Kevin A. Pierpont
Higgins Lake Baptist Church
Philippians 4:20 Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen. 21 Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren who are with me greet you. 22 All the saints greet you, but especially those who are of Caesar’s household. 23 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
Today is our last study in our series in the book of Philippians. This series of studies has greatly encouraged and strengthened me in the faith and I hope that it has been a benefit to your spiritual lives also.
One of the big ideas that we’ve seen throughout this study is the joy that’s found in the believer who faithfully follows Christ—there’s real joy in store for the believer who lives for Christ. Paul makes Christ the point of focus in this book—he mentions Christ 38 times in these 4 short chapters.
With Paul’s focus being Christ, he helps us understand that real joy as Christians is only found in the life that’s lived to glorify Christ. There’s real joy in the life that makes much of Christ.
Paul is a good example of what he preaches—his goal in life was to glorify Christ. And his life and his writing does glorify and make much of Christ. And as we come to these closing verses we find one last reminder that the lives of those who claim to be followers of Christ should also glorify Christ.
My grandfather Shipley went home to be with his Heavenly Father a couple of years ago. After a visit to my grandparent’s South Bend home it was his practice to quietly say, “Remember whose you are”, as we were leaving. My brother Ken writes that my grandfather even “had the initials RWYA printed on pencils and cards as a testimony to his family, friends, and customers.” It was a little life motto of his and a way of reminding us all that we are Christ’s. I think that it was also his way of reminding us that since we are Christ’s our lives should glorify Christ.
If you like to write things in your Bible to remind and encourage yourself, you might want to write that right now inside the front cover—“remember whose you are”.
That little life motto of my grandfather’s came to mind this week as I studied the passage we find in the last four verses of Philippians 4. “Remember whose you are”, came to mind as I thought about the main theme in these remaining verses found in the word saint.
The main theme in these remaining verses revolves around saints and it is saints who are to glorify Christ. We are His and we are to glorify him.
I’d like for us to think for a moment about the identity of a saint—let’s examine how we identify a saint—and then we’ll see some of the characteristics of saints that enable them to glorify Christ.
Identification of Saints
Let’s talk about the identification of saints. How do we identify a saint?
The word Saints can be translated, “set apart ones,” “separated ones,” or “sanctified ones,” but is probably best defined as “holy ones.”
The term, Holy One, is also used of God. And we know that God in His holiness is completely sinless and separated from sin. A good way to describe a saint is to say that they are one who is separated from sin to God for holy purposes. 1
Let’s note that the church doesn’t decide who the saints will be. God’s Word is clear that a saint is one who is set apart for God—a saint is a believer. That’s part of the identification of a saint.
A saint is a believer
Those who believe are saints. Paul implies that saints are believers in 2 Thessalonians 1:10.
2 Thessalonians 1:10 – when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed—for our testimony to you was believed.
A saint is a believer. What the Roman Catholic Church teaches may have caused confusion for some but let’s understand first that a saint is one who has come to saving faith in Jesus Christ. A saint is a brother or sister in Christ. A saint is one who has believed in Jesus Christ.
That may be contrary to what some religions teach about saints. But to define a saint as anything other than one who has trusted in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior is to redefine it’s New Testament meaning.
One of the keys to being a saint is seen in the two words in verse 21, in Christ. If you have confessed your sin to God and believed in Jesus Christ as your savior, you are now in Christ and that makes you a saint.
A saint is not one who’s lived an exemplary life; a saint isn’t some sort of perfect, superhuman. A saint is one who has eternal life in Christ. That’s how God’s Word identifies a saint. So saints are believers—believers are saints.
Characteristics of Saints that glorify Christ
It’s important that we also note the characteristics of saints that glorify Christ. What are the characteristics of a saint that glorifies Christ?
Paul calls the Philippian believers saints in verse 21. And those who are called saints should live like a saints.
God’s Word certainly urges Saints to live like saints. Let’s look at some examples from God’s Word.
1 Peter 1:15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”
Ephesians 4:1 Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,
Colossians 1:10 so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;
So if saints are to live like saints what will be true of the way a saint lives? How will a saint interact with others? What kinds of characteristics should be true of a saint?
Let’s understand that everything a saint does should glorify Christ. If a saint is set apart from sin to God for holy purposes then everything a saint does should glorify Christ. And let’s personalize this thought.
If you have trusted Christ as Lord and Savior—if you have confessed your sin and believed in Christ—then you are a saint. So if you are a saint today, how are you supposed to glorify Christ? What should characterize your life as a saint? How will your life magnify and glorify Christ?
