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You might want to print out this study to use in your daily quiet time.  This study covers the book of Philippians and can be used over a couple of weeks.

       A study in the book of Philippians  (104 K)

by pamela spurling

Philippians is one of Paul’s prison letters (approx. 64 AD), and Paul is writing to professing believers. The church at Philippi, being doctrinally sound, needed encouragement and affirmation rather than correction and redirection. My favourite description of this book is from commentators, Jamieson-Faussett-Brown; "Exhortation to Christian consistency...writing in the tone of affectionate familiarity; ...and ‘joy’ being the feature characteristic of this book."

We will learn a great deal about daily living as we study this book.

Have you ever thought that your greetings to people either drain (they see your name and dread what you’ll say next) or bless them (they just know you are going to have something new and encouraging to say)? _____________________________________________________________

When people receive a word from you, do they feel the refreshment of the Lord?___________________.

If you’re not sure, what one thing could you do to change that?____________________________.

We just concentrated on prayer in our study in Ephesians, and in Philippians we’ll take up this theme again.

Without doubt, this matter of prayer is our most sacred privilege. How blessed we are to have this form of communication with the Lord (for ourselves or interceding for others).

Can you say that you thank God upon your every remembrance of someone?________________.

Ask the Lord to direct your thoughts and show you what might be hindering kind thoughts. ___________________________________________________________________.

Or, when you think of someone, does that thought prompt you to pray for them?___________.

(vs. 3-4) "Always" and "Every" are strong words.  Is there ANYthing you do ‘always’ and ‘every’ time??????

Does this remind you of Ephesians (5.20) "Giving thanks always for all things unto God..."

Here we have a model for praying for family, friends, members of our churches, whatever... and the example we are given is one of praying with joy in every prayer for those with whom we fellowship.

Do you joyfully make your requests to God?___________________________________________.

Are you thankful for Christian fellowship?___________________________________.

(V. 5 "For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;" Adam Clark, Commentary: "If we consider "koinonia" (greek: fellowship) as implying spiritual fellowship or communion, then it signifies not only their attention to the gospel, their readiness to continue it, and perseverance in it, but also their unity and affection among themselves."

Matthew Henry keys in on (v.5) "...from the first day..." saying, "a new born Christian, if he is true-born, is interested in all the promises of the gospel from the first day of his becoming such."

Our daughter just came back from a conference where she learned new things about prayer and reminded me about the "ACTS way to pray" ~AdorationConfessionThanksgivingSupplication ~ each time you pray.

Philippians 1.6

Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.

SO...are you confident?__________________________.

In what do you place your confidence?________________________.

What work has the Lord begun in YOU?_________________________.

Do you take seriously that it is The LORD doing the work in you, and HE will perform it until the day of Christ Jesus?____________________________________________.

              Do you try to do what only God can do?__________________________________.

            Do you see the tremendous freedom here, allowing God to be God and just doing what HE asks?                        __________________________________________________________________.

I know I just fired a lot of questions at you... but I just wanted you to ponder how great is the Love that the Father has lavished on YOU.

Verse 6 is being stated in the context of Paul’s greeting or salutation to people he loves and wants to encourage. It could also be a continuation of his daily prayer for them.

Do you feel a bond with people when you pray?  _____________________________________

Do you sometimes feel that your friendships or relationships aren’t growing? Maybe a very good place to start is to pray.  ___________________________________________________________________

It seems nothing unites hearts and lives quicker or stronger than prayer. If we are to have true fellowship, then we must learn more about prayer and have prayer be an integral part of our relationships. We all have a longing to be remembered. It would probably surprise you, were you to know who is praying for you by name at any given time.

Please continue in Philippians 1.7-10

Is there someone for whom you have prayed and now you know she may need a little encouragement? Is there one person who needs to hear from you today?_________________________.

Does your husband know that you are appreciative and that you are praying for him and his needs today?___________________________.

Philippians 1.11:

"Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ unto the glory and praise of God."

What are fruits of righteousness?__________________________________________.

What is it to be filled with the fruits of righteousness?____________________________.

Consider the first part of the verse: Would you say that it is to be filled with Jesus?____________________.

And the last part of the verse: "...Unto the glory and praise of God."---"God being honored when the work of His grace thus appears to men in the fruits of righteousness; and God is praised by all the faithful when His work thus appears." ---Adam Clark

What else does this verse mean to you? _________________________________________________.

Words, being finite, cannot possibly describe Who Jesus is... but would you say that God in His mercy has helped us to understand dimly by telling us about the "fruit" of the Spirit?

The danger of defining ‘fruits’ is that we will try to DO something to have the fruits----and then fall back to the Law: DOING ourselves what only God can do.

See Galatians 5.22

The ninefold fruit of the Spirit is: Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering (patience), Gentleness, Goodness, Faith, Meekness (kindness), Temperance(self control).

The "fruits of righteousness" seems to be much more. It is nothing of ourselves---but is an outward demonstration of inward work by Jesus the Lord and IS, in fact, Jesus: The LORD.

Romans 10.3-4 "For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to every one that believeth."

(Righteousness here means the ‘righteous life’ which is the result of salvation through Christ. The righteous man under the Law became righteous by DOING righteously; under grace, he does righteously because he has been MADE righteous.  ---Scofield)

You to know that I am no Theologian, and would never want to mislead you... so I am, and only by God’s grace, trying to promote serious study of the Word... and so I will suggest a few more passages so that you can have a deeper understanding of this verse.

My concern here is focusing on so much on the fruit, and missing the very awesome truth of God’s gift to us through Christ Jesus! SO, I will add for you a few things I think you’ll find interesting.

