Dependence And The Father’s Business

By Klaas Rot

“And He withdrew Himself, and was about in the desert places and praying.” — Luke 5:16 JND

Prayer in the life of the Lord Jesus here on earth shows us His perfect dependence on the One who had sent Him to accomplish the work of salvation. Right from His childhood it was His desire to be occupied with His Father’s business. The Lord Jesus demonstrated what true dependence is throughout His whole life. He willingly emptied Himself and took a bondman’s form. Yes, the Lord Jesus appeared in this world which is full of corruption and selfishness as the Girded One (Jn. 13:4); He came to serve.

Sometimes people in need sought His service, as we read in Luke 5:12: “And it came to pass as He was in one of the cities, that behold, there was a man full of leprosy, and seeing Jesus, falling upon his face, he besought Him saying, Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou are able to cleanse me.” The man full of leprosy sought out the Lord to cleanse him from this terrible disease. In grace, the Lord exercised His authority over sin and said, “I will; be thou cleansed” (v.13). Of course our blessed Lord was God manifested in flesh (1 Tim. 3:16), yet how beautiful it is to see this same One as a servant exercising His divine power by being dependent on the Father.

Immediately after this incident the Lord withdrew and was in the desert alone to pray. He felt the need after service to be alone with His Father in communion. Often we are fervent in prayer prior to a particular service we are called to perform for the Lord, but true dependence commits our service into the hands of God after it is done as well.

Soon after this the Lord Jesus was occupied with teaching, and the Lord’s power was there to heal them. This is a practical lesson for us. All our service must flow from hearts dependent on Him. Without Him we can do nothing. Let us take an example from the prayer life of the Lord Jesus as He lived and served on earth.


By Leslie M. Grant

“Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ.” — Philippians 3:8 NKJV

Philippians, meaning “lovers of horses” or “of the race,” is a pastoral epistle which is encouraging and refreshing. The assembly, devoted in affection for Paul since being converted through his labors 11 years before, was afflicted by poverty.

The letter presents true Christian experience as a racecourse leading on to the glory of God. Paul is the example of this experience; and though he was in prison, the vibrant yet peaceful joy of the apostle permeates the whole book. The secret is simply that Christ was everything to him:

  • In chapter 1, Christ was his Motivation in life;
  • In chapter 2, Christ was his Example;
  • In chapter 3, Christ was his Object;
  • In chapter 4, Christ was his Strength.

Chapter 2 contains a magnificent declaration of the greatness of the willing humiliation of the Lord Jesus, from the place of highest glory to that of deepest suffering and the death of the cross. This is then followed by God’s blessed answer in exalting Him as Man to the place of highest preeminence (vv.5-11). Such a person engaged the affections and admiration of the apostle Paul. Therefore Paul not only bore patiently with every unpleasant adversity, but he also rejoiced in seeing in each of these an occasion of fuller blessing and greater glory to the Lord Jesus.

This grand triumph of faith makes the book of sweetest value in encouraging similar faith in our own souls.

PHILIPPIANS: Christ For The Christian

By David Anderson

The Lord Jesus Christ totally filled Paul’s life to the exclusion of everything else (Phil. 1:21). The Epistle to the Philippians, shows he was occupied with Christ and “the things which are of Christ Jesus” (2:21 NKJV). The apostle encouraged the church in Philippi: “Brethren, join in following my example, and … so walk, as you have [me] for a pattern” (3:17). He desired that we believers be heavenly-minded because the Christian’s citizenship is in heaven, and from there we eagerly wait for the Savior (vv.20-21). Paul wanted these believers and us to live the Christian life as he did.

The apostle wrote this letter as a bondslave of Christ Jesus, addressing his letter “to all the saints … in Philippi” (1:1) – none was excluded. Therefore any believer who adopts the same mature attitude as Paul (consider 3:15-17) can experience Christ in full throughout his or her life. With this in view, I will consider Philippians using the title “Christ For The Christian” in three ways.

1. The Christian And Christ
In each chapter Paul stated what “Christ for the Christian” means in practice:

  • “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (1:21).
  • “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (2:5).
  • “I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me … I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (3:12,14).
  • “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (4:13).

