The Saints of Caesar’s Household

Saturday, October 29, 2011

“All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar’s household” (Philippians 4:22 KJV).

Today’s Scripture is excerpted from Philippians, one of the half-dozen epistles Paul wrote from his Roman prison. “Caesar” refers to the tyrannical Roman emperor who ruled from A.D. 54 to 68 and greatly persecuted Christians. In fact, prior to committing suicide, he is thought to have executed Apostles Peter and Paul.

When Paul wrote to the Philippian church, he concluded his epistle with today’s Scripture: there are saints within Nero’s household!

About five or six years after the Philippian letter, Paul writes his final epistle, his second letter to Timothy. Notice 2 Timothy 2:8,9: “Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel: wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound.” Paul is still in prison, treated as a criminal. Why? Satan and his evil men hate him because he is God’s apostle of the Gentiles (Acts 9:15,16; Romans 11:13; et al.).

Paul was imprisoned because he was preaching the Gospel of Grace, the same Gospel we preach today. Physically, Paul was shackled to Roman soldiers. Satan had prevented God’s chief apostle in our dispensation from traveling and preaching the wonderful salvation in Christ Jesus. However, God would not be stopped. Paul wrote “but the word of God is not bound.” No matter how hard the devil tried to keep God’s Word from reaching lost souls, God’s Word could not be confined.

In Philippians 1:12,13 Paul wrote from prison: “But I would [wish] ye understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; so that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places;”

Paul preached his heart out in that Roman prison. Today’s Scripture confirms that God’s Word worked so mightily that some of Nero’s own household had trusted in Christ! Certainly, Paul was imprisoned, yet the Gospel of Grace was still published and prosperous… in the very prison where Paul was held!

As I Ought to Speak

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; and for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak” (Ephesians 6:18-20 KJV).

The Apostle Paul, writing from his Roman prison (“in bonds”), exhorted the Ephesians to not only pray “for all saints,” but to pray for him too. Why?

Today, there is a battle between good and evil, a war between God and Satan. We Christians are soldiers in that war: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (verse 12).

As Christians, we are Satan’s enemies. In order to attack God, the devil will target us, God’s children! Thankfully, in Christ Jesus, we have been equipped to “stand against the wiles [tricky schemes] of the devil” (verse 11). In Christ, we have “the armour of God” and “the power of [the Lord’s] might” (verses 10-16). God has also given us His written Word, the Bible, “the sword of the Spirit,” to defend ourselves (verse 17). “But thanks be to God, which giveth us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:57).

This battle intensifies when Satan distracts Christians so they lose sight of their victory in Christ. We Christians, in discouragement, begin to retreat. The Holy Spirit, knowing this, interjected today’s Scripture into this passage. There are times when we fear speaking out for God and His Word. We fear rejection and shame. This is why Paul, in today’s Scripture, asked the Ephesians to pray for him—he needed to “speak boldly” and preach Christ Jesus in that awful, nerve-racking prison.

Saints, pray for all our Christian brethren who, like us, also experience trepidation when evangelizing the lost and teaching God’s Word. Pray that they be bold, for remember, “they [and we] ought to speak….”