Southern Christian

James A. Turner


Please read all the references. They will help to give a better understanding.


I think the epistle to the Philippians shows that Paul was already in that open door, but did not recognize it.  And if you ask why I think that, he says to the Philippians, I would have you know that my bonds have turned out unto the furtherance of the gospel.  I believe he was doing the same thing in teaching those soldiers that were guarding him when he wrote verse three here.  And if that be the case, if Paul was standing in an open door and did not recognize that it was open, then what about us today?  He was an inspired apostle, but he evidently had not recognized he was in that open door until some time later.  But remember those soldiers that guarded him may have been a part of the bodyguard for the emperor, and Paul was evidently teaching them, and it bore fruit as stated in the Philippian letter. 


So let us turn now to Philippians and begin with that letter.  Remember first that the church at Philippi was the first church that was established in European territory.  We read about the establishment of the church in Acts sixteen. The two cases of conversion that are recorded while Paul was there was Lydia and her household, and the Philippian jailer and his household.  There may have been others, but those are the only two that are recorded.  It looks like Lydia's household was a business household, (Acts 16:13-15) and the jailer's household was his family household (Acts 16:25-34).  Notice that the epistle is addressed “to all the saints in Christ Jesus that are at Philippi with the bishops and the deacons”.  So the church at Philippi was a fully organized church, with bishops and deacons.  Any time a church today is fully organized, as God wants it to be, it has its own bishops and its own deacons, like the church at Philippi did.  And as usual, Paul thanks God for them, "Always and every supplication of mine on behalf of you, and all making my supplication with joy for your fellowship in the furtherance of the gospel from the first day, even until now." 


There was no church that was as determined to keep supporting the apostle Paul, as was the church at Philippi.  And here he states that it was from the first day until now.  Well, what happened on that first day?  After Lydia and her household were converted, she said, “If you have judged me to be faithful of the Lord, come into my house and abide.”  She insisted, and Paul, Silas, Timothy, and Luke then stayed in her house, at least as long as Paul and Silas were there, and it is very probable that Luke continued to stay there until the time of carrying the contribution to Jerusalem.  So that was support for the furtherance of the gospel, in that she gave them a place to stay, and probably their food and other needs. It also indicates that her household was just a business household.  If she had had a husband, and children, would she not have said come into our house and abide, but she said come into my house and abide. Remember also that Lydia was “a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira.” So the Philippian church was a wonderful church. 


Verse six, “Being confident of this very thing, that he who hath begun a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ."  In verse seven through eleven he speaks of his love for them, and how he was praying that they would be “sincere and void of offence unto the day of Christ.” In verse twelve he says, "I would have you know brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the progress of the gospel."  I guess Paul had wondered many times why he had to go to Rome as a prisoner.  And we read in Acts 28:1-15, that after the shipwreck on the Island of Melita, and after three more months when they were on the way to Rome the brethren met him at The Three Travers, and we read that “he thanked God and took encourage.”  Doesn't that imply that he was lacking in courage, not understanding why he was going to Rome as a prisoner?  But it encouraged him for some of the brethren to come that far to meet him, and now recognizes that his bonds “had fallen out unto the progress of the gospel so that my bonds became manifest in Christ throughout the whole Praetorian Guard, and to all the rest."  Remember that Paul lived in his own hired house, but he was guarded by soldiers (Acts 28:16).  Well, if they served, say eight hours a day that would be three per day.  And evidently Paul made it his aim to teach every one that guarded him, and it bore wonderful fruit. 


Verse fourteen, "And most of the brethren in the Lord, being confident through my bonds, are more abundantly bold to speak the word of God without fear."  Evidently Paul did the brethren at Rome more good going there as a prisoner, and yet showing such boldness, he stirred them to more boldness. He probably did them more good than he would have done if he had gone there as a free man.  Then beginning with verse fifteen, he tells how that there were two ways that the gospel was being preached.  But in either case, he was thankful that the gospel was being preached.  Verse fifteen, "Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will:  The one doeth it of love, knowing that I am set for the defense of the gospel; but the other proclaim Christ of faction, not sincerely, thinking to raise up affliction for me in my bonds.  What then?  Only that in every way, whether in pretense, or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and therein I rejoice, yea, and will rejoice."  Verse eighteen, is conclusive proof that both parties were preaching the gospel correctly, but one was not preaching it with the right spirit.  One group was preaching it with the right spirit, and another group was not preaching it with the right spirit.  But it would have had to have been the true gospel, or Paul would not have stated here in verse eighteen that he rejoiced that the gospel was being preached. 