Paul used one word, “Christ,” to describe his reason for living, “For to me to live Christ” (literally, 1:21). He desired that Christ would be magnified in his body, whether it was by the way he lived or died for his Lord (1:20). He wanted that ultimate experience of Christ, which involved a complete denial of himself and a thorough knowledge of Him throughout his entire life, and even through death and resurrection (3:7-12). Christ magnified was Paul’s motive for living. Christ was his object and aim in all, whether in life or death. In Him he discovered the model of self-effacement – the perfect example of humility – and he desired to have that same mind (2:5). Christ was the mark toward which he constantly reached throughout his life on earth (3:14). He saw Christ to be his ultimate prize in heaven. But Christ was also the secret of his inner strength for serving Him (4:13), the might for every step he took on his journey heavenward.

2. The Christian And Christian Fellowship
Paul experienced real Christian fellowship with the Philippian church. He called them “my beloved” (2:12, 4:1). The apostle held them in his heart (1:3,7), for he was fully aware that God was at work in their lives (1:6, 2:13). They were his “joy and crown” (4:1) in the coming “day of Christ” (1:10, 2:16). Therefore he prayed that they would abound in love, which increased by spiritual knowledge and discernment – so they would appreciate and approve the excellent things of Christianity (1:9-10). He was confident that his God would supply all their “need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (4:19).

3. The Christian And The Gospel
The Person Of The Gospel. Philippians 1:12-18 shows how important the gospel1 and its propagation, or spreading from person to person, were to Paul. Proclaiming Christ was central to Paul’s life as a Christian. In essence the gospel is the person who is preached – it is “the gospel of Christ” (1:27). The gospel continues to be the primary means by which the Lord Jesus is made known throughout the world (2:9-10; consider Ps. 135:13). Whenever anyone accepts Him as Savior and Lord, Christ is exalted and God the Father receives glory (Phil. 2:11).

The Word Of The Gospel. As “lights in the world” believers must “hold forth the word of life” (2:16 JND) and boldly and courageously speak “the word of God” (1:14). The word of the gospel is God’s message to “a crooked and perverse generation” (2:15 NKJV). It has both content and substance (1 Cor. 15:1-4), and it is elsewhere described as “the message [word, esv] of the cross” about “Christ crucified” (1:18,23). The word of the gospel is used by God to convert people to Christ (1 Pet. 1:23,25).

The Beginning Of The Gospel. The message of salvation through Christ alone was preached by the apostles in the initial days of Christianity, which Paul called “the beginning of the gospel” (Phil. 4:15). In Acts there is a full record of those early days,2 including those before Paul’s missionary activities. Some of the means by which we present the gospel today may have changed, but it is essential for us to remain faithful and continue to present the plain facts of the message from the Word of God. Just as in the beginning, today’s Christians are sent by God to preach the word of Christ, so people will hear about Him and by faith obey the word (Rom. 10:14-17).

The Faith Of The Gospel. In Philippians 1:27 the substance of the gospel is called “the faith of the gospel,” that is the whole truth of the gospel as revealed in the doctrines of the New Testament letters, such as Romans. Nowadays we would describe the complete truth of Christianity as “the faith,” of which “the faith of the gospel” is an essential and foundational part.

The Furtherance Of The Gospel. The work of God has advanced since those first days (see Acts 1:8, 6:7, 12:24, 19:20), the Lord Jesus having commissioned “the furtherance of the gospel” (Phil. 1:12). Starting at Jerusalem, there was a striking forward into Judea and Samaria before the gospel spread throughout the whole habitable world to the farthest away place (Acts 1:8; Col. 1:6,23).

Fellowship In The Gospel. Paul especially appreciated the Philippians’ “fellowship in the gospel” (1:5) – their partnership in his evangelistic work. They were joint-workers with him by prayer (vv.5,19) and practical support in sending financial help and gifts (4:14-18). In Philippians 1:7, Paul stated three ways in which they had joint participation with him in the gospel:

  • In his imprisonment for the gospel. They had not abandoned him to his incarceration in Rome but remained true to their Lord and continued to pray for Paul (1:19). It was as though they were there in prison with him (consider Phile. 13; Heb. 13:3).
  • In the defense of the gospel. Like Paul, who always stood for and fought for the gospel, they remained loyal defenders of the faith despite opposition and persecution. Perhaps they had learned how to defend the faith from Paul’s conduct when he first brought the gospel to them (Acts 16).
  • In the confirmation of the gospel. He particularly remembered those who had physically stood alongside him and actually strove with him in his labors. One of them is addressed as “true companion” (4:3) or “true yokefellow” (KJV), that is, “loyal Synzygus; Greek the yoke-fellow” (ESV footnote). W. E. Vine stated that this was most probably his name,3 and therefore so aptly described their joint effort in gospel work. Paul knew the reality of Christ in his own life, but he remembered that all these Philippians also gave confirmation and testimony to the saving power of Christ. He urged the Philippians to continue to stand firm with singleness of mind because this too was a powerful witness to the continuing effectiveness of the gospel (1:27).