See Romans 3.22-23: "Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God."

*and note: The righteousness of God is neither an attribute of God, nor the changed character of the believer, but Christ Himself, who fully met in our stead and behalf of every demand of the law, and who is, by act of God called imputation (Lev. 25.50, James 2.3), "made unto us. . . righteousness" (I Cor. 1.30). {Scofield}

II Cor. 5.21 For he hath made him to be for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Philippians 3.9 "...not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:"

Okay, so isn’t that impressive----what God has done for us in Christ Jesus!

As you go through this day, I pray that the Lord will bring to your mind these awesome truths and that you will be abundantly blessed as you meditate on your position before God because of your redemption.

"We are wild and useless olive trees till we are graffed (sic) into Christ, who, by His living root, makes us fruit-bearing branches" -Calvin

Philippians 1.12-30

There are a few verses that I’d like to highlight. The first being,  verse 21:  For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain...

I wonder if you are like me... in my heart, I know that to die is gain.... but in my everyday walk, I live like I do not want to/plan to die any time soon. However, heaven and eternity with the Lord is my sincerest desire. In affliction, even more so.

I am especially mindful of this as I prepare to go to my father’s funeral... and ponder the finality of death in this life and desire to live in such a manner as to redeem the time I am given, to the obedience of Christ---anything else is for nothing.

In this passage, we cannot help but pause and consider our own lives...

"While I live... I am Christ’s property and servant, and Christ is my portion.

If I die, if I be called to witness the truth at the expense of my life, this will be gain; I shall be saved from the remaining troubles and difficulties in life, and be put immediately in possession of my heavenly inheritance... if I be spared longer, I shall labour for Christ, as I have done" -Adam Clark

In the next portion, Paul assures this church that while it would be "gain" to himself to die, it would be gain to them if he lived---and so had confidence in abiding with them for the furtherance of the gospel.

This is convicting here... do I live for the furtherance of the gospel?

What will I do this day to live in this way? ________________________________.

Verse 27: "Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel..."

Does my life look like it is patterned after this exhortation? ___________________.

The conversations I have... the conversations I listen to... are they becoming to the gospel of Christ? _______________________________________________________________.

 

Philippians  1.28-29 " And in nothing be terrified by your adversaries... For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake."

In nothing be terrified...

What "terrifies" you? _____________________________________________________. 

Yep... it’s easy to believe in Him---but to suffer for Him... Do we? _____________________________________________________________________.

Are we willing to suffer for Him---even to death?____________________________________.

What eternal value is there in the things you plan to do today? _______________________________________________________________________________.

We are beginning Chapter 2 of Philippians.

1. If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,

2. Fulfill ye my joy, that ye be like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

3. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

4. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

Have you ever purposed to go through the day living as though you had no will of your own?   _____________________________________________________________________

Have you ever intentionally lived in such a way that you made plans in advance to look to the needs of your husband/family/home/job/friends---etc., etc., and purposefully attended to them without regard as to whether you would benefit, receive credit, have your needs met, or whatever?

_______________________________________________________________________

According to verse 1, our behavior is a direct reflection of our belief system--- and it all depends on our relationship with and our understanding of the Lord Jesus.

It’s not a bad thing to be like minded--- to have the same love--- to be of one accord;  What do you think?

_______________________________________________________________________

(verse 3) We are not to do things out of vanity or with or through strife... This verse has prompted this question in me: "Am I living in such a manner that I am doing things out of "strife" or vanity?"

I’d have to say... Yep, sometimes...

So, how about you? Are you doing things with strife or vanity?

________________________________________________________________________

When you are dealing with your husband and/or your children, are you esteeming them as better than yourself?

________________________________________________________________________

Do they know it? ___________________________________________________

Does this mean we are not to cover our own needs?

No.

Verse 4 says, "Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others."

Do you think this could eliminate some strife in your family or on the job today?

How about if the moms could gently remind the children of this important principle today? Let’s watch how the Lord blesses when we live to please Him, doing things His way.

So here we are in Philippians, chapter 2... verse 5

But first, How did it go yesterday... looking to others’ needs without regard to your own? And personal expectations--- were you able to consciously esteem others as better than yourself?_______________________.

This is sometimes a hard one, considering the variety of people with whom we live or work. Try again today.

Philippians 2.5

"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: "

Let this mind be in you.

What mind?

V. 1.21 "For me to live is Christ, to die is gain."

V. 1.27 "Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ."

V. 2.3 "...let each esteem others better than themselves."

And more.

Let this mind be in you. This has direct bearing on the verses we studied in Ephesians regarding being renewed in the spirit of your mind; and most definitely requires putting off the old man and putting "on the new man which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness." (Eph 4.22-24)

The Lord has certainly used a very long thread to weave His Word.

Let this mind be in you.

Let this thinking govern your thoughts.

You have a choice... not as to what happens, necessarily, but as to how you are going to think about it.

Let this mind be in you. This mind...

"Christ laboured to promote no separate interest; as man, he studied to promote the glory of God and the welfare and salvation of the human race. See that you have the same ‘disposition’ that was in Jesus." -Adam Clarke

Philippians 2.6-8

(5. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.)

6. Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

7. But made himself of no reputation, and took upon himself the form of a servant and was made in the likeness of men:

8. And being found in the fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

If you have time, please examine some passages which will illuminate these verses. This particular passage is too valuable, too deep, and too important to simply gloss over. It is the foundational truth on which we base our faith and salvation. Because of who Jesus is, and that there is no other name given among men by which we must be saved, our study and understanding of these verses must take priority if we are to be sincere students of the Word. (John 1.1-5,14,34; John 10.29-30; John 17.5; Ps. 8.4-6; Ps. 40.6-8; Heb. 4.14-15; )

The Lord Jesus made Himself of no reputation; He appeared in the likeness of man; He emptied Himself---it was His choice: substantiating He is God; Humbled Himself in death on the cross; fully able to choose His suffering (or not) and yet chose to be obedient to the death of the cross.

For you.  For me.  For your children.  For your husband.  For all who would believe.

Amazing Love.

After much study and prayer I can add nothing to our study today, except to say, "Thank You" to the Lord. Maybe you, too, feel this way today. You read this passage and just say to God: Thank You.

Philippians 2.9-11

9. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

10. That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

11. And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

That Name. The Name which is above all names---on earth, in Heaven, under the earth, the living and the dead; that Name is above ALL names.

One of my favourite chapters is Ephesians 1.  In it we read (vs.19-23), "19. And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to his mighty power, 20. Which he wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, 21. Far above all principality, and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world but also in that which is to come: 22. And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, 23. Which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all.

All of creation is subject to Him---and in subjection to Him, both living and dead.

Amazing Love.

With this reminder... Is there anything you are facing that God could not handle? ____________________________________________________________________________.

What about that name, the power of that name: (v. 10) that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow.

What does this mean to you today? __________________________________________________.

(v. 11) And that every tongue confess...

Could you purpose today that whatever opportunity the Lord places in your life: you would confess Him as Lord?___________________________________________________.

Watch and see how the Lord opens a door of opportunity to tell about "That Name."

Philippians 2.12-13

12. Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

13. For it is God which worketh in you to will and to do of His good pleasure.

"Salvation is the great inclusive word of the Gospel, gathering into itself all the redemptive acts and processes: as justification, redemption, grace, propitiation, imputation, forgiveness, sanctification, and glorification. Salvation is in three tenses: 1.) The believer has been saved from guilt and penalty of sin and is safe; 2.) The believer is being saved from the habit and dominion of sin; 3.) The believer is to be saved in the sense of entire conformity to Christ. Salvation is by grace through faith, is a free gift, and wholly without works." (CI Scofield)

True character is reflected in what you do when no one is looking or when it seems like it really wouldn’t matter.

Do you remember situations where you had an opportunity and intention to do something that would be sinful or might go against your convictions and then at the last moment you decided to not do that thing?

---that’s obedience: doing the right thing even when it would never be known if you had done the other or not.

(v. 12) "...with fear..." This fear... it is the holy reverence for God. It is the highest respect and honour for God.

If you have been reading the Proverbs, you will readily understand what this ‘fear’ is: (Pr. 1.7) The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge... (Pr. 8.13) The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; pride and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the forward mouth, do I hate. (Pr. 9.10) The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. (Pr. 10.27) The fear of the Lord prolongeth days: but the years of the wicked shall be shortened.

Grace is God’s unmerited favour.   God’s unmerited favour is His MERCY on us.   Grace is Him working in us to will and to do of His good pleasure. It is because of grace and mercy that we have faith. See how sobering this all is? It’s all God... working in us to conform us to the image of Jesus our Lord. Amazing love.

            So today... are you working with God, or standing in His way?__________________________.

Is He wanting to do something in you or through you and you are resisting?________________.

Have you accepted the grace of God in vain? ________________________________________________________________________.

II Cor 6.1

Well then, today, how about asking Him what He’s doing and JOIN Him --- allow Him to work in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.

Are you remembering to be a sweet offering to God? (around your home, school, work, grocery store, freeway?)

Philippians 2.14-15

14. Do all things without murmurings and disputings:

15. That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world:

How about that... here’s another "do all things" verse (remember count it all joy... praying always with all prayer... giving thanks always)

How’s it been going with you lately? Have you been doing things without murmurings or disputings? _________________________________________________________________________

Would your husband/family agree? __________________________________________

If you feel ‘okay’ in that department, have you been helping your children learn to do things without murmurings or disputings? (by example?)

V. 15: "...blameless and harmless, the sons of God..." The only way we can ever hope to be any of this is to daily walk with God, keep short accounts, and remember that in and of ourselves we can do nothing---it is God working in us to will and to do His good pleasure. It is Jesus who stands before us, He is our righteousness.

We do live in a crooked and perverse nation (age, generation, time), but we are to shine as lights---(Lights, Gr..: phoster; an illuminator, a luminary or brilliancy).

Think for a moment, does your life "shine?" What does the ‘world’ see reflected in you? ____________________________________________________________________

Matthew 5.14: "Ye are the light (phos)of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid."

That ‘light’ is the same Greek word.   So, again, what does your life illuminate? ____________________________________________________________________

...(Romans 12.2, "And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind..." and Ephesians 4.23 "And be renewed in the spirit of your mind.")

Philippians 2.16-18

16. Holding forth the word of life that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.

17. Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy and rejoice with you all.

18. For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me.

Holding forth the word (logos: something said, reasoning, the Divine Expression, communication, speech) of life (zoe; literally: life) that I may rejoice in the day of Christ (that Day---the day of judgement; see I Thess. 5.2), that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.

This is an example of valid concern regarding the accomplishment of great or important things for the Lord. This is not ‘works’ faith, but rather faith shown or demonstrated in/by works (James 2.17-26).

These verses are pertaining to Paul’s missionary service to and leadership of the believers in Phillipi. He would give his life for these brothers and sisters in Christ.

It is obvious from these verses that Paul’s whole life is dedicated to the service of Jesus Christ; his whole purpose centers around rejoicing in Christ, the furthering of the gospel and the wellbeing of those whom he has been called to serve.

