 A New Year's Wish
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, JANUARY 5TH, 1911,
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
“But my God shall supply all your need,
according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”-
Philippians 4:19 (note)
THE Philippians had several times sent
presents to Paul, to supply his necessities. Though they were not themselves
rich, yet they made a contribution, and sent Epaphroditus with it, “an
odour of sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing to God.” Paul
felt very grateful: he thanked God, but he did not forget also to thank the
donors; he wished them, every blessing, and he did as good as say, “You
have supplied my need, and my God shall supply yours. You have supplied my
need of temporal food and raiment out of your poverty; my God shall supply
all your need out of his riches in glory.” “As,” he says, in the
eighteenth verse, “I have all and abound: I am full,” “so,” he adds,
“’my God shall supply all your need.’ You have sent what you gave me by the
hand of a beloved brother, but God will send a better messenger to you, for
he will supply all your need ’by Christ Jesus.’“ Every single word sounds
as if he had thought it over, and the Spirit of God had guided him in his
meditation, so that he should to the fullest extent wish them back a
blessing similar to that which they had sent to him, only of a richer and
more enduring kind.
Now, on this New Year’s Day I would
desire, somewhat in the spirit of Paul, to bless those of you who have
supplied, according to your abilities, the wants of God’s work in my hands,
and have given, even out of your poverty, to the cause of God, according as
there has been need. I count myself to be personally your debtor though your
gifts have been for the students, and the orphans, and the colporteurs, and
not for myself. In return for your kindness, after the manner of his
gracious love, “my God shall supply all your need, according to his riches
in glory by Christ Jesus.”
This verse is particularly sweet to
me, for, when we were building the Orphanage, I foresaw that, if we had no
voting, and no collecting of annual subscriptions, but depended upon the
goodness of God, and the voluntary offerings of his people, we should have
times of trial, and therefore I ordered the masons to place upon the first
columns of the Orphanage entrance, these words, “My God shall supply all
your need, according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” The text
therefore is out in stone upon the right hand and upon the left of the great
archway. There stands this declaration of our confidence in God; and as long
as God lives, we shall never need be remove it, for he will certainly supply
the needs of his own work. While we serve him, he will furnish our tables
I. The text might suggest to us a
field of gloomy thought, if we wished to indulge the melancholy vein, for it
speaks of “all your need.” So, first, behold A Great Necessity: “all your
What a gulf! What an abyss! “All
your need.” I do not know how many believers made up the church at
Philippi, but the need of one saint is great enough; what must many need? It
would not be possible to tell the number of God’s children on earth, but the
text comprehends the need of the whole chosen family, “all your need.” We
will not ask you to reckon up the wonderful draught upon the divine
exchequer which must be made by all the needs of all the saints who are yet
on earth: but please think of your own need; that will be more within the
compass of your experience and the range of your meditation. May the Lord
supply your need and all your need!
There is our temporal need, and that
is no little matter. If we have food and raiment, we should be therewith
content; but there are many of God’s people to when the mere getting of food
and raiment is a wearisome toil; and what with household cares, family
trials, sickness of body, losses in business, and sometimes the
impossibility of obtaining suitable labor, many of God’s saints are as hard
put to it as Elijah was when he sat by the brook Cherith. If God did not
send them their bread and meat in a remarkable manner, they would surely
starve; but their bread shall be given them, and their water shall be sure.
“My God shall supply all your need.” You have, perhaps, a large family,
and your needs are therefore greatly increased, but the declaration of the
text includes the whole of your needs personal and relative.
After all, our temporal needs are very
small compared with our spiritual needs. A man may, with the blessing of
God, pretty readily provide for the wants of the body, but who shall provide
for the requirements of the soul? There is need of perpetual pardon, for we
are always sinning; and Jesus Christ’s blood is always pleading for us, and
cleansing us from sin. Every day there is need of fresh strength battle
against inward sin; and, blessed be God, it is daily supplied, so that our
youth is renewed like the eagle’s. As good soldiers of Jesus Christ, we need
armor from head to foot, and even then we do not know how to wear the armor,
or how to wield the sword, unless he who gave us these sacred implements
shall be always with us. Warring saint, God will supply all your need by his
presence and Spirit. But we are not merely warriors, we are also workers. We
are called, many of us, to important spheres of labor, (and, indeed, let no
man think his sphere unimportant,) but here also our hands shall be
sufficient for us, and we shall accomplish our life-work. You have need to
be helped to do the right thing, at the right time, in the right spirit, and
in the right manner; your need, as a Sunday-school teacher, as an open-air
preacher, and especially as a minister of the gospel, will be very great;
but the text meets all your requirements, “My God shall supply all your
need.” Then comes our need in suffering, for many of us are called to take
our turn in the Lord’s prison-house. Here we need patience under pain, and
hope under depression of spirit. Who is sufficient for furnace-work? Our God
will supply us with those choice graces and consolations which shall
strengthen us to glorify his name even in the fires. He will either make the
burden lighter, or the burden stronger; he will diminish the need, or
increase the supply.
Beloved, it is impossible for me to
mention all the forms of our spiritual need. We need to be daily converted
from some sin or other, which, perhaps, we have scarcely known to be sin. We
need to be instructed in the things of God, we need to be illuminated as to
the mind of Christ, we need to be comforted by the promises, we need to be
quickened by the precepts, we need to be strengthened by the doctrines. We
need, oh, what do we not need? We are just a bag of wants, and a heap of
infirmities. If any one of us were to keep a want-book, as I have seen
tradesmen do, what a huge folio it would need to be; and it might be written
within and without, and crossed and re-crossed, for we are full of wants
from the first of January to the end of December; but here is the mercy,
“My God shall supply all your need.” Are you put in high places? Have you
many comforts? Do you enjoy wealth? What need you have to be kept from
loving the world, to be preserved from wantonness and pride, and the follies
and fashions of this present evil world. My God will supply your need in
that respect. Are you very poor? Then the temptation is to envy, to
bitterness of spirit, to rebellion against God. “My God shall supply all
your need.” Are you alone in the world? Then you need the Lord Jesus to be
your Companion; and, your Companion he will be. Have you many around you?
Then you have need of grace to set them a good example, to bring up your
children, and manage your household in the fear of God.” My God shall
supply all your need.” You have need, in times of joy, to be kept sober and
steady; you have need, in times of sorrow, to be strong and quit yourselves
like men; you have needs in living, and you will have needs in dying, but
your last need shall be supplied as surely as your first. “My God shall
supply all your need.”
Come, then, brethren, and look down
into this great gulf of need, and exultingly say, “O Lord, we thank thee
that our needs are great, for there is the more room for thy love, thy
tenderness, thy power, thy faithfulness, to fill the chasm.”
That first thought, which I said might
be a gloomy one, has all the dreariness taken out of it by four others
equally true, but each of them full of good cheer. The text not only
mentions a great necessity, but it mentions also a great Helper: “My God;”
next, a great supply: “My God shall supply all your need;” thirdly, an
abundant store out of which to draw the gift: “according to his riches in
glory;” and lastly, a glorious channel through which the supply shall come:
“by Christ Jesus.”
II. So, for our enormous wants here
is A Great Helper: My God shall supply all your need.”
Whose God is that? Why, Paul’s God.
That is one of the matters in which the greatest saints are no better off
than the very least, for though Paul called the Lord “My God,” he is my
God too. My dear old friend who sits yonder, and has nothing but a few pence
in all the world, can also say, “and he is my God too. He is my God, and he
is as much my God if I am the meanest, most obscure, and weakest of his
people, as he would be my God if I were able, like Paul, to evangelize the
nations.” It is, to me, delightful to think that my God is Paul’s God,
because, you see, Paul intended this; he meant to say, “You see, dear
brethren, my God has supplied all my wants; and as he is your God, he will
supply yours.” I have been in the Roman dungeon in which Paul is said to
have been confined, and a comfortless prison indeed it is. First of all you
descend into a vaulted chamber, into which no light ever comes except
through a little round hole in the roof; and then, in the middle of the
floor of that den, there is another opening, through which the prisoner was
let down into a second and lower dungeon, in which no fresh air or light
could possibly come to him. Paul was probably confined there. The dungeon of
the Praetorium in which he was certainly immured is not much better. Paul
would have been left well nigh to starve there, but for those good people at
Philippi. I should not wonder but what Lydia was at the bottom of this kind
movement, or else the jailor. They said, “We must not let the good apostle
starve;” and so they made up a contribution, and send him what he wanted;
and when Paul received it he said, “My God has taken care of me. I cannot
make tents here in this dark place so as to earn my own living, but my
Master still supplies my need; and even so, when you are in straits, will he
“My God.” It has often been sweet to
me, when I have thought of my orphan children, and money has not come in, to
remember Mr. Müller’s God, and how he always supplied the children at
Bristol. His God is my God, and I rest upon him. When you turn over the
pages of Scripture, and read of men who were in sore trouble, and were
helped, you may say, “Here is Abraham, he was blessed in all this, and
Abraham’s God will supply all my need, for he is my God. I read of Elijah,
that the ravens fed him; I have Elijah’s God, and he can command the ravens
to feed me if he pleases.” The God of the prophets, the God of the apostle,
the God of all the saints that have gone before us, “this God is our God
for ever and ever.” It seems to be thought by some that God will not work
now as he used to die. “Oh, if we had lived in miraculous times,” they
say, “then we could have trusted him! Then there was manifest evidence of
God’s existence, for he pushed aside the laws of nature, and wrought for the
fulfillment of his promises to his people.” Yet that was a rather coarser
mode of working than the present one, for now the Lord produces the same
results without the violation of the laws of nature. It is a great fact
that, without the disturbance of a single law of nature, prayer becomes
effectual with God; and God being enquired of by his people to do it for
them, does fulfill his promise, and supply their needs. Using means of
various kinds, he still gives his people all things necessary for this life
and godliness. Without a miracle, he works great wonders of loving care, and
he will continue so to do.
