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Of the Same Mind and Joy In the Lord
In this last chapter Paul shows you how it is possible to stand above all circumstances. Not like the Stoics whose highest ideal was to live without expressing any emotion. No Paul knew the greatest joy in the manner of life he presents. He wants you to partake of this joy in this chapter.
Phil 4:1. First, however, he still has a few exhortations. He begins with the word “therefore” and a most cordial way of addressing the Philippians. The word ‘therefore’ refers to the two preceding chapters. If you have understood something of what is presented of Christ then you have discovered the basis on which you can stand firmly. That is the conclusion: you find your spiritual strength in Christ alone. You will discover that when you look for things outside of Christ, you will begin to drift about. You will be tossed to and fro (Eph 4:13-14) unless everything in your life is focused on Christ.
Paul loved those people and he longed to be with them. When he thought of them he was very happy. This special relationship with them arose as they had come to faith through his ministry. He could bring them to the Lord Jesus as a crowning achievement of his work. They will decorate him at the coming of the Lord. He wished however, that they also would be this decoration in their practical life by their like-mindedness.
Phil 4:2. But there was something to be corrected especially with the two sisters who disagreed. He is not reticent; he calls each of them by name. Both sisters hear their name with the words “I urge” to listen. This shows that both were equally considered responsible for the lack of unanimity. Paul thus avoids any appearance of partiality or favoritism.
He doesn’t seek a fleshly compromise for a solution, but he exhorts them to be like-minded “in the Lord'”. His point is that the Lord must regain His authority over their lives in the things about which they were in disagreement. The cause of the disagreement is not stated. Therefore we can make use of this situation for a wider application. Sometimes you can be jealous of a brother with whom you should do a work for the Lord because he gets more honor than you. When sisters prepare something for a love meal they can be jealous of one another when people like the dish of another sister more. Disagreement arises suddenly. On the other hand if like-mindedness in the Lord is present, then everyone thinks: ‘My work is for the Lord.’ Then people’s appreciation is no longer the standard, but the Lord’s.
Phil 4:3. It is always sad when difficulties arise in a relationship between two believers when they undertake a work for the Lord. Paul himself had this problem with Barnabas (Acts 15:36-39). He knew these two women. They must have been powerful in the propagation of the gospel. Perhaps they offered Paul a place in their homes to lodge during his ministry trip (cf. 2Kgs 4:8). Anyway, the two women identified themselves with Paul and with the gospel he preached, and were not ashamed. Maybe they served him with their belongings as the other women who had served the Lord in this way (Lk 8:3).
It hurts Paul when he thinks of these two great women. A fracture in their relationship is unbearable to him. This fracture must be healed. Paul askes his “true companion” – probably Epaphroditus through whom he sent this letter – to help. Companion literally means ‘yoke-mate’. This makes it clear that it is about someone with whom Paul carried the yoke in the proclamation of the gospel faithfully and unanimously. That was not a heavy yoke but a joyous one to carry. Also the word ‘true’ or ‘faithful’ deserves special attention. In each work the Lord assigns, faithfulness is the most important ingredient (1Cor 4:2). This is what the Lord rewards, and not the magnitude of the talent (Mt 25:21; 23).
Besides these two women there were also other workers who labored with Paul in the proclamation of the gospel. Of these he particularly mentions Clement. All of them helped in the preaching of the gospel in the territory of the enemy. They had to stand against resistance. This can sometimes be so severe that the servants can despair of themselves or of their service. Then this encouragement of Paul from his imprisonment in Rome comes to cheer them up.
With a few words he raises up the discouraged servants of the circumstances by reminding them that their “names are in the book of life” (Rev 3:5; Rev 21:27). This is the book of God’s counsels in which His elected ones are enrolled.
Phil 4:4. The assurance of being in it is again a reason for his call to “rejoice in the Lord”. And even if you have success in your ministry, the greatest joy is not your success, but the fact that your name is written in the heavens. So says the Lord at least to His disciples when they come back delighted to tell the results of their ministry (Lk 10:20).