Can you think of ways in which these verses parallel the roll of the wife and/or the mother in the home? __________________________________________________________________________.

The things you schedule to do each day... are they with the purpose of rejoicing "in the day of Christ," and/or being an example of joyful service to your children or co-workers or husband? __________________________________________________________________________.

I pray that we will rejoice in that day, that we "have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain."

For the sake of space, please see Philippians 2.19-30 in your Bible.

This passage deals with the plans that Paul has regarding the sending of Timothy and Epaphroditus, the openness of his heart toward these two and for the church at Philippi.

It appears (verse 20) that Paul’s great concern is for continuity in leadership, thus his expression of like-mindedness with Timothy.

Paul gives yet another glimpse into his personality when describing his sorrow at the sickness of Epaphroditus... acknowledging that God had been merciful in not adding sorrow to sorrow unto him and sparing the life of his friend.

And finally, to keep them informed of his plans, demonstrated compassion for them.

We can learn from this passage how to relate to those closest to us; we have in Paul, as in the Lord Jesus, an example of obedience to God and compassion for others. Inherent in Paul’s ministry is the component of mentoring, partnership, or teamwork. He readily acknowledges his total and utter dependence on the Lord Jesus and a thankful heart for those whom the Lord has ‘given’ him in ministry---whether as a likeminded companion or servant of the Lord.

So, for us today...

Is there someone the Lord has ‘given’ you as a companion or likeminded servant of the Lord in ministry? (This may or may not be your husband, depending on the aspect of ministry. If your companion is someone other than him, is he in full agreement of a ministry you are pursuing?)

___________________________________________________________________________

Do you long for such an opportunity with him or for help in a ministry in which you are involved? ___________________________________________________________________________

Is there someone you might be in a position to encourage, challenge to press on, or mentor? ____________________________________________________________________________

Trust the Lord for His promptings and His provision of the desires of your heart.

Philippians 3.1-3

1. Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe.

2. Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.

3. For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Jesus Christ, and have no confidence in the flesh.

We can’t be reminded too often to: (V. 1) Rejoice (Gr. chairo: be cheerful, glad, greeting, joy) in the Lord.

Here again, Paul is tenderly reminding them of things they already know and so wants them to not think he’s put out by telling them again. It is for their safety that he warns them.

So, rejoice! Looking at things this way forces our eyes to look above and not down at our situation.

Your current situation may not be giving you much cause for rejoicing, but looking to the Lord and focusing on Him, you can rejoice; if for nothing else than the marvelous fact that He loves you, died for you, and saved you from eternal separation from God.

V. 2:  Beware (Gr. blepo: behold, beware, look, take heed, perceive, regard) of dogs(Isaiah 56.6-12), beware of evil workers(II Cor. 11.13-15)[or those who would pervert the gospel], beware of the concision (Gr. katatome: cutting down(off), mutilation).

V. 3:  For we are the circumcision (set apart to God), which worship God in the spirit (not carnally), and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. ("They have no confidence in the flesh, in those carnal ordinances and outward performances. Our confidence as well as our joy is proper to him." ---Matthew Henry)

Nehemiah 8.10 "...for the joy of the Lord is your strength."

‘Beware of the dogs’... do you have any ‘dogs’ in your life today---things that appear good but are actually harmful to your obedient walk with the Lord? 

__________________________________________________________________________

(Galatians 2.4)

Have you been placing confidence in the flesh?

___________________________________________________________________

Galatians 2.20 "I am crucified with Christ : nevertheless I live; yet not I , but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."

If there’s an area of your life you have not yielded to the Lord, where you have been trying to "do it" yourself, how about giving it over to God to handle... He’s fully able to care for you--- whatever your need.

So, today: watch out for those dogs!

In Philippians 3, verses 4-6, Paul gives his ‘credentials’ that one might assume necessary for him to be in the rare position he’s in. However, he lists them not for that, but rather to prove that those things are of no importance whatsoever at the foot of the cross. And so it is with each one of us... there is nothing we have done or could do to make ourselves worthy of the gift of Christ Jesus and what His life, death and resurrection means for us.

So, verse 7: "But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 8. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 9. And be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:"

Do you get stuck trying to "do" rather than simply "be" in the Lord? ______________________

What is it the Lord truly desires of us? ____________________________________________

Do you try to be more? _______________________________________________________

Psalm 51.6 Behold, Thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.

And remember Ephesians 2.8-9: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9. Not of works, lest any man should boast."

Galatians 2.21: "I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law then Christ is dead in vain." (whew---powerful verse, yes?)

See? It’s not how well you are doing in your studies, how clean your home is, how much money you make, how beautiful you look, how well behaved your children are, how fabulous you have decorated your house and done your yard, how thin, fat, short, tall, fit, or flabby you are, how much Bible memory you have accomplished, how many college degrees you do or don’t have, what a good wife you are, or what church you do or don’t attend, you name it:______________________, it doesn’t matter!   It doesn't matter.

Many things we might do are great accomplishments, but: ALL that is nothing but "dung" (or another more pleasant word you may alternate for worse than garbage).

All that matters is the surpassing knowledge of the Lord Jesus, and to be found in Him.   That’s it.

Philippians 3.10

That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

That I may know Him...
How would my day be spent if that were truly my goal?
That I may know Him...
What thoughts would I think?
That I may know Him...
How would I behave?
That I may know Him...
What would I say?

Philippians 3.10; and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings...

Do you ever feel so low, or so far behind, or so inadequate, that you are suffering? Do you know the hopelessness of suffering?

