Pastor David B. Curtis


No Disappointments

Philippians 1:19-21

Delivered 07/19/1998

There is a great deal of disappointment in this life, and everyone has experienced it. Children are disappointed when they do not receive something they want very much. Young people know disappointment when they are shunned and left out by their friends. Businessmen struggling to be successful are often disappointed. Parents are disappointed by their children. Some are disappointed in love. We all face disappointments with other people. Looking at these things the poet Dryden wrote:

"When I consider life, tis all a cheat.

Yet, fooled with hope, men favor the deceit.

Trust on, and think tomorrow will repay.

Tomorrow's falser than the former day."

As melancholy as they are, these words aptly describe much of our existence. Everything human is stained with disappointment. We are often disappointed in life, and yet there is no disappointment with God. Paul expresses that thought in these verses.

It is doubtful if any servant of God had more to be disappointed in than Paul. If you follow his life in the New Testament, things are continually going badly for him.

Acts 9:3-6 (NKJV) As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. 4 Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" 5 And he said, "Who are You, Lord?" Then the Lord said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads." 6 So he, trembling and astonished, said, "Lord, what do You want me to do?" Then the Lord said to him, "Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do."

We see here Paul's salvation, but before you get out of chapter 9, the Jews are planning to kill him.

Acts 9:22-25 (NKJV) But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus, proving that this Jesus is the Christ. 23 Now after many days were past, the Jews plotted to kill him. 24 But their plot became known to Saul. And they watched the gates day and night, to kill him. 25 Then the disciples took him by night and let him down through the wall in a large basket.

Not only do the Jews want to kill him, but he is also rejected by the disciples in Jerusalem.

Acts 9:26 (NKJV) And when Saul had come to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, and did not believe that he was a disciple.

All in one chapter; he is saved; a plot to kill him is laid out; and the church rejects him. He's off to a great start! It looks like a good opportunity to be disappointed.

Paul's first missionary journey is exciting.

Acts 14:5-7 (NKJV) And when a violent attempt was made by both the Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to abuse and stone them, 6 they became aware of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding region. 7 And they were preaching the gospel there.
Acts 14:19 (NKJV) Then Jews from Antioch and Iconium came there; and having persuaded the multitudes, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead.

Paul is stoned and left for dead, and that is only the beginning. In his second letter to the Corinthians, he recites a little of the things he endured.

2 Corinthians 11:23-28 (NKJV) Are they ministers of Christ?; I speak as a fool; I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. 24 From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness; 28 besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.

That is enough to disappoint anyone. He was also forsaken by his friends:

2 Timothy 1:15 (NKJV) This you know, that all those in Asia have turned away from me, among whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.

He saw many of the churches that he poured his life into go into sin and false doctrine. Paul had reason to be sad, to be disappointed. To say nothing of the continual sorrow and heaviness of heart that he experienced over the lostness of his people Israel (Romans 9:1-3). Paul had plenty of reason to be disappointed.

He ended up in prison at least five times, once in Jerusalem, once in Philippi, once in Cesarrea and twice in Rome. When he went into a town he didn't ask about the hotel but the jail, he knew he would end up there sooner or later.

In spite of all this, he never lost his joy. He never was disappointed. He is a classic picture of joy in the midst of difficult situations.

He sums it all up in a comparative phrase in:

2 Corinthians 6:10 (NKJV) as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.

Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing-- he never lost his joy. The worse the circumstances, the greater the joy because as your circumstances begin to collapse around you, and you become sorrowful and fearful, they push you deeper into the soil of your faith. They push you to trust in God.

2 Corinthians 1:8-9 (NKJV) For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life. 9 Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead,

When you begin to extract your joy out of your relationship with God then you will always have joy. Too many of us try to get our joy from our circumstances -- this is a fluctuating joy. Paul's joy came from God and God alone, therefore his joy is untouched, because God doesn't change.

Let's look at Philippians 1:20. I want to draw one word out of this verse and build these three verses around this word.

