2/19/16 Prayer and Supply

Thursday, February 18, 2016


Phil 1:19-20

Morning Meditation 2/19/16

Paul is in prison. The Philippians were probably not too surprised at this. Since, the Church in Philippi was born, at least partly, out of Paul’s and Silas’ jail house experience. Paul is writing words of comfort from his imprisonment to those outside. He is also an incurable optimist. You know that an optimist is don’t you. It is the man who falls from a twenty story building and is heard to say when he passes the second floor, “I’ve made it all right so far!”

Paul says in verses 19-20: “For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, 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.”

We will not be able to cover all these verses. As you know I’m as slow as a tortoise. The words “For I know” (eido) comes from a word that means “to perceive with the eyes, to experience any state or condition.”This word would be used more of an eye witness that another Greek word that is used also for “know” (ginosko). All doubt is removed in Paul’s use of this word. It is a perfect active indicative verb. The perfect tense is completed action in the past, that completed action having present results. Paul had acquired this assurance in the past with the result that he could now write and announce that I will be delivered from this present situation.” He says, “For I know that this shall turn to my salvation.” The words “shall turn” (apobaino) mean “to turn out, result, to be the outcome.” The words “to my salvation” is a case where salvation is not talking about the salvation of the soul. Paul is speaking of his deliverance from prison. Paul so walked with God he knew things were going to happen before they happened. I’m probably better off not to know. But Paul was willing to die as much as he was willing to live. When it is like that, it makes no difference if you are in prison or out. With Paul’s attitude toward the sovereign purpose of God in everything, he never questioned whether prison was the will of God. He is like the guy who fell down the stairs, got up and brushed himself off and said, “I’m glad that is over!”

The words “through your prayer” are one of two reasons Paul credits for his future salvation. Does prayer do any good? Absolutely. Sovereignty does not remove responsibility and the effects of prayer. The early Church prayed Peter out of prison. I’m sure that the prayers of the people of God keep missionaries on the field alive. These people agonized in prayer to God on the behalf of Paul. God heard their prayer. One could say “what if.” That is here we get into trouble. It is not a matter of what if. We are examining the facts. Prayer, in Paul’s case, is going to affect the thinking of the heathen so that they are going to rule in his favor. He will be set free. It is amazing what God can do in behalf of His children and never violate the will of the individual. Amen!!

The words “And the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ” are the second reason that Paul gives for his future deliverance. The word “supply” (epichoregia) means “a supplying” and is not a reference to more of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the Divine Paraclete. He represents Christ’s presence with us. He is an invisible Guest (Person). He supplies us with whatever we need. The Holy Spirit comforts, He teaches, He gives wisdom, He reveals the future (He did to Paul), and may have worked in the court system of that day to show Paul favor. What the Holy Spirit supplied along with the prayers of the saints is responsible for Paul’s release.

The words “According to my earnest expectation and hope” show that Paul never lost faith through discouragement. The words “earnest expectation” (apokaradokia) mean “anxious and persistent expectation.” Can you imagine some of the prisoners along with Paul chiding him because of the optimism he had concerning his release? “Paul, you might as well settle down. You are never going to get out of here. They have forgotten your case. They have thrown away the key.” Paul says, “You don’t know. I’ve got people praying for me. The Holy Spirit is with me and is working for my deliverance.” “Yeah Paul, I hear you. You might as well give up. You are dreaming.”

Is God still in the business of doing this today? God still works mighty deliverances. He still answers the prayers of His people. The Holy Spirit is still the Comforter. And as the Comforter He is the Supplier. We are not orphans. We need to act more like pilgrims with a heavenly connection. The people of this world need to have more than a message that there is a God and that He gave His Son to die for us on the cross. I’m not minimizing the importance of that message. They need to see Him operating in our lives. And He needs to so operate that it cannot be explained away with human rationalism. Can you imagine human rationalism trying to explain what happened to the maniac of Gadara or the healing of the ten lepers? Or, the turning of the water into wine or Jesus walking on the water or the feeding of the five thousand?

May the Lord help me to get on my knees and trust Him for great things. I need to be supplied by His Spirit. May the Lord bless this to our hearts.

In Christ

Earl White

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