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Philippians

May 17, 2009

Background

I. Introduction Phil. 1:1-26

  1. Hi and Thanks for the Memories                          Phil. 1:1-6
  2. I Love You and Pray for You                               Phil. 1:7-11
  3. My Work is Going Well                                            Phil. 1:12-18
  4. I Hope to see You Again Soon                               Phil. 1:19-26
  5. Regardless, Stand Firm                                                Phil. 1:27-30

II. Be Christ-like Phil. 2:1-18

  1. Have the Presence of Christ                                 Phil. 2:1-4
  2. Have the Humility of Christ                                 Phil. 2:5-11
  3. Have the Purpose of Christ                                  Phil. 2:12-18

III. Valued Friends/Fellow Workers Phil. 2:19-30

  1. Timothy                               Phil. 2:19-24
  2. Epaphroditus                    Phil. 2:25-30

IV. Your Guide for Standing Firm Phil. 3:1-4:1

  1. Rejoice in Christ but Keep Watch Phil. 3:1-6
  2. Know Christ and Forget Your Past Phil. 3:7-11
  3. Persevere for Christ and Visualize the Future Phil. 3:12-4:1

V. Live God’s Peace Phil. 4:2-9

  1. Be Unified                      Phil. 4:2-3
  2. Rejoice Always            Phil. 4:4-7
  3. Do Right                          Phil. 4:8-9

VI. Continue Sharing Phil. 4:10-23

  1. The Opportunity for Sharing                      Phil. 10-13
  2. The Importance of Sharing                         Phil. 4:14-17
  3. The Benefits of Sharing                                 Phil. 4:18-20

VII. Closing Phil. 4:21-23

Background

Most scholars believe this letter was written from Rome during Paul’s imprisonment

there. They do not specify which imprisonment, the first or second. Most scholars

believe this letter was written during his first imprisonment in Rome [as do I]. It is

presumed also that Paul was eventually released from his first imprisonment

and martyred during a second imprisonment. You can read any good Bible

Commentary or Dictionary and get a variety of viewpoints along with the rational for

each.  I am of the viewpoint that this letter was indeed written from Rome during

his   first imprisonment. I also speculate along with others that Philippi was the

home of Doctor Luke [some say Antioch]. It is known that Philippi was a Medical

Center. Luke came into the picture in Acts 16 when Paul received the vision to visit

Macedonia. Philippi was the first city visited in Macedonia, followed by Thessalonica

and Berea. I believe Luke met Paul in Troas and became a believer. There is nothing

written about Luke’s conversion. Luke would have had to write it and he preferred to

let his actions do the talking. Because of Luke’s belief and influence, Paul received

the vision to go into Macedonia. Luke was a doctor and became Paul’s personal

physician as a result of Paul’s “thorn in the flesh”. Luke did not accompany Paul

beyond Philippi on that Second Missionary Journey but met up with him again during

his Third Missionary Journey just before Paul left for Jerusalem. Luke accompanied

Paul to Jerusalem, stayed with him during Paul’s imprisonment at Caesarea, and

sailed with him to Rome. He stayed with Paul in Rome or at least was with Paul some

of the time. Luke’s account in The Acts ends after Paul’s initial hearings were

completed. Luke is not mentioned much after that. He is mentioned in Colossians,

Philemon, and II Timothy. Colossians and Philemon were written during Paul’s first

imprisonment in Rome and I believe II Timothy was written during Paul’s second

imprisonment. So Luke could easily have come and gone several times during Paul’s

imprisonments and probably did not accompany Paul on his Fourth Missionary

Journey for whatever reason.

This all makes very good sense to me except for the fact that Luke is not

mentioned in this letter to the Philippians. That would have been his home church

assuming Luke spent as much time there as he did with Paul. Philippians is such

a personal letter I can not imagine Paul not mentioning him. So perhaps Luke

was from somewhere else. Or Luke actually spent much more of his time in Paul’s

company than at Philippi commencing with Paul’s trip to Jerusalem at the end

of his Third Missionary Journey.

