Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early
days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church
shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; for even when I was in
Thessalonica, you sent me aid more than once when I was in need. Not that I desire your gifts;
what I desire is that more be credited to your account. I have received full payment and have
more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts
you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. And my God will
meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father
be glory for ever and ever. Amen. Greet all God’s people in Christ Jesus. The brothers and sisters who are with me send greetings. All God’s people here send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.
Partners in the gospel
Paul wraps up his letter to the Church at Philippi very similar to how he started the letter in
chapter 1. His love for his brothers & sisters is evident by the joy that he expresses. He has a
spirit of affection, appreciation and unity that is an example for us all to follow. I think the best
way to describe it is how Paul stated it in chapter 1, verse 5 “...because of your partnership in
More so than any of his other letters, Paul paints a picture of what it means to be partners in the gospel. He depicts what it looks like to be in community as a body of believers centered on
Jesus and a shared mission of multiplying disciples. This started when the church began in
Philippi, as described in Acts 16, with Lydia, the city jailer, and others. Paul’s partnership with
them continued to the time of writing this letter. Notice, when Paul writes this letter, he’s
speaking to everyone in the body. He’s not just addressing leaders and then having the leaders
relay the message. I find this to be an important aspect of his relationship or “partnership” with
the churches. Though he does spend time discipling individuals and does address specific
individuals and concerns, he approaches his partnership with them as a whole body, made up
of many parts, with Jesus as the head (1 Corinthians 12), with all members of the body being
In verse 14 Paul states “....it was good of you to share in my troubles”. He goes on to thank
them for their financial support. It’s important to note that this wasn’t just a local church that
supported a missionary....a “missionary supporting church”. This was a partnership and was not
merely a one-way street. Both Paul and the Philippians gave and received. Also, notice in
verses 21-22 how Paul says “The brothers and sisters who are with me send greetings. All
God’s people here send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household.” Paul includes the new believers in Rome,and in doing so, invites them into this relationship and
connects them with their brothers and sisters in Philippi. This was a partnership with discipleship multiplication as their mission. Just as Paul collected money from the Philippian church, as well as others, to help the Jerusalem church, his intimate relationship with a local body was fused with a global mission with an eternal mindset. This local church was not disjointed from the global church and Paul wasn’t just a bridge between the two. The church functioned like branches on a row of grapevines in a vineyard by supporting each other and thus growing faster, stronger, and healthier. The global church initially grew with intertwined believers, all on the mission of multiplying disciples......praying, encouraging, and supporting each other as they partnered in the gospel. Many today are calling this a Global Collaboration and are encouraging believers to once again look at the great commission from this type of mindset. This is a mindset of urgency to support each other as we reach the lost and multiply disciples. This collaboration is how the church began and one of the reasons it grew as fast as it did.
Do you have a body of believers that you are growing with? We were created to be a
“part/member” of the body of Christ, supporting & functioning together. If you aren’t a part of a
local body, I strongly encourage you to do so. You cannot grow and function as intended if you
are isolated from the body.
Is your local body isolated or collaborating with the global church through discipleship
multiplication? Just as an individual believer isn’t growing or functioning when isolated. The
local church isn’t functioning as intended when disjointed from the global church. In doing so,
we are cutting ourselves off from vital “nutrients” and support needed.
It isn’t easy to feel connected right now while being isolated in quarantine.However, our God is a creative God and if your heart is open to it, led by the Holy Spirit, God will open up a door for you to connect, support, & multiply.
I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were
concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for
I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I
know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every
situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this
through him who gives me strength.
The secret of being content
On this Good Friday, I’m so extremely thankful for a Savior that would make the ultimate
sacrifice to give His life as a ransom for mine. I’m not sure if we’ll ever truly grasp the magnitude
of that day. In that moment, Jesus took on the burden of punishment for the sins of the world.
