Summary: As God’s children we can draw on God’s great bank of promise in meeting our every need.
DEALING WITH GOD’S GREAT BANK OF PROMISE Philippians 4:14-23
Proposition: As God’s children we can draw on God’s great bank of promise in meeting our every need.
Objective: My purpose is to challenge God’s people to learn to let God meet their basic needs through our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ in a greater way.
Illus: What are your greatest needs and wants?
Illus: A study showed that at the beginning of the 20th Century, the average American wanted 72 different things and considered 18 of them necessary. Then in the 1950s the average American had 496 wants and felt 96 of them were necessary. Today I believe this would be higher than that.
A story is told by F.B. Meyer of an old and poverty-stricken Indian, who many years ago made his way into a Western settlement in search of food to keep him from starving. A bright-colored ribbon was seen around his neck, from which there hung a small, dirty pouch. On being asked what it was, he said it was a charm given him in his younger days. He opened it, and took out a worn and crumpled paper, which he handed to the person making the inspection. It proved, on examination, to be a regular discharge from the federal army, signed by George Washington himself, and entitling him to a pension for life. Here was a man with a promise duly signed, which if presented in the right place would have secured him ample provision, yet he was wandering about hungry, helpless, and forlorn, and begging bread to keep him from starving. What a picture of many Christians who are in need of everything when they might be rich and full! Perhaps their own life had not been generous, certainly their faith has never put in its claim to God’s great bank of promise.
Paul had few wants and had learned that Christ had met his needs. The letter to the Philippians is characterized by a deep intimacy in the relationship between Paul and the Philippians. Early in the letter we read that both the recipients, the church in Philippi, and the senders, Paul and his friends in Rome, recognized that they were bound together in their commitment to the gospel. Paul says, "I have you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you are all partakers of grace with me" (Phil. 1:7).
Here is Paul’s thankfulness to the Philippians as he expresses his appre-
ciation for their gift they sent to him while he is in prison. Paul is saying, "It is not that I desire a present from you for my own sake, although your gift touches my heart and makes me very glad. I don’t need anything, for I have more than enough. But I am glad that you gave me a gift for your own sake, for your kindness will stand greatly to your credit in the sight of God." Someone has called v.19 a note drawn upon the bank of faith. God is the apostle’s banker—so he says, “My need you supply. Your need my God will supply.”
I. THE SUPPORT (vvs. 14-16) “You have done well”-- The generosity of the Philippian Church to Paul went back a long way. In Acts 16-17 we read how he preached the Gospel in Philippi and then moved on to Thessalonica and Berea. As far back as that, the Philippian Church had given practical proof of its love for him.
1. The anguish (v. 14) “You shared in my distress”-- Paul says, "You did beautifully. You did a good thing because you became partners with me in the ministry of the Gospel. You gave of your possessions and so we became partners in this enterprise." In view of Paul’s attitude the Philippians might have wondered if they should have bothered to send him the gift. Paul hastened to add that it was good of them to send it. "We know that God loves a cheerful giver, but I believe we also need to stress that God loves a cheerful receiver. Cheerful receivers make giving and receiving a joy. The art of being a gracious, cheerful, thankful receiver may be even more difficult than being a cheerful giver."
2. The action (v. 15) “No one shared with me…but you only”-- In the very beginning of their Christian experience (Acts 16) when Paul left Macedonia, they alone shared with him in the matter of giving and receiving. The church gave mater-ially to Paul and received spiritually from the Lord. All Paul knew was that he had been forgotten now that he was in prison, but the Lord had not forgotten him for which he was also grateful in how the Philippians had remembered him.