Sunday, February 5, 2017

Paul's Epistles – Philippians - Part 11: Thanksgiving and Benediction

Paul's Epistles – Philippians - Part 11:
Thanksgiving and Benediction
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |


Paul’s epistle (letter) to the Philippians is very important to the Gentiles. It was written to the first church founded in Europe (Acts 16:9-40).

Though not generally considered one of the most remarkable or deepest books of the bible, it is considered one of the sweetest of Paul’s writings.

It is more in the nature of a love letter to the Philippians, who had excelled all others in devoted attachment to Paul. Throughout this letter we get a glimpse into the apostle’s heart.

The Philippian church was noted for its generosity. It had repeatedly ministered to Paul (6:15 & 16).

Hearing Paul was imprisoned in Rome they sent help again by the hands of Epaphroditus (6:10 & 18), who, however, was struck down on his arrival by an almost fatal illness. Somehow news of this illness had reached Philippi, to their dismay, and on his recovery, Epaphroditus was anxious to reassure them in person (11:25-28), so Paul write this letter for him to take.

So this letter was written by Paul while in prison in Rome, and given to Epaphroditus to be taken back to the church in Philippi.

Paul focuses his letter on Church unity
He thanks God for all of them as one body
He tells them not to worry about his being in prison for it advances the gospel
Paul tells the believer to live a life “worthy” of the gospel
Paul says we must live imitating Christ and His humility

Paul appeals for steadfastness, unity, and gives final exhortations

SCRIPTURE REFERENCE Philippians 4:10-23
I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it.11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 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. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

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; 16 for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid more than once when I was in need. 17 Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account. 18 I have received full payment and have more than enough. 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.19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
20 To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

21 Greet all God’s people in Christ Jesus. The brothers and sisters who are with me send greetings. 22 All God’s people here send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household.
23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

Paul opened his letter with a salutation to all, reminding the church they were not 2 factions, there was no “real” division, only a perceived one, created through sin.

The overall message of this epistle to the church is;
Christian unity to be maintained at all costs”.

a. I rejoiced that you renewed your concern for me
                                                                 i. Paul was thanking them for the gifts they had sent him

                                                              ii. He states “renewed”, apparently there was a time they did not help the Apostle

                                                           iii. They did not forget Paul, nor were they without the means to give, they did not have a way to “get” the gifts to him

                                                            iv. However, the opportunity finally came and they could once again support his ministry

b. I am not saying this because I am in need
                                                                 i. Paul referring to “respect of want”

                                                              ii. Paul was free from the comforts of life and what some call “needs”

                                                           iii. Paul had learned to live on whatever the Lord provided

c. I have learned the secret of being content
                                                                 i. Independent of external circumstances
                                                              ii. Paul did not allow outward situations to dictate his contentment in life

1. Outward circumstances should not control;
a. Our self-worth
b. Our happiness
c. Our feelings
d. Our emotions
e. Our thoughts
f. Our actions
g. Our well-being
h. Or our contentment

2. Paul’s “secret” to contentment is also the “answer” to everything on the previous list…revealed in Verse 13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

3. Paul knew, and acknowledged often that God IS in control!
                                                           iii. Verse 12I 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.”
1. Our self-worth is in God’s love and desire for us to be His

2. Our happiness, joy, rejoicing, comes from the fact we belong to Him

3. Our feelings and emotions should be based and come from His love for us

4. Our actions should reflect His love (I Corinthians 13)

5. Our well-being comes from renewing our minds to be like Christ

6. Our contentment is in knowing we have ALL these things regardless of what conspires outwardly around us in our lives.

                                                            iv. A major part of renewing our minds so that we have a mind like Christ is BEING POSITIVE in attitude!
1. A negative attitude destroys faith

2. It only shows outwardly the lack of instruction and understanding inwardly

a. It was good of you to share in my troubles
                                                                 i. Troubles meaning needs

                                                              ii. They fulfilled them with their gifts

                                                           iii. Enabling Paul to continue his ministry
1. Though Paul was no stranger to hard work, anything he had to do away from the ministry was time away from the ministry.

2. Gifts to ease the financial burden freed Paul to devote more time to the ministry
b. In the beginning you were the only ones who shared with me
                                                                 i. Shows the church in Philippi had always helped Paul

                                                              ii. 10 Years before Paul wrote this letter (Approx. 49-51AD) He first preached the Gospel message to the church.

c. I now have more than enough because of your gifts
                                                                 i. They had always been generous when they could reach Paul

                                                              ii. Verse 17Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account.”

1. Paul defending himself against accusations he used the Gospel for “making money”.

d. My God shall supply all your needs
                                                                 i. Those who obey God’s commands in Tithing, giving love offerings and alms for the poor, are repaid for their obedience in measure.

                                                              ii. Paul, in many letters to the churches, expresses how those rich in material things give freely, and receive freely from those rich in spiritual things.

                                                           iii. One supplying what the other needs, both receiving

                                                            iv. Those who give liberally will never impoverish themselves when they give for the cause of Christ

a. Greetings to all of God’s people
                                                                 i. In Philippi, not just the church congregation

                                                              ii. LIT, “Salute every saint in Christ Jesus”

b. Brothers and Sisters who are with me send greetings
                                                                 i. Including Timothy, and several others, we are not told all of their names

c. All send greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household
                                                                 i. Referring to greetings from the church in Rome

                                                              ii. The fact Paul mentions believer’s from Caesar’s household tells us Paul was hard at work converting many in Rome!

                                                           iii. This also shows us that even in the most unlikely places, the Lord can work, and we can see results!


The Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ is made possible because of the Cross

Paul sending a benediction with Grace of Christ to be in their spirits, Grace, which is the ultimate display of the love of God, affording those who are lost, time to repent, time to forgive, time to learn, time to grow spiritually.

Grace was, in Philippi church, and is, the answer and solution to pride, self-centered, arrogant selfish and spiritually immature behavior which brought about the division in the church through bickering, and false doctrine.

A little Grace goes a long way.

Want to learn more about Salvation and Getting Saved?    CLICK HERE!

No comments: