Philippians 4D

Chapter 4:20-23

  • Tonight, we come to the last three verses of the book of Philippians.

    • Although these remaining verses are few, they contain worthy information which is to be mined from the text.

      • These three verses are off the heels of what Paul shared as a secret to how one lives well in this life.

      • And that secret was remaining content in the Lord.

    • Last week we saw Paul share his own personal testimony of contentment.

      • It was through his intimate relationship with Christ, that he came to realize being in Christ, was all that he needed.

      • Meaning that where Paul lacked in physical need, the Lord by His grace, met those needs.

      • And it would often be through the resourcing of people in Paul’s life that those needs were met.

    • From there, Paul continued in thanking the Philippians for their sacrificial provision.

      • He expressed that their abundant giving, in the most difficult of times, was seen by God.

      • The Philippians’ motivation of giving was based upon the very grace they had received as recipients of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    • So, Paul explains to them that the measure in which they had graciously given would be the very means by which the Lord would meet their needs.

      • We were able to see in verses 10-19 that no matter what we go through in this life, that because we are in Christ, we can have joy and be content in any circumstance.

      • For joy is not circumstantially motivated but is positionally realized and actualized.

    • In other words, Paul is getting the Philippians to align their thought-life and Christian practice with their knowledge of Christ and what He has accomplished.

      • So as the Apostle Paul comes to these remaining three verses, we will see that this shared experience of trial is met with great hope and encouragement.

    • We will come to find that no believer in Christ is alone on this journey!

      • That because we are in Christ (positionally), we have a Heavenly Father who has, is, and will continue to richly supply our every need.

      • Because these very promises are wrapped up in the very Person and accomplished works of Jesus Christ.

    • If I were to outline our time through the text tonight, we will see the following things:

      • 1. Common Foundation and Purpose (v.20)

      • 2. Communal Encouragement (vv.21-22)

      • 3. Sustaining Grace (v.23)

    • If I were to put a tag on our text tonight it would simply be: Grace to Endure.

      • With that being said, I invite you to meet me in Philippians 4:20 for the reading of the word of the Lord.

Philippians 4:20 Now to our God and Father be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
  • Paul, in verse 20 closes this letter with a doxology.

    • A doxology is simply an expression of praise to the glory of God.

      • This glory is reserved for God alone.

      • It speaks to His very nature, attributes, plan, and works accomplished from age to age.

    • So, with Paul, having just discussed the secret of contentment, the power of God’s provision, and the comfort of His grace, this doxology becomes fitting.

      • Paul is reflecting upon not only what the Lord has done in and through his life personally, but he considers the Lord’s sovereign work in all believers.

    • Notice, Paul’s language at the start of this verse. He says, Now to “our” God and Father.

      • The word “our” in Greek is in the first person and is a personal pronoun.

    • This means that the God and Father in whom Paul is speaking about is not some far off distant being.

      • The God in whom Paul is speaking about is not an un-involved Creator.

      • Rather, this is a personal, transcendental Creator God who is intimately interwoven and connected with His creation. (Creator/creature distinction)

    • Paul understands his role as ‘creature’ under the Sovereign God of the universe.

      • Not only does Paul make this statement in the personal sense but he talks about this intimate relationship in a common communal sense.

      • In other words, this common faith that we share in Christ, places us on a common foundation of unity therefore making us one in Christ (Family)!

    • No other religion in the world shares this type of intimacy with their god like the Christian faith.

      • The type of love that our Heavenly Father has shown us was demonstrated in the most powerful yet painful way.

      • John 3:16-19 paints a picture of God’s love towards His creation.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
John 3:17 “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.
John 3:18 “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
John 3:19 “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.
  • This love that the Father made known by sending His Son and having Him die in our place was a sacrifice He deemed necessary.

    • For we, in and of ourselves, could not satisfy the wrath of God.

    • We could bring nothing to the table – not our merit, our “changed behaviors”, or frivolous pursuits, etc.

    • The only thing that satisfied God’s wrath was the Perfect submission and sacrifice of His Son.

    • So to know that this work of Christ makes one righteous before a Holy God, is an unexplainable grace!

      • This is why Paul begins this concluding statement in a praiseworthy manner, because the God of the Universe saw fit to make us right with Him.

      • Paul continues by saying, to our God and Father “be the glory”.

