Vision Series 2024
Great Commission Church
Intro: Can you imagine being incarcerated without breaking any laws? How frustrated would you be at that kind of life-ruining injustice? What emotions would you experience? How angry might you become? How devastating would it be? How could you cope with being constantly wronged and mistreated? Paul was in prison when he wrote this letter. In the 1st century Roman empire, prisoners were responsible for arranging their own survival. No food or water was provided. They had to secure it themselves. The only way to make it would be the care and concern of family and friends. Unless they gave Paul the necessities for life, he would die in prison. Now imagine how Paul felt when generous offerings arrived periodically from the disciples he made in his short visit to Philippi! Like one who was dying of thirst in a cruel, arid desert who was brought cold water at the last second, can you imagine the feelings that entered the heart of Paul when the gift from Phillippi arrived at the prison?
Phil 4:10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity.
Phil 4:11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content:
Phil 4:12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
Phil 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Generosity wants out.
“flourished” = “blossomed again” (like a perennial flower or the leaves on trees in the spring)
At least three times when Paul was in need on his missionary journeys, help came from the believers in Philippi: (a) from Lydia in Acts 16:15 (b) in Thessalonica Phil. 4:15 (c) in Corinth 2 Cor. 11:9
Paul is neither reveling in abundance nor complaining about lacking resources.
He is saying, “I have gotten in on the secret of both having a full stomach and going hungry.”
His relationship to Christ renders both conditions irrelevant – he can navigate both with integrity as Christ empowers him.
Photo: “t-shirt ‘All things through a verse taken out of context’” Their giving proved that the gospel was at work in them.
It is virtually never a lack of concern for the needs of others. It is usually a lack of opportunity to grow in generosity.
Phil 4:14 Nevertheless you have done well that you shared in my distress.
Phil 4:15 Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only.
Phil 4:16 For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities.
Phil 4:17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account.
Generosity helps everyone.
It brought aid to Paul. (They sent aid to him “once and again” for his needs)
It accumulated interest on their accounts in heaven. (Entered into the divine ledger as part of their “progress in the faith” 1:25)
It is good.
Prov 22:9 He who has a generous eye will be blessed, for he gives of his bread to the poor.
1 Sam 25:15 But the men were very good to us, and we were not hurt, nor did we miss anything as long as we accompanied them, when we were in the fields.
1 Sam 25:16 They were a wall to us both by night and day, all the time we were with them keeping the sheep.
It is commanded.
1 Cor 6:17 Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.
1 Cor 6:18 Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share,
1 Cor 6:19 storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
What’s commanded? (a) don’t be prideful (b) don’t trust material resources in place of God (c) use riches for good works (d) have a generous approach to life (e) invest in eternity
Phil 4:18 Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God.
Phil 4:19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Phil 4:20 Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.
Generosity worships God and gives Him glory.
Paul uses the rich imagery of the “burnt offering” from the OT to show that generous giving to the gospel ministry receives God’s direct approval. He takes it into His nostrils! He enjoys it. Burnt offerings were God’s own prescription of how to worship Him.
He takes pleasure in our generosity because it means we are trusting Him more than our physical resources.
Our highest priority must be the glory of God. And Paul connects giving to glory. Giving to the Lord equals glorifying the Lord!
Giving Journey/Giving Ladder…
photo: Giving Ladder (build each step from the bottom up)
5. SURRENDERED GIVER “What would God have me to keep from what God has provided to me and my family?”
4. EXTRAVAGANT GIVER “What would God have me to give from what God has provided to me and my family?”
3. TITHE GIVER
“What would God have me to do with God’s stuff?”
2. CONSISTENT GIVER
“What should I do with God’s stuff?”
1. EMERGING GIVER
“What should I do with my stuff?”
One Fund/One Fund First Fruits offering…
photo: One Fund Commitment Card
2. Fill out One Fund commitment card
3. Consider a One Fund offering
4. Bring commitment card & offering next Sunday