The sadness Paul had in view of the many people who called themselves Christians (Phil 3:18) could not take away his own joy in the Lord. He could always rejoice in the Lord. In the Lord he found a source of continuous joy that gave him solace in the midst of pain and sadness. The call to rejoice does not come from someone in heaven surrounded by nothing but joy, but from someone imprisoned awaiting trial. That is why this appeal is compelling and an exhortation that works.
If to rejoice is possible for him, then it is always possible for us whatever the circumstances be. Our joy does not have to be affected by adversity (Hab 3:17-19; Jn 15:11; Jn 17:13). Paul lets them hear his encouragement to rejoice, not only once, but he says it again. You do not hear an impulsive man who says something to feel sorry for it a little later. Convinced by his own experience that it is possible, he emphasizes his call by saying it again.
To be a joyful Christian does not mean to run around with a big smile or to say ‘hallelujah’ again and again. Joy rests in the heart. Of course that will radiate, but not in the sense of: ‘The bigger the laugh, the greater the joy.’ Here it is important to look deeper than the surface (Pro 14:13). Your joy will be consistently pure and stable as long as Christ only is the source of your joy.
Phil 4:5. This joy benefits others whom you are associated with. When only the Lord is your source, your love for others will be pure also. You will be known as a ‘gentle’ person by all people. All will agree that you are someone who does not insist on his rights. Undoubtedly some will appreciate this, and others will say that you are mad, but anyway it will be known to all.
Here, to “be known” by your gentleness, means that it will be noticed and experienced, but not because you talk about it. You must not promote your own qualities. Leave that to others (Pro 27:2). Gentleness means that you know how to accommodate to circumstances and that you do not insist on your rights (Jam 3:17; 1Tim 3:3; Tit 3:2). If you think you have the rights, you will then want something from the world and rely on it (1Cor 6:7).
The temptation to claim our rights prematurely threatens us constantly. To overcome this Paul advises us again to go to Lord. In Him we see someone Who never exercised his rights. He never went ahead of God’s plan in taking His kingdom during His life time, although He was King (Jn 18:36-37). Paul once made use of his rights, but that served the purpose of God and not his own interests (Acts 16:37).
A guest who lodges somewhere will always be gentle. After all we are citizens of heaven, and on the earth we are pilgrims and strangers (Phil 3:20). When it is very difficult, and you are inclined to insist on your rights for yourself, then you should know that “the Lord is near”. You should know that He will come soon and will give you what you are entitled to and restore whatever you gave up while on earth.
That the Lord is near also means that He is near to you at this very moment (Psa 145:18). His closeness now and His soon-coming will save you from being depressed over the things here or from getting busy with them yourself.
Now read Philippians 4:1-5 again.
Reflection: Do people, whom you have to do with, know you as a gentle person?
The Peace of God and the God of Peace
Phil 4:6. The Lord is near! Thus we finished the last chapter. This great assurance gives us the courage for now and for the future. So we need not be anxious for anything (Mt 6:25). God knows that we need to be reminded now and again as we are quick to be anxious. We do this because too many times we see the circumstances without including Him. Then our difficulties become greater than God and this is why it goes wrong.
“Be anxious for nothing” means we can hand over everything to Him. You need not carry anything yourself. You can cast all your care upon Him; for He cares for you (1Pet 5:7). Is this not a relief? By saying to be anxious for nothing, not all has been said, because you can let all your requests be known to God. Here there is no limit, nor any restrictions. For God nothing really means nothing. So there is not a thing about which you can worry about. For God everything really means everything, and there is not a thing that you cannot place before Him.
Therefore rise up and tell him straight from the heart in your own words. He invites you to come to Him with “prayer and supplication”. Prayer is talking to God about all things imaginable. You can share with Him the most common everyday needs without any formality. To pray with supplication is to pray with urgency or with a strong desire. You do that when you are in trouble. You cry out not once but repeatedly.
Does this also include “thanksgiving”? Yes, because you speak to a God Who knows what is in your heart and you know what He has in His heart for you. You thank Him because you trust Him and know that He hears your prayers and supplications and that He will do something with it. You have been brought into union with the loving and almighty God through His grace and mercy. Can you think of anything greater? Can you imagine that something that happens in the world or in your life could upset Him?