And, again, we need to learn a lesson from that.  If the gospel is preached according to God's truth, men should hear it and obey it, whether it is preached in the right spirit or not.  You remember the case of Jonah going to Nineveh, and preaching that short sermon, “Yet forty days and Nineveh shall be overthrown.”  That unwilling foreign evangelist was all the time hoping that God would destroy Nineveh.  We have some in the church today who think that unless the preacher presents everything in a very positive and a very pleasing and encouraging way, that they have no obligation to pay any attention to what he is saying.  But if he is preaching the truth, please be assured that all of us need to heed and obey whether it is with the right spirit or not.  "For I know that this shall turn out to my salvation through your supplication and supply of the spirit of Jesus Christ.  According to my earnest expectation and hope, that in nothing shall I be put to shame."  Even though they wanted to add to his affliction, Paul was going to continue to be bold and preach the word of God without fear, even though he is a prisoner. "But that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether by life, or by death."  That is another statement that shows that in Romans 7:14 following, Paul was not talking about himself as a Christian.  He magnified Christ in his body.  That was his intent, whether by life or whether he received the death penalty. 


Verse twenty-one, "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."  That does not sound like he was carnal, holy inclined to all evil.  "But if to live in the flesh, if this shall bring fruit from my work:  Then what I shall choose I know not.  For I am in a straight betwixt the two, having the desire to depart, and be with Christ; for it is very far better:  Yet to abide in the flesh is more needful for your sake."  For a child of God to die, Paul says is very far better.  When a child of God dies, his spirit goes on to be with the Lord.  So Paul really wanted to depart and be with Christ, but at the same time, he recognized that he was needed for the Philippians and for other brethren, and he wanted to be of service in the flesh, as long as the Lord wanted him to.  And so verse twenty-four, "Yet to abide in the flesh is more needful for your sake.  And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide yes and abide with you all for your progress and joy in the faith; that your glorying may abound in Christ Jesus in me through my presence with you again."  So we notice from verse twenty-six that Paul was expecting to be released from this first Roman imprisonment.  And remember he had told Philemon to prepare a lodging for him, and so Paul expected to be released from this first Roman imprisonment. In Acts 28:30-31 Luke speaks of that imprisonment being over, and I Timothy and Titus show very definitely that he was released. 


Verse twenty-seven, "Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ:  That whether I come to see you, or be absent, I may hear of your faith, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one soul striving for the faith of the gospel."  Any time all of the members of the church are faithful that is what happens.  They stand fast in one spirit with one soul striving for the faith of the gospel.  "And in nothing afrightened by the adversary."  It is thought, by those who have studied the history of the day, that the Christian religion was being counted an illegal religion by this time.  And so you can see if that were the case why the adversaries would frighten them.  What would happen today in America if our government declared we are not to meet to worship anymore?  I am afraid some would say, well, the government has decided it, and we will live by what is legal.  "And in nothing afrightened by the adversaries:  Which is for them an evident token of perdition, but for your salvation."  If you continue to be bold for the Lord and stand against those things that are wrong, the adversaries, those who are afflicting you, it is a token of their perdition, eternal destruction in a devil's hell, but for your salvation and that from God.  "Because to you it hath been granted in behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer in his behalf."  Keep in mind II Timothy 3:12, “All they that will live godly in Jesus Christ shall suffer persecution.”  And so these Philippian brethren were suffering.  And so Paul reminds them that they should appreciate the fact that they can suffer for Christ, “because to you it has been granted in behalf of Christ not only to believe on him but also to suffer in his behalf, having the same conflict which you saw in me (Acts 16:15-26) and now hear to be in me.” 

