Amplified: But it was right and commendable and noble of you to contribute for my needs and to share my difficulties with me. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
NLT: But even so, you have done well to share with me in my present difficulty. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: Nevertheless I am not disparaging the way in which you were willing to share my troubles. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: All the same, you did a beautiful thing when you made yourselves fellow partakers with me in my tribulation. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: but ye did well, having communicated with my tribulation;
NEVERTHELESS, YOU HAVE DONE WELL TO SHARE WITH ME IN MY AFFLICTION: plen kalos epoiesate (2PAAI) sugkoinonesantes (AAPMPN) mou te thlipsei : (1Ki 8:18; 2 Chr 6:8; Mt 25:21; 3Jn 1:5, 6, 7, 8) (Php 4:18; 1:7; Ro 15:27; 1Co 9:10,11; Gal 6:6; 1Ti 6:18; Heb 10:34; 13:16)
Nevertheless (4133) (plen) is a marker of contrast (see discussion of terms of contrast), implying the validity of something irrespective of other considerations. Paul uses plen here to restrict his previous statement. In view of Paul's complete reliance upon Christ in him, continually strengthening him in every circumstance, the Philippians might have wondered if they should have even bothered to send him the gift. After all why would one who is self-content (in Christ) need anything? Paul wants the Philippians to know that their gift ("nevertheless") was still very much appreciated. Their gift demonstrated that they had a proper spirit as givers.
Paul's joy in his strength in Christ would not obscure his joy in their loving ministry or take away from his sincere gratitude to them for their sacrifice.
Vincent concurs writhing " Lest, in declaring his independence of human aid, he should seem to disparage the Philippians’ gift."
Vine has an interesting comment on sugkoinoneo writing that by using this verb "the apostle does not mean simply that it was a joint contribution on their part, but that they joined with him, making his affliction their own. (Vine, W. Collected writings of W. E. Vine. Nashville: Thomas Nelson )
Vine references as support for his interpretation the passage in Galatians where Paul commands believers to
Thlipsis - 45x in NT - Matt. 13:21; 24:9, 21, 29; Mk. 4:17; 13:19, 24; Jn. 16:21, 33; Acts 7:10f; 11:19; 14:22; 20:23; Rom. 2:9; 5:3; 8:35; 12:12; 1 Co. 7:28; 2 Co. 1:4, 8; 2:4; 4:17; 6:4; 7:4; 8:2, 13; Eph. 3:13; Phil. 1:17; 4:14; Col. 1:24; 1 Thess. 1:6; 3:3, 7; 2 Thess. 1:4, 6; Heb. 10:33; Jas. 1:27; Rev. 1:9; 2:9f, 22; 7:14
The NAS translates thlipsis as affliction(14), afflictions(6), anguish(1), distress(2), persecution(1), tribulation(16),tribulations(4), trouble(1).
Thlipsis originally expressed sheer, physical pressure on a man. Medically thlipsis was used of the pulse (pressure). It conveys the idea of being squeezed or placed under pressure or crushed beneath a weight. When, according to the ancient law of England, those who willfully refused to plead guilty, had heavy weights placed on their breasts, and were pressed and crushed to death, this was literally thlipsis.
John MacArthur writes that "Thlipsis (tribulations) has the underlying meaning of being under pressure and was used of squeezing olives in a press in order to extract the oil and of squeezing grapes to extract the juice… In Scripture the word thlipsis is perhaps most often used of outward difficulties, but it is also used of emotional stress." (MacArthur, J: Romans 1-8. Moody)
Thlipsis pictures one being "crushed" by intense pressure, difficult circumstances, suffering or trouble pressing upon them from without. Thus persecution, affliction, distress, opposition or tribulation, all press hard on one's soul. Thlipsis does not refer to mild discomfort but to great difficulty. In Scripture the thlipsis is most often used of outward difficulties, but it is also used of emotional stress and sorrows which "weighs down" a man’s spirit like the sorrows and burden his heart. Thlipsis then includes the disappointments which can "crush the life" out of the one who is afflicted.
The English word "tribulation" is derived from the Latin word tribulum (literally a thing with teeth that tears), which was a heavy piece of timber with spikes in it, used for threshing the corn or grain. The tribulum was drawn over the grain and it separated the wheat from the chaff. As believers experience the "tribulum" of tribulations, and depend on God’s grace, the trials purify us and rid us of the chaff.
Constable has an interesting note here…
In sharing with him in his affliction, they did something about his problem, putting their money where their mouth was so to speak.
FILLING AND FILLED
THE Apostle had already made it clear, that though for a long interval he had received nothing from the Philippian Church, he did not complain, but realised that there were sufficient reasons which accounted for the cessation of their gifts. He did not deny that he had been straitened in outward circumstances, but he had been content because he discerned the will of God in every dispensation, and was able to do all things in union with the Living Christ. He had found that his legitimate necessities had been met, and that God had dealt with him as with Elijah, to whom the feathered fowl, and the slender resources of the widow of Zarephath, ministered daily provision. He rejoiced, however, that his friends had been able to send again to his necessity, not for his sake alone, but for theirs. It was not that he sought for a gift, but for fruit that might be reckoned to their account.
The Gift and Its Return. No Church had done for Paul what the Philippian Church had. In the early days they had sent once and again to minister to his need; and now their present, forwarded by the hand of Epaphroditus, redounded still further to their credit. It was "an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing to God." How could he repay them for the gifts they had sent when they were able, and for the desire to send when they were not. It was clear that he must always be hopelessly in debt to them so far as material supplies were concerned, but he could pray and make intercession on their behalf, and remind the Master that all kindness shown to the servant imposed an honourable obligation on the Master, and out of all this arose the assurance that his "God would fulfil every need of theirs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus."
"Fulfil." To translate the Greek word as R.V. does by fulfil connects this verse with the preceding one, and brings out the designed and beautiful harmony. The Apostle was filled because he had received from Epaphroditus the gifts of his friends, and now God would fulfil their need. What they had done in the lower sphere for him would be repeated in a higher sphere by God. The measure with which they had meted out their stores for the imprisoned Apostle would be returned to them brimming to the full, not with the supplies for physical need, but with the eternal and unsearchable riches of heaven, which are in Christ Jesus.
Give and Receive. This is a constant law of God's world. "Give, and it shall be given unto you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, shall be given into your bosom. For with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again." Lend your boat for a whole afternoon to Christ that it may be His floating pulpit, and He will return it to you laden with fish. Place your upper room at His disposal for a single meal, and He will fill it and the whole house with the Holy Spirit of Pentecost. Place in His hands your barley loaves and fish, and He will not only satisfy your hunger, but add twelve baskets full of fragments. The Philippians sent three or four presents to a suffering and much needing servant of God, and from that moment they might reckon that every need of theirs would be supplied. Such small acts on our part are recompensed with such vast returns. We scratch the surface of the soil and insert our few little seeds, and within a few months the acreage is covered by a prolific harvest in which a hundredfold is given for every grain which we seemed to throw away.
God's Return to us. God refuses to be in debt to any man. He takes into His exchequer the accounts of all outlay made by His stewards for the relief of need and distress, and He repays with interest. When the Good Samaritan was leaving the village inn, on the morning after the memorable rescue of the wounded traveller, he said to the host, "Take care of him, and what thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay." Evidently, he was well-known on the road, he had often been at that inn before, and had established his character by honourable and generous treatment. They knew that his word was his bond, and that whatever was expended in reason would secure an ungrudging repayment. And if this be true of man how much more of God. He hands over to us cases in which He is deeply interested, saying as He does so, "Take care of these, expend what is necessary, and I will repay." May we not reckon on God for this? According to our faith it will be to us.
But Give Cheerfully. Whenever, therefore, we feel impelled to make provision for others, let us do it as unto God, not simply out of human pity, but from a deep sense of obligation to our Heavenly Father, let us do it gladly, freely, generously. "God loveth a cheerful giver." Three things will happen,
(1) We shall send a thrill of gratitude into some weary and fainting soul, encouraging it to hope in God because it has found that its hope in man has not been misplaced.
(2) The odor of the act will be fragrant as it steals upward to mingle with the adoration and service of Heaven. There is no longer need to offer propitiatory sacrifices, for they have been done away in view of the sacrifice made by our Lord when He once offered Himself without sin unto God, but there is room in the Christian dispensation for the sacrifice of praise (Heb. 13:15-note), for the living sacrifice of ourselves (Ro 12:1-note), and for the acceptable sacrifices of Christian beneficence which, as this paragraph tells us, are well-pleasing to God.
(3) We may also reckon that He will fill to the brim the measure with which we have meted out for others, and take it as a certainty that He will fulfil every need according to His riches. If our measure was filled with sand grains, He will return it filled with gold dust; if it was filled with pebbles, He will hand it back replete with diamonds; if it contained necessaries for the physical life, He will restore it brimming over with spiritual riches.
Charity Succeeded by Poverty. It may be answered that many who have given lavishly for God's cause have afterwards come to penury and need, and their benefactions seem to have been lost like argosies that go down at sea. In any case, there has been no return to brighten the straitened circumstances of declining years.
Three answers may be given.
First, it may be that the gifts were not rendered with a single eye for the glory of God, but for some lower motives of display, ostentation, or self-advertisement; therefore, they had their reward. They were done to be seen of men, they received the recognition and applause of men, and God refused to recognise any obligation for further recompense.
