“And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:19 (NASB)
Has your supply of anything run out? Are your reserves low? Energy, hope, faith, maybe just a few of the needs we’re facing. Maybe we’re blindsided by something totally unexpected and we’re laid flat out on our back. We hardly have the energy to get up. When we do, we struggle to regain focus and direction. God has given us a promise in this verse. We can lean on this verse and trust it even if we’re having a hard time understanding. Who will fulfill this promise? God. Not just any god but my God, our God. The one and only true God who is the supplier of everything we need. Sometimes we may not even know what we need or what we think we need is not what God knows we need. He will supply what we truly need and it is according to His riches. It’s not out of his riches, which would deplete the balance, but according to which will never deplete His store of infinite riches. These riches are in the Bank of Glory in Christ Jesus. What Jesus has done for us is permanent, lasting for eternity. All Your Needs Supplied by God.
“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” – Philippians 4:13 (NASB)
Our verse today is perhaps a familiar and frequently quoted verse from Paul’s letter to the Philippians. It offers a powerful truth we can live by no matter what circumstances of life surround us. However, an application of this verse that is often used shades its true meaning. This is a promise indeed but not a promise that we will be able to accomplish anything we wish for. It does not promise a win in any competition. It does not promise excellence in performances to reach a desired goal. It does promise we can face and sustain all circumstances which challenge our faith. Prosperity? It comes with temptation of pride and leads to depending upon ourselves more than on God. Poverty? It leads to doubts and fear and temptations to cheat because our life expectations are not met. God promises to help us have strength to withstand all challenges, helping us to not succumb to defeating doubts. Because we are in Christ, He infuses us with His strength to sustain us through all things that come our way and teaches us how to thrive in plenty or in want.
“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” – Philippians 4:8 (NASB)
The letter Paul the Apostle wrote to his Christian brothers and sisters in Philippi is so chock-full of promises and encouraging instruction. Today’s verse is a good one to memorize or post on a note card where we can see it daily. Our minds are under attack daily – even hourly by the devil who is seeking to destroy and rob us of our joy. We have read more than once that we are to rejoice always. Today we read how fill our minds with good things and think our way to rejoicing.
- True is found in God, in Christ, in the Holy Spirit, and in God’s Word*.
- Honorable “worthy of respect.” We meditate on whatever is worthy of awe and adoration, as opposed to the profane.
- Right means is to think in harmony with God’s divine standard of holiness.
- Pure is that which is morally clean and undefiled.
- Lovely “pleasing” or “amiable.” Believers are to focus on whatever is kind or gracious.
- Of good repute, that which is highly regarded or thought well of and reputable in the world, such as kindness, courtesy, and respect for others.
We thus avoid the GIGO† in our manner of thoughts.
* 2 Timothy 2:25; Ephesians 4:20-21; John 16:13; John 17:17
† Garbage in, garbage out (GIGO), What goes into a process will be seen in what comes out. While the term is most frequently used in the context of software development, GIGO can also be used to refer to any decision-making systems or choices where failure to make the best decisions or choices results in unintended and unpleasant consequences.
“Be anxious for nothing, 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 comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7 (NASB)
Don’t worry! We hear and we say this so many times in our lives. “I can’t help but worry!” we say. Why do we? One word. CONTROL. We wish to control our world and we do not like somethings that come into our world. We want to be in control and that means everything and everyone around us. Spend a little time on social media and you’ll see how full it is of people spouting off their fix-it solutions. Here is what happens: We worry, no matter what it’s about, and we chase our peace of mind and heart out the door. “Scat!” is what we say to our peace. A better way is to follow verse 6 so we can enjoy the promise in verse 7. Simple and easy (when we rely on God) is the way. Next time refuse to think for even a moment that our worries have any effect on any outcome. Acknowledge that anxiety (worry) is powerless in the realm of fixing anything. If we do, we receive a promised peace that we will not understand and it will guard our hearts and minds against renewed anxious thoughts.
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.” – Philippians 4:4-5 (NASB)
On the matter of rejoicing, Paul the Apostle was unable to say it just once – or even twice. Four times his use of ‘rejoice’ comes in imperative statements – even twice in one which is part of our verse today. Four other times in declarative clauses, Paul testifies to his own rejoicing. But in verse 4 of the 4 chapter in Philippians, Paul is driving home the importance of expressing our joy. But Paul didn’t tell his readers to be happy. He encouraged them to rejoice in the Lord. There are circumstances in which we Christians are not happy. But we can always rejoice in the Lord and delight in Him. Such action is not an emotion but more a state of mind created by our will when we choose to rejoice. Perhaps some will disagree yet it is Paul himself who exemplified inner joy when external circumstances—such as persecution, imprisonment, the threat of death—were against him. Nurturing gentleness means contentment and generosity toward others. It is having mercy or clemency toward the faults and failures of others. Being patient with someone, even submitting to injustice or mistreatment without retaliating. As always, The Lord is near – it’s a promise.