Philippians 1:20 (NKJV) according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death.

"That in nothing I shall be ashamed" -- We have to understand Paul's use of "ashamed." The dictionary defines "ashamed" as being "affected by shame," and shame is defined as a painful emotion excited by a consciousness of guilt, disgrace, or dishonor.

But this is not the biblical definition of "shame." The biblical understanding has to do with disappointment. According to Scripture, the person who is not ashamed is the person whose trust is not misplaced and who, therefore, is never disillusioned. The Greek word "ashamed" is aischuno. It is best translated "disappoint. "

Let me give you a principle of hermeneutics. When you look up a word in Strong's or Young's Lexicon, they will give you the entomology of the word. That is the dictionary definition of the word. Often times that is not how it is used in the Bible. There is another way to find out what a word means and that is by its usage. How is the word used in Scripture? In exegesis, usage always takes precedent over entomology. The reason for this is because word meanings change. So what we want to find is usage. The way to find out usage is to get a Greek concordance and look up how the word is used in the Bible. As you find its usage, you can determine its meaning. The work is well worth it.

This meaning of "disappoint" for the Greek word aischunois unmistakable at several important places in the Bible.

Romans 5:1-5 (NKJV) Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

What does hope and ashamed have to do with each other? The word "disappoint" translated "ashamed" in the KJV is kataischuno, a strengthened form of aischuno. Thayer's Greek\English Lexicon translates this, "does not disappoint." Phillips correctly paraphrases, "a steady hope that will never disappoint us." Kittle, in his theological dictionary of New Testament words, says, "Extra-biblically the word 'ashamed' was often used for disillusionment."

Romans 9:33 (NKJV) As it is written: "Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense, And whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame."

No one who believes in God will be disappointed.

Romans 10:11 (NKJV) For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame."

The words, "put to shame" in both of these places is kataischuno. The idea is, "No one who trusts in God will ever be disappointed."

Romans 1:16 (NKJV) For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.

The word for "ashamed" here is epaischunomai. Paul is saying that he has never been disappointed in the gospel. Paul wrote this to the Romans who took pride in their power. The Roman legions had conquered the civilized world. The gospel possesses a power that does not disappoint the Christian.

2 Corinthians 7:13-14 (NKJV) Therefore we have been comforted in your comfort. And we rejoiced exceedingly more for the joy of Titus, because his spirit has been refreshed by you all. 14 For if in anything I have boasted to him about you, I am not ashamed. But as we spoke all things to you in truth, even so our boasting to Titus was found true.

The word here for "ashamed" is kataaischuno and would be better translated "disappointed." "Titus found you to be just what we told him and I am not disappointed at all," he is saying.

2 Timothy 1:12 (NKJV) For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.

The word "ashamed" here should be "disappointed," also. Paul wasn't disappointed because he knew that God was going to deliver him through all his suffering. This is a banking metaphor. "God has the power to keep that which I have deposited with him and I am not disappointed at my suffering.," he is saying.

With all this in mind, let's go back to Philippians 1:20. Paul is saying, "In spite of all that has happened, I'm not disappointed."

He is in prison at Rome, chained to a guard constantly, he's being attacked by believers who are trying to discredit him and his response, and the key to this paragraph is in verse 18 -- Joy! Because of his chains,--Christ was known, (verse 13). Because of his critics--Christ was preached, (verse 18). Because of his crisis--Christ was magnified, (verse 20).

In verses 12-14, we have "Advancement through Adversity." in verses 15-18, we have the, "Joy of pure motives." and in verses 19-21, Paul says that He has no disappointments in life because his life is Christ and Christ will not disappoint him.

How many believers do you know who are as sold out as Paul to the point where death is gain? To the point where circumstances don't touch their joy? Paul didn't care what others said or thought of him or even if he lived or died as long as Christ was glorified. This is a mature believer. If Paul reached this point of maturity in his life, so can we.

