As our study of the book of Philippians comes to a conclusion, Paul reveals the reason for his letter the the Phillippian church.
More than a letter of gratitude, the epistle to the Philippians is an exhortation to believers in Phillippi and beyond. One of the most passionate letters written by the apostle Paul, Philippians contains valuable guidelines to be used by Christians along our walk toward heaven.
Paul previously called on the Philippians to joyfully be at peace with each other as each among us works out their salvation. Imitating Christ as we press toward the ultimate prize that is eternal life in heaven, the apostle now writes a thank you note.
“10 I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it.” (Philippians 4:10)
Since Paul had been imprisoned in Rome there was little or no way for the Philippians to show their concern for the apostle. Here Paul confirms, through Epaphroditus, that he is now aware of the Philippians’ concern for his well being.
“11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” (Philippians 4:11)
Through his love for Christ and faith in God Paul teaches us one of the most important aspect of the Christian life, contentment in spite of circumstances. To be in Christ is to be content no matter what, though not an easy feat it is indeed biblical and words all Christians should abide by as we face challenges and trials.
“12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” (Philippians 4:12)
Here Paul describes a situation to which most Christians can identify with. Even on a small scale, most among us have been in need or have been filled. Have we learned to be content in both situations? It is no secret many among us feel it is much easier to tithe when there’s plenty of money in the bank… But how many have been content on an empty stomach, living in poverty and relying on God to provide the next shelter or meal?
Paul has the answer:
“13 I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)
This is undoubtedly a verse to memorize and live by since all believers are likely to face trails, challenges and persecution. Anyone not in tune with this verse is bound for suffering.
“14 Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. 15 Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only.” (Philippians 4:14-15)
Earlier in his ministry Paul had been ignored by churches in lieu of his past. As a former Pharisee who persecuted Christians, few among the church were thankful for Paul’s newfound devotion to Jesus Christ.
“16 For even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid again and again when I was in need.” (Philippians 4:16)
Following his visit to Phillippi Paul traveled to Thessalonica where he continued to advance the gospel. The apostle shows his gratitude for the Philippians as they supported him with some sort of contribution in at least two occasions while he labored in Thessalonica.
Paul then continues with bountiful thankfulness for the Philippians church as he invites them to continue giving so to increase their rewards in heaven. This passage is one based on praise and tithing to be handled by the stewards of the Lord.
“17 Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account. 18 I have received full payment and even more; I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God.” (Philippians 4:17-28)
It is a fact the church requires contributions from the congregation without which there would be great suffering among the deacons and teachers of the gospel. Though the advancement of the gospel was not and is not dependent on money, sustenance too often is.
“19 And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. 20 To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (Philippians 4:19)
Paul confirms God almighty will look after the Philippians as they glorify and praise Him for ever and ever as they continue to work out their salvation.
“21 Greet all the saints in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me send greetings. 22 All the saints send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household. 23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.” (Philippians 4:21-23)
Paul knew many Christians in Phillippi hence his salutation to all of them. The Christians in Rome with Paul, possibly believers originating from the Roman colony in Phillippi who were now seemingly residing within Caesar’s palace, they too sent their blessings in this letter.
What is important to remember from this message is that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us and that we must strive for contentment in spite of circumstances.
This passionate letter to the Phillippian church has taught us many things. That as believers we are to walk in unity and joy, as we imitate Jesus Christ leaving behind us a trail of love and gratitude. A quick look over our shoulder says a lot about us, it is ultimately the trail seen by the eyes of God. Let’s pray!
We thank you for your blessings in our lives and for your servant Paul,
We praise you Lord for his wisdom and for his works through this scripture,
We ask you Lord to inspire us to use these verses in our lives
As we grow in you through the teachings of your faithful apostle.
Lord we ask you to strengthen us each day as we endure through battles,
Allow us to praise and love each other through faith in you Jesus,
Shield us from evil through truth, the gospel, salvation and prayer,
Guide us to abide by your word as we spread your gospel to one and all
Becoming examples of faith through our character as we walk the narrow path.
God we pray that you will continue to bless us, to bless our lives and fill us with hope
We ask you Lord to guide our footsteps and lead us to the way everlasting,
Through faith in you Lord we seek salvation and a place with you in heaven
According to your word, your everlasting wisdom and strength.
May your will be done
In our lives, for your life.
We thank you for your love and all you bless us with each day.
This message was written by Daniel St.Pierre