Keith Hunt - Bible Story, NT - Chapter Eighty-eight: Paul's letter to the Philippians   Restitution of All Things
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New Testament Bible
Story

Chapter Eighty-eight:

Paul's letter to the Philippians

                      THE NEW TESTAMENT

                         BIBLE STORY

                    CHAPTER EIGHTY-EIGHT


                   PAUL WRITES PHILIPPIANS


This introduction is taken from the New KJV  Personal Study
Bible: 1990,1995 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Philippians, Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon are called the
Prison Epistles because Paul wrote them while in prison.

AUTHOR AND DATE

The letter is clearly identified as written by Paul (1:1). That
authorship has never been seriously questioned. There has been
frequent and vigorous debate, however, over the date as well as
the place of writing.

The traditional view has been that Paul wrote Philippians between
A.D. 61 and 63 from Rome. Philippians 1:12-20 indicates that Paul
was in prison. The references to the palace guard (1:13) and
Caesar's household (4:22) fit with a Roman imprisonment. In
addition, Paul's statements in 1:12-20 and 4:22 strongly suggest
that the imprisonment was fairly long. Thus this letter appears
to have been written sometime after the beginning of Paul's
imprisonment recorded in Acts 28.

Recently some scholars have suggested that Philippians was
written about A.D. 55 during Paul's ministry In Ephesus (Acts 19:
20) or about A.D. 56-61 during his imprisonment at Caesarea (Acts
24-26). They point out that the terms "Caesar's household" and
"palace guard," important evidence for a Roman imprisonment,
could instead refer to Roman authorities in provincial cities
like Ephesus or Caesarea. Those who argue for Ephesus point out
that the frequent travels between Paul's prison and Philippi
implied by 1:26; 2:19; 23-26; 4:18 suggest that Paul was nearer
to Philippi than a Roman imprisonment would allow. However, Acts
does not mention Paul's being in prison in Ephesus.  Although
Acts mentions a Caesarean Imprisonment, Caesarea was farther from
Philippi than Rome. Reasonably swift travel was possible between
Rome and Philippi, which was on a main road, the Via Egnatia.
Therefore, the traditional view that this letter was written
from Rome sometime between A.D. 61 and 63 is preferred.

BACKGROUND

Acts 16:11-40 provides the dramatic story of this church. Paul
and his companions were on the second missionary journey and
wished to go into northern Asia Minor. However, Paul received a
vision of a Macedonian (northern Greece) asking for help. Thus
the gospel came to Europe. Philippi was located strategically on
the Roman road system in northern Greece thus it was the first
place in Macedonia where Paul preached. In 31 B.C. Augustus made
the city a Roman colony. Such a status conferred Roman
citizenship and all its privileges, on the town's inhabitants.
Many of the Philippians were former Roman soldiers who had
received land in the area after their discharge. Consequently,
they had a pride in being Roman and in conducting their affairs
according to the law of Rome. Paul makes excellent use of this
background both in his actions recorded in Acts 16:37-40, and in
his letter to the Philippians.

Despite the size of the city Paul found no synagogue in Philippi.
There must have, been only a small Jewish community since as few
as ten Jewish men were expected to build a place of worship.
Lacking a synagogue, Paul began his ministry in an outdoor,
service by a "riverside" (Acts 16:13). Among his converts were
Lydia, a wealthy Jewish merchant lady; a slave girl; and a
jailer. Such varied backgrounds provided all the more reason for
Paul to stress the unity of believers in Christ. From the
beginning Gentiles from a pagan background probably outnumbered
Jews in the Philippian church.

CONTENTS

Many of Paul's letters divide into fairly distinct sections on
doctrine and life practice. PhIlippians, however, represents a
mixture of doctrine and exhortation. Exhortations to
rejoice and to unity are the heart of this epistle, being
illustrated and exemplified by the lives of Christ (2:5-11),
Timothy (2:19-24), Epaphroditus (2:25-30), and Paul (3:1-17).
Philippians 2:5-11 provides an exquisite hymn about Christ's
humiliation and exaltation.

