Gratefulness for Gifts from the Church

Dr. Steve Viars May 1, 2022 Philippians 4:15-23
Outline

3 reasons to give faithfully to Christ’s church

I. Grace Giving Results in Blessing

A. To the recipients

Acts 16:37 - But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us in public without trial, men who are Romans, and have thrown us into prison; and now are they sending us away secretly? No indeed! But let them come themselves and bring us out.”

Acts 16:38-40 - The policemen reported these words to the chief magistrates. They were afraid when they heard that they were Romans, and they came and appealed to them, and when they had brought them out, they kept begging them to leave the city. They went out of the prison and entered the house of Lydia, and when they saw the brethren, they encouraged them and departed.

Acts 17:1 - Now when they had traveled through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews…

Philippians 4:15-16 - 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; for even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs.

1 Thessalonians 1:2-3 - We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers; constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father…

1 Thessalonians 2:1-2 - For you yourselves know, brethren, that our coming to you was not in vain, but after we had already suffered and been mistreated in Philippi, as you know, we had the boldness in our God to speak to you the gospel of God amid much opposition.

1 Thessalonians 2:9 - For you recall, brethren, our labor and hardship, how working night and day so as not to be a burden to any of you, we proclaimed to you the gospel of God.

2 Corinthians 11:8-9 - I robbed other churches by taking wages from them to serve you; and when I was present with you and was in need, I was not a burden to anyone; for when the brethren came from Macedonia they fully supplied my need, and in everything I kept myself from being a burden to you, and will continue to do so.

B. To the observers

2 Corinthians 8:1-5 - Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedonia, that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality. For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord, begging us with much urging for the favor of participation in the support of the saints, and this, not as we had expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God.

2 Corinthians 8:6 - So we urged Titus that as he had previously made a beginning, so he would also complete in you this gracious work as well.

C. To the givers

Philippians 4:17 - Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account.

“v. 15 - no church shared with me in the matter of… - ‘in the matter of’ is a technical term which literally means “to the account of” and was used in business transactions.” (Peter T. O’Brien, The Epistle to the Philippians, New International Greek New Testament Commentary, p. 533)

“v. 15 - ‘giving and receiving’ were monetary terms in accounting. They were the ‘credit and debit’ terms for a ledger” (O’Brien)

“It is unnecessary to choose between a future reward and a present recompense. The picture painted by the accounting metaphor is of compound interest that accumulates all the time until the last day. The apostle has employed this commercial language to show that he has set his heart on an ongoing, permanent gain for the Philippians in the spiritual realm.” (O’Brien, page 539)

Proverbs 11:24-25 - There is one who scatters, and yet increases all the more, and there is one who withholds what is justly due, and yet it results only in want. The generous man will be prosperous, and he who waters will himself be watered.

Proverbs 19:17 - One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the Lord, and He will repay him for his good deed.

Proverbs 22:9 - He who is generous will be blessed, for he gives some of his food to the poor.

Proverbs 28:27 - He who gives to the poor will never want, but he who shuts his eyes will have many curses.

Luke 6:38 - “Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure - pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.”

2 Corinthians 9:6 - Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.

II. Grace Giving Results in Worship

A. Because God’s work is funded

Philippians 2:25-30 - But I thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger and minister to my need; because he was longing for you all and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick. For indeed he was sick to the point of death, but God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, so that I would not have sorrow upon sorrow. Therefore I have sent him all the more eagerly so that when you see him again you may rejoice and I may be less concerned about you. Receive him then in the Lord with all joy, and hold men like him in high regard; because he came close to death for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was deficient in your service to me.

Philippians 4:18 - But I have received everything in full and have an abundance; I am amply supplied…

B. Because God’s name is praised

Philippians 4:18 - …having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God.

Hebrews 13:15-16 - Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

Philippians 4:20 - Now to our God and Father be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

C. Because God’s promises are magnified

Philippians 4:19 - And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

Malachi 3:10 - “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.”

III. Grace Giving Results in Fellowship

A. Greet every saint

Philippians 4:21 - Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren who are with me greet you.

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…

B. Even those of Caesar’s household

Philippians 4:22 - All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar’s household.

