Summary: The last in my series in Philippians, focusing on Paul’s promise that God can meet all our needs.
Philippians 4: 10-20, 21-23 – “God will take care of you”
By James Galbraith
First Baptist Church, Port Alberni.
November 19, 2006
10I 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. 11I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.
12I 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. 14Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles.
15Moreover, 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; 16for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid more than once when I was in need. 17Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account. 18I 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. 19And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
20To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
21Greet all God’s people in Christ Jesus. The brothers and sisters who are with me send greetings. 22 All the Lord’s people here send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household. 23The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.
- Paul’s letter has been full of encouragement to a church that is small and surrounded by a hostile majority.
- he has been blessed by them, even while he resides in prison in Rome, and they are a generous, caring church.
- they have had problems with people who want to add unnecessary teachings to the core of the gospel
- Paul condemns this and warns the Philippians to stay true
to the simplicity of the gospel message that led them to Jesus
- and they have had to deal with dissent in the ranks, over issues so trivial that Paul names the fighters without naming the issue!
SO now, after a letter full of joy, confrontation and encouragement, he wraps it all up by essentially telling them that,
God’s taking good care of me, and he’ll take good care of you too!
Let’s take a look at these parting verses.
READ VERSE 10-14 - 10I 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. 11I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12I 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. 14Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles.
These verses are a “thank you” to the Philippians for the generous gift that they have previously given to Paul.
Distance made communication difficult, especially when you’ve been travelling from place to place like Paul.
Imagine being locked up in a foreign city, responsible for your own welfare despite being a prisoner. You have no way to earn, yet must pay for food and basic needs if you want to survive!
Then out of nowhere comes a generous financial gift from the Philippians. Paul is grateful, and has saved his full expression of gratitude for the last part of the letter.
This is why you see him say, “I rejoice greatly”. The reason he then uses the term ‘renewed” is because he has received gifts from them before, as the next paragraph reveals. So he is very thankful that circumstances have allowed this mutual giving relationship to be rekindled.
The next verses are meant to demonstrate that Paul is not soliciting another gift by thanking them for this one. They walk that fine line between gratitude for the gift given and assurance that he’s not fishing for more.
He has been “on the road” with the gospel message for years, and has really been in almost every circumstance imaginable. Public floggings, debating the gospel in the intellectual centre of Athens, various prisons, riots, shipwrecks, healings - It’s been an adventurous time - and through it all God has watched over Paul and kept him alive.