Category Archives: Philippians

The End of Our Journey

Philippians 4:20-23

20 Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

21 Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren which are with me greet you.

22 All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar’s household.

23 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

Paul ends his letter to the Philippians with some greetings. First, he gives glory to God. Once again, I have to mention that Paul is in prison in Rome when he writes this letter. And he says unto God be the glory forever and ever. I guess I figure if Paul can give glory to God from a prison cell I sure can give glory to God wherever I am and whatever situation I might be in. It saddens me when I meet people who can’t praise God because something’s going on in their lives. What happens to us and what situations we are in does not make any difference to the fact that God deserves Our Praise. He is always Worthy.

Paul asks the Philippians to greet all the saints. I think typically these letters went to the leaders of the church and they read them out loud to the congregation. I’m not sure if the letters were passed around or not. They were considered precious coming from Paul. Paul also sends greetings from those that are with him. The interesting thing here is that Paul says the Saints salute them, especially those that are of Caesar’s household. From this I have to assume that Paul has converted some of the soldiers, and members of Caesar’s own house, to Christianity. How amazing is that. Even in his confinement Paul is preaching the gospel. I hope that when I get into tough situations I will never cease to preach the gospel.

Paul ends the letter with the same words that he started it with in chapter 1 verse 2. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. We need his grace every single day. Not a moment goes by then we could possibly live without his grace abiding over our lives. Paul knew that grace was the key element of the Gospel. I’ve heard it said that most of the major religions on this Earth have a lot of the same attributes and the same laws. The one thing that sets Christianity apart is the message of Grace. No other religion has that defining characteristic of sacrifice. Let’s be glad for the grace of God.

This ends our study in Philippians. I hope that you have gotten as much out of it as I have. I have learned a lot studying through this book. I’m not sure what I’m going to do next. Probably concentrate on my other blogs for now. I’m going to put this blog in one of my other websites. Maybe sometime in the future I will start another book of the Bible study. I’m glad you came along with me as we traveled through Philpppians. God bless you all

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God Will Do What?

Philippians 4:19

19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

 

Paul is a master at using the right words.  Here, I love the fact that he says “My God”.  He does not say our God, or your God or just God.  You might say why is that a big deal?   Here’s how I see it.

The Philippians knew that Paul’s God had delivered him from Prison right there in Philippi.  They knew that his God knocked him off a horse and blinded him on the road to Damascus in an amazing conversion experience.  They knew that Paul had been beaten and stoned and shipwrecked, and his God had kept him in every situation.  They knew that Paul trusted his God without question.  Paul was always taken care of by his God.

Now they had heard Paul talk about his God, and those in the church had accepted his God as their own.  But they had no personal experience with this God, not like Paul had. Oh, some may have experienced healing, or answered prayer, but not like Paul.  So Paul lets them know that his God, the one that had been faithful to him, would supply all their needs.  If Paul had said your God, they might not have had as much faith to believe, but they know what Paul’s God had done.

It makes me wonder if I shouldn’t use that term with people who have little faith.  Right now, I might say God will hear your prayers.  But if they have little faith, will they believe God can do that?  Whereas if I share what God has done for me, and tell them My God can do it for you, will that strengthen their faith?  Something to ponder!

The second things about this verse is that God will supply our needs, not our wants.  I see a lot of Christians use this verse to claim God’s provision on things that clearly are not needs.  To me, this is very presumptive.  Isn’t God graceful enough without presuming He is just some magic machine that will give us whatever we want?  People use Psalm 37:4 the same way “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give the desires of our heart”.  I believe this verse means He will give you His desires in your heart, not that he will give you whatever your heart desires.  Matt 6:33 tells us that is we seek first the kingdom of God and Hs righteousness, all these things (he necessities of life) will be added to us.  Nothing about wants – just needs.

Can we learn to be content with our needs met?  Or must we have a God who meets our wants as well?  For me, I prefer to be happy when He supplies my needs – that is gracious enough.  I don’t really deserve anything from God!

All of this is according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.  It is Christ who made it possible.  Jesus Christ paid the price at Calvary when He willingly laid down His life to redeem me from my sin.  if I want this verse to apply to my life, I need to accept that sacrifice as a substitute for me and my sin, and allow Jesus to be Lord of my life.  Th promise of this verse is BY Christ Jesus, meaning that Christ is an integral part of the promise.  By Christ Jesus means that He is the vehicle through which these needs will be supplied.  I need to have Him active in my life to claim this promise.  What an awesome God we serve, that He would take time to meet my needs!

Look For the Fruit

Philippians 4:17-18

17 Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.

18 But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus

 the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell,

a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God.

 

 

 

Have you ever been in a position where you go to a church and an evangelist was just asking for money to fill their own pockets? We have seen a little bit of that in the church in this modern day haven’t we? We have to be careful about giving to ministries that we are not real familiar with. It might even cause us to question the missionaries that our church supports. Maybe we have an evangelist and we’re a little leery about giving the evangelist any of our hard-earned money.

