Jack Carroll - Phillippi, Philippians 1 - Silverdale, B.C. Canada - 1956

I would like to read over to you this morning the first six verses of Philippians1. This letter to the Philippians has been a favorite of mine for many years. I have spoken from it no doubt to many of you more than once, but it means more to me today than ever. I have been enjoying the Gospel in the epistles, and the epistles in the gospels. There is no conflict between what we read in the epistles and in the gospels. The epistle of Galatians speaks of the indwelling of Christ; Ephesians, the unsearchable riches of Christ; Collossians is the gospel of the all-sufficiency of Christ; Philippians, the gospel of the manifestation of Christ.

This letter was a great help to me when I was a young convert. I had said in my heart one night in the closing moments of a meeting, "It is Christ for me tonight, and it is Christ for me forever." But the weeks that followed were weeks of great conflict, filled with doubts and fears. Some of my friends had given me a few weeks, a few months, and the devil was telling me, "You will never make it." One night I went to a meeting and heard the verses read which I have just read to you now. The speaker paused for a moment, and then he said that this letter was written ten years after these men and women of Philippi had decided for Christ, and that the grace of Christ had kept them during those ten long years. When I left the meeting that night, I was saying in my heart, "If God by His grace kept those men and women of Philippi in the Way of Life, He will keep me. I will trust and not be afraid." I can never forget the joy that welled up in my heart when I crossed that first ten-year mark. Then twice ten passed, three times, five times ten, and if I live just a little longer, I will be able to say, "By the grace of God, He has kept me in the Way of Life for six times ten years. I will continue to trust and not be afraid!"

Paul wrote to those men and women of Philippi and said, "I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, for your fellowship in the Gospel from the first day until now." This letter was a great help to me when I was a young worker. If ever a young worker went out filled with doubts and fears, I believe that is the worker speaking to you this morning. It was exceedingly difficult for me to believe that all the Lord was to Peter, James, and John away back at the beginning, He was willing to be to those who dared in this day to follow in their footsteps. So I was particularly glad that Paul associated Timothy with him in this letter, and I made the life of Timothy a special study. I studied his home life, and became acquainted with his mother and grandmother, his conversion, the conditions under which he went forth, and later those wonderful letters that were addressed to him by his father in the gospel. He became to me in those days the ideal of what a young worker should be. If in any measure I could play the same part in the Kingdom and Family of God that this young man played, I care for nothing else. One of the outstanding marks in this man's life was his willingness to go anywhere with anybody at any time. It was this Spirit of willingness that was the foundation of all that we love and value in this our day. I would suggest to the young workers in this meeting this morning if they have not already done so, to make a special study of this man's life.

This letter is a great help to me today as an older servant of God. I think I am getting to understand the writer of this letter just a little better as I grow older. I can understand a little better his headaches, his heartaches, and his tears. During those years he spent in Rome as a prisoner, we don't find any suggestion of complaining or mourning. He made the very best out of his circumstances there. This morning I want to call your attention to just a few verses in this letter that stand out to me -- verses in which Paul refers to Christ. Christ was to him everything. His life was filled with Christ, his gospel was filled with Christ, his letters were filled with Christ; so when we come to this letter, we find that it was filled with Christ. Verse 20: "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." The ruling purpose and passion of this man’s life was that Christ might be magnified, might be made easily seen, that Christ might be magnified in his body whether by his life or by his death. I have been greatly impressed, and I hope to some extent, influenced by the thought that the world's great need is to see Christ. The Christian's greatest responsibility is to give the world an opportunity to see Christ. Remember those Greeks of old who came up to the temple to worship, and after going to the temple court and were disappointed over and over, again, came to Philip and said to him: "Sir, we would see Jesus." I believe this morning there is in many hearts the world over, this self-same cry. They are tired of synagogues, temples, and preachers, and deep down in their hearts there is one great cry. "Oh, if I could only see Jesus." I am reminded again of the words written by Governor Long of Massachusetts:

“I would dear Jesus, I could break
The hedge which creeds, and hearsay make,
And like Thy first disciples be
In person led and taught by Thee.
 
”I read Thy word so pure and sweet,
I seek the footprints of Thy feet,
But men so mystify the trace,
I long to see Thee face to face.”

I believe that throughout the world today, in spite of the seeming indifference, there are those in whose hearts there is that same cry of need.

The question is sometimes asked, "What is Christianity anyhow?" Is it a belief, a creed, a system of religion, a church or a denomination, or a society of men and women held together by man-made rules and regulations? Christianity, first and last, is a life, and that is the life of Christ lived over again in Christians. No matter what men and women profess, in or out of the Way, there is no more true Christianity in the world this morning than there is of the life of Christ reproduced in the mortal lives of those who profess and call themselves Christians. Paul said, "That Christ might be made easy to see in my body." What have we been given our bodies for? What use can we make of them? There is an inscription on the wall of the Congressional Library in Washington, D. C. which says, “The only temple in the universe today is the body of man.”  I read that, and I was startled because it was such a surprise to find these words written on the wall of that great building. This isn't a quotation from the Bible, but it is Scriptural nevertheless, and eternally true, and I am speaking to a group of men and woman this morning who were created for one purpose and one only: that someday, somewhere of their own free voluntary will, Christ will be given the right to live, to rule, to reign in and over their mortal bodies.

