Philippians 4C

Chapter 4:10-19

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  • Last week, we discussed that through our reliance upon the faithfulness of the Lord through prayer, that it eases the necessity of worry and anxiety.

    • If worry is indicative of our teetering of trust with the Lord, then prayer is a posture of great dependence in the Lord.

      • And we saw that through our dependence on the Lord flows a peace that cannot be comprehended.

    • We ultimately saw that when our thought-life is set on eternal, transcendental truth that the God of peace will be most evident in our circumstance.

      • In other words, our perspective through life shouldn’t be dictated by what we are going through, but rather who we are going through it with.

    • If I were to outline our time tonight, covering verses 10-19, we will see the following things:

      • 1. The Secret of Contentment (vv.10-13)

      • 2. His Provision, Our Participation (vv.14-18)

      • 3. The Savior’s Sustaining Supply (v.19)

    • If I were to put a tag on tonight’s text, it would simply be: The Provision of God.

      • With that being said, I invite you to meet me in Philippians 4:10-13 for the reading of the word of the Lord.

Philippians 4:10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity.
Philippians 4:11 Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.
Philippians 4:12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
  • The Apostle Paul transitions the focus of the letter from an instructional exhortation, to an appreciative yet practical application with introspection.

    • We see his transitioning point because of the use of the word “But”.

      • Notice what Paul is addressing here from verses 10-13.

      • He mentions how he rejoiced in the Lord greatly because of the Philippians’ ‘gospel participation’ as a service to Paul.

    • He says that their concern for him had been “revived”.

      • The Greek word for ‘revive’ here means to grow up again or to bloom again.

      • I find Paul’s use of this word quite interesting because it suggests that there must have been a point in which their support was withered.

      • However, the withered season of their giving is not connected to their lack of love for Paul.

    • Notice, in verse 10b that Paul mentions, “indeed, you were concerned before…”.

      • In other words, your inability to provide financially was not based upon your view of me or my circumstances.

      • Rather, there was a season in which you came across that hindered you from contributing or participating as you once have.

      • So there is no guilt trip or “peer pressure” to give if you can’t!

    • What becomes so encouraging in this section of the text is that Paul is not offended by their lack of financial giving.

      • Rather, even in his previous distress of their inability to give, it did not deter Paul from his gospel mission.

  • Often, folks are guilt-tripped into thinking that if they can’t give financially to a ministry that somehow, they’ve lost their fire for the Lord or in trouble with God.

    • But the reality is for many people, their inability to give has little to do with the ministry and mostly due to their circumstance.

      • There are days and seasons where you will see an increase in giving and a decrease in giving for ministries and churches alike.

      • However, it’s often not due to the ministry’s ability to do what the Lord has called them to, but rather the hardship that the people are facing.

    • So, Paul recognizes the hardship in which the Philippian believers have experienced in the past where they “lacked opportunity”.

      • In a way, what this shows is Paul’s sympathy and concern for his brothers and sisters who are participants in this gospel work.

    • Paul’s hope while doing ministerial work, doesn’t rest upon the financial giving or lack thereof of others.

      • For as we will see in verse 13, Paul will make the statement, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me!”

    • And what this shows us as recipients of this letter is Paul’s heavenly perspective regarding the circumstances he constantly faced.

      • And the primary example Paul uses to express this perspective is what he began with at the start of this letter – the Philippians’ financial giving.

  • What I appreciated about Pastor Steve and VBVMI before coming onto the team, and even when he pastored the Church, is Steve’s emphasis on ministry and not money.

    • Although we understand that it takes money to do the production and maintenance of the website for upkeep, that ultimately, God is in control.

      • We would always keep a small wooden box at the back of the church and never made mention of it.

      • But if people felt led to give, that opportunity was always available for them to do so.

    • And I am proud to say that this method of ministry focus remains foundational to VBVMI today.

      • Providing free bible resources at no cost to those who desire to utilize it because the word cost us nothing yet costed Jesus everything.

    • And in the same way, the Apostle Paul utilizes this section of this letter to not only express his thanks to the Philippians, but to encourage them as well.

      • And his encouragement, although not rooted in financial giving, utilizes what it means to have little or abundance as a maturation moment.

  • Verse 11, he starts by saying, “Not that I speak from want…” meaning, my concerns are not financial or even physical for that matter.

    • Because he says, he has learned “to be content in whatever circumstances I am.”