Chapter Two

"If there is therefore any consolation in Christ, (just as surely as there is) if any consolation of love, if any fellowship of the spirit, any tender mercies and compassions make full my joy, that ye be of the same mind, having the same love, being of one accord, and of one mind."  Brethren are not going to be of one accord and one mind, unless they are motivated by one love.  Just as surely there is not proper love, there will be some discord and division in the church.  "Doing nothing through faction or through vainglory; but in lowliness of mind each counting other better than himself."  Verse three parallels the verse that we read in Romans the twelfth chapter where he says, “in honor preferring one another.”  If a brother is not putting forth much effort to live the Christian life, and another brother is putting forth all the effort he can put forth to live the Christian life, he is not to count that man who is not putting forth any effort in that sense better than himself, but, it is that spirit of being ready to give the other brother first place.  "Not looking each of you to his own things, but each of you also to the things of others.  Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:  Who, existed in the form of God, counting not to being on in equality with God; a thing to be grasped."  In the eighth chapter of II Corinthians we read that Christ became poor, -- he left the riches and the glories of the heaven and became poor, that “we through his poverty  may become rich.”  And so that is what he is talking about here that he existed in the form of God.  He existed eternally, but he took upon himself the form of man. 


Verse 7, "But emptied himself  (of the riches and glories of heaven) taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of man: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself becoming obedient even unto death, yea the death of the cross."  In Luke 22 we read about Christ's agony before his betrayal, that his sweat became as it were “great drops of blood”.  One of the reasons why I am so impressed with that statement is because of a statement I heard my late brother-in-law Doris Brooks make.  He was in World War II and in the tank division.  And he said they received the command that all the other tanks had been knocked out, and move up to the front line.  Well, he knew the great danger of it, and he said sweat broke out on him in just big welts.  He was in agony, and Jesus was in agony before the cross.  He was man, and he had to suffer on that cross just like any other man would have to suffer, and he did.  Verse nine, "Wherefore also God, highly exalted him, and gave unto him the name which is above every name:  That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things on the earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the father."  We are reminded of this same kind of instruction in the twelfth chapter of Romans.  So it is a matter of when a man is going to bow his knees, whether he is going to do it in this life, or whether he is going to do it in the Day of Judgment.  Of course, it may be that the righteous and the unrighteous will all bow then, but, very definitely, these passages teach that every knee is going to bow and every tongue is going to confess. 


Verse twelve, "So then my beloved, even as ye have always obeyed, not in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling."  What does he mean by that statement, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling?  I received from one student the conclusion that works do not have anything to do with our salvation.  Well, we are not going to earn our salvation, but works are involved in our salvation.  Remember James says, “As a body without the spirit is dead, even so  faith without works is dead.  Saving faith has always been active.  And so here, again, Paul says to the Philippians, “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.  For it is God who worketh in you both to will and to work for his good pleasure."  What if a man refuses to do the will of God and to work as he has instructed?  Will he be saved at the end of the way?  Just a little common, ordinary thinking ought to tell us that God expects us to work according to his instruction.  Paul tells Titus to tell the brethren at Crete for them “to be ready unto every good work,” and that applies to us, and if we are not ready to follow that command, we are in great danger. 


Verse fourteen, “Do all things without murmurings and questionings.”  What does he mean by all things?  All the things that the Lord has commanded.  It does not mean that we are to go out and do all the things that people may want us to do, but do all that the Lord is has instructed us to do, and do it with a good spirit.  Do it without murmurings and questionings, whether we can understand the why or not, we are to go ahead and do it.  We are to have enough faith and confidence in the Lord that he knows what is best for us and go ahead and do it.  And, again, some want to reject baptism, because they cannot see how it would have anything to do with their salvation.  Well, God may have deliberately chosen water baptism because it looks foolish to some.  Remember in I Corinthians chapter one where he says, “that it pleased God through the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” It may be that God has deliberately chosen some things that just on the basis of human reasoning would look foolish. 


Verse fifteen, "That ye may become blameless and harmless, children of God, without blemish, in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation."  Our generation is no different from the generation of those Philippian brethren. They were in a crooked and perverse generation, and we are in a crooked and perverse generation.  And so we are to live such lives as to be without blemish.  That does not mean that we are going to be without sin.  I John 1:8-9 surely answers that and also 2:1-2, but when we learn that we have sinned, we are to repent and pray to God for the forgiveness of our sins, and “he is just and righteous to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  And if any man sins, we have an advocate with the father, Jesus Christ, the righteous, and is he is the propitiation for our sins, and not for our sins only, but also for the sins of the whole world, (I John 2:1-2).  So we have an attorney to plead our case, and that attorney is the Lord Jesus Christ! 


