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The Promise Of God’s Provision

Philippians 4:14-23 • January 25, 2023 • w1388

Pastor John Miller concludes a series through the book of Philippians with an expository message through Philippians 4:14-23 titled, The Promise Of God’s Provision.

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Pastor John Miller

January 25, 2023

Sermon Scripture Reference

We’re going to read the whole section, verses 14-23, a reminder that we’ve gone past and are no longer in the doctrinal section, but this is a personal and practical section of the book as it concludes. In verse 14 Paul says, “Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction. 15 Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia,” which is northern Greece, “no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. 16 For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity. 17 Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account. 18 But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable,” and I love this, “wellpleasing to God. 19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. 20 Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen. 21 Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren which are with me greet you. 22 All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar’s household. 23 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.”

I heard the story of a preacher one Sunday morning got up to preach and said to his congregation, “God wants this church to walk,” and the congregation said, “Let it walk, Preacher, let it walk.” He said, “God wants this church to run,” and the congregation responded, “Let it run, Preacher, let it run.” Then, he said, “God wants this church to fly!” and they said, “Let it fly, Preacher, let it fly!” Then the preacher said, “If it’s going to fly, it’s going to take money.” The congregation said, “Let it walk, Preacher, let it walk.”

You know, not many congregations like to hear a message about giving, but the church in Thessalonica was not like that, they were very generous and giving. This whole passage is about their gift that they gave financially to support Paul, and he was blessed by it and was thanking them. In many ways the book of Philippians, and it’s clear as it closes, is a missionary thank-you letter thanking them for their financial support and participation in the gospel ministry and in the furtherance of the Kingdom. Paul and the believers in Philippi had a very close relationship, and Paul wanted them to know that he was thankful to them and to God for their joint participation in supporting the ministry and the work of the Lord.

As mentioned before, this church in Philippi was the only church that financially supported Paul. As Paul traveled around, he took offerings, but he was always taking the offerings not for himself but for other congregations. The Bible says that he worked with his own hands, probably preaching during the day and making tents at night, some say maybe he made tents during the day and preached at night, I don’t know; but that’s where we get the term “tent-making ministry” where you actually work and support yourself in the ministry. But there was this case which was unique with the church at Philippi that they did financially support him and give to the Lord’s work.

In Philippians 4:10-20, Paul is thanking them, but remember two weeks ago, we looked at verses 11-13 where I pointed out that they’re parenthetical, that there’s kind of a pause where Paul talks about the gift that they gave to him and talked about the fact that their, “…care of me hath flourished again, wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.” The door opened up for them to send an offering. They were in Philippi and sent it to Paul, who was in prison in Rome, by the hand of a man we read about in this text, verse 18, of Epaphroditus. We read about him in Philippians 2. He was an individual that had the mind of Christ and cared more about the Lord and the people of God and serving others than he did his own situation. In light of what Paul just said in verses 10-13, Paul did not want the Philippians to think that he was ungrateful for their gift. He was thankful that God had used them to meet his needs so that he might be able to be actively involved in gospel preaching. He points out, “God shall supply all your need,” and I’ll come back to it in just a minute when we get to verse 19, but the context is they gave to Paul creating a need in their own lives, and Paul says, “God will give to you, God will take care of you, and God will meet all of your needs.”

The great missionary, Hudson Taylor, said, “We greatly need to fear, not in sufficient funds, but much unconsecrated funds. God’s work carried out in God’s way will never lack for resources.” I believe that when God guides, God provides; and God was providing through the believers in Philippi for Paul’s ministry.

Back in Philippians 4:7 Paul had the peace of God to guard his heart and mind; in verse 13, he had the power of God, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me;” and tonight in verse 19, he had the promise of God’s provision. He had God’s peace, God’s power, and the promise of God’s provision.

If you’re taking notes, there are six things for which Paul was rejoicing over the Philippians with. Write them down. First, Paul was rejoicing over their present gift. He’s in prison in Rome under house arrest, paying rent on a house, so they sent money by the hand of Epaphroditus to take care of his need, and he’s rejoicing over their present gift. Go back with me to verse 14, “Notwithstanding,” nevertheless, “ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction.” The contrast word of “nevertheless” is that he was telling them, “I’m thankful for your gift, but not that I have any needs, ‘I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things,’ I know that Christ will take care of me,” but said, “Notwithstanding ye have well done,” you have done good, “that ye did communicate with my affliction.” The NASB renders that, “Nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my difficulty.” Paul wants them to know that he is thankful for their gift. What he’s referring to in verse 14 is their financial gift, the offering that they sent to him. He says, “I want you to know that it’s well that you did communicate with me in my affliction.”