They did not have to worry about that with Paul. He wasn’t asking for their support because he needed the money. He was asking for their support so that they could be fruitful. Paul new the concept of sowing and reaping. He knew that if they gave more would be given to them. And he wanted the church to be blessed.  This was always his top priority.

We all work hard for our money. So, we want to be real careful where we give it. The best gauge of how a ministry is doing is the fruit that they bring in.  Our church supports a missionary in Mexico who is doing unbelievable work for the ministry. He’s raising up pastors and he has an orphanage where he has children learning Christian ways.  He even receives mercy and grace from the drug cartels because of the wonderful work he’s doing in the area. He’s definitely worth putting my money behind. It’s important that we give to ministries that are producing fruit.

Paul said he had plenty.  Epaphroditus brought the offering that the Philippians sent and it really blessed Paul.  He said it was an acceptable sacrifice and well pleasing to God. Wouldn’t you like to hear that about your offering? I would admonish you to look at the ministries that  you’re supporting right now. If they’re producing fruit that’s great – stick with them.  If they’re not, perhaps you should look for a different ministry to support. I know that’s a hard thing to say but we want to be like the people of Philippi and give an acceptable offering that’s well pleasing to God.

Jesus, Use Me

Philippians 4:14-16

14 Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction.  15 Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only.  16 For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity.

 

Paul was a man of faith. He said that when he departed from Macedonia there was no guarantee of any financial help for his trip except for the Philippians. They had communicated with him about offerings they had taken to help him in his ministry. Paul was very appreciative of this and told them that that they did well.

Do we communicate to our pastor or board of directors in our church about the various gifts and abilities that we have? I know that many churches are dying for people to step forward and do the work that needs to be done. I’ve heard it said that 80% of the people do 20% of the work and 20% of the people do 80% of the work. Sometimes I think in churches it’s more like 10% and 90%. What talents do you have that are not being used by the church right now? Can you sing? Are you in the choir? Do you let the pastor know you had a special music? Can you teach? Are you teaching a class in the church? Are you good with organization? Could you help with special services or special occasion planning? Are you gifted in doing the work of a mechanic of some sort?   Have you volunteered your services to the church or the parishioners when they need it? This list could go on and on and on but I think you get the idea. We need to be doing all we can to help our churches out. We need to communicate with the pastor and let him know that we’re willing. I guess that’s the next question. Are you willing to share your talents with the church and with its parishioners? I know some Churches have auto mechanics who will fix cars for people if they break down and not charge them. I know others that the men will get together and paint houses. Somebody has to organize that.  What are you doing with your gifts? Do you recognize that God gave them to you so that you can be a blessing to others? Are you just happy to be able to use them yourself?

Listen to the spirit.  God will reveal to you if you’re supposed to be using your talents in a certain area. Sometimes I we can’t hear what God is saying in the chaos of everyday life. Take time to be still and listen to God and then act upon whatever he tells you. He will speak to you.  If you come to him with a broken Spirit and say “Lord, I want you to use my gift to bless others”. God will do just that1 I have no doubt my mind!

Strength To Do The Previous

Philippians 4:13

13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

This is one of the more well-known verses in the whole bible.  People use this verse on a regular basis when facing difficult times, acknowledging that God will give them the strength to get through the trials that they face.  And I believe he does give us that strength through Christ.  I have quoted this verse to myself and to others many times, and I bet you have as well.  It is one of the key truths in the bible that we count on day in and day out.

As I pondered what to write on this very familiar passage, the Lord reminded me that quite often we need to look at the context a verse is submerged in.  So, I looked at it and I now have a whole new view of this verse, and I will share it with you.

This verse comes after what I consider some of the most powerful verses in the New Testament on how we should conduct ourselves.   Let’s review!

Verse 4  – Rejoice – ALWAYS rejoice.  We discussed how hard that is to do, but how necessary it is for us to have that frame of mind.  Verse 13 tells me that God will give me the strength to do that.

Verse 5 – let your moderation be known – be gentle and kind when dealing with new believers and with the world – Verse 13 tells me that God will give me the strength to do that.

Verse 6 – pray and supplicate with Thanksgiving, even when it seems your prayers aren’t being heard.  Even when we aren’t feeling thankful because things are so bad.  Verse 13 tells me that God will give me the strength to do that.

Verse 7 – Peace will keep your hearts and minds, even in the midst of the storm, even when it seems all is lost.  Verse 13 tells me that God will give me the strength to do that.

Verse 8 – set your mind on things true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtue and praise.  Keep your mind away from the negative things going on in your life  Verse 13 tells me that God will give me the strength to do that.

Verse 9 – Do the things that you have learned, received, heard and seen.  Be a light to the world no matter what is going on around you.  Verse 13 tells me that God will give me the strength to do that.

Verse 10 – give with a joyful heart and supply the need of ministry – God knows your heart.  Verse 13 tells me that God will give me the strength to do that.

