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.
Understanding what they shared and how they met needs is crucial to helping us understand and meet the many needs around us.
I. WHAT DID THE PHILIPPIANS SHARE WITH PAUL?
Let me share with you 9 things they shared with Paul, as found in this Letter.
1. They shared the Gospel.
Not just sharing the Gospel with each other, but sharing in the benefits of the Gospel.
Phil. 1:4-5 4IN ALL MY PRAYERS FOR ALL OF YOU, I ALWAYS PRAY WITH JOY 5BECAUSE OF YOUR PARTNERSHIP IN THE GOSPEL FROM THE FIRST DAY UNTIL NOW,
2. They shared God’s grace.
Phil. 1:7 …FOR WHETHER I AM IN CHAINS OR DEFENDING AND CONFIRMING THE GOSPEL, ALL OF YOU SHARE IN GOD’S GRACE WITH ME.
3. They shared prayers.
Phil. 1:4 IN ALL MY PRAYERS FOR ALL OF YOU, I ALWAYS PRAY WITH JOY
Phil. 1:19 FOR I KNOW THAT THROUGH YOUR PRAYERS AND THE HELP GIVEN BY THE SPIRIT OF JESUS CHRIST, WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO ME WILL TURN OUT FOR MY DELIVERANCE.
4. They shared joy.
Phil. 1:4 IN ALL MY PRAYERS FOR ALL OF YOU, I ALWAYS PRAY WITH JOY
Phil. 1:26 SO THAT THROUGH MY BEING WITH YOU AGAIN YOUR JOY IN CHRIST JESUS WILL OVERFLOW ON ACCOUNT OF ME.
Phil. 2:17-18 BUT EVEN IF I AM BEING POURED OUT LIKE A DRINK OFFERING ON THE SACRIFICE AND SERVICE COMING FROM YOUR FAITH, I AM GLAD AND REJOICE WITH ALL OF YOU. 18SO YOU TOO SHOULD BE GLAD AND REJOICE WITH ME.
5. They shared hardships.
Phil. 1:29-30 FOR IT HAS BEEN GRANTED TO YOU ON BEHALF OF CHRIST NOT ONLY TO BELIEVE ON HIM, BUT ALSO TO SUFFER FOR HIM, 30SINCE YOU ARE GOING THROUGH THE SAME STRUGGLE YOU SAW I HAD, AND NOW HEAR THAT I STILL HAVE.
6. They shared hope.
Phil. 2:10-11 AT THE NAME OF JESUS EVERY KNEE SHOULD BOW… 11AND EVERY TONGUE CONFESS THAT JESUS CHRIST IS LORD, TO THE GLORY OF GOD THE FATHER.
Phil. 3:20-21 BUT OUR CITIZENSHIP IS IN HEAVEN. AND WE EAGERLY AWAIT A SAVIOR FROM THERE, THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, 21WHO, BY THE POWER THAT ENABLES HIM TO BRING EVERYTHING UNDER HIS CONTROL, WILL TRANSFORM OUR LOWLY BODIES SO THAT THEY WILL BE LIKE HIS GLORIOUS BODY.
7. They shared news.
Phil. 2:19 I HOPE IN THE LORD JESUS TO SEND TIMOTHY TO YOU SOON, THAT I ALSO MAY BE CHEERED WHEN I RECEIVE NEWS ABOUT YOU.
Throughout this Letter, Paul shared news about his situation and his fellow workers.
•He had heard news about them from Epaphroditus (which inspired him to write back).
8. They shared concerns.
Phil. 1:8 GOD CAN TESTIFY HOW I LONG FOR ALL OF YOU WITH THE AFFECTION OF CHRIST JESUS.
Phil. 2:25-30 Paul shares their concerns concerning Epaphroditus.
Phil. 4:10 I REJOICE GREATLY IN THE LORD THAT AT LAST YOU HAVE RENEWED YOUR CONCERN FOR ME. INDEED, YOU HAVE BEEN CONCERNED, BUT YOU HAD NO OPPORTUNITY TO SHOW IT.