Secondly, it is necessary, before these laws of the spiritual world operate on our behalf, that we should definitely and by faith appropriate them. There is no promise which does not require to be claimed. As the angel of electricity will not step forth to illumine our rooms unless we turn the switch when we pass through the door, so we must not complain that the laws of the spiritual world do not bring us help unless by faith we appropriate their service. Whenever, therefore, we expend alms for the relief of need, let us definitely put our money into God's bags, which wax not old: we should specifically lay up treasure in heaven, we should pay our money, so to speak, into the bank of His faithfulness, and reckon that there will be a definite return. It may be taken as an axiom that in this world there is a return for every gift that we lay on the altar of self-sacrifice --not of reward but of free grace. We must not make the gift in order to get the reward, but having made the gift in the name of Christ, and for the fulfilment of His redemptive purpose, we may certainly believe that in ways that we may not be able to define God will supply all our need.
Thirdly, it should be borne in mind that though there may be apparent straitness, there may be a wealth of content, a gold mine of peace and joy, the precious stones of spiritual grace, which correspond to the riches in glory of which the Apostle speaks. When life was young, they gave of their temporal things, and now as the evening shades gather, God gives them not temporalities but spiritualities. They sowed carnal things and reap spiritual ones (1Co 9:11).
God's Return. "All your need." From the moment that we draw our first breath in this world to the last sigh of expiring life, we are full of needs. The babe has its cradle needs, and the patriarch those that arise from the wearing out of his faculties, and his growing dependence on others. The body has physical need, the mind its hunger for truth, the heart its insatiable longing for love, the spirit for spiritual sustenance and quickening. Our human nature is one great bundle of need, it is always crying aloud for satisfaction; and as civilisation advances, the variety and multiplicity of our need is ever on the increase.
Needs and Desires. We must distinguish between our needs and our desires. It is possible to want a good many things which we do not need. We often want things which it would injure us greatly to have. Paul wanted to be delivered from his thorn, but his real need was for more grace. We want a great many things which it is not possible for our Heavenly Father to give us, except to the great detriment of our best life. There is no promise that God shall supply all our desires or wishes, there is a certainty that He will fulfil all our need.
Some may read these words whose needs are clamant, the need for guidance, for help against temptation, for the quickening of languishing devotional life, the need for daily bread or employment. Let all such take this to their heart for their comfort that God will supply all their need. "My God shall fulfil every need of yours."
Christ is God's Answer to Our Need. "In Him are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge hidden." "It pleased the Father that in Him should all the fulness dwell." "In Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily." The Divine-Human nature of Christ is replete with every possible supply for His people. "He filleth all in all." Those that trust Him can say, as the Apostle did of the Philippian gifts, "I have all things and abound; I am filled, hating received from Christ the things that came from God, and which were treasured in Him for my enrichment and thanksgiving." The teaching of the Apostle is full of this thought, as when he says, "I thank my God always concerning you, for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus; that in everything ye were enriched in Him" (1Cor 1:4, 5), and again, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who hath blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ" (Eph 1:3-note). Peter also affirms the same thought. "Grace to you, and peace be multiplied in the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His Divine power hath granted unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness" (2Pet. 1:2-note, 2Pe 1:3-note).
Christ is the complement i.e. the completement of every soul. Just as the dark face of the moon taken with her first crescent of light makes a complete circle, so the unseen Redeemer together with our infinite need makes a complete man after God's stature. The greater our deficiency the larger His supply.
The Prime Necessity. The prime necessity, however, is that we should reckon it is so, and avail ourselves of all the treasures that are prepared for our use in our Risen Lord. Too often we act as if we had to meet the demands of life from our own limited exchequer, instead of believing that we have been taken into partnership with the Son of God, and can at any moment draw upon His all-sufficiency. What would you think if a clerk, who was sent to a distant land to open a branch of some great business firm, were to seek to meet the expenses out of his own limited salary, when the head of the firm had told him to draw upon his credit to any extent which he deemed necessary? But we make the same mistake when we meet the calls of life apart from the boundless wealth which is placed to our credit in Jesus.
A story is told by Dr. Richard Newton of an old and poverty-stricken Indian, who many years ago made his way into a Western settlement in search of food to keep him from starving. A bright-coloured ribbon was seen around his neck, from which there hung a small, dirty pouch. On being asked what it was, he said it was a charm given him in his younger days. He opened it, and took out a worn and Crumpled paper, which he handed to the person making the inspection. It proved, on examination, to be a regular discharge from the federal army, signed by George Washington himself, and entitling him to a pension for life. Here was a man with a promise duly signed, which if presented in the right place would have secured him ample provision, yet he was wandering about hungry, helpless, and forlorn, and begging bread to keep him from starving. What a picture of many Christians who are in need of everything when they might be rich and full! Perhaps their own life had not been generous, certainly their faith has never put in its claim to God's great bank of promise.
We deal with a Father. Let us remember that we are dealing with a Father. "Now unto our God and Father be the glory for ever." The Father's eye is on His children, and a Father's hand is stretched out to their relief. Let us be of good cheer. Two sparrows are sold for a farthing, but five for two farthings, that is, sparrows are so cheap that one can be thrown into the bargain, but that odd sparrow cannot fall to the ground without the notice of the Father. Surely we are of more value than many sparrows, and we may count on Him with absolute certainty. Nowhere in the world does He make birds, fish, young lions, or babes, without supplying the food which He has taught them to require. He cannot do worse by us; we dare not think that He had implanted needs which He is unable and unwilling to meet. Only let us make Him our confidant, going through life with a free-handed generosity that gives, and with an absolute trust which takes, making our requests known unto Him, and receiving the fulfilment of every need, out of which shall arise to Him who loves us, cares for us, and sustains us, glory unto the ages of the ages. The grace of God, and if He loves, there must be something lovable upon which our hearts can fasten. (F. B. Meyer. The Epistle to the Philippians - A Devotional Commentary)
Philippians 4:15 You yourselves also know (2SRAI) , Philippians, that at the first preaching of the gospel, after I left Macedonia, no church shared (3SAAI) with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone (NASB: Lockman)
Greek: Oidate (2SRAI) de kai humeis, Philippesioi, hoti en arche tou euaggeliou, hote exelthon apo Makedonias, oudemia moi ekklesia ekoinonesen (3SAAI) eis logon doseos kai lempseos ei me humeis monoi
Amplified: And you Philippians yourselves well know that in the early days of the Gospel ministry, when I left Macedonia, no church (assembly) entered into partnership with me and opened up [a debit and credit] account in giving and receiving except you only. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
Lightfoot: But, though I am thus indifferent to my own wants, I commend you for your sympathy and aid in my affliction. I need not remind you, my Philippian friends; you yourselves will remember that in the first days of the Gospel, when I left Macedonia, though I would not receive contributions of money from any other church, I made an exception in your case.
NLT: As you know, you Philippians were the only ones who gave me financial help when I brought you the Good News and then traveled on from Macedonia. No other church did this. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: You Philippians will remember that in the early days of the Gospel when I left Macedonia, you were the only church who shared with me the fellowship of giving and receiving. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: But you yourselves also know, Philippians, that at the beginning of the good news, when I went out from Macedonia, not even one assembly made itself a partner with me as regards an account of giving and receiving except you only, (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: and ye have known, even ye Philippians, that in the beginning of the good news when I went forth from Macedonia, no assembly did communicate with me in regard to giving and receiving except ye only;
AND YOU YOURSELVES ALSO KNOW PHILIPPIANS THAT AT THE FIRST PREACHING OF THE GOSPEL AFTER I DEPARTED FROM MACEDONIA NO CHURCH SHARED WITH ME IN THE MATTER OF GIVING AND RECEIVING BUT YOU ALONE: Oidate (2SRAI) de kai humeis, Philippesioi, hoti en arche tou euaggeliou, hote exelthon apo Makedonias, oudemia moi ekklesia ekoinonesen (3SAAI) eis logon doseos kai lempseos ei me humeis monoi: (Macarthur Php4:14-19)
You yourselves know (eido) - Paul by recalling their former kindness confirms his appreciation of their present help. In other words he is saying that this is no new thing for you have always been generous.
They were the only church that had shared financially with Paul in his pressing circumstances and they had done so despite their own poverty.
With the statement "First preaching of the gospel" Paul digresses to 10 years earlier at the time of is initial encounter with his readers, when God used his preaching of the Gospel to birth the "First Church of Philippi".
Preaching of the Gospel (2098) (euaggelion from eú = good + aggéllo = proclaim, tell) (Click in depth study) originally referred to a reward for good news and later became the good news itself. The word euaggelion was in just as common use in the first century as our words good news today. “Have you any good news for me today?” would have been a common question. In this secular use euaggelion described good news of any kind and prior to the writing of the New Testament, had no definite religious connotation in the ancient world until it was taken over by the "Cult of Caesar" which was the state religion and in which the emperor was worshipped as a god. The writers of the New Testament adapted the term as God's message of salvation for lost sinners.
Euaggelion - 76x in the NT - Matt. 4:23; 9:35; 24:14; 26:13; Mk. 1:1, 14f; 8:35; 10:29; 13:10; 14:9; 16:15; Acts 15:7; 20:24; Rom. 1:1, 9, 16; 2:16; 10:16; 11:28; 15:16, 19; 16:25; 1 Co. 4:15; 9:12, 14, 18, 23; 15:1; 2 Co. 2:12; 4:3f; 8:18; 9:13; 10:14; 11:4, 7; Gal. 1:6f, 11; 2:2, 5, 7, 14; Eph. 1:13; 3:6; 6:15, 19; Phil. 1:5, 7, 12, 16, 27; 2:22; 4:3, 15; Col. 1:5, 23; 1 Thess. 1:5; 2:2, 4, 8f; 3:2; 2 Thess. 1:8; 2:14; 1 Tim. 1:11; 2 Tim. 1:8, 10; 2:8; Philemon 1:13; 1 Pet. 4:17; Rev. 14:6
The NAS renders euaggelion as made a proclamation(1), preach(16), preached(10), preacher(1), preaches(2), preaching(11),proclaim(8), proclaimed(6), proclaiming(6).
