River City Spokane

Giving and Receiving Life: Philippians 4:10-23


Hey everyone, this is Kerr, welcome to Gospel Home Brew a resource from River City Spokane. May the word of God brew in today as we come to the conclusion of Paul’s letter of indestructible joy, the letter to the Philippians.

It has been a great joy and privilege for me to brew with you through this letter. We have gone through this letter verse by verse for some time and my hope is that you not only have come to see the treasures that this letter holds for your walk with Jesus, but by brewing with us you have come to prize the true treasure of this letter: Jesus Christ. He loves you more than you can imagine. There is not greater joy than to trek through a letter of God’s word with men who love the Scriptures just as much as I do. We hope that you have been stirred by this resource to prize Jesus more. I want to personally thank Thomas Lambert, Colten Lindberg, Tim Seo, Fred Putzeys, and John Wolfe for the thorough study of Philippians and being on the same mission of spreading the good news of Jesus for the sake of His name. I love you guys. I also want to thank you, the listener, for listening and making the brew part of life to learn how to read the Bible for yourselves and for allowing fifteen minutes of you week to be a time to brew in God’s word. May the Lord bless you, keep you, make His face shine upon you, cover you with His countenance, and may He be your joy.

Last teaching Thomas look at the first part of Philippians chapter four. In this section, I hope you sensed the love Paul has had for this church in Philippi. Paul in verses one through nine, shepherds (leads) the church by beckoning them to be united, to constantly be in the state of rejoicing in the Lord, to replace their anxieties with God’s peace by developing a life of prayer, and to think on God-praising things. We hope that you saw that Christ desires to be king and master of your heart, not just your behavior. Does God care how you live? If you read Philippians you know the answer is yes. But God desires children who live for Him from their new hearts. If we are in Jesus, we are new creations with new hearts, alive spirits, new wants, new desires, and new ways of living.

He prays that God would “guard their hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). When you become a Christians (a child of God) God does something new in your hearts. This is where he starts. And He does this for a reason. He does not wnt little Pharisees running around. He desires children who love Him and desires to live with him and for him. A Christian is about his or her’s family business: the fame of their Father and Savior’s name. This is not something that should just affect of behaviors, but our whole man—our whole being. Notice throughout this entire letter Paul talks about the minds, thoughts, beliefs, values, deeds, hearts, and lives of God’s children. Paul is pleading and showing the child of God that indestructible joy is not a state of mind, but a Person followed and treasured, and He saturates the entire being of the child of God. And this leads us to the conclusion of this letter.

So open you Bible to Philippians four and read with me verses ten through 23. Let us go to God’s Word and O Lord, speak to us:

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. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 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. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. 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. Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit. 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.  And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.

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

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

Honestly, this is a section of Scripture that most pastors of a church will pass over. And there are many reasons for this. We know that many people are suspicious about pastors, especially those that talk about this topic. Pastors do not want to appear greedy. This is why pastors, leaders, and church members need to be carefully gospel-centered when teaching on any subject , especially the topic that many people struggle with. What is this topic? The topic is money. I know that they is a reflex that just stirred in your heart when I said the word money, but stay with me, because in this particular passage we see a beautiful theology of giving and receiving that everybody, pastors, leaders, and members alike, should consider closely.

So what is the purpose of money? The premise I would present for the rest of this teaching is: money is given to the child of God so that it can be used in such a ways that displays to the world that money is not your treasure but our treasure is Jesus. We, at River City, believe this with all our hearts. The Philippians are great models of giving, and Paul is the model of receiving. Lets pay attention to both of them.

I do not know about you, but I have struggled throughout my entire Christian life with treasuring Jesus mare than anything else. I have personally struggled with being content in Jesus. I also have personally warred against thinking that I have too much money and that I am not doing enough with it. I have also worried about not having enough at times. One of the scriptures that pricks my heart constantly is from Jesus in Luke 12:15, “Watch out and be on guard against all greed.” Christian, we have to watch out for greed because greed is sneaky. It is funny when you ask people, “are you greedy,” how many of them will say, “No.” We all need to brew on this section of scripture. Another issue that Paul faces in these verses is the misguided assumption that either the rich or the poor are spiritually superior to the other. Both are wrong. Because many great spiritual leaders in church history were both poor, and many were wealthy. We must trade the prosperity gospel and poverty gospel for the true gospel.