Philippians is one of Paul's most personal letters. In it he
shares his own experience with Christ (3:12-14), his struggle
over whether to prefer dying to be with Christ or living to
serve the Philippians (1:21-26), and his concern for their
spiritual growth and perseverance (1:6,7,25, 26; 2:16-18). The
Philippians were in his heart and supported him in his
imprisonment (1:7). Paul was concerned, yet confident that God
would bring their faith to complete maturity (1:6; 2:15). Thus
the tone that emerges from this letter is one of joyous
confidence in God at work within the believer to promote unity
and maturity within the church.

PURPOSE 

Paul's immediate purpose for writing was to thank the Philippians
for a gift that they had sent him (4:14-18). Their messenger,
Epaphroditus, had recovered from a serious illness and would
carry this letter as he returned to Philippi (2:25-30). Paul used
this opportunity to remind his converts of the importance of
unity and joy. In both of these attitudes we are to pattern our
lives after our Lord: Christians are to have the mind of Christ
(2:5), whether in suffering (1:21-30), in fellowship (2:3,4), in
gaining maturity (3:12), or in settling disputes (4:2,3). Unity
with Christ in His humility is to characterize the believer's
life-style. Thus Christians "in the midst of a crooked and
perverse generation" will "shine as lights" (2:15).

Outline of Philippians

1.  Salutation  1:1, 2

2. Prayer for the Philippians  1:3-11

A. Thanksgiving  1:3-8
B. Intercession  1:9-11

3.  Joy in the proclamation of Christ  1:12-26

A.  Preached through Paul's imprisonment 1:12-14 
B.  Preached even by the envious 1:15-18 
C.  Preached through Paul's life or death  1:19-26

4.  Instructions on how to live  1:27-2:18

A.  Live worthy of the gospel  1:27-2:4
B.  Pattern after Christ  2:5-11
C.  Live blameless before the world  2:12-18

5.  Examples of living worthy of the gospel  2:19-30 

A.  Timothy's sincere care  2:19-24 
B.  Epaphroditus's total service  2:25-30

6.  Paul's personal commitment  3:1-21

A.  Give up all for Christ  3:1-11
B.  Press on to the goal  3:12-17 
C.  Avoid enemies of Christ 3:18-21 

7.  Conduct worthy of the gospel  4:1-20 

A.  Pastoral exhortations  4:1-9 
B.  Thanks for the Philippians' gift  4:10-20

8.  Farewell  4:21-23


CHAPTER ONE

PAUL'S INTRODUCTION

     Paul's greetings to the saints at Philippi included Timothy
(verses 1-2). He says they are "servants" - a fitting word which
brings Paul and Timothy down to the same level as the serving
people of the church of God at Philippi. He address this letter
to THREE classes -to "saints" - "bishops" (Greek is Episkopos)
and is interpreted by "elders" in Acts 20 and Titus 1:5,7 (being
also then "overseers" and "shepherds of the flock") - and
"deacons" (Greek is Diakonos).
     This verse alone shows that although all people of God
should be and are "servants" - there is still a class function of
people within the body of Christ that are divided into THREE
functions - saints - elders - deacons.  Some would try and blur
all three functions into one. Obviously here Paul does not do so,
and James 3:1 would also prove that not everyone should be a
"teacher" in the Church of God. An "elder" is to be
an able teacher of the word as Paul clearly shows in the
qualifications of that function in Timothy 3:1-7, then proceeds
to give qualifications for the function of "deacon."

     We also notice again (Paul does it many times at the
beginning or ending of his letters) the blessing to them from God
the Father and Lord Jesus Christ. If the Holy Spirit is a person
as like the Father and Son, then Paul would surely be snubbing
his nose at him, bringing no such blessing from the person of the
Holy Spirit. Paul is not turning his back on the person of the
Holy Spirit, for the Holy Spirit is NOT a separate Spirit Being,
but is the very power and nature and mind of both the Father and
the Son.

