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

August 7, 2017

 

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?

 

Let’s go on to 4 v13 …

 

Php 4:13 I can do all things through him (in Him) who strengthens me.

 

Philippians 4:13 - I can do all things

I can do all things.  

Paul tells us that he is “empowered” – given strength to withstand "all things", including being in difficulty and when experiencing prosperity.

 

He is able to do these things as he has written .. “through Christ who strengthens him”.

 

The Greek word for strengthen means "to put power in."  According to this verse, because we as believers are in Christ, He infuses us with His strength, and sustains us. In the book of Galatians Paul states:

 

Gal 2:20 ESV  I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

 

And he further states in the book of Ephesians:

Eph 3:14-21 ESV  For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,  (15)  from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named,  (16)  that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,  …  and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.  (20)  Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,  (21)  to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

 

Php 4:13 ESV I can do all things through him ( in Him) who strengthens me.

 

Paul could accept each, and every, circumstance with contentment

 

He could achieve all the he was called to do through Christ who strengthened him.

 

I can accept anything ..(that God desires for me, or allows).

 

I can do anything …(that God calls me to do)

 

Because He is within you and He empowers you.

 

As Christian believers we are IN CHRIST – This is a great truth that is emphasised in Philippians and the whole New Testament.  This is the secret of successfully living the Christian Life. - (The Christ Like life) [Kerry shared in depth about this.]

 

I can do all things – like what? 

 

Consider our Journey through Philippians …

 

Chapter 1

Php 1:27-30

Live a life worthy of the gospel:

By Being of one mind,

By being unified and serving together

By striving side by side,

By being willing to bear reproach and to suffer for His sake.

 

Chapter 2

Php 2:2-5 ESV 

Have the same mind as Christ

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit.

Count others more significant than ourselves.

 

Php 2:13 

Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,

 

Php 2:14-15

No grumbling of complaining, being shining lights in the world.

 

 

Chapter 3

Php 3:12-14  Press on towards the goal

 

Chapter 4

Php 4:6  Don’t be anxious about anything – talk to God about it.

 

Php 4:8  Work at righteous thinking.

        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.

 

 

the book of Philippians is:

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

 

Final Greetings

Php 4:23  The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. 

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