All of this is pure speculation, of course. This scenario developed as I was

leading a Sunday School class in a chronological study of the New Testament.

And I still favor it after rereading several writings and backgrounds on the

Epistles in preparation for this book. One day we will know the correct sequence.

Today this does not matter. It is meaningless to the real message. It is interesting

to speculate but it is not important. Please do not let this background writing

sidetrack you from what the Lord is teaching you through Paul’s letter to the

Philippians.

Reading this letter through from beginning to end several times will cause

you to sense a main theme, that of rejoicing in the Lord. That theme can be

expressed in many ways such as:

  1. Philippians; Learning to Live and Rejoice.
  2. Let’s Talk about You; Rejoice.
  3. My Advice to You; Rejoice.
  4. Resting and Rejoicing in Christ Jesus.
  5. Rest, Rejoice, Relate, Restore, and Remember.

In another sense, it’s a love letter. Paul’s personal tone shows forth his love

for the Philippians and their faith. It contains words of guidance and encouragement

but no correction. Even its’ teaching is done with gentleness.

Introduction                                                                          Philippians 1:1-30

I have looked at the introduction as being more than the first two verses

containing Paul’s traditional greeting. I have the sense that one of the reasons

for this letter is that Paul is preparing the Philippians for his passing.

Hi and Thanks for the Memories                             Phil. 1:1-6

Paul writes but Timothy is included so the word servant is used in place of

apostle. He writes to the church [saints] and also to the leadership indicating

that this church was fairly large by comparison and well organized.

Paul thanks the Philippians for the memories, has joy because of their partnership

in the gospel, and expresses confidence in their sanctification. Memories of

faithfulness are a living testimony of hope for our life’s journey. We all need

them. Cherish them.

I Love You and Pray for You                                      Phil.1: 7-11

Paul expresses his love for the Philippians because they share in the grace

of God regardless of circumstances. His love for them approaches his love for

Christ. He prays that their love for Christ would grow in knowledge and understanding,

that they would be discerning right from wrong, and that they would be a multiplying

light for all to see until the Lord returns.

Application-wise, we must make a conscious daily effort to love Christ more

and love others more; thereby growing more productive for the sake of Christ.

My Work is going Well                                                   Phil. 1:12-18

Paul explains that his imprisonment is God’s will. Because of Paul’s imprisonment,

the gospel of Jesus Christ is well known throughout the palace guard and others

[in Rome and probably even other churches] have picked up the slack and have

been encouraged to speak out with boldness. In others words, Paul’s imprisonment

is helping advance the Kingdom of God.

He recognizes that some have wrong motives, personal motives, and are preaching

to advance their own worth as much as the gospel. But the advance of the gospel

is more important than motives. If only we would think more that way today.

We are quick to criticize others, and rightly so, but in doing so we must be

sure we are advancing the gospel and not hindering it. The gospel always has

priority. If the gospel is being preached, rejoice and be glad. Don’t let your

own self-righteousness get in the way.

Remember, our own circumstances provide unique opportunities to serve Him.

Our placement is not by our choice but by His choice. This is an important truth,

especially when we are disappointed with life. Always look for and take advantage

of opportunities to serve Him. Your disappointments will be small in comparison

to the joy you will give and be given.

I Hope to see You again Soon                                       Phil. 1:19-26

Because of the Philippians’ prayers and his sense of the Holy Spirit’s leading,

Paul anticipates being delivered. He doesn’t know if that will happen through

life or death but regardless, Christ will be exalted. Living means the opportunity

to further minister and be fruitful. Dying means he will see Christ faced to

face. He senses, however, that he will be able to minister a little longer and

others will be able to rejoice in seeing the hand of the Lord at work.

You see, we are always glorified when attached to the Righteous Vine, either

bearing fruit or in intimate worship and praise.