We live in a materialistic, self-centered day. People live for a lot of things, but mainly for themselves. The message of these three verses speak directly to a deep need in our lives. Why was it that Paul had no disappointments and a constant joy? It was because he was confident in five areas.


Philippians 1:19 (NKJV) For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,

"I know" is the Greek word oida, it means a fullness of knowledge, the knowledge of satisfied conviction. "This"refers to verses 12-18, his incarceration, and persecution, everything that has happened to him, all of it. "Turn" is apobino, to come back, to turn out. It is in the future tense-- it's going in that direction. "Deliverance"is the Greek word soteria. The KJV has the word "salvation."

How did Paul know this? He knew it based upon the precepts of God. Remember, Paul got it first hand:

Romans 8:28 (NKJV) And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

"We know that ALL THINGS work together for good. Paul knew that for him everything would turn out for the best. This was a knowledge of conviction.

"Deliverance" soteria means rescue or safety, salvation, health, or save. This word has several different meanings. Translating this as "salvation" as the KJV does is misleading. This word can mean:

1. Health:

Acts 27:34 (NKJV) "Therefore I urge you to take nourishment, for this is for your survival, since not a hair will fall from the head of any of you."

"Survival" is the Greek word soteria. It is used here in the sense of health or well being.

2. Deliverance from danger.

Matthew 14:30 (NKJV) But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, "Lord, save me!"
Acts 27:31 (NKJV) Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, "Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved."

The word "save" and the word "saved" are both the Greek word "sozo".. The words "sozo" or "soteria" are also used for:

3. Vindication and

4. His release from prison.

Which way is Paul using it here? Maybe all. Paul believes that his current distress is only temporary. That is the point. He will be delivered, it doesn't matter to him how. What he is going through is temporary. He will be delivered.

Why is he so sure? This statement that he makes is a word for word quote of Job 13:16 in the LXX. Paul identified his life with Job and he knew that Job was a righteous man whom God had tried for his glory. Job knew that what ever he went through, God would deliver him out of it, because he knew that God delivered the righteous.

Job knew it even to the point of death. "Though worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God." He knew God would deliver him either temporarily or eternally.

It is an Old Testament principle -- God delivers the righteous. Job knew it and so did Paul. Paul identifies his life with Job and quotes from Job, because he takes security in the precepts of the Lord.

Psalms 19:8 (NKJV) The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;

God's precepts bring joy to the heart. God will deliver me one way or the other. This cannot be isolated to his release from prison because he says, "By life or death." Paul is simply saying God delivers the righteous. So, he was confident in the Lord's precepts and..


Philippians 1:19 (NKJV) For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,

The word "prayer" here is deesis. We often fail to realize that God has determined to provide his blessings upon the prayers of his people. This is not Armenian theology. I'm not saying that we control God with our prayers. God, in his sovereignty and good pleasure, has ordained that his purposes be brought to pass in the concert with the prayers of his people. James says, "You have not because you ask not."and "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much."

Too often we are like the believers in Acts 12 who were praying for Peter's release from prison, but who didn't believe it once he was released. God works his purpose through prayer, and Paul knew that the Philippians were praying for him. Paul believed in the sovereignty of God but he also believed in prayer. He prayed for others and he asked others to pray for him.

Romans 1:9 (NKJV) For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers,
Romans 15:30 (NKJV) Now I beg you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in prayers to God for me,
Ephesians 1:16 (NKJV) do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers:
Ephesians 6:18-19 (NKJV) praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints; 19 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel,
1 Thessalonians 1:2 (NKJV) We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers,
1 Thessalonians 3:10 (NKJV) night and day praying exceedingly that we may see your face and perfect what is lacking in your faith?
1 Thessalonians 5:25 (NKJV) Brethren, pray for us.
2 Thessalonians 1:11 (NKJV) Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power,
2 Thessalonians 3:1 (NKJV) Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you,

I won't be disappointed, I'm confident in the precepts of God and the prayers of the saints and....