Notice Paul uses the word “affliction” there. It’s interesting. Back in verse 12, Paul said, “I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and,” notice “to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.” He refers to being abased, being hungry, and suffering need. Paul says, “I was afflicted, and you communicated,” you shared with me, had koinonia or fellowship with me. They shared with Paul, so Paul shares with them his thank you.

Now, even though Paul knew—listen to me carefully—that God was the One who provided for him and God took care of him, Paul knew that God used people as His instrument. There’s nothing wrong after you’ve thanked the Lord to thank those who have blessed, encouraged, and helped you. If somebody has helped you in a time of need, you give thanks to the Lord and you thank them for their help and encouragement.

In verse 14, Paul uses the phrase, “…ye have done well.” It stresses that which is good and beautiful and attractive in appearance, “What you’ve done is a beautiful thing. You’ve done well.” The word “communicate,” also in verse 14, is where we get our word fellowship from. It’s actually the word koinonia, which means joint participation—their giving and the receiver brings them into fellowship. When you help somebody and share with somebody and encourage somebody, you’re entering into koinonia—fellowship—with them, a joint participation.

Let me make an application. It’s good and beautiful to fellowship with others by giving to help them in their time of need. If you know a brother or sister’s need, and you can meet that need and help them so it’s a good thing, a beautiful thing, it’s a lovely thing. It’s part of the Christian life. Sometimes we want to compartmentalize our Christian life, “I want to pray, I want to sing, I want to serve the Lord. I want to preach, I want to do this or that, but I’m not one of those giving Christians.” You can’t really compartmentalize your Christian life and say, “Well, this I’ll accept, but this I won’t.” Giving, generosity, helping others is a part of the Christian life. Write down 2 Corinthians 8:7 where Paul says, “But just as you excel in everything, in faith, speaking, knowledge, and in all earnestness and in the love we inspired in you, see that you also excel in this gracious work,” act of giving.

God wants you to be a well-rounded, well-balanced Christian to realize that what you get financially really belongs to the Lord. We’re just stewards over what He entrusts to us, and we should use our funds to be a blessing to others and to bring glory to God; so we should use our time, many people are willing to do that, we should use our talents, many people are willing to do that, that’s good and commendable, but we should also use our treasure. Amen? I didn’t know if anyone would say ‘Amen’ to that. “Let it walk, Preacher, let it walk.” I am in no way making any appeal for you to give more to this church. God has blessed this church more than I can even fathom or comprehend, but you can participate. You can be in koinonia, you can be a partner in the work of the ministry of this fellowship. As the Word of God goes out and lives are being transformed by His Word, you can be a partner in that fellowship communicating your goods to be a blessing to others.

The second thing Paul rejoiced over is in verses 15-16. Paul rejoiced over their past gifts—their present gifts, verse 14; their past gifts, verses 15-16. Let’s read those verses again. “Now ye Philippians know also,” he was letting them know that he was aware of their knowledge, “that in the beginning of the gospel,” he’s reminding them of when he first came to Philippi, you read that in Acts 16, “when I departed from Macedonia.” Macedonia is the term used for the region of northern Greece. In that area there were the churches at Philippi and Thessalonica. When he left that area, Acts 16 and 17, Paul says, “…no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. 16 For even in Thessalonica,” which is covered in Acts 17, “ye sent once and again unto my necessity.” He’s reminding them that in the past no other fellowships, no other churches, financially gave to Paul. He’s reminding them of that koinonia, that fellowship, that he had with them.

As I said, Paul never asked for money for himself. He worked with his own hands. In 2 Corinthians, all through that book, Paul is being attacked by false teachers. One of the accusations they brought against Paul was that he wouldn’t allow churches to support him, so he must not really have been an apostle of Christ. That’s quite a turn from today, right? Normally we say, as we turn on our televangelist, “He’s begging for money all the time. He must not really be a servant of God.” The opposite was true, they turned around and said, “Well, he doesn’t take your money because he knows he’s not a real apostle, so he doesn’t rip you off.” Second Corinthians, which is one of my favorite books of the Bible believe it or not (a little tidbit about 2 Corinthians), is the most autobiographical book of Paul’s he ever penned. If you want to discover the heart of Paul, which is a good thing to do, read 2 Corinthians. He did that because he had to defend himself against false teachers, so Paul talks a lot in that book about the biblical concept that we should support those who preach the Word of God.