Beloved, is the God of Paul your God?
Do you regard him as such? It is not every man who worships Paul’s God. It
is not every professing Christian who really knows the Lord at all, for some
invent a deity such as they fancy God ought to be. The God of Paul is the
God of the Old and New Testament,-such a God as we find there. Do you trust
such a God? Can you rest upon him?”
There are such severe judgments
mentioned in Scripture.” Yes, do you quarrel with them? Then you cast him
off; but if, instead thereof, you feel, “I cannot understand thee, O my
God, nor do I think I ever shall, but it is not for me, a child, to measure
the infinite God, or to arraign thee at my bar, and say to thee, ’Thus
shouldst thou have done, and thus oughtest thou not to have done.’ Thou
sayest, ’ Such am I,’ and I answer, ’ Such as thou art, I love thee, and I
cast myself upon thee, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God
of thy servant Paul. Thou art my God, and I will rest upon thee.’“ Very
well, then, he will “supply all your need, according to his riches in glory
by Christ Jesus.” Just think of that for a minute.
If he will supply you, you will be
supplied indeed, for God is infinite in capacity. He is indefinitely wise as
to the manner of his actions; and infinitely powerful as to the acts
themselves. He never sleeps nor tires; he is never absent from any place,
but is always ready to help. Your needs come, perhaps, at very unexpected
times; they may occur in the midnight of despondency or in the noonday of
delight, but God is ever near to supply the surprising need. He is
everywhere present and everywhere omnipotent, and he can supply all your
need, in every place, at every time, to the fullest degree.
“Remember that Omnipotence has
servants everywhere;”- and that, whenever God wishes to send you aid, he
can do it without pausing to ask, “How shall it be done?” He has but to
will it, and all the powers of heaven and earth are subservient to your
necessity. With such a Helper, what cause have you to doubt?
III. The next point in the text is,
A Great Supply. “My God shall supply all your need.”
Sometimes, we lose a good deal of the
meaning of Scripture through the translation; in fact, nothing ever does
gain by translation except a bishop. The present passage might be rendered
thus “My God will fill to the full all your need.” The illustration which
will best explain the meaning is that of the woman whose children were to be
sold by her creditor to pay the debts of her late husband. She had nothing
to call her own except some empty oil-jars, and the prophet bade her set
these in order, and bring the little oil which still remained in the cruse.
She did so, and he then said to her, “Go among your neighbors, and borrow
empty vessels, not a few.” She went from one to another till she had filled
her room full of these empty vessels, and then the prophet said, “Pour
out.” She began to pour out from her almost empty cruse; and, to her
surprise, it filled her largest oil-jar. She went to another, and filled
that, and then another and another. She kept on filling all the oil-jars,
till at last she said to the prophet, “there is not a vessel more.” Then
the oil stayed, but not till then. So will it be with your needs. You were
frightened at having so many needs just now, were you not? But now be
pleased to think you have them, for they are just so many empty vessels to
be filled. If the woman had borrowed only a few jars, she could not have
received much oil; but the more empty vessels she had, the more oil she
obtained. So, the more wants and the more needs you have if you bring them
to God, so much the better, for he will fill them all to the brim, and you
may be thankful that there are so many to be filled. When you have no more
wants, (but oh, when will that be?) then the supply will be stayed, but not
How gloriously God gives to his
people! We wanted pardon once: he washed us, and he made us whiter than
snow. We wanted clothing, for we were naked. What did he do? Give us some
rough dress or other? Oh, no! but he said, “Bring forth the best robe, and
put it on him.” It was a fortunate thing for the prodigal that, his clothes
were all in rags, for then he needed raiment, and the best robe was brought
forth. It is a grand thing to be sensible of spiritual needs, for they will
all be supplied. A conscious want in the sight of God,-what is it but a
prevalent request for a new mercy? We have sometimes asked him to comfort
us, for we were very low; but when the Lord has comforted us, he has so
filled us with delight that we have been inclined to cry with the old Scotch
divine, “Hold, Lord, hold! It is enough. I cannot bear more joy. Remember I
am only an earthen vessel.” We, in relieving the poor, generally give no
more than we can help, but our God does not stop to count his favors, he
gives like a king. He pours water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon
the dry ground.
IV. We must pass on to the next
thought, and consider for a minute or two The Great Resources out of which
this supply is to come: “My God shall supply all your need, according to
his riches in glory.”
The preacher may sit down now, for he
cannot compass this part of the text. God’s riches in glory are beyond all
Consider the riches of God in nature;
who shall count his treasures? Get away into the forests; travel on league
after league among the trees which cast their ample shade for no man’s
pleasure, but only for the Lord. Mark on lone mountain-side and far-reaching
plain the myriads of flowers whose perfume is for God alone. What wealth
each spring and summer is created in the boundless estates of the great
King! Observe the vast amount of animal and insect life which crowds the
land with the riches of divine wisdom, for “the earth is the Lord’s, and
the fullness thereof.” Look towards the sea; think of those shoals of fish,
so countless that, when only the fringe of them is touched by our fishermen,
they find enough food to supply a nation. Mark, too, the sunken treasures of
the ocean, which no hand gathereth but that of the Eternal. If you would see
the wealth of the Creator, cast your eye to the stars; tell ye their numbers
if ye can. Astronomy has enlarged our vision, and made us look upon this
world as a mere speck compared with innumerable other worlds that God has
made; and it has told us that, probably, all the myriads of worlds that we
can see with the telescope are a mere fraction of the countless orbs which
tenant infinite space. Vast are God’s riches in nature. It needs a Milton to
sing, as he sang in Paradise Lost, the riches of the creating God.
The riches of God in providence are equally without bound. He saith to this
creature, “Go,” and he goeth, and to another, “Do this,” and he doeth
it, for all things do his bidding. Think of the wealth of God in grace.
There nature and providence stand eclipsed, for we have the fountain of
eternal love, the gift of an infinite sacrifice, the pouring out of the
blood of his own dear Son, and the covenant of grace in which the smallest
blessing is infinite in value. The riches of his grace! “God is rich in
mercy,”-rich in patience, love, power, kindness, rich beyond all
Now your needs shall be supplied
according to the riches of nature, and the riches of providence, and the
riches of grace; but this is not all; the apostle chooses a higher style,
and writes “according to his riches in glory.” Ah, we have never seen God
in glory! That were a sight our eyes could none at present behold. Christ in
his glory, when transfigured upon earth, was too resplendent a spectacle
even for the tutored eyes of Peter, and James, and John.
“At the too-transporting light,”-
darkness rushed upon them, and they were as men that slept What God is in
his glory do ye know, ye angels? Does he not veil his face even from you
lest, in the excessive brightness of his essence, even you should be
consumed? Who amongst all his creatures can tell the riches of his glory,
when even the heavens are not pure in his sight, and he charges his angels
“His riches in glory.” It means not
only the riches of what he has done, but the riches of what he could do; for
if he has made hosts of worlds, he could make as many myriads more, and then
have but begun. The possibilities of God omnipotent, who shall reckon? But
the Lord shall supply all your need according to such glorious
possibilities. When a great king gives according to his, riches, then he
does not measure out stinted alms to beggars, but he gives like a king, as
we say; and if it be some grand festival day, and the king is in his state
array, his largesse is on a noble scale. Now, when God is in his glory,
bethink you, if you can, what must be the largesse that he distributes,-what
the treasures that he brings forth for his own beloved! Now, “according to
his riches in glory,” he will supply all your needs. After that, dare you
despond? O soul, what insanity is unbelief? What flagrant blasphemy is doubt
of the love of God! He must bless us; and, blessed by him, we must be blest
indeed. If he is to supply our needs “according to his riches in glory,”
they will be supplied to the full.
V. Now let us close our meditation
by considering The Glorious Channel by which these needs are to be supplied:
“According to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
You shall have all your soul’s wants
satisfied, but you must go to Christ for everything. “By Christ Jesus.”
