Philippians 4:10-23

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

PAUL'S EXPRESSION OF THANKS

FOR THE PHILIPPIANS' GIFT

Last week we looked at -

VIII. PAUL'S APPEALS TO THE PHILIPPIAN BELIEVERS - 4:1-9

In this message, we continue with -

IX. PAUL'S EXPRESSION OF THANKS FOR THE PHILIPPIANS' GIFT - 4:10-20

Philippians 4:10-20 - 10 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. 11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. 12 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. 13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. 14 Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction. 15 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. 16 For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity. 17 Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account. 18 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. 19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. 20 Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Philippians 4:10 10 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.

But introduces a slight change in the direction of Paul's writing.

I rejoiced in the Lord greatly suggests that Paul rejoiced very much as a saved man in the person of the Lord and in the Lord's constant care of him.

As translated, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again indicates the content of Pauls rejoicing, but it may instead indicate the reason for Pauls rejoicing by changing the word that to because in the sense of I rejoiced in the Lord greatly because now at the last your care of me has flourished again.

Now at the last means now at last.

Your care of me refers to the Philippian believers' care on behalf of Paul. Your care of me suggests that as the Philippian believers thought of the Apostle Paul, they did something for him because they indeed cared for him.

Hath flourished again is has grown again or has bloomed again.

Wherein is in which and refers to your care of me.

Ye were also careful is you were having thoughts and is understood in the sense of you were concerned. Its tense implies continuing action in past time or action that was repeated in past time.

But ye lacked opportunity suggests but you were having no opportunity. Although they were concerned for the Apostle Paul and could pray, there was not a lot they could do in order to help him. They were in Philippi; he was in Rome; and a great distance separated them from each other. Consequently, they lacked much opportunity to help until they sent someone all the way from Philippi to locate Paul in Rome and give him a gift.

Philippians 4:11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

In verse 11 Paul hastens to add that he is not speaking to the Philippian believers out of need but that he is speaking to them regarding a desire or attitude of mind.

Not that I speak in respect of want is not that I [i.e. Paul] am speaking in relation to need, to lack, or to poverty. Pauls needs had been met. The Philippian believers would like to have done more for him, but Pauls needs had been met in spite of the fact that they were not able to do more for him. Finally, when they did something for him, his needs were met in an even greater way.

For explains why Paul is not speaking in respect of want and is used in the sense of because.

I have learned is simply I learned, and it implies that he had learned this through his experience or through his practice rather than through someones teaching him. It has been translated in a way which emphasizes the result of its action.

In whatsoever state I am is simply in what things I am.

What Paul has learned is to be content or to be self sufficient. He was not looking for handouts from anyone. God was there to meet his needs. It also indicates that he was not concerned about being wealthy. He was only concerned that God would meet his needs, which He did repeatedly.

Philippians 4:12 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.

Verse 12 elaborates on what Paul means by, I have learned in whatsoever state I am, (therewith) to be content.

I know, where I is Paul, is understood in the sense of I see, I perceive, or I recognize; and it is used twice for emphasis.

Paul knows two things: 1) how to be abased and 2) how to abound.

To be abased means to be humbled or to be made humble. Paul has learned how to be humble.

Paul has also learned the other extreme, how to abound, i.e. how to have an abundance or how to be rich.

Every where and in all things is literally in every and in all. There is a contrast between the singular and the plural in this statement. However, what it refers to is not stated in the text. The context suggests in every circumstance and in all circumstances or in every situation and in all situations.

I am instructed implies I am taught fully. Its tense indicates that its action was completed in the past in the sense of I have been fully taught and that its result has continued on, and it has been translated in a way which emphasizes its continuing result.

To be full means to be satisfied or to eat one's fill; and to be hungry means to suffer hunger or to hunger. He had experienced both extremes and knew how to manage in either situation.

And to abound means and to have an abundance.

Paul has also learned how to suffer need, which means how to lack, how to be lacking, how to go without, or how to come short of. Paul had experienced having plenty as well as having to go without.

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

I can do means I have power to do, I am competent to do, or I am able to do.

All things indicates what Paul can do. It does not mean that he can do everything under the sun. In the context, I can do all things means that Paul is able both to be humbled and to abound, to be hungry and to have plenty to eat, and to abound and to suffer need. All things is limited to those things which are within the will of God for Paul. This is consistent with Psalms 32:8 , which speaks of God's direction in life, with Romans 8:28 , which indicates that everything entering the life of a believer is for his ultimate good, and with I Corinthians 10:13 , which speaks of a limit beyond which God will not allow a believer to be tempted, tried, or tested.