I want to point out to you five characteristics of saints and my intent is that you would understand how you are to glorify Christ with your life if you are a saint. If you are not a saint—if you haven’t confessed your sin and believed in Christ—then I want you to see how you need Christ and how you need to glorify Him with your life.
So let’s think together about five characteristics of saints that glorify Christ.
1. Saints glorify Christ when they worship.
Saints aren’t to be worshipped—they are to be worshippers. They are not to be given glory, but they are to give glory. And that glory should go to God—the glory should be for Christ.
Paul re-emphasizes and sums up all that he’s said in this letter to the Philippian believers in verse 20 when he says…
Philippians 4:20 – Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.
Saints are to glorify Christ when they worship. When the ladies came and sang this morning, they weren’t singing so that you would tell them how much you enjoyed their singing (although that’s alright). But they came to lead us in worship. They sang to point our thoughts toward Christ and His goodness and grace. Our Concert and Hymn Sing here on Friday won’t be for the glory of those who lead us in worship but our worship should be for the glory of Christ and Christ alone.
We have very good reasons for worship.
First, Paul makes God the object of our worship—to our God…be glory.
Real worship begins with knowledge of God. God’s desire is that we be knowledgeable worshipers.
Hosea 6:6 For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, And the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.
Real worship comes from our knowledge of God and that’s not found in the instruments or the technology we use or those who lead in worship.
What God desires more than any of our methods of worship is our knowledge of Him. And not just head knowledge—but heart knowledge that grows from our time alone with God in prayer—and that includes getting His Word in our lives in a way that changes us and makes us obey Him.
Second, Paul points out that God is the believer’s Father—to our God and Father… How could we not worship our loving heavenly father?
God the Father can’t be compared to an earthly father because He is the perfect father. He is all a father should be. He is good and loving and forgiving and gracious and kind—we may not always be perfect father’s but He is.
We may not all have the best picture in mind when the word Father is used. Some of us may not have had earthly fathers who were good and loving and kind to us. Some of us may not be the kind father God desires we be. But God is the perfect father—He clearly deserves our worship because he will always care for us as a father should.
Thirdly, Paul makes it clear that the worship a saint directs toward God won’t be limited by time. Our God and Father will be glorified forever and ever. The saints worship of God will not be limited by time—it won’t be limited to this life. The saints worship of God will go on for all eternity.
So, saints glorify Christ when they worship and…
2. Saints glorify Christ when they fellowship
Saints aren’t alone. The saints make up the church. The saints are the church. Paul says in verses 21 and 22…
Philippians 4:21 Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren who are with me greet you. 22 All the saints greet you, but especially those who are of Caesar’s household. (Emphasis mine)
Look at the words in verses 21 and 22, every saint, the brethren, the saints, those who are of Caesar’s household. This is the church. And note the word greet there three times—that’s a good indicator that there is a strong bond of fellowship among these believers. And Paul greets every saint—not all the saints as a group—every saint as individuals. Each saint was worthy of a greeting. There was no partiality here.
There’s no room for partiality in the church. There’s no room for clicks and playing favorites. There’s no room for a spiritual hierarchy in the church. God may give us different gifts and use us in different ways but in the church all believers are equal. And when those in the church understand that and live that truth, there will be fellowship. And saints glorify Christ when they fellowship.
Saints glorify Christ when they worship, saints glorify Christ when they fellowship and…
3. Saints glorify Christ when they rejoice
What should be the most joyous experience of a saint on earth? Remember that a saint is one who is already in Christ. One of the most joyous experiences of a saint should be that of seeing another believer accept Christ as Lord and Savior—seeing someone else come to faith in Christ.
Note those in Caesar’s household that Paul mentions in verse 22.
Philippians 4:22 – All the saints greet you, but especially those who are of Caesar’s household.
Listen to John MacArthur’s remarks on this…
Paul’s reference to those of Caesar’s household was especially meaningful to the Philippians. Philippi was a Roman colony (Acts 16:12) and its citizens were Roman citizens (Acts 16:21). Because of their close ties with Rome, it is possible that the Philippians knew some of the members of Caesar’s household. Caesar’s household included more than just the members of his family; it included all those in his direct employ, both lowly slaves and high–ranking freemen. In today’s terminology, they were government workers. During his imprisonment at Rome, Paul would have come into contact with many of them.
Some of the members of the imperial household, such as those of the praetorian guard the apostle refers to in 1:13, were led to faith in Christ by Paul. Others, however, were already Christians before Paul came to Rome…
Paul includes both groups, those saved through his ministry and those already believers, in his greetings from Caesar’s household. Both he and the Philippians were no doubt thrilled that the household of the pagan emperor had yielded up many souls to the kingdom of Christ. The joy of saints is to see others rescued from the dark depths of sin and brought to salvation in Christ. 2
Saints ought to seriously rejoice when there’s one who trusts in Christ. And oh how saints glorify Christ when they rejoice over that new believer—that there’s one more snatched from the clutches of sin.
