Philippians 4:10-23 (The Secret of Contentment)

Phil 4:10-13 Paul had been in prison for almost four years at the time of this writing (two in Caesarea and two in Rome); what circumstances may have prevented the Philippians from having the opportunity to render assistance to him until now?  How might a fleshly person have felt in the intervening time to not only be in prison, but to also have received no assistance from some of his most faithful friends and supporters?  Why didn’t Paul feel that way?  See Phil 4:11, and notice that “content” there has the nuance of “sufficient in oneself”.  Does our contentment come from our external circumstances, or have we learned like Paul to be self-sufficient and content in any and every circumstance (Phil 4:12)?  “He is wealthiest that is content with the least; for contentment is nature’s wealth.” (Socrates).  What is the “secret” Paul learned for being content whether having an abundance or suffering need?  See Phil 4:13 and note “strengthen” there means to empower, pour power into.  Again, does our contentment come from our external circumstances, or from the power that Christ pours into us through His Holy Spirit?

Phil 4:14-20 “Share” in Phil 4:14-15 derives from the Greek word koinonia, which refers to fellowship and communion; what do these verses teach us is one important way of sharing in the afflictions with our brothers and sisters who are persecuted for their faith?  See Phil 4:15.  How would you describe the Philippian church’s support of Paul, and why was it especially exemplary?  See Phil 4:15-16.  How is Paul’s example in receiving the gifts of God’s people exemplary for God’s ministers?  Was he ever greedy for material gain, or concerned that he draw a “salary” commensurate with those whom he served?  See 1 Cor 9:12-15, 2 Cor 12:14-15.  Was he concerned the gifts of God’s people would be inadequate for his need?  See Phil 4:18; cf. Phil 4:12.  For what purpose did Paul seek the gifts of the Philippians?  See Phil 4:17.  How is that different from most ministers today?  What does Phil 4:18 teach us about the New Testament counterpart of the Old Testament freewill offerings?  See also Heb 13:16.  What promise do we always receive from God in regard to our giving to charitable causes?  See Phil 4:19.  Does He  promise to supply all our wants?

Phil 4:21-23 In spite of Paul’s imprisonment and the temporal victory won by the Judaizers against him, what does Phil 4:22 teach us about the long-term victory accomplished as a result of Paul’s imprisonment?  Regardless of our circumstances, should we ever suppose that God is somehow not in complete and total control of the situation, that His promises have failed, or that He no longer loves and cares for us as His own?  See Rom 8:28 and compare the story of Joseph’s imprisonment in Gen 37, 39-50.

 

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