INTRODUCTION TO OUR SERIES:
Background to Philippians…
The Apostle Paul wrote the epistle (personal letter) (1:1) to the Philippian church, probably during his imprisonment in Rome. The letter was written from a heart of love and concern for the Philippians. Due to Paul’s imprisonment, he could not personally visit with the church so he sent this letter with Timothy to encourage them and bring back news of their condition to Paul. (2:19).
Some of the main divisions of the book include:
1. Introduction to the book: 1:1-2
2. Paul’s thankfulness for the Philippians: 1:3-11
3. News of Paul’s imprisonment and dedication: 1:12-26
4. Following Christ’s example is our duty: 1:27-2:18
5. Paul’s representatives and the need to treat them kindly: 2:19-30
6. Paul’s example of living a joyous life: 3:1-11
7. The Christian’s heavenly calling: 3:12-21
8. The need for Godly living: 4:1-9
9. The love offerings of the Philippians: 4:10-20
10. Closing to the book of Philippians: 4:21-23
Phil 4:10-11 – “But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”
But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again;
Paul overflowed with calm happiness because their concern for Paul had begun bearing fruit once again. Based upon their love for Paul and blessings they had received of the Lord. They were able to resume sending Paul these love offerings which showed they still loved Paul and were financially being blessed of the Lord.
These were the source of Paul’s joy… knowing he was loved, the church there was being blessed, and he appreciated the blessings of love offerings sent to him.
wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.
Prior to this, although the Philippian church loved and was concerned about Paul, they were not in a financial position to do so. With the receipt of the love offerings, Paul understood they were now being blessed by God financially which enabled them to send the offerings.
Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned,
Paul emphasized his joy was not simply based upon the receipt of the love offerings. His joy was centered upon their continuing love for him and their current state of financial blessedness.
Paul materialistic needs were not a big issue with Paul. He had learned a very valuable lesson in his service for Christ….
in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
The word translated contentment is a very interesting one. It comes from two Greek words fused together that mean “enough for self” or “sufficient for self”.
No matter what his material needs (things like money, clothing, shelter, food etc.) might be, Paul had learned to possess an attitude that says “it is enough for me”.
Although the basic principle presented here is the need for Christians to be content in all areas of their lives, it especially points to the need to always be content in the material things of this life. This same principle is presented in the many texts that teach us not to crave the things of this world but to always seek first the spiritual things of God for our lives.
1Jn 2:15 – “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
Col 3:1-2 – “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”
May we all listen to the very important advice given to us by Paul…. Folks, we need to learn to be content, no matter what our lot may be in this life.
If we stop and think about these things, we will come to an understanding that, in the “big picture”, the things of this world are simply temporal, short-lived things that do not compare to the eternal blessings that await the people of God. May we all keep this our focus in our lives as we seek to give the eternal things of God first place in our lives.
1Ti 6:6-10 – “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
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