God’s Glory for God’s People (Philippians 4:10-23)

God’s Glory for God’s People (Philippians 4:10-23)

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MPS: God’s glory is found in Jesus-centered contentment, giving, and grace.

I. God is glorified in Jesus-centered contentment. (10-14)

10 I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. 11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me. 

14 Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. 

Paul shares with the Philippians that their gift and support for him came at a time of great need. Through this gift they displayed their genuine concern for Paul. It was this concern for Paul through giving and prayer that God strengthened and sustained him. He was in prison facing death and had financial need. The Philippians sent a messenger, Epaphroditus,  to care for Paul and minister to his physical needs.

How great is it when we share in one another’s burdens. We can send cards to one another, pray for one another, and meet physical needs like bringing meals or helping with financial need. When others do this for us, God often uses it to encourage us in our time of hardship. His Spirit overwhelms us we receive His generosity through the generosity from our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

The Apostle then shares with us that his contentment hinged not on his brothers meeting his physical needs. His contentment came from Christ being his greatest treasure. Paul was a man with an incredible life. He was an accomplished Pharisee and persecutor of the Church. Most of his physical needs were met and he was never in fear for his life. He then has a radical transformation as Jesus changed him from the inside out. 

As such, Paul leaves his calling as a Jewish religious leader and must work as a tentmaker at times to support his church planting effort. Now he goes from city-to-city not knowing whether he will be killed for preaching the Gospel or thrown in jail. At the time of writing this letter he is sitting as a prisoner in Rome, content with whatever God brings his way.

This is true contentment, that whatever might happen in our lives, whether we are in plenty or in meager circumstances, we have Christ. And Christ is enough. When Christ becomes enough in our lives, God is glorified most.

II. God is glorified in Jesus-centered giving and receiving. (15-20)

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. 

The Philippians were blessed by Paul who planted and established their Church. They are just as blessed through their support of his continued church planting ministry.

Subtly and without complaining, Paul pointed out that others had received but not given. They had a one-way relationship in the gospel. Paul expected rejection and loneliness in his work; it came as no surprise. He was, however, troubled for two reasons. First, when they received they had a responsibility to share. Second, they missed the spiritual blessings that came from giving. The Philippians understood both principles and acted on them. That brought joy to Paul’s heart.” (Richard Melick)

Paul’s main focus is proclaiming the Gospel wherever he goes. He knows that God’s Kingdom needs to be proclaimed and this happens through the planting and establishment of local churches throughout the world. The churches that partnered with him in the Gospel work were blessed as they are given equal blessing spiritually.

This means that as we partner together in the proclamation of Christ together that the fruit that bears from that work is credited to all of us. When we as a congregation partner in prayer, time, and finances with other organizations the same blessing is accrued. This is what Jesus means when He says, 19“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and ruste destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Mt. 6:19-21)

When we are so focused on the Kingdom of God and seeing the Gospel proclaimed we will give of ourselves abundantly. We have received Christ, an abundant measure of God’s grace, and as such are called to give Him away to as many as possible. Therefore, our giving of ourselves, our prayers, and our finances should be with Christ in mind and a desire to see Him glorified.

III. God is glorified in Jesus-centered grace. (21-23)

21 Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me greet you. 22 All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar’s household. 

23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. 

Paul is greeting every member of the Church individually; a very personal statement. This might seem trivial to you and I. But it would be as if he were greeting each of us with our own personal letter. That’s how this would’ve been received. This personal letter to each of us from a man who was in prison for bringing the Gospel to people like us.

Think about how humbling it should be when we receive a personal letter, card, or visit from such a missionary. Paul is so concerned for the Kingdom of God and God’s people that he seeks to establish a personal relationship with them even in the midst of his imprisonment.

Paul mentions that this personal greeting comes from Caesar’s household as well. This  likely included the praetorian guard and the emperor’s servants. This only increases the weight of the greeting and furthers the connection between these two sets of believers.

The Philippians must’ve been shocked to hear that Caesar’s household, the very people holding Paul captive, have come to Christ. Not only have these captors come to Christ but they greet their fellow brothers and sisters in Philippi.

All too often churches think of themselves as being in competition with other churches. They measure this competition usually by budgets and butts. But such a view of the church is sinful, it divides, and is the opposite of Jesus-centered grace. Why? Because if you are measuring yourself against your brothers and sisters in Christ then Christ isn’t at the center of your heart but yourself.

This letter spends a great deal of time differentiating the Law and Gospel, which often causes come to reject the Law and others to reject the Gospel. Paul guards against both extremes by calling the Church to Christ-centered grace. This grace should mark their spirits. Indeed, this grace is given to the church daily by God’s sustaining us. “Our life is governed by grace, guided by grace, kept by grace, strengthened by grace, sanctified by grace, enabled by grace.” (MacArthur)

This means that in caring for each other, in restoring their wayward sisters, or correcting their mistaken brothers, they should do such with Christ-centered grace. That means that we are to give each other the benefit of the doubt. We assume the best and not the worst. We don’t talk behind people’s backs. We give people a chance. We see people who are in need of grace. We see people who are made in the image of God, saved by God through Christ.

 

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