Scripture Reference: Romans 13:1-7
Last Sunday, the issue of wearing masks, or not, was raised during the worship service and I have no doubt that all of us who were there, were given cause for serious thought on the issue, especially as it relates to our walk with the Lord and where we stand as a Church on the issue.
In Romans 13, Paul gives us strong and very clear instruction on how Christians should behave towards the governing authorities and so I think we should take note of a few points from what he wrote. It will also help our discussion if we check out the context in which Paul wrote these verses.
At the time, Rome was the dominant power in the world and they pretty much did as they wished, especially in their rule over the nations which they conquered. They raised onerous and patently unfair taxes and interfered grossly in the lives of individuals. We know that many in Israel thought that Jesus the Messiah had come to deliver them from this oppression. The disciples initially thought that Jesus was going to be a political deliverer, the common people who came into contact with him and saw the miracles that He performed, in the main, thought the same, and the leaders in Israel were absolutely not prepared to entertain anything other, than that Jesus must be for them a political deliverer, or nothing.
WHAT DID JESUS SAY?
It was in this context of living in an environment of being dominated by a governing authority that did not care about what is right and just for its conquered subjects, that the Pharisees tried to catch Jesus out. In Matthew 22:15 – 21 we read:
“Then the Pharisees went and plotted how to entangle Him in His words. And they sent their disciples to Him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are true and teach the way of God truthfully, and you do not care about anyone’s opinion, for you are not swayed by appearances. Tell us, then, what do you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin for the tax.” And they brought Him a denarius. And Jesus said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
So here its clear; no matter whether the requirements of the governing authority are unfair and unjust, Jesus expressly instructed the Jewish leaders to be in compliance with their laws and decrees.
WHAT DID PAUL SAY?
It is no different in Romans 13, in which Paul wrote the instruction under the inspiration of the Spirit of God, that we are:
1. To be subject to the governing authority;
2. The governing authority has been instituted by God;
3. Whoever resists the authorities, resists what God has appointed;
4. We are therefore to be in subjection to them, not only to avoid God’s wrath, but also for the sake of conscience;
5. So pay what is owed to the governing authority: taxes to whom taxes are owed, respect to whom
respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.
What is very clear from the plain teaching of the Scriptures, is that we are to obey the governing
authority, not only when they act with equity and justice, but also when they make laws with which we may not agree, which are onerous and which may be unjust. So there are no exceptions, we are to obey them!
WHAT DID THE OLD TESTAMENT SAY?
The question of course now arises, about when are there grounds for a Christian and the Church to
disobey the laws of a governing authority? The only way to adequately answer this question is to look at a few examples in the Scriptures and to draw a conclusion from these.
The first example comes from Exodus 1: 15 – 17:
“Then the king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, “When you serve as a midwife to the Hebrew women and see them on the birth-stool, if it is a son, you shall kill him, but if it is a daughter, she shall live.” But the midwives feared God and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the male children live.”
The king of Egypt passed an edict which directly contravened God’s law; “You shall not kill.”
The second example comes from Daniel chapter 3 where king Nebuchadnezzar made a golden image which he commanded everyone to fall down and worship and those who did not, would be thrown into a furnace and burnt alive. And we know the story that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego did not bow down to the image and worship it, and so they were sentenced to be thrown into the furnace. They said this to the king (v16 – 18);
“O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
King Nebuchadnezzar passed a decree which was also against the Law Of God, being; “You shall have no other gods before me”, a law which the people of God could not and would not obey.
WHAT DID PETER AND JOHN SAY?
The third example is found in Acts chapter 4 where we have the account of Peter and John being arrested for preaching and teaching the truth about Jesus and as they were doing so they were arrested. After deliberation the authorities said to them (v 17 – 20);
“But in order that it may spread no further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to anyone in this name. So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.”