Verse 11 – be content in any situation. Don’t complain about your situation to others.  Take it in stride and keep on going.  Verse 13 tells me that God will give me the strength to do that.

Verse 12 – know how to handle yourself no matter what condition your life is in right now.  It doesn’t matter what is happening, you can handle it and be content.  Verse 13 tells me that God will give me the strength to do that.

I now see verse 13 as enabling me to keep verses 4-12.  And if I can keep those verses, and have the strength through Christ to do those things, I will indeed know the blessing of God in my life!  I pray you can also draw on His strength to pull you through whatever comes up in your life.

Are You Full or Hungry?

Philippians 4:12

12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.

 

Now that Paul let the people know that he can be content in any situation, he takes itt a little farther by explaining the different situations that he has been in. First you said he knows how to be abased. What this says to me is that Paul was put down in many places that he went. He was chastised as a fool, he was told to leave, he was beaten and stoned. Yet he kept going in his ministry because in this situation he was content. How would we react? How do you deal with people that offend you? I heard the saying a long time ago that I live by now. “If I am offended what miserable piece of flesh is left in me they can still be offended”. I am supposed to be dead to the flesh so that I will be alive in the Spirit (Gal 2:20).  I should not allow anybody take away my joy because they have offended me. If I get all bent out of shape because somebody says something or somebody does something that offends, me then I lose my joy in my peace. This should not be so. I challenge you to let offenses just roll off your back and just keep the joy.

He says he knows how to abound. If you’re all of a sudden blessed with more money than you had before and by possessions, what would you do with it? Would you brag about it? Would you go out and spend it unconsciously?  I think a lot of us would take advantage of the situation as much as we could. We’d tell people about it and we’d spend it and have a good time. Paul said he knew how to abound.  I believe he use any excess money for his ministry when he was in financially better shape. And I doubt he boasted about it.  I would guess he was pretty quiet.  He could do that because he was content.

He says he was instructed to both be full and hungry. We should be that way as well. We should not be out always searching for new truth. We could spend days and weeks, even months, searching out various topics try to increase our wisdom and knowledge. But increasing those things doesn’t get us anywhere if we don’t put it into practice. So, we need to know how to be full. We also need to know how to hunger and thirst after righteousness. We need to have a hunger for the truth of the word. When we go to church we should be listening for what God wants to say to us that day. If we’re in the congregation then I believe God has something for us. Keep your ears open.  Be full and hungry.

He’s also instructed to abound and to have need. We need to be in a place where we’re ready to receive what God might have for us. He always has something for us. And if we are full at the time, we may miss a blessing in the word that is given.   At the same time, we should be satisfied with what we have, so that if we walk away and have not received anything, we are still content.   God will always supply if we have a need. And we’ll talk about more work on that tomorrow.

Let’s Be Content!

Philippians 4:11

11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned,

in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

 

 

In the previous post, Paul thanked the Philippians for their generosity even though they had faced tough financial times.  In a continuation of that thought, he says that he was not speaking in respect of want.  Paul did have needs that must be filled, not just because he wanted them. How often do we get our wants mixed up with our needs?

Pretty soon we’ll be in Philippians 4:19 where it says “My God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus”.  We all have needs that must be supplied.   I need to have air to breathe, I need to be able to pay the rent, I need a certain amount of help in order to survive.  Then there are wants.  Extra money so I can go out and play a round of golf today would be a want.  To be completely healed would be a want.   There’s nothing wrong with those two things except they are wants and not needs.  God said he will supply our needs.  We should never expect God to supply our wants.  If He does, that’s His grace working on our behalf.  And make sure you don’t get your wants and your needs confused.  My suggestion would be that every time you pray, separate your wants and needs.

The last part of Philippians 4:11 is a verse that I try to live out every single day.  And I know, no matter what’s going on in my life, I will be content.  That does not mean if I’m sick I don’t pray for better health.  Or if I need financial miracle that I don’t pray for it.  What it means to me is that I know that God is in control and so it really doesn’t matter what’s going on around me.  I can be content with what God has given me at that time.

I see so many discontented Christians in the world going after the same thing as the world.   The world will never lead us to a state of contentment – it always demands more.  When I am content, I won’t worry, I won’t fear, and I won’t get anxious.  I just go about my life and know that God will take care of me. I know that He’s a good God, that He loves me and His mercy and grace are endless so why shouldn’t I be content?  Is this the attitude that you have in life?

Too many Christians are discontent.  They complain about their lot in life.  This is pride pure!  We will see this as we continue the pride study on December 10th.  None of us needs pride in their life and I pray you’re following the pots on pride so perhaps you can see if you are caught up in pride.  Pride hides and you don’t know you have it until the Holy Spirit reveals it to you.  Pride will keep you from being content faster than anything else will. So, turn your eyes on Jesus and give him all the glory. Thank Him for what you have and forget the things you don’t have.  He supplies your needs, and you can be content in that!