  • The word ‘glory’ in Greek is doxa which is where the name doxology comes from .

    • This simply means that in all things the Lord has done, is doing, and will do, may it bring Him praise or make much of Him.

      • One question that might be raised is: “Is Salvation the only means in which brings Glory to God?”

      • The quick answer to that is no.

    • God’s glory is not soley centered around the salvation of man.

      • Rather His consuming glory (splendor and honor) deals with Him being exalted in all things.

    • The best way to understand God’s glory is, all things pointing to Him, all praise brought to Him, and all things done for Him.

      • As one Pastor puts it: “God is for God!”

  • We often think that God’s primary role is dealing with saving humanity, but that is only a part of His Sovereign plan.

    • To simply see the church as the focus neglects God’s glory in His dealings with His chosen people – Israel

      • God’s all-encompassing plan for Creation, Nations, Israel and the Church is for Him to be glorified in it all.

      • And that reality of God’s all-encompassing glory is wrapped up in the Person of Jesus Christ.

    • Check out what Paul says regarding Christ and how Christ’s work and power speak of the Glory of God:

Colossians 1:16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.
  • God shares His glory with no man!

    • Check out what the Lord says in Isaiah 42:8.

Isaiah 42:8 “I am the Lord, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, Nor My praise to graven images.
  • This reality is often a hard pill to swallow for the unbeliever, and at times, even for believers.

    • In some Christian circles, salvation is paraded to be the sole focus as if the church is God’s primary focus and plan.

    • However, when we understand the full weight of what the cross of Christ means, it allows us to see things in a whole new light!

    • It is not that God exists to please us and make things good for us.

      • Rather we exist to bring God glory for He is the Creator and we are the created!

  • One thing I love about catechisms is that they are short reminders for the believers as to what we stand on doctrinally.

    • And in this case, the Westminster Shorter Catechism opens with one of the most foundational and fundamental questions for all men.

      • And that question is: “What is the chief end of man?”

        • To which the answer is: “Man’s chief end is to glorify and enjoy God forever.”

    • Our sole purpose in this life is not to live our best life now or achieve great things for the praise of ourselves.

      • Rather, our lives communally, familially, vocationally, financially, individually, and maritally are to glorify and point to God!

    • As Christians, when we place “other things” above the pursuit of God, we begin to make idols out of things rather than making much of God!

      • This same pattern of pride and idolatry originates from Satan himself, a created being.

      • Perhaps this is why Peter says the following in 1 Peter 1:12-16 regarding the angels confound by the mystery of salvation:

1 Peter 1:12 It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look.
1 Peter 1:13 Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 1:14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance,
1 Peter 1:15 but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior;
1 Peter 1:16 because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
  • Friends, our very existence is to live for God, to serve Him, and to make much of Him.

    • And the beauty of this reality is we get to make much of God for all eternity.

      • Notice, Paul says, “our God and Father be the Glory forever and ever. Amen”

    • Paul says in few short words, “God’s glory does not end. From age to age, His name will be made known.

      • Paul expresses the very vastness of the glory and wisdom and power of God in this way:

Romans 11:33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!
Romans 11:34 For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor?
Romans 11:35 Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again?
Romans 11:36 For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.
  • Paul ends verse 1 with, “Amen” which simply means, “so be it” or “it is so”.

    • Therefore, “Amen” affirms these foundational truths regarding who God is, what He has done, is doing and will do.

      • From here, Paul moves on to what I consider communal encouragement amongst the believing body.

      • Check out verses 21-22.

Philippians 4:21 Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren who are with me greet you.
Philippians 4:22 All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar’s household.
  • Paul now moves to the greeting section of his closing address where Paul tells the Philippians to greet every saint in Christ Jesus.

    • He addresses believers in Philippi and all believers for that matter as “saints”.

      • The word “saints” simply means, holy ones.

      • These are individuals who have professed faith in Christ and are among believing communities. (Set apart ones)

    • Paul’s concluding statements here are that the Philippians are to send Paul’s greetings and love to believers both in Philippi and surrounding cities.

      • This type of message would have been encouraging for other brothers and sisters to both see and hear.

      • Reason being is because of what they’ve been informed about through this letter.

      • The very content of this letter would be a means of edification and encouragement for others.

    • The reality is, there is something unique about the gathering and the greeting of the saints in Christ.

      • Not only are we commonly connected in community by our shared faith in Christ.