There are clearly very narrow confines which justify civil disobedience by the Church and by implication individual Christians. From the examples mentioned it is clearly apparent that only laws passed which require disobeying God’s moral law, or those which preclude Christians from preaching and teaching the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, including the gathering together of God’s people to worship him, are justifiable grounds for considering civil disobedience.
So where does this leave us with the wearing of masks when we gather together for worship. As many of us as are here this morning, so would there be as many divergent views on whether mask wearing is beneficial or not. One thing I can tell you is that I hate wearing them and look forward to the day when it all becomes a part of history. However, in terms of what we see in the Scriptures; there is no question that, whether we like it or not, we are to obey the governing authority.
If we test this against the examples from the Scriptures which we looked at, the requirement to wear masks in no way is an instruction to disobey the Law of God, nor does it have any implication on the command from the Lord to preach and teach the Gospel.
WHAT DOES VICTORIA PARK BAPTIST SAY?
Where does this leave us in regard to those who, for their own reasons, wish to attend services without wearing a mask? There are a few points to take note of here:
Just one final thing before I close. Should anyone have a matter they wish to raise, such as the one that was raised last Sunday, we would request that you refrain from doing so during a worship service, unannounced, without any prior consultation. There are, we believe, adequate alternative lines of communication at VP Baptist and if a matter that is raised through prior discussion with the pastor and elders warrants public verbalizing, it will be given the audience it deserves.
I would finally ask that the matter of wearing masks, whether you believe we should wear them, or whether you think they have no value, should not be allowed to become a God dishonoring divisive matter, but that we would, in a spirit of true Christian brotherly love, respect the views of each other, as it pertains to this matter.
For more thoughts on this and other related points see this article on the Gospel Coalition:
Many Christians are frantically reading the Scriptures in an attempt to make sense of the immediate circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. May I just share a brief word of caution in this regard.
Firstly, we have to avoid attempting to force our circumstances/ideas onto Scripture. To suggest that Thursday the 26th day of March in the year 2020 (RSA lock-down date) corresponds with Isaiah 26:20 (or visa versa) is extremely dangerous. What about other Books of the Bible with 26 chapters and 20 verses? Take for example 2 Chronicles 26:20 where Uzziah contracted leprosy due to his pride. What of Ezekiel 26:20 where the city of Tyre is prophesied against? There are also many other Books in the Bible with 26 chapters and 20 verses. Friends, we have no license to simply impose our ideas upon God’s Word to suite us. This is distorting the Scriptures.
Secondly, does Isaiah 26:20 only apply to RSA? What about other nations who have been on lock-down before this date & still others who will possibly still go on lock down? Is this then a word just for Christians in RSA? I think not!!
Thirdly, does this text then mean (as implied) that anyone who goes into their homes and closes their doors (in other words, adheres to the lock-down) are assured of being kept safe through the virus? To make this suggestion is to be presumptuous and irresponsible. Furthermore, will it mean equal safety for Christians and non-Christians, etc., etc.?
Friends, we need to recognize that the reference to God’s people in Isaiah 26:20 has a historical context where Israel, God’s OT covenant community were facing the prospect of divine judgment. But while facing this impending judgment God offers hope for the righteous in the future resurrection (vs.19), which is God's great future deliverance.
The verse (Isa.26:20) which reads, "...enter your chambers, and shut your doors," more than likely draws on Genesis 7:1,16 where the Ark's door is closed by the LORD before judgment with the Flood. The other historical allusion from Scripture is Exodus 12:22-23 where Israel had to enter into their homes, with blood from the sacrificial lamb on the door posts & lintels to keep them safe from God’s judgment by the angel of death. Please notice that both of these references point to the provision of God. In the account of the Flood it is the LORD who secures the Ark’s occupants. In the case of the blood on the doorways, it was the LORD Jesus Christ who would be the Lamb that was slain to secure the redeemed through His blood.