CONFIDENCE AND THANKSGIVING

     This is truly a remarkable people of God at Philippi, when
we compare the other letters of Paul to other churches and what
he had to write to them about. Paul here gives the saints at
Philippi the highest praise and highest score on the spiritual
score card. He thinks of them in his prayers with JOY. And that
joy of his was from the first day the gospel was given to them
unto the time he wrote this letter. He was full of complete
confidence that they would continue bringing him joy, and that
the Lord who had begun the work in them would continue it until
the day of Jesus Christ. 
     The day of Jesus Christ? Did Paul, at this juncture in his
life, expect Jesus to return in the life time of those people in
Philippi? Yes, probably he did! But we also know, from the
letters to those at Thessalonica, he knew certain prophetic
events had to happen BEFORE Jesus would return. Then again it is
probable that Paul and other apostles thought those events would
take place in their life time.  Many down through the centuries
have felt Jesus would return in their life time. We today living
in the first years of the 21st century would like to think Jesus
will return our life time. So we keep watching the signs
of the times, yet we must remember that 50 years or more with God
is but a very tiny fraction of a second, for most of us it is a
good portion of our lives.

     Paul tells them that God knows how he longs after them, how
even in his time in prison for the sake of the Gospel, he loves
them and always has them in his heart. He prayed that their love
would abound and their knowledge with judgmental sense would
also. This increase was for them to be able to clearly prove that
which was excellent, and that they would continue to be sincere
and un-offensive in their living, being filled with the
fruits of righteousness, through Jesus Christ. doing this would
be to the praise and glory of God (verses 3-11).

UNEXPECTED BENEFITS OF IMPRISONMENT

     Those at Philippi were no doubt perplexed that this great
apostle of God would be in prison, and were no doubt worried
about the work of the Gospel through Paul was being stopped or at
least very much hindered. He tells them that there were many who
actually waxed very bold in preaching the Gospel since his
imprisonment. It had fired them up so to speak and they were
ablaze with enthusiasm. Oh, Paul knew some were fired up now
because they were envious of Paul for the work he had done, and
some were just simple at odds with Paul, had contentions and
strife with him over this or that matter. We are not told what
matters brought about the envy and strife, only that some
just did not "get along" with Paul. Then he also told them that
he knew some were preaching the Gospel with more vigor from a
right motive, as they knew Paul was sent in part to be a mighty
fortress, a mighty power to defend the truths of the Gospel.

     Paul was happy and pleased that either way, the Gospel was
being preached, Christ was being taught (verses 12-18).
     
     Those who were preaching Christ, either as Paul's envious
competitors or those sincerely with him, were preaching the
truths about Jesus and the Gospel. If Paul had thought the
envious group were "false teachers" while the others were "true
and correct teachers," he would surely have said so. Knowing he
pulled no punches concerning those who preached a false Gospel
and false Christ, he surely would have made that clear to
the brethren at Philippi. It was not the case in his mind - one
group of teachers of Christ did their teaching correctly but from
a wrong attitude towards Paul himself. They thought it was their
golden opportunity to take the "lime light" - now that Paul was
out of the way in prison. Their teaching was correct, but their
motive to now teach more powerfully was from a wrong attitude
towards him. The others were also teaching Jesus correctly, but
had a right motive towards Paul.

     Either way, the bottom line for Paul was that he was happy
that Jesus Christ was being preached.