“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.” – Philippians 3:20-21 (NASB)
Citizenship was of special in the first century. Philippi was an important Roman colony. Named by Alexander the Great for his Father Philip II. New Testament usage had varied applications. Primarily, it designated one’s city or city-state of birth and upbringing. Additionally, if Roman, it conveyed protections, benefits and status and responsibilities of the Roman empire. Paul uses his birthright as a Roman citizen to take advantage of legal privileges. Roman citizenship could be purchased if not conferred by birth. Our citizenship in heaven comes freely with our new birth into God’s family. Granted to us by God the Father on the basis of what Jesus Christ did when He sacrificed Himself for us and died a criminal’s death on a Roman cross. But on this earth our citizenship is – temporary. It comes with a guaranteed promise that will be fulfilled when one day, our Lord Jesus Christ transforms and conforms our bodies into ones that will be like His resurrected body reflecting His glory. This happens for all when Jesus returns as He promised. Alive or asleep (physically buried) The creator of all things, the Son of God will recreate for us a new perfect body.
“Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things again is no trouble to me, and it is a safeguard for you.” – Philippians 3:1 (NASB)
Sometimes, although we know we are to live with a spirit of joy and rejoice in that, we find it difficult. Circumstances hit us like a blind-side sacking of a quarterback. We feel crushed and our energy is sapped to nearly negative numbers. Paul’s familiar theme throughout the epistle has already been heard. But this time he adds “in the Lord.” This is the sphere in which a believer’s joy exists—a sphere which is unrelated to the circumstances of life, but related to an unassailable, unchanging relationship to the sovereign Lord. Some will title this letter by Paul to the Philippians as the ‘Joy Letter’ and it is not far off. The word “rejoice” is used eight times and “rejoiced” once by Paul. It seems from this repeated emphasis that the Christians in Philippi needed this word of encouragement. We too often need this as well. Most of God’s people need this challenge frequently. It’s so easy and natural for us to let circumstances discourage us. The cure for discouragement is to rivet one’s attention on the Lord and rejoice in Him. We can rejoice in the Lord even when situations make rejoicing seem impossible. It is not.
“Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;” – Philippians 1:27 (NASB)
As believers professing Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior we are called to live our lives in such a way that other’s notice a difference from those who don’t believe. Paul the Apostle frames this as ‘conduct that is worthy of the gospel.’ The Greek for ‘gospel’ means the Good News. We live and walk in Christ because of the good news of the Lord Jesus. The Old Testament spoke of the suffering and resurrection of Christ so this was not a new message. We know of the resurrection, believe in it, and have been saved by it. (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) Standing firm in one spirit with one mind introduces Paul’s theme of unity that core to his words of encouragement. Paul’s call for sincere unity of heart and mind is based on:
- the necessity of oneness to win the spiritual battle for the faith (Phil. 1:28–30);
- our love of others in the fellowship (Phil. 2:1-2);
- genuine humility and self-sacrifice (Phil. 2:3-4); and
- Jesus Christ our example who proved that sacrifice produces eternal glory (Phil. 2:5–11).
First as one soldier standing at his post, then as a team resisting a common foe.
“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. ” – Philippians 1:21 (NASB)
“Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3 12 (NASB)
We hope in earnest that each of us can affirm the statement Paul made in the first of our chosen verses today. Our world believes and practices that to die is a loosing thing. It is for all those who die without believing in the person and words of Jesus Christ. To die without having believed is to die without eternal life with God. It is to die and end up in a state of separation from God. That is the final and permanent death. Paul the Apostle proclaimed that He lived in Christ and dying was a benefit he yearned for. But he also cautioned that he had not yet obtained that which is gain. He says he will “press on” which is a Greek word used of a sprinter, and Paul is referring to aggressive, energetic action. Paul pursued sanctification with all his might, straining every spiritual muscle to win the prize. “Lay hold” means “to make one’s own possession.” Christ chose Paul and us for the ultimate purpose of conforming us to His glorious image (Romans 8:29), and that is the very goal Paul pursued to attain.
“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” – Philippians 1:3-6 (ESV)
Our passage for today comes from the letter sent to members of the body of Christ, believers in Philippi. In the way that all letters from all apostles in the first century, this letter would be shared with churches near to Philippi. Eventually copied and shared to the whole world by being included in the New Testament. At the time Christians who first received this letter lived under Roman government and have very little religious freedoms. Paul’s letter intended to be an encouragement for us. When we experience times of doubt, we might wonder if it is worth it all. So much conflict, aggression, hate, and lies exist in our world. As Christians we too pray for each other just as Paul prayed for the Philippians. What he had heard about them brought Paul much joy. It was a delight for Paul to intercede for fellow believers. Paul had a confidence which is our promise too. It is God who began the work of salvation in our lives and it is God who will complete that job one day, the day of Jesus Christ, which looks to our final salvation, reward, and glorification.