Regardless, Stand Firm                                        Phil. 1:27-30

In many ways this section of the letter is a transition between the first

26 verses and the next chapter. It could be included with either. Here he begins

to instruct the Philippians in how to live regardless of what happens to him.

They are to be obedient so as to stand firm in the faith. They are not to be

afraid of opposition but recognize that it sets them apart unto salvation. They

must accept the fact that they have been called to suffer as Paul has and as

Christ did.

Rest in the Lord and rejoice. Paul did. The Philippians were so instructed.

We should do likewise for Christ cares for us

In closing out this section of scripture, allow me to divert your attention

in a different direction. Paul had a vibrant ministry and there are several

characteristics of such a ministry hidden in Chapter 1. I have listed these

below for your perusal.

philippians_vibrant_ministry

One can also divide the chapter into five different themes. That is, Paul

gives thanks, expresses love, offers prayer, communicates, and expresses hope

to the Philippians. We are to do likewise, encouraging one another by investing

in these five “mutual funds”. Doing so provides Christ with a maximum

return and you with great joy.

Be Christ-like                                                                                      Philippians 2:1-18

Have the Presence of Christ                               Phil. 2:1-4

We can sense the presence of Christ in our lives by being united with Him,

accepting of His love, and worshipping in the Spirit. The result is encouragement,

comfort, fellowship, and tender compassionate hearts. This was the source of

Christ’s power; united [one] with the Father, knowing the Father loved Him [“this

is my beloved son”], and fellowship through prayer. Without such, Christ

would not have been able to do the will of God. This type of unity between man

and God and between men brings great joy because we are like-minded. We understand

that we are His children, that He cares for us and loves us, and that He wants

what is best for us. We have the same purpose, to glorify His name.

We are to not only sense His presence [vs. 1] but we are to also possess His

presence [vs. 2] and desire to share His presence [vs.3-4]. We are to be sensitive

to the special gifts God has given each of us. We are to use them to benefit

others and not ourselves. We are to be Christ-like in all ways. We are not to

be selfish or vain. Humility is to be evident in that we will consider others

better than ourselves and we become more interested in others than in ourselves.

Without humility, it is impossible to bring real joy to anyone. Real JOY is:

Jesus first, Others second, and Yourself last. We are to live according to these

Divine principles, practicing the presence of Christ through the Holy Spirit

in unity and love.

Have the Humility of Christ                             Phil. 2:5-11

The humility of Christ is to be our example. His humility is defined in verses

5-8 and rewarded in verses 9-11. The same is true for us, being united with

Christ and in Christ. We are His children.

In verses 5-8 we see that ones “position” is given. It is not gained

based on works. It is attained by the grace of God. God/Jesus Christ lowered

Himself to our level, “walking in our moccasins”, for the purpose

of serving us. We are to do likewise in that we have been chosen as His children

to serve others on behalf of His Kingdom. It may even involve accepting blame

and punishment for others’ wrongdoing. After all, that is what Christ came to

do for us.

In verses 9-11 we see that God rewards those who humble themselves for the

sake of others. God exalts the humble and gives them a name that is remembered.

That’s what happened to Christ. God desires to say ‘well done thou good and

faithful servant” and to reward us in heaven with a special name known

only to Him [Rev. 2:17].

Jesus sits at the right hand of God and one day every knee will bow in worship

to Him. We too will be given responsibilities in heaven according to our commitment

to serve Him on earth. Our foremost responsibility will be to praise His Name

in worship. We are more apt to be recognized as servants than as masters. For

example, most of our churches and schools are named for people who served their

fellow man. We tend to remember those who served us and forget those who ruled

over us. Our name is remembered, recognized, and honored on earth as we humble

ourselves in service to others. Our name is remembered, recognized, and honored

in heaven as we humble ourselves in service to the will of God.