TO LIVE IS CHRIST - TO DIE IS CHRIST

     Here we come to the section of New Testament Scripture that
is often used by those who believe in the immortal soul doctrine,
to say that upon death if we have been a "good" Christian we
shall go to heaven and be with the Lord (verses 19-23).  You will
notice though, the word "heaven" is not found in this passage. 
     If we are willing to read the Bible from the beginning we
will have already clearly seen that there are Old Testament
passages that plainly tell us WHAT dead is. The book of Psalms
and the book of Ecclesiastes make quite vivid that death is a
"sleep" - no thoughts continuing in death, no talking to others
in death, no working of any kind. The Gospel of John and chapter
11 shows dead is a sleep, from which who have to be raised
back to life at the time of the RESURRECTION of the dead. 
     This is not the time to fully expound the falseness of the
"immortal soul" doctrine.
     I have covered other points of the truth of what death is in
previous sections and chapters of this New Testament Bible story.
     It is enough to say here that because death is a sleep with
no memory of time taking place, then those who come up in the
resurrection to life, in the last days, will have no realization
of the time gone since they fell asleep in death. To them the
moment they closed their eyes in death is the next second of life
again, when they will be with the Lord. For the Lord will come in
glory and the resurrection of the saints will take place (as we
have already seen in other sections of this story), when those
asleep in death will rise up to life, those still living in the
flesh will be CHANGED to immortal life, from mortality to
immortality, from human flesh to divine spirit, to live in the
realm and dimension of God and Christ (1 Cor.15; 1 Thes. 4; 1
John 3:1-3), who are living in the spirit dimension, unless they
choose to reveal themselves as physical flesh humans, like Jesus
often did to His disciples after His resurrection, before He
ascended to heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father.

     Paul would have liked in some ways to depart this physical
world (with all the many physical trials, pain, lashings, hunger,
stonings etc. he went through, who can blame him for wanting to
say goodbye to this life) and to have been with the Lord, at the
coming of the Lord and the resurrection to immortal life for him
and all the saints. Yet, Paul knew that for the present he needed
to stay alive in the flesh, for the benefit of and furtherance
of their joy and maturity in the faith. It was needful for them
to be able to rejoice in Paul once more coming to them and being
with them again for whatever time God was willing (verses 24-26).

EXHORTATIONS TO STAND FIRM

     The main thing he wanted was for them to remain steadfast in
the faith, whether he came to them or was absent from them. He
wanted them to continue in the one spirit and one mind, striving
together for THE faith of the Gospel. He told them not to be
terrified in any way concerning their adversaries, and that it
was sometimes a part of being a Christian to suffer persecution,
for the name of Christ. He was their example - suffering physical
persecutions. They had seen it in Paul (probably some physical
flesh scares from being lashed and stoned at times) and now they
were hearing about him being again in prison and suffering same
physical trails. He was a good example for them to suffer
persecution with confidence against their adversaries, if it was
the Lord's will that such a trail should come upon them. He
wanted their conduct of life to reflect the Gospel of Christ
under all and every circumstance (verses 27-30).


CHAPTER TWO

THE MIND OF CHRIST

     It was Paul's great desire to hear they were full of love,
kindness, and humility - that they would do nothing through
strife or vainglory; but that they would always be in an attitude
of lowliness of mind, each esteeming the other better than
themselves. He wanted them to be concerned mainly about the
welfare of others and not themselves.  "Let THIS MIND be in you,
which was also in Christ Jesus" was his emphasis (verse 1-5)

     Paul then brings out the great LOVE and HUMILITY that Jesus
showed. He tells us that He was in the form of God, He was then a
part of the Godhead. He was then (as the first chapter of the
Gospel of John shows) GOD, but not God the Father. He and God
the Father have existed from eternity. So Jesus was WITH God and
was God, as John in his first chapter of his Gospel brings out.
There were TWO eternal BEINGS from the beginning, BOTH were GOD,
one became He who we call God the Father, and the other became
the one we know as Jesus the Christ. This one in the form of God
did not think being a part of the Godhead was something to be
clung to and grasped at NO MATTER WHAT. He was willing to humble
Himself, become of no reputation, a servant, and all of that was
manifested in Him becoming a physical human being.
     As a physical man He was willing to go the whole nine yards,
willing to humble Himself even unto death - the death of the
cross. We have seen in the Gospels what kind of a death all that
was - truly a horrible suffering did our Lord Jesus go through to
pay for the sins of the world, the sins of you and me.