His sacrifice for our salvation is sufficient. There is no offer of sacrifice that I can give or need to
give to earn the love of the Father. “It is finished.” (John 19:30) In this, Jesus provided the only
solution to reconciliation. Jesus was, is, and always will be sufficient.
The apostle Paul’s writings and his life echo that truth of Christ’s sufficiency. Here in Philippians, Paul proclaims that truth once again. Philippians 4:13 is one of the most common quoted verses in the bible, often translated as “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” It’s such an encouragement to know that God will provide the strength needed to do whatever He’s called us to and endure whatever hardship we face. That strength may not come until the exact time that it’s needed, but He will provide it and it will be sufficient.
Paul lived in anticipation of Jesus’ return. He knew this place was not his home....that He was
an “ambassador in chains” (Ephesians 6:20) and that through suffering, Christ was glorified.
Paul states here in Philippians 4:11 “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances”.
He goes on to say in verse 12 “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every
situation”. Through an eternal mindset and understanding of obedience and suffering, Paul
learned to endure suffering and to be content no matter the circumstance.....because he knew
the reason and the result. Here is a man that was whipped with 39 lashes (5 different times),
beaten with rods (3 different times), pummeled with stones (1 time), shipwrecked (3 times),
among many other hardships. He had experienced the strength of Christ in those moments and
could testify to Jesus being glorified through his suffering. Through those moments, he learned
to be content. He knew the secret!
Contentment is not just being satisfied. It’s a result of acknowledging the sufficiency of Jesus,
responding in obedience to His call of surrender and sacrifice, and witnessing the glory of Christ
through suffering. That is the secret that Paul desired for the Church at Philippi to grasp.
Now you know the secret too. Are you content?
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Practice the truth of the gospel in your daily life.
We are coming to the end of an incredible letter, written to a community of people, who are being encouraged by a man in prison, to choose joy- to keep themselves aligned with the good news of the gospel and to stay in unity. Philippians is a book of great encouragement, tenderness and joy, and as Paul concludes his letter I feel like whatever he chooses to say here is of utmost importance. And what does Paul encourage these people to do?
To PRACTICE their faith. To allow the gospel to take over every area of their lives, including their minds, and practice what it means to be a blood-bought son or daughter of the Most High.
Practice is a weird word here- but if you think about it, it makes complete sense. We have to practice things that we don't normally know how to do. Before you became a licensed driver, you had to practice with mom and dad. Before becoming an incredible athlete, you must practice, again and again. Paul is reminding us that we will not automatically know what it means to live into the reality of the gospel. So we have to practice. We have to give ourselves time to practice our new identities as children of God.
Do you know what it looks like to practice being a child of God? Do you know what it means to direct your very mind to the things of the gospel instead of the things of the world?
It means that we believe we are loved. It means that we walk in hope. It means that we endure with joy. It means that we trust.It means that we fight for unity. It means that we seek eternal things instead of earthly. It means that we guard our hearts. It means that we rest in the accomplished work at the cross. It means that we enjoy a relationship with our Heavenly Father. What would it look like for you to think thoughts that are saturated in the gospel? I bet those thoughts would be more true, noble, pure, lovely, praise-worthy, excellent and way less hopeless, full of deceit, despairing and self-centered. What would it look for you to practice the truth of the gospel in your everyday life? I bet it your whole life would be filled with a lot more peace. Because the gospel is good news. The gospel puts Jesus on the throne. The gospel sets us free.
So my friends, let's allow our minds to be changed by the good news of the gospel. Let's practice our faith by believing that we are deeply loved and known and freed from sin and shame. And let's experience, together, the peace of God being WITH us.
How would your thoughts change if they were saturated in the good news of the gospel? What is one way you can practice your faith today?
