Philippians 4:1-23

Philippians 4:1-23 July 20, 2019

Paul’s  Closing Chapter, final encouragement and prayer

Philippians 4:1 Therefore, my beloved and longed-for brethren, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, beloved.

Paul uses the word, Crown, as given to an athlete who had won the race, because they stand fast in the Lord, were encouraging to Him.

Paul uses the term, stand firm, is a military term for Holding the ground that has been conquered.  He uses this term in the full armor of God with the belt of truth.  (Ephesians 6:13)

Exhortation, Encouragement, and Prayer

Philippians 4:2 I implore {or plead} Euodia and I implore Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord.

Paul knew these two people {were fighting among themselves} and they had been at odds with one another and the disagreement threatened the unity and effectiveness of the church.

The disagreement between them is serious enough to be mentioned in a letter to be read publicly, but Paul seems confident that they will reconciled.   

Interesting: For all eternity these 2 people will be remembered.

Philippians 4:3 Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.

We have read in Revelation before where our names are written in the Lamb’s book of life in heaven, Jesus book of life   (Revelation 21:27),

As a side, Ancient cities has a roll book containing the names of all those having the right of citizenship.

Clement might be the same person who was later a bishop at Rome and the author of Epistles to the Corinthians.

True companion: probably a reference to Epaphroditus, who has already been described as “my brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier” (2:25) and who would now carry the letter to Philippi from Rome.

Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice.

A command from Paul to the entire church.  Rejoice in the Lord.

Paul was a prisoner in the midst of difficulties, who ask others to rejoice, shows the power of the gospel to comfort someone who has Christ in their life. Rejoice having confidence that God was in control.

“Rejoice” is close to the word “joy,” one the great Christian virtues, a  fruit of the Spirit of God.  It is in contrast to “happiness’ which is a virtue of the world, entirely external, and circumstantial.  Joy issues from the nature of God. Rejoice is used in 121 verses found.

The joy of the world is very different from our joy, we are to rejoice in the Lord.  True happiness can only be found in the Lord and is spiritual and can only come from God, those who love your name may rejoice in you. (Psalms 5:11)

Philippians 4:5 Let your gentleness be evident to all {men}. The Lord is near {or at hand}.

Our whole behavior in life is the result of joy in the Lord, meaning let our light shine in the world, since Jesus was coming back to the earth soon or at any moment. Honor God with our lives,

Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;   {this is a command, not an option}

Few doctrines are more generally misunderstood than true prayer.

Prayer is talking with God.  It is exclusively for believers only. The only prayer God hears and answers is one that is made through His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ:  He is the only way.

We have read where Jesus said, I am the way and no one comes to the Father except through me. { John 14:6}

We know our prayers are like incense to the Father. {Psalms 141:2}

  • We must know people well before our conversations can really flow freely.
  • Learn about Jesus and Spend time with Him.
  • Praying for others: it is called “intercession.”
  • Prayer is God’s cure for anxiety. Experts tell us that stress is one of the most destructive forces in the human life.
  • Paul tells us to pray about our circumstances in life instead of worrying over them, all areas of our lives are of  concern to God

Philippians 4:7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

God doesn’t promise that we will receive what we ask for. 

God knows our real needs better that we do, meaning by putting all in the hands of God who is able and willing to deliver.

The peace of God is inside us based of the peaceful state of our minds knowing our sins are forgiven and we will be with Jesus.

Example:  Paul prayer in Romans 15:

Romans 15:31-32 Pray that I may be kept safe from the unbelievers in Judea and that the contribution I take to Jerusalem may be favorably received by the Lord’s people there,  (32)  so that I may come to you with joy, by God’s will, and in your company be refreshed.

Paul was in Corinth and was about to go on to Jerusalem with the collection from the Gentile churches.  After that he had planned to travel to Rome as an ambassador for the Gospel.  And he asked for three things:

  1. “That I may be delivered from them that do not believe in Judaea”;
  2. “That my service which I have for Jerusalem may be accepted of the saints”;
  3. That I may come unto you with joy by the will of God, and may with you be refreshed.”

Were these requests fulfilled?  Not as he expected.

  1. He was delivered—and then protected—with a two-year imprisonment at Caesarea.
  2. His reception in Jerusalem was hardly what he had hoped for.
  3. His joyous journey to Rome was at government expense as a prisoner in chains.  It was with joy and by the will of God; but he was hardly refreshed by the reception of the believers there. But he did have the peace of God as promised.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren {or brothers and sisters}, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just {or right}, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue {or excellent}  and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things {or think about such things}.

Paul understands the influence of our thoughts on our life.  Whatever we allow to occupy our minds will sooner or later determine our speech and our action.

Paul just gave 8 instruction to us to think about and then to put into action:

  • True: In speech;
  • Noble: In action;
  • Just or right: With regard to others;
  • Pure: With regard to ourselves;
  • Lovely: what more lovely than truth of Jesus;
  • Good report; honesty;  
  • Virtue: in justice;
  • Praiseworthy: relate to ourselves rather to our neighbor. 

