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ES/PHIL/30 Philippians 4:14-23

Philippians  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  23:02
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Philippians 4:10–23 NKJV
10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. 14 Nevertheless you have done well that you shared in my distress. 15 Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only. 16 For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities. 17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account. 18 Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God. 19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. 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.
Last week we started the conclusion of this letter and our series that we have spent nearly 9 months in.
I said that there were four main things to learn from this passage, two of which we covered last week:
1. To be content
2. That all things can be done in Christ
Contentedness is something that is learned. We have to know how to not lust for other things whether we have or do not have. We are to have the opposite of a consumerist mentality. And we have to remember that without Jesus we can do nothing of worth. We need to be connected to Him for there to be inner power and an outworking of His will in our lives and the lives of others.
Today, we now look at the next two:
3. That there is a reward, and
4. God shall supply every need
The third thing made clear from this passage is that nothing we do for Him will go unrewarded. If we give He will give to us back with interest. Jesus said:
Luke 6:38 NKJV
38 Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”
Of course, the context of this verse is not positive but negative. Like this morning it is about how you judge. Judge another and that same judgement will be given back to you and more so. I have heard many sermons on money based upon this. But this is on how we dole out justice.
Paul is speaking about money here but the principle is set.
Now I know that some people would like to think that if we give to ministry He will give us back money on top with interest – and sometimes this may happen – but not like the promises made by the tele-evangelists who are just after our money with empty talk and false hopes which take the form of greed – that of the so-called evangelist and that of the one who supposedly sows money to reap a monetary reward from the bank in the sky. In fact, this is the covetousness that I spoke of last week. Do you see that? You give in order to receive more… the more is covetousness… the more is not so that you can give equally more away but to keep the extra and use towards your wants and desires.
But this is far from what is being promised here. God may indeed grant your desires when they line up with His will but the reward spoken of here is not more money unless our hearts are right. If we are faithful in little we will be faithful in much.
I am reminded of the story of Mr. Samuel Colgate of toothpaste fame. He promised God to give an ever increasing amount to the work of the Kingdom as God blessed him starting with 10%. And he did. He was giving away over 90% of his income to the Church and mission activities by the end of his life. On top of this he co-founded the American Bible Society and the American and Foreign Bible Society.
God does not promise that this is how it will go for us but if we do not have our focus upon riches for ourselves and instead are rich towards God and His Kingdom then it can turn out like this. But let us be clear, the promise Paul speaks of here is not for these things but are actually rewards to an account that accrues interest faster than any bank in this world. Our temporary sacrifices and giving translates into glorious riches in heaven. These riches will last forever unlike earthly riches which are here today and gone tomorrow. And the greater the sacrifice in giving the greater the return. I definitely do not want to rule out that God will bless us with more material things if we are willing to do this but with the more comes greater giving and not for us to spend on our lusts. If the Lord makes you rich, for He does give us all things richly to enjoy, remember those who are not and that is the majority of the world’s population.
Let us be reminded why Paul is writing this. He does this because the Philippians were an amazing congregation. They were looking to help whenever they could.

When Paul left Philippi and traveled ninety-five miles down the Egnatian Way to Thessalonica, the poverty-stricken Philippians repeatedly sent representatives to Thessalonica with gifts to meet his needs. And when Paul left Macedonia, they remained the only church to support him. Even when Paul went to wealthy Corinth (from whose proud people Paul would accept no money), it was the Philippians of Macedonia who helped him, as Paul explained to the Corinthians: “And when I was with you and was in need, I did not burden anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied my need” (2 Corinthians 11:9). The Philippians’ generosity was stellar! Most certainly they gave from the heart.

But Holy Scripture always has a greater audience in view. And to us the message is unmistakable. First, we are to be a generous people. Further, we are all called to give to enable others to take the gospel to the lost. The example of the Philippians must always challenge us.

For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints—and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us. (2 Corinthians 8:3–5)

