Philippians 4:14-20 14 Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. 15 And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. 16 Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. 17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit. 18 I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. 19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. 20 To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.
I was not able to record the sermon from February 12, but I am posting an outline and some thoughts for you to read here.
The main idea of the passage was, “Give glory to God our Father forever and ever.” We do this by giving / going / sending / praying for our missionary efforts, down the street and across the oceans. You see, Paul was facing several problems as a missionary (trouble in v. 14). These were physical problems of being a missionary and also the burden of doing the work while looking forward to Jesus’ return. There is an immediate and eschatological sense to his problems.
These problems led the Philippians to partnership with Paul in his efforts (vv. 15-16). They partnered with Paul through prayer, suffering with him, carrying his burdens and financially providing for his needs. Why did they do this? They caught his vision, and Jesus’ vision, to go out into “Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth” with the gospel. The gospel is the only truth that can help the people of Macedonia, Rome, the Middle East, China, Africa, or America. It is a vision and cause and command worth partnering in.
This partnering led to payment in vv. 17-18. Paul was paid financially, and the Philippians were paid in being blessed, “the fruit that increases to their credit.” They gave a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God, and God blessed them for their sacrifice. They were storing up for themselves treasures in heaven, and it did not go unnoticed by Him. Payment goes all around, from the giver to the receiver; it is truly more blessed to give than to receive.
The Philippians made great sacrifices to give, but God made provision for them in v. 19. He supplied all their needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus, because they had sacrificed all they had. Sometimes we hesitate in giving to missionary efforts because “we need that money for something else”, but don’t’ we think God is able to provide for us if we obey His command to give?
All of these problems, partnership, payment and provision result in praise to God. Won’t it be something for missionaries to succeed in their efforts and the lost to declare faith in Christ! What a joy for missionaries to preach and unbelievers in China, France, Russia and downtown to respond and join in praise of our Father!
We concluded with our missionary to Laos and our team to southeast Asia sharing their needs. We asked the church to respond by helping us pay for our efforts. It was a challenging sermon and some people answered the call to partner with us. We look forward to sharing good results with the congregation at a future time.