C. Because of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ

Philippians 4:23 - The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

Philippians 1:2 - Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

- Back when the pandemic first hit Indiana in March of 2020…we had all sorts of decisions that had to make quickly that we had never even contemplated before…

- it became apparent that we were not going to be able to have in-person services for some time…although we would never believed it would be years before even a sense of normalcy might return (that is, if you consider what we’re experiencing now “normal”)…

- but that first weekend we had financial decisions to make…

- I can remember when Pastor Goode was the senior pastor and we would be working on the following year’s budget and he would talk about the importance of having a contingency fund…and he would tell the staff and deacons…you know in Indiana, you can get 2-3 weekend snowstorms in a row in the winter and not be able to have church, so we have to be prepared for that financially…

- there’s surely wisdom in that, but what’s the likelihood that we would ever really have to cancel in-person services 2-3 weeks in a row?...

- the issue of how large a church and our associated ministries’ contingency funds should be has always been a topic of concern because there are so many needs around the world…at what point would we be hoarding money that was given to accomplish the work of the Lord?...

- so anyway, in those initial days our concern was first for our missionaries…this pandemic was also going to affect them…many who are living and serving in places that only have a fraction of the kind o medical care we enjoy…

- and we said – we have to keep supporting our missionaries…we’ve made a commitment to them and we can’t simply e-mail them and say, sorry – we can’t continue our support because we’re not having in-person services…

- then we thought of our 175 staff members…the government had not had time to react yet but we have a lot of families who serve here sacrificially…do we just cut them all off?...

- so here was our decision – we’re pooling all of our contingency funds…from all of our ministries…we’ll keep it separate for accounting purposes when this all has to be unwound some day…but it’s one for all and all for one…we’re sharing resources and we’re going to keep supporting our missionaries and paying our staff until we are absolutely out of money…

- of course the calculation then becomes, how many days, or weeks, is that going to last?...

- and while perhaps we were in better shape than many…it was still unsettling to say the least…

- thankfully we were already offering on-line services for those who we used to call “shut-ins”…so we pivoted to doing the best we could although it was surreal speaking to an empty auditorium…probably the strangest was Easter Sunday …I’m very thankful by the way for our worship team and those serving with our sound and electronic communications

- we really had no idea how close we should come together, and if we should sing, or speak…people were taking a huge series of risks in those early days…

- but none of that addresses the finance piece…that was just our attempt to try to minister to everyone souls at a time of unprecedented fear and uncertainty…

- then something very unusual happened…and what’s interesting is, it didn’t just happen here but it happened at many churches around the United States…

- people kept giving financially just like they did when attending in-person worship…

- in many cases, local church giving went up…which allowed us to work with our missionaries in places like South Africa where COVID hit especially hard and helped them distribute funds to pastors and church members to keep them fed and housed during this unprecedented time of both need and opportunity…

- I will never forget that as long as I live…the quiet faithfulness of the people of God during a crisis like none of us would have ever envisioned…and the power of our Lord to enable His people to do it…

- that’s why this am we’re going to conclude our study in the book of Philippians by talking about Gratefulness for Gifts from the Church

- with that in mind, please open your Bible to Philippians chapter 4…page 156 of the back section of the Bible under the chair in front of you…

- our church’s theme this year is Growing in Gospel Gratitude…so we started with a verse-by-verse study of this delightful book of the Bible…and as we’ve said many times now, this is fundamentally a thank-you from the apostle Paul who’s imprisoned because of his faith to his brothers and sisters in Christ at the church of Philippi who have been supporting him as one of their missionaries …while that detail has been alluded to at other points in the book…it’s on full display in our verses this am…

- the reason is to balance what Paul has said in the middle of chapter 4…his discussion of contentment…

- those are crucial verses because it is such a challenging area of the Christian life for you and me to seek to develop today…

- that’s where Paul said that he knew the secret to of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need…

- so if the book stopped there – the Philippians might be left asking, does that mean we shouldn’t have sent the financial gifts, and that in the future we shouldn’t send them to Paul or any other missionaries we might have the opportunity to support…

- that misconception would have been a huge blow to the task of world evangelism…and that’s not an overstatement…

- so thankfully we have these final verses to help us understand the significance of grace giving….here we can find 3 reasons to give faithfully to Christ’s church.

