Philippians 4 (New International Version)
Closing Appeal for Steadfastness and Unity
1Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my JOY and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends!
Paul used the ancient Greek word for crown that described the crown given to an athlete who had won the race. It was a crown of achievement (a stephanos); not the crown that was given to a king (a diadema). The Philippians, as they stand fast in the Lord, were Paul’s trophy.
2 I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. 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.
4 REJOICE in the Lord always. I will say it again: REJOICE! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Romans 12:2 (English Standard Version)
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Thanks for Their Gifts
10 I REJOICED greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
I love Twila Paris. She says, “I want to encourage people to be faithful in what God has given them to do, however insignificant it might seem, because they have no idea how huge it could be in God’s overall plan.” Here she sings “I Can Do All Things” — and notice that her emphasis is on the “through Christ” rather than the “I.”
14 Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. 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; 16 for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid more than once when I was in need. 17 Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account. 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 described the gift of the Philippians in terms that remind us of sacrifices in the Old Testament (Genesis 8:21, Exodus 29:18, 29:25, and 29:41). Our giving to God’s work is similar to Old Testament sacrifices, which also cost the person bringing the sacrifice a lot. Bulls and rams did not come cheaply in that day.
19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
Spurgeon thought that this verse was a great illustration of that wonderful miracle in 2 Kings 4:1-7, where Elisha told the widow to gather empty vessels, set them out and pour forth the oil from the one small vessel of oil she had into the empty vessels. She filled and filled and miraculously filled until every empty vessel was full.
- All our need is like the empty vessels.
- God is the one who fills the empty vessels.
- According to His riches in glory describes the style in which God fills the empty vessels – the oil keeps flowing until every available vessel is filled.
- By Christ Jesus describes the how God meets our needs – our empty vessels are filled with Jesus in all His glory.
20 To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
21 Greet all God’s people in Christ Jesus. The brothers and sisters who are with me send greetings. 22 All God’s people here send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household. 23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.