My God Will Supply

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Someone wrote a poem about the discontent of humanity. It says...
God supplies us with contentment
As a rule, Man’s a fool. When it’s hot, he wants it cool. And when it’s cool, he wants it hot; Always wanting what is not.
God supplies us with joy
That poem describes us all pretty well. We’re not happy with what we have so we want something. We’re convinced that that something will make us happy. Then we get it and we’re not happy. Then the cycle of discontentment begins all over again.
[INTER] Is there any way to escape this? Is there any way we can be truly happy; truly content while we live on this earth?
In fact, there is only one way.
The Apostle Paul was under house arrest while he waited to stand trial in Rome for preaching Jesus. Paul was able to have visitors and he was able to continue to minister as he shared the gospel with his guards and wrote letters to individual Christians and to churches. But Paul had needs.
While under house arrest, he had to pay the rent and feed himself. The Roman government wasn’t going to help, and Paul couldn’t work his usual side-job making and selling tents, so what would he do?
The answer came in the hands of a Philippian Christian named Epaphroditus who risked (and very nearly lost) his life to bring Paul support from the church that he helped to plant in the Macedonian city of Philippi.
In Paul closed his letter by rejoicing in the Lord; grateful for the gift from and partnership with the Philippian church while at the same time giving them in himself a prime example of contentment in the Lord.
If we humble ourselves before this passage this morning, I believe it will move us toward greater generosity, which is directly connected to our gratefulness to the Lord and contentment in the Lord.
In order to get there, let’s talk about Paul’s contentment in three PARTS...


Part #1: Paul was content with the gift (vv. 18-19).

Philippians 4:18–19 ESV
I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
[Exp] Ministry requires resources. Even in the ancient world in which Paul lived ministry required resources.
[Exp] Ministry requires resources. Even in the ancient world in which Paul lived ministry required resources.
Ministry required energy and Paul had plenty of that. Although he was the last Apostle called, he “worked harder than any of them” although, as he said, it was the grace of God working through him, ().
Ministry required people. Not just a crowed to preach to but a team to serve with. Paul was always surrounded by co-laborers in the ministry; people like Timothy, Titus, and even Epaphroditus. But what Paul needed was time and money.
Like any ministry, Paul’s ministry required time and Paul would have more time if he didn’t have to make a living by making and selling his tents (which, being in chains, wasn’t an option for him while under house arrest in Rome).
In fact, when Paul was in Corinth, he was in need but didn’t want to say anything to the Corinthian believers because someone there had accused him of being in ministry for the money, ().
However, suggests that Paul was able to be “occupied with the word” in Corinth because brothers in Christ came from Macedonia, the region of the Philippian church, to supply his need.
But for awhile the Philippian had “no opportunity” to support Paul as they had in the past, (). We don’t know the specific reason why they didn’t have opportunity, but it isn’t hard for us to imagine as to why that may have been.
Perhaps they didn’t know where he was. Communication in the ancient world was difficult and to keep track of people even more so; especially if they traveled like Paul did. How grateful we should be to be able to keep up with those serving the Lord just by sending them an email.
Maybe they didn’t have the money to support Paul. There is some thought that the Philippian church may have been a wealthy one, but Paul spoke of the churches in the region as very poor. How grateful we should be when we have the money to support those serving the Lord.
But perhaps they had the money, but maybe they didn’t have a way to get Paul the support he needed until someone like Epaphroditus was willing to carry it to him. How grateful we should be to just write a check or click a button on a computer and support those who serve the Lord.
Or it could have been that they had “no opportunity” because Paul didn’t have need for support.
But now, under house arrest in Rome, sharing Christ with guards and visitors, Paul had need and the Philippians had the money and a way to get it to him.
This meant that Paul could be once again occupied with the word and focused on sharing Christ!
He didn’t have to worry about finding a way to make and sell tents while he wearing shackles!
He had “received full payment;” He was “well supplied,” ().
But Paul also knew two things about the gift the Philippians had sent to him: (1) It was pleasing to God, and (2) it was a costly gift.
In v. 18 Paul described their gift to him as a “fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God.”
In the OT, every offering or sacrifice was to be acceptable and a “pleasing aroma to the Lord” because it was to be given with the right attitude - the attitude of thanksgiving.
The Philippians didn’t think they were buying salvation or blessing from God by sending this gift to Paul. It was an expression of their gratefulness to God for having been saved and blessed by God.
God saved so they gave as an offering of thanksgiving.
God saved so they gave to Paul because they had been saved and sanctified through his ministry.
God loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor. (9:7), one who gives with thanksgiving in the heart.
God loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor. (9:7), one who gives with thanksgiving in the heart. It pleased God that these Philippian Christians gave so cheerfully because they were so thankful.
Paul knew their gift pleased God, but he also knew it was costly. Paul reassured them that God would supply whatever need they may have resulting from the gift they gave to him. Specifically, Paul said that God would supply “every need of (theirs) according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus,” ().
Specifically, Paul said that God would supply “every need of (theirs) according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus,” ().
“Every need” in v. 19 refers to both physical and spiritual needs. Paul encouraged the Philippians with this truth: God knows your need, what you need, when you need it, and he will supply it.
He will supply it, in fact, “according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus,” ().
The true treasure that God gives to the church is his Son, Jesus, who will satisfy all our real needs and all our righteous wants in his presence in Heaven.
If God “did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” Paul assured the Philippians that he would.
Paul was content with the gift God provided through the Philippians...
...because his needs were abundantly met.
...because the Philippian gift was pleasing to God.
...because his needs were abundantly met.
...because knew that God would supply the needs of the Philippians as well. And he knew that he would do it through Jesus.
...because the Philippian gift was pleasing to God.
...because he knew that God would supply the needs of the Philippians as well. And he knew that he would do it through Jesus.
[App] Are we satisfied with the gift God has given us in Christ?
Are we satisfied with the gift God has given us in Christ?
Do we see him as the greatest treasure given by God to the church?
Do we give trusting that our God will meet all our needs in Christ Jesus?
Do we believe that this promise is for us, brothers and sisters?
The promise is not made to those who don’t believe but only to you and me as Christians! Our God will supply all our needs in Christ Jesus! He knows what we need, when we need it, and he will supply it!
[Illus] If you have any experience with children, you know they easily confuse “need” with “want.” My kids have told me that they “needed” to go to the store to just look at the toys. I’m sure if we had gone they would have suddenly felt that I “needed” to buy them a toy. But adults are no better.
Most people, no matter their age, live with their wants and their needs mixed up.
Paul knew people truly needed Jesus and the Philippians knew it too. That’s why they were glad to give and Paul was so content with their gift.
His needs were met and more people would have their need for Jesus met as a result.
We should give gratefully and thankfully for the same reason.
[TS] But Paul was not only content with the gift, but with the giver as well.