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The
Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition,
with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all
understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Do not be anxious
According to Amazon, Philippians 4:6-7 is the most highlighted bible passage from their best
selling Kindle books. This fact may give us some insight into what’s most relevant to people
today. Approximately 40 million people suffer from an anxiety disorder in any given year in the
United States. We are living in the most prosperous and peaceful time in history. Yet more
people suffer with anxiety than ever before. We can only imagine how many more people are
suffering from anxiety in the midst of the pandemic that we’re living in.
Three things that stand out to me in this passage are “Rejoice”, Prayer” & “Thanksgiving”. These are vertical relationship components that are integral parts to a healthy relationship with the Father. They are reflections of our affections and put us in a posture of humility with the only
One that provides peace beyond all understanding. Paul describes this peace as that which “will
guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Jesus cares about our anxious hearts. As
we celebrate who He is by rejoicing in praise, as we commune with Him in prayer, and show
gratitude and recognition with thanksgiving, our faith grows. A shift of focus starts to occur in our hearts and minds from anxiety about our circumstances on earth to peace about an eternal
purpose amidst our suffering.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33).
This faith is handing control over to our creator. We are, in a sense, asking Him to use whatever
circumstance we face for His good and His glory. After all, He’s much better at taking care of us
than we are. His love and value for us demonstrates that.
“Do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body,
what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the
birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father
feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Matthew 6:25–26)
My brothers & sisters, “The Lord is near.” Draw near to Him in this challenging moment in your
life. He will give you peace. This peace isn’t just a calmed mind. It includes intimacy in your
vertical relationship with Him, and it will help you see this moment in history as an opportunity
for mission instead of just trying to cope with life. Will you commit to “Rejoice” in the love &
grace of our Savior, to spend time in “Prayer”, and bow in a posture of “Thanksgiving”?
Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends! I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.
Appeal for Steadfastness and Unity
We can all relate to conflict and quarrels in the workplace but what happens when the workplace is church? Paul begins this passage with two particular women within the church, who apparently had some kind of disagreement: Euodia and Syntyche were both diligent leaders in the church and were recognized by Paul himself as well as other believers. Paul rarely named names when referring to disagreements in the churches but their dispute threatened to affect the harmony and well-being of the entire congregation. Paul’s solution was twofold. First, he called the women to “be of the same mind.” They were to avoid foolish disputes and those things which were unprofitable. They were rather to build up the body by letting each esteem others better than herself and to look out not only for her own interest but for the interest of others. The second action Paul took was to make an urgent plea to other leaders in the church to help Euodia and Syntyche reconcile and return to the “same mind” in the Lord. The body is to work together to help one another function lovingly and harmoniously in Christ.
Right relationships are essential for the health of the church. Much prayer, humility and counsel from the Word of God is needed to help reconcile differences.
In times of conflict do you have a posture of prayer and humility and seek Godly counsel?
“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
Citizenship in heaven
Every person is born a citizen of a political state or country where they have identity, rights, protections, and share in a certain culture, morales and values. But as believers we should have a different perspective on life. As Paul notes, our homeland is in heaven, not here on earth. Responsible citizenship is important, but our ultimate destiny isn’t in this world, but with the Lord in heaven. Instead of temporary things on earth, a believer's focus is on Christ and His return. We should not focus on greed, sin, and the things of this world. Instead, our concern ought to be on what pleases God. The apostles believed Jesus could come back at any time, teaching Christ will come as He promised (John 14:1–3) at any moment (1 Corinthians 15:50–58). More importantly, we are to help make disciples of all nations, sharing the good news with others so they can also spend eternity with the Lord (Matthew 28:18–20).
Paul reminds his readers in verse 21 that saved believers can look forward to a time when every pain and problem with our earthly body can be exchanged for a new and perfect body. Believers can take comfort in their future, knowing God has the power to transform our bodies and keep us secure with Him in His coming kingdom.
Where do you place the importance of your citizenship?
"Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things."
Break my heart for what breaks Yours, Jesus.
It is so evident throughout this book of Philippians that Paul has a deep affection for these people and this church. His encouragement for them to continue on in the gospel, to live in unity, to look Jesus and run towards the Father echos throughout this letter.
