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Paul’s Circumstances: Perspective, Joy, and Mission in Life (Philippians 1:12-18a)—Part I

The Subject/Complement and Exegetical Outline

Before we can state the subject/complement we need to explain the division of 1:12-26. You will recall, in the exposition of 1:12-26, that we split it up into two separate lessons, i.e., 1:12-18a and 1:18b-26. The outline we gave you in each of these lessons, however, included both sections. It went as follows:

    A. Paul’s Circumstances (1:12-18a)

      1. The Advancement of the Gospel through Preaching (1:12-14)

        a. General Statement about Paul’s Circumstances (1:12)

        b. The Whole Imperial Guard Knows (1:13)

        c. Other Brothers Speak the Word (1:14)

      2. The Motivations for Preaching (1:15-18a)

        a. General Statement about Preaching (1:15)

        b. Preaching from Right Motives (1:16)

        c. Preaching from Wrong Motives (1:17)

        d. The Result: Christ is Preached! (1:18a)

    B. Paul’s Attitude of Rejoicing (1:18b-26)

      1. In Light of His Expectations (18b-21)

        a. To Be Vindicated (1:18b-19)

        b. To Exalt Christ (1:20-21)

      2. In Light of His Future (1:22-26)

        a. Regarding Productive Ministry (1:22-23)

        b. Regarding Ministry to the Philippians (1:24-26)

We will need to prepare two separate lessons from this material. Therefore, we will take the first section (i.e., everything under section A.) and prepare an exegetical outline from it as follows (We will prepare an outline for the second section in the next lesson.):

      A. The Advancement of the Gospel through Preaching (1:12-14)

        1. General Statement about Paul’s Circumstances (1:12)

        2. The Whole Imperial Guard Knows (1:13)

        3. Other Brothers Speak the Word (1:14)

      B. The Motivations for Preaching (1:15-18a)

        1. General Statement about Preaching (1:15)

        2. Preaching from Right Motives (1:16)

        3. Preaching from Wrong Motives (1:17)

        4. The Result: Christ is Preached! (1:18a)

Subject/Complement: The way Paul responded when he was imprisoned for the sake of the gospel was to rejoice that the gospel was being preached, both by those who did it sincerely and by those who did it for selfish reasons.

The Teaching/Preaching Outline

Underlying Question: How did Paul respond to the adverse conditions of his imprisonment and the preaching of the gospel?

Underlying Homiletical Question: How should we respond when things do not go well.

Homiletical Subject/Complement (Big Idea): When things do not go well, look for God’s hand in your circumstances and rejoice whenever Christ is exalted!

    A. Look for God’s Hand in Your Circumstances (1:12-14)

      1. God’s Hand and the Measuring Rod of the Gospel (1:12)

      The point here is that by relating our lives to the advance of the gospel we can see God’s hand. The “gospel” here refers to the preaching of the message among the unsaved as well as the living of it among the saved. God works in both situations in light of the advance of the gospel—either the salvation of those who are not yet part of his family, or the sanctification of those who are.

      2. See Your Circumstances as an Opportunity for the Advance of the Gospel Among the Unsaved (1:13)

      3. See Your Circumstances as an Opportunity for the Advance of the Gospel Among the Saved (1:14)

    B. Rejoice Whenever Christ Is Exalted (1:15-18a)

      1. Recognize That There Are Two Kinds of People in Your Life (1:15-17)

        a. Introduction (1:15)

        a. Those Who Are For You and the Gospel (1:16)

        b. Those Who Oppose You and the Gospel (1:17)

      2. Rejoice Whenever Christ Is Exalted (1:18a)

We could also take this outline and develop it along three major divisions, each one beginning with an “R.” We might title the lesson something like: “When things go ‘south,’ remember the “Three R’s.”

    A. Recognize God’s Hand in Your Circumstances (1:12-14)

      1. God’s Hand and the Measuring Rod of the Gospel (1:12)

      2. See Your Circumstances as Opportunity for the Gospel Among the Unsaved (1:13)

      3. See Your Circumstances as Opportunity for the Gospel Among the Saved (1:14)

    B. Realize That There Are Two Kinds of People in Your Life (1:15-17)

      1. Introduction (1:15)

      2. Those Who Are For You and the Gospel (1:16)

      3. Those Who Oppose You and the Gospel (1:17)

    C. Rejoice Whenever Christ Is Exalted (1:18a)

Related Topics: Teaching the Bible, Suffering, Trials, Persecution