Phil 4:11 Not that I speak according to lack, for I have learned, in whatever circumstances I am, to be content. 12 I know also how to be abased, and I know how to abound; in everything and in all things I have learned the secret both to be filled and to hunger, both to abound and to lack. 13 I am able to do all things in Him who empowers me.
(Part 1 of 2) In teaching people to do things, even insignificant things, we mainly teach them the secret. This is true, for example, in teaching someone the art of barbecuing meat. If a person does not learn the secret of barbecuing, he may ruin the meat. One side may be overdone, and the other side raw. Likewise, we may not know the secret of sufficiency in Christ found in Philippians 4. We may talk a great deal about the book of Philippians, but not know the secret of experiencing Christ. I say again, in chapter four we have the secret and the power. On the one hand, Paul says, "I have learned the secret" (v. 12); on the other hand, he testifies, "I can do all things in Him Who empowers me" (v. 13).
The words "I have learned the secret" are an interpretation of the Greek word which means "I have been initiated." The metaphor is that of a person being initiated into a secret society with instruction in its rudimentary principles. Paul had not only learned a secret; he had been initiated and had learned certain basic principles. Among the Greeks there were a number of secret societies. Anyone who was to become a member of such a society had to learn the rudimentary principles of that society. Others had to initiate him into the society by instructing him in its principles. By using this metaphor, Paul was saying that a church, which is rather mysterious, has certain basic principles. After Paul was converted to Christ, he was in a sense initiated into the church life. This means that he was instructed in the secret of how to enjoy Christ, how to take Christ as life, how to live Christ, how to magnify Christ, how to gain Christ, and also how to have the church life. These are the rudimentary principles of the church life. (Continued tomorrow)
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