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
Php 4:15-18 – “Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity. Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account. But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God.”
Paul continues to address the Philippians sacrificial giving…
Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only.
From the beginnings of Paul’s ministry in Philippi, the believers faithfully supported Paul. Once he departed from them, and moved to other ministry locations, no other church were faithful in supporting him.
The church at Philippi was willing to “push the envelope” and set the example for the other churches to whom Paul was ministering.
For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity.
Even when Paul was in other cities, ministering to the people there, the Philippians were faithful in continuing to help to meet his needs. They did not believe in the “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” mentality of the fallen world. They did not limit their support to the time that Paul ministered to them. Even when Paul no longer ministered to them, they still had the desire to continue their support for Paul.
Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.
Paul was thankful for the Philippians’ faithful support, not because he benefited from their support, but because he knew they would be rewarded for their faithfulness to the Lord. His thankfulness was centered upon the future blessings that they would receive from the Lord.
But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God.
Based upon their continuing support, Paul had an overflowing supply of his needs. He is fully supplied, just having received the lastest love gift from Philippi, which had been delivered by Epaphroditus.
Paul describes their love gifts as:
1. an odour of a sweet smell – a pleasing fragrance
2. a sacrifice acceptable – giving of themselves for another in a way that is approved by God
3. wellpleasing to God – very pleasing to God.
Paul is picturing the love gifts of the Philippians as burnt offerings, the smoke ascending to God, being accepted by God, pleasing Him for their faithfulness to Him.
Folks, may we all see the importance of helping to support those who are sharing the truths of God’s Word to us and to others in this world. In a wider sense, we can also see the need to help any of our brothers and sisters in Christ who have a need that we are equipped to meet.
May our love abound toward faithful ministers for Christ and all our Christian brethren among us!
2Th 1:3 – “We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth…”
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