No single event can shake His throne. Always each event will fit well into the fulfillment of His plans. Therefore you can thank Him in advance when you direct your prayers to Him; for you know that He will answer you in His grace, whatever the answer may be. I think you also sometimes thank someone you trust well in advance for a favor you are sure that he would oblige. You say thanks in advance for the attention and reaction. This is the way you are allowed to make all your worries known to God. You do this, of course not because He does not know it. You do this, because it relieves you, and you, free from all your worries, can continue to go your way rejoicing. What a God you have!
Do you always receive what you ask for? No? Thank God also for that. Do you really mean that you always ask only for useful things? It is as in a family. Normally a child dares to ask his father everything but the father does not give whatever the child asks. He gives only what is good and useful. The Father will give you only the good things. That is not the same as pleasant things, things that will make life a bit easier. He gives things that build up your character as a child of God, things that make your life on the earth as a Christian more and more conformed to the Lord Jesus. That is what you want, right?
Phil 4:7. If He does not give you what you ask for, then it has to do with the purpose He has for your life. Therefore He gives something else. He gives you His own peace that will guard your heart and mind. Guard means watch over, hold captive which implies safety and security. Again this is something really very big. That is much better than when He gives what we asked for, after we have whined for a very long time. Then you get what you wanted and possess what you desired. But it will not go well with your soul. You learn that from the history of Israel (Psa 106:15).
When we put our trust in Him we receive His peace. That is why Peter could sleep quietly in the prison while he knew that he would be killed (Acts 12:6). The assurance, that all the power on earth could not do any harm to him unless God allowed it, gave him peace. That goes well for you also. It does not state that our hearts will keep His peace. That is something we cannot do. It is the other way round; it is something that He does. “The peace of God” is as a shield for our hearts and minds so that they are preserved.
All sorts of thoughts that make you worried and anxious can come into your heart and mind. When you have said everything to God you receive His peace and your heart and mind are preserved, that is “in Christ Jesus” indeed. Christ is presented here as a fortress where you are safe and secure. It is a great grace that even our anxieties are used to fill us with this wonderful peace!
The ‘peace of God’ by the way is something different from the ‘peace with God’. The peace with God is something which is the result of faith in the Lord Jesus as the One Who solved the problem of sin by which a sinner is reconciled to God (Rom 5:1). The peace of God is the peace that God has as the One Who is above all circumstances. It is the peace of the Lord Jesus amid the circumstances which He calls “My peace” (Jn 14:27; Col 3:15).
Phil 4:8. If your heart is thus free from worries and the peace of God dwells in it then you can turn towards positive things. Paul puts it as a task. He assigns you to dwell or meditate on things that activate your intellectual capacity and engage yourself consciously with the things he lists here. You should meditate on these things while you are doing your daily work. That means that your thoughts are filled with these things, when you are in school and the teacher or a classmate is being bullied; or when in the workplace someone cracks a dirty joke or some obscene photos are hanging there; or when you are at home and have to clear out your dear children’s junk repeatedly.
Meditation on the things listed here cannot happen automatically. Your capacity to meditate on these things in your daily activities depends on what you read, hear and see in your free time. Your thought pattern is formed here. Therefore engage yourself with good things. Paul does not say what things you must not engage yourself with. He does not present this as a kind of law but in a way that builds up. He also does not suggest the power of positive thinking.
Whether or not you are listening to his exhortation will be shown up in your conversation and in your behavior. What you have inside of yourself will shine through. Although there can be difficulties in your life, when mishaps occur, it is still important that you engage yourself with what is good and lovely. Look especially at the Lord Jesus in Whom all these virtues are fully present.
1. “Whatever is true” is in the first place. When you meditate on this, lie has no chance.
2. The second is “whatever is honorable”. That speaks of dignity that befits what we are: kings and priests.
3. When you meditate on the third thing, “whatever is right”, you will handle according to the rules of what is right, in everything honest.
