LIVING THE CHRISTIAN LIFE: THE SECRET - Philippians 4:10-23


Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

This is our final message in the series from Paul’s letter to the Philippians.

It has been great to hear these messages preached week by week. Perhaps you have also studied and reflected in small groups to help to reinforce the messages.

The power of the Scriptures is amazing – the words are ever new.

The Holy Spirit uses God’s living word to speak to us again and again in new and fresh ways. The Word of God and the ministry of the Holy Spirit are able to change/encourage/inspire us.

Dick Lucas - states that the book of Philippians is:

“A benchmark for real Christianity in our world today.”

Philippians is a very practical book.

“Living the Christian life” is a major theme, or emphasis, underlying this letter.

Philippians 4:10 Paul’s thank-you letter.

One of the reasons that Paul wrote this letter was to express his delight and deep gratitude in the Philippians.

Philippians 4:10 He says “I rejoice greatly in your care and concern for me.”

He not only appreciated their care and concern he also writes about their giving and receiving.

The believers at Philippi supported Paul as he travelled – they gave material goods and supplies, and they also sent one of their members , Epaphroditus, to assist Paul. (Epaphroditus was a key leader in the church at Philippi).

In Philippians 4:14-19 Paul acknowledges the generosity of the Philippian believers and assures them that God will provide for their every need.

Philippians 4:14 .. it was kind of you to share my trouble.

Philippians 4:15 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.

Philippians 4:17 Not that I seek the gift,

but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit.

Philippians 4:18 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.

An investment with a spiritual return

Paul looked on their gift as an investment that would pay them rich spiritual dividends.

“Giving and Receiving”; the church gave materially to Paul, and received spiritually from the Lord. God is no man’s debtor.

Paul writes:

Philippians 4:19 And my God will supply every need of yours

according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:11-12 - Life’s Lessons

Paul now moves on to share some lessons which he had learned for living the Christian life.

The apostle Paul’s words, attitudes, and behaviour speak very powerfully. His life is an extraordinary example for us to learn from.

In his ministry, he faced many, many, trials. In 2 Cor 11 he describes some of them. He writes:

Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one.

Three times I was beaten with rods.

Once I was stoned.

Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea;

on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers,

danger from robbers,

danger from my own people,

danger from Gentiles,

danger in the city,

danger in the wilderness,

danger at sea,

danger from false brothers;

in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night,

in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.

And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.

These are on the extreme end of the scale – it is unlikely that we will experience anything to this extent. But the purpose of this list is to show that Paul is eminently qualified to speak about contentment and living a Christ centred life. (He has got my attention)

Paul knew how to be content – no matter what. He had learned to trust God in every situation.

His joy was not dependent upon circumstances – it was dependent upon the indwelling Spirit of God.

Php 4:11-12 ESV Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. (12) 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.

The Christian life is not a “pretend life”. It is not “mind over matter”, or positive confession. The Christian life is founded on truth – the truth given in God’s word.

In both hard times, and in easy times in Christ we are able to overcome.

Paul says – “I have learned the secret” – what is the secret?

The secret of facing plenty of having an abundance.

The secret if being hungry and of being in need. What is the secret?