Verse sixteen, “Holding forth the word of life that I may have whereof to glory in the day of Christ, that I did not run in vain, neither labored in vain."  Verse sixteen shows that there will be identity in heaven.  If those Philippian brethren were faithful, he would have whereof to glory in the day of Christ.  He would know that he did not run in vain and labor in vain when he preached to those Philippians  "Yea, and if I am offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith  (condemned to death) I joy and rejoice with you all."  I am glad to die in behalf of the Gentile people for which I was made an apostle.  "and in the same manner, do you rejoice and rejoice with me."  He would be talking about rejoicing, because he died in faithfulness, and there is a sense in which we can rejoice when we know that a brother has died that is a faithful servant of God, and that he has gone on to a place that is very far better.  I do not think that place is heaven, but at least there is that sense in which the spirit goes on to be with the Lord (II Corinthians 5: 5-6). 


Verse nineteen, "But I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state. For I have no man like-minded, who will care truly for your sake.  For they all seek their own, not the things of Jesus Christ's.  But ye know the proof of him, that as a child serveth a father, so he serveth with me in the furtherance of the gospel.”  That surely shows that Timothy was a great servant of God for Paul to commend him like that, that when he went to the Philippians, he would truly care for their sake.  He would not be just looking out for himself, but he would be truly caring for their sake, while others would at least in part be concerned about themselves.  Verse twenty-three, "Him therefore I hope to send forth with, so soon as I shall see how it will go with me."  Verse twenty-three is very strong evidence that Paul wrote Philippians later than he did Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon.  He is expecting to know very soon whether or not he will be released, and if he is released, he will send Timothy immediately to them. 


Verse twenty-four, "But I trust in the Lord that I myself also shall come shortly."  If he is released from prison, he plans to go and visit the church at Philippi.  And, of course, if he visited the church at Philippi, we would expect him to visit all the churches in Macedonia and Achaia.  I Timothy and Titus show very definitely that he was released and that he was very busy revisiting the churches and doing evangelistic work during the time between the first and second imprisonment at Rome.  Verse twenty-five, "But I counted it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus."  They had sent Epaphroditus to carry things for Paul and to minister to him, and while he was there he had become sick and almost died, and they had heard about it and were very concerned, about him and so he was sending Epaphroditus back to them.  Verse twenty-nine, "Receive him therefore in the Lord with all joy, and hold such an honor.  Because for the work of Christ he came nigh unto death, not regarding his life, to supply that which is lacking in your service toward me." 

Chapter three

"Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord.  To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not irksome, but for you it is safe."  Think of Paul being in prison and telling brethren to rejoice in the Lord, and he says it is not irksome for me to do it, but it is surely good for you.  "Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the concision."  What kind of dogs is he talking about in verse two?  He is not talking about four-legged devourers, but two-legged dogs, two-legged devourers.  And who were they?  Those false Judaizing teachers, he was referring to them in three different ways.  As dogs, they were willful false teachers trying to devour the saints of God.  They did not deserve any better terminology.  It was correct terminology!  They were evil workers, teaching contrary to the way of God.  And beware of the concision, and that shows who he is talking about.  Beware of the mutilators, those who were trying to bind circumcision on the Gentile people.  "For we are the circumcision, who worshiped by the spirit of God, and glory in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh."  So Christian people constitute the true Israel of God.  Verse three is a parallel to Romans 2:28-29, that Christian people make up the new Israel of God.  And look how you could take verse three out of the context and come with a doctrine that Christian people do not have any confidence in the flesh, and that they cannot control the flesh, therefore they do not have any confidence in the flesh.  Well, it is not talking about that at all, but it is talking about the fact that he was no longer expecting to be saved on the basis of being a Jew, according to the flesh. He goes ahead to say that if any man could have confidence in the flesh, he could. 


