Relationships To Christ As Found In The Book Of Philippians
The book of Philippians pictures Paul and Timothy in a servant relationship with God. It is easy to see that Paul loved the Philippian brethren and that they loved him. These good brethren had often supported Paul in his ministry. He said, “For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity.” (Philippians 4:16) They stood with him through imprisonment and other difficulties. Like all other books in our Bible, the book of Philippians is inspired by God. It is the 50th book in our Bible or the 11th book in the New Testament. In these four brief chapters Paul described our relationship to Christ and to our fellow Christians. In this short epistle Paul urged unity, humility and charity. He also warned against false teachers. Our relationship to Christ can be seen as we summarize the four chapters in the book of Philippians in 20 words or less. Philippians 1: Paul was thankful for the Philippian Christians. “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Philippians 2: Christ humbled Himself and died on the cross. Have the mind of Christ as you work out your own salvation. Philippians 3: Have no confidence in the flesh. Forget the past and press on toward heaven. Philippians 4: Rejoice in the Lord always. Think right thought. My God will supply all your needs through Jesus Christ.
In every word in the book of Philippians, Paul is pointing us to Jesus and to the value of the right relationship with Him. In Philippians 1, Paul saw Christ as the total of his life. He said, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21) In Philippians 2, Paul saw Jesus as the model of humility and right-thinking. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:5) In Philippians 3, Paul saw Jesus as the one who could change our vile, earthly bodies into a glorious body like His. “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.” (Philippians 3:21) In Philippians 4, Paul saw Jesus as the source of every good thing in his life. “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19) A careful study of the book of Philippians will teach us the relationship to Christ that God intends us to maintain while we live here on earth.
Our relationship with Christ will cause us to produce the fruit of righteousness. In Philippians 1:11 we read, “Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.” As Christians, we must walk worthy of the Lord. Our goal should be to please Him by being fruitful in every good work. (Colossians 1:10) Our relationship with God produces good fruit and this brings glory to God. Isaiah wrote, “To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.” (Isaiah 61:3) The ultimate end of the righteous life of a saint is the glory of God. Christians must be holy; they must live for God; they must love Him and seek His glory.
Our relationship with God can exist only when Christ is Lord. Paul wrote, “And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:11) God highly exalted Jesus and gave him a name that is above every name. (Philippians 2:9) The name that God gave Jesus had to do with “His rank” as God among us. This name pointed to His dignity, His majesty and His authority. In our search for the right relationship with God there must be an open confession of His Lordship. Every tongue must confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Our relationship with God also involves worship. “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth.” (Philippians 2:10) Our faith in the Lordship of Jesus leads us to whole or complete obedience as we live the Christian life. Not only must the name of Jesus be lifted up above all other names, but His right to reign must be recognized by everyone who would have a right relationship with God. Our relationship with God is marked by a spirit of Divine Exaltation.
Our relationship with God means that we have been found in Christ; it means that we know Him and it means that we are blessed through Him. Those found in Christ experience a complete change in motives, attitudes and of life goals. Our aim should be to feel the power of the resurrected life of Jesus in our life. This would cause us to want to be “found in Him.” Paul wrote, “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.” (Philippians 3:9) To be found in Christ we must accept His righteousness. Our relationship with Christ is dependent upon our knowing Him. “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.” (Philippians 3:10) Knowing God and knowing His Son Jesus means far more than just knowing about God and knowing about Jesus. The essence of eternal life is to “Know God.” “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3) The servants of God who know and love Him are blessed through Jesus. “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19) The blessings of God are open to those who love God, serve Him faithfully and love their fellow men. God is able to supply all our needs, both in temporal things and the spiritual things. He gives to us “According to His riches in glory” by or through Christ Jesus.
The source of our strength for daily Christian living is God. He gives us His blessings through Jesus Christ. As we learn His teachings and follow His example we are blessed beyond words. As we faithfully walk with God we become “Strong in the Lord and in the power of his might.” Paul wrote, “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.” (Philippians 3:8) Will you accept God's wonderful good news that Jesus died for your sins? Will you be baptized into Christ to put on Christ so that your sins can be forgiven by His blood? (Galatians 3:26-27) The grace of God and His great gift to us demands our cheerful and loving surrender to Him. “A man cannot make other things his "gain" or chief confidence, and at the same time "gain Christ." He who loses all things, and even himself, on account of Christ, gains Christ: Christ is His, and He is Christ's.”
By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, 306 Walnut Street, Greenville, Alabama 36037