The results of our lives are eternal, not temporal. Our real honor comes only

after suffering, sacrifice, and death on behalf of others in the name of Jesus.

Look upon your work as a service and humbly perform it to the best of your ability.

You are remembered more for who you are [humble servant] than what you are [position.

possessions, power].

Have the Purpose of Christ                  Phil. 2:12-18

Now that we have the presence of Christ and are practicing the humility of Christ,

we can accomplish the purpose of Christ. To do so requires obedience on our

part so that we and others can know Christ, grow in Christ, and glorify Christ.

This is the work of Christ; to be a witness of His love and the gospel. We are

called to accomplish His purpose. Thus we have the phrase “work out your

salvation”. These words are rather awkward and do not mean we are to find

salvation or to figure out how we may be saved. He has accomplished that on

the cross. It is by grace through faith in Him that we receive salvation. There

is no other way or name by which we can be saved. The Greek word for work means

to accomplish or to finish. He has “begun a good work in us” and we

have a responsibility to carry out His purpose. Because He loved us and we love

Him, we serve Him. We are to work hard on behalf of Him; with fear and trembling.

It will not be easy but it is necessary and we are to do it with joy.

His work requires that we be attractive to others by our good works; by our

honesty, justness, patience, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, trustworthyness,

love, gentleness, self control, etc. Other Epistles have long lists of what

to do and what not to do so that we Christians will be recognized for what we

believe, drawing people to hear the gospel message. This is Christ’s way of

setting us apart for His work, His glory.

The Philippians’ work on behalf of Christ gives Paul reason to rejoice. Paul’s

work/ministry was not in vain. The Philippians are to rejoice too.

We are to rejoice and encourage one another because of the ministry Christ

has given us to accomplish. Let us work hard and not faint or become weary.

Let us work/minister together, singing joyful praise to His name for we have

been chosen to accomplish the purpose of Christ.

Valued Friends/Fellow Workers                                      Philippians 2:19-30

Timothy                                           Phil. 2:19-24

In verses 19-21 we see Paul describing a loving and humble friend who brings

joy to his heart. Timothy has a heart to serve others, taking a personal interest

in their welfare. He is a humble servant who puts Christ’s ministry and purpose

above his own interests. His purpose is to be there for others, ignoring his

own needs.

In verses 22-24 Timothy is described as a faithful friend. This has been proved

over time. Paul and Timothy have had a father-son relationship built on respect

for one another resulting in an effective team on behalf of Christ.

Paul desires to share Timothy with the Philippians because, although confident,

he realizes he may not be able to visit with them personally. Personal visits

are preferred but sending Timothy is the next best thing in keeping open and

clear lines of communication open between Paul and the Philippians.

Epaphroditus                                 Phil. 2:25-30

In verses 25-26 we see Paul describing Epaphroditus as a caring and concerned

fellow-worker. He evidently is from Philippi and was sent from the church with

a gift for Paul. It was probably money in that Paul is in prison and is not

able to work at his trade. It could also have included medical supplies in that

Luke does not appear to be with Paul at this time. As we shall see later, Paul

had a need and the Philippian church met that need by sending a gift to Paul,

including Epaphroditus.

Epaphroditus just didn’t stop in for a quick visit. He stayed and helped with

the ministry. If fact he worked so hard that he became ill and almost died.

He was spared only by God’s mercy on him and on Paul. Upon his return, Paul

requests that the Philippians make sure to honor him because of his service

to God. He did far more than was expected of him, even risking his life. Epaphroditus

is truly a devoted servant of the living God.

We should be able to identify people in our lives that are like these two friends

and fellow workers. We are to befriend people because we have a genuine interest

in their behalf and not from a sense of duty or conscience. We are to commit

ourselves to His ministry and the betterment of others for the long haul. True

friendship is a gift, a calling; it is obedience to Christ. Our friendship should

be based on Agape love [sacrificial] and not on Philo love [tit for tat] or

Eros love [what’s in it for me]. Being a friend/fellow worker requires sacrifice,

genuineness, servant-hood, obedience, sharing, faithfulness, support, respect,

and longevity.