Paul made it clear that supporting those who preach the Word was scriptural. Things like, “You shall not muzzle the ox while it is threshing.” They would actually use oxen to thresh the corn before they would winnow or separate it, so the ox was not to be muzzled as it was threshing the corn. It could reach down and take a bite. It’s kind of like if you work at In-N-Out you outta be able to have a free hamburger once in a while. If you work out in the fields, you outta be able to take some grain home for the family. Those that labor in the Word should be blessed and benefit from their labor. The concept also is biblical that those who preach the Word should live by the Word and that we should sow to the Spirit so that we can reap eternal blessings in our giving to God.

Only the Philippians asked him what his needs were in verse 15, “no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only.” He was blessed by that. He said you gave, “…and again unto my necessity,” verse 16. Again, the lesson here is their thoughtful gift permitted Paul to give more time to the preaching and teaching of the Word of God. When you discover a ministry that is giving out God’s Word, and you want to participate, and you do it with the right heart and attitude for the right reasons, for the right motive, you are joint participants. The reaping of the spiritual blessings and benefits and rewards eternally will be yours. If you’re going to give to a church or ministry or minister, make sure the Word of God is being preached and taught, and the gospel is going out, then you’re joint participants with that ministry.

I think of how God is using Revival Christian Fellowship, how the radio ministry has expanded and we get letters and notes from people all around the world, and other states across the United States, that are listening to Revival and hearing the radio daily and the response that we get in the teaching of the Word of God; so you’re joint participation in that, as we’re going to see, will bring spiritual fruit for you eternally. Their thoughtful gift permitted Paul to give more time to the preaching of God’s Word.

The third thing that Paul rejoiced over was their fruitful reward. Just as I alluded to, this is in verse 17, and I’ve always loved this verse, “Not because I desire a gift,” what he says in verse 17, is not because he desires a gift, but what he desired for the believers in Philippi was fruit. Notice he didn’t say loot, he said fruit. He realized that their giving was spiritual fruit to the glory of God and to their account for eternity. Verse 17, “…that may abound to your account.” Interesting word that Paul uses there. Paul was not after their money.

Beware of ministers and ministries that put you under coercion, pressure, or a guilt trip to give to God. It’s fine to preach on giving. It’s fine to talk about money, if it’s exposition of the Scriptures and given in balance, but it’s wrong for any minister or ministry to try to manipulate people, try to coerce people, try to influence people to give. They should be giving joyfully and voluntarily to the Lord for His glory. I’ll talk more about that in just a moment.

Paul wanted fruit that would abound to their account. What is this “fruit” Paul was talking about, “…that may abound to your account”? Well, it’s a metaphor that he uses of their giving as an investment which results in spiritual dividends. Sometimes we don’t really think in those terms—that we’re actually investing our money here now and that it’s actually used for spiritual dividends and spiritual returns. Jesus said it like this in Matthew 6:19, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.” No matter how well you protect things down here, someone will steal it, someone will break in, rust will corrupt it, moths will eat it.

I don’t know what it is, but every time I have a favorite shirt or sweater, a moth eats it. If I have a favorite sweater, I don’t say anything. I don’t want the moths to know. Why is it every time I have a favorite sweater it gets a moth hole in it? You know, the moths seem to hear what I’m talking about.

Paul says, “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.” In Bible days their treasures were clothes, food, and coins; so he talks about moths, rust, and corruption. Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven by sowing to the things of the Spirit and you will reap things eternally.

It’s interesting that when David was going out to battle one time, he took a group of his soldiers and went out and conquered the enemy and took spoil. When they went out to battle, they had to leave some guys back at home to “watch the stuff” and protect the home base. When they came back to the home base with the spoil, the guys that had been out fighting the battle wanted all the spoil. David said, “No, no, no, no, no.” Here’s the principle he established: Those who “stay by the stuff,” and I love that concept, will share equally in the spoils.

