New generosity – Philippians 4:10-23

These notes accompany the sermon for Sunday, 2nd August 2020.

This passage contains some of the most well-known promises in the Bible as Paul outlines the 3 way blessing of generous giving.

Blessing others  (vs 10-16)

The sacrificial giving of the Philippian church has brought great joy to Paul (v10), yet he surprisingly speaks of the lack of need he was in. This was not because he didn’t have material needs but rather he had learned the secret of contentment (v.11, 12)

This is a true mark of maturity in a Christian disciple. What he has discovered is the value of real friendship with Jesus Christ, who has become all in all to him. This leads him to declare ‘I can do everything through him who gives me strength’ (v.13)

The Philippians had shared in Paul’s troubles and shared their money with him (vs14-16). This had resulted in a deep sense of ‘koinonia’ or fellowship. 

Reflect on times when your generosity to others has deepened your relationship. What has been the fruit of these acts of giving and receiving? You may like to consider the mission partnerships we have built up at Christ Church and what has come of our giving to support God’s work all over the world.

Blessing for us  (vs 17 &18a)

Paul speaks of the gift that this church has given as being ‘credited to their account’ v17. He is coming from the perspective outlined in 2 Corinthians 9; 6 where he explains the principle of giving, likening it to making an investment which can yield unexpected returns, or like a farmer sowing seed. ‘Remember this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.’

When have you experienced the ‘grace of giving’ i.e. the blessing for yourself that comes with real generosity? How would you describe this? 

Blessing for God (vs 18b – 19)

The imagery of the temple worship and the sacrifices offered to God colours Paul’s language here. Indeed, our giving is just as much an act of worship as our praying, singing or praising. As we ‘honour God with our wealth’ (Proverbs 3; 9) we are blessing him out of the riches with which He has blessed us. Every one of us is encouraged to participate in this on a regular basis, whatever our income as Paul outlines in 1 Corinthians 16; 2 – ‘On the first day of every week each one of you should set aside a sum of money in proportion to your income’. 

It is often said that we cannot out-give God, for He has given us everything in His Son Jesus and the gift of His Holy Spirit. Therefore, Paul concludes with total confidence by assuring the Christians in Philippi that, ‘My God will supply all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.’ (v.19)

Throughout this letter Paul has been conscious of the way the way that through the generous giving of the Philippian Christians he has been enabled to continue the ministry God has given him in his particular context/frontline. As God’s family, we each have the opportunity to unleash this 3 way blessing as we joyfully and generously give to resource God’s work through Christ Church.  

Give thanks for all the signs of generosity we see around us and reflect on the part you are playing in that.  How does the promise of v 19 impact your decisions about your stewardship of money in relation to resourcing Christ Church in our mission and ministry?

The final words of this letter are a prayer that God’s grace may be upon them (v23)

Consider how you might receive that grace more fully and respond to that grace more generously. What practical steps will you take in the light of this ‘grace-full’ letter?