     Because the one we call Jesus Christ did all this, the
Father EXALTED Him - HIGHLY EXALTED Him above ALL, and gave Him a
name ABOVE ALL names. that name can only be the name "God." The
Father has said that EVERY KNEE WILL BOW before Him - all that is
in the heavens and the earth, and under the earth (a phrase that
simply means NOTHING is greater than Him and will have to admit
that one day). All are going to have to admit one day that Jesus
is indeed the LORD, to the glory of the Father. All may not be
saved, some may still reject salvation, but at least they will
see that Jesus is Lord, and will have to admit this, to the glory
of the Father (verses 6-11).

     Jesus is LORD, He is God, He lives in the realm and
dimension of God, above ALL other created beings, in the spirit
realm or the physical earthly realm. He is part of the Godhead, a
member of the God family. In this present time there are only TWO
members of the Godhead, the Father and the Son. The first verses
of 1 Corinthians chapter 11 shows God the Father to be head of
Christ. Jesus himself said in the Gospels that the Father was
greater than He, that the one sent (and Jesus was sent by the
Father) was not greater than the one who sent him. The Kingdom
is, after Jesus has subdued everything under His feet, going to
hand it over to the Father (1 Cor.15:24).

SO CONTINUE IN OBEDIENCE

     The Christians at Philippi had obeyed the truths of the
Gospel, both when Paul was with them, and when he was not. It was
his wish that they continued in this fine example of
faithfulness. He tells them to do this because it was really God
working in them, to do His good pleasure. They were to continue
in this conduct of life with a respectful fear and a carefulness,
for they were dealing with the very God of this universe. It was
not some physical human they were working with BUT the very
Almighty creator God of all there was, in heaven or on earth.
     The Philippi saints were to do all things in a positive
frame of mind, without grumbling, complaining, and disputings or
strife and arguments. Paul wanted them to be blameless and
harmless sons of God, who needed not to be rebuked or corrected,
as they lived among a crooked and perverse society, where they
were to shine as lights of goodness, as they held the word of
life and truth. 
     Then if they did all this, Paul would be confident he had
not run in vain to bring them the Gospel and to teach them the
mysteries of God. If he was to be offered in sacrifice with his
life, in more persecution and even death, he would be joyous in
knowing they would remain faithful to their calling and the work
of salvation God had begun in them. They also could rejoice with
him, knowing the blessedness of all this work the Lord
had done and was doing in THEM and in Paul (verses 12-18).

     We need to look beyond the present physical of what may be
taking place in our lives, sometimes this physical life brings
heartache, sorrow, pain, and certain physical things that are not
always the most pleasant to have happening to us. I doubt if
anyone desires to be flogged, whipped, stoned, beaten, or put in
prison for teaching Jesus as the Christ and Messiah, but such it
was for some in the first century of the Christian age, and
so it is for some even today, in certain parts of the world. The
joy comes from knowing that all who have begun on this pathway of
true salvation in Christ, can see people remaining faithful to
that calling, even under severe physical trials.

TIMOTHY AND EPAPHRODITUS

     Paul was going to be comforted by sending Timothy to them,
who in return would relate to him the good steadfast spiritual
state of the saints at Philippi. He tells them of the wonderful
blessing Timothy was to him, a man who looked to Jesus in all
things, when many had departed form that mindset, and were
seeking their own things and not the things of Christ. So Paul
would send Timothy to them, after seeing how things would
go for him, but he really hoped he himself would shortly be able
to come to them (verses 19-24).

