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God Provides For His People

Philippians  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  34:53
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Paul wraps up this incredible joy-laced letter with a modern-day taboo...money. However, it's clear that you cannot separate worship from community/partnership or sacrificial giving without undermining JOY!

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TEXT Philippians 4:14-23
Philippians 4:14–23 ESV
14 Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. 15 And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. 16 Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. 17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit. 18 I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. 19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. 20 To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen. 21 Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me greet you. 22 All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar’s household. 23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

OPEN:

IS THIS THE SEASON OF YOUR DISCONTENT?
In light of last week’s text on the secret of contentment...
(Tie back to contentment:)
In 1989, 14 year-old Jason Lehman composed this poem.
It was spring, but it was summer I wanted, The warm days, and the great outdoors. It was summer, but it was fall I wanted, The colorful leaves, and the cool, dry air. It was fall, but it was winter I wanted, The beautiful snow, and the joy of the holiday season. It was winter, but it was spring I wanted, The warmth and the blossoming of nature. I was a child, but it was adulthood I wanted, The freedom and respect. I was 20, but it was 30 I wanted, To be mature, and sophisticated. I was middle-aged, but it was 20 I wanted, The youth and the free spirit. I was retired, but it was middle-age I wanted, The presence of mind without limitations. My life was over, and I never got what I wanted.
Is this the season of our discontent. If you find yourself in that mode…I hope that you will talk with me after service…you need to learn the secret of contentment that Pastor Norman preached about last week…You can do all things through Christ!

TRANSITION

If you were going to end on a high note...would you talk about money?...at CHURCH?
INTRODUCTION:
Paul wraps up this incredible joy-laced letter with a modern-day taboo...money. However, it's clear that you cannot separate worship from community/partnership or sacrificial giving without undermining JOY!
Summary:

V14-16 Our PARTNERSHIP

Even though
suffering is my lot
I know Christ is enough
I can glorify God whether I’m abounding or abased
YOU WERE KIND - YOUR ACT WAS KIND
you shared/partnered with me in my trouble
But you’ve done this since the beginning…for more than 10 years now.
They were expanding the principle in practice that Paul would later help Timothy with in 1 Timothy 5:17–18
1 Timothy 5:17–18 ESV
17 Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. 18 For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.”
Even though Paul wasn’t their preacher/teaching Elder, he had a special place in their heart and life of their ministry as the Apostle who had established the work by the Lord.
This worshiping family of believers…was a partnering family of believers.
You cannot really separate PARTNERSHIP from Giving.
Paul shows us here the inseparable relationship between financial giving and gospel partnership. If you aren’t giving, you aren’t a partner. You’re more like a consumer or a customer. But Paul doesn’t view the Philippians as customers. He views them as co-laborers. They put skin in the game. Even though many of them weren’t wealthy, they earned a reputation for giving sacrificially, generously, and cheerfully to support the mission (2 Cor 8–9).
Merida, Tony. Exalting Jesus in Philippians (Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary) (p. 193). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

v17 - My PERSPECTIVE Not this…but that

This is not about me getting your money/gift. I love seeing your fruitfulness in God’s work.
Many of us have a strange perspective about money and giving. It’s possible that someone would enter a regular church gathering where an offering is taken - in a 1 hour service, money would be discussed for 2-3 minutes - that person would then leave the church and say, “they talked so much about money!”
While that seems ridiculous, it tells us more about that individual than it does the church.
Jesus dealt with this in a beautiful way with devastating consequences with the rich young ruler in Luke 18. Jesus hit on the one thing this Moralistic Deist didn’t want him to touch…his wealth.
Over the course of time, as we faithfully preach and teach through the Scriptures, your pastor will come to a passage that seems to zero in on your particular struggle. It could be the mention of it in passing, the examination of it in the text, or the excavation of it by the Spirit in the moment of the gathering. Whatever the case, you get to choose how you will respond - will I turn and run, or TRUST AND OBEY - for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus than to trust and obey.
By the way, note Paul isn’t after the money - he wants to see them grow! I’m not after your money or your time or your energy as expendable labor in ministry-building efforts! NO, I love seeing the LORD increase in your lives as we decrease and look less and less like the consumer-driven, greedy hoarders who are absorbed with self.
This partnering family was a GIVING family.