      • Notice that Paul says he has “learned” how to be content.

    • This goes back to what the Apostle Paul had mentioned earlier regarding “perfection in Christ”.

      • Remember the connotation here is that of growing in maturity in Christ as we apply the word of God to our lives.

    • So Paul is expressing this gospel growth within his very life as someone in whom the Philippians look up to.

      • Paul’s very ministry was considered a ministry of suffering, yet Paul never allowed the sufferings of his life to dictate his joy.

      • Rather, Paul observing the life of Christ, saw that because Christ suffered well, so should he.

      • And in Christ being the example for Paul, and every believer for that matter, Paul always found himself growing in wisdom.

    • Furthermore, Paul says that he has learned to be “content”.

      • That word in Greek means to be self-sufficient.

      • Paul is not speaking about contentment in the sense of his own personal self-reliance in a matter.

      • Rather, Paul is talking about the divine reliance he has on the Lord to supply his very needs, regardless of what he goes through.

    • It was in Philippians 3:7-16 that Paul made mention of his prior abandonment of meritorious works and how those accomplishments were ‘rubbish’.

      • Instead, Paul desired to pursue Christ in “knowing him more and the power of His resurrection.” (Phil. 3:10)

      • In other words, there was nothing that Paul could do that provided adequate contentment and joy in His circumstances.

  • Our degrees, and life accomplishments, although great, contribute nothing to sustaining joy.

    • The reality is within our human nature, our desire for wanting more or achieving more always seems to increase.

      • And with the increase of our desires comes the unsettled feeling of, what I just accomplished is not enough.

      • However, when we recognize what it is that Christ has accomplished and that it is a complete and finished work, it changes how we see things.

      • The subtle issue that one faces is the danger of legalism and humanism versus trusting and resting in Christ alone.

    • Notice how this learning for Paul came about and the pressures in which he faced became ‘lessons learned’. We see this in verse 12.

  • Paul mentions that he has learned how to get along with “humble” means as well as “how to live in prosperity”.

    • In other words, Paul has learned how to have little and how to deal with much.

      • Money nor merit becomes the motivator for his joy or contentment in life – Christ is!

      • Whether he has little or much, these physical material things do not sway how he sees Christ nor how his needs are met.

    • According to 1 Corinthians, Paul’s ministerial journeys and missions were not viewed in the convenience that many experience on missions trips today.

      • For instance, check out 1 Corinthians 4:11:

1 Corinthians 4:11 To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless;
1 Corinthians 4:12 and we toil, working with our own hands; when we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure;
  • Paul continues in the difficulties he has endured for the sake of ministry in this way: Check out 2 Corinthians 11:27.

2 Corinthians 11:27 I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.
  • In every instance of hardship, Paul’s priority is for the people to not be burdened but to be served.

    • This is a beautiful example of service and sacrifice! – That Paul would put himself in harm’s way for the betterment of others.

    • The question becomes: “Where did the Apostle Paul learn these virtues of service and selflessness from?”

    • Well, we saw this reality in Paul speaking about the doctrine of Kenosis in Philippians 2:7 where Paul mentions that Christ emptied Himself.

      • This emptying required one to be ever dependent upon the Lord and His provision and less focused on self and individual needs.

      • This is why Paul writes in verse 13, that “he can do all things through Him who strengthens him.”

    • Herein lies the secret that Paul was talking about in verse 12.

      • The secret of contentment is the experiential knowledge of walking with the Lord daily and resting in Him. (Practice and Live)

    • In every circumstance that Paul came across, whether he was hungry or poor, in abundance or with little – the Lord was meeting his needs.

  • I’m reminded of the Lord Jesus’ interaction with the disciples before he sent them out, two by two.

    • And in sending them out, he sends them out with power and authority over all demons and to heal disease.

      • And the content in which they carried was the news of the Kingdom of God.

    • However, in His sending of them, Jesus tells them to bring nothing on their journey.

      • No staff, bag, bread, or money, and not even two tunics.

    • The very things that these men would have needed for sustaining themselves, protection on the journey, and sustenance for their bodies was forbidden to go.

      • The question you might ask is: “Why would the Lord Jesus not require these men to have these things on their journey?”

    • Simply put, the Lord wanted the disciples to depend upon the Father for all that they needed, because this would be the case in Jesus’ absence.

      • Therefore, doing ministry work and living for Christ requires dependency in God’s daily provision.