     Then there was the man called Epaphroditus. He had been sent
to Paul by the church at Philippi, to serve and help Paul in
whatever way he could. Paul called him a companion in labor, a
fellow-soldier. Epaphroditus had been sick while with Paul, a
sickness that nearly took his life. He cared so much for the
brethren at Philippi because they had heard he was sick and were
sincerely concerned for his welfare. Love will usually be
returned in like manner, if people are truly having this mind in
them that was in Christ Jesus.
     Paul said that God had had mercy upon Epaphroditus and had
restored his health, had saved him from dying, and so had also
given Paul a renewed spirit, for he states he would have had
sorrow upon sorrow if Epaphroditus had died. Not being able to
come yet to those at Philippi because of being in prison and
having a good fellow like Epaphroditus come from them to bring
love and comfort to him, then seeing this man die
from a sickness, would indeed have been sorrow upon sorrow.
     Paul had sent Epaphroditus back to them with carefulness, so
they would rejoice when he arrived, and told them to appreciate
and hold in high esteem such a man, for in doing the work of God
as he had done, he just about lost his life. He had brought their
service and love to him, as they were not all able to come where
Paul was, and he did this with no questions. He would be willing
to give up his life to bring their service to him, and he nearly
did, he was close to death, but God had mercy on him. Such a man
Paul  said should be held by all in high esteem (verses 25-30).


CHAPTER THREE

BEWARE OF THE FLESH CUTTERS

     Paul felt it necessary to warn then of those who he had to
warn the Galatians about, the false teachers of the "flesh
cutting" doctrine (those who taught it was mandatory to be
physically circumcised to be saved). Those in Christ worshipped
God in "spirit" and had no need to look to any confidence to
cutting the physical flesh. Then talking about certain physical
things that some could boast about or have  pride in, Paul
related his credentials. Circumcised the 8th day, of the stock of
Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews, and
as concerning the "law" - he had been a Pharisee - one of those
who really thought they were great law-observers. He had super
zeal in persecuting the Church of God. And viewed from the
physical aspects of law keeping, he could be found blameless.  We
see this expounded upon by Paul in Galatians 1:13-14. Those in
the "Jews religion" would not be able to find anyone more
fervent and zealous for the traditions of the Jewish fathers than
what Paul had been.

     Yet, with all this up-bringing and background in the
Pharisee Jewish traditions of the fathers, Paul counted it all
but DUNG! He was quite willing to have it all be as dung to WIN
Christ Jesus in his life. He wanted the righteousness which was
through faith in Jesus, the righteousness which is of God by
faith. He wanted to KNOW HIM and the POWER of His RESURRECTION,
being made like unto His death, so he may attain unto the
resurrection of the dead (verses 1-11).

     All this means that if you do NOT have Christ as your
Savior, have faith in Him, have the righteousness which is only
of God through faith in Jesus, have your sins covered by the
blood of Christ, have both the Father and Jesus living in you via
the Holy Spirit, then you and all your past physical religion and
social up-bringing (even to the highest pedigree of your nation)
means NOTHING, it is just DUNG in comparison to having the true
salvation from God through Christ Jesus. And having the power of
Jesus' resurrection in you would mean you also would attain to
the resurrection of the dead.

PAUL PRESSES FORWARD

     Paul did not think it was all over, all done with, all in
the past. No, he knew being a Christian was a way of life, to
live, to the very end of this physical life on earth. He did
not believe he had already got to the end and it was already
finished and over with. He looked at the past, before having
Christ, and FORGOT IT! He was now reaching FORWARD, going
forward. He was pressing ever TOWARDS the mark of the prize of
the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
     He tells us that if we be mature, we need to be thus minded,
if we are not, then God can and will reveal even this to us. God
will reveal to us through reading His word that our salvation
goes from the start to the finish. It is not over with until we
breath our last breath. We must always be reaching towards being
more like Jesus Christ, in conduct, thoughts, words, attitude of
mind (letting this mind of Christ be in us constantly). 
     Paul finishes this thought with adding that whatever
spiritual level we have so far attained, we should walk in it
(verses 12-16).

