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 4:12-14 – “I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction.”
Paul continues his thoughts on learning to live a contented life (vs 10:11)…
I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound:
Throughout Paul’s experiences in serving the Lord, he came to understand how to live a humbled, depressed life. He also had learned how to live a life in which his needs were more than met, as he overflowed with the necessities of life.
2Co 11:23-28 – “Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.”
every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
Paul faced many different life experiences which taught him how to live with all his needs satisfied and, at other times, lacking all of those needs. He was taught how to live with excess and with lack.
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
Paul understood that it was only through divine intervention by Christ that he was able to remain faithful and contentment in his varying life situations. He could not do this on his own but was entirely reliant upon the empowerment of Christ in his life.
Joh 15:4-7 – “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”
Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction.”
He commends the church at Philippi because they shared their possessions with him, to help meet his needs, as he faced the times of lack in his life. Their acts of sharing to meet Paul’s needs were acts of love, grace and concern.
Speaking for myself, there is one section of our Scripture for this morning that is very familiar and interesting… “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
This verse is applied in many different ways by teachers of God’s word. However it is important to notice that, in the context, being able to do all things through Christ specifically involves being able to remain faithful to the Lord, no matter what our state may be. Whether facing times of lack, or times of great overages, Paul is telling us that, through Christ, we will be able to make it through faithfully, and with a spirit of contentment.
May we all take this wonderful verse to heart and recognize our consistent need of Christ intervention in our lives to remain faithful no matter what life circumstances may come our way. It is only through Christ we can retain a spirit of contentment and dedication to His cause as we seek to always please Him.
2Co 3:4-5 – “And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward: Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God”
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