Summary: Encouraging God's people to invest in missions at home and abroad.
Fruit that May Abound
About the apostle Paul verses 10-13
About the church at Philippi
Started by Paul recorded in Acts 16
First convert was Lydia and her house hold
Then the demon possessed girl
Followed by the Philippian jailor and his household
This church loved Paul and Paul loved this church.
In this little epistle we find no hint of internal struggles, no doctrinal errors to be put right, to corrections made, no defence of his ministry and apostleship is given –this church was unique. Their uniqueness is the direct result of the secret they discovered in this matter of Abounding Fruit. Paul says to them in verse 17, “Not because I desire a gift: but I desire that fruit may abound to your account.” I submit to you this morning that the reason this church was so exemplary is because they lived the blessing of abounding fruit.
As we consider this passage of Scripture this morning I want you to notice, firstly: Their history of generosity.
This church had:
1. A History of Generosity 10a; 14-16
This was an exemplary church. They had a history of being helpful to the apostle Paul. Their aid was more than just monetary. Notice again verse 10 and the word ‘communicate.’ This is the same familiar word that is translated ‘fellowship’ in the New Testament. This was a church that became a true partner if you will of the Apostle Paul in every life situation. They took upon them the fellowship of celebration as well as the fellowship of suffering. They were there for Paul in the good times and the bad. They were with him in the trenches of the frontline and in the darkened prison cells. They communicated with him in his affliction. In other words it was as if those afflictions were their own. They stood by Paul, encouraging him, lifting him up in prayer, weeping with him, rejoicing with him, ministering to his physical, emotional and spiritual needs.
*They had their own afflictions and trials and yet they took upon them the fellowship of his trials as well.
This was an extraordinary with a wonderful history of generosity. We read about them in the letter written to the churches at Corinth in 2 Corinthians chapters 8 and 9, in which Paul is encouraging them to take part in a particular missionary offering. This is that church of Macedonia of whom Paul writes, although they were in a great trial of affliction they abounded in joy. They were in deep poverty and yet abounded unto the riches of their liberality. This is that church who gave to their power and then beyond their power. What a wonderful church this must have been. No wonder Paul loved them!
Generosity for the child of God is not limited to only finances.
They were generous is their care –v 10
They were generous in their communication –v 14
They were generous in their contributions –v 16
Today were are writing the pages of our history. Will it be said of us that we too were generous in our love and concern for those God has directed us to partner with?
This church had a history of generosity as well as:
2. Diversity of Productivity v 10b; 17, 18
In verse 10, Paul uses an interesting word to describe the giving of this church. He says that he rejoices that their care for him had ‘flourished’ again. That is an interesting word because it carries with it the idea of a flower or tree this is blossoming or blooming. Often we go through a ‘winter season’ spiritually and things seem cold and almost lifeless, but then spring arrives and once again evidences of the new life burst forth. Keep in mind, that tree or flower was alive all the time, because the source of life is not in the flower or bud –the source of life is in the root.
This analogy or illustration is reminiscent of what Jesus taught in John 15 concerning the Vine and the branches. These are complementary passages on the subject of bearing fruit. Notice if you will this diversity of productivity.
Fruit (2), more fruit (2), much fruit (5, 8) and eternal fruit (16) [this is produced in close proximity of the branch.]
*There are some fruit that are produced in the same vineyard as the branch, but Paul is describing fruit that is produced in a different vineyard, but is accredited to the account of the branch.
When you stand before the Lord what types of fruit will you have to present? Will you have abounding fruit?
3. Ministry of Prosperity verse 19
The secret to their prosperity was that God had become their supply. They were resting in Him
John 15: 5 says that without me ye can do nothing; this is balanced with the statement we read in Philippians 4:13 which says, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” That is why they were able to give sacrificially. That is why they were able to give supernaturally. God was their resource!