It was the sacrificial giving of the Philippians that enabled Paul’s ministry to go forward and therefore we ought also to be supporting missions that go on for the Gospel to be preached. In supporting ministries like David and Jenny Mewes’ and that which we have seen in the video today of help given in Afghanistan who seek to make God’s love known and who also give generously to others in need. When we step out in faith and obedience to God in giving we are blessed both eternally and in the present.
Can we be a Macedonian Church? The Lord will credit our account when we stand before Him on that Day.
And the fourth thing we can take from this passage is that God will not come up short for us when we are in need.
It would seem from the context that the only guarantee we have that this will happen is if we have been willing to give to others to help them in their time of need. My suspicion though is that God will supply all our needs if we simply submit to Him and put Him first. I have never known a time when He has not come through for me and that experience is true of every one of us. He does not have to do any more than provide us with food, clothes and shelter but He gives us much more besides. These include mental and emotional peace as well as all we need to live godly lives in Christ. How shall He provide for us except according to His riches in glory. His riches surpass all that is here upon the earth. As the Psalmist says:
Psalm 24:1 NKJV
1 The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein.
Psalm 50:10 NKJV
10 For every beast of the forest is Mine, And the cattle on a thousand hills.
We may think we own things but clearly God says that He is the owner. This also means He distributes according to His will. But all that we need He will supply. Seeing He is richer than anyone upon the earth we are better off going to the One who has the most for He is also the most generous.
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I want to end today’s sermon by reviewing this Letter to the Philippians.
This whole letter has been all about Jesus. We have some amazing verses contained within which are always associated with this letter such as:
Philippians 4:4 NKJV
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
Philippians 4:6–7 NKJV
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
But above all we have the description of our wonderful saviour in:
Philippians 2:5–11 NKJV
5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
This is what Paul wanted of everyone that they should exalt Christ and that He should be their all-in-all.
Here is a true story which Paul Himself would be happy to have associated Himself with:
A heartbroken father, Mathew Sands, was praying on his knees. In his hands he held a telegram which read: “Your son David reported missing, believed dead.” Mathew Sands was inarticulate as he quietly recalled the life of his son, a pilot in the Air Force. At last he turned the telegram over and wrote on the back of it, “All that I have and all that I am, I give to God and for His service.”
These words of recommitment brought comfort to his harrowed heart. Mathew Sands, a retired pastor was en route to a University where he had been invited for an Interview when he came upon an abandoned church. Beside it a sign read: “For sale by auction.” He entered the church to pray and while there decided to buy it and restore it to its holy mission.
Later, another man entered, Andrew Jelks. He had come to appraise the property. In the course of the conversation that followed Jelks said that he planned to turn the building into “Andy’s Amusement Arcade.” Matthew Sands determined to write to the trustees and make them an offer.
When the day of the sale arrived, a curious group of people gathered about the church. Mathew Sands, standing among them, put his hand into his pocket only to find the letter addressed to the trustees. In his confused state of mind, he had inadvertently sent the telegram from the War Office instead of his offer. He was disappointed and disgusted with himself, but it was too late. Anyway, he decided to see who won the auction.
The man in charge of the sale finally announced that the church had been sold to Mathew Sands, declaring that his was the highest offer. He then read aloud the bid: “All that I have and all that I am, I give to God for his service.” Jones, G. C. (1986). Edited by Ian Thomas for this sermon. 1000 illustrations for preaching and teaching (p. 330). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
All that Jesus has done for us should result in a changed life. We should become much more generous for God Himself is so generous that He did not withhold His own Son from us and so generous that He will provide for us.
We can join Matthew Sands, though a wounded soldier through life’s experiences, looked to the cross of Jesus Christ and the Son who had been given as a sacrifice for the sins of the world and can see things with a perspective given only by God: He gave everything to have us join Him in Heaven for all eternity how can I, and we not also lay down everything in response?
Paul ends the letter with a doxology:
Philippians 4:20 NKJV
20 Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.
After all that he has experienced with God and with the fellowship at Philippi it is no wonder he broke out in praise. And it is an everlasting praise to the everlasting God. That famous song we all sing by a man who wrote a book called: No Compromise. A man who also laid down His life and lived it out practically for the sake of Jesus from the time he met Him. The song written by his wife but the third and last verse by him shortly before his own untimely death and also mentioned in this month’s magazine. A hero of my faith: Keith Green:
When I stand in glory
I will see His face
Then I’ll serve my King forever
In that holy place
Thank you O my Father
For Giving us your Son
And leaving Your Spirit
‘Till the work on earth is done.
Paul would have added his ‘Amen’ to that.

Benediction

Revelation 1:5–6 NKJV
5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, 6 and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Bibliography

Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Dunnam, M. D., & Ogilvie, L. J. (1982). Galatians / Ephesians / Philippians / Colossians / Philemon (Vol. 31). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.
Ellsworth, R. (2004). Opening up Philippians. Leominster: Day One Publications.
Hughes, R. K. (2007). Philippians: the fellowship of the gospel. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.
Leadership Ministries Worldwide. (1996). Galatians–Colossians. Chattanooga, TN: Leadership Ministries Worldwide.
McGee, J. V. (1991). Thru the Bible commentary: The Epistles (Philippians/Colossians) (electronic ed., Vol. 48). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
Osborne, G. R. (2017). Philippians: Verse by Verse. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Runge, S. E. (2011). High Definition Commentary: Philippians. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Walvoord, J. F., & Zuck, R. B., Dallas Theological Seminary. (1985). The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
Exported from Logos Bible Software, 08:59 30 September 2018.
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