In the verses we read, Paul addresses money matters with great shepherding grace. He has carefully selected his words. God wants us to build our lives around what Paul teaches about money. There are tons but we will focus on four.

Gospel Giving and Receiving (Philippians 4:10-20)

The first word Paul uses is the word  that shows gratitude (4:10). Remember Paul is a joyful man. And this joyful man in Jesus begins his final portion of the letter with an atomic word of joy. “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.” Notice, once again, Paul is rejoicing. What is he rejoicing about? He is rejoicing in the Philippians’ renewed support. When he talks about rejoicing he add the adverb “greatly.” He is rejoicing says, “Thank you Jesus for the generosity of other believers!” He is thankful, because for some reason before the Philippians could not be generous, but now because of Jesus the Philippians can be now. Paul is joyfully-grateful for the Philippians’ concern about him and for their generosity. He is not manipulating, faltering, or being silent because of this. Not he is publically rejoicing to Jesus on behalf of them. Paul in the beginning of the letter rejoices to God for the Philippians and Paul at the end of the letter rejoices to God for the Philippians.

Let us follow Paul’s example here. If someone has blessed you, thank Jesus for them—in front of them. Thank God for those who care about you. Jesus is showing us that our money that he has so graciously given to us—in the multiple ways he has—is to be used to show the children of God that we care for them because Jesus does.

The second word that Paul uses in these verses shows us that he has no manipulation or flattery in mind to get in their pockets. Paul is not a pocket picker, but a pocket revealer. He is summoning the Philippians to live a life that pursues this rare jewel—contentment (4:11-13). “. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 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. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

Paul spends three verses on this idea to show to the Philippians that his motive in rejoicing is pure. He does not want them to see him as a poor beggar, and he does not want them to misinterpret his joy. Paul looks and lives to exalt Jesus as his ultimate source of joy and strength. In Paul’s day the philosophies that plagued the hearts of the people was seeing contentment as self-sufficiency. Paul transforms this idea to show the children of God and the world to see contentment as Christ-sufficiency. To put it plainly, Christian contentment is about believing and living that Christ is enough. And honestly, contentment was rare in Paul’s day, and the same is true about ours.

Contentment Paul would say is like a rare jewel. It is uncommon. In verses eleven thorough twelve Paul shows us why. Contentment is unconnected to our current circumstances. Paul stresses in these verses that his contentment did not increase or decrease based on his material provision. Remember he “counts everything as loss” (Philippians 3:8). Here is the truth, more stuff won’t bring a Christian deeper satisfaction, and neither will less stuff. Yet many Christians today often think they need to a change of circumstances in order to be content. These verses say otherwise. Contentment is unconnected to our current circumstances.

What do you honestly believe you need in order to be content? How do you honestly believe your circumstances need to be in order for you to give or give more? Do you need a bigger house? A better car? Better behave kids? A better career?  To live in a different part of town? Do you need to live on rice and beans in a mud hut in Africa to be more content? Paul is teaching us the hard and sobering truth that nothing in itself outside of Jesus can give this.

Contentment is a gift from the Spirit of God grown and learned in the child of God. In these verses Paul, shows that he learned about this rare jewel personally. It was not instantly zapped in his heart, but through many experiences, Paul learned first-hand that Jesus was enough. Paul knew what it was like to be taken care of by wealthy Lydia and his Christian friends in Ephesus and Corinth. But he was not more content with these experiences. John Calvin taught that one might argue that it is harder to be content in abundance than in need. Paul also experienced extreme hardships—he is writing this letter from prison. Prison was only one of these things. And if you think that he is blowing smoke, just read the New Testament. This is a guy who knew what abundance was like, be he also often went without food, a place to sleep, and what low actually felt like. Paul learned contentment as he followed Jesus. This is where he learned what really mattered.