Friends are important. They fulfill our need to communicate and share with

one another, enabling us to encourage one another, care for one another, and

rejoice together. Friends are for sharing with others so that others may benefit

from their giftedness. Open circles, not cliques, breed growth and increase

value providing greater opportunities to minister to the needs of others.

Let us be a friend and fellow worker just like Timothy and Epaphroditus.

Your Guide for Standing Firm                                          Philippians 3:1-4:1

Rejoice in Christ but Keep Watch                        Phil. 3:1-6

Actually there are three things mentioned in these verses. They are: a.] rejoice

in the Lord, b.] recognize evil doers, and c.] reject personal pride.

Paul emphasizes rejoicing in the Lord; a commandment. Paul is rejoicing so

why not us? Joy and ministry complement one another. We minister because we

are joyful. We are joyful because we are ministering in the name of Christ.

Rejoicing is a safeguard for our faith because a good offense is the best defense.

Rejoicing involves worship, glorying in Christ Jesus, and ignoring the world

around us. We rejoice because we are sinners saved by grace and are called to

do His will.

In our rejoicing we must keep watch for evil doers. Using Paul’s descriptions,

we can conclude the following:

Evil Doers [Humanists} Righteous [Christians]
Destroys mankind
Woships for show/tradition
Glories in self
Workaholics
Restores mankind
Woships in Spirit/humble
Glories in Christ
Confidence in self -Confidence in Christ
Prayaholics

The evil doers were known as Judahizers in Paul’s day. Today we would call

them Humaninsts. They are oppressive, controlling, deceitful, stealers, selfish,

power mongers, and boastful. Contrast them with the Righteous in Christ who

preach Christ’s message of salvation and redemption, support freedom, practice

sharing and serving others, and provide hope. The Humanists have faith in their

own works. The Righteous have faith in Christ’s work on the cross.

Any source of personal pride is to be rejected. Paul had all possible “tickets

punched” and was considered perfect by Jewish law but not by God’s law.

We must not place our faith/confidence in our birth, our heritage, our schooling,

our church affiliation, our personal ambition, our personal accomplishments,

or our career. They will lead us down the wrong path, the path of evil doers.

Place you faith/confidence in Jesus Christ alone. Imitate Him. He is the way

to abundant life on earth and eternal life with God in heaven.

Know Christ and Forget your Past                       Phil. 3:7-11

Paul makes it very clear that his life before Christ was worthless. In fact

it was a negative. He preached a false message and pointed people in the wrong

direction, away from God and His Son, Jesus Christ. He states that there is

nothing more important than knowing Christ. His past has been jettisoned in

favor of knowing Christ and having faith in His righteousness and not in the

Law. Paul has a desire to know five things: a.] to know Christ, b.] to know

the power of His resurrection, c.] to know the fellowship of sharing in His

sufferings, d.] to become like Christ, and e.] to be resurrected from the dead.

Paul desires to be intimate with Christ even to the point of experiencing the

same things Christ experienced. To suffer for Christ is to know Christ. To be

resurrected with Christ is to be empowered by Him. He wants to be like Christ

in every way.

We should have the same goals and similar motivation. We are to have a righteous

zeal to know Christ, to preach Christ, and to live for Christ. Such a focus

guarantees we will experience the power of His resurrection. God has promised

as much. A great and wondrous day lies ahead for all who believe in His name.

We are to forget our past and focus on Him. It is a key to standing firm in

the Faith.

Persevere for Christ and Visualize the Future                 Phil. 3:12-4:1

Even though Paul is in prison he is continuing to persevere in the Lord’s

ministry and the Lord is continuing His sanctification process. He is not dead

yet so he continues to work as he has in the past. He never looks back, only

forward. His eyes are focused on the prize, meeting Jesus Christ face to face

in heaven. He is following the example he has taught. He is practicing what

he has preached. He is living for what he has been given and been promised,

eternal life. It is the mark of maturity in Christ.