I departed from Macedonia refers to Paul's first European circuit, when he went by way of Athens to Corinth, where he was joined by Silvanus and Timothy, bringing a contribution from Macedonia. (Acts 18:5; 2 Cor. 11:9).
Church (1577) (ekklesia from ek = out + kaleo = call) literally "called-out ones" and implies an "assembly". Ekklesia was used by the Greeks for their assembly of citizens "called out" to transact the business of the city or to discuss the affairs of State. Ekklesia in the NT describes a living organism, composed of living members joined together; through which Christ lives and works, carrying out His Kingdom purposes on earth. The giving by the Philippian saints was a reflection of Christ living His life out through this local, dynamic body of believers. May their tribe increase in these last days. Amen.
As stated above, "the church" is not a building or an organization or a creed but is in essence an organism, the Body of Christ (Eph 4:12-note, Col 1:18-note), with Christ as the Head of the Body (Col 1:18-note, Eph 1:22, 23-note), and individual members of His Body, the Church composed of men and women called out of the domain of darkness (Col 1:13-note) by God from every tribe and tongue and people and nation (Rev 5:9-note, out of darkness - 1Pe 2:9-note) unto salvation. I believe that only regenerate (Titus 3:5-note) men and women, both Jew and Gentile (Eph 3:6, "formerly far off" = Gentiles Eph 2:13, 14-note, Ep 2:15, 16-note, Ep 2:17, 18-note, cp Gal 3:28, 29), compose the true church and that the true church does not include unsaved individuals (Acts 2:41, 47). Jesus predicted the church in (Mt 16:18), and Pentecost was the inception of the church (Acts 2:1, 2, 3, 4ff). The church at its inception was composed of Jews but Gentiles later became "fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household, having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the Corner Stone in Whom the whole building, being fitted together is growing into a holy temple in the Lord in Whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit (Eph 2:19, 20, 21, 22-note). I believe that the NT Scriptures also teach that "church" can refer to a local assembly of believers (eg, Col 4:15,16-note, cp Acts 2:42, 14:23, Re 1:4-note). The church is the bride of Christ, which will live and reign with Him throughout all eternity (Ep 5:31-note, Ep 5:32-note; Rev 19:7-note). The church is entrusted with the mission of world evangelization during this age (Mt 28:19, 20; Acts 1:8).
Shared (2841) (koinoneo from koinos = common, shared by all) means literally to share one's possessions with the implication of some kind of joint participation and mutual interest. This Greek word was used in a marriage contract where the husband and wife agree to a joint-participation in the necessaries of life.
The things that are "shared" in the NT include needs of other believers (Ro 12:13-note), spiritual things (Romans 15:27-note), good things with one's teacher (Ga 6:6), giving to the work of missions (Php 4:15), responsibility in another's sins (! 1Ti 5:22), of Christ participating (sharing or taking part) in our humanity (He 2:14-note), of believers who experience the suffering for the sake of Christ (1Peter 4:13-note), in evil deeds (2Jn 1:11).
The key idea in the word is that of a partnership, a possessing things in common, a belonging in common to. The saints at Philippi were in a glorious spiritual partnership with the great apostle Paul in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Believers have the same opportunity today as they pray for and give generously to missionaries taking the gospel to the thousands of hidden people groups. Are you sharing in the eternal endeavor? Don't pass up the once in a lifetime opportunity!
There are 8 uses of koinoneo in the NT and is rendered (in the NAS) as contributing(1), participates(1), share(4), shared(2)…
Romans 12:13-note contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.
Romans 15:27-note Yes, they were pleased to do so, and they are indebted to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in their spiritual things, they are indebted to minister to them also in material things.
Galatians 6:6 And let the one who is taught the word share all good things with him who teaches.
Philippians 4:15 And you yourselves also know, Philippians, that at the first preaching of the gospel, after I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone;
1Timothy 5:22 Do not lay hands upon anyone too hastily and thus share responsibility for the sins of others; keep yourself free from sin.
Hebrews 2:14-note Since then the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil;
1Peter 4:13-note but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing; so that also at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with exultation.
2Jn 1:11 for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.
Paul used the noun form koinonia in the first chapter writing…
Koinonia in that verse signifies joint participation and co-operation in the gospel, through financial support and prayer support. The Philippians were fellow laborers or co-laborers with Paul to take the whole Word to the whole world. Immediately upon becoming Christians and continually thereafter, the Philippians had dedicated themselves to living and proclaiming the truth about Jesus Christ, and specifically to helping Paul in his ministry. (cf Lydia - Acts 16:15).
Koinoneo is used 4 times in the non-apocryphal Septuagint (LXX) 2Chr 20:35; Job 34:8; Pr 1:11; Eccl 9:4.
Giving (1394) (dosis from dídomi = to give) refers to a gift.
Today's English Version renders it "you were the only ones who shared my profits and losses."
Receiving (3028) (lepsis from lambáno = to receive) refers to a receipt or to the act of receiving.
Giving and receiving together picture a ledger with a credit and debit page. The implication is that Paul evidently was a careful steward of his resources and kept an account of his receipts and expenditures.
The Philippians kept a ledger in which they recorded the good things received from Paul on the credit page, and the debt they owed Paul on the debit side. He acknowledged the receipt of their gift in the words, "I have all," using a business term meaning, "I have received in full" (Php 4:18).
The word "abound" in Php 4:17, is taken from the money market. It was used of the accumulation of interest.
Amplified: For even in Thessalonica you sent [me contributions] for my needs, not only once but a second time. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
Lightfoot: Nay, even before I left, when I was still at Thessalonica, you sent more than once to supply my wants.
NLT: Even when I was in Thessalonica you sent help more than once. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: Even in Thessalonica you twice sent me help when I was in need. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: that even in Thessalonica more than once you sent to relieve my necessity. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: because also in Thessalonica, both once and again to my need ye sent;
|FOR EVEN IN THESSALONICA YOU SENT A GIFT MORE THAN ONCE FOR MY NEEDS: hoti kai en Thessalonike kai hapax kai dis eis ten chreian moi epempsate. (2PAAI): (Macarthur on Php 4:14-19)
For - see term of explanation for discussion of importance of pausing to ponder this strategic conjunction.
Even in Thessalonica - see Acts 17:1-15
The Greek literally reads "because also in Thessalonica, both once and again to my need you sent". Note that the NASB adds the word "gift" for continuity, but it is not present in the original Greek text.
Needs (5532) (chreia from chréos = debt) refers to that which is a lack of something requisite, desirable, or useful. Chreia means to have need of someone or something (Mt 3:14, Mk 2:25). It can speak of the necessities of life (Acts 20:34). In Eph 4:29 (note) chreia refers to an individuals "needs" (more in a figurative sense or psychological, spiritual sense rather than a physical sense).
Chreia - 49x in the NT - Matt. 3:14; 6:8; 9:12; 14:16; 21:3; 26:65; Mk. 2:17, 25; 11:3; 14:63; Lk. 5:31; 9:11; 10:42; 15:7; 19:31, 34; 22:71; Jn. 2:25; 13:10, 29; 16:30; Acts 2:45; 4:35; 6:3; 20:34; 28:10; Rom. 12:13; 1 Co. 12:21, 24; Eph. 4:28, 29; Phil. 2:25; 4:16, 19; 1 Thess. 1:8; 4:9, 12; 5:1; Tit. 3:14; Heb. 5:12; 7:11; 10:36; 1 Jn. 2:27; 3:17; Rev. 3:17; 21:23; 22:5.
The NAS renders chreia as necessary(1), need(40), needed(1), needs(6), task(1).
Dwight Pentecost notes that "The strange thing in this passage is that the apostle is not commending the Philippians because they met his need; he is commending them because they have satisfied a need of their own of which they seem to have been entirely ignorant. Since the apostle had nothing, we would suppose that he would thank them because of what their gift did for him. But he barely mentions that. His thanksgiving goes to God because through the gift they have satisfied a need which they have. The apostle points out that this is not the first time the Philippians contributed to his needs. They did so on at least two previous occasions. (Pentecost, J. D. The Joy of Living: A Study of Philippians. Kregel Publications)
Amplified: Not that I seek or am eager for [your] gift, but I do seek and am eager for the fruit which increases to your credit [the harvest of blessing that is accumulating to your account]. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
Lightfoot: Again I say, I do not desire the gift, but I do desire that the fruits of your benevolence should redound to your account.
NLT: I don't say this because I want a gift from you. What I want is for you to receive a well-earned reward because of your kindness. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: It isn't the value of the gift that I am keen on, it is the reward that will come to you because of these gifts that you have made (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: Not that it is my character to be ever seeking the gift, but I am seeking the fruit which is accumulating to your account. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: not that I seek after the gift, but I seek after the fruit that is overflowing to your account;
NOT THAT I SEEK THE GIFT ITSELF: ouch hoti epizeto (1SPAI) to doma : (Php 4:11; Mal 1:10; Acts 20:33,34; 1Co 9:12, 13, 14, 15; 2Co 11:16; 1Th 2:5; 1Ti 3:3; 1Ti 6:10; Titus 1:7; 1Pe 5:2; 2Pe 2:3,15; Jude 1:11) (Macarthur on Php 4:14-19)
Epizeteo - 13x in the NT - Matt. 6:32; 12:39; 16:4; Lk. 4:42; 12:30; Acts 12:19; 13:7; 19:39; Rom. 11:7; Phil. 4:17; Heb. 11:14; 13:14. The NAS renders epizeteo craves(1), eagerly seek(2), searched(1), searching(1), seek(2), seeking(3), seeks after(1), sought(1), want(1).