The Service And Servants Of The Gospel. Paul especially valued the fellowship of his son in the faith, Timothy, who was an apprentice to him from the middle of his second missionary journey (Acts 16:3). By the time Paul wrote to the Philippians, Timothy was of proven worth, “he served with [Paul] in the gospel” (Phil. 2:22 ESV). He and the others named in Philippians 4:2-3 not only had been Paul’s trusted co-workers, they also had personally enslaved (Greek for “served”) themselves to the work of the gospel. This suggests that they were subject to their Master’s will and that they applied themselves to the task of spreading the gospel.

Our Lives And The Gospel. Paul’s exhortation, “Let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ” (1:27), is very challenging! Philippi was a Roman colony and thus these believers would readily understand Paul’s exhortation that they should live as citizens of heaven. Also, “worthy” means that the totality of my life must “balance” with the gospel! This is the practical meaning of “the defense and confirmation of the gospel” (1:7). First we need to know the person of the gospel – the Lord Jesus Christ – and understand the faith of the gospel. Currently much is made of training in evangelism, but we can study the beginning and furtherance of the gospel in our Bibles and thereby be equipped servants of the gospel. We can join in fellowship in the gospel with like-minded believers and work together with them in the task of spreading it either by prayer or by giving practical support and help. “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest” (Lk. 10:2 NKJV).

1. “Gospel” occurs in 1:5,7,12,14,17,27, 2:22, 4:3,15.
2. However, it also includes the Gospels – see Heb. 2:3; Acts 10:36.
3. Greek name Synzygus, Yoke-Fellow, W. E. Vine, Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words.


By Alfred Bouter

This wonderful epistle, or letter, is linked to several people in Philippi, a city in Macedonia just north of Greece. These individuals had identified with the gospel of God’s grace, had accepted it and become true Christians.

The first was Lydia, a merchant of purple who had come from the city of Thyatira, in present day Turkey. Then a former Roman army officer, in charge of the local jail, believed. Both of them had a number of servants in their households who also became believers (Acts 16:13-15,23-34). Soon these new believers had others added to them, several of whom may have come to know the Lord through Paul’s coworker, Luke, who stayed in the area after Paul, Timothy and Silas traveled on to Thessalonica (16:10,40, 17:1).

It seems that Luke must have helped these believers to function as an assembly, with elders, or overseers, and deacons (Phil. 1:1). From then on, the believers in Philippi supported Paul with great zeal (Phil. 1:5-7, 4:15-16; 2 Cor. 8:1-6), and they continued to do so while he was in Rome as a “prisoner of Christ Jesus” and “the prisoner of the Lord” (Eph. 3:1, 4:1 NKJV). The financial support they had sent to Paul in Rome and the way it was sent, through the care of Epaphroditus1 (Phil. 2:25-30, 4:18), was evidence that God not only had begun a work in them, but He continued it. Paul wrote: “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (1:6). The apostle was sure that God would continue the work He had started and would bring it to completion, as will be demonstrated in the day of Christ’s public appearance.

During the day of grace in which we live, we may apply the same point to believers who have started to follow the Lord Jesus in this world where He is still despised and rejected. Also today, His disciples are subjected to all kinds of hardships, rejection and persecution, yet they faithfully follow Him.

A Few Ways To Summarize Philippians

Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4
How To Live For Christ Like Christ To Christ By Christ
Related To Our Goal Our Attitude Our Objective Our Enablement
Christ Is Our Life Our Model Our Object Our Strength
Our Mind Single Submissive Spiritual Energetic
Main Feature Committed Devoted Focused Satisfied
Key Activity Go Out Go Down Go Up Go On

The Message And The Author
Paul started many of his epistles by presenting himself as an apostle of God, sent by Christ Jesus who is in heaven. His title of apostle emphasized the authority God had given him with regard to the new revelations and doctrines that he was called to make known. The teachings were opposed and rejected by many – and even corrupted as far as man’s efforts may go. In Philippians, however, Paul introduced himself together with Timothy as bondmen (slaves) of Jesus Christ. This was in the first place, I believe, because this remarkable epistle presents the Lord Jesus Christ as God’s Bondservant (2:7).