- Read Philippians 4:10-23

- So we’re talking about Gratefulness for Gifts from the Church – and let’s look at 3 reasons to give faithfully to Christ’s church…first of all, because…

I. Grace Giving Results in Blessing

A. To the recipients

- part of what’s interesting about what we’re reading here is that this tendency on the part of the Philippians to be so missional and generous in their giving is that it comes up in several other places in the Bible…

- you may remember that the story of Paul being used of the Lord to plant this church is recorded in Acts 16…that’s when a woman named Lydia comes to Christ, and then the Philippian jailer and his family…

- well, that event set off such a firestorm that the leaders of the city begged Paul and Silas to leave the city…

- it was a rather humorous story in the Bible because the magistrates had thrown Paul and Silas in jail because a little girl’s owners were mad that Paul cast a demon out of her who had brought them quite a profit through some kind of fortune telling…

- that night God sent an earthquake to shake the foundations of the prison while Paul and Silas were literally having a worship service…

- instead of escaping, Paul and Silas stayed and kept the prisoners in place and the jailer was so impressed he asked them to tell him the gospel…

- so he and his family believed and were baptized…and then they had breakfast together when they received word that the magistrates were telling the jailer to release them…

- Acts 16:37 - But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us in public without trial, men who are Romans, and have thrown us into prison; and now are they sending us away secretly? No indeed! But let them come themselves and bring us out.”

- sometimes pastors get a bit sideways with the government…

- Acts 16:38–40 - The policemen reported these words to the chief magistrates. They were afraid when they heard that they were Romans, and they came and appealed to them, and when they had brought them out, they kept begging them to leave the city. They went out of the prison and entered the house of Lydia, and when they saw the brethren, they encouraged them and departed.

- well, where did Paul and his team go next?...

- Acts 17:1 - Now when they had traveled through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews…

- now you might say – wait a minute – we just read about Thessalonica somewhere…that’s right…back in Philippians…

- Philippians 4:15–16 - 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; for even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs.

- it’s pretty amazing that a brand new church was so impacted by the gospel, and so thankful for the ministry Paul and his team had with them, that they wanted to give sacrificially so people in Thessalonica could hear the good news of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ…

- and they turned out to have a very fruitful, albeit short ministry with what became one of the most delightful churches mentioned in the entire NT…

- so Paul could say…1 Thessalonians 1:2–3 - We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers; constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father,

- he went on to say in the next chapter - 1 Thessalonians 2:1–2 - For you yourselves know, brethren, that our coming to you was not in vain, but after we had already suffered and been mistreated in Philippi, as you know, we had the boldness in our God to speak to you the gospel of God amid much opposition.

- so that’s the connection to what we just saw in the book of Acts…but that leads to the question – who was paying for all of this?...and the answer is, in the beginning, it wasn’t the Thessalonians…in fact Paul alludes to that a few verses later…1 Thessalonians 2:9 - For you recall, brethren, our labor and hardship, how working night and day so as not to be a burden to any of you, we proclaimed to you the gospel of God.

- meaning in this case, Paul was also using his skills as a tentmaker – but from the book of Philippians we learn that didn’t cover all the costs…and it didn’t have to…because of the generous and sacrificial giving of the Philippians…

- the point is – grace giving results in blessing to the recipients…

- when Paul was discussing this with the Corinthians, he could even go as far as saying… 2 Corinthians 11:8–9 - I robbed other churches by taking wages from them to serve you; and when I was present with you and was in need, I was not a burden to anyone; for when the brethren came from Macedonia they fully supplied my need, and in everything I kept myself from being a burden to you, and will continue to do so.

- when the leaders of Kossuth Street Baptist church scooped off 5 families from their church and sent them to plant our church ___ years ago, what were they doing?...they were making a financial investment in us…because those families who used to give to Kossuth were now going to be giving to us…and our first pastor was a church planting pastor supported by others…

- the generous giving of all those churches around the state of Indiana and from Kossuth Street was a blessing to us…and I believe anyone who gave to that who is still alive today would say – it was a worthwhile investment…and it was a blessing to be part of that…

- isn’t it amazing how similar church-planting around the world is today to the model established in the early church?...

- which leads logically to the second point…it’s also a blessing…

B. To the observers

- I said that the Philippian’s generosity comes up in multiple places in the NT…

- here’s another example…to the Corinthians…

- there was another offering that was in play during Paul’s missionary journeys…

- that’s because in the providence of God, a localized famine had developed around Jerusalem…

- what a perfect opportunity for one of the primary purposes of the church to be achieved…that is the mixing of various ethnicities, especially Jews and Gentiles loving each other and serving together in the same church of Jesus Christ…

- this famine gave the Gentile churches an opportunity to take up a love offering for their Jewish brothers and sisters…[again, it’s amazing how similar the early church was to us]…

- so who do you think was a leader in that?...the Philippians…

- and if you wanted to take a wild guess, based on what you know about the NT churches, who do you think was dragging their feet?...the Corinthians…so here’s what Paul told them in 2 Corinthians 8…

- 2 Corinthians 8:1–5 - Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedonia, that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality. For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord, begging us with much urging for the favor of participation in the support of the saints, and this, not as we had expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God.