Psalms 32:8 - I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.

Romans 8:28 - And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

I Corinthians 10:13 - There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer [i.e. permit, allow] you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

Through Christ which strengtheneth me indicates the means by which Paul is able to do all things.

Through is by or by means of, and Christ is the One Who enables Paul to do all things.

Which strengtheneth me is the One Who strengthens me; and the tense of strengtheneth indicates that its action is continuous. Christ is always the source of Paul's strength and always enables him to do all things.

Philippians 4:14 Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction.

Notwithstanding is the translation of a word used to break off a discussion and emphasize what is important. It was used previously in Philippians 3:16 where it was translated nevertheless. It means only, in any case, however, or but.

Ye have well done is you did rightly (or correctly), and it has been translated in a way which emphasizes the result of its action.

That ye did communicate with means that you took a sympathetic interest in.

My affliction is my oppression or my tribulation. It refers to Pauls time of imprisonment when the Philippian believers had recently sent a gift to him for which he was now writing a thank you note.

Although God was already meeting Paul's needs without the help of the Philippian believers, God used their gift to further meet Paul's needs. He could have done without it, but it was nice to receive it.

Philippians 4:15 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.

In verse 15 Paul reminds the Philippians of something they already knew.

Now may be emphatic and understood as indeed, in fact, or certainly.

Ye Philippians know also is you Philippians recognize also.

What the Philippians recognize is 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.

In the beginning of the gospel implies at the time the gospel was first beginning to be proclaimed in Achaia (i.e. in southern Greece).

This is made more clear by the clause when I departed from Macedonia. Paul had come to Macedonia (i.e. northern Greece) following the Macedonian vision (Acts 16:11 ), and he departed from Macedonia when he left Berea for Athens (Acts 17:15 ). Paul is referring to the early stages of his preaching the gospel in Achaia. It is after he had left Macedonia where he had been beaten in Philippi, forced out of Thessalonica, and forced to flee from Berea and had come to Athens.

No church . . . but ye only indicates that there was no other church other than the one in Philippi which had sent anything at all to him.

Communicated means gave (or contributed) a share.

With me [i.e. with Paul], when connected with communicated, means that no church made me its partner.

As concerning giving and receiving means in the matter of giving and receiving. Only the church at Philippi gave to Paul.

Philippians 4:16 For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity.

For is the word ordinarily translated because and should be understood in this sense here as well.

Even is slightly emphatic. It may be more emphatic and understood as indeed, in fact, or certainly.

In Thessalonica, as a matter of fact, the Philippian believers had sent something to assist Paul; and Paul was in Thessalonica before he was able to go to Achaia. He was still in Macedonia at the time they helped him; so, their giving in Thessalonica is before their giving in the beginning of the gospel when I departed from Macedonia (verse 15).

Ye sent is you Philippian believers sent.

Once and again is literally both once and twice. When these two terms are used together, it means several times.

Unto my necessity is unto my need. While he was still in Thessalonica, the church at Philippi had sent gifts to Paul on several occasions for the purpose of meeting his needs.

Philippians 4:17 Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.

In verse 17 Paul adds a disclaimer. It is not because I desire a gift. It means not because I am wishing for a gift.

But I desire introduces a strong contrast and means but I am wishing for.

Fruit is the particular fruit that may abound [i.e. the fruit which increases] to your account. Rather than giving gifts to him, Paul wants the Philippian believers to be fruitful in their Christian lives and, therefore, pleasing to God.

Philippians 4:18 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.

But I have introduces a mild contrast and means but I have received in full. It means that his needs have been met.

What he has received is all or all things.

And I . . . abound is and I have an abundance or and I am rich. Its present tense describes Paul's current situation in life.

I am full literally means I have been filled or I have been filled full. As a result of Paul's having been filled in the past, it means I am full in the present. It is understood as I have been well supplied or I am well supplied.

Having received of Epaphroditus is because I have received from Epaphroditus. He is the one who had delivered this gift from the Philippian believers to the Apostle Paul.

The things which were sent from you is literally the things from you. It indicates that the church at Philippi sent the gift, and Epaphroditus took it with him and delivered it to Paul on their behalf.

An odour of a sweet smell may be taken literally, indicating that they had sent him some sort of perfume. However, it is better understood in a figurative sense, indicating that their gift had a pleasant aroma before God. An odour of a sweet smell is a combination of two words which basically mean the same thing. The first one means a fragrance or an odor, and the second one means an aroma or a fragrance. When used together, they are understood in the sense of a fragrant odor.