Then we see this brief turn in verses 18-19, we see him share his heart and how it's been broken over the reality that some people do not walk with Jesus. He describes these people as "enemies of the cross of the Christ." Paul's heart is so clearly displayed in this moment. His heart as a shepherd and disciple-maker... he longs for no one to walk as an enemy. It breaks his heart. It brings him to tears to think about the reality that there were people who didn't walk with Jesus.
There are two things I want to touch one. First, an enemy of the cross. What does that look like? Paul says, "their end is destruction, their god is their belly and they glory in the their shame, with minds set on earthly things." People who do not know Jesus and do not see the cross as their salvation, are ruled by their bodies, the world, the "now" and their desires. I don't know about you all but I would say that on any given day, I could be described in that same way... living for my desires and the world. But this is a reminder for us that we are no longer enemies of the cross. The cross, instead is our greatest hope and the means of salvation and healing. So in walking with Jesus, we align our lives with the cross. We set our mind on eternal things. We surrender our desires to the Father and trust Him with every part of our lives. This is living in alignment with the cross.
The second thing I wanted to touch on is this: what is your response in thinking about the people who walk as enemies of the cross? Is it like Paul's, one of heart brokenness and concern? Do you find yourself less consumed by this reality and more consumed by things of this world? If I can be honest for a minute, I would say that typically I am less concerned for those who do not know Jesus yet. I find myself more concerned about my life, my world, my relationship with Jesus... do you see a theme? "Me- me- me." I don't want live my life as a follower of Christ thinking more about myself than others (that's the exact thing Paul has already addressed in previous chapters of Philippians!). So maybe take a moment and just ask yourself that question... how do you feel about those that walk as enemies of the cross? There is no shame for those that Jesus calls His own, so friend, bring that honest answer to the foot of the cross and boldly ask Jesus to break you heart for what breaks His.
Have you walked as an enemy of the cross in any way this week? Do you feel like you've walked your whole life as an enemy of the cross? There is hope, friend. In Jesus Christ alone. Bring that to Him. You can change that right now. "Jesus. I need You. I don't want to walk as enemies anymore. I want my life to be changed by You, to be changed by the cross."
*We'd love to pray with you and know if this is something you might be wrestling with. You can leave a comment OR go to the Contact page on the site and we would love to hear from you!
Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my
own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have
made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to
what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in
Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think
otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have
We are called to live for God’s eternal purposes, not be held back by our shame.
Are you an overthinker? I know I can be at times, even to the point of it being
debilitating. I’ll leave a conversation or situation and feel like I said too much or not
enough. At times I feel like my mind brings up all the wrongs I have done and I feel like
there is no way that I could be an ambassador for Christ because of all the things I should
have done. All the prideful thoughts, selfish actions, greed, so many missed opportunities
to make Him known because of my own fear, the list goes on and on.
I wonder how Paul felt when he met a new group of people, I wonder if he was ever
crippled thinking about if they had heard of his past of persecuting the church? In this
passage he admits that he is not the perfect example of Christ, but he doesn’t get stuck
there. He “presses on... forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies
ahead.” That is what makes the story of Jesus the “good news!” We do not have to live in
shame and regret of our distant past or current struggle. Yes, through God’s kindness His
Spirit convicts us to repent of the things that are in opposition to Him, but then we have
the privilege to ask God to forgive us because of the sacrifice Jesus made for us on the
cross and leave those things that we hate that we did behind us, buried with Christ. Then
we get the incredible blessing to be a part of building His eternal kingdom, and we can’t
be stuck in all the “should-haves” to do that. Our confidence is not in how great of a
witness we have been, but in how great our Savior is.
What are the “shoulds” you rehearse in your head? Take time to bring those to God and
ask for forgiveness then ask for grace to believe that those regrets are forgiven and that
God has plans for you to be used for His eternal purposes.
