In 3 John we learned that it is good to give to missionaries for three reasons: 1) Missionaries minister Jesus to the world. 2) Biblical correct missionaries receive money only from Christians believing that God’s work should be supported by God’s people. 3) We become fellow-workers with missionaries when we support them financially.
In 1 Timothy 5, we discovered that the labor is worthy of his hire. That is to say, those who minister the gospel should be able to count on others to support them as they do so. This is why Paul was bold in asking Christian churches to support him as he journeyed on gospel ministry trips.
In Proverbs 3 and related passages of Scripture, we were taught the principle of giving the first portion of our income back to God. By doing so we exercise our faith and trust in God. We show that money is not our idol and that our ultimate wellbeing is knowing and trusting in the God of the universe.
Today we will learn about the proper motivation of the one who gives and the one who receives.
Philippians 1: 1 Paul and Timothy, bond-servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4 always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, 5 in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now.
I am interested in Paul’s phraseology, “participation in the gospel from the first day until now.” Without reading the rest of the book of Philippians, one might think that Paul is only talking about the Philippians participating in Paul’s witness concerning Jesus Christ, but, as we will see, Paul had more than witnessing in mind.
Philippians 4:10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity.
By reading verses Philippians 4:14-15, it is easier to understand what this passage is about. Paul is telling the Philippians that he is glad that they are helping him financially.
Philippians 4:11 Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
Is Paul in need of money? How does Paul feel about having an abundance of things or lacking some essential things? Is Paul begging for money?
14 Nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my affliction. 15 You yourselves also know, Philippians, that at the first preaching of the gospel, after I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone; 16 for even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs.
How does Paul feel about the Philippians helping him? What did Paul like about their giving practices?
17 Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account.
What is important to Paul about the gift which was given to him by the Philippians?
18 But I have received everything in full and have an abundance; I am amply supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God.
To what extent was Paul’s need covered? How did God view the financial help, which the Philippians gave to Paul?
19 And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
In Proverbs 3:10, we learned that, by giving our first fruits to God,, our barns will be filled (our needs will be more than adequately covered). What does Paul tell the Philippians about God’s care for them? Why does Paul feel this way?
Philippians helps us understand how the the one who gives to ministry needs should view (understand) their giving, and how the one who receives the gift should view (understand) the implications of the gift.
The one who gives should understand that giving is good in the eyes of God and that such gifts are exceedingly pleasing to Him. God is pleased with the one who gives sacrificially to His work and to His servants.
The one to whom the gift comes should know how to live without the gift, and should be mostly concerned for the welfare of the giver. He (the one receiving the gift) knows that it is good to give and that it will help the spiritual welfare of the person who gives.
So Philippians gives a beautiful picture of the mutual love represented by giving. The one who gives loves God, God’s work on earth and the one doing that work. The one who receives the gift is not desperate for the gift, but is concerned for the welfare of the one who is giving–a beautiful love relationship.