For us in the NT context, if we’re in Christ we have an eternal home secure & assured, even if part of His sanctifying work results in us contracting the virus & dying (1 Thess.5:9-10). There is no claim of so called ‘immunity’ simply because a random text taken out of context is applied like a magic wand. Definitely not! “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Php.1:21).
Dear friends, let’s be careful about what we send to others. We are not just communicating random thoughts, but are suggesting that these ideas communicate the true Word of God.
With sincere love in Christ.
Greetings to you all in the wonderful Name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We as the church leadership of VPBC would like to inform you of a decision made at a meeting, called on the 17 March 2020, to consider the announcement by our President on Sunday evening, concerning the state of emergency brought about through the onset of COVID-19.
Although our Sunday Worship Services may generally consist of less than 100 persons, we thought it wise to suspend not only our Sunday service but all formal church meetings until further notice. The need to encourage social distancing at this time is considered critical in an attempt to stem the tide of transmission within communities.
Our decision has not been made lightly but rather prayerfully, and with the primary consideration that every decision must be motivated to bring glory and honour of our LORD (1 Cor.10:31), and so therefore has to be in line with the teaching of Scripture (Psm.119:105).
We therefore include the following imperatives from Scripture:
1. Godly Love: “For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself”” (Rom.13:9).
2. Preservation of life: “Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work?” (Prov.24:11-12).
“But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Tim.5:8).
3. Submission to authorities: “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment” (Rom.13:1-2).
Furthermore, it is critical to consider that we recognise God’s Sovereignty in all that is playing out in the world through this pandemic. Our decision is not made from the perspective of fear, but with the conviction of our absolute hope and trust in Christ our LORD. This Hope supersedes any medical technology, for it springs from our faith in Christ, and from the grace imparted to us through his sacrifice and resurrection. “Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth” (Psm.124:8).
HOW TO DO CHURCH TOGETHER
There are 2 activities we would encourage you to participate in each week.
1. Bible Study - As a scattered community, we will be studying the book of Job together. You can download this Bible Study material by clicking here. Alternatively, a hard copy can be dropped off at your home, on your request. Please be in touch should you prefer this option.
Further online lectures can be found here, should you be interested.
2. Sunday Home Services - Each Sunday, please set aside the time to worship and turn to the Word. We will be sending out sermons that you can listen to or watch at home (should you have internet facilities). We understand that this is not possible for everyone, and so simply reading the Word and singing familiar hymns are equally honoring to God.
Please make use of the daily devotional messages that we will be sending via Whatsapp and sms.
We would love to stay in contact with you. If you have not already received an sms or Whatsapp message, please respond by sending us your cell number. In addition, if you know of someone who would like to stay informed, please pass on their details to us.
In Christ’s service through GRACE
Ps. Deon Lombard and the VPBC Leadership
Reflections on Psalm 42...
“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God” (Psm.42:5; 11; 43:5).
This verse appears three times in Psalm 42-43 and provides us with a key thought when considering that the Psalm is dealing with overwhelming despair in life. Read it again, and read it again, and soon you will hear the intense pleading that is going on within the Psalmist's own heart. He is earnestly calling his soul away from despair and toward the only satisfying hope and salvation.
Let us not forget though, that these words are not only on the Psalmists lips but are etched in Scripture. It has its origin in God, and therefore this “self-talk” is not simply a “pep-talk” exercise, but it may be better considered to be “faith-talk” since it carries a distinctly God-breathed character.
The circumstances are extreme. The circumstances are overwhelming with no apparent end in sight. While we may not know the precise context of his despair, we start to feel less removed when we hear the repeated taunts, “Where is your God?” (vs.3; 10).
Reflections on Psalm 33 - part 2
As an initial reflection on Psalm 33, we noticed how the ‘heart of worship’ has more to do with the object of our worship than the worshipper. However, the Psalm also helps us consider what it would look like if the worshipper were engulfed in such a reasonable act of praise that their entire being was captivated in a heart response to God.