The Lord Jesus was acquainted with grief, He has borne our grief and carried our sorrows... He was wounded for our transgressions; bruised for our iniquities... and with His stripes we are healed.

(See Isaiah 53)

All that... that’s the power of His resurrection, and that’s the fellowship of His sufferings.

I Peter 4.13: "But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his Glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy."

That I may know Him....

How will I live this day? __________________________________________________________-

That I may know Him, who gave His life for me... today.

Philippians 3.11-14

(v. 10 That I may know Him...)

11. If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.

12. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

13. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do , forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

14. I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

V. 11; "The happiness of heaven is here called the resurrection of the dead. This the apostle had his eye upon; this he would attain."—Matthew Henry

V. 12; Paul, again, careful to admit his imperfections and yet firm in his conviction and stand before the Lord.

V. 13; The recognition that he had not "arrived," but having a clear goal in mind.

What is the goal here, and what prevents us from keeping focused on the goal?

_____________________________________________________________

I think the key in this verse is the "forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before..." Do you sense the personal active responsibility here?

Are there things in your life that you are having a difficult time "forgetting" and leaving behind? ___________________________________________________________________________

Do things from the past prevent you from reaching ahead? ____________________________________________________________________

"Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown: but we an incorruptible." I Cor. 9.24-25

Have you ever set a goal for yourself and let nothing stand in the way of your reaching that goal?

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"Wherefore, seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us," Hebrews 12.1

Do you live the Christian life that way? ________________________________________

What can you do today that will be of eternal value?

Philippians 3.15

Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in anything ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.

16. Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.

Remember this ‘perfect’ in verse 15 "...implies full development, growth, into maturity of godliness, not sinless perfection." -Scofield (Also: completeness, of full age)

Also, remember our study in Ephesians, this same concept was developed... regarding the ministry gifts that were for the perfecting of the saints and for the edifying of believers---the body of Christ. (Eph. 14.12-13)

When you have a disagreement with something or do not understand a passage or whatever, it is hard to be like minded. This is where true discernment or wisdom is vital. (See James 1.5-6: If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.)

V. 16 "...walk by the same rule,..." This passage is dealing with issues that are not controversial---that we are to be like minded (salvation, redemption, faith). (Greek kanon; rod, line standard, rule)

Now, there may be peripheral issues regarding behavior, dress, lifestyle---wherein we differ; in these we are to live patiently with one another... that the Lord will reveal what is or is not important. As we live "gently" with believers, the Lord will give us understanding as we wait on Him. Some things you believe strongly today, you may not hold as strongly to at another time and, conversely, things that you have not thoroughly considered today... you may turn from or change tomorrow. The Lord revealing to you what He desires in/of your life.

We are all at different levels of growth, maturity and understanding. We are all "working out our salvation from day to day."

Whatever it is in word or in deed, as best we are able, we must be peacemakers in the body.

Do you see that you have been taking "a hard line" on things that maybe don’t matter all that much in light of eternity?

__________________________________________________________________________

OR... have you been a little too casual or lax in some area?

__________________________________________________________________________

Are there convictions that govern your lifestyle (actions, behavior, dress) that make others react to you?

___________________________________________________________________________

OR.. make you react to others?___________________________________________

What might you do today to demonstrate loving patience with another believer who believes "differently" than you believe on a matter?
____________________________________________________________________________

Deciding to resolve matters is the first step in living at peace or "minding the same thing."

Philippians 3.17-19

17. Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an example.

18. (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:

19. Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)

Was Paul exhorting the church to follow him? No, he was setting an example for them to follow; the exhortation being something like, be fellow ‘imitators’ or followers of Christ *with* me.

Imitation is the sincerest form of admiration, but this request seems to go even beyond that, because it was deeper than just behavior: it was for the essential evidence of faith.

I Peter 5.3 [to the Elders] "Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being examples to the flock."

I Tim 4.12-13 "Let no man despise thy youth but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity, Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine."

Christians, especially  "1st generation"  Christians, often need role models or mentors to demonstrate how things are done, or how to live out the principles of God’s Word. It seems necessary for a time and then, more and more, believers learn to ‘hear’ God, walk in His ways, and apply His truths. In His Word, God has set examples for us to follow. Additionally, He has given His Holy Spirit to be our guide.

Then there are the enemies of the cross of Christ vs. 17-18---we are often warned and often heedless of the warnings. We are given characteristics of those enemies; whose god is their bellies (carnal, sensual lusts) whose glory is in their shame (evil glorified or exalted), who mind earthly things (worldly, carnal, glitz and glamour).

Matthew 24.24 " For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect."

This is a sobering thought: when we’re minding earthly things do we compare ourselves to those whom are called enemies of the cross? Is it sometimes easy to be deceived?

"Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities, all is vanity." Ecc. 1.2

More and more the world exalts naughtiness. It exalts >self< doesn’t it?

Do we ever mean to act like that? We sometimes tread along a fine line, don’t we?

You may not realize it, but this very day YOU are setting an example for someone.... it may be a friend, a child, a co-worker, a student, maybe someone you don’t know. Your life is telling someone how a Christian woman behaves or lives...

What is your message today?

_________________________________________________________________________

Philippians 3.20-21

20. For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ:

21. Who shall change our vile body that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

Truly all our hope and all our expectation is in the Lord Jesus Christ: the Author and Finisher of our faith. We look for His second coming. We look to be conformed-changed-glorified-into His likeness. We look for the fulfillment of the Word by which we live our lives. That is why we can have true fellowship with one another: our citizenship is not of this world, we have our citizenship in heaven.