That is the fountainhead where the living waters well up. You are not to
keep your wants supplied by your own care and fretfulness. “Consider the
lilies, how they grow.” You are to be enriched “by Christ Jesus.” You are
not to have your spiritual wants supplied by going to Moses, and working and
toiling as if you were your own saviour, but by faith in Christ Jesus. Those
who will not go to Christ Jesus must go without grace, for God will give
them nothing in the way of grace except through his Son. Those who go to
Jesus the most shall oftenest taste of his abundance, for through him all
blessings come. My advice to myself and to you is that we abide in him; for,
since that is the way by which the blessing comes, we had better abide in
it. We read of Ishmael that he was sent into the wilderness with a bottle,
but Isaac dwelt by the well Lahai-roi, and it is wise for us to dwell by the
well Christ Jesus, and never trust to the bottles of our own strength. If
you wander from Christ Jesus, brother, you depart from the center of bliss.
All this year I pray that you may
abide by the well of this text. Draw from it. Are you very thirsty? Draw
from it, for it is full; and when you plead this promise, the Lord will
supply all your need. Do not cease receiving from God for a minute. Let not
your unbelief hinder the Lord’s bounty, but cling to this promise, “My God
shall supply all your need, according to his riches in glory by Christ
Jesus.” I know not how to wish “you a greater blessing. If you are enabled
by the Holy Spirit to realize it, you will enjoy what I earnestly wish for
you, namely,- A Happy New Year.
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Sermon Notes on
Rejoice in the Lord alway:
and again I say, Rejoice.
Philippians 4:4 (note)
JOY drives out discord. See how our
text follows as a remedy upon a case of disagreement in the church (verses
Joy helps against the trials of life. Hence, it is mentioned as a
preparation for the rest of faith, which is prescribed in verse 6.
I. THE GRACE COMMANDED. "Rejoice."
1. It is delightful. Our soul's jubilee has come when joy enters.
2. It is demonstrative. It is more than peace; it sparkles, shines, sings.
Why should it not? Joy is a bird. Let it fly in the open heavens, and let
its music be heard of all men.
3. It is stimulating and urges its possessor to brave deeds.
4. It is influential for good. Sinners are attracted to Jesus by the joy of
saints. More flies are caught with a spoonful of honey than with a barrel of
5. It is contagious. Others are gladdened by our rejoicing.
6. It is commanded. It is not left optional, but made imperative.
We are as much commanded to rejoice as to keep the Sabbath.
It is commanded because joy makes us like
It is commanded because it is for our profit.
It is commanded because it is good for others.
II. THE JOY DISCRIMINATED. "In the
1. As to sphere: "in the Lord." This is that sacred circle wherein a
Christian's life should be always spent.
2. As to object: "in the Lord."
We should rejoice in the Lord God, Father, Son, and Spirit. We should
rejoice in the Lord Jesus, dead, risen, etc.
Not in temporals, personal, political, or
Nor in special privileges, which involve greater responsibility.
Nor even in religious successes. "In this rejoice not, that the devils are
subject unto you through my word, but rather rejoice that your names are
written in heaven" (Luke 10:20).
Nor in self and its doings (Philippians
3:3 - note).
III. THE TIME APPOINTED. "Always."
1. When you cannot rejoice in any other, rejoice in God.
2. When you can rejoice in other things, sanctify all with joy in God.
3. When you have not before rejoiced, begin at once.
4. When you have long rejoiced, do not cease for a moment.
5. When others are with you, lead them in this direction.
6. When you are alone, enjoy to the full this rejoicing.
IV. THE EMPHASIS LAID ON THE COMMAND. "Again I say, Rejoice."
Paul repeats his exhortation—
1. To show his love to them. He is
intensely anxious that they should share his joy.
2. To suggest the difficulty of continual joy. He twice commands, because we
are slow to obey.
3. To assert the possibility of it. After second thoughts, he feels that he
may fitly repeat the exhortation.
4. To impress the importance of the duty. Whatever else you forget, remember
this: Be sure to rejoice.
5. To allow of special personal testimony. "Again I say, Rejoice." Paul
rejoiced. He was habitually a happy man. This epistle to the Philippians is
Let us look it through. The apostle is
He sweetens prayer with joy (Philippians
1:4 - note).
He rejoices that Christ is preached (Philippians
1:18 - note).
He wished to live to gladden the church (Philippians
To see the members like-minded was his joy (Philippians
2:2 - note).
It was his joy that he should not run in vain (Philippians
2:16 - note).
His farewell to them was, "Rejoice in the Lord" (Philippians
3:1 - note).
He speaks of those who rejoice in Christ Jesus (Philippians
3:3 - note).
He calls his converts his joy and crown (Philippians
4:1 - note).
He expresses his joy in their kindness (see notes
To all our friends, let us use this as
a blessing: "Rejoice in the Lord."
This is only a choicer way of saying,
Be happy; fare-you-well.
Fare ye well, and if for ever,
Still forever fare ye well.
It is not an indifferent thing to
rejoice, or not to rejoice; but we are commanded to rejoice, to show that we
break a commandment if we rejoice not. Oh, what a comfort is this, when the
Comforter himself shall command us to rejoice! God was wont to say, Repent,
and not rejoice, because men rejoice too much; but God here commandeth to
rejoice, as though some men did not rejoice enough: therefore you must
understand to whom he speaketh. In Psalm 149:5, it is said, "Let the saints
be glad? not, let the wicked be glad. And, in Isa. 40:1, he saith, "Comfort
my people," not, comfort mine enemies, showing to whom this commandment of
Paul is sent, "Rejoice evermore." — Henry Smith
The thing whereunto he exhorteth, as ye see, is to rejoice; a thing which
the sensual man can quickly lay hold on, who loves to rejoice, and to cheer
himself in the days of his flesh; which yet might now seem unreasonable to
the Philippians, who lived in the midst of a naughty and crooked nation, by
whom they were even hated for the truth's sake which they professed. Mark,
therefore, wherein the apostle would they should rejoice, namely, in the
Lord; and here the sensual man, that haply would catch hold when it is said,
Rejoice, by-and-by when it is added, in the Lord, will let go his hold. But
they that, by reason of the billows and waves of the troublesome sea of this
world, cannot brook the speech when it is said, Rejoice, are to lay sure
holdfast upon it when it is added, Rejoice in the Lord; which holdfast once
taken, that they might for ever keep it sure, in the third place it is
added, Rejoice in the Lord alway, to note the constancy that should be in
Christian joy. — Henry Airay
Another note to distinguish this joy in the Lord from all other joys is the
fullness and exuberancy of it, for it is more joy than if corn and wine and
oil increased. Else what needed the apostle, having said, "Rejoice in the
Lord always," to add, "and again I say, Rejoice"? What can be more than
always, but still adding to the fullness of our joy, till our cup do
Upon working days, rejoice in the Lord who giveth thee strength to labor and
feedeth thee with the labor of thy hands. On holidays, rejoice in the Lord
who feasteth thee with the marrow and fatness of his house. In plenty,
rejoice again and again, because the Lord giveth. In want, rejoice because
the Lord taketh away, and as it pleaseth the Lord, so come things to pass. —
The calendar of the sinner has only a few days in the year marked as
festival days; but every day of the Christian's calendar is marked by the
hand of God as a day of rejoicing. — Anonymous
'Tis impious in a good man to be sad.— Edward Young
Napoleon, when sent to Elba, adopted, in proud defiance of his fate, the
motto, "Ubicunque felix." It was not true in his case, but the Christian may
be truly "happy everywhere" and always.
EXPOSITION OF PHILIPPIANS
By C H Spurgeon
Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in
Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:
Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus
I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,
Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy,
For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;
Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in
you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my
heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of
the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace.
This Epistle was written by Paul when he
was in prison, with iron fetters about his wrists; yet there is no iron in
the Epistle. It is full of light, life, love, and joy, blended with traces
of sorrow, yet with a holy delight that rises above his grief.
For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of
And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge
and in all judgment;
That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and
without offence till the day of Christ;
Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ,
unto the glory and praise of God.
But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened
unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel;
So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other
And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much
more bold to speak the word without fear.
Verses 12-14: Notice the beautiful
self-forgetfulness of the apostle Paul. So long as the, gospel could be more
widely published, he did not mind where he was, or what he suffered. He was
able to witness for Christ among the Praetorian guards, who had the charge
of the prison where he was confined, and who also, in their turn, were on
duty in Caesar’s palace; so Paul says that, through his being in bonds
there, the particulars concerning his imprisonment were talked about even in
the imperial palace, and by that means the gospel was made known to many in
Caesar’s household. Then, in addition, other brethren, who might perhaps
have felt compelled to be quiet in his presence, finding that their leader
was removed from them, waxed confident to come out and” speak the word
without fear.” The same sort of thing has often happened since. You have
sometimes seen a widely-spreading oak tree cut down, and you have missed its
grateful shadow; yet, afterwards, you have discovered that many little
trees, which would have, been dwarfed beneath its shade, have grown more
rapidly in its absence; and, in like manner, the removal of some eminent
servant of the Lord Jesus Christ has frequently made room for others to
spring up, and more than fill his place.
Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good
The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add
affliction to my bonds:
But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel.
What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth,
Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.