When the Sadducees and the Pharisees went to the baptism of John, John said “you generation of vipers who warned you to flee from the wrath to come, bring forth therefore works, meet for repentance, and say not unto yourselves that God -- that you're the seed of Abraham.  For I say unto you that God is able even of these stones to raise up seed unto Abraham.”  Those Pharisees and the Sadducees back there were expecting salvation on the basis of them being Jews, and that is what Paul is talking about here, that if any man could have confidence in the flesh, he could.  Verse four, "Though I myself might have confidence even in the flesh, if any other man thinketh to have confidence in the flesh, I yet more:  Circumcised the eighth day  of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin."  Saul, the first king of Israel came from the tribe of Benjamin.  "A Hebrew of Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee.”  The Pharisees were very strict in trying to keep every detail of the law.  "As touching zeal persecuting the church  (he sought to destroy the church) as touching the righteousness, which is of the law found blameless."   When we read from I Timothy and Titus, about how an elder is to be blameless, actually every child of God should be found blameless, but it does not mean sinless perfection.  When a man takes those steps to receive forgiveness for his sins -- under the New Testament law, when a man is born again, and then when he learns he has sinned, he repents and asks God to forgive him, then he is forgiven.  And when he is forgiven, he is blameless before God.  And surely Paul offered up animal sacrifices for his sins, and in that sense he was blameless, not without sin, but blameless in that he had made that temporary atonement for sin. 


Verse seven, "Howbeit what things were gained to me."  He was a great leader of the Jews, as long as he was going the way of the Pharisees back there, and persecuting, and destroying the church of God, and don’t you think that they were ready to pay him well.  "Howbeit what things were gained to me, these have I counted lost for Christ.  Yea verily, I count all things to be lost for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord:  For whom I have suffered the loss of all things."  His pay scale plummeted, don't you think, when he became a Christian?  "And do count them but refuge."  Some of the newer versions read garbage, and refuge would be garbage.  "That I may gain Christ, and be found in him, not having the righteousness of my own, even that which is of the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith."  Why does he count it as but refuge or garbage, something for the garbage dump?  "That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being conformed unto his death; if by any means I may attain unto the resurrection from the dead."   Here Paul puts himself with those who will be dead when Christ comes. 


Verse twelve, "Not that I have already attained, or already made perfect:  But I press on, if so be that I may lay hold on that for which I also I was laid hold on by Christ Jesus.  Brethren, I count not myself yet to have laid hold:  But one thing I do, forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching forward to the things which are before."  Now we know from the fact that Paul reasoned that he was chiefest of sinners, and that he was the least of all the saints, that he did not forget God's mercy and grace, but from the standpoint of not letting things hinder him as far as the future is concerned, he is still stretching forward to the things, which are before.  "I press on toward the goal and to the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.  Let us therefore, as many as are perfect."  The footnote in my Bible says, full-grown.  Complete.  Complete in Christ.  Full-grown in Christ.  "Be thus minded, and if anything ye are otherwise minded, this also shall God reveal unto you.  Only, where unto we have attained, by the same rule, let us walk. Brethren, be ye imitators together of me, and mark them that are so walk, even as ye have us for an example.  For many walk, of whom I told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ:  whose end is perdition,  (hell) whose God is the belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.   He is talking about the Judaizing teachers in particular, and he speaks of them whose end is perdition, whose God is the belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.


 And here, look what a wonderful promise to the children of God.  "For our citizenship is in heaven, whence also we wait for a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall fashion anew our humiliation that it may be conformed to the body of his glory, according to the working whereby he is able even to subject all things unto himself."  Verses twenty and twenty-one is a parallel to I John 3:2, “Beloved, now are we children of God, and it is not yet made manifest what we shall be. We know when he is manifested, we shall be like him; for we shall see him even as he is.”

Chapter Four

"Wherefore, my brethren beloved and longed for my joy and crown so stand fast in the Lord, my beloved.  I exhort you Euodia, and I exhort Syntyche, to be of the same mind in the Lord."  It looks like that these two good women somehow had gotten at odds with each other, and Paul exhorts them to be of the same mind, and be at peace again.  "Yea I beseech thee also, true yoke-fellow, help these women."  Was it through Epaphroditus that he had learned about them?  At least he had learned that they are at odds with one another, and he wanted them to be of the same mind.  And he wants his yoke-fellow to help them get back on proper terms.  "Help these women for they labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also."  They had been good workers.  "And the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life. 


