Summary: When we give, not just out of our wealth, but as a sacrifice it counts as a credit with God, a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God, that opens up God’s riches to meet our needs.
Paul praised the Philippians for their sacrificial giving, not as something that he needed, but as a credit to their account with God, a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God, that opened up the heavens to meet their needs.
When we give, not just out of our wealth, but as a sacrifice it counts as a credit with God, a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God, that opens up God’s riches to meet our needs.
A little girl told an older friend that she was going to give her daddy a pair of slippers for his birthday. "Where will you get your money?" asked the friend. She opened her eyes wide, smiled, and said, "Why, Father will give me the money." For a moment the friend was silent as he thought that the father would buy his own birthday present. And the father loved the little girl and appreciated the gift, even though he paid for it himself. If you really think about it, we have nothing of our own to give to God. He owns it all.
Please turn in your Bible to Philippians 4:14-20
14 Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. 15 Moreover, 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; 16 for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid more than once when I was in need. 17 Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account. 18 I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. 19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. 20 To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
The Bible is full of examples of sacrificial giving. In 1 Kings 17:13, the widow at Zarephath first made Elijah, the prophet, a cake with everything she had left. As a result, God provided enough oil and meal for Elijah, the widow woman, and her son to survive throughout the drought. In Matthew 26:7, a woman poured her very expensive perfume from the alabaster jar over Jesus’ head. In Luke 21, Jesus recognized the poor widow woman’s tiny gift as more than the large gifts from the rich. In Acts 2:44, the early church members sold their property and possessions to give to anyone in need. In Acts 4:32, again the early church shared everything they had. In 2 Corinthians 8:2, Paul writes of the Macedonian churches giving out of their extreme poverty, beyond their ability.
We all have needs in our life from time to time. Sometimes, it might be a monetary need, but at other times it is a physical healing, a spiritual healing, or just the need for peace in our lives.
Our heavenly Father loves to give good gifts to his children. Jesus said in Matthew 7:11, “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to our children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”
God loves to give to you. God loves to meet all of your needs. However, as believers in Christ, we must follow Christ’s example and give sacrificially.
What happens when we give sacrificially?
When we give sacrificially, it does three things.
I. GIVING SACRIFICIALLY PUTS CREDITS IN YOUR ACCOUNT IN HEAVEN
Look with me at Versus 15-17. Paul writes, “Moreover, 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; for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid again and again when I was in need. Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account.”
Their gift brought Paul joy not because of its personal material benefit to him, but because of its spiritual benefit to them. The principle that those who give generously will be blessed is taught repeatedly in Scripture. Solomon wrote, "There is one who scatters, and yet increases all the more, and there is one who withholds what is justly due, and yet it results only in want. The generous man will be prosperous, and he who waters will himself be watered" (Prov. 11:24-25). Later in Proverbs he added, "One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the Lord, and He will repay him for his good deed" (Prov. 19:17), "He who is generous will be blessed" (Prov. 22:9), and "He who gives to the poor will never want" (Prov. 28:27). In Luke 6:38 Jesus said, "Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return." (MacArthur, 307)