v18 - Your SACRIFICE out of LOVE

I received what you sent - it was more than enough.
Why do I love seeing it?
What you sent glorified God!
Like a fragrant offering
Like an acceptable and pleasing offering
What scents attract you?
I’m attracted to the smell of a grill, French press coffee, and of course the sweet scent of my bride’s perfume!
Sacrificial obedience is a pleasing aroma to God.
Paul drops the financial metaphor and moves to Old Testament imagery. He uses the language of the sacrifice of worship.
Just as the Old Testament sacrifices made a pleasing aroma that would ascend skyward, Paul says sacrificial giving pleases God. Indeed, Paul places the highest possible value on giving—a means of worshiping God.
Merida, Tony. Exalting Jesus in Philippians (Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary) (p. 195). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
NOTE: There is a distinction here between generous giving and sacrificial giving.
Years ago in the late 90s, Joan Kroc - the wife of the late Ray Kroc (of McDonalds) was moved in her benevolence to make an $80million contribution to the Salvation Army to build a community center (which is not something they were in the business of) in a desperately needy community in San Diego. $80million - what generosity! While I don’t want to take anything away from that incredible gift…it was reported at the time that her net worth was near $1billion. The gift is laudably generous, remarkable in its size and measurable in its impact. But it may not qualify as sacrificial.
Walk with me to the temple as Jesus is ministering in the outer court (Luke 21, and Mark 12:41-44)
Mark 12:41–44 ESV
41 And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. 42 And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. 43 And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. 44 For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

v19 - God’s SUPPLY on Display

Your Sacrifice will result in your supply
God will supply your need in ways you cannot imagine when you sacrificially give to His work
His riches in Christ are on display when His people sacrificially give
Paul would instruct the Corinthians in this way regarding their giving:
2 Corinthians 9:6–15 ESV
6 The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. 9 As it is written, “He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.” 10 He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. 12 For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. 13 By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, 14 while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. 15 Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!
“A man there was, and they called him mad; the more he gave, the more he had.” -John Bunyan
The verse does not say, “And my God shall supply ever GREED...”
“The truth is, the only money that we will see again is that which we give away. And that money will return with compounded interest!” - R. Kent Hughes

v20 - PRAISE AND WORSHIP

…all of this, the worship, partnership, sacrificial giving, brings us joy because our aim to glorify God forever and ever.
The goal of all that God does is his own glory. And God’s goal has become Paul’s passion: giving God praise and glory and credit and honor for all that he has done, forever. This same goal was the climax of the Christ hymn. The bowing of every knee and the confessing of every tongue that Jesus Christ is Lord will culminate in the final goal of “the glory of God the Father” (2:19)
It’s no wonder here that the Holy Spirit has Paul record him breaking out into a song of praise…it’s happened all throughout Paul’s letter…when he starts talking about being IN CHRIST, the glory of God isn’t far behind.
And how couldn’t it…how couldn’t it prompt us to do the same?
Joan Kroc was so incredibly and commendably generous to give that large gift to the Salvation Army - in fact upon her passing she bequeathed more than $1b to them for other facilities.
But that gift pales a bit to the Philippians’ constant, faithful sacrificial giving, motivated by a love for Jesus and because of their partnership as the church with their brother in ministry
If we back up even more before the church, as we know it, was birthed at Pentecost we see the widow’s gift in its quiet simplicity and great sacrifice
But all of these compare to the incredible gift of God’s own Son, this indescribable gift - too wonderful for words
2 Corinthians 8:9 ESV
9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.
Let’s talk about a sacrifice borne out of love!
Isaiah 53:4–12 ESV
4 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. 8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? 9 And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. 10 Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. 11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.
Philippians 2:6–11 ESV
6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Thanks be unto God for indescribable gift, indeed!
We want to follow Jesus example in so many areas.
We desire to see the explosive power of the Gospel like the early church.
Then let’s worship, let’s partner, let’s give and live counter-culturally / sacrificially in light of the fact that God has provided for us.
He has provided LIFE
He has provided CHRIST
He has given us HIS WORD
He has given us HIS CHURCH
He has given HIS PROVISION to His people who worship, partner, and regularly, generously, sacrificially give.

vv21-22 - PEOPLE OF GRACE

Take this message to others on my behalf.
I’m not all alone - there are saints in Caesar’s household now.
May you know God’s grace through Christ in your inner man as you glorify God in your worship, partnering with one another, living sacrificially.

SO WHAT?

Paul’s letter to the Philippians is more than a theological treatise. The exhortations and encouragements are timeless principles rather than culturally- and period-bound rules.
It’s also about so much more than joy in this WORSHIPING Community. We see suffering, thankfulness, the incarnation, the necessity of PARTNERSHIP.
Paul followed the example of Jesus by humbling himself—he was willing to be humiliated. We’re called to do the same.
Philippians shows us the LORD’s deep concern for the church. So much here is FIRST - COMMUNITY then INDIVIDUAL.
The giving and faithful stewardship of gifts is not about earning His favor or approval. Instead, sacrificial obedience—by both the giver and the receiver—results in God receiving the glory that He so richly deserves.
Paul closes this section and in this incredible letter with a doxology that focuses on God as our Father—the provider of all things that we need.
He is not just worthy of our worship, but also of our humble obedience.
Let’s live what Paul professed.
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