    • This is Paul’s point in verses 10-13 – contentment is not something that can be pursued in a “physical” sense.

      • This is first something realized in a spiritual sense because it recognizes that the only way that one can experience peace is in Christ and His work.

    • When your efforts are heavenward, your rest is fully realized.

      • But when your efforts are inwardly motivated, it leads to greater stress, worry, and anxiety, which is rooted in legalism.

    • And as a source of encouragement within Paul’s contentment and gratitude of the Philippians’ giving, Paul encourages the Philippians in their gospel participation.

      • Check out verses 14-19.

Philippians 4:14 Nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my affliction.
Philippians 4:15 You yourselves also know, Philippians, that at the first preaching of the gospel, after I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone;
Philippians 4:16 for even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs.
Philippians 4:17 Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account.
Philippians 4:18 But I have received everything in full and have an abundance; I am amply supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God.
Philippians 4:19 And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
  • With careful observation, leading into verse 14, we see that Paul is not rejecting the Philippians’ giving, but rather encouraging their participation.

    • Although Paul spoke about his contentment in the Lord, Paul understood that the Lord will use individuals to provide that need when necessary.

      • And in this case, being that Paul was in need during many ministerial missions throughout the world, the Philippians were considered a strong supporting church.

    • As Pastor Steve used to say: The Lord will sustain what He desires to keep going!

      • So, even if economic troubles rise or fall, if the Lord wants to sustain it, He will sustain it!

      • And here we find that Paul applauds the Philippians for sharing in his affliction.

    • The word ‘share’ in Greek is synkoinoneo which means have joint share or to be in partnership with.

      • In other words, where Paul was struggling for physical needs, the Philippians were willing to sacrificially give for Paul’s ministry needs.

      • We see an example of this in 2 Corinthians 11:8-9. Check out what Paul writes.

2 Corinthians 11:8 I robbed other churches by taking wages from them to serve you;
2 Corinthians 11:9 and when I was present with you and was in need, I was not a burden to anyone; for when the brethren came from Macedonia they fully supplied my need, and in everything I kept myself from being a burden to you, and will continue to do so.
  • Paul’s use of the word, “robbed” in 2 Corinthians 11:8 is not speaking about him ‘stealing from a church’ to meet the Corinthians’ needs.

    • Rather, Paul is using sarcasm to make a point.

    • Paul’s ministry service to the Corinthians was done for free because he did not want to stop the opposition of the false apostles in that day.

  • During that time, itinerant preachers would travel from town to town and their motives were rooted in profiting from the people.

    • So with Paul knowing how these men were dealing illegitimately, he desired to inconvenience himself for the sake of not even being seen in a negative light.

      • Therefore, Paul refused the financial gifts of the Corinthians even if it meant putting him at a disadvantage.

      • And knowing that he wanted to provide the best care for the Corinthians, the Macedonian churches, hearing of this, gave sacrificially to Paul.

    • So, through Paul stating that the Philippians shared in his affliction, it served as an opportunity for them to see themselves walking in a manner that reflects Christ.

      • The reality was, the giving of the Macedonian churches were more of a sacrifice than convenience.

      • This type of financial sacrifice would have taken from their personal needs to provide for others.

    • This was Paul’s point when he mentioned in Philippians 3:17 about “joining in following his example and the pattern he has set before them.”

      • Paul was not teaching or instructing them on something he hadn’t yet done!

      • And Paul is simply following the example of Christ who inconvenienced Himself for the sake of benefiting others!

    • So, Paul in verses 15-18 begins to express his gratitude by documenting how these believers have indeed partnered with him.

  • Paul starts by saying at the start of his ministry to the Philippians, there was no church that gave beyond what the Philippians gave.

    • To emphasize the lack of giving from other churches, Paul says, “no church shared with him”.

      • Now, given our understanding of Paul’s missionary journeys up to this point, there has been ample opportunity for others to give.

      • And Paul provides an example of how the Philippians’ giving aids in his ministry elsewhere.

    • Notice, in verse 16 he mentions, “for even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs.”

      • So, Thessalonica, being a part of Paul’s second missionary journey, was gifted a financial gift by the Philippians, not once but twice.

    • We should understand here that the Philippians’ financial giving to Paul was not motivated by anything else but the furtherance of the gospel.

      • In other words, the Philippians wanted others to experience this life-transforming gospel just as much as they did with their time with Paul.

