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Summary: It is because Paul knows that his friends are united with him in the great work of advancing the cause of Christ in the world that he can greet even the prospect of death with undaunted joy.

Date: 9/18/18

Lesson #15

Title: Consider Paul's Imprisonment as a Reason to Rejoice

Scripture: (Philippians 2:17-18, NIV)

(17) But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. (18)So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.

Introduction

Though he faces the real possibility of eminent martyrdom, Paul humbly compares death with a drink-offering that is poured out as the accompanying libation{1] to the sacrificial libation of the Philippians’ faith, which is proved to be genuine by their own willingness to suffer for the gospel (1:29-30).

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(Philippians 1:29-30) 29 For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, 30 since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have”

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It is because Paul knows that his friends are united with him in the great work of advancing the cause of Christ in the world that he can greet even the prospect of death with undaunted joy. So from his grim prison in Rome he rejoices with them all, and bids them also to rejoice with him. Paul here piles up the terms to express his joy under the most adverse circumstances, because he clearly expects his fellow-suffers at Philippi to meet their trials in the same spirit.

Paul’s joy was real, as it was an expression of his great love for Jesus Christ, and it came from a submissive mind. But we do not have to wait for the return of Christ to start experiencing the joy of the submissive mind. “Sacrifice and service” are marks of the submissive mind (2:7-8, 21-22, 30), and the submissive mind experiences joy even in the midst of suffering. That Joy is a present reality, and it comes through “sacrifice and service.” It is remarkable tome that in two verses that discuss sacrifice, Paul uses the words “glad (joy) and rejoice”?and repeats them! Most people would associate sorrow with suffering, but Paul sees “suffering and sacrifice” as doorways to a deeper joy in Christ.

Lesson #15

(2:17) But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you.

The standard which the apostle is holding up before the Philippian church is one which he himself is willing to apply to his own life. If anyone had a right to complain, it was Paul, who had already spent years in prison as a direct result of his faithfulness to the Lord. Here however, he is stating his own point of view: he is willing to die if necessary to accomplish his mission. He writes, “But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith{3], I am glad and rejoice with all of you.” Paul informed the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 11:23-29 of those things he had suffered for Christ and them.

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(2 Corinthians 11:23-29) 23 Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again.24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. 27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28 Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?

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The Drink offering

The “drink offering” is one of the earliest offerings in the Old Testament. When we go back to Genesis 35:14, we find that Jacob set up a pillar at Bethel? “Jacob set up a stone pillar to mark the place where God had spoken to him. Then he poured wine over it as an offering to God and anointed the pillar with olive oil.” Then in the books of Leviticus and Numbers the sacrifices are described. We learn that there was a drink offering which was to be added to the burnt offering and the meal offering. It was never added to the sin offering or the trespass offering. It was a most unusual offering in that it had nothing to do with redemption; it had nothing to do with the person of Christ. They would bring in a skin of wine and just pour it on the sacrifice which was being consumed by fire. What happened to it? It would go up in steam and just disappear.

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