Summary: Philippians 4:10-23 teaches us how to be content.
We come now to the final section in Paul’s letter to the Philippians. It seems to me that this final section is a wonderful summary of the topic of contentment.
So, let’s read about the contented Christian in Philippians 4:10-23:
10 I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. 11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
14 Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. 15 And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. 16 Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. 17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit. 18 I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. 19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. 20 To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.
21 Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me greet you. 22 All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar’s household.
23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. (Philippians 4:10-23)
The story is told of a father of a wealthy family who took his son on a trip to the country to show his son how poor people can be. They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family. On their return from the trip, the father asked his son, “How was the trip?”
“It was great, Dad.”
“Did you see how poor people can be?” the father asked.
“Oh yeah,” said the son.
“So what did you learn from the trip?” asked the father.
The son answered: “I saw that we have one dog, and they have four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden, and they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lanterns in our garden, and they have stars at night. Our patio reaches to the front yard, and they have the whole horizon.
“We have a small piece of land to live on, and they have fields that go beyond sight. We buy our food, but they grow theirs. We have walls around our property to protect us, but they have their friends to protect them.”
With this, the boy’s father was speechless.
Then his son added, “Thanks, Dad, for showing me how poor we are.”
One person’s perspective may be very different than another person’s perspective. And this is especially true regarding spiritual contentment. Paul closes his letter to the Philippians with wonderful teaching about the Christian’s contentment.
Philippians 4:10-23 teaches us how to be content.
Let’s use the following outline:?
1. The Contented Christian Is Secure in God’s Providence (4:10)
2. The Contented Christian Is Satisfied in Whatever Situation (4:11)
3. The Contented Christian Is Fulfilled in Every Circumstance (4:12)
4. The Contented Christian Is Strengthened Through Christ (4:13)
5. The Contented Christian Is Resting in God’s Promise (4:14-19)
6. The Contented Christian Is Consumed with God’s Glory (4:20)
7. The Contented Christian Is Filled with God’s Grace (4:21-23)
I. The Contented Christian Is Secure in God’s Providence (4:10)
First, the contented Christian is secure in God’s providence.
It is helpful to keep in mind that Paul was writing to the Philippians from prison. He had planted the Philippian church about ten years earlier. And the church had sent him financial support on several occasions. In fact, Paul’s letter to the Philippians is, in one sense, a “Thank You” letter from a grateful missionary for the financial support he had received from the Philippian church.
That is why Paul writes in verse 10, “I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity.” The Philippian believers had great concern for Paul, but because he was constantly on the move, and also because there was no WhatsApp or email, they often did not know where Paul was located.