The servant character Paul took when writing Philippians is contrasted by his authority, which he emphasized in other letters. For example, Paul used it to support the authenticity in Ephesians of the new revelations (Eph. 3:1-4:2) and in Galatians as to the gospel message. In Romans, God’s new message was fully expounded by His apostle, Paul, to whom He had given such authority. This authority that Paul received was given to no one else on earth, ever.

Several Themes
One of the themes in Philippians is that the believers “down here” are to represent the Lord Jesus in heaven, “up there.” In fact, our citizenship is in heaven (Phil. 3:20-21), and we may represent Him in this world, here and now. Soon we will reign with Him, but that time has not yet come.

Just as the city of Philippi was built as a miniature Rome to represent the Roman capital as closely as possible, so the believers on earth are Christ’s ambassadors to represent Him in heaven. What a privilege and challenge at the same time! Therefore Paul prayed for the progress of the new believers (1:9-11), a prayer that demands much attention for further practice and growth.

Another prominent topic in Philippians is the issue of the human mind, in this case our mind as Christians, meaning what we think and the way we do so as we follow Christ in true humility. The ten references about the mind2 highlight our responsibility as Christians, since the number ten is associated to human duty and obedience. Even though we are not under the Mosaic law, we are under the law of Christ (Gal. 6:2), and we belong to a new order, to serve and represent Christ and to honor God in this world that dishonors both.

Sacrifices Of Joy
“Sacrifices Of Joy” is the title of Bible studies on this epistle in a book written by a former missionary to China, G. Christopher Willis. He worked there sometime after Hudson Taylor (1832-1905) and partly during the days of Watchman Nee (1903-1972), a well-known Chinese evangelist and teacher who suffered much for the Master.

The concept of sacrifices highlights the tremendous price paid by faithful Christians, serving and representing Him with much joy despite trials. How important it is for Christians to be full of joy as the apostle himself was, even in very difficult circumstances. Paul explained that his captivity was used by God to further the cause of the gospel and promote the interests of his Master (Phil. 1:15-20). He had a great desire that Christ would be magnified (compare Jn. 3:30) – so others might see more of Him as through a magnifying glass. In other words, Paul wished that his Master would be seen greater and more wonderful through his own body in which he endured sufferings, to show more of Christ through the process of his sufferings, whether in this life or in death (Phil. 1:20). The Lord Jesus on earth is the great example for all believers (2:5), but He is now in heaven and sustains us through His Spirit and Word to be His followers as well as followers of Paul (3:17; 1 Cor. 11:1).

God’s purpose for every believer from the moment there is any evidence of a true conversion is that he or she may live with this joy. Not a man-made, forced, imitated, feel-good or hyped-up joy, but a true joy3 given by God’s Spirit (Gal. 5:22) and in tune with the wisdom from above (Jas. 3:17). Paul is an example of a true overcomer who kept going against all odds. Even though living under tremendous burdens, he was not discouraged or depressed. Rather, he was riding as it were on top of the waves of the tempest, carried and directed by the Lord Himself. This servant had learned to be content and to rely on God in all things (Phil. 4:11-13) a real example for all believers.

The Greatness Of Christ’s Person
Philippians presents our Lord Jesus Christ as God’s true Bondservant. Adam should have been God’s servant, but he failed miserably, and consequently the whole human race failed (Rom. 5:12-21). However, in the fullness of time God sent His Son (Gal. 4:4), the Lord Jesus Christ, to earth and to His people to accomplish God’s will (Jn. 4:34; Heb. 10:5-10). God had prepared Him a body for His coming (Ps. 40:5-8), and in it He the Creator and Sustainer of this vast universe was trained by God to be the true Disciple (Isa. 50:3-5). Then, as the true Israelite Bondman (Ex. 21:6) He became obedient to death, the death of the cross (Phil. 2:6-8). We may discern seven steps in His humiliation (vv.6-8), followed by seven steps of His exaltation (vv.9-10).

Christians are identified with the Lord Jesus, the great Overcomer (Jn. 16:33) now at God’s right hand, and thereby we are greatly privileged. The immensity of our privileges brings great responsibilities (read Phil. 1:27-30, 2:2-5). Without God’s help we cannot do anything (2:12-13), but with it we may represent Christ here on earth! For this we need seven qualities (2:14-16): doing all things (1) without grumbling or (2) disputing, as (3) blameless and (4) innocent (5) children of God, (6) without blemish, (7) shining as lights in the world. All this is implied in Christ’s magnificent example as our supreme Model.

