DAY 22 | PHILIPPIANS 4:15-23
Y’all, we did it. We made it—all 30 days through Philippians. It’s been a fun ride. I hope you’ve enjoyed, but even more I hope our lives look a little more like Christ’s through our attention to this letter. Enjoy my final mug picture.
If you can’t see it, it’s a mug from the Josiah Bartlet Presidential Library in Manchester, New Hampshire. President Bartlett was elected in the late 90’s before winning a controversial election where he revealed he had MS, defeating his opponent, Governor Richie.
I’m talking, of course, of the West Wing. In addition to being the best show of all time (without any exaggeration), it also boasts an impressive list of guest stars that include, among others, Ron Swanson, Abed, Chandler, David Wallace, Cruella De Vil, and Princess Giselle.
Once again, in today’s passage we are reminded of the humanity of this letter. Paul is thanking the Philippians for, among other things, their generosity. Do you remember waaayyyyyy back on day one, when we learned how and why Paul called the Philippians “saints?” This is the culmination of that. This is a tangible example.
Here’s our passage,
“You 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. 16 For even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me help for my needs more than once. 17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the profit that accumulates to your account. 18 I 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. 19 And my God will fully satisfy every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. 20 To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.
Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The friends who are with me greet you. 22 All the saints greet you, especially those of the emperor’s household.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit” (Phil. 4:15-23)
The Philippians are saints, “holy ones,” who are saints because they are, like Paul, in Christ. Yet, as Paul continually reminds us throughout the letter, this is more than merely a name. It means connection, kinship—family.
What Paul imagines with the church is not merely a social institution, but a new version of humanity. A humanity where people call each other “brother” and “sister” regardless of genetic connection.
The Philippians caught this vision. Paul thanks them for their “partnership” in the gospel (Phil. 1:5), and here we see why. The Philippians are supporting—financially and prayerfully—Paul’s mission. They want to see the message of the gospel spread to the ends of the earth.
We live in a very individualized culture. In the US in particular, we are taught to see life as individuals and to take care of ourselves above all others. Paul, and the Philippians, see things differently. As the holy ones, they are those who are in Christ—which means they see the world through Christ-shaped lenses. Their money, time, support, work—it centers around the message and work of the gospel.
On this final day, my invitation to you is this: throw yourself fully into a church community. Churches are more than social clubs or buildings. They are places where our perspective is changed and we learn “to regard others as better than ourselves” (Phil. 2:3). It’s more than just attending a service on Sunday, but living in a new family. This is the vision for life that Paul imagines and invites us into, as he does the Philippians, so we may be partners in the sharing of the gospel.
To close this day, and the entire 30 Days Through Philippians study, let’s close with prayer for the church community. Let the following three prayers be your guide, but pray for specific Christian communities, leaders, and partners in the gospel.
Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your apostles, “Peace I give to you; my own peace I leave with you”: Regard not our sins, but the faith of your Church, and give to us the peace and unity of that heavenly city, where with the Father and the Holy Spirit you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.
Gracious Father, we pray for your holy Church. Fill it with all truth, in all truth with all peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in anything it is amiss, reform it. Where it is right, strengthen it; where it is in want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake of Jesus Christ your Son our Savior. Amen.
O God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, our only Savior, the Prince of Peace: Give us grace to take to heart the grave dangers we are in through our many divisions. Deliver your Church from all enmity and prejudice, and everything that hinders us from godly union. As there is one Body and one Spirit, one hope of our calling, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of us all, so make us all to be of one heart and of one mind, united in one holy bond of truth and peace, of faith and love, that with one voice we may give you praise; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God in everlasting glory. Amen.
“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.”