In His Letter to the Philippians (continued)
Triumph In Paul's Ministry (continued)
God can get a lot by putting aside our cherished plans, and upsetting everything for us. - But we continue. Paul came to Philippi. And the devil knew that he had come, and got to work and said, in effect, 'Not if I can prevent it, Paul! I will make this place too hot for you to stay here!" And he got to work, and before long Paul with his companions were found in the inner dungeon of the prison, their feet made fast, chains upon them, bleeding from the lashing that they had received. Well, this does not seem to say much for Divine guidance! Where is the victory in this? But wait. The very jailer and his household were saved that night. They came to the Lord and were baptized. And when, years afterwards, in this other prison in Rome, Paul wrote this letter to the saints he had left in Philippi, he put in a phrase like this: "my brethren beloved and longed for" (Phil. 4:1). I like to think that the jailer and his family were included in this. "Brethren beloved and longed for". And in the same letter he says: "i would have you know, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the progress of the gospel" (1:12). It is a picture of triumph, is it not? - the triumph in his life and in his ministry.
Triumph In Paul's Sufferings
And he triumphed in his sufferings. He says something about his sufferings in this very letter, the sufferings which were upon him as he wrote; but it is all in a note and spirit of real triumph. He says: "As always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether by life, or by death" (1:20). No ting of despair about that, is there? 'Even now, as it has always been, Christ must be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death.' That is triumph. Yes, that is triumph, that is joy.
But more, he said, 'Christ manifested in my bonds'. A wonderful thing, this! Brought to Rome, chained to a Roman guardian soldier, never allowed more than a certain measure of liberty - and yet you cannot silence this man! He has got something that 'will out' all the time, and he says it has gone throughout the whole Praetorian guard (1:13). If you knew something about the Praetorian guard, you would say, "That is triumph!" In the very headquarters of Caesar, and a Caesar such as he was, the gospel is triumphant. It is being spoken about throughout the whole Praetorian guard! Yes, there is triumph in his sufferings, in his bonds, in his afflictions. This is not just words. It is a glorious triumph; and this is the gospel in action, the gospel in expression.
(continued with # 29)