Devotional # 141. 6/15/15. Philippians 4:19-23.
Intro. As Paul closes the letter to the Philippians we also finish the book and get ready to move on to Colossians. But before we do Paul has some great words of wisdom and encouragement for us.
v. 19. We’ve read from a few famous verses lately and this is another one but if we don’t take it in context it doesn’t have the same weight behind it. As you know, Paul has been talking about Christians sharing with missionaries in both giving to them (v. 10, 15-16) and then receiving gifts and blessings from God (v. 17). But they also shared with Paul in his “distress” and that’s why it’s so powerful for Paul to say “my God shall supply all your need.” So whether it is the missionaries need for resources or time or money – God will supply that need. Whether it is a churches need for blessing from God – He will supply the need. And if you are in distress and you need encouragement and strengthening from other brothers and sisters – God will most definitely supply that need!
I love that Paul says “my God” because it shows the personal relationship that Paul had with the Father. Only someone who has seen God actually supply their needs is able to unequivocally say, “MY God shall supply all your need.”
But what is this promise “according” to? It is “according to His riches in glory” … God has many “riches in glory” when he supplies all our needs he doesn’t just give us the minimal amount, but instead proportional to His great riches He gives great blessing.
And who are these “glory riches” from? Paul says that they are “by Christ Jesus.” And we are reminded yet again there’s nothing that can be done without Jesus.
v. 20. Paul just mentioned the glory from Jesus now he mentions the glory of the Father.
This is the beginning of the end of the letter. Paul begins his “good-byes” from God the Father. Having just mentioned the “riches in glory” that God uses to help us with our needs, we see that God retains that “glory” forever. It’s important to remember to give the Father the “glory” that He deserves. It’s so much easier when we’ve trusted Him to take care of our needs after we’ve obeyed by taking care of missionaries. When we put the Lord first in our life He blesses it. Here’s a story about putting God first:
Last week a buddy of mine had a second interview and he asked me, “the company is open 7 days a week and they may need me to work Sundays so I’d miss church but I’ve been praying for a good job to support my family, what should I do?” I told him, “God will take care of you and your family if you wait on a job that will allow you to worship Him and put Him first.” He called them and said he didn’t want to waste their time interviewing because he can’t work Sundays. They told him they were prepared to give him Sundays off if he would come in and interview again! Why does it amaze us how good God is and that He takes care of His sheep when we put Him first?!
v. 21. Now Paul sends greetings from two different people. First, he distinguishes between the Father and the Son, having just talked about the Father in verse 20. Now he says it is “Christ Jesus” that each Christian in Philippi is supposed to greet every other Christian with. What does that mean? It means to use His name. To not be afraid to use the name of Jesus. But it also means to greet someone with the love of Jesus. The love that died on the cross for our sins.
Paul asks that anyone who hears the words of this letter tell “all” of the other Christians (“saints“) “hello” in Jesus. We should consider this like Jesus is saying “hi.” How would Jesus greet someone? Well, it would be in love and not with a fake smile. And we should do the same. When we stand up and greet each other at church are you more than just kind of friendly? You should have a deeper connection with people of the faith. Be willing to reach out and truly “greet them in Christ Jesus.” As an example Paul says that the Christians he’s currently with greet the Christians in Philippi.
v. 22. Having just said that the Christians Paul is with greet the Philippians, Paul reinforces this but gives special acknowledgment of “Caesars household” also greeting. When Paul says “household” here he’s talking about everyone in Caesar’s family but also including courtiers, princes, judges, cooks, food – tasters, musicians, custodians, builders, stablemen, accountants” so there are potentially a ton of people that fall into this group (Source 1). What is interesting is that Paul couldn’t afford to name those who were in Caesar’s household because they might have been ostracized or worse, put to death.
v. 23. Paul concludes the letter with a special blessing, encouraging that the “grace of our Lord Jesus” be with them. We’ve talked enough about the use of “lord” meaning master that this should stand out to you immediately. And we’ve talked about how “grace” is God blessing us despite the fact that we do not deserve it. So with these reminder definitions clearly in our mind we see that it was important for Paul to close this letter with an encouragement that is both present and applicable to our lives and that we should bestow and share with other believers. Can you imagine what it would be like to have someone say, “May you be blessed by Jesus even though you don’t deserve it! Remember He is the Master of your life and since He died on the cross for you what won’t He bless you with?” We should come up with our own wording of this to encourage others!
Conclusion. As we close Philippians it isn’t a sad thing because we’ve enjoyed the book immensely. We’ve learned a lot like: we live for Jesus but to die is gain (1:21); we “shine as lights in the world” (2:15); we should suffer the loss of all our things, accounting them as trash in comparison to the profit of Jesus (3:8) and we shouldn’t have anxiety but trade it for praying to (and thanksgiving to) God the Father (4:6).
Also there has been a group of kids in Hungary for the last year that have been receiving Devotionals I’ve sent from the Gospels. This week I finished up Mark with them so they will be joining us next week in Colossians, although there will be no difference for you. But I wanted to let you know and encourage you that God is always adding to our number who get this email! Have a great week!
Source 1: John MacArthur, MacArthur Study Bible, p. 1829.