gift: devotional Commentary for March 27-April 2
This is the Word of God. May the Spirit of Truth give us wisdom and insight to receive what has been conveyed through His Word by His Inspiration.
15Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only.
16For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities.
17Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account.
18Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God.
Paul's missionary journeys were filled with exciting events and difficult challenges. It was during one of his travels through Asia that his itinerary was interrupted by a vision which redirected his path to Macedonia Philippi. There, he preached the Gospel, planted churches, and publicly testified about Jesus Christ going from town to town as a fugitive ahead of a pursuing mob.
These were difficult moments in Paul's ministry. His life was unsettled. Everything around him appeared unstable. It was during these weeks and months that the church in Philippi stood with him. The Philippians were the only ones who stood with Paul and supplied everything he needed during his ministry in Macedonia. They wholeheartedly received the Good News Paul preached to them, and in grateful partnership, continued to support him with money and supplies in Macedonia including Philippi and Thessalonica.
Paul was grateful for the kindness the Philippians showed toward him. But he made sure that the significance of their kindness was not diminished by the weight of his own personal gratitude. He expressed his appreciation for the gifts with enthusiasm and deep gratitude. But he also emphatically signified the true value of their gift to him.
Paul described the value of the help he received from the hands of Epaphroditus in two essential ways. First, their gifts were of great significance and value to Paul personally. He felt that he had been satisfactorily furnished with everything he needed. He was blessed. All of his needs were met. Paul was grateful and deeply appreciative of what the Philippians had done for him and for his ministry.
Second, what the Philippians sent to Paul was also a pleasing sacrifice to God. Their gift was an offering of soothing aroma to God, which also reflected their obedience to Him. Their gift pleased God as a selfless act of obedience while blessing Paul with the abundance of God’s provision. The gift was personal to Paul, fruitful to the ministry, and pleasing to God.
19And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
20Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.
The Philippians’ obedience to God would not remain unrecognized. Paul was confident that God will bless them by supplying their needs through Jesus Christ. God was pleased with their obedience. The work of the Spirit in their lives had moved the Philippians to be such selfless givers.
It is the heart, which responds to God’s mercy, grace, and salvation. God is glorified when those who have little give generously to the work of the Gospel. The Lord is exalted as He makes consistent givers from saints who are poor.
Paul redirected the focus of his Epistle back to God following his commendation of the Philippians. It would have been ungodly if his remarks were misunderstood as reasons for pride. So it was important to credit God for everything that transpired and for the relationship between Paul and the saints in Philippi.
Christ’s strength provided Paul’s contentment in every situation. The Spirit’s direction made poor saints generous, supporting Paul’s ministry among the Gentiles. Christ’s measureless resources provided for the needs of these friends in Philippi. God alone had done everything in the lives of His redeemed children. He alone would continue to guide, support, and strengthen His saints in the days to come. So Paul gave glory to God and sealed it with a hearty amen.
21Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren who are with me greet you.
22All the saints greet you, but especially those who are of Caesar's household.
23The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
Paul closed his Epistle to the Philippians with a heartfelt benediction. He sent his personal greetings directly to the believers in Philippi, and through them to the brethren around. He also sent greetings from everyone who was with him, including those believers who were in Caesar’s household.
He prayed for the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ to be present with them and in them. It is Christ’s grace that sustains the saints. It is the Grace of God that gives contentment in all circumstances. It is by His Grace and with the Power of the Gospel that God's children are able to support one another and serve the Lord in Rome, Philippi, and to the ends of the earth.
Paul dedicated the closing verses of his letter to the Philippians to express his gratitude for the invaluable friendship he had with the Christians in Macedonia. His closing thoughts basically reflected three related thoughts. First, he acknowledged the support that came to him at a crucial time when he was suffering imprisonment and persistent persecution. He was alone. Second, he affirmed that their gift abounded with enormous spiritual fruit. His ministry was enriched by the harvest of souls. Third, the faithfulness of the brethren in Philippi fueled Paul's ministry of the Gospel. Their continued help was a consistent witness of their obedience to the Lord. Their gift of love was a pleasing sacrifice to God.
The charitable gift the Philippians sent to Paul accomplished God’s purpose. It met his needs and enabled him to continue spreading the Gospel in spite of the difficulties he faced. Their gift made Paul's ministry fruitful. Churches were planted and the Gospel was preached to the lost.
For the Philippians it was a life of obedience to God. To God, their gift was a pleasing sacrifice. It was an offering of gracious kindness. God is able to make consistent givers out of poor believers. For that, we have His unfailing grace and rich providence.
Obedience to God destroys the stronghold of excuses. God receives His children’s obedience as a sweet smelling aroma. That, always pleases God. We please God and glorify Him by supporting one another. We are without excuse. Christ our strength. Christ our power. Christ our obedience. In Him, all is possible, for there is nothing impossible to God.