Summary: In this final part of the series in Philippians, we’re commanded to share with others because we care about others.
Meeting the Need
Illus. (unknown source) Little Kevin and Ryan were playing wonderfully together, when they suddenly began fighting over a particular toy. “I had it first.” No, I did.” It’s mine. No, it’s mine.” Their mother, seeing an opportunity to teach them about sharing, said, “If Jesus were here, He would say, ’You play with it first. I can wait.’ Without missing a beat, Kevin turned to his younger brother and said, "Ryan, you be Jesus!"
One of the first things we teach our children is the importance of sharing.
Why is that? Because often it’s the hardest thing to do. We adults still struggle with it.
Today, we’re going to look at the importance of sharing and different ways we can share.
Turn with me to Phil. 4:14-23.
Last week, we learned that while Paul appreciates their financial gift, he doesn’t need it.
•This presents a delicate situation. His response could actually hurt their feelings.
•So he needs to clarify his joy over their gift.
I’d like to look briefly at our passage and then take more time to see how it applies to us today.
Paul actually uses financial imagery here to explain his thoughts.
Illus. For example, in any banking account, you have credits and debits.
•Credits/Deposits are added to your account. Debits are subtracted.
•As believers in Christ, we also have a spiritual bank account (our retirement package).
•Throughout this passage, we’ll see how the Philippians’ bank account was doing.
14YET IT WAS GOOD OF YOU TO SHARE IN MY TROUBLES. Koinonia/sharing is a key ingredient to unity – a central theme of this Letter.
15MOREOVER, AS YOU PHILIPPIANS KNOW, IN THE EARLY DAYS OF YOUR ACQUAINTANCE WITH THE GOSPEL, WHEN I SET OUT FROM MACEDONIA, NOT ONE CHURCH SHARED WITH ME IN THE MATTER OF GIVING AND RECEIVING, EXCEPT YOU ONLY;
Out of all the churches he started on this 2nd MJ, no other church helped him financially.
16FOR EVEN WHEN I WAS IN THESSALONICA, YOU SENT ME AID AGAIN AND AGAIN WHEN I WAS IN NEED.
This wasn’t the only time they helped him out.
17NOT THAT I AM LOOKING FOR (seeking) A GIFT,
He didn’t need the gift (v. 11) or seek it, but he does appreciate it.
17I’M NOT LOOKING FOR A GIFT, BUT I AM LOOKING FOR WHAT MAY BE CREDITED TO YOUR ACCOUNT. Notice the banking analogy.
“I’m looking for the fruit that continually increases to your account.”
In other words, “Your debit/check is actually credited back into your spiritual account.”
Wouldn’t you like to have a bank account where the more you give the more you receive?
•In a real sense, that’s the kind of spiritual bank account we have.
Their contribution to Paul’s needs is actually a deposit into their own spiritual account.
In v. 18, Paul gives them a receipt for their contribution.
18I HAVE RECEIVED FULL PAYMENT AND EVEN MORE; I AM AMPLY SUPPLIED (I am full), NOW THAT I HAVE RECEIVED FROM EPAPHRODITUS THE GIFTS YOU SENT. THEY ARE A FRAGRANT OFFERING, AN ACCEPTABLE SACRIFICE, PLEASING TO GOD.
The more you give, the more God is pleased and the more He gives to your account.
19AND MY GOD WILL MEET ALL YOUR NEEDS ACCORDING TO HIS GLORIOUS RICHES IN CHRIST JESUS.
God has an infinite bank account. He will more than cover our loss.
God is both willing and able to meet all our needs.
Having said that, we need to be careful how we interpret this verse.
•What about those who suffer or struggle throughout life?
•What about those who die prematurely?
•What about persecuted believers? How does God richly meet their needs?
We need to remember that our definition of “needs” isn’t necessarily God’s definition.
(Thielman, Frank. NIV Application Commentary, NT: Philippians, 241. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, © 1995.)
“God supplies the needs of His people by giving them the resources to cope with hardship.”
God promises to meet all our spiritual needs, if not all our physical needs.
•He will transfer more than enough grace from His infinite account into our account.
God will meet all our needs.
Paul closes this powerful letter in the same way he began – giving glory to God.
20TO OUR GOD AND FATHER BE GLORY FOR EVER AND EVER. AMEN. 21GREET ALL THE (every) SAINTS IN CHRIST JESUS. THE BROTHERS WHO ARE WITH ME SEND GREETINGS. 22ALL THE SAINTS SEND YOU GREETINGS, ESPECIALLY THOSE WHO BELONG TO CAESAR’S HOUSEHOLD (Phil. 1:13-14). 23THE GRACE OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST BE WITH YOUR SPIRIT. AMEN.
Having looked briefly at this passage, we need to realize that this isn’t just about God meeting our needs. It’s about meeting each others’ needs.
The Philippians helped meet Paul’s needs in many ways.
•They shared much more than finances with him.