Matthew Henry: "As Christ’s resurrection was a glorious instance of the divine power, so will our resurrection be. And then all the enemies of the Redeemer’s kingdom will be completely conquered."

Where is your conversation today? __________________________________________

Does the truth of today’s study passage permeate your thoughts and your life? ____________________________________________________________________

You are not a citizen of this world (this worlds’ system) are you trying to blend the two?

I know I sometimes do... try to be a part of things, go along with the ways of the world... but invariably, I feel sick over compromise and recognize that this world is not my home---and I will never (nor should I try to be) fit or be cozy here: because the Lord Jesus is my Savior: I have been bought with a price....

(I Corinthians 6.19-20--- "19. What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which you have of God, and you are not your own? 20. For you are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s."

I need to be reminded of this and keep it in mind... as I seek to love my husband and be a keeper at home, as I talk with my neighbor, as I train my children, as I dress, as I choose what I eat, as I talk with that phone solicitor, as I hear gossip, as I fret, as I choose what to read, as I wait behind that automobile at the long light.......

I’m sure it’s the same with you, too.

Philippians 4.1-4

(This "therefore" refers to verse 20 in Chapter 3: "For our conversation is in heaven...")

1. Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.

2. I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind.

3. And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.

4. Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say Rejoice.

What an acknowledgement of their great value to him, and what a marvelous blessing, greeting and exhortation Paul gives! And certainly can do so because of his position (and theirs) before the Lord Jesus. Ever vigilant to guard the church, he exhorts them to stand fast in the Lord. It’s all too easy to try to ‘stand’ on our own---to act in our own strength.

Clearly, Paul is acknowledging that he is grateful for the co-labourers in ministry.

In reference to verse 2: In any ministry, in any church, in any partnership, there are going to be times when the members, partners or co-workers are going to have differing opinions or be at odds with one another. This was apparently the case with these two women: Euodias and Syntyche. For the sake of unity Paul was beseeching them to be of the same mind.

It’s a tenuous position when a leader has to exhort two women to be of the same mind. (This would be a preference issue, rather than a non-optional doctrinal issue.)

Can you recall a time this happened to you? How did you handle it, or how did you react?

Verse 3: There seems to be some question as to who, specifically, this true yoke-fellow was... but clearly, (As Matthew Henry says:) "...whoever was the yoke-fellow with the apostle must be a yoke-fellow too with his friends." Kind of a "you love me: you love my friend," sort of thing.

Matthew Henry also concluded in one of his commentaries that: "Women may be helpful to ministers of the gospel." ;-) I’d say I’d have to agree... how about you, would you agree?

Paul’s exhortation is that the women who helped him should receive some help, too. They seem to have helped Paul’s other "fellowlabourers" as well. Again, another complimentary statement: that their "names are in the book of life." (V. 3)

Do you have a person or persons who help(s) you in your work, job, ministry, or whatever? Have you commended them lately? Another Matthew Henry quote: "Those who help others should be helped themselves, when there is occasion." Have you sought to do this for others?

Maybe your Pastor needs something today. Maybe a missionary needs your help today. How about helping a disabled person today... an older person... how about a teacher, a neighbor, a child---your husband.

Who could you help today?    ____________________________________________________________________

Okay... yes, maybe >you< need the help today. Seriously, do you have a "yoke-fellow" you can call?

Cry out to the Lord. He hears your request and your heart.

And finally, verse 4: "Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice."

What is the Lord doing in your life?   _________________________________________________________________________

What have you got to rejoice about today?   _________________________________________________________________________

Rejoice...  nothing "iffy" about that...  Rejoice!

We continue in our study of Philippians, Chapter 4:

After rejoicing always:

5. (Gr. ginosko: let, be resolved, understand, be sure) Let your moderation (patience, gentleness) be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.

6. Be careful for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

So what do you think about letting your moderation (gentleness, peacefulness, patience) be known to all men? Is that a quality for which you are known? Would you like it to be?

Now, again we are exhorted to be careful for nothing, NOthing.

Remember Jesus talking to Martha?

He said to her, "Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: Only one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her." (Luke 10.41-42)

Are you choosing that good part? Are you sitting at the feet of Jesus, hearing His word?

This is the important part being "careful for nothing"... of praying and making supplication with thanksgiving, letting your requests be made known unto God.

Though He knows what we need before we ask Him, prayer is the way that God has made for us to communicate with Him, to be quiet before Him, to have a relationship with Him, to sit at His feet, as it were.

Generally, little children don’t worry about what they will eat, what they will wear, where they will sleep, what people will think, etc., etc... and that’s how the Lord wants our hearts to be before Him: careful for nothing.

Have you been worrying and fretting over things that the Lord has already promised to take care of for you?

Are you feeling unable to be thankful for where the Lord has allowed you to be at this time?

Have you been carrying baggage that He really ought to be carrying for you?

Will you let Him... today?

Recently I was asked for the definition of the "ACTS way to pray"... here it is:

A: Adoration

C: Confession

T: Thanksgiving

S: Supplication

Philippians 4.7 "And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."   Oh, the wonder of God!

Let’s talk today about a few of the innumerable things the Lord can do.   It is the peace of God which will keep your heart and your mind through Christ Jesus-----and you will not be able to understand it---but you can depend on it, you have His Word on it.

Let me tell you a few verses that will encourage your heart today. Are you troubled about many things? Are there situations that grieve you? Have you got a problem that seems unsolvable? Is there a conflict you cannot resolve? Is there a pattern of thinking that darkens your hope?