We can wish that a certain crises or circumstance would break us from our love affair with this world, but Paul is letting us know that contentment is not learned in a single crisis. It is learned through exposure to times of need and times of plenty. We need both schools and both tests. Greed is something that lives in the rich and the poor. Both the rich and the poor are tempted to deny God and his provision. Our hearts prayer, as Paul’s was, should be, “Jesus give me a content life. Give me what I need. Cause me to see You Jesus are most important.” Paul lets us see that the rare jewel is no secret. This rare jewel (Christian contentment) is rooted and grounded in our relationship with Jesus. And it flows from our union and communion with Jesus. “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (4:13). And it is amazing that this verse is the most often quoted verse and also the most misapplied verse.

We see this verse on the side of Tim Tebow’s cheek and Curry’s tennis shoes. Paul is not saying, “I can Hulk these chains, Jason Bourne the guards, and run like Flash out of this prison.” The “all things” phrase must be governed by the context of what Paul is saying. And the context of this verse is about contentment and material possessions. The verse is saying to us that through Jesus we are able to be content in every situation. Paul is preoccupied with his Savior not his circumstance or situation. Paul is saying, “In these chains I can be content for I am His. With these guards, no matter how they treat me, I can be content for I am Yours. In this prison I can be content for You are here with me.”

Man! Let this verse be true for you! This simple and true statement illustrates what the Christian life should look like. Either you focus on Jesus, or you will fall prey to discontentment, complaining, deceit, false gospels, distrust, or greed. The secret is not a mindset but a Person whom you focus on and commune with daily.

Do you think that your lack of contentment has made you less flexible to live on mission for the sake of His name? Contentment makes you adaptable. Meaning, Christian contentment makes us flexible, able to go anywhere and give anything. This is how people can give or go. They have found that they do not need a bunch of stuff or familiar surroundings. They have found the One they truly need. They do not love money. They are content with what they have. They have come to know that Jesus will not forsake them even if everyone else does. They are content—adaptable, flexible, and open to whatever the Lord wants to send them because what they must have is Him. This was Paul, and God desires that this becomes you. Jesus is showing us that our circumstances that he has so graciously given to us—in the multiple ways he has—is to be used to show the world that all we desire is to have Jesus.

The third word Paul uses shows us the inseparable relationship between finances and gospel partnership. In verses fourteen through sixteen Paul is not just highlighting that the Philippians have given, but why they have given. “Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. 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. Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again.” Here you see how Paul views the Philippians’ generosity. They had sympathy and were authentic. They were kind to share his troubles, And their kindness went beyond mere sentiment. They gave to show how much their care in the gospel mission. Paul is showing us in these verses that if we are not giving, we are not true partners. Are we consumers or partners. A consumer only likes to receive but not give. But, a partner. A partner loves to give more than they like to receive. A partner is content to give. The Philippians did not just talk about the game, but they put their own skin in the game. We know in 2 Corinthians chapters 8 through 9, even though many of the Philippians were not wealthy, they earned a reputation for giving sacrificially, generously, and cheerfully to support the mission of the gospel. You can see why Paul loved this church so much. They had a heart like Jesus. They too were about advancing the gospel and planting churches we the lost could hear the good news of Jesus.

And to be honest this is what we all need to be about as well.

As Christians, do not be consumers; be partners. Give as a partner. Do not hide in the shadows. Do not simply come to church, and then vanish. Be a partner. Being a covenant partner means more than just money, but it does involve money. As the church, we should follow the Philippians’ example. Even though they were a young church, they were focused on supporting gospel work right where they were and elsewhere, and they desired to see what they had—a community of Jesus followers on mission together ( a church)—spread to place everywhere. This is honestly the mission of River City Spokane. We desire to see this young church plant to spread hundred of gospel communities in every neighborhood in Spokane and abroad. And this will happen as the Spirit leads people to go and give through sacrificial generosity to display to the world that Jesus is worth every sacrifice we make.