Philippians 3:2-11 (listed below are verses 7-11):
But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For HIs sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in HIm, the righteousness from God that depends on faith-----that I may know HIm and the power of His resurrection, and may share His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, that by any means possible I attain the resurrection from the dead.
Our whole life and identity is wrapped up in Jesus Christ alone.
Before meeting Christ, Paul was confident that his life was the best anyone could ask for. He put his confidence in the fact that he was circumcised on the 8th day, from the tribe of Benjamin, a Pharisee (an important person in Jewish religious life), a zealous persecutor of the church, as to righteousness under the law, blameless. In fact, he called himself a Hebrew of Hebrews. Paul boasted at one time that he was a very important man and he felt sure he was working his way to God. Paul was sincere in believing he was protecting God’s name from blasphemy by killing the Christians who proclaimed that Jesus Christ was indeed God. But Paul was sincerely wrong, and one day Jesus stopped Paul on the road to Damascus to tell him so.
Paul realized after coming face to face with Christ that everything else that he put his confidence in was rubbish. It is not wrong to be proud in who God makes us to be and of the work he has given us to do. But it is wrong to place these things before God as if we are anything because of them.
Paul said that knowing Christ far surpassed that of any status he may have obtained on his own. And he is not just talking about knowing there is a person named Jesus Christ ,but actually having a relationship with Him on a personal level. Paul also wanted to be found righteous before God. That means he wanted to be in right standing with God, and the only way that could happen would be to know Jesus, who is the only one that can forgive our sins. Paul was willing to lose all to have Christ’s power. When Paul accepted Jesus, the power of the almighty God came upon Paul, just as it does us. It is the power that gives us strength to go on day to day and the power to be courageous during difficult times. The power that it took to raise Jesus from the dead is within us. Hallelujah. Paul wanted to have fellowship with Jesus. That means here that he wanted to take part in his suffering and that meant bringing his life under the leadership of Christ. Paul realized that by losing his life to Christ meant that he would live with him one day in glory.
We all have the same choice to make that Paul did. We have to decide if the things of this earth are what we are going to live for or will we give our lives to Christ to be ruled by him. You may be able to say as Paul did, I have a right to boast. After all, I have a great job, make a lot of money, belong to the club by my house, and even attend church with my beautiful family at my side. But these are not the things that God looks at that makes us righteous before Him. He wants your heart, and the way for that to happen is for you to give your life to Jesus and allow Him to be the One that brings you confidence and stability. He wants to be your everything.
Have you put your trust in Christ alone ? If not, what are you putting your trust in? Would you be willing to let go of the things you are putting your confidence in to gain Jesus and eternity?You can by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ.
And now, my brothers and sisters, be filled with joy in the Lord. It is no trouble for me to write things to you again. I want to be sure that you are prepared.
Our joy comes from the Lord. Encouragement from one believer to another is important.
Over the past few weeks we have heard and possibly expressed that we are not happy to be in isolation from work, friends, church, family, etc. Of course this is understandable. But let’s remember that happiness, or the lack of, is due to circumstances and comes and goes with what is going on in our lives. But joy comes from the Lord. Once we have decided to follow Jesus, the Holy Spirit resides within us and we have joy that comes from Him and it can’t be taken from us, even in the hardest of times.
Psalm 30: 5B
The night may be filled with tears, but in the morning we can sing for joy.
2 Corinthians 4:17-18
For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
Paul does not find it hard at all to write more than once on these subjects for the Philippian Church. He’s an encourager! He is probably elaborating on what he wrote to them in Philippians 1: 27-28. He did not want these friends to stumble or to be overthrown by the enemy. These days we all need a friend to encourage us to press on and not to give up or to give in to the enemy.
Do you know someone who needs to be encouraged during these days of isolation? Perhaps you could make a phone call or send a card to that person. You don't have to look far to find someone who needs you.