Once again, what a grace, that we are afforded the use of beautiful instruments to enjoy our worship of God. The Psalm speaks of instruments of praise that include the use of both voice and musical instrument. As to the manner of praise, the Psalmist identifies the need for a “new song” which essentially means freshness in praise as opposed to a new lyric. We must be clear that this has more to do with understanding in praise, intentional intelligible worship, rather than modernity. The worshipper needs to utilise their gifts or abilities as well as their daily renewed minds to praise with passion and exuberance. These components together suggest that worship involves the worshippers whole being, mind, heart and abilities. By extension, worshipping with one’s whole being anticipates what the Psalm further proves, that God is God and worthy of absolute praise.
This may pose to be rather difficult. How do we command our entire being to worship God? Perhaps you have experienced this sense of inauthenticity in praise. You might command your mind to concentrate on the Lord and who he is, but how are we to discipline our hearts to not wander? How do we train our souls to rejoice in all sincerity when we are at our lowest? Let us be clear, the Psalmist is not suggesting that we have some overwhelming emotional display, nor is he telling us to ‘fake’ it.
Reflections on Psalm 33 - part one
The message of Psalm 33 could simply be summarised as the “heart of worship”. A term that many of us may be familiar with, but what is the heart of worship exactly? We could impart any number of sensational definitions based on our own ‘hearts’, but this is not referring to our heart, this is referring to the heart of worship. This heart, as we see in Psalm 33, is one that displays worship as a faith response directed toward God based on who he is and what He has done. This is rather enlightening, since it helps us see that worship is not motivated by the way we feel (our emotional state of being) but about the right response to the absolute majesty of our God.
Consider the opening stanza. The Psalmist doesn’t wait for some pivotal emotive moment but simply says that praise to God is the most fitting and beautiful thing to do. Just as every key is made to fit a particular lock, with its shape and edges corresponding with the locks inner mechanism, so joyful praise fits perfectly as the most appropriate response to the wonder of God; it is the fitting response to who God is and what He has done.
Of course, as we see and understand who God is we may become overwhelmed with emotion and thanks. After recognising who the LORD is and what He has done the entire being of the worshipper should be engulfed in praise. But the motivation is not emotion.
Reflections on Philippians 4:10-19
Contentment simply means “the state of being happy or satisfied” (Webster’s dictionary). However, the question that immediately comes to mind is; “Can one be consistently satisfied or content?” Possibly the simplest analogy in an attempt to understand contentment comes from the daily communal cycle of enjoying a meal. We all understand the sense of satisfaction after enjoying a favorite dish with no desire to eat any more. However, following a few hours or so we discover the nagging sensation of a “grumbling stomach” and the need to satisfy the hunger with yet another meal. Therefore, our daily life routines have been structured around this cycle of contrasting contentment and discontentment. As we have grown to understand experientially that contentment is temporary we also begin to recognize that, with ever changing circumstances, even our moments of satisfaction are dusted with discontent, knowing that it will not last but we will have to go chasing again.
You may be surprised to know that there is a better kind of contentment; one that the Apostle Paul speaks of as persisting despite changing circumstances. In referring to the very basic physical needs of life he says; “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need” (Php.4:11-12).
Reflections on Philippians 3:12-16
The Rio Olympics is fast approaching. Unfortunately, threats on the 2016 Games due to the potential impact of the Zika virus, militant radicals and the suspension of Russian athletes have dominated recent news headlines. The excitement in the build-up to this global event don’t appear to have grabbed our imagination as they have in past.
However, there is something awe inspiring about the Olympics as athletes compete at the highest level in various events demonstrating their absolute intention to come out on top.
The Bible frequently draws on the analogy of athletes competing in various events. The imagery helps us to relate to the obvious similarities drawn between an athlete participating in an event and a believer participating in the Christian life.
Paul identifies one essential broad characteristic that ought to define a participating athlete. This may be referred to as ‘single-mindedness’ which simply means, ‘having one driving purpose or resolve’ (merriam-webster.com).