Lying in bed at night, think on these things.

We need to practice and recommend them to others.

Paul tells us to think on such things.  But, Why these things, Christian character by adding virtue after virtue. 

  • What makes this verse remarkable is the virtues mentioned here are pagan virtues!  Not Christians.
  • These words do not occur in the great lists of Christian virtues: love, joy, peace, patience, et al.  {These are given by God}
  • They are taken from Greek ethics and from Greek philosophers.

Fellowship with God does not necessarily exclude the best values the world has to offer.  We can live on beauty in music, art, architecture, literature, etc.

Philippians 4:9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen {or saw} in me, put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.   {a personal promise from Paul}

Paul has told us to follow his example as I follow the  example of Jesus. (1 Corinthians 11:1)

4 things Paul wants to give us example for us to do and then peace will be with us.

1. Learned – by practice, preaching and writing;

2. Received – instruction, faith and revelation from God;

3. Heard – about me and others;

4. Seen in me – Walking in the Way among you; 

Paul basically said to observe not only what he had taught, but what they had seen in his life, and then God personally will be with you and me, meaning the Holy Spirit will live in us.

Next section, God’s Provision

Philippians 4:10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity.

After a lapse of 10 years, their loyalty to Paul again results in their giving, despite their own meager resources. 

Epaphroditus was dispatched to Rome with their gifts.

Paul politely in words lets them know that he is aware of their continual concern for him.

Philippians 4:11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content:

Only God can teach us to be content, joyful, happy and thankful, resulting in patient for the secret of happiness.  Sufficiency in God.

Real secret for the mind, be content where I am at.

Philippians 4:12 I know how to be in need, and I know how what it is to have plenty. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.

Paul doing whatever it takes and has experienced all things, every variety of condition of life.

Philippians 4:13 I can do all this through him {Jesus} who gives me strength.  

  • Jesus living in Paul, just like Jesus living in us that gives us strength. 
  • This is the only way we can do something and be content when we suffer.  God gives us strength.

Philippians 4:14 Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles {or affliction}.

Paul said it was a good thing and a kind deed that they supported him in his affliction and that their gift was appreciated.  You did well.

It is one good way as a means of involving them in Paul’s troubles.

Philippians 4:15 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;

What an indictment against the other churches that Paul visited.

  • Very high praise for this church, Except you only:  Only church sent him a nickel. 
  • How interesting to observe from where our real loyalties are. 
  • What about the other churches and what does that say about them. 
  • The church sent members to Paul with presents which supplied what he was lacking to him.
  • They were a very poor church.

Philippians 4:16 for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid more than once when I was in need.

We know even the apostles had needs and God used others to meet them.  This was one in the latest of long and consistent pattern of their generosity.  (Acts 17:1-9) (2 Corinthians 8:1-5)

Philippians 4:17 Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account.

Their gifts will return to them in God’s blessings.  Not only their physical help is an investment value but the spiritual dividends they received.

Philippians 4:18 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.

  • Paul sees the offering as an offering to God rather than as a gift to him, and an offering of thanksgiving and praise, an offering as a sweet-smelling aroma.  (Ephesians 5:2) 
  • These church individuals will be remembered and be rewarded after we are changed. 
  • Philippians are the fragrant offering which is very pleasing to God.
  • Probably was a supply of clothing, necessaries of life as well as some funds.

Philippians 4:19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

Paul gives a very personal touch, My God.  Since we do not forget the needs of his servants, God will not forget all ours needs. Not a promise to go beyond needs.

Philippians 4:20 To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

All the glory is God’s. He is the Giver. God put their good purposes into their hearts.

The Jewish practice of closing prayers with the word amen carried over to the Christian church as well.

When found at the end of a sentence as it is here, the word can be translated “so be it,” or “may it be fulfilled.”

Final Greetings

Philippians 4:21 Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren who are with me greet you.

Basically, Paul reminds the Philippians that they are part of the family of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Philippians 4:22 All the saints greet you, but especially those who are of Caesar’s household.

Caesar’s household {Nero}:  That’s revealing! We can only speculate on this one. Certainly a significant percentage of the Roman Soldiers that were chained to Paul for an entire shift at a time!  Can you imagine what they heard.  Caesar’s household are those employed as slaves or freedmen in or around the palace area

Josephus said, “she {Empress Poppaea} was a worshipper of the true God.” Jerome states that Paul had converted many in Caesar’s family; for “being by the emperor cast into prison, he became more known to his family, and turned the house of Christ’s persecutor into a church.  Interesting, it seems like it was well known to everyone.

Philippians 4:23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

KJV has added: To the Philippians written from Rome, by Epaphroditus.

He was a scribe for Paul: a professional writer and wrote down what Paul said.

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