Greetings and Grace

Fifth Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, MI

READ : Philippians 4:21-23 Paul closes his letter with what at first appears as a matter-of-fact farewell and a routine benediction, but a closer look reveals that his words are filled with meaning. “Greet every saint in Christ Jesus.” In two verses, Paul mentions four different groups of saints: the Christians at Philippi; his fellow workers who are in his immediate company; all the Christians in Rome, and all those believers who are employed by the Roman Emperor. Regardless of …

The Pleasure of Giving

Fifth Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, MI

READ : Philippians 4:18-20 We ended yesterday’s reading by noticing that when it comes to real sharing it’s not the receivers only who are blessed. Paul expands further on that truth in today’s passage. He speaks of the gifts the Philippians sent him as “a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God.” Paul is drawing upon the Old Testament practice of the priest bringing the sacrifice to the altar and presenting it to God. When the aroma of the …

Generosity Pays Double

Fifth Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, MI

READ : Philippians 4:14-17 The Philippian church was not a rich congregation made up of prominent, wealthy people. Paul refers to this church in 2 Corinthians: “We want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity” (2 Cor. 8:1,2). In today’s passage Paul talks about the ways in which their generosity blessed his ministry. They were making …

The Secret of Contentment

Fifth Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, MI

READ : Philippians 4:12-13 I was really hungry on a bike trail in the middle of the woods after five hours of climbing and biking. I was starved! My legs were buckling and my stomach growled. My arms began to go numb and my skin seemed colorless. My head buzzed and my neck was hot. I remembered the granola bars in my bike pack, so I started digging for them. Soon, my hunger was gone, and my energy came back. …

"Don't Forget About Me"

Fifth Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, MI

READ : Philippians 4:10-11 Todd commuted to seminary from a considerable distance. As friends do, we tried to grab a cup of coffee together whenever we could. We laughed and shared our deepest concerns and desires. I have a certain affinity for him, and he for me. One day he left soon after class for home. “Drive safely,” I said and watched him drive away. It took a few minutes to get him out of my mind, hoping he got …

Rethink Your Role Models

Fifth Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, MI

READ : Philippians 4:8-9 Have you ever had a genuine hero, not Superman or a tennis star, but someone you actually knew and admired? Did that person’s life and words touch you so much that you literally wanted to be like that person? In a world full of billboards and 25-second television ads, we need the kind of influence that is meaningful- not merely something more meaningful than the popular culture of consumerism, but something most meaningful. That “something” may …