For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the
supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,
Verses 15-19 It is much to be
desired that all who preach Christ should preach in a right spirit; but even
if they do not, let us be glad that Christ is preached anyhow, Even though
it is only a portion of the gospel that is proclaimed, and there is much
mixed with it from which we greatly differ, yet, if Christ is preached, his
gospel will win its own way, and work out his great purposes of love and
mercy, You have, perhaps, sometimes seen a little fire kindled among the
dead autumn leaves which are dank and lamp; and you have noticed that,
despite, all the smoke, the fire has continued to live and burn. So is it
with the eternal truth of God. Notwithstanding all the error with which it
is often damped, and almost smothered, it will live, and the truth will
conquer the error which is piled upon it. So Paul says, “I know that this
shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit
of Jesus Christ,”—
According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be
ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be
magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Again I bid you remark Paul’s devotion
and self-forgetfulness. It seems to be a matter of no choice with him
whether he serves God in life or glorifies him in death. The emblem of the
American Baptist Missionary Union is an ox standing between a plough and an
altar, with the motto, “Ready for either,”—Ready to spend and be spent in
labor, or to be a sacrifice, whichever the Lord pleases.
“To me to live is Christ.” If he lived,
he lived to know more of Christ studying his person, and learning by his
happy experience so that he increased in his knowledge of his Lord and
Savior. If he lived, he lived to imitate Christ more closely, becoming more
and more conformed to his image. If he lived, he lived to make Christ more
and more known to others, and to enjoy Christ more himself. In these four
senses, he might well say, “For to me to live is Christ,” — to know Christ
more, to imitate Christ more, to preach Christ more, and to enjoy Christ
“And to die is gain,” because death, he felt, would free him from all sin
and from all doubts as to his state in the present and the future. It would
be gain to him, for then he would no longer be tossed upon the stormy sea,
but he would be safe upon the land whither he was bound. It would be gain to
him, for then he would be free from all temptations both from within and
from without. It would be gain to him, for then he would be delivered from
all his enemies; there would be no cruel Nero, no blaspheming Jews, no false
brethren then. It would be gain to him, for then he would be delivered from
all suffering, there would be no more shipwrecks, no more being beaten with
rods, or being stoned, for him then. Dying, too, would be gain for him, for
he would then be free from all fear of death; and having once died, he would
die no more for ever. It would be gain to him, for he would find in heaven
better and more perfect friends than he would leave behind on earth; and he
would find, above all, his Savior, and be a partaker of his glory. This is a
wide subject, and the more we think over it, the more sweetness shall we get
out of it.
But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall
choose I wot not.
That is a very different thing from
living to the flesh. He lived to work for Christ, and to see souls saved as
the fruit of his labor.
For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with
Christ; which is far better:
There were the two currents flowing in
opposite directions. The apostle seemed to hear two voices speaking to him;
one of them said, “Live, and you will gather the fruit of your labor, you
will see sinners saved, churches established, and the kingdom of Christ
extended in the earth.” The other said, “Die, and you will be with
Christ;” so he knew not which to choose.
Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.
And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you
all for your furtherance and joy of faith;
The apostle desired to die, yet he was
willing to live. Death would have been gain to him, yet he would endure the
loss of living if he might thereby benefit others. Let us also always prefer
the welfare of others before our own, and care rather to serve others than
to make ourselves never so happy.
Philippians 1:26 That your
rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you
Philippians 1:27 Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of
Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of
your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving
together for the faith of the gospel;
Now the apostle gives these saints at
Philippi a loving exhortation: — The unity of the church is of the utmost
importance. When there is a walls of brotherly love, the perfect bond is
lost; and as a bundle of rods, when once the binding cord is cut, becomes
merely a number of weak and single twigs, so is it with a divided church.
May we always be kept in one holy bond of perfect union with each other!
What a happy church is that where the
members all “stand fast in one spirit,” and where they are all “with one
mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;—not striving with each
other, but all fighting for the faith once for all delivered to the saints!
Philippians 1:28 And in nothing
terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of
perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.
They give you up as lost because they
cannot frighten you; they take it as a token of your perdition that you are
not terrified by them, and it is so to them; yet, to you, the peacefulness
with which you can endure slander and persecution should be a token of your
“Away with them! Away with them!” cried
the heathen; “those who are not ashamed to acknowledge the crucified Christ
are only worthy of perdition.” But of what was their courage a token to
For when saints can bear fierce
persecution without flinching it is an evident sign that they are saved by
the grace of God.
Philippians 1:29 For unto you it is
given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to
suffer for his sake;
Which is a great gift. to suffer
for his sake; Which is a still greater gift.
What an honor this is to be conferred
upon any follower of Christ,—”not only to believe on him, but also to
suffer for his sake”! It is not every Christian who receives this mark of
honor. There are some believers who have peculiarly tender places in their
hearts, and who are wounded and gashed by the unkind remarks of those who
love them not because they love the Lord Jesus Christ. To you, my brother,
my sister, it is given—and you may well rejoice in such a gift,—”not only
to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake.”
Philippians 1:30 Having the same
conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me.
“The same agony” it is in the Greek, as
if every Christian must, in his measure, go through the same agony through
which the apostle went, striving and wrestling against sin, groaning under
its burden, agonising to be delivered from it and laboring to bring others
out of its power.
If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if
any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,
Paul did not mean to doubt that there is
“any consolation in Christ, any comfort of love, any fellowship of the
Spirit, any bowels and mercies,” for no one knew better than he did how
those blessings abound to them that are in Christ Jesus. He put it by way of
argument. If there be consolation in Christ, since there is consolation in
Christ, since there is comfort of love, since there is fellowship of the
Spirit, be one in Christ; be not divided; love one another: “be likeminded,
having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.”
Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one
accord, of one mind.
He knew that these saints at Philippi
loved him. They had sent once and again to relieve his necessities, so he
pleaded with them, by their love to him, to love each other. He does as much
as say, “If you really do love me, if it is not a sham, if you have any
sympathy with me, and with my labors and sufferings, if you really have the
same spirit that burns in my breast, make my heart full of joy by clinging
to one another, by being like-minded, ’having the same love, being of one
accord, of one mind.’”
Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind
let each esteem other better than themselves.
This would be a good motto for
those who are intending to build new places of worship. Let them not be
built through strife, because of a squabble among the people of God, but
make sure that all concerned are actuated by right motives, and seeking only
the glory of God. Then, sometimes, if one gives a guinea, another feels that
he must give two so as to excel him; this is giving out of vainglory. Let
nothing be done in this way, but as unto the Lord, and as in his sight, let
us do all our works, and give all our gifts.
“Nothing”: never give to exceed other
givers. Never preach that you may be a better preacher than anybody else;
never work in the Sunday-school with the idea of being thought a very
successful teacher. “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory.”
But in lowliness of mind let each
esteem other better than themselves.
There is some point in which your friend
excels you. Notice that rather than the point in which you excel him. Try to
give him the higher seat; seek yourself to take the lowest room.
Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of
Have a large heart, so that, though you
care for yourself in spiritual things, and desire your own sod-prosperity,
you may have the same desire for every other Christian man or woman.
Consider how you can help others, and in
what way you can prosper them both in temporal things and in spiritual. You
are members of a body, so one member is not to think for itself alone, the
unity of the whole body requires that every separate and distinct part of it
should be in harmony with the whole.
Philippians 2:1–4. If there be
therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any
fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, fulfill ye my joy, that
ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, be one mind.
Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind
let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own
things,— Do not obey the world’s maxim “Take care of Number One.” “Look
not every man on his own things,”—
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
What an example we have set before us in
the Lord Jesus Christ! We are to have the mind of Christ; and that in the
most Christly way, for here we have Christ set out to the life.
Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
For he was equal with God.
2:7 But made himself of no
reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the
likeness of men:
and of all the reverence paid to him by
the holy spirits around the throne.
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient
unto death, even the death of the cross.
He had not descended low enough yet,
though he had come down all the way from the Godhead to our manhood: “he
What a cruel and ignominious death for
the Son of God to suffer! Did he lose anything by all this wondrous
condescension? Will you lose anything by any dishonor that may come upon you
for Christ’s sake, for the truth’s sake? No; listen to what followed our
He humbled himself, so be you not
unwilling to humble yourself. Lower than the cross Christ could not go, his
death was one of such extreme ignominy that he could not have been more
disgraced and degraded. Be you willing to take the lowest place in the
Church of God, and to render the humblest service, count it an honor to be
allowed to wash the saints feet. Be humble in mind; nothing is lost by
cherishing this spirit, for see how Jesus Christ was honored in the end.
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is
above every name:
He stooped, who can tell how low? He was
raised, who shall tell how high? “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted
He threw away his name; he emptied
himself of his reputation. How high is his reputation now! How glorious is
the name that God hath given him as the reward of his redemptive work!
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and
things in earth, and things under the earth;
And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory
of God the Father.
Now is he higher than the highest. Now
every one must confess his divinity. With shame and terror, his adversaries
shall bow before him; with delight and humble adoration, his friends shall
own him Lord of all: “that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is
Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” See how the greatest glory of Christ
is the glory of the Father. He never desired any other glory but that. The
highest honor you can ever have, O child of God, is to bring honor to your
Father who is in heaven. Do you not think so? I know you do.
Some foolish and superstitious persons
make this passage a pretext for bowing their heads at the name of Jesus
whenever it is mentioned. Nothing can be more senseless, because the passage
means no such thing.
