Philippians 4:10-22

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I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit. I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me greet you. All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar’s household.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

Observation

  • The Philippians had revived their concern for Paul.
  • Paul was glad the Philippians had revived their concern for him.
  • Paul rejoiced in the Lord a lot that the Philippians had revived their concern in him.
  • It had been a while since Paul had received anything from the Philippians.
  • The Philippians were honestly concerned about Paul.
  • The Philippians had not had an opportunity to express their concern for Paul.
  • Paul was not saying he was in need.
  • Paul had learned to be content in whatever situation God had placed him.
  • Paul had experienced low humble situations and knew how to handle it.
  • Paul had experienced abundance and knew how to handle it.
  • Regardless of the situation Paul had learned the secret of facing both plenty and hunger, abundance and need.
  • Paul had learned how to handle every situation God placed him.
  • It is God who strengthens Paul.
  • It was kind of the Philippians to share with Paul.
  • No church had partnered with Paul in the ministry except the Philippians.
  • The beginning of Paul’s ministry was in Macedonia.
  • The Philippians has sent help to Paul when he was in Thessalonica.
  • The Philippians had sent Paul gifts repeatedly.
  • Paul was not after gifts.
  • Paul sought the results that came from the gifts of the Philippians.
  • The results of the gifts from the Philippians were a credit to the Philippians.
  • Paul had already received a full payment for his work.
  • Paul had received more than full payment for his work.
  • After receiving the gifts the Philippians had sent, Paul was well supplied.
  • Paul was greatly appreciative of the gifts the Philippians had sent.
  • The Philippians had Epaphroditus bring Paul their gifts.
  • The Philippians gifts were acceptable and pleasing to God.
  • God would supply the Philippians needs.
  • God would supply the Philippians needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus
  • Paul prayed that God would receive glory forever.
  • Paul’s god was the Philippians’ god.
  • God is Paul’s and the Philippians’ Father.
  • Paul told the Philippians to greet all of the saints in Christ Jesus.
  • The believers with Paul sent their greetings to the Philippians.
  • There were believers in Caesar’s household.
  • Paul pronounced a blessing of grace to the Philippians.

Interpretation

Everything Paul did was with idea that God is pre-eminent. Paul had received a gift from the Philippians to help sustain him. Paul does thank them for the gift but it is, “in the Lord” that Paul thanks them. Every good gift is from the Lord. The immediate cause of gift was the Philippians but it is ultimately God who sent the gift. Paul never loses sight of that fact. Paul’s joy was in the Lord.

Paul is walking a tight rope. On the one hand Paul is grateful for the gift from the Philippians and wants them to know it. On the other hand is does not want them to thing he is asking for another gift. Additionally, he wants the Philippians to continue to trust God for their needs and not rely on physical comfort and material abundance. Paul points out that his faith and trust is in the Lord.

Verse 13, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me,” and verse 19 “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” are often quoted out of context and used to imply God is our private little genii. Ask Him for something and He will deliver. I can overcome any obstacle if I use the magic words, “in Jesus name.” That is not what these verses are even close to teaching. They are about how God will give you strength to endure the trail and suffering we are promised will come our way. God will supply our need. Our need is Christ and Christ alone. Like Paul we are to learn to be satisfied in whatever situation God places us rather it be plenty or want. Saints of God know that sufficiency is not measured by what we have but who has us. It is measured by the will of God. Our affairs are regulated by God’s providence and for His good pleasure.

It is by Christ that we are given the strength to endure whatever comes to about. Therefore, “I can do all things,” but it is Christ who supplies me with that strength.

Paul receives the gifts from the Philippians as a sacrifice to God. Our acts of kindness should be presented as sacred offerings to God. He takes pleasure in their sweet aroma.

Application

We do not hear much today about the providence of God. We do hear a lot about our free will and our choices. We want to excuse God from the bad things that happen to us as being caused by someone or something else. In doing so, we deny the sovereignty of God. God ordains whatever occurs. This does not mean that God causes sin or removes free will from us nor are there not secondary causes. But God uses these to bring about His will. He ordains whatever happens.

God does supply all our need. Our need is Christ. It is not the mortgage payment. It is not the next semester’s tuition. It is not even our own health. If God supplies these things then we are to respond as Paul did, with thankfulness and rejoice in the Lord. But we are not promised these things. We are promised that God will supply our need. We need forgiveness of our sins.

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