SanLo Community, an update for the week of May 27, 2018…
Thank you Pastor Eric for the message from Philippians 4:10-20, “The Joy of His Provision.” We are finishing our series in the book of Philippians called Together in the Joy of the Gospel. Joy; Happiness; Delight; Pleasure; Satisfaction. What makes you happy? What brings you joy in life? What makes your heart smile? Paul sits in a somewhat desperate situation. However, God allows him to find true everlasting joy and delight in His God no matter the circumstances, no matter the situation. Paul can find deep everlasting joy and we can too.
1) We can find joy in God’s gift of friendship. A gift from God is the love from those around us. There is something significant and special about the church, the body of Christ, and how it loves one another through thick and thin. We can find joy in God’s gift of friendship. (v.10) 10 I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Paul continues his theme of joy by saying he rejoiced in the Lord, greatly because the Philippians have revived their concern for him. Paul uses a unique word for revive which describes a flower blossoming in the springtime. The Philippians concern for Paul brings a refreshing feeling, and he takes great delight in their friendship. Paul is super-grateful for their concern and their generosity. Paul deeply appreciates their friendship in the gospel.
2) We can find joy in God’s gift of divine strength. God gives us the strength and the ability to become people who are content. We can find joy in God’s gift of divine fulfillment. (vv.11-13) 11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 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. 13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. While Paul is grateful for the Philippians’ friendship, he doesn't want to come across as a poor beggar, a needy person. He doesn’t want them to feel pressured to give or to misunderstand his joy. Paul uses the word contentment to describe his joy. Paul comes to know that Christ is enough for him. Christ was and is all Paul needed. Paul called this contentment a learned secret as being content didn’t happen overnight. There was a wrestling and struggling through circumstances and trials, through ups and downs. Our contentment in the Lord takes effort, time, and maturity. Paul finishes by saying, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” God will give you the divine strength and ability to find true contentment in all phases of life. Christ empowers us to be content in every situation. Paul has found the secret power of contentment in Christ.
3) We can find joy in God’s gift of gospel partnership. God gives us people who desire to serve us and to serve alongside us. We can find joy in God’s gift of gospel partnership. (vv.14-18) 14 Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. 15 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. 16 Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. 17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit. 18 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. Paul praises the Philippians for not only their friendship but their partnership in the gospel. They were the one church who stood with Paul from the beginning. Their kindness wasn’t just there being a good friend but generous giving. There was action to their friendship. Paul teaches here that there is an inseparable relationship between financial giving and gospel partnership. It’s putting your money where your mouth is. This is why Paul is so excited and encouraged by the church. As he says in verse 17 “Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit.” Paul loved to see the church bear fruit. He wants them to be spiritually profitable. He’s happy and overjoyed because they are acting as Christians should act.
4) We can find joy in God’s gift of provision. All the things listed above are God’s gift of provision, but there is something core in all of them, our generous and glorious God who is the greatest giver of all. (vv.19-20) 19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. 20 To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen. Paul encourages the church with a magnificent promise that God will supply all their needs out of His infinite resources. God provides for their every need both physically and spiritually. God will meet your need for friendship. God will meet your need for material possessions. God will meet your need for food. God will meet your need for finances. God will meet your need for your souls. There isn’t anything our infinite, wise, and all-powerful God can’t do for us and through us if we’re willing to let Him. Paul’s life was a true testimony to this.
As we think about the gospel, this is true throughout Scripture that our God is generous. It begins with remembering we don’t ever deserve God’s generosity. We actually deserve the opposite because of our sin and disobedience. We deserve wrath. We deserve punishment. We deserve loneliness and isolation because of our sin. Scripture says the wages of sin is death… that’s what we should get. We should be dead for eternity. But no! Scripture says, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord. God graciously and generously gives us Himself by dying the death on the cross we deserve in order that we can have a friendship and partnership with Almighty God. That’s the good news of the gospel and of God. That’s the supreme gift and blessing of God to all of us if we are willing to follow Jesus. It is out of His provision of love that God calls us to love others. God calls us to be a friend. God calls us to become a partner in His kingdom work. Let us always continue to find joy in the generosity of our God and His gospel so we too might pass it onto someone else.
Thank you Uncle Chibi and Kelly for sharing gifts with the children (helping parents do the laundry, picking up toys after playing with them, help take out the trash, and candy) through Christ we can do the things we need to do. Whether it is doing a chore or getting candy, we are to be happy either way and to share how great God is with others.
Welcome and thank you to the Jon and Maki Robison family (Aki, Leon, Hugo and baby due in November) for sharing about their past 5 years working at the Morioka Minami Church plant (completed), now being on home assignment in Southern CA, and for their call to return to the Chiba Prefecture in January 2019 to the Oyumino Christ Church, near Chiba City to help with outreach and church planting.