What we are taught here is the great truth that Jesus Christ, though once he
stooped to the lowest shame, is now exalted to the very highest glory, and
even the devils in hell are compelled to own the might of his power. We are
also to learn from this passage that the way to ascend is to descend. He who
would be chief must be willing to be the servant of all. The King of kings
was the Servant of servants; and if you would be crowned with honor
by-and-by, you must be willing to be despised and rejected of men now. The
Lord give us this gracious humbleness of mind, for Jesus Christ’s sake!
Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only,
but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and
Get out of self. Work out your salvation
from pride, from vainglory, from disputations and strife.
For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good
You may very well work out what God works
in. If he does not work it in, you will never work it out; but while he
works within your spirit both to will and to do, you may safely go on to
will and to do; for your willing and your doing will produce lowliness of
spirit, and unity of heart with your brethren.
In a certain sense, the salvation of
every person who believes in Christ is complete, and complete without any
working out on his part, seeing that “it is finished,” and we are complete
in Jesus. Observe that there are two parts of our salvation, the one
complete, the other as yet incomplete, though guaranteed to be brought to
perfection. The first part of our salvation consists of a work for us; the
second, of a work in us. The work for us is perfect-none can add thereunto.
Jesus Christ our Lord has offered a complete atonement for all the offenses
of his people. He took his people into union with himself, and by that union
they became entitled to all the merit of his righteousness; they became
partakers of his everlasting life, and inheritors of his glory. Saints are
therefore saved completely so far as substitutionary work is concerned. Such
was the meaning of those majestic death-words of our Lord, “It is
finished.” He had finished transgression, made an end of sin, and brought
in everlasting righteousness, and thus perfected for ever them that are set
apart. Now with the work of Christ we cannot intermeddle; we are never told
to work that out, but to receive it by faith. The blessing comes “to him
that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly.”
Justification is not at all by human effort, but by the free gift of God.
The second part of salvation consists of a work in us-this is the operation
of God the Holy Ghost. As many as were redeemed by the blood of Jesus, are
also in due time renewed in the spirit of their minds. The Holy Ghost in
regeneration descends into a man, and creates in him a new nature; he does
not destroy the old that remains still to be battled with, and to be
overcome. Though the nature which the Spirit implants is perfect in its kind
and in its degree, yet it is not perfect in its development. It is a seed
which needs to work itself out into a tree, it is an infant which requires
to grow into the stature of a perfect man; the new nature has in it all the
elements of entire perfection, but it needs to be expanded, brought out, to
use the words of the text, wrought out with fear and trembling. God having
first worked it in, it becomes the business of the Christian life to work
out the secret inner principle till it permeates the entire system, till it
overcomes the old nature, till it, in fact, utterly destroys inbred
corruption, and reigns supreme in the man’s every part; as it shall do when
the Lord takes us to dwell with himself for ever. Understand then, it is not
at all to the mediatorial work of Christ, it is not at all with regard to
the pardon of our sins, or the justification of our persons that Paul
speaks, but only with regard to our inner spiritual life. He says of that,
“Work it out with fear and trembling. For it is God that worketh in you.”
Do all things without murmurings and disputings:
Do not say, “You give me too much to do;
you always give me the hard work; you put me in the obscure corner.” No,
no; “do all things without murmurings.” And do not begin fighting over a
holy work; for, if you do, you spoil it in the very beginning, and how can
you then hope for a blessing upon it? “Do all things without murmurings and
That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in
the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in
None finding fault with you, and you not
finding fault with others; neither harming nor harmed: “blameless and
The sons of God, without rebuke,
So that men cannot rebuke you, and will
have to invent a lie before they can do it; and even then the falsehood is
too palpable to have any force in it: “without rebuke.”
In the midst of a crooked and
perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
You cannot straighten them; but you can
shine. They would destroy you if they could; but all you have to do is to
shine. If Christian men would give more attention to their shining, and pay
less attention to the crooked and perverse generation, much more would come
of it. But now we are advised to “keep abreast of the times,” and to
“catch the spirit of the age.” If I could ever catch that spirit, I would
hurl it into the bottomless abyss; for it is a spirit that is antagonistic
to Christ in all respects. We are just to keep clear of all that, and
“shine as lights in the world.”
Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ,
that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.
You are to hold forth the Word of life as
men hold forth a torch. Your shining is largely to consist in holding forth
the Word of life.
God’s ministers cannot bear the thought
of having labored in vain; and yet if some of us were to die, what would
remain of all we have done? I charge you, brethren, to think of what your
life-work has been hitherto. Will it remain? Will it abide? Will it stand
the test of your own departure? Ah, if you have any fear about it, you may
well go to God in prayer, and cry, “Establish thou the work of our hands
upon us; yea, the work of our hands, establish thou it.” Paul cared much
about God’s work; but he did not trouble about himself.
Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I
joy, and rejoice with you all.
If he might be poured forth as a
drink-offering on their behalf, or offered up as a whole burnt-offering in
the service of the Savior, he would be glad. He could not bear to have lived
in vain; but to spend his life for the glory of his Lord, would be ever a
joy to him.
For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me.
To live and to die for Jesus Christ, with
the blessing of the Father resting upon us, is a matter for us to joy in
unitedly and continually. God help us so to do!
Philippians 3:1. Finally, my
brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed
is not grievous, but for you it is safe.
Let this be the end of everything;
before you get to the end of it, and when you do get to the end of it,
“rejoice in the Lord.” It is incumbent upon us, as Christians, to rise out
of our despondencies. Joy should be the normal state of the Christian. What
a happy religion is ours in which it is a duty to be happy! “Finally, my
brethren, rejoice in the Lord.”
When you get to “finally,” when you
are very near the end of your journey, still “rejoice in the Lord.”
“Finally,” says Paul, as if this was the end of his epistle, the
conclusion of all his teaching: “Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the
Lord.” But never do it finally, never come to an end of it. Rejoice in the
Lord, and yet again rejoice, and yet again rejoice; and as long as you live,
rejoice in the Lord.
As much as to say, “If this were the
last sentence that I should write to you, I would say, Finally, my brethren,
rejoice in the Lord.’ It is your privilege, it is your duty, to rejoice in
God; — not in your health, your wealth, your children, your prosperity, but
in the Lord.” There is the unchanging and unbounded source of joy. It will
do you no harm to rejoice in the Lord; the more you rejoice in him, the more
spiritually-minded will you become. “Finally, my brethren.” That is, even
to the end, not with you the bitter end; but even to the end of life,
rejoice in the Lord. Make this the finis of everything, the end of every
day, the end of every year, the end of life. “Finally, my brethren, rejoice
in the Lord.” Blessed is that religion in which it is a duty to be happy.
Some hearers are like the Athenian
academicians; they want continually to hear something new. The apostle says,
“To have the same things written to you, is safe.” So is it for you, dear
friends; to have the same gospel, the same Jesus, the same Holy Spirit, made
known to you, is safe. New doctrine is dangerous doctrine.
Saying the same thing over and over again
is Safe, for your minds do not catch the truth at the first hearing, and
your memories are slippery.
To go over the same old truths again
and again, to proclaim the same precepts, and teach the same doctrines, is
not grievous to us, and it is safe for you to hear these things again and
again. If they have not made their due impression upon you already, perhaps
they will do so when they are repeated in your hearing. At any rate it is
safe for you to hear or read over and over again the old, old story with
which you are already familiar.
Beware of dogs, —
Contentious persons, — persons of
coarse and corrupt habits: “Beware of dogs,” — They are like to dogs. If
they fawn upon you, they will bemire you, if they do not bite you.
Men of a doggish, captious, selfish
spirit. In Paul’s day, there were some who were called Cynics, that is to
say, dogs: “Beware of dogs,” —
Beware of evil workers,
However prettily they may talk, if
they are workers of evil, beware of them.” By their fruits ye shall know
them.” Their speech may be clever, but if their lips be unclean, beware of
Beware of the
By which Paul meant those Jews who made a great point of circumcision; he
calls them here “the cutters”, for they mangled and cut the Church of God
in pieces: “Beware of the concision.”
Beware of the cutters off, those who
excommunicate and cut off others because they do not happen quite to agree
with them in certain rites and ceremonies.
There were some who bad confidence in
circumcision, who greatly troubled Paul. The apostle says that they were
“the concision”, the cutters-off, of whom he would have the Philippians
For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in
Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.
These are three marks of the true Israel of God; have you all of
them,-worshipping God in the spirit, rejoicing in Christ Jesus, and having
no confidence in the flesh?
This is the real circumcision, which
is of the spirit, and not of the flesh. The men who have abandoned all
confidence in themselves, the men who have come to rely upon Christ alone,
the men who “rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the
flesh,” those who care not for outward rites and ceremonies, but who
worship God in the spirit, — these are the true circumcision.
3:4 Though I might also have confidence in the flesh.
“If any man might trust in outward
religion, I might,” said Paul; yet he was the very man who would not do so,
and who warned others against doing it.
If any man might have had confidence
in the flesh, truly Paul might.
