(Vs. 9.) Throughout this epistle Paul has exhorted the people to have unity of spirit and purpose, to love one another, to have real concern and care for one another, to be of a humble mind and disposition, to avoid false teachers, to rest in Christ alone for righteousness and to meditate on holy things. Now in this verse he makes a very important point: "Those things which you have learned and received." It is hoped that you have not just learned these things in a doctrinal way, but that you have received them not just in your head, but in your heart? And you have not only "heard them from me, but you have seen them in me". What good are words if our actions and attitudes are contrary? "Do these things? Put them in daily practice. God will be with you!"
(Vs. l0.) Paul rejoiced over the gifts and supplies this church had sent him by their pastor. Evidently they had for some reason neglected to communicate with him for a long time. He adds, "I'm sure you were thinking of me, but you had no opportunity to show it." Let this be a lesson to us: let us always be faithful in our prayers, care and concern for those who labour faithfully in the Word. Don't forget those missionaries and ministers whom you do not see for a season.
(Vs. 11.) Paul did not mean to imply that he was wanting anything, though he possessed nothing. He had all things in Christ and found contentment and peace in whatever condition the providence of God put him, be it adversity or prosperity, with much or little (Luke 12:15; 1 Tim. 6:6-10). He learned this in the school of grace, taught by the Spirit.
(Vs. 12.) "I know how to be treated with contempt by men, to live humbly in a low condition, to work with my hands, to be hungry and cold yet not to be depressed, cast down or murmur against God. I know how to be held in the esteem of men, to have an abundance yet not to be lifted up with pride and forget that "the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away". I have learned of God how to behave toward the temporary things of earth, how to put them in their proper perspective."
(Vs. l3.) And now, lest he be thought to be proud of his grace and ascribe too much to himself, he attributes all grace to the power of Christ in him. "I can be happy in any state and endure all these things, not in my own strength (for no man was more conscious of his own weakness than Paul). I am ready for anything through the power of Christ in me."
(Vs. 14.) Paul adds this lest they should think that he was discounting their gift and was not grateful. He has declared, "I can be content in need or in plenty, but I appreciate your help. You have done what you should have done. You have done well in providing for those who preach God's Word" (1 Cor. 9:6-11).
(Vs. 15-17.) This church was the only church that talked with Paul about the subject of giving and supporting the ministry of the Word. Even when he left Philippi and went to Thessalonica, they supported his ministry and took care of his needs. Strange that, even in the days of the apostles, churches were negligent in the matter of missions and supporting missionaries. He says, "I have not entered into this subject because I desire a gift from you. I am eager to see the fruits of righteousness and salvation in you. The kingdom of God can get along without you and me, but I would like to see some evidence that you and I are in that kingdom of grace" (James 2:14-20).
(Vs. 18,19.) "I have in hand all of your gifts, sent to me through your pastor. These gifts have the sweet smell of an offering and sacrifice which God welcomes and in which he delights. I cannot repay you, but my God will! He shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory through Christ Jesus!"
(Vs. 20.) To God, who is our Father in Christ Jesus, be all the glory for the grace he gives now, for the glory and happiness expected and for the supply of every need, both temporal and spiritual.
(Vs. 21-23.) "Greet all the brethren there. The brethren and believers here send their greetings to you. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you!"