By declaring "not (absolute negation) that I seek the gift" Paul is apparently still defending himself against the slanderous assertion that he is using the gospel as a means of making a living. Note that "seek" is in the present tense indicating one's habitual action. As Wuest renders it Paul is saying that it
Gift (1390) (doma from didomi = to give) is a present or gift and the word lends greater emphasis to the character of the gift. In this case it is preceded by the definite article in Greek ("to" = the) indicating that this is a specific gift he is referring to.
Wil Pounds - “Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account” (v. 17). James Boice writes, “Money that is given to help another Christian is called fruit. Our gifts to others are encouraged by God, noticed by God, and much-desired by Him.” There is a great stewardship principle. The imagery says Thielman, is that of a bank account that receives compounded interest. Paul says, it is “continuously increasing profit for your account.” It pays spiritual dividends in eternity. Paul has in mindd the day we stand before the Lord Jesus Christ and give an account of how we have used His gifts to us. The gifts the Philippians have sent to Paul is for their spiritual advantage. “Their generosity was a concrete demonstration that God was completing the good work that he had started in them when they believed the gospel (1:6),” notes Thielman." (Abide In Christ Ministry)
BUT I SEEK FOR THE PROFIT INCREASES TO YOUR ACCOUNT: alla epizeto (1SPAI) ton karpon ton pleonazonta (PAPMSA) eis logon humon: (Phil 1:11; Micah 7:1; Jn 15:8,16; Ro 15:28; 2Cor 9:9, 10, 11, 12, 13; Titus 3:14) (Pr 19:17; Mt 10:40, 41, 42; 25:34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40; Lk 14:12, 13, 14; Heb 6:10)
But - see discussion of terms of contrast.
Seek (1934) (epizeteo from epí = intensifies meaning + zeteo = to seek) means to search for and to strive after or long for. Paul was striving for and longing for the fruit to be increasing for the Philippians based on their giving.
Profit (2590) (karpos [word study]) is fruit, in this case speaking of the dividends the Philippians would receive from their grace giving to Paul. Paul is referring to the eternal dividend accruing in their spiritual account in the bank of Heaven, what Jesus referred to as storing up for ourselves treasure in heaven where moth and rust do not destroy and thieves do not break in to steal (Mt 6:19-20-note). This fruit was the reward God would recompense to them for their generous support of Paul as their "church missionary". (cf Pr 11:24, 25; 19:17; Lk 6:38; 2Co 9:6).
Karpos - 67x in the NT - Matt. 3:8, 10; 7:16ff; 12:33; 13:8, 26; 21:19, 34, 41, 43; Mk. 4:7f, 29; 11:14; 12:2; Lk. 1:42; 3:8f; 6:43f; 8:8; 12:17; 13:6f, 9; 20:10; Jn. 4:36; 12:24; 15:2, 4f, 8, 16; Acts 2:30; Rom. 1:13; 6:21f; 15:28; 1 Co. 9:7; Gal. 5:22; Eph. 5:9; Phil. 1:11, 22; 4:17; 2 Tim. 2:6; 4:13; Heb. 12:11; 13:15; Jas. 3:17f; 5:7, 18; Rev. 22:2
The NAS renders karpos as benefit (2), crop(5), crops(2), descendants*(1), fruit(43), fruitful(1),fruits(4), grain(1), harvest(1), proceeds(1), produce(4), profit(1).
Increases (4121) (pleonazo from pleion = more) means to cause to increase or superabound and so to be present in abundance or to have plenty (2Pe 1:8-note, Php 4:17). To have more than is necessary or more than enough to meet one's needs (2Co 8:15). To become more and more - in Ro 5:20-note speaking of transgression and sin increasing, in Romans 6:1-note of grace increasing (in his rhetorical rebuttal to those who would seek to turn grace into an opportunity to increase in sin, falsely thinking such conduct was "okay" with God!), of grace spreading or increasing as manifest by giving thanks to God (as an aside, genuine giving of thanks proceeds from an attitude of gratitude in a grace filled/controlled/transformed heart), in 2Th 1:3 speaking of love for one another.
Pleonazo was a term taken from the money market and was used of the accumulation of interest, in this case the interest in the "spiritual account" of the Philippians as a result of their generous giving.
Pleonazo is used 9 times in the NT an is rendered cause to increase(1), grows greater(1), have too much(1), increase(2), increased(1),increases(1), increasing(1), spreading(1)…
Romans 5:20-note - And the Law came in that the transgression might increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,
Romans 6:1-note What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase?
2Corinthians 4:15 For all things are for your sakes, that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God.
2Corinthians 8:15 as it is written, "He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little had no lack."
Philippians 4:17 Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account.
1Thessalonians 3:12-note and may the Lord cause you to increase and abound (perisseuo) in love for one another, and for all men, just as we also do for you; (Note: Pray for love in your local body so that the God of love fills His people with the desire and power to love one another with grace empowered, Spirit controlled supernatural love, love that surpasses human comprehension! Don't try to artificially "manufacture" it for it will lack the touch of the Supernatural.)
2 Thessalonians 1:3 We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater;
2Peter 1:8-note For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
There are 18 uses of pleonazo in the non-apocryphal Septuagint (LXX) - Ex 16:18, 23; 26:12; Nu 3:46, 48, 49, 51; 9:22; 26:54; 2Sa 18:8; 1Chr. 4:27; 5:23; 2Chr 24:11; 31:5; Ps 50:19; 71:21; Pr. 15:6; Jer 30:19; Ezek 23:32. Here is a representative use (and a great/bold prayer to pray to our Father, although some translations do not see it as a prayer, eg Psalm 71:21NIV, Ps 71:21ESV)…
Psalm 71:21 May You increase (Heb - rabah = increase greatly or exceedingly; Lxx = pleonazo) my greatness and turn to comfort me. (Amplified reads - Increase my greatness (my honor) and turn and comfort me.)
Spurgeon comments on this psalm writing that…
As a king, David grew in influence and power. God did great things for him, and by him, and this is all the greatness believers want. May we have faith in God, such as these words evince.
And comfort me on every side. As we were surrounded with afflictions, so shall we be environed with consolations. From above, and from all around, light shall come to dispel our former gloom; the change shall be great, indeed, when the Lord returns to comfort us.
Greatness increasing with comfort, and comfort increasing with greatness; very rarely united. George Rogers.
Here is another example of the use of pleonazo in the Septuagint…
Proverbs 15:6 Great (Heb = rab = much, many, great; Lxx = pleonazo) wealth is in the house of the righteous, but trouble is in the income of the wicked.
F B Meyer - Give and Receive… is a constant law of God's world. "Give, and it shall be given unto you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, shall be given into your bosom. For with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again." (Lk 6:38) Lend your boat for a whole afternoon to Christ that it may be His floating pulpit, and He will return it to you laden with fish. Place your upper room at His disposal for a single meal, and He will fill it and the whole house with the Holy Spirit of Pentecost. Place in His hands your barley loaves and fish, and He will not only satisfy your hunger, but add twelve baskets full of fragments. The Philippians sent three or four presents to a suffering and much needing servant of God, and from that moment they might reckon that every need of theirs would be supplied. Such small acts on our part are recompensed with such vast returns. We scratch the surface of the soil and insert our few little seeds, and within a few months the acreage is covered by a prolific harvest in which a hundredfold is given for every grain which we seemed to throw away. (Commentary on Philippians)
Philippians 4:18 But I have received (1SPAI) everything in full and have an abundance (1SPAI); I am amply supplied (1SRPI), having received (AMPMSN) from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God (NASB: Lockman)
Amplified: But I have [your full payment] and more; I have everything I need and am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent me. [They are the] fragrant odor of an offering and sacrifice which God welcomes and in which He delights. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
Lightfoot: For myself, I have now enough of all things. The presents which you sent by Epaphroditus have fully supplied my needs. I welcome them, as the sweet savor of a burnt-offering, as a sacrifice accepted by and well-pleasing to God.
NLT: At the moment I have all I need—more than I need! I am generously supplied with the gifts you sent me with Epaphroditus. They are a sweet-smelling sacrifice that is acceptable to God and pleases him. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: Now I have everything I want - in fact I am rich. Yes, I am quite content, thanks to your gifts received through Epaphroditus. Your generosity is like a lovely fragrance, a sacrifice that pleases the very heart of God. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: But I have all things to the full and overflowing. I have been filled completely full and at present am well supplied, having received at the hands of Epaphroditus the things from you, a fragrant aroma, a sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing to God. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: and I have all things, and abound; I am filled, having received from Epaphroditus the things from you -- an odour of a sweet smell -- a sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing to God:
BUT I HAVE RECEIVED EVERYTHING IN FULL AND HAVE AN ABUNDANCE: apecho (1SPAI) de panta kai perisseuo (1SPAI) : (Php 4:12; 2 Th 1:3)
Received (568) (apechomai or apecho from apó = from + écho = have) means to be enough, to be sufficient and as in this case to have received in full. In this specific use apecho is used by Paul in the technical sense "This is my receipt". Apecho was constantly used in secular Greek describing the drawing up a of a receipt. What Paul is saying to them in "business terms" is "you have paid me in full in all respects". Note that in other NT contexts, apechomai has a distinctly different meaning of to have (Lk 15:2) or to produce separation or distance from someone or something (Mt 15:8) and then by figurative extension to avoid contact with as in (Acts 15:29, 1Ti 4:3, 1Th 4:3-note, 1Th 5:22-note, 1Pe 2:11-note)
Apechomai - 19x in the NT - Matt. 6:2, 5, 16; 14:24; 15:8; Mk. 7:6; 14:41; Lk. 6:24; 7:6; 15:20; 24:13; Acts 15:20, 29; Phil. 4:18; 1 Thess. 4:3; 5:22; 1 Tim. 4:3; Philemon 1:15; 1 Pet. 2:11-note
The NAS renders apechomai/apecho as abstain(5), abstaining(1), away(1), have back(1), have in full(3), have received in full(1), it is enough(1), off(1), receiving in full(1), was away(2).