A sacrifice acceptable is another way of saying an odour of a sweet smell. This sacrifice is the gift which they had sent to the apostle. No one really knows what the gift was.

Acceptable is welcome. It was both acceptable and welcome as far as Paul was concerned and also as far as God was concerned as wellpleasing to God indicates. It does not mean that God delights in fragrant odors. It means that their act of giving this gift to the Apostle Paul was pleasing to God. It is reminiscent of what Paul wrote of Christ in Ephesians 5:2 ,

Ephesians 5:2 - And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.

Philippians 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

But may introduce a mild contrast with what has preceded. It may instead introduce a continuation of the previous thought and be understood as and or now; or but may indicate emphasis and be understood in the sense of indeed, certainly, or in fact.

My God is Pauls God, i.e. God the Father, the God of heaven. He is the same God Paul had been proclaiming to the Philippian believers and in Whom the Philippian believers had believed. He is the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ. Because we are believers, He is also our God.

Shall supply means will make full, will fill, or will fill full and is predictive of a future event which will definitely occur.

All your need means your every necessity.

According to his riches in glory means according to His heavenly riches. Gods wealth is limitless. He is able to meet every need these Philippian believers will ever have. It is possible, however, that in glory should be connected with shall supply rather than with riches and be understood in the sense of shall gloriously supply.

By Christ Jesus may mean in the person of Christ Jesus, or it may mean through (i.e. by or by means of) Christ Jesus. As a result of their having given sacrificially to the Apostle Paul, this promise indicates that their physical and financial needs will in turn be met. This is not a general promise made for all believers who are not necessarily even living for the Lord. Gods meeting of the Philippian believers' needs will come as a result of their sacrificial giving in meeting Paul's need.

Philippians 4:20 Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Now continues the thought. It is the same word translated but in verse 19.

Unto God and our Father is literally to the God and Father of us.

He is our God. He is also our heavenly Father. It is possible that our is limited to Paul, but it likely includes Timothy and the saints in Philippi as well. It is also true of all believers everywhere.

As indicated by the italics, be has been supplied by the translators. The Apostle Paul is expressing a wish, and something needed to be supplied such as be or may . . . be. The translators have supplied be.

Glory is what Paul wishes for God the Father. The appears before glory in the Greek text in order to indicate that it is the sum total of all the glory there is that Paul wants to be ascribed or given to God the Father.

For ever and ever literally means unto the ages of the ages. Amen is a formula Paul places at the end of his benediction, meaning so be it, so let it be true, or truly.

Finally, as we draw Philippians to a close, we see -

X. PAUL'S CONCLUDING GREETINGS AND BENEDICTION - 4:21-23

Philippians 4:21 (21) Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren which are with me greet you. (22) All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar's household. (23) The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

Salute is a command meaning greet.

Every saint (or each saint) implies that the Philippian believers are to greet every individual believer.

A saint is one who has been set apart in Christ. This is true of every believer because every believer is a saint. As such, he is a sanctified (or holy) one.

In Christ Jesus tells where these believers are set apart. They are set apart for God and His use.

The brethren is the brothers and refers to fellow believers.

Which are with me indicates that Paul is not alone, that there are some believers with him; and all of them are sending greetings to the Philippian believers.

Greet is the same term translated salute in the beginning of this verse, and you is plural and refers to the Philippian believers.

Philippians 4:22 All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar's household.

All the saints refers to the saved people who are in contact with Paul in Rome.

They are saints in that the Holy Spirit has sanctified them or set them apart in Christ at the time of their salvation.

Salute means greet.

You is plural and refers to the saints in Philippi to whom this letter is addressed.

Chiefly means especially or particularly.

They that are of Caesars household is the ones who are of the household of Caesar and implies that some within Caesars household have actually been saved and are now sending greetings to the Philippian believers. Thus, Pauls ministry while in prison has been fruitful in that even some of Caesars very own household have been born again and are living as Christians. It likely refers to some of the slaves or servants of Caesar's household or to some of the soldiers of the praetorian guard who had been saved as a result of their contact with Paul rather than to members of Caesar's immediate family.

Philippians 4:23 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

As Paul closes his epistle, he wishes another blessing upon the Philippian believers: the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

The grace is the favor, the gracious care, the help, or the good will.

Of our Lord Jesus Christ may indicate that it is the Lord Jesus Christs grace or that this grace comes from the Lord Jesus Christ. There is essentially no difference in meaning inasmuch as His grace comes from Him anyhow.

Be with you all indicates that Paul wants this grace to be present in abundance among the Philippian believers. Paul closes his epistle with amen, which means truly or so be it.