Philippians 2 also shows three wonderful examples of Christians: Paul (vv.17-18), Timothy (vv.19-24) and Epaphroditus – the man who had brought the special gift from Philippi to Rome (vv.25-30). We can follow these examples with the help of our glorified Lord and of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us. It is not possible through human efforts, law-keeping, self-improvement or religion. On the contrary, “we are the circumcision” (3:3), meaning that we are here on earth before God in a position where the flesh, even the religious flesh, has been completely set aside. Only thus will we be able to worship in the power of the Holy Spirit and boast, or glory, in our Lord Jesus Christ, without any confidence in the flesh. Paul’s own example illustrated this in a marvelous way, and it is a challenge to all believers to “be thus minded” (v.15).

Sustained By God
The enemy is dead-set against the true Christian position just described, which is not a religious one according to man’s thinking. Instead it is truly spiritual, in total dependence on the Lord in glory and practiced with the help of the Holy Spirit. In the assembly in Philippi, the adversary was trying to use disagreements between two devoted sisters in Christ who had been close co-workers of Paul to sow discord among the believers (4:2-3). Thus, they were in great danger of losing the enjoyment of the beautiful relationship that characterized these young believers.

In this context the apostle gave godly counsel which is still valid and useful for all believers. It tells us to rejoice in the Lord always, to be in His presence and to rely on Him in everything. The purpose of these instructions is that we can be a blessing for those around (4:4-7) as we allow Christ to fill us with His peace. Paul also indicated how to achieve and keep such a good relationship, namely by keeping our mind filled with the eight things4 mentioned in verse 8 and by following Paul’s example (v.9). May we be doing so today!

1. Paul called him a “brother,” “fellow-worker” and “fellow-soldier,” and described the extraordinary commitment of this brother toward the apostle in Rome and the believers at Philippi, through serious illness and healing (Phil. 2:25-30, 4:18).
2. The Greek verb phroneo (“to think,” “to mind”) is found 10 times: Phil. 1:7; 2:2 (twice),5, 3:15 (twice),19; 4:2,10 (twice).
3. The nouns “joy,” “thanksgiving” and “grace,” as well as the verbs “to rejoice,” “give thanks,” “grant,” “bestow” and “be glad” are all from the same Greek root: 23 references in Philippians: 1:2-4 (3 times),7,18 (twice),25,29; 2:2,9,17-18 (four times),28-29 (twice); 3:1; 4:1,4 (twice),6,10,23.
4. The number eight represents a new order. The Lord desires us to be filled with the things linked with Him – true, noble, just, pure, amiable, good report, virtue, praise – while we are in an environment where He is still rejected.

The Father’s Love, Displayed By Jesus

By Jacob Redekop

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life.” —1 John 1:1 NKJV

The apostle John was amazed at the thought of the Father’s love being so great, and he stopped to consider it carefully. To do so, his senses were involved: First, the ears for hearing; second, the eyes for seeing; and third, the hands for touching. John’s conclusion was that truly this Man is unique!

As the apostle began this opening verse of 1 John, he first mentioned that “which we have heard.” The disciples actually heard the Man speaking and realized He was no ordinary Man. They listened intently and then passed on to us what they had heard. The multitude “marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth” (Lk. 4:22). “They were astonished at His teaching, for His word was with authority” (v.32). On another occasion officers sent to take Jesus said, “No man ever spoke like this Man!” (Jn. 7:46). To the disciples, Jesus said, “The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life” (6:63). That is to say, His words produced a spiritual and life-giving effect in those who heard. This can be said of no one else.

The apostle then continued to speak of that “which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon.” Here the apostle would have us look and contemplate. This is not just a casual glance, but to take time and reflect on the One on whom our eyes are fixed, even Jesus. In Luke 5 we see the Man who can forgive sins, and the large crowd witnessing this reasoned, “Who can forgive sins but God alone” (v.21). The multitude that heard Jesus speak and saw what He did were amazed and said, “We have seen strange things today!” (v.26).

The Samaritan woman after her encounter with Jesus at the well of Sychar went to the men of her city and said, “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” (Jn. 4:29). Jesus was more than a Jew, more than a prophet; He was indeed the Christ, the Son of the living God. He opened her heart and revealed to her the Father, who is seeking worshipers to worship in spirit and truth.

