Summary: Philippians - Manual of Joy Christ Centered Relationships
Philippians - Manual of Joy
Christ Centered Relationships
Paul closes this letter by rejoicing over the sacrificial gift the Philippians gave him (1:5-6; 25-30). The Philippian church was part of the Macedonian churches mentioned in 2 Corinthians 8 and 9 that gave significantly and sacrificially. As we look at the relationship between Paul and the Philippian church, we see a principle emerge. We see Paul is an example to us of Christ centered receiving and the Philippians are an example to us of Christ centered giving.
Main idea –Christ centered relationships requires both giving and receiving. God intends to meet our needs through others in the body of Christ.
1. Christ Centered Receiving (vs. 14-16)
Paul had financial needs and God answered his prayers and met his financial need through the sacrificial gift of the Philippian church.
Allow God to meet your needs through others
Christ centered relationships require that we allow God to meet our needs through other people. The church is called the body of Christ because it shows graphically the connection between the different parts of the body and how they work together. When the body has a need, the head sends a necessary message to the other parts of the body to meet that need. God has designed the body of Christ to meet your deepest spiritual and personal needs through others. If you don’t you allow God to meet your needs through others you have a recipe for stagnation in your spiritual life (1 Cor 12:21). Some of us have a hard time receiving from others and as a result your spiritual life is stagnant or at the least stunted. If you have a hard time receiving you need to humble yourselves and ask for help; share your struggles and needs with others. This is Gods challenge to you this morning. Those of you who are new to following Christ let me challenge you to willingly and freely share your needs, concerns, and struggles with others. Some of you who have been following Christ for some time are too proud to share your needs and you are not moving forward because of it. You are playing church by putting on a good face, sharing trivialities, but not experiencing genuine community and genuine transformation. If you are resonating with what I am saying, you need to call someone you know here or find someone to open up to and share your need. Those of you who are on the periphery of our body, dipping your toes in the pool, just coming to church but that is not genuine community.
Trust that God will meet your needs even when others disappoint you
If the first principle in receiving is allowing God to meet your needs through others then the second principle is to trust that God will meet your needs even when others disappoint you (11-13). Paul is not relating to the Philippian church out of desperation because he believes that no matter what, God will take care of him. Sometimes God withholds others from meeting our needs for our good. Paul learned to be content whether others supplied his needs or not.
Sometimes we are disappointed because we place unspoken expectations on others. We place expectations on others but we never communicate what they are. Yet we become disappointed when they do not meet those expectations we never communicated. Other times we place unrealistic expectations on others. When we become disappointed, we tend to withdraw from relationships. But God commands us to forgive as often as needed (Mat 18:21-22) because we are organically related to each other and cannot get away with it. We need to learn to forgive each other. Disappointment is a part of every relationship. People will disappoint you. But God wants us to learn and grow from disappointment. Disappointment is God’s clue that there is hurt in your heart that needs healing and as you allow God to bring that healing God transforms our lives. That healing will only come in relationship. Paul is a great example of Christ Centered receiving. He made his needs known and God provided through the Philippian church. The Philippian church is a great example of what it looks like to give in a Christ centered way.
2. Christ Centered Giving (vs. 17-20)
In essence Paul is saying, ‘thanks for the cash but I am more excited about the reward you will be receiving.’ He used this language to show that grace is abounding in their life with an ongoing, permanent gain for the Philippians in the spiritual realm. Because of their generous giving, God’s blessing accrues in their lives by which they continually grow in the graces of Christ until Christ returns.
Give with heart of faith as an act of worship