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The Riches of Christ's Glory

Philippians  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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What does our partnership for the Gospel look like? Everything that we need to glorify God on earth, He readily provides

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Here we are at the end of the book of Philippians and if you have made it this far, thanks for taking this journey with me, especially if you were with us in person as we went through the first 2 chapters of Philippians. In the verses that we are going to read today, Paul is wrapping up his letter to the church in Philippi but even his parting words still have much to offer us. One of the grand schemes of Paul’s letter to the Philippians was to thank them for their service to him and to also encourage them as they carry on in their service to the Lord. In the verses that we are going to look at today, we are going to just how greatly Christian service is needed and we are going to see exactly why we serve and Who it is we are serving. For times sake, let’s go ahead and read Paul’s closing verses in the book of Philippians:
Philippians 4:14–23 (ESV)
Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. 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. Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit. 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. And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.
Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me greet you. All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar’s household. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

The Need for Christian Service

Verses 14-20 really are a testimony to the blessings of Christian service. I said at the beginning of this series that there are really two types of congregations that a pastor may have in the course of their service. Some churches are a chore to the minister while others are an absolute joy to the minister and for Paul, the church in Philippi was an absolute joy to pastor. The church always benefits when the Body comes together to serve. Remember, no man is an island and no one person is the Church. We need each other. Paul’s ministry would not have reached the level that it did without the support of not just the church in Philippi but all the churches that sent support to him. God has not asked one pastor or one missionary to do all the heavy lifting. Instead, He has blessed us with the Church. I often think about William Carey and what he said about just how important a supporting church is when it comes to missions. William Carey is known as the founder of modern missions and he spent over 40 years of his life as a missionary to India. In the early 1790’s, India was largely unreached by the Gospel. William Carey was the man who broke through and Andrew Fuller, a great minister in his own right, compared India to a large, unexplored and dangerous mine that few were looking forward to reaching. Carey famously said, I will go down into the pit if you will hold the ropes and that’s exactly what happened. Carey went and Fuller supported him until Fuller passed away around 1812. We still need this today. We don’t just need missionaries, we need men and women that are willing to hold onto the ropes. We need men and women that are willing to burn the candle on both ends. We as Christians can either go and reach the lost or we can support those that do, either way our hands need to be scarred from the rope. Paul climbed into the pit and the Philippians held the rope. Paul said from the very beginning, the church has supplied him with more than enough. Paul reminds the Philippians that God blesses the faithful giver. While the Philippians were blessing Paul, God was using their generosity and love for Paul as a way for blessing them. Christianity does not guarantee that we will prosper with physical goods in this life but it does promise that every true need of ours will be provided. Everything that the Philippians needed to glorify God, God was already providing to Him. All that you need to glorify God here and now, God willingly provides to you. Paul ends verse 19 by reminding the Philippians and us what is to come as our great reward for following Christ. There is riches in glory that await us but in many ways, those riches are already ours. We have already been justified by Christ, brought into the Family of God, and have the Holy Spirit living inside of us. James Montgomery Boice said, “in verse 19 we come to what is perhaps the greatest promise in the entire Bible. It is great because it includes all the other promises. Do you stand in need of salvation? God will supply the salvation. Do you need strength for life’s trials? God will supply strength. If you are lonely, God can meet you and comfort you in your loneliness. If you are discouraged, He can lift you up. No need is left out, for the verse says that God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” Every need that we have, God is able to provide for. Everything that we truly need to glorify God and enjoy Him forever is readily given to us.

The Saints and the Grace of the Lord Jesus

Let’s look once more at how Paul concludes this letter. Philippians 4:21-23
Philippians 4:21–23 (ESV)
Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me greet you. All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar’s household. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
Paul ends the letter almost how he began it: by pointing to the amazing grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. John MacArthur wrote, “Paul has now come full circle. He began this letter by wishing the Philippians grace, and he concludes it the same way.” One thing that I emphasized while we were still meeting together in person is how the Gospel is able to reach into some of the hardest to reach places and impact some of the hardest to reach people. We see this as Paul mentions in verse 22 that all the saints, especially those of Caesar’s household greet the Philippians. The Gospel has penetrated the very heart of the Roman empire. Even those that live in Caesar’s house have been brought to saving faith in Christ and this would not have been done unless God had providentially brought Paul to prison. If the Gospel is able to change hearts by the service of a man imprisoned deep within the Roman empire, the Gospel is definitely more than able to change hearts in the circumstances that you find yourself in. The reason that God is able to do this and the reason that Paul has been able to go through his circumstances with contentment comes down to this: the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. We never outgrow the need for grace. Every hour of every day we are desperate people in desperate need of grace. Martyn Lloyd-Jones said, “Man deserved nothing, nothing whatsoever, but in spite of that, God in His grace looked upon him and thus decided to shower upon him His love and favor. As near as we can ever get to it, that is the meaning of the word grace; it is unmerited, spontaneous, self-generated, not produced by anything outside of God, but coming out of the being and the heart of God Himself; the love of God expressing itself in this way towards man-grace.” Paul’s entire is a testimony to the grace that has been given to Him and you could almost summarize the extent of the Gospel with the words that Paul uses to close his letter to the Philippian. The Gospel is the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Gospel is the unmerited favor given to man straight from the heart of our Divine Savior and that grace will always find a way to comfort us in our spirit. Lord knows that it certainly did for Paul and I pray that as we wrap up this series and as you go about your days, weeks, months, and years, that the very grace that comforted Paul will comfort you and your spirit as well. Let’s go to the Lord in prayer.
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