If anybody might, Paul might. If birth,
if education, or if external religiousness could have saved anybody in the
world, it would have saved Saul of Tarsus.
Philippians 3:5 If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might
trust in the flesh, I more: circumcised the eight day,
So that, if anybody could have boasted
of what he was by birth, what he was by profession, what he was by the
display of religious zeal, Paul could have boasted as boldly as anyone
could, for in all those respects he was second to nobody. You know that it
is a very easy thing, or it ought to be a very easy thing, for some people
to be humble, for they have nothing to be proud of, but here is a man who
had much of which he might have been proud. According to the letter of the
law, he was a diamond of the first water; yet see what a different verdict
he gives after grace has opened his eyes.
So that I do not know what more he
could have had. If a Jew had tried to select a man who had something to
glory in, he could not have picked any man to stand in the front of Paul. He
was truly a Jew, he had received the initiatory rite, and on the right day.
He was born of the innermost tribe, the tribe of Benjamin, in whose country
stood the temple itself. He was O, Pharisee, who pushed the law to the
extreme; he tithed his mint and his cummin. Nobody could have anything to
glory in which Paul had not.
circumcised the eighth day
The ritual was observed even to the hour
in his case.
Of the stock of Israel
Not an Edomite or a Samaritan, but “of
the stock of Israel,” and of the very center of that stock.
Of the tribe of Benjamin
Which remained with Judah, faithful, long
after the ten tribes had gone aside.
An Hebrew of the Hebrews; as
touching the law, a Pharisee
That is, one who observed all the
minutiae and details of the ceremonial law,, and a good deal more, — the
traditions of the elders which hung like moss about the old stone of Jewish
ceremonialism. Paul had observed all that.
3:6. Concerning zeal,
persecuting the church!
Be was most zealous in the cause that he
thought right. Bitterly, cruelly, even to the death, did he persecute the
believers in Jesus.
Touching the righteousness which
is in the law, blameless.
Paul had been kept from the vices into
which many fell. In his young days, he had been pure; and all his days, he
had been upright and sincere. As far as he knew, to the best of his light,
he had observed the law of God.
In another place, he calls himself the
chief of sinners; and so he was, because he persecuted the Church of God;
but, in another sense, I may say of him that there is no man who stood so
good a chance of being justified by works as Paul did, if there could have
been any justification in that way.
But what things were gain, to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
So that, when we come to Christ,
whatever we have to trust to, we must put away. We must write it on the
other side of the ledger. We bad entered it as a gain; now we must set it
down as a loss; it is of no value whatsoever, it is a loss if it shall tempt
us to trust any less in Christ.
His faith in Jesus reversed all his
former estimates, ’so that his gains he counted to be losses. He thought it
so much the worse, concerning zeal, to have persecuted the church, and so
much to his injury to have imagined that he was blameless in the presence of
Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the
knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all
things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
Those are sweet words, “my Lord.” Remember how Thomas cried, in ecstasy,
“My Lord and my God.” Paul, by faith putting his finger into the prints of
the nails, says, “My Lord.”
Oh, what a precious place to be found in,
“in him,” trusting in him, hidden away in him, a member of his body, as it
were, losing myself in him!
Everything else must go in order to
secure that. Paul thinks that to be righteous by faith is infinitely better
than all the righteousness that can come by works and ceremonies. He
therefore utterly despises that which he once thought to be more precious
that gold; and he takes possession of, as his greatest treasure, that which
he once trampled in the mire. Now his great desire is —
He had every opportunity of advancement.
He was a fine scholar, and might have reached the highest degree in
connection with the Sanhedrim and the synagogue; but he thought nothing of
all that, he threw it all away as worthless, and declared that this was his
ambition: “That I may win Christ,”
The very high value that the apostle Paul
set upon the Savior, is most palpable, when he speaks of winning him. This
shows that the Savior held the same place in Paul’s esteem as the crown did
in the esteem of the runner at the Olympic games. To gain that crown, the
competitor strained every nerve and sinew, feeling as though he were content
to drop down dead at the goal if he might but win it. Paul felt that were he
to run with all his might, if that, were the way of winning Christ, were he
to strain soul and body to win him, he would be well worth the effort. He
shows his value of Christ by speaking of him as the prize he panted to win.
He uses the very same word which the soldier would use concerning the
victory, when, with garments rolled in blood, amidst confused noise and
clouds of smoke, he counts all things but little if he may but hear the
shout of triumph. So, Paul, regarding Christ as more glorious and excellent
than mountains of prey, considered such a prize to be worth all the
fighting, even though he should agonize and sweat with blood. He would be
well worth dying to win. I take it that he speaks of Christ here as though
he felt that he was the very climax of his desire, the summit of his
ambition. If he might but get Christ, he would be perfectly satisfied; but
if he could not get him, whatever else he might have, he would still remain
I would to God that you all felt the same. I wish that the ambition of every
one of my fellow-creatures here assembled — and, indeed, the wide world
over, — were this, that they might win Christ. Oh, if they did but know his
preciousness, if they did but understand how happy and how blessed he makes
those to be who gain him, they, too, would give up everything else for this
one desire, — that they may win Christ. I hope that, perhaps, a few words of
mine may be blessed of God the Spirit to stir up such a desire in the hearts
of the congregation now assembled below then shall I begin?
and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law,
but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of
God by faith.
He does not say, not trusting it, but not
even having it, not counting it, not thinking it worth while to put down
among his possessions that which he once prized so much.
It must be more glorious to be justified
by God than by ourselves. It must be more safe to wear the righteousness of
Christ than to wear our own. Nothing can so dignify our manhood as to have
Christ himself to be “the Lord our Righteousness.” This Paul chose in
preference to everything else.
That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship
of his sufferings, being made comfortable unto his death
Paul means, “That I may know him more than I now do;” for be knew him, and
delighted in him; but he felt as if he bad not begun really to know Christ.
He was like a child at school, who has learnt to read and to write, and
knows so much that he begins to want to know more.
See to what Paul is looking forward, —
resurrection, — and therefore he lets this life go as of secondary
importance. He is willing to suffer as Christ suffered, and to die as Christ
died. You and I may never be called to make that great sacrifice; but if we
are true followers of Christ, we shall be prepared for it. If ever it should
happen that Christ and our life shall be put in competition, we must not
deliberate for a moment, for Christ is all, and we must be ready to give up
all for Christ.
Philippians 3:11 if by any means I might
attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
He knew that all the dead would rise again; but he aspired to the first
resurrection: “The rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand
years were finished.”
You perhaps suppose that Paul’s
present satisfaction arises out of a consciousness of personal perfection,
but it is not so. He has not won the race yet, his joy arises from the feet
that he is in the right course and that he is running in the right
direction: “Not as though I had already attained, either were already I
3:12. Not as though I had already attained, either were
already perfect. But I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which
also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
“I want to lay hold of that for which
Christ has laid hold of me. He has grasped me in order to make me perfect,
and I want to grasp that perfection. He has laid hold of me to rid me of my
sin, and I want to lay hold of a glean riddance of sin, apprehending that
for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.”
He did count himself as saved, he knew
that he was Christ’s; but he did not count himself as having realized all
that Christ meant to do for him and by him. He did not reckon that he bad
reached as far as he could reach, or learnt all that he could learn, or done
all that he could do.
He does not say that anybody has been
perfect, but he does say that he was not so himself; and I should think that
any man who believed himself to be better than Paul would thereby prove at
once that he was not perfect, for he must be sadly lacking in humility.
“All that Christ meant me to be, I want
to be. All that Christ meant to give me, I want to have. All that he meant
me to do, I want to do; to apprehend, to lay hold of that for which I am
laid hold of by Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 3:13 Brethren, I count
not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those
things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are
That is Paul’s judgment concerning
himself; he has not yet attained to the full all that the religion of Christ
can give him.
Philippians 3:14 I press toward the
mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Always making progress, — throwing
himself into it, having the reward before him, the prize of perfection in
Christ, and running towards it with all his might.
The condition in which a believer should
always be found is that of progress: his motto must be, “Onward and upward!
“Nearly every figure by which Christians are described in the Bible implies
this. We are plants of the Lord’s field, but we are sown that we may grow —
“First the blade, then the ear, then the full corn in the ear.” We are
born into the family of God; but there are babes, little children, young
men, and fathers in Christ Jesus; yea, and there are a few who are perfect
or fully developed men in Christ Jesus. It is a growth evermore. Is the
Christian described as a pilgrim? He is no pilgrim who sits down as if
rooted to the place. “They go from strength to strength.” The Christian is
compared to a warrior, a wrestler, a competitor in the games: these figures
are the very opposite of a condition in which nothing more is to be done.
They imply energy, the gathering up of strength, and the concentration of
forces, in order to the overthrowing of adversaries. The Christian is also
likened to a runner in a race, and that is the figure now before us in the
text. It is clear that a man cannot be a runner who merely holds his ground,
contented with his position: he only runs aright who each moment nears the
mark. Progress is the healthy condition of every Christian man; and he only
realizes his best estate while he is growing in grace, “adding to his faith
virtue,” “following on to know the Lord,” and daily receiving grace for
grace out of the fullness which is treasured up in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:15 Let us therefore,
as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise
minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.