4. The fourth is “whatever is pure”. God had told Israel what animals they should eat (Lev 11). They were clean animals with certain characteristics. What you eat spiritually forms your character. We take up the character of the food that we eat. Let the Lord Jesus be your food (Jn 6:50-56).
5. The fifth is “whatever is lovely”, that means what is worthy to be loved. How do you think of your brothers and sisters? Do you see only the bad things or do you think also of the good things they have, which are worthy to be loved? With the Lord Jesus everything is graceful and worthy to be loved.
6. The sixth is “whatever is of good repute”. These are things which should be passed on as it is good to hear. There is no room for ill repute or gossip, or slander.
7. The seventh is “if there is any excellence”. The issue here is that you have an eye for spiritual courage to fight the good fight of faith. This is applicable both for you as well as for others. You can pull yourself down by holding the view that it is nothing at all and it is all meaningless. Then you become dejected. Remember everything that is done out of love for the Lord Jesus certainly makes sense.
8. The eighth and the last is “if there is anything worthy of praise”. It is important to have a spirit of praise, to consider that for which we can praise God. Despite much struggle, all weakness and failure, you have much to thank God for.
Phil 4:9. After the meditation of how to guide our thinking, there are also things to do, the application in the practical Christian life. For that the life of Paul is a practical example. With him there were no contradictions in his way of thinking, speaking and living. He gave not only doctrinal teachings but was involved with his whole being. He does not speak with a high hand, but from experience. If they would follow his example they would have the “God of peace” Himself as their Companion. The peace of God and the God of peace, what would you like to possess more?
Now read Philippians 4:6-9 again.
Reflection: Mention the blessings and exhortations found in these verses.
All Things Through Him Who Strengthens
Phil 4:10. The Lord was really enough for Paul. He had the peace of God in his heart and the God of peace was with him. That did not mean that he was insensitive to the attitude of the Philippian believers. The Lord indeed was with him in all his circumstances, and now Paul rejoices in the Lord over their loving care for him expressed in a very special way. They thought of him once again!
His gratitude is not primarily for their gift, but for their motive. It resembles a bit of an exhortation when he says “now at last”. But that’s not so. He knew that they did think of him, but they did not have the opportunity to let him know that. But now by the coming of Epaphroditus their thoughts of the beloved apostle had literally taken hands and feet. Their gift made it clear that they were thinking of him.
Phil 4:11. Paul hastened to add that he suffered no shortage. He did not want to give them any feeling of guilt as though they let him suffer in need with the delayed supply. He also wanted to avoid giving the impression that he depended on their gift. It is not easy to express deep gratitude and at the same time not to give the impression of being greedy (Acts 20:33). Those who learn to be content in all circumstances are not dependent on any one. It was a long process for Paul to learn this. Now he could say that he had learned it.
It is a lesson that we all need to learn: to be content and at the same time independent of people. There are people who have a lot of money and yet they are dissatisfied. It is because they never have enough as they seek to satisfy all their unquenchable desires. There are also others who have very little and yet are content. To be content literally means having enough (Heb 13:5; 1Tim 6:6-8). If you trust in God, you may count on God’s promise and be sure of your bread and water (Isa 33:16). When you are completely dependent on the Lord you are satisfied with what He sends you, whether it is deficit or abundance.
Phil 4:12. Paul could have a say on any situation. He had been through them all and therefore he knew them all. He knew to be abased. Sometimes you are in a situation where people revile you, mock you, and treat you as a malefactor or even as dirt, until at last you are reduced to nothing and there remains nothing to your credit (cp. 2Cor 11:24). He knew of an overflowing honor (Acts 14:11; Acts 28:6). He was initiated in all the situations of life as if it was the initiation in a secret. It is also a personal secret between a believer and God, that he will not be overwhelmed by all life’s situations.
He knew what it meant to be full and to be hungry. His experiences, instead of taking him far away from the Lord Jesus, brought him closer to Him. Amid all these he followed the Lord Jesus in His foot prints unlike many Christians today. Many perish either through saturation or through hunger. Both circumstances drive many away from the Lord. Agur spoke the following wise words as a prayer: “Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is my portion, that I not be full and deny [You] and say, “Who is the LORD?” Or that I not be in want and steal, and profane the name of my God” (Pro 30:8-9).
