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God is My Witness

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God is My Witness - Wednesday, January 30, 2008

"For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus." (Philippians 1:8, ESV)

1.In the Greek the “God is my witness”is literally translated “God is my witness that I tell you the truth.” This expression is used by Paul to convey solemn intense, personal emotion as he does in - Rom 1.9; 2 Cor 1.23; 1 Thes. 2.5, 10.

"For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you"

(Romans 1:9, ESV)

"But I call God to witness against me—it was to spare you that I refrained from coming again to Corinth."

(2 Corinthians 1:23, ESV)

2.Here he calls God as a witness to the truth, because God alone is the Truth, and as a witness of his affection, because He alone is the searcher of hearts. In the word rendered yearn for you all is taken as a token of affection, because we long after those things which are dear to us.

"For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness."

(1 Thessalonians 2:5, ESV)

"You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers."

(1 Thessalonians 2:10, ESV)

3.He appeals to God as the One who knows and who can testify to the truthfulness of his innermost feelings. It may be expressed in some instances as “God knows that what I say is true,” or “…this that I am going to say is true.”

4.The “Affections of Christ Jesus” it literally translated “Comes from the heart of Christ Jesus himself.” This is a Greek prepositional phrase, literally “with the entrails of Christ.” The entrails consist of the heart, liver, and lungs. In biblical times these were collectively regarded as the seat of feelings and affections, the equivalent of “heart” in modern usage.

5.Paul identifies himself so closely with Christ that the deep feeling he has towards his Christian friends appears to be nothing other than the love of Christ himself (“loving you as Christ Jesus loves you”).

6.The Greek word translated to feel (phronein) is used by Paul twenty-three times in this letter. This word means more than simply affection or an emotional reaction; it goes deeper, showing special concern based on others’ best interests. These Philippian believers held a special place in Paul’s heart (1:8; 4:1).

7.As we seen last week, Christian love is “the tie that binds.” Love is the evidence of salvation: "We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers." (1 John 3:14, ESV).

8.Christian love is not something we work up; it is something that God does in us and through us. It was not Paul’s love channeled through Christ; it was Christ’s love channeled through Paul. “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." (Romans 5:5, ESV).

9.How can we tell that we are truly bound in love to other Christians? For one thing, we are concerned about them. The believers at Philippi were concerned about Paul and sent Epaphroditus to minister to him. Paul was also greatly concerned about his friends at Philippi, especially when Epaphroditus became ill and could not return right away (Phil. 2:25–28). "Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth." (1 John 3:18, ESV)

10.Another evidence of Christian love is a willingness to forgive one another."Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins." (1 Peter 4:8, ESV).

11."Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." (1 Corinthians 13:4-7, ESV)

12.Christians who practice love always experience joy; both come as a result of the presence of the same Holy Spirit. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law." (Galatians 5:22-23, ESV)

13.This final clause of verse 8 contains two metaphorical expressions, deep feeling and heart. The meaning here is that the true source of Paul’s feelings is Christ. And the emphasis is upon the similarity of his affections to Christ’s, and therefore this clause may be rendered as “I love you in the same way that Christ Jesus himself loves you.” Or “my love for you all results from the kind of love which Christ Jesus himself has shown.”

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