Friday, May 07, 2021

2021.05.07 Hopewell @Home ▫ Philippians 2:19–24

Read Philippians 2:19–24

Questions from the Scripture text: How does the apostle describe his hope to act (Philippians 2:19)? What does he hope to do? When? To gain what benefit? How? What doesn’t he have, apart from Timothy (Philippians 2:20)? In what aspect? What do all do instead (Philippians 2:21)? Rather than what? But what do the Philippians know about Timothy’s character (Philippians 2:22)? In what manner had he served, with whom, in what, to prove his character? When does Paul hope to send him (Philippians 2:23)? As soon as what? How, again, does he express his hope/plan in Philippians 2:24 (cf. Philippians 2:19)? What is he hoping/planning this time?

Often, we borrow our way of talking about our hoped-for plans from James 4:15, “Lord-willing” (or deo volente/d.v.). The apostle here gives us a beautiful alternative for the same doctrine, but with emphasis on the hope that we have in Him. Both about his plan to send Timothy to them, and about his hope to come to them himself, he says, “I trust in the Lord Jesus to/that…” 

But it must not just be a manner of speaking. How many good, biblical ways of speech are neutralized in their effect for us by unthinkingness in our repetition of them! We see that this trusting in the Lord Jesus for Timothy meant that instead of seeking his own, he would seek the things which are of Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:21). 

It will do no good to trust the Lord Jesus for the accomplishing of our own will. If it is He Whom we are trusting, it must be for what He wills that we do this trusting. And what is it that Jesus cares about? Timothy’s sincerely caring for their state in Philippians 2:20 is set in direct parallel to his seeking the things which are of Christ Jesus in Philippians 2:21

Christ’s thoughts are ever and always bent upon the good of His church, so the thoughts of those who trust in Him and who are being made like Him will be ever and always bent upon the good of His church. We may not think of ourselves as selfish, but this is the judgment that this Scripture makes of us, when we do not sincerely care for the state (especially spiritual) of believers: “all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus.”

So, Timothy sincerely cares for their state. And he learned this like a son apprenticing under his daddy, which the Philippians themselves had observed (Philippians 2:22). And the fatherly apostle himself hopes to make the same journey out of the same care.

I wonder what those who have seen our interaction with the church would say we have proven about our character. Our attendance. Our giving. Our effort. Our seriousness. Our sacrifice. Our praying. Our tears. Our joys. Do they clearly testify, “Sincere care for the state of the church”? For here, the Holy Spirit says that this is what it looks like to “trust in the Lord Jesus” and to “seek not our own but the things which are of Christ Jesus.”

What are some examples of how trusting in the Lord Jesus is reflected by prioritizing the same things as Jesus in your life? What does your “proven character” say about whether your agenda is set by self or by Christ?

Suggested songs: ARP197 “Christian Unity” or TPH405 “I Love Thy Kingdom, Lord” 

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