Paul is asking that the Philippians follow his example because there are many

who refuse the gospel and are enemies of Christ. They who refuse the gospel

are on the path to destruction, hell. They think only of their current needs and

desires and will do anything to fulfill those desires. The end is more important

than the means. In other words, any means is acceptable to attain their desires/lust.

As Christians, we are citizens of heaven. We eagerly await Christ’s return

when all things will come under His control. He will complete our transformation

by giving us heavenly bodies and we will be like Him. What a day that will be

for we who believe and place our faith in Him.

Paul closes this section expressing his love for the Philippians and stating

that they should follow these guidelines to remain firm in their faith. Therefore,

we too must take these instructions to heart. We are to rejoice in Him for all

He has done for us. We are to seek to know Christ on a more intimate level.

And we are to continue working on His behalf. We must never relax but keep our

focus on Him and His ministry. Retirement is not a part of the Christian life.

We are needed and we are wanted here. We haven’t reached home yet. But when

we do, we shall be like Him; transformed and glorified. Oh that will be Glory!

Live God’s Peace                                                                         Philippians 4:2-9

Be Unified                                     Phil. 4:2-3

Evidently Paul has received information that two of the Philippians church

women are quarreling. He pleads with them [publicly with this letter] to put

their differences aside and asks the other church members to help mediate and

create an atmosphere of peace. These women were fellow workers of Paul in proclaiming

the gospel message in Philippi. They may have been expressing their differences

in how to minister. How many times do we act in a similar manor? But it was

and is disruptive to the Church and its’ witness. A unified witness is critical

for the gospel to move forward and to keep from undoing what has been accomplished.

Unity in Christ is an important part of our witness of Christ’s gospel message.

Lack of unity means that God’s people are no different than anybody else; that

His church is no different than any other civic organization. But we are called

to be different; to be in the world but not of the world. Our message is to

be one of unity, focus, purpose, honesty, integrity, gentleness, goodness, patience

etc. Unity is what sets us apart. It makes the gospel attractive. Church denominations

must proclaim their unity to the gospel, to Christ’s incarnation, to Christ’s

work and de-emphasize their differences on minor doctrines. It’s OK to be different

but being different must not overshadow our unity in Christ and His work. Unity

in Christ and for Christ draws attention to the Peace that Christ has to offer.

Rejoice Always                                    Phil. 4:4-7

To create an atmosphere of unity, rejoice in the Lord always. Focus on rejoicing

in the Lord and not on petty differences. Gentleness will rule over strife and

frustration. Give thanks by bringing everything before the Lord in prayer. Rejoice

and give thanks. It promotes God’s peace. They disarm disagreements and enable

us to focus on Christ and His work.

There is nothing that extinguishes disagreements faster in the workplace than

a smile and a pat on the back [thanks]. It works in the world and it works in

the Church. Practice these principles and reap the rewards of unity and peace.

God expects this from His people.

Do Right                                                  Phil. 4:8-9

Paul encourages us to think of what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and

what is admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. I other words, live on a higher

plane [reference Titus 2-3 for more detail]. Be a witness of Christ that will

attract attention because He is a God of Grace, Peace, and Unity.

Paul draws attention to his own personal example when he ministered among

them. He says “Be like me” and put it into practice. If you can’t

understand what I’m trying to tell you, remember how I acted among you. You

will then have the peace of God.

In summary; seek unity, rejoice in the Lord, give thanks, pray, and do what

is right/just. Follow these principles and your light will shine brightly for

the Lord. You will be His witnesses and His name will be glorified. Unbelievers

are looking for temporal and eternal fellowship that exhibits unity, that is

filled with joy and happiness, and which promotes what is right and just. That

exists in the body of Christ, His Church, and in those who place their faith

in the risen Christ for salvation. Remember, this is what He died for and this

is what we live for. Thanks be to God.