This obviously relates to their financial help, but the underlying point is just as true.
The Philippians were just as concerned about Paul as he was about them.
9. They shared finances. This is the main idea of our passage today.
Phil. 4:14 YET IT WAS GOOD OF YOU TO SHARE IN MY TROUBLES (my financial troubles by sending money).
The point here is that true unity/koinonia involves sharing on all levels.
If we’re going to help meet each others’ needs, we need to share with each other.
II. HOW CAN WE SHARE WITH OTHERS?
Let’s look again at the list above. As believers, we do share in the Gospel/God’s grace.
•We need to share prayers/joys/hardships/hope/news/ concerns/finances.
We all have different needs and God calls us to help meet those needs by sharing with each other.
Let me give you three other key ways to share.
1. Be sensitive to the needs around us.
Every person here is facing a challenge of some sort.
•We need to stop for a moment and consider the needs of others.
(Zingers 282) – “When it comes to doing things for others, some people stop at nothing.”
2. Look for opportunities.
•Maybe we won’t see specific needs, but we can always look for opportunities to share.
(Zingers 283) – “He who gives when he is asked has waited too long.”
Whatever trial we’re facing, as members of the Body of Christ, we should never face it alone.
3. Practice Phil. 2:1-4. IF YOU HAVE ANY ENCOURAGEMENT FROM BEING UNITED WITH CHRIST, IF ANY COMFORT FROM HIS LOVE, IF ANY FELLOWSHIP WITH THE SPIRIT, IF ANY TENDERNESS AND COMPASSION, 2THEN MAKE MY JOY COMPLETE BY BEING LIKE-MINDED, HAVING THE SAME LOVE, BEING ONE IN SPIRIT AND PURPOSE. 3DO NOTHING OUT OF SELFISH AMBITION OR VAIN CONCEIT, BUT IN HUMILITY CONSIDER OTHERS BETTER THAN YOURSELVES. 4EACH OF YOU SHOULD LOOK NOT ONLY TO YOUR OWN INTERESTS, BUT ALSO TO THE INTERESTS OF OTHERS.
The needs are all around us.
•It doesn’t take much to recognize and reach out to meet those needs.
Before we stop there, in case you’re still not convinced…
III. WHY SHOULD WE SHARE WITH OTHERS?
1. God commands us.
Rom. 12:13 SHARE WITH GOD’S PEOPLE WHO ARE IN NEED. PRACTICE HOSPITALITY.
If we say we love God, we need to back that up with our actions.
2. God returns what we give into our account, with interest.
17…I AM LOOKING FOR WHAT MAY BE CREDITED TO YOUR ACCOUNT.
We never lose when we give to and for God.
(Zingers 282) “A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.”
Mt. 6:3-4 BUT WHEN YOU GIVE TO THE NEEDY, DO NOT LET YOUR LEFT HAND KNOW WHAT YOUR RIGHT HAND IS DOING, 4SO THAT YOUR GIVING MAY BE IN SECRET. THEN YOUR FATHER, WHO SEES WHAT IS DONE IN SECRET, WILL REWARD YOU.
Mk. 10:21 (rich ruler) “GO, SELL EVERYTHING YOU HAVE AND GIVE TO THE POOR, AND YOU WILL HAVE TREASURE IN HEAVEN.
3. God gives us joy.
Everyone who has shared any of these things above knows personally the joy of giving.
The Philippians struggled with practical unity.
•Paul reminds/encourages them to share their lives with each other.
•He encourages us to do the same. We’re not quite there yet, either.
There are numerous needs all around us. Are we meeting the needs?
•Are we practicing the love of Christ with each other?
•Are we encouraging each other, listening to each other, helping each other?
Who can you share God’s love with today? This week? Will you commit to doing that?
The Bottom Line: We need to share because we care.
(Zingers 282) “Nothing costs as much as caring – except not caring.”
Think of it this way. “The debt we owe to God is payable to man.” (282)
Sermon Outline and Power Point are available by emailing the author.