Friday, August 20, 2021

2021.08.20 Hopewell @Home ▫ Philippians 4:18–20

Read Philippians 4:18–20

Questions from the Scripture text: What does the apostle have (Philippians 4:18)? What is his condition? What has he received from whom? What does he call those things? About Whom does the apostle speak in Philippians 4:19? What will He do? According to what? In what? By Whom? What does the apostle call God in Philippians 4:20? What doxology does he pronounce? For how long? With what affirmation?

The apostle has just stated that his desire is for fruit to abound to the Philippians’ account. What does that fruit look like?

First, it is the praising of God, Philippians 4:18. For Paul, the Philippians' gift was some provision that could be carried in the hand of Epaphroditus. But the language he uses reminds us of other sacrifices, like that of Noah in Genesis 8:21. In both cases, the one who has already received God’s salvation offers up a sweet-smelling sacrifice. But ultimately, all sacrificial giving looks toward and comes from Christ’s own giving “Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma” (Ephesians 5:2). 

It is therefore, secondly, the pleasing of God, Philippians 4:18. We needn’t wonder why God is so pleased, if in our sacrificial giving He sees His beloved Son, with Whom He is everlastingly and infinitely well-pleased (cf. Ephesians 5:2). The Philippians have been imitators of God as dear adopted children (cf. Ephesians 5:1) in whom He sees the character of His only-begotten Son.

This is exactly why, thirdly, it is the provision of God, Philippians 4:19. God has given them sacrificial hearts “according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” He Who provides spiritually will provide materially as well. They may be entering into some distress of their own in Paul’s behalf (Philippians 4:14b), but they have not ultimately put themselves at risk. They are displaying God’s rich provision in both things spiritual and things material.

Finally, it is the parental and perpetual glory of God, Philippians 4:20. To God belongs the glory forever and ever. And one of the ways that He is magnifying that glory is by making believers like the Philippians to reflect that glory. So the apostle adds “and Father” in verse 20 to this statement of His perpetual glory. Like a good son—indeed like the original and eternal Good Son—it is a greater delight to them that their Father be glorified in and by whatever they receive from Him.

When we see what the apostle sees in the Philippians’ gift to him, we’re not at all surprised that he treasures these things far above whatever material gain he got from their giving to him.

Through whose kindness do you have opportunity to praise God’s grace and glory in them? Through what opportunities for generosity might you have the honor of bringing praise to God’s grace and glory?

Sample prayer:  Father, we praise You for the indescribable gift of Your Son, and for His own giving Himself as an offering and sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. Forgive us for when we have been so focused on material things that we haven’t seen the spiritual glories of others’ Christian generosity or displayed them in our own generosity. Glorify Christ in us by providing us all that we need according to Your riches in glory by Christ Jesus, so that in His glory You also will be glorified, our God and Father, forever and ever, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP23 “The Lord’s My Shepherd” or TPH538 “Take My Life and Let it Be”

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