I admire that sentence. If any brother has not reached a full knowledge of
the truth, let us not condemn him, or cast him out of our company, but say
to him, “God shall reveal even this unto you.”
If you are a true believer in Jesus,
be of this mind, always to be pressing forward to something higher and
better. If God has given you one form of perfection, press onward to a much
higher form of perfection. Seek continually to rise. The eagle’s motto is,
“Higher, Higher!” Let it be your motto too. Many of God’s people do not
believe that he can make them what he means to make them, or, at least, they
act as if they did not believe that he can. They are not, apparently,
conscious of what their privileges really are, and are living far below
where they might live in the happy enjoyment of peace and power and
usefulness. May God help us, by his gracious Spirit, to know all of Christ
that we can know, and to be as much like Christ as we can be.
You have seen a man running very fast.
How he leans forward, as though he would send his heart before him, and go
quicker than his legs can carry him! So did the apostle “press toward the
mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same
rule, let us mind the same thing.
Let us keep all the good that we have
received; let us not give up the truth that we have learnt; let us not leave
the way along which we have traveled so far; and let us keep together, let
perfect unanimity prove that the work of grace is going on in one as well as
There are some points upon which we are
all agreed. There is some standing-ground where the babe in grace may meet
with the man in Christ Jesus. Well, as far as we do see eye to eye, let us
co-operate with one another, let us have our hearts knit together in a holy
unanimity. “Let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.”
There are some people who are always looking out for points of difference;
their motto seems to be, “Whereinsoever we differ, let us split away from
one another.” Their great idea is that by dividing we shall conquer. The
fact is that, by separating ourselves from one another, we shall miss all
hope of strength, and play into the hands of the adversaries.
Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye
have us for an ensample.
For the true servant of Christ teaches by
his life as much as by his words.
In these days, certain people find fault
with Paul, and speak of him as if he were not inspired, and not to be
followed as Christ was; but here he expressly says what no man like Paul
would ever say unless moved of the Holy Spirit, for he was modest, and by no
means anxious to push himself forward: “Brethren, be followers together of
Mark them, but do not follow them. See
how they walk, but do not imitate them: “Have us for an ensample.”
Of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are
the enemies of the cross of Christ.
The worst enemies that the cross of
Christ has are the enemies inside the professing church of Christ.
I lay a stress upon the article: “They
are the enemies of the cross of Christ.” Professors of religion, who get
into the church, and yet lead ungodly lives, are the worst enemies that the
cross of Christ has. These are the sort of men who bring tears into the
minister’s eyes; these are they who break his heart; they are the enemies of
the cross of Christ.
Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in
their shame, who mind earthly things.)
They call themselves spiritual, yet
they live for earthly things; indulging their appetites, living for self,
yet pretending to be Christians, whereas selfishness is the very reverse of
“Who mind earthly things,” — even when
they profess to be minding spiritual things; pretending to be followers of
Christ up to heaven, and yet really making again of the things of God here
3:20. For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also
we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ:
Can you say that, dear friend? Is your
citizenship in heaven? Is your conversation there? Do you often commune with
your Lord upon the throne? Judge yourselves whether it be so or not. It is a
very poor thing to have a name to be in heaven, and yet never to have any
converse with heaven. I wish that we could all say that we talk more to God
than we do to men, and have more business upward than we have here below.
He is coming! He is coming! Are we
looking for him? This is the true position of the Christian, looking for the
appearing of his Lord.
3:21. Who shall change our vile body, that
it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working
whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
As his first advent has been our
salvation from sin, so his second advent shall be our salvation from the
Vile so far that it has been defiled by
sin, vile in comparison with that body which shall be, — “Who shall change
our vile body,” the body of our humiliation, —
“The body of our humiliation.” We have
only part of the redemption while we are here. The soul is regenerated,
newly-born; but the body is not. “The body is dead because of sin; but the
spirit is life because of righteousness.” The redemption of the purchased
possession will be perfect at the resurrection. The resurrection will be, to
the body, what regeneration is to the soul. We sometimes wonder why we are
sick, when Christ could make us well in a moment; but the reason is that, as
yet, he has not fully brought his divine power to bear upon the body. That
is to be by-and-by; we are waiting for the Savior, “who shall change our
May he show some part of that blessed
power in us to-night! Amen.
Philippians 4:1. Therefore, my
brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in
the lord, my dearly beloved.
Paul had a very warm affection for the
church at Philippi. You remember how that church was established,-first with
the baptized household of Lydia, and afterwards with the baptized household
of the jailor. These saints at Philippi were in a special sense Paul’s
spiritual children, they were very generous and kind to him and his heart
was very warm with love to them, so he called them, “my brethren dearly
beloved,” and then again, “my dearly beloved.”
It is a great joy to a minister, as it
was to the apostle Paul, to have converts; but that joy is greatly
diminished when they do not stand fast: then, indeed, every supposed joy
becomes a sorrow, and instead of the roses which yield a sweet perfume to
the Lord’s servant, thorns begin to prick and wound his heart.
See how the heart of the apostle is at
work; his emotions are not dried up by his personal griefs. He takes a
delight in his friends at Philippi; he has a lively recollection of the time
when he and Silas were shut up in prison there, and that same night baptized
the jailor and his household, and formed the church at Philippi.
4:2. I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same
mind in the Lord.
These two women had fallen out with
one another, they evidently differed upon some question or other so that
they were not “of the same mind in the Lord,” and Paul thought it so
important that there should be perfect unity and love in the church at
Philippi, as well as everywhere else, that he besought these two women, of
whom we know nothing else, that they would be “of the same mind in the
Lord.” Notice that he beseeches each of them in exactly the same way: “I
beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche.” He has a “beseech” for each of
them. Perhaps, if he had written, “I beseech Euodias and Syntyche,” the
latter lady might have fancied that he was not quite so earnest about her as
he was about Euodias so he puts it, “I beseech Euodias, and beseech
Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord.” Have any of you fallen
out, my dear friends? I do not know of any of you who have done so, but if
you have, I say to all you, men or women, “I beseech you, that you be of the
same mind in the Lord.” There is nothing like perfect unity in a Christian
church; if there is even a little division, it will grow to something much
worse by-and-by; so I beseech you “be of the same mind in the Lord.
Only two women, and we do not know who
they were; yet Paul gives them a “beseech” each: “I beseech Euodias, and
beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord.” If there are
only two of the most obscure sisters in the church who are quarrelling,
their differences ought to be brought to an end at once. There should be no
disagreements amongst Christians, love should reign, peace should
predominate. If there is anything contrary to such a state as that, God
grant that it may soon be brought to an end!
These two good women had fallen out with
one another. Paul loves them so much that he would not have any strife in
the church to mar its harmony; and he therefore beseeches both of these good
women to end their quarrel, and to “be of the same mind in the Lord.” You
cannot tell what hurt may come to a church through two members being at
enmity against each other. They may be unknown persons, they may be
Christian women, but they can work no end of mischief; and therefore it is a
most desirable thing that they should speedily come together again in peace
Philippians 4:3 And I entreat thee also, true yokefellow,
help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also,
and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.
They helped me, and they have helped
you, so help them with encouraging words and in every other way that you
He tenderly thinks of all those who had
helped the work of the Lord, and, in return, he would have all of them
helped, and kindly remembered, and affectionately cherished. May we always
have this tender feeling towards one another, especially towards those who
work for the Lord with us! May we ever delight in cheering those who serve
Brother, do all the good you can to help
everybody else to do good. Help those whose names are in the book of life,
even if they are not known anywhere else. Also help the “Clement” whose
name is known; be sure to help him; indeed, help everybody. There is an
office, in the Church of Christ, which we do not sufficiently recognize; but
which ought to be abundantly filled. Paul mentions it in writing to the
Corinthians. He says, “And God hath set some in the church, first apostles,
secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of
healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.” It is the office of
certain Christians to be “helps.” May we always have many such “helps”
amongst us! Did you ever notice that, almost every time that Bartholomew is
mentioned in Scripture, we read, “and Bartholomew”? He is never spoken of
alone; but it is written, “Philip, and Bartholomew,” or “Bartholomew, and
Matthew.” It is good to have some Bartholomews who are always helping
somebody else, so that, when there is any good work to be done, Bartholomew
is always ready to share in it; for he shall also have a part in the reward
at the last.
4:4. Rejoice in the Lord alway:
Not only now and then, on high days
and holiday, have a time of joy, but “rejoice in the Lord alway.”
And again I say, Rejoice.
He had said this before, as you will
see in the first verse of the third chapter, which begins, “Finally, my
brethren, rejoice in the Lord;” now he writes it again, and repeats it in
the same verse: “Rejoice. Rejoice.” It is so important that believers
should be full of joy that Paul writes three times over in a short space,
“Rejoice in the Lord;” “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say,
The very word “rejoice,” seems to imply
a reduplication; it is joy, and re-joy, joy over again; but here, you see,
it is a fourfold rejoicing; joy, and re-joy; and again I say, joy, and
re-joy; and this is to be the Christian’s continual experience, for the
apostle says, “Rejoice in the Lord always.”