      • But our unity in Christ brings about a sense of togetherness and in that community comes encouragement, accountability, and authenticity.

    • Paul then mentions that the brothers who are currently with him at that time greet them.

      • More than likely, those in the company of Paul were Epaphroditus and potentially young Timothy, who was Paul’s understudy.

    • The greetings of the saints don’t just stop there but we see that the greetings even from those in whom Paul was able to convert from Caesar’s servicemen.

      • What we see here is that there is a sense of communal grace experienced by all these people greeting one another.

    • In other words, “Look at what the Lord has done by and through the power of Christ!”

      • The fact that we can all be at different places, from different cities, with different circumstances, yet we are all united in Christ!

      • What a grace this is!

    • There seems to be a key thread between the sound doctrine Paul taught and the necessity of community living out this doctrinal reality!

      • As believers, in one body, we all share together, we all hurt together, we all mourn together, and we all fight the good fight of faith, together.

      • Romans 16:1-16 provides us with an amazing list of greetings that Paul gives many men and women in whom his ministry touched.

    • What Paul presents to us here is that no matter where we come from, we are one in Christ.

      • And like a family unit, may we all care for one another like family should.

    • Finally, Paul ends the letter with verse 23. Check out the text.

Philippians 4:23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
  • Indeed, Paul’s letter to the Philippians regarding their positional reality in Christ reflects the immense grace that God has shown all believers.

    • Paul began this letter in a reflective state from a place of imprisonment as he wrote to a believing body who have forged through difficult times with him.

      • Paul reflects on how the Philippian church has participated with him in the work of Gospel ministry.

    • And in him reflecting on his past time with them, he reminds them that although circumstances may be at hand, they are to be of good heart.

      • The reason being is because they are in Christ and because Christ has set the example of true service and servant hood, they should follow suit!

    • Paul reminds the Philippians that their joy in the Lord should not be impacted by their circumstances.

      • Rather they are to understand that their joy is to be experienced because of what Christ has done.

      • In other words, when you come to a growing knowledge of what Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection means, and the promises therein, your perspective on life begins to change!

    • How you approach trials changes when you have put on the mind of Christ.

      • When you look at how Christ dealt with difficult people, it gives you a proper perspective on how you ought to deal with difficult people.

      • Time and again, the Apostle Paul uses imitation, military terms, etc. to speak to the required pursuit the believers are to take in following Jesus.

      • This letter was written for the purposes of the second tense of Salvation- Progressive Sanctification!

  • As we end of our study through the book of Philippians, I want to leave us with the question that Pastor Steve started us with.

    • And that is: “If once you got saved, why didn’t the Lord just take you to heaven at that very moment?”

      • Friends, I pray we have come to the answer: There is still work to be done and service that is to be rendered unto the Lord for His good pleasure.

    • There are still gospel opportunities to be had, that others may experience the grace that you have freely received.

      • The opportunities have not gone away, the question is: What will you do with the grace you have been given?

      • Will you squander it because you lack the eternal mindset to see as Jesus sees?

      • Or will you lean into the grace that He has given and pursue God in every possible manner?

    • The reality is, given the society we live in today, we could make every excuse in the world to not fully pursue God…

      • …Times are hard…Life is difficult…people are mean… the list goes on and on.

    • However, when we choose to set our eyes on things eternal, the reward in the end is greater than the loss that we face temporarily.

      • When we learn to embrace the grace for the race, not only is their reward to be had, but as Paul writes, God’s grace in Christ will carry our inner man through it. (v.23)

    • We oftentimes look at the Christian life and think that it’s a sprint, but really, it’s a marathon.

      • Day by day, moment by moment, minute by minute, we are progressively growing in some way, shape or form.

      • And it is often through the trial that the Lord expresses these “growth opportunities.”

      • But if we look at it as inconveniences and not opportunities to look more like Christ, we become victims and not victors in Christ.

    • The question to ask is: “Are we living out the grace that God has provided us so that in His timing we can mature into all that He desires for us to be or not?”

      • Because at the end of the day, God’s grace is sufficient for the race ahead!

      • Let’s Pray.


  • “God is for God!” is a quote by Pastor Matt Chandler in a guest teaching event outside of The Village Church.

  • Dr.Mike Stallard has an incredible graphic of the focus of the glory of God in dispensationalism.