We sometimes sing those lines, "Live out Thy life within me, Oh Jesus, King of Kings, Be Thou Thyself the answer, To all my questionings." Do we really grasp the meaning of these words, and are we really willing for Christ to set up His rule in our hearts and reign over our lives? If we could ask Paul, "What is Christianity anyhow?" he would give this same answer:  "It is Christ living over again in Christians. Christ in you, Christ in me. If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His. Examine yourselves whether ye be in the faith. Prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you. except ye be reprobates?" (2 Corinthians 13:5)  Paul summed up the gospel which he preached in Galatians 2:20. I used to wonder years ago what was the gospel that Paul preached, because I felt I want to preach that gospel, and I was a little surprised to discover that in this verse he summarized it. He boiled it down to one wonderful statement that every child of God in this meeting should memorize. There are five things that it teaches:

l) The love of Christ for sinful men.
2) The atoning death of Christ for the sins of men.
3) The indwelling of Christ to enable sinful men to live a Christian life.
4) A changed life.
5) A complete break with the past crucified with Christ.

He wanted Christ to be manifested in his body. The body is something that we can see, but he wanted people to see more than that -- he wanted them to see Christ in that body that the rule and reign of Christ was in evidence. 2 Corinthians 4:6-7. We have this treasure, this Christ, this wondrous light of the life of Christ, in earthen vessels. Verse 10, "Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body." What is our greatest responsibility? We feel how far short we have come, nevertheless the responsibility rests upon us, that through these bodies of ours, Christ might be magnified. "Can the world see Jesus in you, can the world see Jesus in me?" If only as the result of this convention we could scatter and have more deeply formed in our minds and hearts the purpose: "I want to so walk and so order my home life, my business life, my social life, I want my whole life to give evidence that Christ rules and reigns." Then you won't want to preach that negative gospel of telling people what you don't believe. You will tell people what you do believe, and what you are really manifesting in your own life, and that the change that has been brought about in your life has been through the indwelling of Christ in your heart and life.

There was a wonderful love relationship established between Paul and Timothy and these Philippian Christians. He loved them and they loved him. They proved that love in many different ways. Today it is a very wonderful thing to see the love that exists between the children of God and the servants of God. No child of God can be very healthy who does not have a deep love for the bondservants and handmaidens of God. (Philippians 1:27-30)  The people of God have always had adversaries, and don’t be alarmed when these adversaries make light of you, and make it hard for you, because it has been true all down through the ages that the people of God have had to face and overcome these adversaries. Hold your ground, don't give in, don't give up, keep on fighting. Napoleon said in connection with the battle of Waterloo: "The English were defeated three times at Waterloo, but didn't know it - they just kept on fighting." Someone else said, "There are brave men in every nation, but these English were brave ten minutes longer." It is that ten minutes longer that really counts. Paul was anxious that the people of God would be characterized by that same spirit. When pressure is brought to bear upon you, hold your ground, be steadfast, and live in hearty fellowship with your brethren, striving together for the faith of the gospel. Verse 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.”

Philippians 2:4-5. "Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, that was also in Christ Jesus.” I can't help but I connect these two verses together. The root of all human sin is selfishness. "Me," "My,"  "Mine," and that little ugly pronoun with the others "I." Our own thoughts, our own interest. A priest once said that after 40 years of hearing confessions, not a single person had ever admitted the sin of selfishness, and yet selfishness is the one outstanding characteristic of all human nature. One day Abraham Lincoln was out walking with his two boys. They were crying and someone came along and said, "Mr. Lincoln, what's wrong with the boys?" "Oh," he said, "The same thing that's wrong with everyone else - I have three walnuts and they each want two!”
 
I Philippians 3:7, Paul's testimony: "What things were gain to me, those I counted loss I for Christ." Some feel they would like to be a Christian, but it costs too much. He didn't hide from us the fact that it is a costly thing to be a Christian. The gate is strait and the way is narrow, and the men and women who enter in by that gate and walk in that Way have got to face up what it really means. You remember the man who when he received the invitation to the feast said, "I have bought a piece of ground." Another said, "I have bought five yoke of I oxen," another said. "I have married a wife."  Three things that in every age have kept men and women outside the Kingdom: your possessions, your business, your relatives. Unless men and women are prepared to put their business, their relatives, and their possessions in the second place, they never can enjoy fellowship in the Kingdom of God.

Jesus said, "If thine eye offend thee, pluck it out." He just meant anything in your life that is keeping you outside the Kingdom of God, as dear as your right eye, it is better to cut it off, give it up, and enter into the Kingdom of God. It was a costly choice for Moses to make. He could have been heir to the throne of Egypt, reigned over the greatest empire of that day. He refused. He could say "No" to what the world, flesh and devil offered him, in order to have a place in the Kingdom of God. The choice that Ruth made was a costly one. Naomi said, "I have nothing to offer you, no material gain." The purpose and desire of Ruth's heart was what she expressed when she said, "Thy people shall be my people and thy God shall be my God." That choice was forever. Thank God for the Ruths in our fellowship today! May our choice be forever. May our purpose be like Paul's of old - that "Christ shall be magnified in my body whether it be by life or by death."