The Sacrifice of Support

The Sacrifice of Support

Philippians 4:10-20

Intro:

  • This month is “Faith Promise” month at our church. It is at this time that we focus on financially supporting believers to do global ministry. All believers are to be involved in some form of global ministry. Our church supports some who do global ministry in Thailand, Bangladesh, Alaska, Pennsylvania, Mexico, etc… There is a biblical foundation for supporting others who do ministry vocationally. Paul tells the believers in Galatia, The one who is taught the message must share all ⌊his⌋ good things with the teacher. Don’t be deceived: God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows he will also reap, because the one who sows to his flesh will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit. So we must not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, we must work for the good of all, especially for those who belong to the household of faith.” (Gal. 6:6-10). The church is to financially support those in vocational ministry when financially able. It was a Jewish custom that those who were teachers would be financially supported by the rest of the believers. This would allow the teacher to focus on studying, praying, and teaching. Jesus supported this practice, “Jesus sent out these 12 after giving them instructions: “Don’t take the road leading to other nations, and don’t enter any Samaritan town. Instead, go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, announce this: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those with skin diseases, drive out demons. You have received free of charge; give free of charge. Don’t take along gold, silver, or copper for your money-belts. Don’t take a traveling bag for the road, or an extra shirt, sandals, or a walking stick, for the worker is worthy of his food.” (Matt. 10:5-10). The practice of financially supporting those in vocational ministry is to continue in the church today.

  • The financial support of a church’s own pastor is primary and then subsequently supporting others when the church is financially able is biblical. This practice of financial support is for the carrying out of Christ’s command to make disciples (Matt. 28:19-20). Paul reaffirms this command in his letter to the Colossian believers, “We proclaim Him, warning and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ. I labor for this, striving with His strength that works powerfully in me.” (Colossians 1:28-29). This morning we are going to look at a section of Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi.

  1. Financial support is a gift given to God (10-20)

    1. Gratitude for the gift (10-14)

      1. Paul is thankful that they have begun to financially support him again. He says that they were concerned about him but weren’t able to tangibly show that concern until now (10). Part of the reason for this was the distance from Philippi to Rome where Paul was under house arrest. They needed a messenger to take the gift and this time they had one in Epaphroditus (2:25-30; 3:18).

      2. The apostle doesn’t mention this because he is feeling needy. He has learned to be content when he has a lot and when he has little. He is able to be content in these two widely divergent circumstances because of God’s all-sufficient strength (11-13).

        1. It is good for all men to have clear views of the Lord Jesus Christ’s power. Let the sinner know that the merciful Saviour, to whom he is urged to flee, and in whom he is invited to trust, is nothing less than the Almighty, and has power over all flesh to give eternal life. Let the anxious inquirer understand that if he will only venture on Jesus, and take up the cross, he ventures on One who has all power in heaven and earth. Let the believer remember as he journeys through the wilderness, that his Mediator and Advocate and Physician and Shepherd and Redeemer is Lord of lords and King of kings, and that through Him all things may be done.” Holiness by JC Ryle

        2. Christ is not only all in the sanctification of a true Christian, but all in his comfort in time present. A saved soul has many sorrows. He has a body like other men, weak and frail. He has a heart like other men, and often a more sensitive one too. He has trials and losses to bear like others, and often more. He has his share of bereavements, deaths, disappointments, crosses. He has the world to oppose a place in life to fill blamelessly, unconverted relatives to bear with patiently, persecutions to endure and a death to die.”Holiness, JC Ryle

      3. Paul concludes this thought by reaffirming that these believers did well by supporting him financially and materially (14).

    2. Spiritual benefit from giving (15-20)

      1. Paul recalls when he left Macedonia (the territory where Philippi, Berea, and Thessalonica are located) no one else supported Paul financially except the Philippians (15). In fact when Paul left Philippi and traveled to Thessalonica (the very next city), they supported him there (16)!

      2. Paul isn’t looking for money. Instead he is so pleased with their giving because it is spiritual fruit/profit produced in their lives. It was for the spiritual maturity of the Philippians that Paul was glad they gave. Their giving demonstrated their spiritual growth (17). Paul had everything that he needed through the financial support of the Philippians. The apostle describes their financial support in terms of an O.T. burnt offering that was pleasing to God (18).