      • Therefore, Paul’s ministry becomes a tool by which God both uses and resources to send the Gospel out to the world.

  • This brings about another important topic that is often never mentioned because of its abuse throughout the culture and society today. And that is the topic of money.

    • As we all know, money is a tool in which the Lord uses in order to accomplish necessary things for gospel work in the world.

      • And at the same time, if not used in the right manner can be used as a tool to promote self and to line the pockets of others.

    • As I mentioned in the use of the 2 Corinthian text, the Apostle Paul becomes very sensitive to the reality of the perception of money and its benefits.

      • And he is so sensitive about it that he puts himself at risk for the sake of building a confidence with the Corinthians so that they may see his heart.

      • Paul’s focus is not to gain money for the sake of his own personal benefit.

      • Instead, Paul’s focus is to provide the Gospel for free to men and women who have not had the opportunity.

    • This is why Paul says, “Not that I seek the gift itself…”.

      • His focus is both on those who will receive the gospel and those who sacrificed for it.

    • Paul is speaking about Sacrificial giving!

      • In providing the needs of others, even if it cost you something, there is fruit to be seen in the end.

    • As a matter of fact, the word for ‘profit’ in verse 17b isn’t referring to a monetary gain in the least bit.

      • That word in Greek is karpos which means “fruit”. It is the result or efforts of a particular action.

      • And in this sense there are spiritual rewards that come from it.

    • So, Paul is saying, where your loss has cost you ‘something’ in the temporal sense, it renders spiritual rewards in eternity.

  • If you were to think about this in terms of investments and financial structures today, it would be like this.

    • When you give to your 401K or retirement account, the money you give is usually pre-taxed and goes straight to that account.

      • In other words, you do not see that money in your take home pay.

      • So what may seem right now as a momentary loss from your paycheck, is really a beneficial gain in your future.

      • I believe it was Dave Ramsey who said, “Live like no one else today so that you can live like no one else tomorrow.”

    • In a similar way, Paul is encouraging and thanking the believers for their temporary monetary sacrifice.

      • That because of their sacrifice and constant giving to Paul in the ministry work, lives that respond to the Gospel will accumulate as interest to their account.

    • So, where Paul accumulates the principal on those coming to faith because of the Philippians’ giving, the interest goes to their account at the Bema Seat.

      • In it all, Paul’s use of business vernacular speaks to the third tense of the salvation of the believer.

      • That when we are raptured and meet Jesus in the clouds, after that moment comes our evaluation before Christ.

      • How did we live for Christ? How well did we serve Him? How well did we represent Him? How much did we sacrifice for Him?

    • It is from this evaluation that the Lord takes all of these matters into account and from what we bring, it will be set ablaze.

      • And whatever remains, is what we will have as a reward.

    • This point is so key, because it helps us to evaluate the why in what we do for Christ especially in the area of giving and sacrifice.

      • Motive/Motivation becomes of great importance as well as the heart’s condition in doing it.

      • And we see this played out in Paul’s expression of the Macedonian church in 2 Corinthians 8:1-6. Check out the text:

2 Corinthians 8:1 Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedonia,
2 Corinthians 8:2 that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality.
2 Corinthians 8:3 For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord,
2 Corinthians 8:4 begging us with much urging for the favor of participation in the support of the saints,
2 Corinthians 8:5 and this, not as we had expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God.
2 Corinthians 8:6 So we urged Titus that as he had previously made a beginning, so he would also complete in you this gracious work as well.
  • Do you see Paul’s language here?! He tells the Corinthians that the Macedonian church’s giving was not out of compulsion but compassion.

    • The motive behind the Macedonian church was the very grace and mercy that they received from Christ by way of Paul’s ministry!

    • In other words, they didn’t just talk about what the ministry of Paul provided for them personally, but they expressed it in their giving.

  • When we consider the places or things in which we invest our time in, it is often given to things we expect returns from.

    • If anything, we know that when we put our money towards a good investment and have done our due diligence, we know that the ROI (return on the investment) is worth it.

      • If you haven’t noticed by now, Paul is using business lingo to convey the eternal reality of our temporal sacrifices.

      • Our sacrificial giving with our time, talent, and treasure should be a reflection of the great price that Jesus paid on calvary’s cross.

    • Paul expresses Christ’s great loss in this way in 2 Corinthians 8:9:

2 Corinthians 8:9 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 through His poverty might become rich.
  • So, although our temporary loss may be the gain for another, we know that the results of that eternal matter go to our account in interest.