4:5. Let your moderation be known unto all men.
Be men who are God-governed, because
God governs those who run to excess in nothing. Some go to excess in one
way, and some in another; but all excess is to be avoided: “Let your
moderation be known unto all men.”
We have come to understand this word
“moderation” in a sense not at all intended here. The best translation
would probably be “forbearance.” Do not get angry with anybody; do not
begin to get fiery and impetuous: be forbearing, for the Lord is at hand.
You cannot tell how soon he may appear; there is no time to spare for the
indulgence of anger; be quiet; be patient; and if there be anything very
wrong, well, leave it. Our Lord Jesus will come very soon; therefore be not
4:6. Be careful for nothing; But in
everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests to
made known unto God.
This is not a good translation of the
original, it does not convey the sense of the Greek, it should to, “Be
anxious for nothing.” Of course you ought to be careful about everything.
You cannot be too careful, but you never ought to be care-full, you must
care to be right with God, yet you must not be filled with care about
anything. “Be anxious for nothing.” Do not fret, do not worry, do not make
other people miserable by your fretting and fuming and fueling.
Ah! this is the way to find the cure
for all your anxieties; take all your trouble to God with a prayer and with
a song. Do not go without either the thanksgiving or the prayer; but bear
your burden at once to God, and ask him to bear it for you.
Have no care, but much prayer. Prayer is
the cure for care. If you are in trouble, “Let your requests be made
known,” not to your neighbors, but “unto God.”
See how the apostle would bid us throw
anxiety to the winds; let us try to do so. You cannot turn one hair white or
black, fret as you may. You cannot add a cubit to your stature, be you as
anxious as you please. It will be for your own advantage, and it will be for
God’s glory, for you to shake off the anxieties which else might overshadow
your spirit. Be anxious about nothing, but prayerful about everything, and
be thankful about everything as well. Is not that a beautiful trait in
Paul’s character? He is a prisoner at Rome, and likely soon to die; yet he
mingles thanksgiving with his supplication, and asks others to do the same.
We have always something for which to thank God, therefore let us also obey
the apostolic injunction.
Pray about everything; I make no
exception to this. Pray about waking in the morning, and pray about falling
asleep at night. Pray about any great event in your life, but pray equally
about what you call the minor events. Pray as Jacob did when he crossed the
brook Jabbok; but do not forget to pray when there is no angry Esau near,
and no special danger to fear. The simplest thing, that is not prayed over,
may have more evil in it than what appears to be the direst evil when once
it has been brought to God in prayer. I pray that all of you, who love the
Lord, may commit yourselves afresh to Christ this very hour. I wish to do so
myself, saying, “My Master, here am I; take me, and do as thou wilt with
me. Use me for thy glory in any way that thou pleasest. Deprive me of every
comfort, if so I shall the more be able to honor thee. Let my choicest
treasures be surrendered if thy sovereign will shall so ordain.” Let every
child of God make a complete surrender here and now, and ask for grace to
stand to it. Your greatest sorrow will come when you begin to be untrue to
your full surrender to the Lord; so may you never prove untrue to it!
Philippians 4:7. And the
peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and
minds through Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:8. And the
peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and
minds through Christ Jesus.
Be on the side of everything that is good and right, everything that helps
on true human progress, everything that increases virtue and purity. As a
Christian man, take an interest in everything that helps to make men true,
honest, just, pure, and lovely.
If anything is true, honest, just,
pure, lovely, of good report, be you on that side. A Christian is on the
side of everything that makes for purity, chastity, and honesty, that is for
the good of men and the glory of God. Whenever anyone is making out a list
of those who will fight for everything that is right and good, every
Christian should say to the man with the ink-horn, “Set down my name,
If there is any really good movement in
the world, help it, you Christian people. If it is not purely and absolutely
religious, yet if it tends to the benefit of your fellow-men, if it promotes
honesty, justice, purity, take care that you are on that side, and do all
you can to help it forward.
Philippians 4:9 Those things, which ye have both learned,
and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall to
May the Lord fulfill that gracious word
to all of us, “The God of peace shall be with you”! Amen.
Paul was a grand preacher to be able to
say that; to hold up his own example, as well as his own teaching, as a
thing which the people might safely follow.
But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me
hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked
“I rejoiced.” So Paul was himself in a happy mood; these saints in
Philippi had sent to him in prison a gift by the hand of one of their
pastors, and Paul, in his deep poverty, had been much comforted by their
kind thoughtfulness about him.
You see that Paul did not really mean,
“Be careful for nothing,” for he says here that there Philippians had
cared for him, and he praises them for being careful of him. They had
lovingly thought of him who was their spiritual father, and when they knew
that he was shut up as a prisoner in Rome, and suffering want, they took
care to send something to relieve and cheer him.
In the seventh verse, we had the
expression, “the peace of God.” In this ninth verse, we have the mention
of “the God of peace.” May we first enjoy the peace of God, and then be
helped by the Spirit of God to get into a still higher region, where we
shall be more fully acquainted with the God of peace!
Philippians 4:11. Not that I
speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am,
therewith to be content.
“I have been initiated”-for that is
the word,-”among those who are content with such things as they have.”
That was not an easy lesson to learn,
especially when one of those states meant being in prison at Rome. If he was
ever in the Mamertine, those of us who have been in that dungeon would
confess that it would take a deal of grace to make us content to be there;
and if he was shut up in the prison of the Palatine hill, in the barracks
near the morass, it was, to say the least, not a desirable place to be in. A
soldier chained to your hand clay and night, however good a fellow he may
be, does not always make the most delightful company for you, nor you for
him; and it takes some time to learn to be content with such a companion;
but, says Paul, “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be
I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in
all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound
and to suffer need.
“I can be poor, or I can have
abundance, if you send it to me, but these things make no real difference to
me. I have been made invulnerable either to suffering or to abundance.”
Blessed is the man who has got as far as that; it is a wonderful work of
grace when a man can truly say this.
These are both hard lessons to learn; I
do not know which is the more difficult of the two. Probably it is easier to
know how to go down than to know how to go up. How many Christians have I
seen grandly glorifying God in sickness and poverty when they have come down
in the world; and ah! how often have I seen other Christians dishonoring God
when they have grown rich, or when they have risen to a position of
influence among their fellow-men! These two lessons grace alone can fully
Philippians 4:13. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
What a gracious attainment! There is no
boasting in this declaration; Paul only spoke what was literally the truth.
Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my
Now ye Philippians know also that in the beginning of the
gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as
concerning giving and receiving, but ye only.
I should not wonder if it was Lydia
who was at the bottom of that giving and receiving, and perhaps the jailor
also; they were evidently thoughtful and grateful people. They remembered
the apostle’s sufferings and wants and did all they could to help and cheer
For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity.
The Philippians were the only
Christians who had sent any help to this great sufferer for Christ’s sake in
the time of his need.
because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.
He did not look at it as merely
something that would ease him, but he looked at it as a token of gratitude
for the spiritual blessings they had received through him. It showed that
they loved the gospel which he preached, and that they also loved him for
having been blessed by God to their souls; and this cheered and delighted
him. But, to show that he was not asking for more, he says:
4:18. But I have all, and abound: I am full,-
I do not suppose that it amounted to
much, but it was all that the apostle needed, and so he says to them, “I
have all, and abound: I am full,”-
I am sure that, when they read this
verse, they all felt glad that they had had a share in the subscription to
relieve the apostle’s wants.
I do not suppose that they sent him very
much; but he knew the love that prompted the gift, he understood what they
meant by it. I always had a fancy that Lydia was the first to suggest that
kind deed. She, the first convert of the Philippian church, thought of Paul,
I doubt not, and said to the other believers, “Let us take care of him as
far as we can. See how he spends his whole life in the Master’s service, and
now he may at last die in prison for want of even common necessaries; let us
send him a present to Rome.” How grateful is the apostle for that gift of
love! What gladness they had put into his heart! Now he says: —
4:19. Having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent
from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing to
God. But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory
by Christ Jesus.
“You have supplied my need out of your
poverty; my God shall supply all your need out of his riches. Your greatest
need shall not exceed the liberality of his supplies.”
4:20 Now unto God and our Father to glory for
ever and ever. Amen. Salute every saint in Christ Jesus.
“Give them all my love; and tell them
how grateful I am to them.”
The religion of Christ is full of
courtesy, and it is full of generous thoughtfulness. I do not think that he
can be a Christian who has no knowledge nor care about his fellow
4:21 The brethren which are with me greet you.
They saw that he was writing a letter,
and they therefore said, “Send our love to the Philippians.”
Philippians 4:22 The brethren which are with me greet you.
All the saint salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar’s household.
Exposed to the greatest perils, and
yet brave to confess Christ. They may have been nothing but poor
kitchen-maids, or they may have been among the Praetorian guards who watched
and guarded the palace and the prisoners, but they must have their title set
down in the letter, “chiefly they that are of Caesar’s household.”
Only think of saints in the household of
Nero, saints in the service of such a demon as he was, and saints who were
first in every good thing: “Chiefly they that are of Caesar’s household.”
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
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