Isaiah 26.3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. {perfect...: Heb. peace, peace} {mind: or, thought, or, imagination}

Isaiah 26.12 LORD, thou wilt ordain peace for us: for thou also hast wrought all our works in us. {in us: or, for us}

Isaiah 45.6 That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else. 7. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. 8. Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the LORD have created it.

Isaiah 48.17 Thus saith the LORD, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the LORD thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go. 18. O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea:

Isaiah 55.8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. 9. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. 10. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: 11. So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

John 14.27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

John 16.33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

Philippians 4.7

"And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

And the peace of God shall keep your heart...

Thinking about what God will do for us as our trust is in Him. This word ‘keep’ is interesting. It’s the Greek word phroureo: to be a watcher in advance, to mount guard as a sentinel or a garrison, to hem in, to protect. It is a compound of the Greek word: pro, "fore," in front of, ago, above, before, or ever; and the Greek word: horao, to attend to, to discern clearly (physically or mentally), to perceive, take heed.

Our memory verses in Ephesians centered around being renewed in the spirit of our minds; that the battleground for most of us takes place in our minds. Knowing that God has prepared in advance, ‘a garrison’ to protect your heart and your mind, is what can give you that peace "which passeth all understanding." That peace comes from God through the Lord Jesus. It is interesting that Matthew Henry notes: "This peace will keep our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus; it will keep us from sinning under our troubles, and from sinking under them."

My reason for taking more time to examine this verse, is its profound nature and broad scope. Think of it, that God is guarding in advance: your heart... all your emotions, affections, passions, desires; and your mind...your thoughts, your conscience, your decisions.

We often wonder why things are going wrong, we feel defeated, inadequate, afraid, foolish, or whatever. Think of the Lord guarding your heart the next time one of these thoughts comes into your mind. Run that thought through that filter and see if it is one that the Lord would desire or be pleased with. Would that thought or emotion bring glory to Him or His name? Those angry, defeating thoughts... you can be sure are not from God who is desiring to guard your heart and your mind with peace that passes all understanding. It would be wise to commit this verse to memory.

The way He can do this is because of the Lord Jesus and what He has accomplished, because your heart is his home... You have asked the Lord Jesus into your heart to dwell there, to be your Saviour.

Are you comforted by that? Are you comfortable with that? If that thought makes you uneasy in any way, consider: is there something that is preventing you from wanting Jesus to come in, look around, pull up a chair, sit down and read your mail, and spend the day with you? He is the Friend who loves you, died for you, lives for you, and longs to fellowship with you. He is the one who has set up a fortress to guard your heart and your mind.

What are you thinking about today? ___________________________________________________

Philippians 4.8-9

8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

THINK ON THESE THINGS:  True, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, any virtue, any praise.

Remember yesterday’s lesson and the work of the Lord, the One who has set up a fortress to guard your heart and your mind. What are you thinking about today?

Where does complaining, gossip, deception, dishonest thinking, false thinking, negative thinking, harsh thinking, or unlovely thinking fit in? We try to excuse these thoughts and behaviors, or we try to justify them... but what does God say? With what does He desire our thoughts to be occupied?

When thoughts of fearfulness, of envy, jealousy, gossip, self pity, disobedience, or doubt come into our minds, we have a couple of choices. We can either take that thought, add to it, act on it, or fret over it, OR we can take that thought and see it for what it is and then purpose to give it to the Lord either by way of confession, or obedience to Him. Knowing the Truth sets us free. Trusting the Truth enables us to obey.

Think back on the lesson based on Phil 3.17: "Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an example." We talked about setting and following examples. It was suggested that one of the ways we learn is from godly examples, how to live out the Christian life. Are you setting an example for others? You are setting an example for others. Same words, both the question and the statement are meant to be considered.

In your home... what does it appear you are thinking about? Does it appear that you are thinking on lovely, pure, and true things, things that are of good report, virtue or praise?

To be renewed in the spirit of our minds, we are going to have to resolve that the Lord is Lord of our whole life...including our thoughts. We may need to give Him some thoughts that are separating us from Him and His best for us.

II Tim 1.7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

II Cor 10.5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

I Cor. 14.33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace...

God desires for us to be of a sound mind, to not be fearful, and not be confused. Right now, we can come before Him and lay down the burdensome thoughts that war within us. Today you and I can walk in the confidence that the Lord is for us...

My prayer for you today would be this: Hebrews 13.20, "Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen."

Philippians 4.10-13

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.

Evidently, the church had had some delay in their provision and care of Paul and his fellow-labourers. Again, Paul was most gracious and didn’t hold that against them, in fact, he excused them for their lack of opportunity.

Are there times when you have just lacked opportunity to do things for others that you truly intended to do? __________________________________________________________________________

Have you ‘released’ others from obligations they just can’t seem to complete or meet? __________________________________________________________________________

It’s an interesting statement that Paul makes regarding contentedness. He notes that he isn’t speaking in regard to his "wants." He has made a decision to be content in whatsoever state he is. (Just an aside, I am sometimes guilty of adding to this portion of this verse "for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am [in], therewith to be content. It’s not difficult for me to be content in the state of, say, California... especially when it’s gray here in the Northwest.)

Paul’s contentedness has nothing to do with location, possessions, or conditions. His contentedness comes from Christ alone. He has learned to be content. What was his schoolmaster? Experience? Loss? Need? Abundance?

Proverbs 15.15 All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast. 16. Better is little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble therewith.

Matthew Henry: "This is a special act of grace, to accommodate ourselves to every condition of life. To accommodate ourselves to an afflicted condition---to know how to be abased. To a prosperous condition---to know how to abound, how to be full, so as not to be proud, or secure. And this is as hard a lesson as the other; for the temptations of fullness and prosperity are not less than those of affliction and want."