You may not be a missionary, you may not be a full-time pastor or a Bible teacher, you may not be on the radio on a daily basis, but if you “stay by the stuff,” you pray, which is just as important, if not more important than giving your money, you give and support the ministry, then you will share equally in the spoils. I love that concept. You may not be in front of people, you may not be known by anybody, you may not have a public ministry, but behind the scenes, you “stay by the stuff” by praying, giving, by supporting, and when we get to heaven, you’re going to be in a front-row seat with a big crown on your head. People are going to say, “What did that person do? What church did they pastor? What evangelist were they?” or “What did they do for the Kingdom?” We’re going to discover that they prayed, they gave, they were faithful to what God gave them to do, and they were rewarded in heaven abundantly for that.

Write down 1 Timothy 6:17-19. Paul says, “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches,” which are unreasonable, “but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; 18 That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate,” always ready to share with others. By doing this they will be “Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” Ask yourself: What investments—my time, my talent, my treasure—am I making in the Kingdom of God? Am I a good steward of my time, my talents—the gifts God has entrusted you with—and the treasures—the finances that God has given to you? He wants us to be a channel not a reservoir. It’s so very, very important.

Here’s the fourth, verse 18, Paul rejoiced over their sacrifice to God in their giving. Look at verse 18. He said, “But I have all, and abound: I am full,” so in context of their giving to Paul at this time, “I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you,” he’s talking about their financial gift and then describes it this way, “an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God.” This is a beautiful picture of Paul referring to their financial support that they gave to him. Paul looked at how their gift affected him. Notice it in verse 18, “But I have all.” It’s a business term which speaks of total reimbursement. It means, “I am paid in full.” “I am fully compensated,” you might paraphrase that. “I’ve given to you, I’ve invested in you, and you have compensated me. I am full.” Paul had received full payment from them for his investment of time and ministry in their lives.

I think a neat application is that when you invest in the lives of others, not just giving financially but praying for, encouraging, discipling, mentoring them, that you are the one that receives and gets full. If you want your cup to be full, you need to empty it on someone else. If you want to have an empty life, then hoard what you have, lose what you have. Like I said, we want to be conduits not reservoirs. We want to be a constant flow of what God has entrusted to us, using it for His glory.

Is your life full? If not, perhaps you’re not investing in the lives of others. Whose life, other than yours, are you investing in? Who are you mentoring? Who are you discipling? Who are you encouraging? Who are you assisting or helping or ministering to? If you want to be full, then you want to give of yourself. Jesus said, “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom.” That’s why Paul says in verse 18, “But I have all, and abound.”

Their gift was over and above the actual cost, so it was actually the concept of giving beyond and above and over. It’s kind of like going into a restaurant, ordering a meal, getting the check, and you tip them generously rather than just pay the bill and run out. You give more than you’re supposed to. It’s abounding, so we always get more than we give. Then he uses the phrase, “I am full.” I love these three terms: “I have all, and abound, I am full.” Again, Paul was a giver. He worked with his own hands to give to others, so Paul is now receiving and was participating with them in ministry and his life was full and overflowing. Literally it’s, “My cup overflows.” I love that. If you want a life that’s full, a cup that overflows, then be a giver rather than just a receiver or a hoarder. That is the blessed life.

I used to love the song we sang in church: Make me a blessing, Make me a blessing, Out of my life, May Jesus shine. It’s a beautiful chorus. We outta learn it here at Revival to sing it. Make it a prayer, Make me a blessing, Make me a blessing, Out of my life, May Jesus shine, that I want to be a blessing to others, and I want to give to others.

Paul also described their gift in verse 18 from God’s perspective. First from his perspective, “But I have all, and abound: I am full,” but secondly, “having received of Epaphroditus,” he describes it from God’s perspective, “…an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God.” I love these three descriptive terms that Paul uses: “…an odour of a sweet smell.” There were sacrifices in the Old Testament that were actually burnt on the altar and created the odor of what we have when we barbecue that ascended to God. God, in what’s called an anthropomorphism, a human description of God, doesn’t have a nose, so He doesn’t smell like we do; but God uses as a picture to convey a thought that your giving is like a leg of lamb on a barbecue and the fragrance comes up and God bends over and says (loud inhale), “Ah! That smells beautiful!” I can imagine when they were barbecuing the lamb that was sacrificed, you walked by the temple and just (loud inhale), “Ah! I’m hungry!” But God says, (loud inhale) “Ah! I’m pleased.” It’s like a smell of a precious, sweet odor. That’s because their offering was voluntary and given in love with thanksgiving and devotion, so should ours be the same, a sweet smell in the nostrils of God.

