Summary: Is God’s promise to supply our needs a blank check?
Sunday, September 1, 2002
When I took Bible study methods in Bible College, I remember the teacher trying to teach us the importance of taking a verse in its context. He was especially critical of the verse-a-day type devotionals that lifted the verse out of its context in order to make a spiritual point. To make his point he told this story:
A man asked the Lord to give him a verse for the day.
5 And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.
37 And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.
27 And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly.
It is ironic that this last section of the book of Philippians should have two verses which are taken out of context more than just about any other verse in all of the Bible.
Last week - I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
All things - full or hungry - rich or poor -- content in all circumstances
This week it is Philippians 4:19
19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Is this a blank cheque from God on the bank of heaven, that whatever our need he will supply? Or are there conditions in the context?
1. The context 10-13
2. The thankfulness for the gift 14-16
3. The purpose for encouraging giving 17-18
NIV 2 Corinthians 8:1 And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches.
2 Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.
3 For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own,
4 they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints.
5 And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will.
2 Cor. 9:12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.
13 Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else.
14 And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you.
15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
4. The promise associated with giving 4:19
6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.
7 Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
9 As it is written: "He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever."
10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.
11 You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
One little phrase that I don’t want you to miss is the phrase "according to"
That is significant - it is not "out of"
If you went to a multi-millionaire with a need for $50000 and he gave you a cheque for $5000 to help meet your need, he would have given out of his riches. But if he had written a cheque for the whole amount he would have been giving in accordance with - in a manner consistent with his riches. And that is the way God gives. The master of all, who owns everything, lavishes his blessings on us in a manner consistent with his riches. As Paul puts it in Ephesians -
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