WARNING AGAINST WORLDLINESS

     It was a sad warning I'm sure that Paul needed to remind the
Philippi brethren that some people they needed to note, had LEFT
the true pathway, and had even become the ENEMIES of the CROSS of
Christ. 

     How can this be?  Well, when someone teaches you that after
repenting of sins and accepting Jesus as personal Savior, you can
live any way you like, that you do not have to obey the Ten
Commandments, that you do not have to do as Jesus said, and live
by every word of God (Mat.4:4), that everything just becomes a
fuzzy nothing in Christ, then they have become the enemies of the
cross of Jesus. Christ did not die for your sins so you can live
any way that you decide. We covered the truth of all this in some
detail as we went through the book of Romans, and especially
chapter 6.

     Paul says we are citizens of heaven, and so our minds should
be as heaven is, once more having the mind of Christ in us is the
thought. Jesus will come from heaven and change our vile body
like as unto His glorious body, through the power whereby He is
able to rule and subdue all things unto Himself (verses 17-21).


CHAPTER FOUR

APPEAL FOR HARMONY, JOY, PEACE

     Paul appeals to the Philippi saints to hold fast in the
Lord. Certain ones he wanted to be of the same mind, they
probably had too many on the surface differences that should have
been on the back-burner. He wanted them to help those ladies that
worked with him in spreading the Gospel, as well as other
fellow-laborers, such as Clement. All such he said, had their
names written in the book of life.
     They were to let their moderation in all things,
self-control, be evident to all. They were to pray and ask God,
not worry about things, but make their requests known to God.
Then they would have the peace of mind that comes through Jesus
Christ (verses 1-7)

     The basic attitude of mind they were to have is summed up in
verse 8.

     "Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever
     things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever
     things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever
     things are of a good report; if there be any virtue, and if
     there be any praise, think on these things." 

     The things that they had both learned, and received, and
heard, and seen in Paul, they were to do. He was their example to
follow in Christ Jesus. As Paul said to the Corinthians, "Be you
followers of me  EVEN AS I also am of Christ" (1 Cor.11:1).

HIS JOY FOR THEIR LIBERALITY

     Paul rejoiced in the generosity that the Philippi Christians
had shown towards him, though at times they had lacked the
opportunity to express it. Yet, he had already learned
that in whatever physical state he found himself he was able to
be content. He had experienced the ups and downs of physical
life, being full, being empty, having, and not having. But in
whatever state Paul knew that through Jesus Christ he could
encounter all situations and have strength to endure through it
all (verse 10-13).

     He thanks them that they did communicate with him (they had
sent Epaphroditus remember) in his afflictions. He reminds them
that in the beginning of the Gospel start for him and his work,
when he departed from Macedonian, it was only they, no other
church, that helped him with physical matters. And that even when
he was in Thessalonica they sent time and again to him, for his
physical needs. Once more he tells them the wonderful blessing
they have given him by sending Epaphroditus and some necessary
needs for his comfort while in prison. What they sent to him was
like a sweet smelling odour, a sacrifice well accepted by God.

     Paul's last words in this letter are:

     "But my God shall supply all your needs according to His
     riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Now unto God and our Father
     be glory for ever and ever, Amen. 
     Salute every saint in christ Jesus. The brethren which are
     with me greet you. All the saints salute you, chiefly they
     that are of Caesar's household. The grace of our Lord Jesus
     Christ be with you all. Amen" (verses 14-23).

     What a wonderful, uplifting, encouraging, positive, and love
filled letter is this that the apostle Paul wrote to the
Christian saints at Philippi. What a great example are those
saints that lived at Philippi in the days of the apostle Paul. It
will do well for all Church of God congregations to follow the
superb example set for us by the Christian people at Philippi in
the first century A.D. 

     Truly a fine example of real Christianity. I look forward to
meeting those Christians of Philippi in the resurrection day at
the coming of our Lord.

                 ...........................

Written October 2005


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