The last word that is massive in the section of scripture we have been talking about is fruitfulness (4:19-20). There is a connection, and Paul shows this, in giving and receiving life by him highlighting the spiritual and eternal significance of living a generous life. Would your life display to the looking word that your life is a generous one? Paul over and over again uses the word “not.”  “. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit. 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.  And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.” After talking about the great privilege and responsibility of giving, he says, “Not that I seek the gift.”

See this!

Paul wants the Philippians, he wants us, to know that his joy is not due to the fact that they have given him a gift. Paul is not looking to get rich. Being rich is not his motive. Why is Paul so happy because of their gift? He tells us plainly, “I seek the fruit.” What is the fruit? He wants the Philippians, us, to bear fruit—he wants them to profit spiritually. In chapter one Paul, prays that the Philippians be “filled with the fruit of righteousness” (1:11). And one of the forms of righteousness is generous giving. Every pastor should feel free and comfortable to talk about money because every pastor should care about the fruitfulness of God’s people. We must see that our people grow spiritually and invest eternally. I care about this for you.

One of the ways we as Christians bear fruit is by giving financially to advance the gospel. Now I know there are seasons of life in you walk with Jesus and your finances for Jesus. I hope you feel encouragement and not condemnation in this podcast. I have been a Christian for sixteen years now, and in these sixteen years of walking with Jesus I too am having to grow in this area. So trust me, I know this is a hard topic. But, when I in my fifth year a Christian I had two people that have poured in my life make statements and asked great question that brewed in my heart to call me to be fruitful in my generosity. The first was a woman that I worked with on staff named Liz Cowart. She always said this to me and honestly it always bugged me until I saw the gospel truth in it. She said, “nothing is yours, everything is God’s, especially your doe.” The second was from a man that has disciple my way of thinking about Jesus named John Piper. He preached a sermon to his congregation about reaching the nations for Jesus and he asked this profound questions to his congregation and it hit me. He asked, “Can you say, ‘Jesus is my treasure above all things? If you say yes, let me ask you another question. Have you sought the Lord face and asked him for a disciplined plan for giving to the mission of your church?”

Paul is rejoicing because he knows God will bless the believers for laying up treasure in heaven, not on this earth. In order to live this way we must have divine perspective and not earthy perspective. God does honor people’s faithfulness and fruitfulness in this life. Jesus taught this truth in many places like Matthew 6:19-24 and Luke 12:32-34. However, when we hear this we almost automatically think this means financial blessings to us. This should reveal something in us. Do we give to get more money, or do we give so that our Father, who we say we love, gets His glory? The Philippians gave because their hearts desire was to see God save the lost, forgive sins, adopt children, and set them free to spread his good news. This is why the man in prison was soaring in joyfulness.

So generous giving displays to the world that we are grateful to have what we have a desire for others to share in this gratitude, that we are content with the life God has chosen for us, that we desire to grow in Him and see Him grow in others, that we give as a way of worship flowing out from the love we have in Jesus, and that we trust God as our provider. By living this way we display to the world that our money is used to say money is not our treasure but Jesus is, and he is enough.

Greetings and Gospel Encouragement (4:21-23)

Paul ends his letter with a greeting and encouragement. He reminds them they are saints due to their position “in Christ.” They share a common bond because of their relationship with God. That the Christian life is a life in community—and he lived this way even in prison. Paul was never alone. “Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me greet you. All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar’s household. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.” These verses reminds the church in Philippi, and us, about the other genuine communities of faith around the globe and the solidarity we share. We are saints. We are brothers and sisters. We are family. We need to live this way. The letter to the Philippians is truly the letter of indestructible joy. Together let us advance the gospel of grace faithfully and courageously. The gospel is indestructible to those who have been captured by it.

We pray that Philippians would not just be a letter read, but would be a letter that is live. This is Kerr, and thanks for brewing in the letter of Philippians with us. The joy of receiving life is displayed by the joy of giving life. We love you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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