Lately the 5am Bible reading group of brethren in Christ have been praying for spiritual breakthrough. They asked the Lord to further open the eyes of their spirit, to know God and Jesus in the Spirit. Having been led through the key chapters on the Holy Spirit in the gospels, Acts, Romans 8, 1 Corinthians 2 and 2 Corinthians 3, having prayed and read in depth and in meditation of Ephesians 1-3, they were led to read Philippians.
The Epistle to the Philippians is a very different kind of letter from the rest. Paul wrote with tenderness, warmth, and affection. He presented an informal and intimate diary of his own spiritual experience, revealing that Christ is his sum and substance of life. To know Christ was his highest aspiration and goal. He revealed that he was still working at attaining the utmost goal of gaining Christ, the power of God!
Why are we urged now to read this book? The revelations from key verses received by the group are excerpted as follows. Do join us, brethren in Christ round the globe!
__________________the key word is Christ. Be in Christ. Christ is the power of God. The upward race for us is on all the time and completes only when Christ Jesus returns just as He has promised.
A bit of background observation:
- Paul was a mature Christian leader (an Apostle) when he wrote this letter. He had personally encountered Jesus the risen Christ. He received and was filled with the Holy Spirit when Ananias laid hand on him at conversion. After his conversion to Christ the had been raised to heaven and knew that heaven is real! He spent three years in the desert alone with Christ and received all his revelations first hand from the Lord.
- When he wrote this epistle he was in prison. However, his letters were circulated among churches as instructed and preserved till today. He has remained credible and accepted as inspired by the Lord (Holy Spirit) in all his epistles which are included as the Bible.
- His letters were read by many Christians then who knew of his plight. They would not have accepted and preserved these documents if they had not also witnessed the power he had walked in and the reality of God in his life. Observations and revelations from the verses: Philippians 3, and other epistles of Paul.
Paul declared that he was still pressing on to attain Christ, to know Him and His power. The power of His resurrection.
The same power is prayed for in Paul’s prayers for the Ephesians Christians. Take note that he used the word ‘Christ’ prominently (as compared to the word ‘Jesus’). Christ is the resurrected and risen Jesus. The Son of God who had defeated the power of death and sin and now sits at the right hand of God in heaven.
Paul continued to press on to attain this ‘Christ the power of God’. Why? He had already experienced Christ’s power (in the Holy Spirit). He had described many types of trials and challenges he went through successfully. He remained undaunted and alive! Even the physical environments and oppressions had not deterred him from completing his assignments from God. He walked so close with the Lord in the Holy Spirit that he knew when he would be released from prison. Even the other apostles and disciples knew and acknowledged his credibility as an apostle of Jesus Christ. Reading all his letters we could see how much he had known about and indeed already experienced in the Lord. All the other Christians who were living at that time knew too.
But Paul pressed on, because he knew he was not already perfected. He knew because he was joined to the Lord and was one spirit with the Lord (1 Corinthians 6:17).
12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,
19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,
Ephesians 3:16, 19-20 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,
Paul spoke of this same power in the resurrected Christ in many other verses:
Romans 1:4 and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.
Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.
1 Corinthians 1:17-18 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect. 18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
1 Corinthians 1:24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
1 Corinthians 2:2 For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
1 Corinthians 2:4-5 And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
1 Corinthians 4:20 For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power.
2 Corinthians 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.
Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
Galatians 6:14 But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
Ephesians 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
Colossians 1:11 strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy;
Colossians 1:29 To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.