Wuest explains it this way…
Have an abundance (4052) (perisseuo from perissós = abundant) means to superabound or to be in excess. In this verse perisseuo extends the idea of apecho, as if he was not just full but overflowing or superabounding.
Wuest commenting on perisseuo writes that "abound” (abundance) in the Greek speaks of that which exists in superfluity. The Philippian gift must have been generous, and Epaphroditus must have been loaded down. What a demonstration of the work of the Holy Spirit is seen in this act of generosity on the part of these former pagans, performed for one who in origin, training, and religion had been and in some ways was still so different from them, different in a sense which would naturally militate against Paul, Gentiles of the proudest and most exclusive race of antiquity, the intelligentsia of the world, loving one who belonged to a race that was looked down upon and despised. (Ibid)
I AM AMPLY SUPPLIED HAVING RECEIVED FROM EPAPHRODITUS WHAT YOU HAVE SENT A FRAGRANT AROMA AN ACCEPTABLE SACRIFICE WELL-PLEASING TO GOD: pepleromai (1SRPI) dexamenos (AMPMSN) para Epaphroditou ta par' humon osmen euodias thusian dekten euareston to theo: (Phil 2:25,26) (Jn 12:3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8; 2Co 2:15,16; Ep 5:2; Heb 13:16, 20, 21; 1Pe 2:5) (Ro 12:1; 2Co 9:12)
Amply supplied (4137) (pleroo from pleres = full) means to be completely filled, as a net filled with fish or cup filled to brim. Pleroo is used often to describe the fulfilling of God's OT promises and prophecies.
Pleroo is a great NT verb to take a moment and study to see what or who is filled (or fulfilled), what they are filled with (eg, just to "tease" you, contrast Ro 1:29-note and Eph 5:18-note, Acts 13:52, Jn 3:29, 2Ti 1:4-note; 1Jn 1:4, 2Jn 1:12!), how this filling comes about, what the result of filling is, etc.
Note Paul's use of the perfect tense which signifies "I have been filled full and remain in that state" or “I have been filled and am still full, supplied and satisfied.” Such was the lasting effect of their gift on Paul!
Pleroo - 86x in the NT - Matt. 1:22; 2:15, 17, 23; 3:15; 4:14; 5:17; 8:17; 12:17; 13:35, 48; 21:4; 23:32; 26:54, 56; 27:9; Mk. 1:15; 14:49; Lk. 1:20; 2:40; 3:5; 4:21; 7:1; 9:31; 21:24; 22:16; 24:44; Jn. 3:29; 7:8; 12:3, 38; 13:18; 15:11, 25; 16:6, 24; 17:12f; 18:9, 32; 19:24, 36; Acts 1:16; 2:2, 28; 3:18; 5:3, 28; 7:23, 30; 9:23; 12:25; 13:25, 27, 52; 14:26; 19:21; 24:27; Rom. 1:29; 8:4; 13:8; 15:13, 14, 19; 2 Co. 7:4; 10:6; Gal. 5:14; Eph. 1:23; 3:19; 4:10; 5:18; Phil. 1:11; 2:2; 4:18, 19; Col. 1:9, 25; 2:10; 4:17; 2 Thess. 1:11; 2 Tim. 1:4; Jas. 2:23; 1 Jn. 1:4; 2 Jn. 1:12; Rev. 3:2; 6:11 The NAS has various and numerous ways of rendering pleroo - accomplish(1), accomplished(1), amply supplied(1), approaching(1), complete(1),completed(3), completing(1), elapsed(1), fill(3), filled(16), fills(1), finished(1), fulfill(5), fulfilled(35), fully carry out(3), fully come(1), fully preached(1), increasing(1), made complete(2), made full(5), make complete(1), make full(1), passed(2), supply(1).
Having received (1209) (dechomai [word study]) means to accept readily, or to receive kindly and so to take to oneself what is presented or brought by another. Paul stresses his appreciation of the kindness both of the church and of Epaphroditus.
Dechomai - 56x in the NT - Matt. 10:14, 40f; 11:14; 18:5; Mk. 6:11; 9:37; 10:15; Lk. 2:28; 8:13; 9:5, 48, 53; 10:8, 10; 16:4, 6f, 9; 18:17; 22:17; Jn. 4:45; Acts 3:21; 7:38, 59; 8:14; 11:1; 17:11; 22:5; 28:21; 1 Co. 2:14; 2 Co. 6:1; 7:15; 8:17; 11:4, 16; Gal. 4:14; Eph. 6:17; Phil. 4:18; Col. 4:10; 1 Thess. 1:6; 2:13; 2 Thess. 2:10; Heb. 11:31; Jas. 1:21
The NAS renders dechomai as accept(2), accepted(3), receive(18), received(11), receives(15), take(3), taken(1),took(1), welcome(1), welcomed(1).
Fragrant (3744) (osme from ozō = emit an odor whether good or bad; English = ozone) refers to a smell, scent or odor of any kind. BDAG says osme is "the quality of something that affects the mind as with an odor" and is used "of an unpleasant odor stench (Tob 6:17; Job 6:7)." Osme is used literally of the pleasant aroma of "the costly perfume" Mary used to anoint Jesus' feet in (Jn 12:3). Friberg writes that osme is used "figuratively; from the Middle Eastern concept that an odor from something is communicating its power sweet smell, fragrance (2Cor 2:14, 16)." Here in Eph 5:2 osme is used to describe the "odor" of the sacrifice of Christ as an acceptable aroma or fragrance.
Osme - 6x in the NT - Jn. 12:3; 2 Co. 2:14, 16; Eph. 5:2; Phil. 4:18
Osme is used 46x in the non-apocryphal Septuagint (LXX) most often to describe a "soothing aroma" to the Lord, which parallels Paul's use of osme as fragrant to describe the saint's sacrificial giving!!! Have you ever pondered that your giving to the work of Jehovah as motivated by His Spirit produces a soothing aroma before His throne in heaven? Does this precious word picture not cause you to desire to be given more opportunities to give to Him and His people and His supernatural Kingdom work?! What an awesome God we serve that we as redeemed sinners (who are now saints) are given the holy privilege of offering up acceptable sacrifices to the incomprehensible God (Play Indescribable; Indescribable #2; How Great Is Our God) and that these offerings are truly pleasing and "pleasantly aromatic" to Him, all made possible by and through the greatest sacrificial gift of Christ Jesus, our Great High Priest! Here are the Lxx uses of osme that you might want to meditate on in an attitude of worship and thanksgiving -- Gen. 8:21; Exod. 29:18, 25, 41; Lev. 1:9, 13, 17; 2:2, 9, 12; 3:5, 11, 16; 4:31; 6:15, 21; 8:21, 28; 17:4, 6; 23:13, 18; Num. 15:3, 5, 7, 10, 13f, 24; 18:17; 28:2, 6, 8, 13, 24, 27; 29:2, 6, 8, 11, 13, 36; Ezr. 6:10; Ezek. 6:13; 16:19; 20:28, 41; Dan. 2:46; 4:1
Euodia - 3x in the NT - 2 Co. 2:15; Eph. 5:2; Phil. 4:18
Fragrant aroma is an image that moves us from the business world of accounting to the religious world of the priest and obviously is used by Paul to describe their material gift to God. It is worth noting that the same terms are used to describe Christ’s sacrificial death in Ephesians, Paul writing for the saints at Ephesus to…
Vine commenting on an odor of a sweet smell writes that…
Acceptable (1184) (dektos from dechomai - to accept or receive favorably) means accepted (see Webster below), acceptable, welcome (willing permitted or admitted), pleasing (giving pleasure, agreeable, gratifying). Dektos describes one of whom there is or has been a favorable decision of the will. It conveys the picture of a "open" reception, much like when one puts the "welcome mat" on their front door step, something Jesus did not experience even in His own hometown! (Lk 4:24 - He was not "dektos" - not welcome) Thankfully, God puts out the "welcome (home) mat" for all who fear and obey Him. (Acts 10:35). As note below, the adjective is very common in the LXX in a sacrificial sense.
BDAG summarized - 1. Pertaining to being met with approval in someone’s company, acceptable, welcome, (Lk 4:24); only here of human recognition; in all other references in this entry always of acceptance by God. (Acts 10:24). 2. Pertaining to being pleasing because of being approved, pleasing, acceptable, of things: Sabbaths B 15:8; sacrifices (Php 4:18), fasting (Isa 58:5), prayer (Pr 15:8); 3. Pertaining to being appropriate to circumstances, favorable, of time (2Cor 6:2, Isa 49:8, year , Lk 4:19. In these passages the concrete temporal element points to the abstract feature of God’s favorable attitude finding climactic expression.