Is this not the voice for us today? We are wonderfully privileged to focus our eyes, our spiritual vision, on Jesus. “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels … crowned with glory and honor” (Heb. 2:9). “But we all, looking on the glory of the Lord, with unveiled face, are transformed according to the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Lord the Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:18 JND). We know who He is, Son of God and Son of Man – the One who loves us and came down from heaven to save us and to reveal the Father’s love.

Back to our verse in 1 John, we then read “our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life.” After His resurrection, the Lord Jesus said to His disciples, “Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see” (Lk. 24:39 NKJV). The word “handle” means to feel or touch, and the meaning is the same in this passage as in our verse.

In Luke 5:12-14 we see Jesus in a city where a man full of leprosy saw Him and said, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” Jesus responded. He put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed,” and “immediately the leprosy left him.” In Luke 8:43-48 we find a woman with a flow of blood for twelve years who came and touched the hem of Jesus’ garment. When Jesus said, “Who touched Me?”, the woman came forward, trembling, and declared that immediately upon touching Him, she was healed. Jesus’ answer to her is remarkably beautiful: “Daughter, be of good cheer; your faith has made you well. Go in peace.”

We have traced a little of the life of the Lord Jesus and found that He was available to all who were in distress. He was able and willing to reach out with acts of kindness and words of comfort. May all who read this find comfort and strength by “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” (Heb. 12:2). Praise His name!

So Much To Take In

By Paul Alberts

We all likely have certain verses or passages that we hold dear. For me, I find many of those jewels in Philippians, giving me much encouragement. God, by the Holy Spirit, directed men to write His thoughts (1 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:21) with an application to us, even though the true interpretation of a particular passage may be about others, such as the nation of Israel. However, God never changes; His love for us is constant. Therefore, treasured words from Him are to be found in every book of the Bible.

Early in Philippians, a letter written to the believers in Philippi, we find Paul telling about his remembrance of and praying for the believers there. Can we not take this to a more personal level between God and us? I am thankful to God for His remembrance of me, and for you too (Phil. 1:3). What about the Lord’s praying for His own – for us – as He did in John 17, like the apostle did for the saints in Philippi with joy (v.4)? Does that not encourage your heart? Will not “He who has begun a good work in you … complete it” (v.6 NKJV)? We could certainly go through Paul’s letter verse by verse and find a great many other precious truths. In doing so, we would see that they all are centered on the Lord Himself. He loves us, cares for us and died for us. The Lord now lives exalted in heaven. Oh, the riches of God’s grace toward us!

Philippians 4:8 gives us descriptions of things on which to meditate: things that “are true … noble … just … pure … lovely … of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy.” These words describe our Lord Jesus Christ! Let us not simply think of Him from time to time, but let us actually pause for a time and consider Him. He is altogether lovely (Song 5:16), and through Him the “peace of God … guards [our] hearts and minds” (Phil. 4:7) despite the turmoil of our world.

There is so much to enjoy in this short book – so much to take in. Slowly and carefully read the four chapters of Philippians for yourself and delight yourself in the Lord Jesus Christ.

A New Life – Is It Possible?

By M. John

So many people are living as slaves to evil vices and addictions like alcohol, drugs, sexual immorality and gambling. Because of this, many families are suffering.

Young people are often introduced to sinful habits as “fun,” and little by little they become addicted to these dreadful activities. They forget their moral values and bring shame to themselves, their families and loved ones. Some turn into ruthless criminals, ruining their own future prospects for a meaningful life. They become a menace to society!

These poor, unfortunate souls – victims of addiction, whether intentionally or by accident – do not know the way out. They cannot escape this slavery. They live in utter darkness. They often lose their health to incurable diseases until death overtakes them. The Bible says, “The wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23 NKJV).

Dear friends, only a few years ago I was traveling down that same dreadful road. I was an alcoholic, drug addict, adulterer and chain smoker. I made the lives of my wife and children a hell on earth.

One day I came home completely drunk. Not knowing what I was doing, I threw kerosene on my wife and children, intending to burn them alive. Instead, I headed to some railroad tracks nearby to end my life. I laid my head on the track and fell asleep.

A train was coming toward me, but a red signal caused it to stop. Railroad workers pulled me off the track. By the time I came to my senses, the police had arrived. They gave me a severe warning and sent me home.

In a later incident I drank a bottle of brandy, then I broke the bottle and tried to stab myself to death. I attempted suicide many times, but thank God I did not succeed.

