devotion 10-03-15

Philippians 4:15-23

15You Philippians indeed know that in the early days of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you alone. 16For even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me help for my needs more than once. 17Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the profit that accumulates to your account. 18I have been paid in full and have more than enough; I am fully satisfied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. 19And my God will fully satisfy every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

20To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen. 21Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The friends who are with me greet you. 22All the saints greet you, especially those of the emperor’s household. 23The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

Paul goes on with his thanks to the Philippians, saying that they know that they alone shared with him, and cared for him, in the early years of his ministry, even when he was in Thessalonica. He goes on to say that he is not seeking a gift, but wanting to acknowledge and praise what they have done – as if it were a deposit on their future account. He had used the metaphor of running a race before; now he uses a banking metaphor. Not only have they made a deposit towards their future, from their generous hearts, but Paul himself has been paid in full. He says that he is now fully satisfied, having received the gifts that Epaphroditus brought. These were not just gifts to him, but gifts to God, for they enable him to continue in his work, even from prison. He knows that these gifts were a sacrifice to them, they gave more than their surplus; they gave from their hearts, and such a sacrifice is acceptable and pleasing to God. And when people give from full and generous hearts, God fully satisfies their needs, according to his rich glory in Christ Jesus.

And then Paul closes his letter – “To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.” This was the benediction. Paul adds greetings to the saints – all the Christians in Philippi, and adds that those there with him also greet them, especially those of the emperor’s household. And final words of benediction, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.”

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