Dektos was particularly used of the sacrifice in Lev 1:3-4 to describe one that met with divine approval. In Pr 11:1 we see that a just weight is God's "delight" (Hebrew - ratson/rason; Lxx - dektos) and in Pr 14:35 it describes the "king's favor (Hebrew - ratson/rason; Lxx - dektos)… toward a servant who acts wisely." In Malachi 2:13 those who offered the sacrifices were not right with the Lord (they were seeking divorces - Mal 2:14) which is why He no longer was accepting their offerings with "favor (Hebrew - ratson/rason; Lxx = dektos)" from their hand. In Jeremiah 6:20 because of their breaking covenant with Jehovah, He says " Your burnt offerings are not acceptable (Hebrew - ratson/rason; Lxx = dektos), and your sacrifices are not pleasing to Me.” In a prophecy to be fulfilled during the Millennium, God promises that those who have joined with Him in covenant, will once again be able to offer "acceptable (Hebrew - ratson/rason; Lxx = dektos)" burnt offerings on His altar (NB: Yes, there will be "burnt offerings" during the Millennium - Ezek 40:38-39, etc)
The use of dektos in the Lxx of Job 33:26 is very interesting to ponder as it reads "Then he will pray to God, and He will accept (Lxx = dektos; ratsah/rasah) him, That he may see His face with joy, And He may restore His righteousness to man." This use is very instructive as many of the prior uses discussed in the previous paragraph are in a context of sacrifices that were accepted by God. Here we see prayer is acceptable to Him. It follows that there does seem to be something about our prayers that parallel the literal OT sacrifices. We know that many times those sacrifices are described as being associated with a "soothing aroma to the Lord." (Lev 1:9, 13, 17, Lev 2:2, 9, 12, Lev 3:5, 16, etc) This reminds us of Cornelius' prayers to God of which Peter said "Your prayers and alms have ascended as a memorial before God." (Acts 10:4). Henry Morris comments "Even though Cornelius had not known about Christ, nor was he a practitioner of the Jewish system of sacrifice and worship, he nevertheless was a "devout man, and one that feared God… which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway" (Acts 10:2), and God was pleased with this. While these actions were not capable of earning salvation, his sincere acceptance and practice of the limited spiritual light that he had received resulted in God sending more light to him. It may be that this is a model of how God may deal with those men and women of any time and nation who do accept and follow such light as they have."
Baker adds that dektos was "Used with elements of time such as kairos (2540), season (Lk 4:19), and eniautós (1763), year (2Cor. 6:2), meaning a time in which God has pleasure, and which He Himself has chosen.
TDNT - The verbal adjective dektos has the basic meaning “what one can accept.” In the LXX it is linked with dechomai in transl. of רָצָה (ratsah/rasah) “to find pleasure,” and means “acceptable” or “pleasing” on the basis of a divine act of will.
Dektos - 5x - translated acceptable(2), favorable(1), welcome(2).
Dektos - 34 uses in the Septuagint - see discussion above for use of dektos in the description of the sacrificial offerings.
The important principle for saints to remember is that whether or not an offering is really acceptable and well-pleasing to God depends on the motive of the one who brings it. Lowell phrases it poetically as…
“Not what we give but what we share,
Sacrifice (2378) (thusia from thúo = to sacrifice) is literally that which is offered as a sacrifice. Here thusia is used metaphorically to describe their service of giving. It was a sacrifice to God and since they were financially poor, it was given "sacrificially"!
In the Old Testament there were two types of sacrifices, the first offered to deal with sin and the broken fellowship that resulted from the sin. The sacrificial blood was a picture of the bridging of the gap between the giver and God (although OT sacrifices for sin only covered over for a time, whereas Christ's sacrifice effectively and permanently removed all guilt of sin for those who believe in Him).
The second type of OT sacrifice was presented to God as an act of worship, the presenter having had his sins covered over by the blood of the sin offering, which resulted in his hearts being full of thanksgiving and praise to God which was reflected in the offering. It is this second type of "sacrifice" for which Paul is commending the Philippians. The writer of Hebrews has a parallel passage writing that…
Note also that in the Old Testament sacrificial system, every sacrifice was to provide a fragrant aroma and be acceptable to God. Only if the individual offered it up with the correct heart attitude would it be pleasing to God. And so we read that after the flood and their arrival on dry land…
In Exodus a parallel passage states…
Paul is saying that the Philippians’ gift was a spiritual sacrifice, which is what he exhorted the saints at Rome to pursue writing…
Well pleasing (2101) (euarestos from eu = well + arésko = please) describes that which causes someone to be pleased or something which is well approved, eminently satisfactory, or extra-ordinarily pleasing. What the saints at Philippi did to help Paul and his mission was eminently satisfactory and extra-ordinarily pleasing service to God (cf. Ge 8:21; Ex 29:18; Lev 1:9, 13; Ezek 20:41).
Euarestos - 9x in the NT - Ro 12:1, 2; 14:18; 2 Co. 5:9; Ep 5:10; Php 4:18; Col 3:20; Titus 2:9; He 13:21.
The NAS renders euarestos as acceptable(3), pleasing(2), well-pleasing(3), which is pleasing(1).
The KJV Commentary - The Philippians’ stewardship was a barometer of their spiritual condition. One can give without loving, but he cannot love without giving. Love takes the stew out of stewardship. The love gift pleased God, relieved Paul, and enriched the Philippians. (Dobson, E G, Charles Feinberg, E Hindson, Woodrow Kroll, H L. Wilmington: KJV Bible Commentary: Nelson)
Dwight Pentecost has a practical summation of Philippians 4:14-18 writing that "We are responsible before God for the use of every material thing that God puts into our hands. We are not only responsible for the surplus, we are responsible for every penny. Our material goods are to be used under the control of the Spirit of God, so that the saints’ needs might be met, and the servants’ needs might be met, and God might be satisfied as we give sacrifices acceptable and well-pleasing to God. I trust that God may give such an attitude toward the material things He has given to us, that we shall no longer divide them into “His” and “ours” but recognize that they all belong to Him and that we are stewards of what He has entrusted to us, so that we might use them to the glory of His name. (Pentecost, J. D. The Joy of Living: A Study of Philippians. Kregel Publications)
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In Our Daily Walk F B Meyer has the following devotional entitled "Rich Toward God"…
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A NOTE OF THANKS - I was rummaging through some old files the other day when I ran across a big envelope full of treasures -- a collection of thank-you notes from my students during the last year I taught in high school. They brought back some cherished memories. Reading them reminded me of the importance of letting people know how much they are appreciated. Thank-you notes afford us the opportunity to make permanent our feelings of gratitude for our friends or loved ones.
Does someone you know deserve a note of thanks? -- J. David Branon (Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Consider what the Lord has done
A word of encouragement can make the difference between giving up and going on.
Overwhelmed by Need
Two weeks ago, Milt Hanson and I took our children to Cornerstone Music Festival. We enjoyed the fellowship, the great weather, and were inundated with incredible Christ-honoring music for four days. But we were also overwhelmed by the opportunities to give. In between main stage shows, commercials for World Vision (www.wvi.org) and the “ONE campaign” (www.one.org) encouraged us to give sacrificially to erase poverty and AIDS in Africa. Switchfoot (www.switchfoot.com) showed us video from their recent mission trip to India and pleaded with us to give. At the church service, we participated in an offering that supported Jesus People USA (www.jpusa.org) and their work inner-city Chicago. The helicopter ride we took supported Wycliffe Bible Translators (www.wycliffe.org). There were even three hungry teenage guys who sat in front of our camp site singing songs about chickens while begging for money to buy a pizza. There were so many noble causes, so many needs, so many opportunities, and only so much money in my wallet. Should I feel guilty that I didn’t give my last dollar? What did God require of me?
Right Here at Home
I am equally overwhelmed here. With the addition of Heart to Heart Counseling Services, PBC now supports nineteen missionaries. From Mexico to the Philippines, from Dallas to Pontiac we support individuals and projects that are proclaiming the name of Jesus. (For a full list and email addresses go to www.pontiacbible.org) We also have six students doing five day clubs this summer, sharing the Gospel with children all over Livingston County, and are still raising their support. We just approved a budget that is approaching half a million dollars, our new executive pastor starts today, and a parking lot waits to be paved. We still owe on the family life center and are in need of a new roof.
Do you know this feeling? Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the seeming endless needs that constantly tug at your heart through the television, radio, and internet?
Because the Bible Tells Me So
When confused or needing answers, we need to search the Scriptures and find out what God says about the matter. What does the Bible say about money and giving? More than you think! Almost half of the parables are about money or possessions. There are 40 verses on baptism, 275 verses on prayer, 350 verses on faith, 650 verses on love, and 2,350 verses that related specifically to finances and material possessions! (For a detailed account of these Scriptures go to www.kluth.org) Both the Old and New Testament have much to say about how money and possessions can be used to further God’s Kingdom or how it can literally destroy a person’s joy and hope. This morning my goal is to allow the Scriptures to teach us some basic principles related to giving. Before we begin, let me make a couple of disclaimers.
All the Church Wants Is My Money!
The story is told of two business men who were flying to a conference overseas. The small plane they were in developed engine problems and they had to crash land on a deserted island. One of the men began to cry stating that he will never get to see his kids grow up and never tell his wife how much he loved her. The other man simply leaned against a palm tree and fell asleep. His friend woke him and confronted him – “How can you sleep? Don’t you care that we are going to die on this island?” At this the calm companion said, “I am not worried at all. I make $500,000 a year and I always faithfully give ten percent to my church. I know my pastor will find me!”
