1. In our study of Philippians, we come to point where Paul tells us why he wrote this epistle
2. In these verses we find an expression of Paul's gratitude - Philippians 4:10-23
3. In these concluding verses, there are a number of notable things I would like to emphasize
A. AS DESCRIBED BY PAUL
1. Notice especially verses 10, 14-18
2. Clearly they demonstrated an on-going support and concern for the apostle
a. When Paul first departed from Macedonia, they shared with him
b. Even before leaving Macedonia, while still in Thessalonica, they sent aid on several occasions
c. Now at last, while in Rome, they sent a gift by the hands of Epaphroditus
B. WHAT A WONDERFUL PICTURE OF FELLOWSHIP BETWEEN A CHURCH AND A PREACHER!
1. The kind that ought to exist today!
2. Where churches and preachers continue to maintain their fellowship in the gospel of Christ as the need calls for it, long after the preacher has gone on to other works
3. How sad, that in many cases preachers leave a congregation in such a way that there is no desire on the part of the congregation to maintain such fellowship!
A. AS EXPRESSED BY PAUL
1. His expression of thanks was not to hint that he was in great need - Philippians 4:11a
2. This contentment was something he had learned - Philippians 4:11b-12
B. WHAT WAS THE KEY TO PAUL'S CONTENTMENT?
1. As expressed in Philippians 4:13, it involved strength given by the Lord
a. Who enabled him to be content whether full or hungry?
b. Who enabled him to be content whether abounding or in need
2. Part of this strength from the Lord may have been the proper perspective of Paul
a. The proper perspective about life and death - Philippians 1:21-24
b. The proper perspective about the true necessities in life - 1 Timothy 6:6-8
A. THERE IS INDEED WONDERFUL POWER AVAILABLE FOR THE CHRISTIAN!
1. As Paul indicates, this power enables one to do all things necessary in serving the Lord - Philippians 4:13
2. We learn more about this wonderful power in Paul's epistle to the Ephesians:
a. It is power about which Paul wanted them to know - Ephesians 1:18-19
b. It is power that is in accordance with the power used to raise Jesus from the dead, and to seat Him at the right hand of God! - Ephesians 1:19-21
c. It is the power of the Holy Spirit, dwelling in the Christian - Romans 8:11-14
d. He prayed that God would strengthen the Ephesians with such power, which is described as being able to accomplish great things - Ephesians 3:16,20-21
3. In other words, with the Spirit as the instrumental agent, God and Christ enables the Christian to do all that he or she is required to do!
B. THE RAMIFICATION OF THIS POWER
1. We are not alone in our efforts to work out our own salvation - Philippians 2:12-13
2. There is no excuse for not doing what God desires!
3. When we fall, it is usually a problem of the will, not the ability! (unlike those outside of Christ, where it is a problem of ability - Romans 7:18, 22-25)
4. For Christians who sin knowingly, it is not that they CAN'T do the will of God, but they WON'T!
a. Of course, because we have imperfect knowledge, we may sometimes sin ignorantly, and therefore are always in need of the cleansing blood of Jesus – 1 John 1:7-9
b. But when we know the will of God, there are no excuses for not doing it!
A. AS DEFINED BY PAUL
1. These are riches in glory which God supplies by Jesus Christ - Philippians 4:19
a. One must be in Christ to enjoy these riches
b. Indeed, in Christ is the realm in which God provides every spiritual blessing - Ephesians 1:3-13
2. But God provides not only spiritual needs, but all your needs
a. Which includes the necessities of life, like food and clothing
b. As Jesus Himself taught in Matthew 6:30-33
B. WITH RICHES LIKE THESE
1. How can we not be content?
2. We have an abundance of spiritual blessings, and an assurance of physical needs, how could we ever be less than satisfied?
A. AS READ HERE IN PHILIPPIANS
1. Paul first sends his greetings - Philippians 4:21a
2. The brethren with him send their greetings - Philippians 4:21b
3. Then all the saints...especially those who are of Caesar's household send their greetings - Philippians 4:22
B. THE SIMPLE ACT OF GREETING CAN SERVE AN IMPORTANT FUNCTION
1. Clearly, Paul thought so - Romans 16:3-16, 21-23
2. Some possible benefits of greeting one another:
a. Greeting one another expresses our love and appreciation for one another
b. Greeting one another frequently (in letter or in person) nourishes the relationship we have as brethren in Christ
3. Note that Paul desired to greet every saint in Christ Jesus; no room for favoritism here! - Philippians 4:21
4. How we greet or not others in our assemblies reveals a lot about ourselves
a. Either that we are caring and loving without partiality
b. Or cold and insensitive, except to those in our clique!
1. Such are some the things we can glean from a simple thank-you note
a. The Philippians' generosity
b. Paul's contentment
c. Christ's power
d. God's riches
e. The saints' greetings
2. What this reveals is the high quality of life experienced by those in Christ!
a. Who despite the sort of circumstances faced by Paul
b. Could still feel and write such a letter as the epistle to the Philippians!
3. As we close this study on this wonderful epistle, I leave with you two words: Glory and Grace
a. "Now to our God and Father be GLORY forever and ever. Amen." - Philippians 4:20
b. "The GRACE of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen." - Philippians 4:23
4. Have you received the wonderful GRACE of our Lord in your life, by obeying His gospel? Are you living so as to offer GLORY to God, both in word and deed?
5. May such portions of God's Word like the Epistle to the Philippians inspire you to do both!
-- Don Treadway, March 2009 --