It surely seems to me that there is as much grace needed to live out the Christian life in ‘riches’ as in poverty. There are equal "temptations," as Matthew Henry comments. The temptation to steal, deceive, doubt, fear, on the one hand, and on the other: greed, lust, envy, pride. See the similarities in the stark contrast of poverty and riches?

Are you content? ____________________________________________________________________________

What have been the most important lessons in your life regarding contentment? _____________________________________________________________________________

The next verse is a verse that is so oft quoted and so misapplied! v. 13 " I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." This doesn’t mean I can do whatever I plan to do, or want to do, or that I will succeed in anything I attempt to do or to accomplish.

This verse applies to our condition in Christ and the obedience and contentedness with wherever He has allowed us or directed us to be. It is the Lord alone who works in us; He is our provider, He gives that peace that passes understanding... He keeps our hearts and our minds.... (last weeks’ lessons!) And just like we learned about the advance provision of the guarding or our hearts and minds, contentedness is a decision that must be made in advance. It must be a renewed commitment day to day.

Will you purpose this day ‘in whatsoever state’ you are, to be content therewith? I will join you in this endeavor and trust the Lord with you for the grace to obey.

Philippians 4.14-19

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.

Here again, Paul thanks the church for their care and provision for him. He comments on their sensitivity to his need and I think he is careful to acknowledge for them that they are the only ones to have done so (perhaps to encourage them). Even when he was with the believers at Thessalonica, they sent provision for him.

The lesson here for them was the fact that Paul received a gift from them that the Lord would have to be remembered throughout all these generations and that the gifts from them were acceptable and well-pleasing to God---an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice on their part that would surely be repaid them by the Lord. Additionally, Paul encourages them by stating that his desire was that fruit may abound to their account. This is selfless and his humility is demonstrated by his gratefulness to and for them.

Paul is describing a situation to which we can all relate. Not only might we consider the application for us today regarding pastors and missionaries we know and support, but also in a broader scope, we might consider the application to family, friends, church members, neighbors.

Is there someone the Lord has laid on your heart to whom you might present a gift, a sacrifice, a sweet offering to the Lord? I know missionaries who love to receive gifts from time to time. One in particular especially loves letters and cards. They refresh her and encourage her to press on. Can you think of another sweet offering to the Lord? Yes, prayer. Prayers of the saints are still wafting up to heaven:

Revelation 8.4: And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.

In the case of the church at Philippi, their gift was the fruit of the grace of God in their lives---given to Paul for his needs (and probably beyond his needs), out of their provisions. It sure didn’t seem to be given so that they would receive repayment, but Paul assures them that that is what would occur.

See verse 19: " But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." Undoubtedly Paul knew and was applying the teaching of the Lord Jesus (Luke 6.38):

"Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again."

Isn’t it the marvelous, matchless grace of the Lord God to give us according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus------not according to our giving or our gifts does He give, but according to His riches He gives. There is no way we could ever repay them or match them. That’s grace!

So, again... would there be someone who has need to whom the Lord might be prompting you to contribute or supply? Or, give this some thought: have you thought much about how your receiving a gift from someone blesses them, that fruit may abound to their account???? Amazing love.

I pray that today you would be a sweet offering to God, that fruit may abound to your account.

Philippians 4.20-23

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

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.

Ever acknowledging the Lord God, Paul closes this letter with the typical Pauline benediction.

Let me take a moment to introduce you to another of my favorite Bible commentators: Adam Clarke. Born around 1762 in Ireland to English and Scottish parents, was very well educated at a young age. He lived about a hundred years after Matthew Henry (whom I often quote for you, here). He was a Methodist circuit rider, and was strongly influenced by John Wesley---another of my favorites. That is in part why you will see such a strong conservative bent to my thinking. His commentary work, which included all of the books of the Bible, took over 25 years to complete. Both Matthew Henry and Adam Clarke had very clear, reverential understanding of God’s marvelous grace at work in the lives of believers. And though they lived hundreds of years ago, their work seems timeless (good thing, too, since we are endeavoring to be sincere students of God’s timeless Word).

21 Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren which are with me greet you.

Salute: (Greek, aspazomao): to enfold in the arms, embrace, greet, salute. This is typical or customary behavior in many cultures. In Western culture, it is more acceptable to shake hands, but this verse implies a much greater response than a handshake. Interesting also that this behavior is specified to the ‘saints.’

"Remember to present my affectionate wishes to every Christian at Philippi [he says]. Those who were fellow labourers with him generally supposed to be Aristarchus, Mark, Justus, Epaphrus, Luke and Demas." ~Adam Clarke

22 All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar’s household.

Nero was the wretched emporer of Rome at this time---so evidently, some members of his household or servants, guards, or slaves were Christians.

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

And so we close another beautiful book of God’s Word. What a beautiful and sincere ending to Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi. Written by a man of God who was imprisoned at the time of its writing... to us today.

And now, please accept my edited compilation quoted from this beautiful book of Philippians... for you.

  • I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,
  • Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy..
  • Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ...
  • That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;
  • Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God...
  • ...For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain...
  • Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ:
  • that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
  • Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves...
  • And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
  • Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father... ...For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
  • ...Do all things without murmurings and disputings:
  • ...Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision...
  • Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ...
  • And be found in him...
  • That I may know him...
  • but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
  • ...For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
  • ...Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.
  • Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
  • And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
  • Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things...
  • ...a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God.
  • ...God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. ---amen.

                        by pamela spurling 2000/2001   ~   AChristianHome.com  ~

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