4 Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.
Exhortation, Encouragement, and Prayer
I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord. Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit. I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.
Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me greet you. All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar’s household.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
Philippians 4 Commentary
by Hank Workman
He sits in a cell. His freedom is gone and his future uncertain. His dreams possibly smashed as he considers what he could be doing at this moment. And strangely, he writes to his readers to rejoice. He of all people would have every reason to focus on the unfairness life had dealt him. Instead, his focus is drawn toward the goodness of Jesus.
Paul’s attitude is beyond remarkable. It is stunning. As he closes out his letter with a few personal notes one thing stands clear. Paul does not allow outward circumstances to dictate his inner peace. He chooses to rejoice regardless, urging the reader to do the same. What a shining example.
You see, Paul was confident that no matter what the outcome of his fate, he knew Jesus was right beside him. He knew his God was near even if the situation seemed the opposite. He encouraged the readers of the Philippian church and ourselves included to rejoice, pursue Jesus no matter what for He was right beside.
There’s a statement often said in the negative: It’s the pot calling the kettle black. The context of this usually is when someone is giving a retort to someone who criticizes another for the same defect they plainly have.
You know, I somewhat think Paul is indirectly making the same point. Here’s a man in prison, and yet, finding a reason to rejoice in his Savior despite. There’s a challenge for all of us to consider. No matter what our circumstance and how awful it is even at the moment, we who are Believers have Jesus beside. It is so easy to become discouraged, believe I personally know. Maybe it’s time to redirect our focus to Jesus and find joy.
The challenge to consider is if you’ve not had a lot of joy lately, possibly you’re looking at things from the wrong perspective. But this challenge goes a bit deeper and I hope a bit more practical. Why not today and for the next several, use your prayer time as a time of reflection and thankfulness? Instead of having your prayers intercede for whatever situation you are waging war over, focus strictly on the goodness of God. Use that time to redraw and refocus the lines of vision. Give thanks despite. Plead for joy. Seek Jesus who is ever near. I have a feeling that although the circumstances may not change, the outlook will.
Philippians 4 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
As I introduced in my commentary on Philippians 1, we read in Chapter 4 that this church was the only one to form a contractual friendship with Paul. There was an active relationship of giving and receiving in the name of Christ. But Paul did not want the thankfulness of his statement to seem like a call for more material things. So, he clarifies his statement by referring back to what has always been his true passion for the church. In fact, from the first chapter, we see his main goal.
Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that your proud confidence in me may abound in Christ Jesus through my coming to you again.Philippians 1:25-26 NASB
He was not simply concerned with the gifts they gave him, but for their increase in faith. As F.F. Bruce writes,
“Paul’s interest is not in their “reward” as such, but in their gift as evidence that their relationship with Christ is in good order and is continuing to grow. He does not thereby negate the gift; indeed, he finally speaks directly to that in the next sentence. But here is the certain evidence that his ultimate concern is for them—far more than for his own material needs. Their gift, which serves his “physical health,” serves more significantly as evidence of their “spiritual health.””
That last sentence is an interesting statement. Our serving in the physical provides evidence of the spiritual. Of course, there are exceptions. Some serve out of selfish ambition or to receive credit for their work. However, Paul had a relationship with the Philippians. Again, he was in a mutual partnership of giving and receiving. So, with this foundation in place, he knew that there was a direct connection between their choice to serve him and the spiritual fruit in their lives.
We must ask ourselves, is there fruit? Do we merely talk about our Christian faith, or are we showing evidence of our love for Jesus through our actions? Jesus is definitely more concerned about who we are in Him than anything we will ever do for Him. However, it could very easily be said that both of these go hand-in-hand. Who we are in Him will naturally produce good works that please Him.