Tuesday 3 December, 2013

Philippians 4:15-23

15 Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; 16 for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid more than once when I was in need. 17 Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account. 18 I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. 19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. 20 To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen. 21 Greet all God’s people in Christ Jesus. The brothers and sisters who are with me send greetings. 22 All God’s people here send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household. 23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

Verses 21-22 remind me of the beginning and the end of letters and books. I don’t like books where the beginning doesn’t grab my attention. Equally annoying is a very bad ending. I see the book of Genesis and Revelation as bookends to our faith. Know the beginning and the end, and everything in-between makes sense.

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Paul finishes his letter to the Philippians with greetings from him, his co-workers and all believers in Rome. Paul uses every opportunity to preach the gospel. He especially wants to encourage the Philippians’ by letting them know there are believers in Caesar’s household. This probably refers to servants holding more or less important positions in the palace, and this would have also included the whole pretorian guard. His imprisonment is paying off with huge dividends – Jesus has witnesses in the palace.

Despite the persecution of Christians under Nero, there were people getting saved. Paul testifies that the gospel has made its way into a place where we think the gospel would never be heard. God’s presence is in the palace with the believers. What a great encouragement to the Philippians, as they were being persecuted for their faith. Standing with them in faith were the believers in Nero’s government, living a life set apart for God.

Paul closes his letter, saying that Christ is the means of divine grace, and he wants to impart this grace on the Philippians. What a great ending!

Thank you Jesus that my hope is in You. I can rejoice always knowing that I have Your peace and promises to remove all my worries. Your presence goes with me everywhere I go. Lord, You strengthen me for all things. I am reminded and encouraged to know that Your love for everyone is all-consuming and will go anywhere. Amen

Written by Cathy Croft

2 replies
  1. David Newton says:

    I wonder how many times this year God would have said “David, what you did was a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to me”. — Not that many! — However Phil 3:13,14 tells me whatever has happened this year does not have to be a reflection of next year.
    Start planning now to ‘be a blessing to others’ next year!

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