Many people are turned off when the pastor preaches on money and finances. Many pastors are afraid to teach on this subject. Why do you think Brian asked me to preach this week? Who has not heard some one say “All they ever want is my money?” Mark Twain once said that he was so tired of appeals for money that he never put anything in the plate but he always tried to take a bill out!
This morning I am not here to coax you out of your cash or swindle you out of your savings. None of the pastors or leaders knows how much or how little you give. I do know that I am honored to serve a church that is so generous with their giving. We are in good shape financially so I am not preaching this as a pulpit power play hoping to bring in a big offering. This is the beauty of going verse-by-verse through books of the Bible. We have come to the end of our series on Philippians. This morning we will look at the closing verses, which just happen to be about giving. If you are visiting, stick with me. You may be surprised by what you hear. By the end of our time together today, I hope to convince you to be extravagant worshipers of God in the area of your finances.
Thank you Notes
We are trying to teach our boys to write thank you notes. When they receive a toy for their birthday or some money for Christmas, they need to say thank you. I was not taught to do that growing up but I have learned over the years to write thank you notes as soon as I receive something. It is a small way of showing appreciation for the gift. Philippians 4:14-23 is Paul’s thank you note to the Philippians for their generous giving. Let’s listen in as he shares his heart of gratitude with this church he loves.
“Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid again and again when I was in need. Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account. I have received full payment and even more; I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (Philippians 4:14-19)
I believe we can glean four basic principles from these verses as they relate to giving.
The four points will spell out the word GIVE. The first principle is…
God owns it all
The church in Philippi was about six months old when they begin to support Paul’s missionary endeavors. He left Philippi and traveled to Thessalonica where he preached the Gospel. The Philippian church sent money to him several times to aid his efforts to win people to Christ. Paul then traveled to Athens and Corinth. The Philippians had given so much that they were unable to give while he was ministering in Corinth.
Paul starts this section out by saying it was good of them to share in his troubles. They partnered with Paul. In fact, they were the only church that joined in Paul’s missionary adventures. Their giving showed their heart for Paul and the fellowship they felt with him. To them, it was like a joint business venture. They supplied the needs of Paul so that he could minister freely.
It also showed that they “got it.” This is such a blessing to a pastor. Honestly, the best compliment you can give me after a sermon is not “great job” but “I get it! I heard what the Bible said and I am going to do it!” Paul must have beamed with joy when the first gift arrived. He spent time teaching and now they proved they were listening.
One of the lessons he must have taught them when he was with them was…
God owns everything. If God owns everything, then how much do we own? We own nothing! Well, surely we own ourselves, right? Does this verse sound familiar?
“You are not your own; you were bought at a price.” (I Cor 6:20)
What price? You were bought with the highest price imaginable – the price of His Son. We own nothing, not even the right to our own lives. God merely allows us to be stewards in order to further his kingdom.
The Scriptures make this point clear:
The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it…”
Even the talents, abilities, and jobs that provide money are actually from the Lord:
“But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth…”(Duet 8:18)
This is even reflected in our worship. Think about the Doxology - “praise God from whom all blessing flow…”
I think you get the point. God owns it all. We own nothing, not even ourselves.
This is a very important foundational point. Everything you have has been given to you for the purpose of glorifying God. Do we truly believe that God owns it all? Do we believe He has made us a trustee, a manager, and a steward of what He gives us during our life time?
If it is true that God owns it all, then how should we approach the area of money? Ron Blue, a Christian financial expert, gives three outcomes to the belief that God owns it all.
• If God owns it all, then we have a responsibility to Him. God has the right to whatever He wants whenever he wants it. We are only stewards of what He was entrusted to us.
• If God own it all, then every spending decision is a spiritual decision.
• If God owns it all, then it is impossible to fake stewardship. Concerning our checkbooks, Blue states, “It reflects your goals, priorities, convictions, relationships, and even the use of your time.”
(For more on financial management go to wwwronblue.com)
We are called to be faithful with what He has given us. Paul told the believers at Corinth:
“Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.” (I Cor 4:2)
Point to Ponder: Have you settled the ownership issue today with God? Do you truly believe that He owns it all? Would your check book show it? Maybe you need to sign it over to Him.
Invest in things eternal
“Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account.” (Philippians 4:17)
I have some bad news and some good news and it has nothing to do with switching to Geico. The bad news is you can not take anything with you when you die. I’ve never seen a U-haul behind a hearse.
Solomon, one of the richest men who ever lived, wrote about this in his journal:
“Naked a man comes from his mother's womb, and as he comes, so he departs.
He takes nothing from his labor that he can carry in his hand…he toils for the wind.” (Eccl 5:15)
That’s the bad news. Would you like to hear the good news? Listen to Jesus:
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21)
Here is a principle that Randy Alcorn says can change your life: you can not take it with you but you can send it on ahead.
Paul says that the gift is important but even more important is the fact that the Philippians had an eternal perspective about their money. Again they “got it.” Their hearts were in the right place. Our hearts always go where we put our money. In other words, our feelings follow our finances. Their heart was for Paul and his ministry. They wanted to invest in a venture that could pay ever-lasting rewards.
In these verses, Paul uses banking terminology – a ledger sheet recording their gift that made God smile. When the Philippians gave to Paul, God noticed. This is a picture of an account that has continually increasing interest. Spiritual maturity leads us to invest in things that last forever instead of things that can fade away. James Boice writes: “Money that is given to help another Christian is called fruit. Our gifts to others are encouraged by God, noticed by God, and much desired by God.”
We will only be on this earth a short time and he who dies with the most toys…still dies! We need a radical shift in our thinking about money.
True or false – Money is evil. Listen to how Paul describes money to young Timothy:
“People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (I Tim 6:9-10)
It’s the love of money that gets us into trouble. Just this week, another CEO was convicted of stealing millions of dollars from his company. When the judge sentenced him to twenty-five years with no parole, this man sobbed uncontrollably. Jesus said, “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36).
Giving isn’t God’s way of raising funds; it is His ways of raising children whose hearts are rich toward Him. God has poured out his blessings on us and what have we done? We took them home and put them on our shelf. God raises our standard of living so we can raise our standard of giving.
Point to Ponder: How is your investment portfolio? Pastor Steven Cole gives us some insight into where we are to invest. He emphasizes that we should first give to our local church then to individuals and organizations you know to be faithful. He encourages us to give to those serving in difficult places and those reaching unreached parts of the world. Also, giving to the needy should be a high priority. I also rejoice when I see the generous mercy fund offering that we use to meet needs in this church body and the community.
Value God more than Money
“I have received full payment and even more; I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God.” (Philippians 4:18-19)
The Philippians had renewed their concern for Paul by sending him financial gifts while he was in prison at Rome. Paul states that the gift is more than enough. He uses three Old Testament terms of worship to describe their giving “fragrant offering,” “acceptable sacrifice,” and “pleasing to God.” When the sacrifice was made (see Lev 7) it produced a fragrant aroma that people could smell. The exact same words are used to describe the sacrifice that Jesus made for us on the cross:
“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Eph 5:1-2)
When we give, we are not giving to a church or a pastor, but to Jesus Christ Himself. And He is worthy of our best. Paul describes their extravagant giving as a form of worship.
In our present Christian culture, the word “worship” has been limited to singing and music. This is not the Biblical view of worship. Listen to Paul’s definition of worship in his letter to the Romans:
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship.” (Romans 12:1)
Worship is a lifestyle, not a song. Worship is prayer, reading and studying the Scriptures, fasting, singing, serving, and giving. Everything we do here at Pontiac Bible Church on a Sunday morning is worship. The music, the prayer, the preaching of God’s word and even the offering –it is all worship.
You may have noticed that we did not take the offering during the music. We did this intentionally. This gives me an opportunity to teach about the tithe.
A junior high girl in our Cross Roads ministry asked a great question once in response to the bible study we were doing. She said, “I think I know the answers to the other questions, but I’ve never heard of “tithing.”
There does seem to be a lot of confusion about giving. In the Old Testament, people gave 10% because they had to. Under the covenant of grace, we have the responsibility to give 10% and more because want to. Let’s look at three principles of grace giving:
• Grace giving is voluntary. Giving is not something we HAVE to do; it is something we get to do. If you are a Christian, then you will want to give. In 2 Corinthians 9:7, Paul states:
“Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Cor 9:7)
The Greek word translated cheerful is the same word we get our word hilarious. God loves extravagant, joyful, hilarious givers who realize that the can not out give God. Jesus said, “It more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35)
• Grace Giving is proportionate giving. In I Cor 16:2, we see Paul addressing the amount to given:
“Now about the collection for God's people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.” (I Cor 16:1-2)
It is clear that ten percent is the baseline. But is that all we are to give? John Piper has said that the 10% tithe is “a middle class American way to rob God.” We are privileged to live in the wealthiest country in the history of the world. If you live in a house, drive a car, and have enough food to eat today, you are better off than 97% of the world’s population. Many of us could and should be giving 15, 20, or even 25%.
• Grace Giving is sacrificial. Jesus told a story about an offering that got his attention:
“As he looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. "I tell you the truth," he said, "this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on." (Luke 21:1-4)
It really is not about how much you give, but how much you keep. The widow was commended for how much she kept – nothing. She gave everything she had. The Pharisees just gave out of their wealth. Are you just giving God the leftovers, or are you giving Him your best? King David said it this way, “I will not sacrifice to the Lord a burnt offering that costs me nothing.” (2 Samuel 24:24)
Tithing is the solution to greed. It has been said that if you want to break the back of greed, give your money away freely. John Wesley, whose books made an enormous amount of money during his lifetime, died with two silver spoons to his name. He was quoted as saying, “When I get any money, I give it away, lest it get control of my heart.” The Philippians were worshipping God when they provided Paul with funds for the ministry. It was a way of lifting Jesus high.