Saints glorify Christ when they worship, saints glorify Christ when they fellowship, saints glorify Christ when they rejoice and…
4. Saints glorify Christ when they experience Christ
When I say experience I mean a personal relationship. I’m not talking about some mystic, out-of-this-world experience—I mean a daily relationship with Jesus Christ through the intake of God’s Word and the constant outpouring of your heart toward God in prayer.
Do you see the word our in verse 20 and the word our in verse 23? Look at verse 20. Now to our God and Father… And verse 23. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ…
The emphasis is that there is a personal relationship between the saints and God. And saints most glorify Christ when they experience Christ through that personal, daily relationship.
We can only become like Christ in the way we live when we know Him—when we experience Christ. And we experience Christ through daily living in the Word, His Word living in us—changing us—and when we pour out our hearts and fellowship with Him in prayer.
Saints glorify Christ when they have experience Christ.
1. Saints glorify Christ when they worship, 2. Saints glorify Christ when they fellowship, 3. Saints glorify Christ when they rejoice, 4. Saints glorify Christ when they experience Christ and…
5. Saints glorify Christ when they treasure God’s grace
Look at verse 23 again…
Philippians 4:23 – The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
Do you treasure God’s grace in your life?
Grace has been defined as, God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. Grace is God’s unmerited favor. As God’s children we are the recipients of God’s grace in all its richness. When we experience God’s grace we experience God’s unearned, undeserved, favor on our lives. The gift of salvation and eternal life through Jesus Christ’s work on the cross is the most awesome gift of grace we enjoy as Christ’s followers.
As the story is told…
A large sum of money was given to Rowland Hill to dispense to a poor pastor. Thinking that the amount was too much to send all at once, Hill forwarded just a portion along with a note that said simply, “More to follow.” In a few days the man received another envelope containing the same amount and with the same message, “More to follow.” At regular intervals, there came a third, and a fourth. In fact, they continued, along with those cheering words, until the entire sum had been received.
C. H. Spurgeon used this story to illustrate that the good things we receive from God always come with the same prospect of more to follow. He said:
“When God forgives our sins, there’s more forgiveness to follow. He justifies us in the righteousness of Christ, but there’s more to follow. He adopts us into His family, but there’s more to follow. He prepares us for heaven, but there’s more to follow. He gives us grace, but there’s more to follow. He helps us to old age, but there’s still more to follow.”
Spurgeon concluded, “Even when we arrive in the world to come, there will still be more to follow.” (Source unknown)
The great missionary and servant of Christ, J. Hudson Taylor said this about God’s grace…
It does not matter where He places me or how. That is rather for Him to consider than for me. For the easiest positions, He must give grace; and in the most difficult, His grace is sufficient. So, if God places me in great perplexity, must He not give me much guidance? In positions of great difficulty, much grace? In circumstances of great pressure and trial, much strength? As to work, mine was never so plentiful, so responsible, or so difficult; but the weight and strain are all gone. His resources are mine, for He is mine! – (Source unknown)
The well-known hymn, Grace Greater Than Our Sin, says it so well…
Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured,
There where the blood of the Lamb was spilt.
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within,
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin!
Treasure God’s grace. Bask in the glory of God’s grace in your life. Drink in and enjoy God’s unmerited favor on you. Because saints glorify Christ when they treasure God’s grace.
Have you trusted Christ as Lord and Savior? Do you know God’s grace? You can know Christ today and begin experiencing His grace in your life if you’ll turn to Him today, confess your sin and believe on Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of your life and experience first-hand God’s grace.
Remember that in Philippians 2:15, Paul described saints as those who will shine as bright lights in the world. Remember whose you are. May your life be a reflection of your title—Saint.
1. Saints glorify Christ when they worship,
2. Saints glorify Christ when they fellowship,
3. Saints glorify Christ when they rejoice,
4. Saints glorify Christ when they experience Christ and
5. Saints glorify Christ when they treasure God’s grace.
We’ve discovered in Philippians where we find real joy. Real joy is found in Christ. Real joy is in glorifying, magnifying and making much of Christ. You will find joy when you forget about yourself, remember whose you are and magnify Christ.
1 From John MacArthur’s comments in, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Philippians (electronic ed.) (Php 4:10).
2 MacArthur, J. F. (.). The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Philippians (electronic ed.) (Php 4:10).