Paul puts it like this, “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Php.3:13-14).
The expression, “…one thing I do”, presents us with the single-mindedness that ought to characterise the believer’s life. The question that automatically arises from this statement is; ‘What must I be single-minded about?’ Well, the previous verses shed light on what Paul is meaning. We read, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me” (Php.3:12). Here the goal of the Christian is clearly pursuing perfection or put another way, pursuing Christ-likeness. However, just in case anyone thought that he had already reached perfection he makes it clear that this is not the case. He is participating in this Christian life in a similar manner as a runner participates in a race in order to win the prize. He is still on the track competing and has not yet reached the finish line. There is no doubt that Paul knows Christ. He speaks of Christ Jesus having taken a hold of him. Furthermore, his relational knowledge of Christ is a reality (Php.3:8), so has Christ’s righteousness become his by faith (Php.3:9), his experiential knowledge of the power of Christ’s resurrection (Php.3:9), the companionship of Christ in suffering (Php.3:10) and the anticipation of being glorified with Christ one day (Php.3:11).
But these benefits from being in Christ are not fully expressed through his life in day to day living although he has received them in full.
Therefore, a single-minded pursuit after Christlikeness is essential in the Christian life so that the indwelling Christ may be shown to be Lord of the believer’s life. However, being a “one thing” Christian includes two essential requirements; 1) Forgetting what is behind, and
2) Straining toward what is ahead.
No single-minded runner allows activities behind him to distract him from his objective. As believers we are to deal with our past appropriately so that we do not have any unresolved issues in our rear-view mirror. We are not to become distracted because we have unconfessed sin, resentment and bitterness dogging our every step.
To “forget what is behind” suggests that the past must not have any controlling influence upon our present and future participation in our Christian life. The message is clear, deal with the past and move on.
Every single-minded runner strains toward what is ahead with every fibre of his being. The expressions, “strain toward” and “press on” communicate the ideas of exertion, effort and also intention. This is not a casual sunset walk along the beach with a partner. Rather, this is a teeth gritting strained effort to achieve success at all costs.
As Christ Followers we are called to give everything we have to becoming like Christ as we live here on earth. This was the reason God took a hold of us, He has provided us with Christ’s righteousness and now He is working Christ outward from within us. Paul puts it like this, “For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers” (Rom.8:29).
There is to be a single-minded pursuit after Christlikeness in our lives as believers. We are to be “one thing” Christ Followers. The on-going enabling grace of God to pursue this goal has been provided for us in God’s clear promise; “that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Php.1:6). But we have to “continue to work out [our] your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in [us] you to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Php.2:12-13).
The primary purpose in this Christian life is to bring glory to God by displaying more and more the character of Christ through our lives in the world in which we live. There is no other way, for “All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16Only let us live up to what we have already attained” (Php.3:15-16).
As the athlete leads a disciplined lifestyle so ought we to do the same. Let us give ourselves to a consistent diet of Scripture reading and meditation; prayer and devotion; gospel communication to the lost; dedicated fellowship with other believers and relentless commitment to living out what we believe practically in obedience to God’s Word.
We are called to be “one thing” Christ Followers.
Reflections on Philippians 2:1-4.
Some of us tend to hold onto different items that are especially sentimental to us. These include ornaments, items of clothing, shoes or boots, hats and coats, books or records, tools and even old kitchen appliances that are no longer functional. Whatever the item, hoarders have attached a certain measure of value to them that they alone really appreciate. There is this little club of hoarders, if you like, those who alone understand this mystical currency of clutter that to most appear absolutely useless.
Sadly, many followers of Jesus Christ are hoarders too. Those who attempt to hold onto the benefits they have received by grace from God. These grace benefits include; having received encouragement from being united with Christ; having received Christ’s comfort through His selfless love; having received the fellowship of the Spirit, which is knowing and experiencing a partnership with the Holy Spirit who empowers, provides His gifts and fruit in our lives; and having received God’s mercy and kindness through Jesus Christ His Son (Php.2:1). These benefits are enormous to say the least and have all been provided by Jesus’ life and death on the cross to sufficiently provide for the Christ Follower’s salvation.