Verse four, “Rejoice in the Lord always:  Again I say rejoice.  Let your forbearance be made known unto all men.  The Lord is at hand.  In nothing be anxious but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your request be made known unto God."  I remember meeting with a brother some years ago, I guess about twenty-five years ago, back there when some brethren were really making so much to ado about the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.; and he had gone through the New Testament, and every passage that had anything like this in it, he was applying it to the destruction of Jerusalem, and this one on the basis that it says, “The Lord is at hand.”  And he called attention to the fact that when the Lord sent forth the twelve apostles under the limited commission that they were to preach, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 10:7), and it was at hand.  If you give attention to the context, I think the meaning is entirely different to that.  “Let your forbearance be made known unto all men.”  Why? “The Lord is at hand.”  He is our high priest, and he is touched with the feelings of -- Hebrews 4:15-16, "For we have not a high priest which is not touched with the feelings of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.  Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and grace in time of need."  Isn't that a parallel to this passage?  In nothing be anxious.” Cast your cares on the Lord, for he is a merciful and faithful high priest, and he will plead our case!  "In nothing be anxious but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known unto God, and the peace of God which passes all understanding shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus."  What a wonderful promise that we need to claim! Please remember that nearly all of God’s promises are conditional on our part. This passage says that if we will make our requests known unto God, instead of being anxious and worried, that we will have “the peace of God which passes all understanding!” Isn’t that the peace that we all want? Well, here Paul tells us how to claim it, put your cares upon the Lord, and you can have the peace of God, which passes all understanding, and it will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus. 


Verse eight, "Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."  Proverbs 4:23 reads, “Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life.” And Jesus says, “as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”  And so we need to be reminded here that we are to think on right things, that we are to read concerning right things, that we are to watch on TV those programs that have right things in them, rather than wrong things.  We cannot read, and think, and look on things to the contrary without them having a bad influence on us.  And so we need to remember this passage, and let us train our selves to think on those things that are good and right. 

Verse nine, "The things which ye both learned, and received, and heard, and saw in me. (follow my example) These things do, and the God of peace shall be with you. 


Verse ten, “But I rejoice in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your thought for me; wherein ye did take thought, but ye lacked opportunity."  Here he is talking about the fact that they had sent to him by Epaphroditus things that he needed. But he is thankful that they did, not because he is so concerned about those things, for he had learned how to be content.  "Not that I speak in respect of want:  For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am therein to be content (4:11).”


In the following verses Paul thanks the Philippian brethren for the financial help that they had sent him, but not so much as for him, but that it would be, “fruit that increases to your account” Verse twelve, “I know how to be abased, and I know also how to abound."  To be abased would be without things that he really needed, and to abound would be to have more than was necessary for his needs; in either state he had learned to be content (I Timothy 6: 6-7).  "And everything and all things I have learned the secret, both to be filled,  (more than enough) and to be hungry. (less than his needs)  Both to abound and to be in want.  I can do all things in him that strengthened me."  Even in great need he could still be “strong in the Lord, in the strength of his might (Ephesians 6:10).”  "Howbeit ye did well, that ye had fellowship with my affliction.  And ye yourselves know, ye Philippians, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church had fellowship with me in the matter of giving and receiving, but ye only, for even in Thessalonica, ye sent once and again unto my need.  Not that I seek for the gift."  Now, this is why he sent Onesimus back to Philemon, that Philemon might receive credit for sending him back.  "Not that I speak for the gift:  But I seek for the fruit that increases to your account."  When they sent help to Paul at Thessalonica that was work that was counted to their account.  This parallels what Jesus said in Matthew 6:19‑20. 


Verse eighteen, "But I have all things, and abound:  I am filled, having received from Epaphroditus the things that came from you, an odor of sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well‑pleasing to God."  So when they sent to the needs of Paul by Epaphroditus that was counted by God as a sweet sacrifice acceptable and well‑pleasing to God.  "And my God shall supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.  And when we give liberally and cheerfully, we are usually blessed for it (II Corinthians 9:8-10).  Now unto our God and Father is the glory forever and ever.  Amen.  Salute every saint in Christ Jesus.  The brethren that are with me salute you.  All the saints salute you, especially they that are of Caesar's household."  Paul and his fellow workers had even converted people in the emperor's household,  "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.”