The second description is, “…a sacrifice acceptable,” verse 18, given for the right reasons, given in the right way, given for the glory of God, and given to where Paul says in 2 Corinthians 8:5, that they first gave themselves to God, then they gave their money to be used for the glory of God. Jesus, in Matthew 6, the Sermon on the Mount, says, “But when you give…let not your left hand know what your right hand is doing,” right? He’s not talking about literally you have to fake out your hand when the offering bag comes by, “Okay, make sure the left hand isn’t looking right now. Let’s kind of fake it out real quick.” He’s actually saying, “Don’t make an ostentatious show.” He actually said, “Don’t blow the trumpet when you pray. Don’t toot your horn,” and “When you give, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.” When the offering plate comes by, you don’t take your cash out and fan it, “One hundred, two hundred, three hundred,” and hold it real high and let it float down.

I heard one pastor taking an offering one time say, “I want to hear the rustle of green not the chinkle of change,” or “The ushers will come by and pick the lettuce,” really. Sometimes churches placate to the wrong motive, “You give and we’ll put your name on the pew, ‘Donated by the Smiths.’” You open the hymnal, and the hymnal was purchased by a family in the church, or fountains were bought by this person. You have these little monuments or their picture in the foyer, ‘Giver of the Month,’ or something like that. If someone gives to you in the work of the ministry, it’s fine to say thank-you, but you want the glory and the honor and the praise to be unto God, right? Give to your Father in secret, and your Father, which is in secret, will reward you openly. You don’t do it in an ostentatious way to toot your own horn or to draw attention to yourself as to what great gift you have given.

It was, “…a sacrifice acceptable,” and thirdly it was, “wellpleasing to God,” given to God and pleasing to God. We want to give to the Lord not as unto men, and we want it to be pleasing to the Lord. In 2 Corinthians 9:7, it says, “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” Greek scholars say that word “cheerful” means hilarious, that when you give, you give with hilarity. When the offering is taken, “Hahaha!” and you give out of the joy of your heart to the Lord.

Here’s the fifth, verses 19-20, Paul rejoiced over the promise of God’s provision. We all know this verse. We hear it quoted on promise cards, “But my God,” Paul’s talking about the God of Israel, the God of the Bible, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, “shall,” it’s a promise, “supply all your need,” not greed but need, and the thing is that God knows what we need more than we do. We think we know what we need, and God knows what we need. If God hasn’t provided, God knows you don’t need it. I know that bums us out, “I need a blue Metal Flake ski boat with tuck and roll seats, inboard-outboard, so that I can waterski for His glory. I’ll take the youth group.” Maybe you don’t need that—God knows you don’t need that—and God doesn’t provide it. God will meet your needs, not your greeds, and it’s important to distinguish the two. He does it, “…according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus,” and God is rich in glory in Christ Jesus. Verse 20, a word of praise, “Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen,” so be it.

I want to make clear about this verse that’s quite often quoted, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” The context of this verse is in the context of their generosity. This is not just a broad, general promise for anyone, it’s the promise to the Philippians. The context is they were generous, they were giving, and their generosity and their giving had created a need in their own life; therefore, in that context, God will meet your needs. If you’re not a giving, generous person, I don’t know that in context you can rightfully claim this promise. There are other places where God provides and takes care of us. I believe in the providential provision of God, but to say that this verse is a carte blanche—anyone at anytime—can have their needs met is not taking it in context. These are people of generosity, people that were giving, people that were supporting Paul in ministry. In context, when you give to God, you can trust God to take care of you. He’ll meet your needs and take care of you, but you can’t give to God without doing it rightfully as unto the Lord. It’s so very important. God’s promise to provide for those who are giving and generous, it’s need not greed. God provides our temporal as well as our spiritual needs. How important that really is. He’s Jehovah-jireh, the Lord who sees and thus provides.

The great American evangelist D.L. Moody used to say that this verse is actually God’s blank check from the bank of Heaven. He broke it down like this, verse 19: the firm is, “my God;” the promise, “shall supply;” the amount, “all your need;” the capital, “according to his riches;” the bank address, “in glory;” the signature, “by Christ Jesus.” I love that! How do we cash that check? By faith. We claim the promise by faith. God’s treasure house is inexhaustible and is boundless and infinite as His love and His grace.