Then My Life Was Transformed
A wonderful thing happened. My wife and children accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and constantly prayed for my salvation. Because of their prayers and tears, I finally repented of my sins and accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior. He took me off the road to destruction and put me on the road to eternal life. What a transformation!

Like me, you too can be set free from all your bad habits and vices so that you can enjoy the peace and joy of Jesus, the Savior of sinners. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and invite Him into your heart, then you too will be saved from the slavery of sin and eternal death. God’s desire is for you to be saved from the penalty of sin and be accepted as one of His children.

The Lord Jesus Christ “gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father” (Gal. 1:4). “The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23). “Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you” (Isa. 60:1). We can tell you more.



I have been tremendously blessed with every new issue of Grace & Truth! I love everything about the magazine as it has helped me to learn and understand God’s glorious Word. – USA

May the Almighty God bless you abundantly. The Grace & Truth is maintaining the flavor of godliness which has vanished from most of our churches during the past decade. It is food to my soul. – Nigeria

I wish to continue to receive Grace & Truth Magazine because it seems every month’s edition is written specifically for me. It has really edified my soul. – Nigeria

Your July / August 2017 issue was right on target with this current “last days” culture, especially your You Asked article. The deception seems to be like that of Matthew 7:13-28. However, your work is that of Romans 10:13-17, and our prayers are with you in this noble work of His love (1 Cor. 15:57-58). – USA

Both Confession And Repentance Are Required

Both Confession And Repentance Are Required For Restoration –
Saul And David Contrasted

By Alan H. Crosby

Saul And David Were Not Alike
King Saul can be likened to a person who is religious and works for the Lord reluctantly – he hid himself among the baggage to avoid receiving his assignment (See 1 Sam. 10:20-24). Ultimately his life was so marred by serious sin that the Lord said, “I regret that I have made Saul king, for he … has not performed My commandments” (15:11 ESV). In his example we see confession but no apparent repentance.

In contrast, the youth David volunteered by faith to go and fight the Philistine of whom “Saul and all Israel … were dismayed and greatly afraid” (17:11). David prevailed over the enemy and “the men of Israel and Judah … pursued the Philistines” in a great victory (vv.51-53). God spoke of David as “a man after My own heart, who will do all My will” (Acts 13:22), and this even after his great sin in the Bathsheba matter (2 Sam. 11) and his other failures. In David’s case there was both confession and repentance with its accompanying restoration.

Let us consider Saul first and then David.

The history of Saul teaches us to do the Lord’s work at His time and in His way. Saul waited for a year before he finally began to exercise his kingship and then waited two more years before beginning the LORD’s work against the Philistines (1 Sam 13:1-6). After their initial defeat, the Philistines mustered a formidable force (v.5). Knowing this, out of fear Saul decided that he should go ahead and offer the burnt offering and the peace offerings instead of waiting for God’s prophet to arrive (vv.8-9).

In so doing he had “not kept the command of the Lord,” and because of this, God “sought out a man after His own heart … to be prince over His people” (vv.13-14) The lesson for us is this: We cannot expect God’s blessing if we undertake His work using our wisdom instead of His!

Nevertheless, Saul remained king and therefore God’s servant. He was commissioned to destroy Amalek because of what they had done to Israel when Israel was coming up from Egypt (15:1-3). However, instead of doing what he was instructed to do, Saul spared Agag, the Amalekite king, and the best of all the animals to “sacrifice to the LORD” (v.21). When confronted, Saul offered excuses (vv.20-22) before he finally confessed. He said, “I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice” (v.24). Notice that there was not even a hint of repentance!

Eventually Saul sunk so low that, when fearful of the Philistines, he inquired of the LORD and “the LORD did not answer him either by dreams or by Urim, or by prophets” (28:5-6). In desperation Saul went to a medium and said, “Divine up for me a spirit and bring up for me whomever I shall name to you … Bring up Samuel for me” (vv.8-11). When she divined for him, Samuel told Saul that he and his sons would die in the battle the next day. As Samuel had indicated, the Philistines struck down the sons of Saul and wounded their father so severely that he chose to kill himself (31:2-6).

David And His Anointing
Having rejected Saul, the Lord sent Samuel to anoint one of Jesse’s eight sons as king. David was the LORD’s first choice, not Samuel’s: “The LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORDlooks upon the heart” (16:7). One application of this is that the responsible brothers of an assembly should depend on the leading of the Lord rather than their personal opinion when commending a person for a role in a work for Him.