Part #2: Paul was content with the giver (vv. 15-17).

Philippians 4:15–17 ESV
And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit.
[Illus] Sometimes people say, “If I was rich, I’d give away most of my money to help poor people.” That’s probably not true, because if you did you’d soon be poor yourself. Also, people have studied the giving of very wealthy people and it turns out that they give away a smaller percentage of their income than do poorer people.
In fact, some years ago some group studied the generosity of every state in the United States. They were trying to answer the question, “Which state gives the most to charity?”
It turned out that the two states that gave the most to charity were the two poorest states: Mississippi and Alabama.
I don’t remember which state was the poorest or gave the most, but that principle holds true here in : Poor folks give the most.
[Exp] In Paul described the kind of givers the Macedonian churches were including the church at Philippi.
The Philippian church and other churches in its region gave despite hardship and extreme poverty.
They gave as they were able and, actually, beyond their ability; exceeding expectations.
They gave of their own accord and actually pleaded for the privilege of giving.
They gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God they gave support to Paul.
Now, there are several things that we should notice about the Philippians as givers from these verses in .
First, they weren’t just givers to Paul. They were partners with Paul. Paul used the word “share” or “communicate” in v. 14. In other contexts, it gets translated as “fellowship.” In v. 15 the ESV translates an almost identical word as “partnership.” Others have it as “communicate with” or “share with.” However, you want to put it, Paul’s communication with, sharing with, or partnership with the Philippians was one of giving and receiving. The Philippians had received the gospel from Paul, so they gave to him and in so doing became partners with him as he shared the gospel with others.
Second, the Philippian church was sometimes the only partner with Paul in giving and receiving. Paul used the phrase “in the beginning of the gospel” in v. 15 to describe the time after he planted churches in Macedonia and then set out from there to go and preach Christ in others places. Apparently, at that time, the Philippian church was the only to give in support of that effort.
Third, they were repeated givers. One estimation says that Paul left Philippi 10 years before he wrote this letter. The Philippian church started giving to Paul then, supporting him in Thessalonica “once and again” or as the CSB says it, “several times.” And now they were supporting him once again.
Fourth, these Philippian givers would received blessing as they supported Paul. As Paul said in v. 17, their giving would bear “fruit that increase(d) to (their) credit.” By giving as they did, the Philippians were storing up for themselves treasure in Heaven. The gifts they gave to Paul in support of his ministry were accruing eternal rewards to their spiritual account.
[Illus] I have a retirement account that I’ve been putting money into since I started working full time. (I hope you have one or that you had one that you’re now drawing from.)
But once a month I’ll get an email that says the statement on my retirement account is ready for review. I’ll log on and pull up the statement and there I’ll see how much my retirement account has increased.
To be honest with you I don’t think about my retirement account until I get that email. And to be totally honest, I sometimes don’t even review the statement like I should. Even so, the account continues to increase.
Even so, the account continues to increase.
The same thing was true of the spiritual account of the Philippians as they supported Paul from hundreds of miles away. They weren’t always thinking about Paul or checking up on the state of his ministry, but they gave as they had opportunity and because they did, their accounts in Heaven continued to increase.
All of this is what made Paul content, joyfully satisfied with the Philippians as givers.
[App] We ought to thank God for the opportunities we have to give. We can give to the church and through the church we give to support missionaries all around the world and here in North America. We give to support the Alabama Baptist Children’s Home. We give to Support the Conways in Kazakhstan. We give to support missionary work of the Mobile Baptist Association here in Mobile. And every time we do there is a deposit into our account in Heaven.
I pray that every ministry we give to is content with us as givers just as Paul was content with the Philippians, but more than that, I pray that God is content with us as givers.
In order for God to be content, joyfully satisfied with us as givers,...
…we have to give in times of want and in times of plenty; sometimes as we are able and sometimes beyond our ability.
…we have to want the privilege of giving. If we don’t have the want, we should ask God for it.
...we have to give as we are able and sometimes beyond our ability.
…we have to give even if no one else is giving.
…and I think most especially, we have to give to those ministries aimed at producing spiritual fruit.
There’s a lot of people asking for our money today and most of us don’t have unlimited amounts of it. Therefore, we have to be discerning about what we’ll give to.
Let’s give and give generously to those people and those ministries that are introducing people to Jesus. I think God will be content with that kind of giving.
[TS] Finally, Paul was content with God.