        1. Where do you find joy in all things, O great Paul? What is the cause of your joy? On what do you feed, O man, renewed now in the knowledge of God after the image of him who created you? He now finds his joy in the fact that they have returned once again to these good works, and he is made glad that they are flourishing again, as a fruitful field when it recovers its fertility.”—Confessions of St. Augustine

      3. Paul instructs the Philippians that even though they have given financially to support him, God will meet their needs (19).

        1. When you give alms, or do any act of charity, wait on God; do it as unto him, give to a disciple in the name of a disciple, to the poor because they belong to Christ; do it not for the praise of men, but for the glory of God, with a single eye, and an upright heart; direct it to him, and then your alms as well as your prayers, like those of Cornelius, come up for a memorial before God. Beg of God to accept what you do for the good of others, that your alms may indeed be offerings, may be an “odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing to God.”—The Secret of Communion with God, Matthew Henry

        2. Depend upon God to make up to you what you lay out in good works, and to recompense it abundantly in the resurrection of the just; nay, and you are encouraged to wait upon him for a return of it even in this life; it is bread cast upon the waters, which you shall find again after many days. And you should carefully observe the providence of God, whether it do not make you rich amends for your good works according to the promise, that you may understand the loving-kindness of the Lord, and his faithfulness to the word which he has spoken.” —The Secret of Communion with God, Matthew Henry

      4. Paul calls them to glorify God the Father for His promised provision (20).

        1. A valid need is one that God has met in our lives and admonishes us to meet in the lives of others through the expression of Great Commandment love. As we love God and freely receive from him, we are to freely give to others. God is Jehovah-Jireh, our provider. He has promised to meet all our needs, and he has chosen to do so through our families, friends, and church communities as we love God and allow him to share his life through us. That’s what Great Commandment love does: It meets valid relational needs from the resources which God freely supplies.” —Great Commandment Principle, David Ferguson

        2. Many a man and woman who is seeking to find the secret of their powerlessness in prayer need not seek far; it is nothing more nor less than downright stinginess. George Muller, to whom reference has already been made, was a mighty man of prayer because he was a mighty giver. What he received from God never stuck to his fingers; he immediately passed it on to others. He was constantly receiving because he was constantly giving. When one thinks of the selfishness of the professing church to-day, how the orthodox churches of this land do not average $1.oo per year per member for foreign missions, it is no wonder that the church has so little power in prayer. If we would get from God, we must give to others. Perhaps the most wonderful promise in the Bible in regard to God’s supplying our need is Philippians 4:19, “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” This glorious promise was made to the Philippian church, and made in immediate connection with their generosity.—How To Pray, RA Torrey

        3. Let us be encouraged to exalt God alone, and ascribe to him all the glory of redemption. Let us endeavor to obtain, and increase in our great dependence on God, to have our eyes on him alone, to put to death a self-dependent, and self-righteous attitude. Man is naturally prone to be exalting himself and depending on his own power or goodness, as though he were the one from whom to expect happiness, and to have respect to enjoyments apart from God and his Spirit, as those in which happiness is to be found. And this doctrine should teach us to exalt God alone, as by trust and reliance, so by praise. Let him that glories, glory in the Lord. Has any man hope that he is converted, and sanctified, and that his mind is endowed with true excellency and spiritual beauty, and his sins forgiven, and he received into God’s favor, and exalted to the honor and blessedness of being his child, and an heir of eternal life; let him give God all the glory; who alone makes him to differ from the worst of men in this world, or the damned in hell. Has any man much comfort and strong hope of eternal life, let not his hope lift him up, but dispose him the more to humble himself, and reflect on his own exceeding unworthiness of such a favor, and to exalt God alone. Is any man eminent in holiness, and abundant in good works, let him take nothing of the glory of it to himself, but ascribe it to him whose workmanship we are, “created in Christ Jesus for good works.” —A Treasury of Great Preaching, Jonathan Edwards

Conclusion:

Here are some principles that I see in this passage that are applicable to churches today:

  • Churches should financially and materially support their pastors.

  • After this is happening, churches should help to financially and materially support those involved in global ministry vocationally.

  • It reveals spiritual maturity when churches financially support those involved in global ministry vocationally. This pleases God.

  • God knows when churches financially support global ministry and will bless them when they help to support global ministry.

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