    • However, when we fail to meet the needs of those around us, we shouldn’t expect to see fruit from inactivity?

    • Paul says these words in Titus 3:14.

Titus 3:14 Our people must also learn to engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs, so that they will not be unfruitful.
  • When I think about this sense of sacrificial giving, I think about the ways in which our ministry supporters actively participate with VBVMI daily.

    • As a matter of fact, it is because of your giving that we can reach people world wide with the Gospel.

      • One example, there has been a huge desire to reach men and women who are incarcerated with the Gospel.

    • By God’s grace, an opportunity was presented to us by a supporter to partner with a prison ministry known as ‘God behind bars’.

      • And this ministry provides tablets and teaching from various ministries to provide bible teaching to men and women behind bars.

      • However, the cost to provide this content is not cheap due to the logistics and processes to get into these facilities.

    • However, a financial supporter who has a relative in prison saw the need for this to happen and decided to meet the need given the opportunity.

      • Their giving sparked growth for others to contribute to this opportunity because they saw the need!

    • And I am delighted to say that because of their and your giving, close to thousands of people in this program have downloaded the VBVMI teachings.

      • And along with that, there have been over 165,000 full viewings of teachings, from our End Times study to the Creation study.

      • But this effort couldn’t be possible if men and women like you didn’t see the need and meet it.

      • This is the giving that Paul is talking about!

    • Lastly, in verses 18-19 Paul says that the giving of the Philippians has met his very needs and request!

      • He says that he has received “everything in full” and “has abundance”!

      • Meaning that what the Philippians sent him by way of Epaphroditus, even with Epaphroditus close to death, has been well received.

    • Paul speaks to this type of giving as “a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God.”

      • Paul’s use of a fragrant aroma pulls from the Old Testament use of a pleasing sacrifice that is offered to God and pleases Him.

      • It is a sacrifice that was quite costly and, in that day, offerings in Israel were done as a means of sacrifice for worship.

    • As we discussed before in Romans 12:1-2 our very lives are to be seen as living sacrifices which is our spiritual service to God.

      • We see in Hebrews 13:16 that our very service to others is a form of sacrifice to the Lord that pleases Him.

      • We also find in Hebrews 13:15 that our praise to the Lord and thanksgiving to Him is also a means of sacrifice.

    • Ultimately, everything that we give to the Lord, at some point or another, will cost us something!

      • For how can sacrifice be a sacrifice if it didn’t cost you anything?!

    • When we understand that the Lord God is our provider and sustainer in every sense imaginable, it gives us perspective as to how we see life.

      • That because He is our provider – why worry?

      • That because He is our sustainer – why be afraid?

      • That because He is our Way Maker – why be concerned about tomorrow?

    • The believer’s contentment in the Lord comes from knowing what Christ has done for us, is doing in us, and will complete in us!

      • This is why Paul says in verse 19, “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

  • Paul knew that in his weakest most vulnerable state, that the Lord would make a way.

    • That if God has called him to something, He will make the way for him to get to it and through it!

      • David in our previous study through 2 Samuel came to understand that Yahweh was indeed his Shepherd.

      • And that because He was his Shepherd, he had no need or want.

    • So, Paul now tells the Philippians towards the close of the letter that because you have met my needs, rest assured that the Lord will meet your needs!

      • Notice the Lord will meet your needs not your greeds!

      • Far too long have false teachers used texts like this to coerce people to give more for the sake of them gaining more.

    • When passages like tonight’s teaching come across the lips of a false teacher it promotes this sugar coated – prosperity gospel.

      • However, if you read the whole letter, you come to understand that Paul endured much suffering and loss.

      • The Macedonians at large, most especially the Philippians, suffered much financial loss.

      • However there will be much interest for them at the Bema Seat!

    • Your sacrificial giving is simply a reflection of your understanding of what Christ has done graciously for you!

      • Do you give open-handedly, or do you give with a closed fist?

      • I leave us with Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 9:7-8 where he says:

2 Corinthians 9:7 Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed;
  • When we understand positionally Who’s we are and remain content in the joy of the Lord, no amount of sacrifice is too much.

    • Why? Because when we understand the weight of what Christ took upon Himself, knowing that He is our sustainer, it allows our perspective on giving, sacrifice, and service to be that much easier.

      • Let’s Pray.