Philippians 4:16 For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity.
17 Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.
18 But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God.
19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
20 Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
We see that the saints in Philippi were willing to step in when other churches were not willing to obey God. Giving is a command of God for the saved. We have looked at this before. Tithes and offerings are part of the privilege that God grants to those who are His children. God is not robbing anyone. God is the One Who blesses all people with rain, and with weather that is conducive for growing crops. The soil is of such consistency that it can produce crops year after year. Even though man has not been a good steward of the land, yet it produces amazingly well.
The saints in Thessalonica did not see the importance of supporting the man of God. They did not appreciate the proclamation of the Word of God. We have noted before that Paul did not live an extravagant life. He did not have a mansion somewhere on some tropical island. He did not have servants. He did not receive royalties from his writing.
Yesterday there was another school shooting in the U.S. We have had some senseless shootings in our country as well. Our government foolishly plans to confiscate guns from law abiding citizens. Criminals do not follow the law. The problem is not the guns. The problem is the absence of the fear of God. We are becoming more and more pagan all the time. A people that does not have the fear of the Lord in their lives will not have a respect for life either. We have been murdering the unborn for a long time now. We are now encouraging the murder of the elderly and others. We claim this is the humane way to go. One politician stated that the murder of the unborn is the way to fight inflation. The Bible certainly does not support such thinking and actions.
Hebrews 10:21 And having an high priest over the house of God;
22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)
24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
According to God’s Word, those who are saved should be seeing greater value in the things of the Lord today than was the case in Paul’s day. That is certainly not the case for most of those who claim to be saved. I spoke with a man yesterday who believes he will go to heaven when he dies, but he does not believe in being saved. He prefers to live by “grace”. He admitted to committing certain sins on a regular basis, but he feels that God’s grace will cover for his sins. This type of thinking is quite common; however, it is not Biblical.
The preaching of God’s Word is the answer to the false doctrines that abound today. Those who preach the Word of God need to live just as those who receive the Word of God. God’s design is for those who receive the Word of God to be willing to meet the needs of those who preach the Word of God.
Paul was directed by God to remind the Philippian saints of this good work they were doing. In verse 17 Paul further reminded the saints that he was not desiring a gift. He was desiring that fruit might abound to their account. In Galatians 5 we read of the fruit of the Spirit. Jesus also taught the importance of bearing fruit if we are saved. Oftentimes we think of fruit as winning souls. That is certainly part of it. However, Paul wanted the saints in Philippi to have fruit credited to their account. Part of that fruit was their willingness to give of their substance to supply the necessity of the apostle Paul. The fruit is the obedience of the child of God to the will of God.
We see in verse 18 that Paul was not going to beg and complain about his lot in life. He was not going to come across as some poor beggar who did not have anything to eat and no warm clothing to keep himself warm. He had learned that there were things that were more important than food and clothing. In his confinement as a prisoner, he needed a close and vital relationship with the Lord. That was something that could not be bought. That was something that no one could take away from him either. He spent his time thinking on the good things as we noted in verse 8.
Paul also noted here that Epaphroditus had been able to deliver a gift from them to him. Epaphroditus had done so at great cost to himself. He had risked his health to bring that gift to the apostle. Paul expressed his thankfulness for this gift. It was an odour of a sweet smell. Paul was directed to use words similar to those that God used of the sacrifices that He expected of the nation of Israel. The gift from Philippi was a sacrifice acceptable and well pleasing to God. This is an important truth that we need to understand. Giving is to God. Certainly God’s servants benefit from those gifts, but the gift is given to God. God is not blind. He knows those who give sacrificially to Him. He rewards them with blessings that cannot be taken away by man or the devil.
In verse 19 Paul encouraged the saints that his God would supply all their need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. God’s riches are never devalued. Inflation does not affect God’s riches. Deflation also does not affect His riches. God’s riches are never threatened by a recession.
In verse 20 Paul again reminded the saints of where the glory belongs. He had expressed his thankfulness to the saints. However, they needed to be reminded that God was worthy of all glory for ever and ever. It is amazing, the change in attitude that a person has when they know the true God and they glorify Him with their life.
Paul was writing this letter to encourage the saints with those things that are important. He reminded them of the importance of having the mind of Christ. He taught them of the importance of that lowliness of heart and mind that is so important for God’s people. They were blessed by God and He was encouraging them to continue to live in the light of His blessings.
I trust that those who are saved will also be encouraged to live in the light of God’s blessings today, that we will determine that we will glorify God with all things. That is one of the ways we can be a witness unto the Lord Jesus Christ as He stated in Acts 1:8.
For those who are not saved, greed is a very real problem. Lost people cannot see true value. Achan stole precious items from God at Jericho. They were precious. However, he chose to disobey God in order to take those items. Knowing God and obeying Him is more precious than the things of this world. Nothing you have on this earth will go with your when you die. Without knowing the Lord, the torment of hell is your lot. Turn to God today and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for His gift of salvation. Then you will begin to see what true value is.