Part #3: Paul was content with God (vv. 11-13).

Philippians 4:11–13 ESV
Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
[Exp] In expressing his gratitude to the Philippians in these closing verses, Paul was not trying to “pour-mouth” them. You know what pour-mouthing is; it’s when a person has money but always talks as if they don’t. Paul wasn’t doing that here. As he said, he was well supplied (v. 18).
It’s the person living in a mansion talking about how tight the finances are.
But even though he was grateful for the gift from the Philippians he did not want them to misunderstand. He did not want them to think that now he was happy, content, joyfully satisfied because he had received their gift. No, he was happy, content, joyfully satisfied even before he received their gift and his needs were met.
It’s the
He was content because his contentment, his satisfaction, his joy, his happiness was ultimately in God.
Now, for the sake of clarity, let me say that Paul’s contentment in the gift from the Philippians and his contentment in the Philippians as givers did not contradict his claim to be content in God.
I am happy with my wife, but my ultimate contentment should rest in God.
I am joyfully satisfied with my children, but my ultimate contentment should be in the Lord.
I am content with our church, but my ultimate satisfaction must be in Christ.
That’s what Paul was saying when he said that he “learned in whatever situation… to be content… (to) do all things through him who strengthen(ed) (him),” (v. 11).
Paul knew what it was to be brought low; to be hungry; to be in need. He also knew what it was to abound; to to be well fed; to have an abundance. But he also knew the secret to being content in any financial circumstance or any circumstance in general: Let your content rest in God alone.
[App] Where most translations refer to being full, filled, or well fed in v. 12, I like the phrase “facing plenty” in ESV. We live in a prosperous nation, and compared to the rest of the world we live very prosperous lives. (We sometimes complain about rich people and then climb in our $20,000 vehicles and go home to our $100,000 houses. If you are here this morning, you are very likely well-off compared to most of the world.
This is why we have to learn to be content in God while facing plenty.
[Illus] You’d think with all we have, we’d be satisfied with all we’ve got, but we want more. Getting stuff satisfies the desire for stuff like salt water quenches thirst; in that it doesn’t.
You could be lost on a raft in the ocean surrounded by water and desperate for a drink, but that salt water will not satisfy your thirst. In fact, it’ll dehydrate you more, increase your thirst, and leave you in greater danger than before.
The same thing is true with the want for stuff. Getting more and more stuff only creates a thirst for more and more stuff. And there is no end to it until we find our contentment in God.
Christian contentment is not pretending that we don’t have needs; and it’s not even pretending that we don’t have wants. Christian contentment is realizing that we need most and what we should want most is God.
That is “the secret” v. 12 refers to; that is what the Spirit puts into us so that we “can do all things through him who strengthens (us),” (v. 13).
[TS] Let’s pray.
You are all-satisfying, but we are too dull to realize it. Our desire are backward. We should want you but we often don’t. We think other things will make us happy but we’re not. Forgive us, Father. Thank you for revealing yourself to us and offering yourself to us in your Son, Jesus. Help us to take hold of him by faith and find joyful satisfaction in him.
It’s in his Name we pray, Amen.


Because of Jesus’s work for us on the cross and the Spirit’s work in us, we can be content; we can do all things; we can learn to live joyfully satisfied in times of plenty or in times of need.
But we will not learn this contentment without a real relationship with Jesus Christ.
Jesus died for you because you’re a sinner and without his death on the cross you’d be lost in Hell forever.
But if you’ll place your faith in Jesus, trusting him as your Savior, committing yourself to him as your Lord, then you will be saved… and you’ll learn to be content, joyfully satisfied in Jesus.
This is the time to respond to Jesus; this is the time to respond to God’s word this morning.
If you’d like to talk more about trusting Jesus or if you need prayer for some other reason, I’ll be here at the front.
If you’d like to ask forgiveness for not giving as you should or for not being content in God as you should; or if you’d like to ask God to meet your needs or to open your eyes so that you can see needs to meet, the altar is open. You’re invited to come pray.
As we respond to God’s word, we’ll sing...
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