Summary: Message 32 from Philippians exploring Paul's testimony about how God fully provided for his personal and physical needs.
Chico Alliance Church
May 7, 2017
Paul recorded some practical principles for maintaining the joy of the Lord no matter what, to the followers of Jesus living in the Greek city of Philippi. It seems these principles also apply to maintaining the peace and contentment of the Lord no matter what.
I. PICK THE RIGHT AXIS – A Passion to praise Christ 1
Praising and exalt Christ in everything
II. PRESERVE THE RIGHT ATTITUDE – A Passion to please Christ 2
Pleasing Christ through sacrificial service
III. PURSUE THE RIGHT AIM – A Passion to pursue Christ 3
Pursuing Christ above all other things
IV. PRACTICE THE RIGHT ACTIONS – A Passion to practice Christ 4:1-9
Practicing living like Christ
V. POSSESS THE RIGHT ABILITY 4:10-20
Praying for the power and provision of Christ
A. Rely on the power of Christ 4:10-13
When dealing with the difficulties of life, we can rely on God to strengthen us with sufficient ability to respond according to His direction.
I can do all things through the One strengthening me. Philippians 4:13
That confidence was Paul’s secret to contentment. He learned contentment in any and every circumstance because he knew Christ promised to empower him in any and every circumstance of life.
B. Receive Christ’s provision 4:14-20
Today’s passage contains a well-known, oft-quoted verse.
And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19
Every verse is surrounded by a context. It is important to always consider the context when seeking to interpret any specific verse and especially when making any specific personal applications. Contrary to the little chorus I learned as a kid, Not EVERY promise in the book is mine. Some promises were to individuals or specific groups. Some hold God responsible to fulfil a promise He never even made to them. Not all promises should be universally applied. Paul shifts between teaching, exhortation and personal testimony and his relationship with the Philippians throughout his letter. In this section, he shifted back to personal testimony.
Nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my affliction. You yourselves also know, Philippians, that at the first preaching of the gospel, after I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone; for even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs. Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account. But I have received everything in full and have an abundance; I am amply supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God. And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Now to our God and Father be the glory forever and ever. Amen. Philippians 4:14-20
Paul thanked them for their unsolicited gift. He relied on the Lord as the ultimate supply of his needs. As we mentioned last time, prisoners of that time relied on the benevolence of family and friends for their basic needs while imprisoned. He fully trusted God in every life circumstance. He did not demand or pressure support from anyone. In fact, he worked voluntarily on the side in order not to burden anyone for support.
For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example, because we did not act in an undisciplined manner among you, nor did we eat anyone's bread without paying for it, but with labor and hardship we kept working night and day so that we would not be a burden to any of you; not because we do not have the right to this, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you, so that you would follow our example. 2 Thessalonians 3:7-9
For an expanded treatment of this principle, see 1 Cor 9:3-14
Paul wrote to express his appreciation for their current support. He thanked them for their past support just after his initial ministry with them and then later as he ministered in Thessalonica. It appears that the Philippian church was the only one to extend such support. Paul clearly communicated that the benefit to them by giving was more important than the benefit to him.
Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account.
The term translated “profit” is the word normally translated “fruit”. We plant trees for the fruit. Literal fruit has to do with something beneficial and pleasing and refreshing. Paul understood the Biblical principle of giving and receiving. Paul told the Ephesian church…
In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'" Acts 20:35