Philippians 1:19 (NKJV) For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,

The Greek here intimately joins the two nouns by one preposition and one article. Supply of the Spirit is obtained for me through your prayers. These three always go together -- word, prayer and the power of God.

"Supply" is epichoreia, it is Attic Greek. One of the oldest words used in drama. It was originally used for a very wealthy Athenian who provided the money for a chorus to train for a year for the Greek tragedy. Epichoreia was used for the sponsors who paid the salary of those in the chorus. Epichoriea is where we get our English word "chorus." It means bountiful supply or full resources, total support. What he is saying here is that God supplies for our every need. It is used only here and in Ephesians 4:16.

Ephesians 4:16 (NKJV) from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

It is used here as the support a ligament gives to a joint.

The Spirit will provide all that we need-- total support. Paul knew that God would provide all that he needed and he would never be disappointed.

Ephesians 3:20 (NKJV) Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,

4. PAUL HAS CONFIDENCE IN THE PROMISE OF CHRIST-- this is implicit rather than explicit.

Philippians 1:20 (NKJV) according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death.

I think that Paul is saying, "I'm confident in the promise of Christ that if I'm faithful to him, he'll be exalted in me."

John 15:5 (NKJV) "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
John 15:8 (NKJV) "By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.

He had no fear of disappointment that Christ would ever leave him or forsake him.

Hebrews 13:5 (NKJV) Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."

The words "earnest expectation" are from the Greek noun, apokaradokia, apo, means "from," cara, means "head" and dokia means, "watch," it means intense concentration.

"Hope" is elpis, which means confidence. He is saying, "My concentration and confidence is in this, I won't be disappointed."

As one would watch intently with a neck stretched and head tilted in the direction of the approaching visit of the highest official in the land, so Paul set himself to do something. What was it? Facing a crisis which could result in his being beheaded, this servant of the Lord determined that in nothing I shall be "aischuno" disappointed. He trusted in God and he knew he wouldn't be disappointed.

Isaiah 49:23 (NKJV) Kings shall be your foster fathers, And their queens your nursing mothers; They shall bow down to you with their faces to the earth, And lick up the dust of your feet. Then you will know that I am the LORD, For they shall not be ashamed who wait for Me."

Paul is saying, "I'll never be disappointed, even in death."

"Boldness" is parresia, courage, assurance. "As always so now also," Remember Acts 16 and the Philippian jail? Paul was always bold because his confidence was in Christ. "Magnified" is megaluno, to make great, enlarge, exalt.

Not, I will magnify Christ -- he uses the future passive, Christ shall be magnified in me. The thought is not that the glory of Christ will be increased, but rather it will be manifested to others. Paul gives us the vehicle for magnifying Christ--"my body," which is soma in the Greek. It means the entire person. J. H. Pickford said, "The unseen life and love needs a screen upon which to reflect his image: that screen is your body."

Paul lived what he wrote:

Romans 12:1 (NKJV) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.

There are two kinds of magnification. Microscope, which makes little things seem big. And Telescope, which makes the distant seem near. Christ is so distant to the world of our day. The body of each Christian must be as a mighty telescope, bringing to the world a sense of His real nearness. Does your life magnify Christ? Does it make him great?

Paul says he is confident in the Precepts of God, the Prayers of the saints, the Provision of the Spirit, the Promises of Christ and finally...


He doesn't know what it is -- life or death-- but he is confident in it. In verse 23, he says he'd rather die. In verse 24, he feels he'll stay alive. By life-- I keep preaching, trusting, worshiping you. By death-- I'll go with no disappointments. I trust you.

Can you bring glory to God by your death?

John 21:19 (NKJV) This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, "Follow Me."

Paul was so confident that God's will for him was perfect-- that it was the best possible thing for him-- that he was able to accept it willingly even if it meant death at the hands of a Roman executioner.