When a person is full he thinks he does not need God. In the countries of abundance in which we live this is the frightening reality. In the lives of countless people God has no place. Materialism is like a wedge between God and the believer. The Christian layer keeps on peeling more and more from what still bears the name ‘Christian’. Can you imagine in this light that Agur was afraid that he would deny God? Feel free to make his prayer your prayer.
The possibility is great that you can speak on being full and on having abundance. In general we swim in prosperity and luxury. The question is what impact do they have on your life? Ask yourself honestly whether they have brought you closer to the Lord, or have they taken you away from Him. Can you have a say on hunger and on what it is to suffer need? I think this possibility is low. And if someone is already suffering from hunger and want, the possibility is that it is the result of debt he himself made. Loans have been made so attractive today! This passage does not speak about this kind of hunger and need. Here we hear a man talking of his experience of hunger and need during the course of his work for God.
If you can have a say on hunger and need, then I hope that it is in this way. Then you will be able to draw support and courage here. Thus the Lord Jesus also suffered from hunger as he was led by the Spirit into the wilderness and was tempted by the devil (Mt 4:1-2). Paul followed his master not from a distance but closely. It is difficult to say something about things that you yourself have not gone through. Paul does not speak in the first person I without reason. You can only repeat what he says if it is a reality for you, even if your experience is only a weak form of his experience.
Maybe you are employed and you get a fixed income every month. There is nothing wrong with it. However it is quite difficult in such a case to be dependent on the Lord because you are so used to what is called income security. On the other side there is a spending pattern. In this we are now and then so used to it that we can no longer be open to the instructions of God to do something special for Him with a certain amount from our income. Or don’t you recognize this?
In order not to forget the consciousness of your dependence on God it is necessary that you put aside a certain portion of your income to the Lord as soon as you receive your money. How much? You may determine that yourself after consultation with the Lord. However it is important that you do it cheerfully (2Cor 9:7). If you are self-employed and have no fixed salary but an income that depends on your activities and your customers then you feel more the need to be dependent on the Lord. Then as a businessman you can even be more dependent on the Lord than some of the full time ministers who receive regular fixed gifts.
Phil 4:13. Paul was not in this category. His whole faith was fixed on the Lord Who gave him strength. Through Him he was able to do all what he writes here. The power by which he was able was the result of an ongoing fellowship with Christ, and a constant communion with Him. He lived in the knowledge that he could do nothing without the Lord Jesus (Jn 15:5). You can do nothing without Him, but everything with Him. He makes the big difference in everything.
In the Lord is the strength to live for His glory and without that the circumstances can have a negative impact. It is even so that every circumstance is an opportunity for the Lord to show what He is able to do if you live in communion with the Lord. Then your life is a testimony to His power. Especially in difficult circumstances you can show that He means everything to you. You can express your faith in Him. But to express your faith in Him means much more while you are really stuck in trouble than when you do it when the sky is blue all around.
For example if you have no money to buy bread, you are much more likely to take your refuge in Him, than when your bank account has sufficient funds and your refrigerator is full. When we speak about spiritual truth it carries no meaning unless there is a genuine change in our lives. The cars in the parking lots of our churches and other buildings where believers come together as well as our houses and their furnishings show where our heart is. When we talk about our dependence on Him and our desire to be with Him it can sound like hypocrisy.
I presume that you are longing to experience the power of the Lord in your daily activities. Then check your life, especially the areas where the Lord does not have His full control. That can be with regard to the books you read, the movies that you watch, your browsing habits on the internet, your appearance, your intelligence, your ambitions, your hobbies, your friends, your vacation, your outing, your work and even more. Have you handed all over to Him? Have you said: ‘Lord, do what you want to do with them and tell me what I should do with them.’? You will notice that the power of the Lord will start to fill your life as space is created for it.
