God's Pathway of Provision
TEXT: Philippians 4:10-19
TOPIC: God’s Pathway of Provision
Pastor Bobby Earls, First Baptist Church, Center Point, Alabama
February 4, 2007
Last Sunday we discovered the wonderful pathway of God’s peace as we looked at Philippians 4:5-9. Paul laid down for us the foundation of this pathway to peace through such requirements as gentleness, contentment, prayerfulness and thanksgiving.
Today, God’s word will share with us the wonderful pathway of God’s provision in our lives, beginning with Philippians 4:10.
10But 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. 11Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12I 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. 13I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. 14Nevertheless you have done well that you shared in my distress. 15Now 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. 16For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities. 17Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account. 18Indeed 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. 19And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
God offers to each of His children, a pathway of provision for every need.
I. GOD’S PROVISION OF SUBSTANCE, Philippians 4:10,
10But 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.
When Paul first came to Philippi, possibly ten to twelve years earlier, they ministered to his needs. Then for some reason, they lacked opportunity to extend that ministry in Paul’s life.
But Philippians 4:18 tells us of Epaphroditus, who brought a love offering from the saints at Philippi. So Paul could write, now at last, your care for me has flourished again. (The word flourished conveys the idea of a green plant that has begun to sprout and grow again.)
Paul said their gift was as a fragrant and acceptable offering, and well-pleasing to God. Paul also wrote in Ephesians 5:2, that as Christians we are to:
And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.
Now get this principle, God’s provision of substance is made available to us as we also make available our substance for God’s use.
If we give only sparingly out of our abundance, whether time, money, or gifts and abilities in service, our giving does not ascend to heaven as a sweet smelling sacrifice. God delights to receive from His people a sacrifice motivated by a loving and willing heart. The Philippians’ gifts were well-pleasing because they were given sacrificially and cheerfully when others were not giving at all. Look at what Paul says in verses 15-16.
15Now 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. 16For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities.
Philippians 4:17 speaks of the reward of giving. There is a reward for faithful, sacrificial giving.
17Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account.
9For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.
2 Corinthians 8:9
APPLICATION: Our giving is not the compulsion of the law, but the constraint of love. Christ is our example. Being rich He voluntarily became poor that we might be made rich through His poverty.
We have received Christ’s riches, salvation, forgiveness of sin, abundant living and eternal life, and so much more. We give of ourselves so that others may be enriched. And the more bountifully we give, the more bountifully we receive because what we give is not simply a contribution, but an investment.
6But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.
2 Corinthians 9:6-7
T/S--God provides His children substance, but He also provides satisfaction.
II. GOD’S PROVISION OF SATISFACTION, Philippians 4:11
11Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content:
Have you learned to be content with what you have and with who you are? Learning to be content or satisfied is one of life’s most difficult lessons.
Most people find contentment to be elusive because of some mistaken beliefs. For example, some people believe that contentment comes in the possessions of things, the stuff of life, believing that those things we desire will make us content. Others believe that by achieving a certain status or position in life will bring contentment or satisfaction.
Our Lord Jesus tells us different.
And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”
Contentment is an inner satisfaction that enables us to live about external conditions and circumstances. The Apostle Paul told young Timothy, And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.
1 Timothy 6:8
The writer of Hebrews tells us to
Stay away from the love of money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never forsake you.”
Hebrews 13:5, NLT
Verse 12 or our passage gives us the secret to a life fully satisfied and content.
12I 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.
Only as we learn to trust in the sufficiency of the Savior in the ups and downs of life can we learn the secret of a carefree and contented life. Paul had learned to trust Christ in the day of plenty as in the day of poverty. He could get along on a little or a lot, but neither condition affected his inner state.
ILLUSTRATION – I love the modern day picture of the elderly man, bowed in prayer over his table. On his table is but a small loaf of bread and a small chalice of water and the caption beneath says, “All this and Jesus too.”
God provides us substance and God provides us satisfaction, but God also provides us strength. Look at Philippians 4:13.
T/S—Substance, satisfaction, but also…
III. GOD’S PROVISION OF STRENGTH, Philippians 4:13
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Paul is not boasting here. Instead he is confessing his faith in the all-sustaining power of the indwelling Christ.
Whenever we are called upon to face anything that requires strength beyond ourselves, we look to that inner strength that Christ alone provides.
When the work hours are too many, when the supply has run out and there’s still so much more to do, when the doctor says, “I’m sorry, there’s nothing more we can do,” we need God’s provision of strength. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
ILLUSTRATION: Tony Dungy in addition to being the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, is also one of only two African-American coaches ever to take his team to the Super Bowl. The other is his good friend and competitor in today’s Super Bowl, Lovie Smith, head coach of the Chicago Bears. What you may not know is that both of these men are also dedicated Christians. As men of character and strength, I loved the quote I read this week from Tony Dungy in describing the source of his strength in life.
“When people ask me, ‘How do you stay so calm on the sideline?’ I have to tell them it is Christian maturity and Christ working in me. It’s not natural. It didn’t happen overnight. It was a process. I know how powerful God’s spirit is. I know He can change people. And I know that He will do that if we allow Him to.”
Finally, notice God’s provision of supply in Philippians 4:19.
IV. GOD’S PROVISION OF SUPPLY, Philippians 4:19
19And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
I’m not sure I have ever met an individual anywhere who is not in some kind of need—materially, emotionally, spiritually.
As Paul reminds the Philippian Christians that God will supply all their need, he had in mind the needs that may have been caused by their sacrificial giving. So Paul assures them that any lack on their part will surely be supplied by God through His infinite supply.
My God shall supply all your need according to His riches
A. The Source of Our Supply, my God
B. The Surety of Our Supply, will provide (or shall supply)
C. The Sufficiency of Our Supply, all your need
D. The Standard of Our Supply, according to His riches
If I were not already a Christian, I think I would want to be after hearing about this great God who provides for His children.