Paul closes out his letter in this final part of chapter four. This is largely a personal message to the Philippians, but there are some things about it that we can learn, especially if we keep the theme of the letter in mind; being worthy of the gospel. As Paul has shared what it means for a believer to live the Christian life and to walk with Jesus, as opposed to just believing, in these last verses we see this teaching in practice.
In verses 10-13, Paul expresses his happiness that the Philippians have shown their regard for him in sending one of their men to Paul with aid, as you might recall. He is happy not so much because he needed anything, but because they expressed their concern. Then, he goes on to mention that he has learned to be content with whatever he has, be it plenty or little, whether he is hungry or well-fed, for he can do all things through Christ who strengthens him. (v. 13) Once again, we see that Paul’s orientation to focus on Christ is all that is really needed to get through any situation.
In vv. 14-19, we see another aspect of the sharing on the part of the Philippians; it seems to be a habit with them. On more than one occasion they have sacrificed to share their material resources with Paul, and in so doing they have made their faith manifest. They didn’t simply say, “Gee, that’s a shame I’ll pray for you.” They sacrificed to meet a need; they behaved as Christ would behave.
Isn’t that what this whole letter has been about?
You might recall that in the very beginning of the letter, Paul mentioned that because he has been locked in prison, guarded by Caesar’s palace guard, Caesar’s very household had come to hear the gospel. In those early verses, Paul didn’t actually say whether or not any of them had come to faith, only that they had heard. All things considered, that was a really amazing thing, but in verse 22, Paul reveals the most amazing thing of all:
All God’s people here send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household.
There were believing brothers in Christ within the very household of Caesar, because Paul had been imprisoned in Rome to await his trial before Caesar, a trial that was to cost him his life. Even in that dire circumstance, the gospel moved forward to the glory of God.
How much we can accomplish for the gospel if we will only take to heart the lessons that we have found in this letter!
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