Grace and Generosity

Notes for Feb 18, 2018
Philippians 4:10-23

Biblical Background

  • 1st church in Europe: Philippi in the province of Macedonia was the first place in Europe to receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They were loyal to Christ and to Paul and supported him throughout his missionary journeys. Acts 16:9-40 speak of the founding of this church.

  • Thessalonica: The Philippians sent money and other aid to Paul to help him when he was in Thessalonica, a large city on the Eastern Coast of Greece. They are a great example to the church today as local churches are encouraged by Paul to seek to care for their brothers and sisters in places where they don’t have the same provisions.

  • Partnership: Paul is using the language of the ancient business world as an analogy to say that the Philippian church was in partnership and shared the mission that Paul had to spread the Gospel. They were active in sharing their resources as Paul was willing to share His knowledge and all that he had with them.

  • Content in plenty or want: Paul had experienced hardship and abundant material blessing and had learned that in all situations, Christ is still in control and that He didn’t need to worry or be covetous for more. Christ can empower us to be content and joyful in all situations.

  • I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me: We have the power to accomplish all that Jesus wants to do in and through our lives. Paul understood this and saw Jesus show up in amazing ways throughout His life. This concept allows us to live without fear and trust that Jesus will give us all that we need to accomplish His purposes for our life.

  • Epapharoditus: He was a messenger and courier who delivered supplies and aid to Paul from Philippi.

  • Fragrant Offerings: Paul is using the picture of the temple in Jerusalem in which offerings were burnt on the altar as a form of offering thanksgiving and praise as their aromas filled the air.

  • Caesars Household: Paul in prison had managed to share the Gospel with some who worked in Caesar's household. This would be like the White House staff and guards coming to faith in Christ and others who worked in the halls of power.

Discussion Questions

  1. How does Paul respond to the concern showed for him from the Philippians?

  2. What does it mean to be content?

  3. How can be content when we are in need physically? Emotionally?

  4. Describe times when you have found contentment in wealth? In poverty or need?

  5. What does this verse mean, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”?

  6. How did the church at Philippi support Paul?

  7. How did the church enter into a partnership in giving and receiving? How can we engage in partnerships with other believers, ministries, churches through giving and receiving?

  8. What did Epaphroditus bring to Paul from the Philippians? How did Paul respond to these gifts?

  9. What needs did God supply for Paul? What is God’s promise about filling needs? What does this mean?

  10. Who is a saint? How can you greet other saints? Why is this important?

  11. Paul had reached members of Caesar’s household with the Gospel. Why do you think Paul mentioned this? How can we best influence those in power?

  12. How does Paul end this letter? Why does he end with “grace”?

  13. What have you learned about ways to care for others in the church from Paul’s letter?