In the past sermon on Philippians 4:10-20, we saw how we can replace our drama (drawing a ridiculous amount of attention on our incapability instead of God’s capability and making fools of ourselves) with joyful maturity when we practice what we preach, restrain our imagination, exercise contentment in Christ and sacrificially give like Christ.
And in reviewing this message there is one more point I want to make concerning the sacrificial giving that the Philippians did and we are called to mimic. Verse fifteen says, “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.” When I read that my heart not only rejoices at the maturity in Christ the Philippians demonstrate in supporting Paul, but it also breaks. Why? Because no other church did what the Philippians did! All the other churches missed out!! There is nothing quite like being a part of advancing the Gospel! Whether it’s through service or financial support, it’s thrilling. I can remember being a part of a group of college students who went down to third street in downtown Los Angeles, every Friday night, to share the Gospel. It was the highlight of college for me. Nothing else even compares. Kimberly and I support a few friends who are missionaries and it is so uplifting to get their updates and to be a part of advancing the Gospel in that way. Just imagine being one of the people who contributed to Paul’s support. How encouraging would that be? God used you to sustain Paul who went on to write Scripture and spread the gospel like wild fire throughout the whole of the Roman Empire. On the other hand, just imagine how depressing it would be to know deep down you played no part at all.
In light of this, let’s just be straight forward. Are you and I acting as the Philippians, or would we be in one of the other churches. Do you and I financially support the advance of the Gospel or are we missing out? Now realize, as a pastor, this is hard to write. Why? Because it can be taken so many incorrect ways and has been abused by so many. But hear my heart. As Paul says in verse 17, “Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account,” I say to you today. I want you to abound in this life that God has given you. And one of the ways is through our financial support. I’m not going to look into your bank account. I am not going to check on how much you give. I never have and I refuse to start. I just want you and I to have the same joy the Philippians experienced in being a part of the advance of the Gospel. Let’s be like the Philippians and join together and advance the Gospel with our time, service, hearts, finances, every which way we can.