Phil 4:14. After sharing his personal spiritual experiences with them he lets them know that he very much appreciates what they had done for him. They had done a good work (cp. Mk 14:6). It was not so much the gift itself that gave so much joy to Paul but rather the love for him and their attachment to him the gift spoke of.
By that they shared in his distress (Heb 10:34) and were not ashamed of it (2Tim 1:8; 16). That meant a great encouragement for him. Here you see again the intertwining of his strength in the Lord, through which he could do all things, with the power that gives encouragement to the fellow believers. Also you may know that you do not stand alone. The Lord and His people are around you.
Now read Philippians 4:10-14 again.
Reflection: What can you apply to yourself and what have you learnt more of the Lord from these verses?
Supply All Needs and Salutations
Phil 4:15. You have already seen that a special bond existed between Paul and the Philippians. Paul points out that this special relationship was visible in their support for him in the beginning of the gospel. He reflects on this beginning with joy after a gap of ten or more years.
That he had accepted money from them was something special. He wanted to be self-supporting and also wanted to support those who were with him (Acts 18:3; Acts 20:34). He accepted no money from other churches, for instance from the Corinthians (1Cor 9:12; 2Cor 11:7-10). Why did he refuse the gifts from them? Often money has relegated the servant of God to a servant of people. It can become a means by which a person who serves God can become a servant of people. People bribe and are bribed.
But Paul could not be bought for money. For instance he accepted no money from the Corinthians because it would have meant that he had stimulated their sense of honor. Those who serve God must constantly examine the motives when accepting money. Money should never tarnish the purity of the work that must be done only according to the mandate of God. Also when it is known that it is given with base motives it should not be accepted. These issues do not have a place in the relationship between Paul and the Philippians. Both the donor and the receiver did it for the Lord.
Phil 4:16. More than once Paul received gifts from the Philippians. He also recalls the times when he was in Thessalonica. Apparently he did not accept anything from the Thessalonians also. That was a new church and he did not want to give the impression that money played a role in the proclamation of the gospel. He wanted to maintain the relationship pure. There he worked for his maintenance (1Thes 2:9) and was also grateful for the gifts the Philippians sent him.
You cannot forget the manifestation of the grace of God when you keep it fresh in your mind. Otherwise it can happen to you as it happened with the Israelites. It was a miracle that the Israelites got manna day by day during the wilderness journey. But when it happened, everyday for decades, they forgot the wonder of it and began to get an aversion to the marvels of God. Such is man when he does not give the glory to God.
Phil 4:17. Paul gives the glory to God. Primarily his point is not the benefits he himself had of the gift. He was not looking for the next gift. His emphasis is mainly what the gift would add to them. While being grateful for the gift, his main concern was about the fruit for the giver. The gift is not only for the use of the receiver. It means also the spiritual fruit for the giver in whose account the fruit is credited. He did not seek theirs but they themselves (2Cor 12:14). Their material balance indeed has become smaller, but the balance in their spiritual account has increased. It is one of the principles of the kingdom of God that you will be spiritually enriched by giving your materials (2Cor 9:6; Pro 11:25).
Phil 4:18. To experience this you need faith which is the trust in God that He actually deals this way with what you give. Paul knows that God so works. Therefore he speaks almost in superlatives about what the Philippians had sent him through Epaphroditus. He used words such as “everything”, “full”, “abundance”. You may think: ‘That must have been a lot of money.’ But Paul does not mean that.
For sure, with the money he can manage for a time. But above all he has an abundance of gratitude in his heart. He is full of joy through this gift of love. The gift which indeed is the proof of their love was sent to him but he sees it as sacrifice to God. And what a sacrifice! It was “a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God”. It might sound too sublime a level of praise for such an earthly thing. Here a gift to someone is called a fragrant sacrifice to God. It is the same expression ‘fragrant aroma’ that is used for what the Lord Jesus brought on the cross (Eph 5:2). Here you can see the significance of a material sacrifice.
You can also see how very much they both belong to each other. You see the same in Hebrews 13 (Heb 13:15-16). There the sacrifice of praise and giving of thanks and the sharing and doing good are called in the same breath. Your giving attitude must be properly upgraded in this light.