God’s Wisdom In Choosing David
We see this in the matter of the challenge of Israel by the giant Goliath, the champion of the Philistines. “All the men of Israel … were much afraid” of him (17:24). However, by faith David could say to Goliath, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts … This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down, and cut off your head” (vv.45-46). “David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him,” then he drew out Goliath’s sword and “cut off his head with it” (vv.50-51). Would to God we all had such faith – it would enable us to do great things for the Lord and His people!

Saul’s Jealousy
David did not occupy the throne immediately. Saul “set him over the men of war” (18:5) and “David was successful wherever Saul sent him” (v.5). Therefore Saul became jealous of him and became “David’s enemy continually” (v.29).

David’s Faith Wavers
From 1 Samuel 18 through chapter 24 we see Saul’s repeated attempts to kill David or to have him killed, and we see David’s efforts to escape by running away. Saul’s harassment of David finally led David to say “in his heart, ‘Now I shall perish one day by the hand of Saul. There is nothing better for me than I should escape to the land of the Philistines. Then Saul will despair of seeking me within the borders of Israel, and I shall escape out of his hand’” (27:1).

David had two opportunities to kill Saul during his time of running away from him, but he resisted the temptation knowing that it was not the LORD’s will for him to kill Saul since he was the LORD’s anointed king. Saul was touched by David’s kindness and confessed his sin saying, “I have sinned … Behold, I have acted foolishly, and have made a great mistake” (26:21). There was confession on Saul’s part, but no repentance!

David Repents
While David and his men were out raiding for the king of the Philistines, the Amalekites made a raid against Ziklag, the city the king had given to David. The Amalekites took material spoil along with captives – David’s two wives along with the wives, sons and daughters of David’s men. It is apparent that at this point David had confessed his sin in allying himself with the enemy and had repented of it, for we are told that he “strengthened himself in the Lord” and “inquired of the Lord” (30:6-7). This was quite a change from deciding in his heart that there was nothing better for him than serving Achish, the Philistine king!

David Anointed King Over All Israel
Following the LORD’s directions, David and his men “recovered all that the Amalekites had taken” (v.18). Meanwhile, the Israelites were engaged in the battle with the Philistines, as Samuel had prophesied (28:19) when Saul and his sons were killed.

The throne was now empty, and after a “long war between the house of Saul and the house of David” (2 Sam. 3:1-3) won by David’s house, “all of the elders … anointed David king over Israel” (5:3). He had previously “reigned over Judah seven years and six months” (v.5).

Satan Sets A Trap
“The LORD gave victory to David wherever he went” (8:1-14); then came a time of testing. Times of success can be dangerous for the man or woman of God as these are often when God allows Satan to test us.

We are especially vulnerable when we are not where we are supposed to be and are not doing what we ought to be doing. We see that with David, as he “sent Joab and his servants with him, and all Israel [to battle] but [he] remained at Jerusalem” (11:1). David was on the roof of his house when he saw “a woman bathing and the woman was very beautiful” (v.2). She was the wife of Uriah, one of the officers of the David’s army.

The Trap Springs
“David sent messengers and took her, and she came to him, and he lay with her” (v.4). She became pregnant (v.5).

We see here a fulfillment of James’ description of how Satan’s temptations work: “Each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin” (Jas. 1:14-15). David was indeed lured by his own desire; he became an adulterer and then tried to cover it up. When his schemes did not work, he became a murderer by proxy, for he told Joab to “set Uriah in the forefront of the hardest fighting … that he may be struck down, and die” (2 Sam. 11:15). It worked! Uriah died and “David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife” (v.27). Of course “the thing that David had done displeased the LORD” (v.27).

David’s Confession And Repentance
God sent the prophet Nathan to confront David. With an inspired parable, Nathan succeeded in getting David to see his sin, and David confessed it saying, “I have sinned against the LORD” (12:13). In Psalm 51, which deals with this sin, David prayed, “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation” (v.12), and then he proposed to do works “in keeping with repentance” (see Lk. 3:8). David said that he would teach transgressors God’s ways, sing aloud of God’s righteousness, and offer to God a broken spirit and a contrite heart (Ps. 51:13-14,17).

God Provides Us A Path To Restoration
God knows that we do so easily fall into transgression. He counsels us saying, “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy” (Prov. 28:13). Forsaking the transgressions implies repenting. David did this and was restored, but Saul did not. God’s path requires not only confession to obtain forgiveness, but also repentance!

May we learn from these two examples.