Look at verse 20. All of this is to be for the glory of God our Father, “for ever and ever. Amen.” Paul closes in verses 21-23 with his salutation greeting or closing. He’s saying, “All this giving is to honor and glorify Jesus Christ.

Here’s the sixth, verses 21-23, Paul was thankful for the grace of God. I love how this book closes. He does all this talking about their financial gift, but how does he close? Verse 21, “Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren which are with me greet you. 22 All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar’s household. 23 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.” Paul ends on the grace of God, and he magnifies the Grace of God. He talks about the glory of God and ends with the grace of God. God’s grace to save, God’s grace to sustain, God’s grace to sanctify, God’s grace to strengthen, God’s grace in suffering, God’s grace in service, how thankful we should be for the grace of God! Someone described grace, G-R-A-C-E, an acrostic, God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. I love that.

I love John Newton’s song “Amazing Grace.” Grace that is not only greater than all our sin, but grace to sustain, grace to keep, grace for service, and even in suffering. It’s all about the grace of God that brings glory to God. We’re saved by grace, Ephesians 2:8-9; we’re sustained by God’s grace, 2 Corinthians 12, “My grace is sufficient…my strength is made perfect in weakness;” and we’re preserved by the grace of God, so all praise, all honor, and all glory be to God for His grace.

Going back quickly, notice that Paul salutes every saint in Christ. The “salute” there is a greeting, and the saints are believers. Here’s a clear reference to Paul using that term for Christians. Very rarely is it found in the plural, but it is in verse 22, “All the saints salute you,” so greet the saints that are “in Christ.” The reason they’re saints is because they’re “in Christ.” How they got “in Christ” was by trusting Him as their Savior, and then they were taken out of Adam and placed “in Christ,” so there’s Paul’s term “in Christ.” Every Christian is a saint. Someone said, “You’re either a saint or you ain’t.” This has to do with your position, not your practice.

The goal of the Christian life is to practice and to grow in our sanctification or saintly living, but we’re positionally “in Christ,” which doesn’t change, and the righteousness of Christ has been imputed to us, we stand in Him complete, so we are seen as saints before God. The Bible doesn’t say that we’re saints because we’re living some supernatural, holy life or we’ve done something that someone prayed to us or we have a miracle in our name. It means because we’ve trusted Christ, His righteousness is imputed to us, and “in Christ” we are righteous—imputed, positional righteousness—true of every Christian. It does not change. This is why Romans 8:1 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.” By the way, that’s where that verse stops, and I emphasize that because someone’s going to ask me about that after church. They always do, “Why didn’t you finish quoting that verse?” Because when it says, “…who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit,” does not appear until you get to verse 4. It doesn’t belong in verse 1. If you don’t believe me, you can do your own homework.

You, as a believer, are “in Christ” declared to be a saint, but the idea is: now, act like it; live like it. That’s sanctification. It’s so marvelous to greet those saints, and “All the saints salute you.” There are saints in Caesar’s household. Isn’t that cool? Back in Philippians 1, “…the things which happened unto me…unto the furtherance of the gospel.” Where is Paul when he’s writing these words? In Rome. Who’s he chained to? A Roman soldier. Where do they live? In Caesar’s palace (not Las Vegas, that place needs to be evangelized, too) in Rome. Paul wanted them to know, “Hey, what’s happening to me right now—I’m in chains, I’m in Rome—is actually for the furtherance, the pioneer advance, of the gospel so that even those in Caesar’s household are hearing the good news and getting saved.” You have Roman soldiers driving chariots with ‘Jesus’ bumper stickers on them. They’re having a Bible study in Rome in Caesar’s household. And, they say ‘hello’ to you, the koinonia, the love fellowship.

Verse 23, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,” so you have the saints of Christ, and then you have, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen,” and amen. Let’s pray.

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About Pastor John Miller

Pastor John Miller is the Senior Pastor of Revival Christian Fellowship in Menifee, California. He began his pastoral ministry in 1973 by leading a Bible study of six people. God eventually grew that study into Calvary Chapel of San Bernardino, and after pastoring there for 39 years, Pastor John became the Senior Pastor of Revival in June of 2012. Learn more about Pastor John

Sermon Summary

Pastor John Miller concludes a series through the book of Philippians with an expository message through Philippians 4:14-23 titled, The Promise Of God’s Provision.

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Pastor John Miller

January 25, 2023