Continue Sharing                                                                   Philippians 4:10-23

The Opportunity for Sharing                                   Phil. 4:10-13

Evidently it had been some time since the Philippians had given Paul personally

any support. Paul was, no doubt, on their mind but they either had not availed

themselves of the opportunity or were unable to do such. Perhaps there was not

a safe way to give and send a gift until Epaphroditus was traveling to Rome

on behalf of the Philippians’ church.

Paul was a full time minister and knew what it meant to be in need. He also

knew to be content with what he had. He was a servant of God and God was taking

care of him. He was not anxious. He was faithful to his calling and was wholly

committed to Christ. He was confident of Christ’s faithfulness and strength

each and every moment.

This is a good lesson for each one of us. We must take advantage of the opportunities

afforded us to support those who have been called into full time Christian service.

We who have been called to other vocations have a responsibility to support

those who have been called into full time ministry. We are to support, encourage,

be involved, weep, and rejoice in the service of the King.

The Importance of Sharing                                       Phil. 4:14-17

Paul is grateful to the Philippians church for their past gifts. Evidently

it was done early in Paul’s ministry, probably during his second missionary

journey. Sharing is good and proper. In fact it is an honor. It fulfills the

commandment to bear one anothers burdens. We acknowledge the gift received

but note that the giver is acknowledged even more. The gift is appreciated but

the giver is laying up treasure in heaven. Regardless of the size of the gift

given, acknowledge the giver before God.

We need to show support for those we know in full time ministry. It is important

because it eases burdens and worry. It increases the faith and improves the

focus of the giver and the receiver. It’s a form of communication saying “you

are valued and we are concerned and interested in your well-being”. Those

receiving can then concentrate on fulfilling their calling and not worry. It

enables them to “always rejoice”.

The Benefits of Sharing                                                Phil. 4:18-20

Paul is more than satisfied with the gifts Epaphroditus brought. They were

accepted with graciousness. They were acknowledged as an offering to God and

as a sacrifice for God on behalf of God. They were pleasing to God. Sharing

is a blessed form of worship. These good gifts are not necessarily money but

many times are warm bodies doing a necessary labor that can not be done by anyone

else. In other words, sharing can also be a gifted labor of love. Short term

missionary journeys doing medical and dental work, teaching English, building

buildings etc. jump-starts Christ’s ministry in a new area.

Note that Paul expresses confidence in God meeting the needs of the givers.

There is no question that this will happen. Receivers are to lift up the givers

before the Lord in prayer. Both givers and receivers are blessed and the work

of the Lord is accomplished. It is done for His glory and His purpose.

In summary then, giving/sharing bestows love enabling one to receive love.

Giving/sharing is true worship if done properly. God is an important part of

each gift. Give Him His rightful place in the process. Acknowledging the gift

is also an act of worship. The best gifts are those which are unexpected and

for which we aren’t worthy.

The Philippians knew of Paul’s needs through visits and letters and went about

filling them. To be a minister sharing with others, put your self in their place

by visiting them. Look for and assess their needs. Then go about fulfilling

those needs. Personalize your giving and sharing. One is more apt to be concerned,

to show love and support, to provide encouragement, and to get involved with

a person than with an organization.

Closing                                                                             Philippians 4:21-23

Greetings are important and they are exchanged. Note that Paul greets the

Philippians from many in Caesar’s household. So we know that Paul’s ministry

was effective even in prison. Remember that Paul stated that “his work

was going well” in Chapter 1. Paul closes this letter very simply, without

a lot of fanfare or names. He simply requests that the grace of the Lord be

with their spirit. One could say a lot more but that statement covers it all.

God’s grace is sufficient.

Rejoice always for God’s grace is sufficient.

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