Phil 4:19. The Philippians had given something to Paul. I presume it was money; for it is not said what the gift consisted of. In any case they literally lessened what they had and yet they suffered no loss. On the contrary it brought spiritual gain. You must know this by experience in order to understand the truth of it. Yes, this letter is the letter of Christian experience. Well, there is more experience coming.
Paul gives the Philippians something of what he had experienced himself. He has received something from the Philippians. Now he has something for them, something very personal, that he wants to send as gift. What he sends as gift is more than a wish. It is an assurance. He knew from personal experience that God would do it, and therefore he calls Him “my God”. This God whom he knew personally through all his circumstances would provide for them.
You see, you can say this to another only when you have experienced it yourself. This God had supplied all his needs, and He would also supply all their needs. God knows all the needs of His people. He makes sure that they are supplied. For this He uses His children, and sometimes even non-believers, the ‘raven’, as in the case of Elijah (1Kgs 17:4). Everyone and everything is available to Him and He uses everything He wants whether they are aware of it or not.
And how will God supply? Not sparsely, but according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Is there a limit? All the wealth of God is found in the glory of Christ Jesus. He is the Creator and Sustainer of all things and of all that lives. Paul knows that God gives out this wealth to those who give to another in the cause of His work. What God gives is not according to the needs of His people but according to His riches.
How blessed are you! You cannot invest your property in a better way than to give it away in this manner. What you get back for this is remarkably stable and independent of all the earthly economic tides. In Malachi 3 God challenges you to throw yourself on the promise that He will return much more than you give (Mal 3:10; Pro 19:17).
Phil 4:20. Paul concludes his thanks for the gift and for the blessing that was lying in wait for the Philippians with a communal song of praise of God. He makes the Philippians one in mind with himself and wishes our God and Father the glory forever and ever. Praise is the result from some material given from one to another!
This is quite different from all the charities in this world which always revolves around people. Donation behavior is investigated, statistics compiled, begging letters are sent, and the names of donors are published together with the amounts. Everything revolves around the honor of people. Brochures are distributed in abundance to persuade people to transfer their will and money as gift for a good cause. Organizations pay for mentioning their names in the brochure hoping to get a piece of the cake.
It should not be so in the church. What is given to our God in secret, He will repay (Mt 6:3-4) because it gives glory to Him now and for eternity. So it is, Amen!
Phil 4:21. Paul concludes his letter with some greetings. The believers in Philippi were all equally dear to him. He had no preference. He greets every saint and among them were the two women who could not get along (Phil 4:2). Besides being spiritually minded he was aware of his connection to every saint in Christ Jesus. This fits in with this letter in which he exhorts that everyone should esteem others better than himself (Phil 2:3).
Phil 4:22. There is a relationship not only between Paul and the believers in Philippi, but there is a relationship between the brethren who are with Paul and the Philippians, and between all the saints and the Philippians. Many believers had never seen each other. The greetings give expression to the inter connectedness that existed in Christ Jesus.
It is nice to read that even in Caesar’s household there were people who had heard the loving voice of God. The gospel produced fruit in that place also. We do not know what positions these saints in Caesar’s household held. In any case it should definitely be an encouragement to pray for all who are in authority (1Tim 2:1-4).
Phil 4:23. Paul ends his letter to them with the wish that the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with their spirit. Grace is the hallmark of God. You owe everything to it and you are constantly dependent on it. It is the fountain of all the goodness in your life. It is the source of all that you are allowed to do for the Lord. Grace is here connected with the full name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
He is your ‘Lord’; He is ‘Jesus’ Who was on the earth in humility; He is ‘Christ’ Who is now in glory. You saw it all in this letter. Paul wishes that your spirit may be constantly filled with all that is written in this letter. Then your life will be focused on one purpose: on the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Now read Philippians 4:15-23 again.
Reflection: Name a few things of the riches of God in glory in Christ Jesus. Praise Him that He supplies all your needs according to these riches.
Kingcomments on the Whole Bible © 2021 Author: G. de Koning. All rights reserved. Used with the permission of the author
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de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Philippians 4". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Fifth Week after Easter