What happens to the money you put into the plate? The offering pays our light bill, electricity bill, facility upkeep, the pastors, teachers, and support staff’s salaries. It supports student ministry, children’s ministry, men and women’s ministry, outreach and evangelism. It supports the library, the nursery, Pontiac Christian School, AWANA, the worship team, the multimedia team, and nineteen missionaries scattered across the globe. Every dollar is used with integrity to make an IMPACT on our community, our county, our country, and the continents with the life-transforming message of Jesus Christ. Can you get excited about that?
When you walked in this morning, you were handed a penny. It is a gift from me to you. You can do anything you want with it. You can put it in your pocket, put it in your change purse, or you can put it in the plate. If you put it in the plate, it will be used to change hearts for eternity. This morning everyone has something to put into the offering. But it is your choice to give or to keep the penny.
Point to Ponder: Have you ever considered giving as a form of worship? How can we use our time, talents, or treasures to worship God? As we take this offering, how are you feeling about what you had planned to put in the plate in light of what we have been studying? As you give, consider these four declarations:
• With this offering, I am declaring my total dependence and trust in you
• With this offering, I am resisting everything in our culture that constantly whispers in my ear that I need more and more
• With this offering, I am sending treasure ahead to heaven
• With this offering, I am affirming my heart belongs to God.
Engage your heart and expect blessings
“And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:18-19)
This verse has been taken out of context by many people. Verse 19 is not a blank check to people who waste what God has given them. It is also not a promise of prosperity and luxury. It is conditional. If…then. If you honor me with your finances, then I will meet all of your needs. Let’s look at each phrase of this verse together:
• “My God” Paul does not invoke the name of some distant deity but starts by saying “my God.” God is a personal God who knows the number of hairs on your head (Luke 12:7) and what you need before you ever ask (Matthew 6:8).
• “Will meet” – This word means to “fill to the brim, to furnish or supply generously.” It is the picture of filling a glass to overflowing.
• “All you needs” – Notice Paul said your needs and not your “greeds”. In 1890, a survey was taken and the question was “Name your basic needs.” The 19 century respondents came up with sixteen basic needs. The same question was posed to individuals in the year 1990. Do you want to guess how many “basic needs” they listed? The came up with 98 basic needs. Play Stations and Plasma Screens are not BASIC needs! The Philippians had given so generously they were in needs. Paul says thank you but he also realizes he can not repay them but is confident God will.
• “Accordingly to His glorious riches.” Notice that Paul did not say “out of his glorious riches.” If Bill Gates walked into your house this afternoon and said, “I think I want to give you some money” what would be your reaction? Would you get a wheelbarrow and shout “Show me the Money!”? What if he pulled out his wallet and handed you a one dollar bill. That would be “out of his riches” and cheap! But what if he said “All I have is yours.” That would get your heart pumping, wouldn’t it? That’s exactly what God promises - to meet all our needs according to His vast resources which He makes completely available to us.
• “In Christ Jesus.” This is a promise for believers only. It is only through Christ that these riches can be accessed. J.H. Pickford writes: “What grounds do we have to lay hold of this promise to supply our needs, if we refuse to supply the needs of God’s work and we have the means? With what confidence can we pray for the Lord to honor us with substance, if we have not honored Him with the substance He was given us? …What we withhold withers, what we lay aside is spoiled, but what we release, returns.”
God promises to meet our needs. What are our greatest needs before God? Our greatest needs are not for more money or possessions but for salvation, forgiveness, hope, and peace. God, through Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross, has provided all this and more. That’s why some of the poorest people in the world are the happiest in Him.
God promises to meet your needs in proportion to your honoring Him. This is a pattern through the Bible. Rick Warren states with every promise, there is a premise. This is an if-then proposition – “If you faithfully, generously, sacrificially, voluntarily, and cheerfully give to support and further my Kingdom, then I will provide all your needs.”
In 1990, Maxine’s parents were $120,000 in debt due to a failed business. They were two hours away from having their house re-possessed. They went to a credit counselor who encouraged them to file bankruptcy. While reviewing their bills she noticed that they gave to their church and told them they would have to stop tithing. Maxine’s mother said that would be the last thing to go. When they returned home, they took 1% of their total debt and gave it away to someone who had a bigger need than they did. They never stopped tithing and giving and, through a new job and some amazing circumstances, they paid off the entire debt in three and half years!
Jesus said it this way:
“Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." (Luke 6:38)
God even says to test Him in this area:
Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.” (Malachi 2:10)
The great missionary Hudson Taylor’s wrote in his journal, “God’s work, done in God’s way, will never lack for supply.” As one of our high school students recently told me, “I guess giving in really all about trust.”
One of the most important things you can do with a sermon like this is to not just listen to it but apply it to your life. Here are three action steps that Chuck Swindoll suggests:
• Look within and release. Examine your heart as it relates to giving. Read and learn more about the spiritual discipline of giving. Go to www.generousgiving.org and www.crown.org for great teaching in this area. Read Larry Burkett’s “How to Manage Your Money” or “Money Matters for Parents and their Kids” by Ron and Judy Blue. If you do not give at all, make a commitment to at least give 10%. If you are giving 10%, maybe God would want you to move that figure up to 15%.
• Look around and respond. Remember how I began this sermon? I was overwhelmed by all the need. Ask God to show you where you can bless someone. No one can do everything but everyone can do something.
• Look up and rejoice. I want to end this morning with one more story about God providing. As many of you know, Pontiac Bible Church lead a campaign this summer called “Ten Tons of Love.” Our goal was to collect 20,000 pounds of Bibles, Christian books, magazines, tapes, CDs, hymnals, and bicycles to support a ministry called Love Packages. Last weekend, fourteen adults and students delivered Central Illinois’ gift. What an incredible weekend of worship. I watch our group give of themselves in their time, talents, and treasures. One of the highlights of our trip was listening to Steve Schmidt tell stories about God’s powerful provision.
Steve told us about a time when David C. Cook publishing bought several small companies and offered to give him all the material they did not want to sell. He said yes but had no idea what he was getting into. The next week, four full semi-trailers arrived and after they unloaded everything the warehouse was packed full. When he stood in the middle of the gym he became suddenly overwhelmed with how much money it was going to take to ship all this material. He said that he felt God saying two words to him, “Ship it!” His secretary told him they had $37 in the account and they needed $3,500 in order to send the first shipment. As they were loading the truck, he still had no idea how they were going to pay for the container. As the truck pulled out, a car pulled in and several men got and asked for Steve. They told him they felt lead to give to Love Packages and handed him a check for…guess how much? $3500! He walked back into the warehouse and looked at his secretary and said, “You know that shipment to Liberia? Ship it, too!”
That kind of faith is contagious. Let me introduce you to Candi Kelly, one of our Love Packages team members. She is going to share how God touched her heart through the mission of Love Packages.
“Last week, Brian gave us some homework assignments…the last one was- Step out in faith and do what God wants you to do, relying on His power to do so.
On July 8, 14 of us set out to do just that. I was excited about the trip, because I knew God was going to be in it, but I had NO idea how much He was going to move me. 14 of us made the trip and Steve (the founder of Love packages) made 15 workers. Between the 15 of us, we unloaded the semi, touched between 50 and 60 thousand pieces of literature, completed a door frame on Steve’s house, did laundry, did dishes and cut down some killer weeds. We began working at about 7 a.m. and finished up around 3:00. Now, we were some speedy workers, but without God’s Hand in that, there is no way we could have accomplished all we did.
Bible story—after we finished unloading the truck, a group of us went into ‘the sorting room’ with Steve to sort and pack bibles. We were busy working away, and Kenny Hinds pulled MY bible out of the sorting bin and held it up in the air and said “it’s going in the box!” I watched as he finished packing that box and then put it on the pallet that is scheduled to be shipped to Tanzania on the 15th. Shipping takes about 45 days, which means, by the end of August, a pastor in Tanzania will be giving MY bible to someone who does not have one. As if that wasn’t an awesome enough feeling, once we got home, I was able to share with another PBC member that I put HER bible in a box that will also arrive in Tanzania at the end of August. I knew the joy that was behind the smile on her face, because I had experienced that same feeling on Saturday.
Conclusion-It was awesome to actually BE the hands and feet of God, helping to reach the other side of the world with His word. We worked, we cried, we laughed, we sang, but most of all, we worshiped. Everything we did Saturday was an act of worship of our awesome God. There was also an unbelievable amount of fellowship that occurred in the short amount of time we were together. Some of us even bonded with strangers in a restaurant—but that’s a story for another time. As we were winding down, we sat and listened to Steve share some testimonies. As we were sitting there, I looked at Pastor Jeff and said “don’t ever leave on another mission trip without me”
[Power Point presentation – Love Packages trip]
This week, I received an email from a high school student who read my sermon ahead of time. She wrote:
“I'm not worshiping Him in my finances, my actions, or with my heart. I mean, I know it's all His… now that you told us about that… but I don't know if I can give it all to Him… or if I want to, or even if I know how. I mean how am I supposed to give Him everything??? I'm so scared that I won't be able to control my life… I mean, I know I can't… but it scares me to have to walk blindly.”
Could you close your eyes and bow your head. Maybe you feel just like that. You want to trust God but you are scared to take the leap. Let me close by praying specifically for you to trust Him and honor Him with your finances.