I wonder if you have such confidence in God. When life is smooth, it is easy to say, as we often do, "All things work together for good to them that love God." It is easy when you have everything you want, when God blesses you materially and blesses your family. But it is not so easy at the grave. It is not so easy in the face of bitter disappointment and pain. If you are to have confidence in God in such moments, you must learn to trust Him in the small disappointments of life. To Paul, disappointment was His appointment. The issue in life for Paul was God's glory, and he sums it up in:

Philippians 1:21 (NKJV) For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

Living is Christ, dying is gain. Paul lived only to serve Christ, commune with Christ, love Christ. He has no concept of life other than Christ. He is his reason for living.

This is not the testimony of a new convert. This is not the testimony of a carnal Christian. This is the testimony of a mature believer who lives in communion with Christ.

Paul says in effect, "Christ is all my life, so if the gospel is preached, I'm happy, if God's kingdom is advanced, I'm happy. If the Lord is magnified in my body, I'm happy-- no matter how it happens, by life or by death."

Dying is gain-- not the act of dying but the consequences of dying-- death. For a Christian, physical death is gain. It is freedom from temptation and sin. No more enemies or fights, the battle is over. No more suffering or trials. Death brings uninterrupted fellowship, face to face with the Lord. In light of this, why would a Christian be afraid to die? Does a prisoner dread his release or a sick man dread his recovery?

This is a single minded man-- that's why he wouldn't be disappointed-- Christ was all that mattered to him. This is where every Christian ought to be! For me to live is Christ. I'm not there yet, but this is my desire.

Fill in the blank. For me to live is _____________. Wealth? Prestige? Fame? Knowledge? Power? Possessions? Me? Self-pleasure? You put anything but Christ in the blank and dying is loss, and living is disappointment. Only Christ makes dying gain. "Gain" is kerdos which means great profit. What kind of death is Paul talking about here? The word "die" is apothnesko. By the context, we know that Paul is talking about physical death, the passing away of the body.

How do we grow to this point of maturity where living is Christ? Four steps.

1. Purpose to know as much as Christ as it was possible to know. How do you do that? -- bible doctrine, study the Word of God, meditate upon it, learn it. You cannot know Christ apart from the Word of God.

2. Purpose to imitate Christ, model his life, imitate Him.

Ephesians 5:1 (NKJV) Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.

3. Purpose to make Christ known-- through preaching (which is declaring the policy of the king) and by your lifestyle.

Magnify Christ in your body.

In October of 1967, the Soviet union launched a space probe designed to crash upon the surface of Venus and send back vital statistics about its surface temperature and atmospheric pressure. When the space probe ceased transmitting 3,774 miles from the center of the planet, presumably because it had struck the surface, the temperature reading was 520 degrees Fahrenheit and the atmosphere twelve to twenty times greater than the atmosphere on earth. This information seemed unquestionable (in spite of several reasons for thinking differently) and it suggested that there might be life on Venus. Now, however, scientist have determined that the radius of Venus is only 3,759 miles, meaning that the Russian ship ceased transmitting when it was still fifteen miles above the planet's surface. Consequently, all of its figures were misleading. It gave the temperature fifteen miles above the planet's surface, but it did not provide the information that the scientists most wanted to know. Actually, the surface temperature of Venus may be close to 900 degrees Fahrenheit and the pressure may be 75 to 100 times that on the surface of the earth. At that temperature and at that pressure, life, as we know it, is impossible.

In the same way, thousands of well-meaning people stop receiving data when they are miles from the heart of Christianity. For many people, a knowledge of Christianity stops at contact with those who claim to be Christians. They identify Christianity with so-called Christian character, and since many believers are far from what God intends them to be, this data gives a false impression. Is Christ magnified in your body?

4. Purpose to draw your joy from Him and Him alone-- communion with Him. True joy comes from our relationship with Christ.

When we can come to the point in our lives that we can say, "Living is Christ." Then we'll also be able to say, "No disappointments." Believer, please remember this each time that you are disappointed. You are disappointed because something other than Christ is the focus of your life. Christ will never disappoint us!

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