But the point is that Christ calls these grace recipients to also be grace dispensers. Paul provides a challenging address to the Christ Followers at Philippi when he says; “…make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose” (Php.2:2).
Yes, this is how it is meant to work. “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Php.2:3-4).
The core remedy for grace hoarding is humility. Humility is definitely not considered to be a contemporary virtue. Instead, assertiveness and aggression are prominent since they seem to provide the way to success and power. What book store has their best-seller stand advertising, “5 Steps to Humility” or “The Dummies Guide to Dying to Self”? I doubt any. However, the Christ-follower’s road is always down, humiliations, no different to the road the Master walked (Php.2:6-8). In fact, the shadow of the Cross of Christ always looms large over the believer’s life. This does not suggest the symbol of the Cross in silver hanging around a person’s neck or the image of the Cross on the wall or mantle-piece.
Rather, the shadow of the Cross of Christ means that there is meant to be a constant reminder and realisation of the moment by moment death sentence to self that looms over the believer’s life. In Jesus’ words; “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Lk.9:23).
Herein lies the remedy to successful relationships; “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus” (Php.2:5). Death to self in Christ remains to be the solution to the struggles surrounding church unity, marriage and gospel devotion. Do not hoard the grace you have received, but in humility, continue to generously give that grace away.
Reflections on Philippians 1:18-26
Society readily acknowledges those individuals who achieve within the social sphere, be it on an academic, business, sporting or cultural level. Just take some time to visit with folk in their homes and experience the sense of pride as they direct you to the mantle-piece lined with awards or the wall-space covered in photographic evidence of children or grand-children receiving accolades. It would be true to say that remarkable achievements have been attained by many through physical prowess or mental acumen, and family or friends spontaneously make much of these achievements. These expressions of praise reveal something of the value or the worth that is afforded those achievements.
In the passage under consideration we discover a very similar practice from Paul the Apostle. He has something to show us of considerable worth but he won’t simply take us to a mantle-piece or wall-space, he will display this remarkable worth through his very life. He writes, “…that with full courage now as always Christ will be honoured in my body, whether by life or by death” (Php.1:20).
The most significant achievement ever attained was that of Christ Jesus who took the sin of the world upon Himself and as a perfect sacrifice paid the penalty by suffering death on the cross. However, He did not remain in the grave He rose on the third day and is now seated at His father’s right hand in heaven. So remarkable is this achievement that Paul’s life charter centres on it. He writes; “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Php.1:21) or literally translated, “to live Christ, to die gain.” Wow! What a statement? What a life charter?
Here we begin to talk about the sufficiency of Christ, the fact that Christ is enough and nothing else is needed. The evidence of this is unquestionable as we consider the transformation that took place in the life of this educated professional assassin Saul, who became Paul the foremost promoter of the message he once tried to silence.
Here we find him concerned about one thing. He puts it like this; “my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honoured in my body, whether by life or by death” (Php.1:20). He is not concerned about what the verdict would be concerning his trial or concerned about his immediate physical needs. In fact he says a little further on,
“I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need” (Php.4:11-12).
He was only concerned about failing to display the surpassing worth or value of Christ.
I fear too many of us place our joy and life's worth on something that can be displayed on a mantle-piece or printed on a certificate. Will your life charter be exposed as the socially acknowledged achievements of academia, business, sport or the arts? Instead, if there is any evidence of the most remarkable achievement of Christ let it be your transformed life. May your life charter be, with Paul, 'to live is Christ, to die is gain' - His glory, my passion!
Ps. Deon Lombard
Being a servant of Jesus makes it a delight to reflect and write about all that God has revealed about Himself in His Word.