Bible Topics
in the Christian Library

Philippians 4:14-23

John L. Kachelman, Jr.


I. General remarks on the text.

1.We have just read the concluding words of the joyful epistle of Philippians.

2. Paul has ended on the same note upon which he began. In fact it is safe to state that his joy has increased since the opening greeting! His situation is still stressful; his future uncertain.

3. The text largely speaks of the love offering which Paul has received from the brethren Philippi.

4. A hurried reading reveals the great love which Paul holds for these dear brethren, and we know that their love for him was just as large.

II. In the text we find Paul concluding his thoughts.

1. As he concludes there are a number of points which have been stressed before.

2. Paul wishes to hold our attention fixed on these points for they enable him to remain steadfast in his faith.

3. Consider now the concluding points of Paul's message.


I. Paul concludes stressing the joy of FOND FELLOWSHIP (v. 14-16, 18b, 21-22).

A. The great fellowship bond holding Paul and the Philippians together has already been discussed. Philip 1:1, 3, 5, etc.

2. Paul never shared a greater fellowship than he did with the Philippian church--no church had done for him what they did.

3. From the beginning they had displayed this strong bond (v. 16).

B. The extent of this fellowship bond is shown by the common points shared together.

1. Shared memories -- cf. 1:3. Paul was constantly reminded of the good and pleasant brethren there. Paul was sincerely appreciative for this fellowship. There existed "Precious Memories"! How soothing such memories are whenever trials come!

2. Shared commendation -- Neither hesitation to give just honor (Ro 13:6-7). The wonderful commendation is recorded for eternity -- "you have done a beautiful thing." Such is essential if the fellowship bond is to be strong.

3. Shared unity -- Once again the repeated stress is on unity -- every, all. Joy is found only when unity is present! No believer can properly grow until this truth is understood and striven for. Let us be sure that we are promoting unity!

4. Shared strength -- Paul found strength to keep on in the blessed fellowship bond. There was comfort in being with others. "Christian sympathy is a beautiful thing; it sweetens the cup of sorrow; it is one of God's most precious gifts" (Pulpit Commentary).

C. So great was Paul's feelings about fellowship he was compelled to stress it in this conclusion. Do you realize its greatness?

II. Paul concluded by stressing the joy of REWARDS RECEIVED (v. 17, 18b).

A. Paul is certain of the Philippian's rewards.

1. Their selfless and generous gift was bound to produce fruit which would compound interest in their spiritual accounts.

2. Their beautiful sacrifice would be well-pleasing to God.

B. Such rewards await for all who will sacrifice from the proper motives.

1. A willing sacrifice will return great dividends. The greater the sacrifice the greater the blessing (Pr 13:7). 

2. God encourages us to sacrifice as the Philippians (Mal 3:10; Hb 13:16).

3. Any member who sacrifices like this will know great joy!

C. The rewards received will be both present and future (Mk 10:30). Are your sacrifices well-pleasing to God? Realize the seriousness of your stewardship!

III. Paul concludes with stressing the joy of CONTAINED CONTENTMENT (v. 18a).

A. What a marvelous phrase is recorded here.

1. His was based on true spiritual values -- he possessed "all things" (contrast this with Rv 3:17). 

2. His was contentment which "abounded" -- he had more than enough.

B. Such is a great blessing and is in fact essential for joy. Is it any wonder that as the "epistle of joy" concludes we find stressing the essential mind-set for joy?

IV. Paul concludes by stressing GOD'S GRACE (v. 19, 23).

A. We have previously noted that grace is the BASIS for joy (1:1-2). Once again this point is stressed by Paul -- In order to be joyful one must have access to the glorious grace of God.

B. There are several points associated with grace in the text. 

1. It is conditional -- there are requirements to it.

a. One must be "in Christ" (v. 19b).

b. One must be willing to sacrifice as in v. 18.

c. "Most of us are ready and willing to accept the blessing but overlook our obligation to fulfill the conditions" (Blair).

2. It is comprehensive -- God's grace is sufficient to cover "ALL" ("every") of our needs!

a. Note how Scripture teaches this: Ps 23:1; 37:35; 2 Co 12:9; Hb 4:16; Lk 22:35; Mt 6:25-26, 31-33.

b. Israel teaches us the greatness of God's provisions (Ex 12:34; Dt 29:5). If God could provide for two and one-half million people in such unbelievable situations, why should we doubt His ability to meet our needs today?

c. We have a tremendous source available IF we will only take advantage of it! A story is told by Dr. Richard Newton of an old and poverty stricken Indian, who many years ago made his way into a Western settlement in search of food to keep him from starving. A bright colored ribbon was seen around his neck, from which there hung a small, dirty pouch. On being asked what it was, he said it was a charm given to him in his younger days. He opened it, and took out a worn and crumpled paper, which he handed to the person making the inspection. It proved to be a regular discharge from the federal army, signed by George Washington himself, and entitling him to a pension for life. Here was a man with a promise, which if presented in the right place would have secured him ample provision, yet he was wandering about hungry, helpless and forlorn, and begging bread to keep him from starving. What a picture of many Christians who are in need of everything when they might be rich and full! Certainly their faith has never put its claim to God's offered promise of ample provisions! 

3. It is limited -- God's power is to provide for our needs, not our greed; not all of our wants, just our needs!

4. It is inexhaustible -- God's grace will never run out! (Cf. Ep 3:8, 20).

C. Paul could remain in prison for over two years and still have a joyful outlook because of the greatness of God's grace! How greatly we need to learn to lean upon God's grace! (Hb 4:16; Ro 8:31, 32).

V. Paul concludes by stressing that joy is found only with a POINTED PURPOSE in life (v. 20).

A. For Paul life was directed to one thing -- nothing else mattered (Gal 6:14; Philip 1:21, 27).

B. Let us not lose our joy because we have divided our purpose and are wandering after a multitude of goals!


I. What a fitting conclusion to such a wonderful book!

1. Joy in living each day is possible -- it is a reality!

2. Paul's conclusion stresses those things which will give us joy--

a. Fond fellowship

b. Rewards Received

c. Contained Contentment

d. God's Grace

e. Pointed Purpose in Life

II. Will you be certain that this joy is yours? Be found "in Christ" where the matchless grace of God is only found.

Copyright 1998 by John L. Kachelman, Jr. may be reproducted for non-commercial purposes at no cost to others.

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