Summary: Concluding his letter, Paul offer a final word of grace. He encouraged worship of the Lord, fellowship together, and resting in the Lord's grace. We need to embrace these aspects for a vibrant Christian life.
A Benediction to the Beloved
Philippians 4: 20-23
As you study Paul’s epistle to the Philippian church, it quickly becomes evident that they are very dear to his heart. They were his crown of rejoicing, and he longed to come to them once again if the Lord allowed. Having shared much with them, in an effort to increase their joy, and further equip them in the faith, Paul offered some gracious parting words. While he had done all he could while serving among them, he desired the church to remain vibrant and strong, even in his absence.
Our text today offers nothing the believers had not heard before. Paul does not offer a deep, theological discussion, but he does offer words that were beneficial to the church in Philippi, and they remain relevant for us today. We have all heard the phrase – “it is easy to miss the forest for the trees.” While we must focus on those deep, theological truths at times, the simple truths offer profound hope and courage as well. We must not allow the familiar to become so routine that we lose the wonder of it all.
As we conclude our study in Philippians, I want to consider these parting words as we discuss: A Benediction to the Beloved.
I. The Honor Expressed (20) – Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen. Paul had just spoken of the gracious provision of the Lord on our behalf, and he urged the church to give the Lord the honor and praise He deserved. Consider:
A. The Deity – Paul had spoken much about our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He will have more to say about Him in the concluding thought, but he didn’t want the church to forget or overlook God the Father. Paul was well aware of the gracious provision of the Father as well. He too loved humanity and the church. He was willing to send His only begotten Son as the sacrifice for our sin. Paul knew every blessing they enjoyed had come from the good hand of God.
I stand amazed at the grace and provision of God. He is the Sovereign of the Ages, Creator of the universe, and yet He is mindful of you and me. His love for us is without question. He continually provides for our needs, and was willing to give His Son for our salvation. Surely He is worthy of our recognition, adoration, and praise!
B. The Devotion – Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen. I am certain Paul realized that God’s glory and deity were not dependent upon man’s recognition or praise. His very nature reveals His glory. He is glorious because He is God. His glory is so radiant and overwhelming that is impossible for mankind to gaze upon it and live. Do you remember the encounter Moses had with God in the cleft of the rock? God only allowed Moses to see the backside of His glory, and yet the face of Moses shone so after the encounter that he had to wear a veil as he spoke to the people. God is radiant in His glory.
However, it is clear that Paul encouraged the church to offer the Father praise and worship. While we cannot add to His glory, we can offer the praise He is due. Within the context of this verse, it speaks of honor, praise, and worship.
C. The Duration (20) – Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen. Paul encouraged the church to offer praise unto God the Father. He was worthy of their praise for His mighty works among them. They had received much to prompt their praise.
Paul also knew this generation was not the first to receive God’s blessing, and they would not be the last. He is God, and He never changes. He was worthy of praise from former generations, and He remains worthy of praise today. He will be worthy of praise forever, throughout eternity. Has God not blessed us more than we deserve? Is He not worthy of our praise and worship? Psalm 72:19 – And blessed be his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen.
II. The Hospitality Extended (21-22) – As Paul concludes his letter to the Philippians, he sends words of greeting and encouraged their hospitality to others. Notice:
A. The Admonition (21a) – Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. Paul encouraged continued fellowship and graciousness among the church. All were to be received and welcomed. All were to be counted as family, being part of the body of Christ. They shared a common faith, and needed the love and support of one another.