- there’s so much about that that is delightful…but time doesn’t allow us to unpack it…but most conservative Bible students believe Paul was talking about the Philippians as at least part of the “churches of Macedonia”…

- but here’s the point – look what Paul was able to do because of their example…

- 2 Corinthians 8:6 - So we urged Titus that as he had previously made a beginning, so he would also complete in you this gracious work as well.

- in other words – the grace giving of the Philippians became a model and example to many who observed the way they allowed the Lord to work through them…

- at our counseling training conferences, we encourage folks not to go away and start a sentence with the words, “now, at Faith they…” because I’m fairly certain there are plenty of pastors and elder boards who get tired of hearing about that…

- but the truth is, your generous giving to the various ministries of our church along with missions around the world is the kind of thing that ither people see…and seek to emulate…

- and to whatever degree that’s true, to that we would say, to God be the glory, great things He has done (which is going to become a major point in just a few minutes…)

- so grace giving is a blessing to the recipients, and it’s a blessing to the observers…but I would not be doing justice to this text unless I also pointed out that grace giving is a blessing…

C. To the givers

- Paul said - Philippians 4:17 - Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account.

- now, I enter this part of the discussion with a bit of fear and trembling, because the last thing we would want to do is to become like some of the health and wealth preachers who suggest that the reason you would ever give anything to the Lord and Christ’s church is an expectation that you would receive something in return…

- however, we would be ignoring huge amounts of Scripture if we did not acknowledge the promises that attend financial generosity…

- the Philippians would have known that the language being used throughout this passage is accounting language…this is the way the bean-counters talked, so to speak…

- so in v. 15 – no church shared with me in the matter of… - “in the matter of” is a technical term which literally means “to the account of” and was used in business transactions (Peter T. O’Brien, The Epistle to the Philippians, New International Greek New Testament Commentary, p. 533).

- v. 15 – “giving and receiving” were monetary terms in accounting. They were the “credit and debit” terms for a ledger (O’Brien)

- he went on to explain - It is unnecessary to chose between a future reward and a present recompense. The picture painted by the accounting metaphor is of compound interest that accumulates all the time until the last day. The apostle has employed this commercial language to show that he has set his heart on an ongoing, permanent gain for the Philippians in the spiritual realm.” (O’Brien, page 539)

- so there’s no question about the fact that Paul is excited that there would be long-term spiritual benefit to the Philippians because of the way they had supported him and others financially…

- and again, that is emphasized throughout the Bible…here’s just a few examples…

  • - Proverbs 11:24–25 - There is one who scatters, and yet increases all the more, and there is one who withholds what is justly due, and yet it results only in want. The generous man will be prosperous, and he who waters will himself be watered.
  • - Proverbs 19:17 - One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the Lord, and He will repay him for his good deed.
  • - Proverbs 22:9 - He who is generous will be blessed, for he gives some of his food to the poor.
  • - Proverbs 28:27 - He who gives to the poor will never want, but he who shuts his eyes will have many curses.
  • - Luke 6:38 - “Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.”
  • - 2 Corinthians 9:6 - Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
  • What Paul was saying to the Philippians was – what excites me about your generosity is anticipating all of the ways God is going to bless you spiritually in the days ahead…
  • And when we think back over the pandemic, and really the history of our church, the same could be said of our church family…

- now, that leads us logically to the second reasons to give faithfully to Christ’s church…

II. Grace Giving Results in Worship

A. Because God’s work is funded

- we saw back in chapter 2 that this gift had been delivered by a man named Epaphroditus…we don’t know for sure who he was other than a trusted member of their church…or they wouldn’t have trusted him to carry this financial gift to Paul…

- the challenge is that Epaphroditus didn’t return to Philippi immediately because he got sick…and the church was concerned about him and based on what Paul said in chapter 2 it’s possible that some were starting to question whether Epaphroditus had gotten there with all the money…there’s always a few people who put the worst possible spin on everything…

- Philippians 2:25–30 - But I thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger and minister to my need; because he was longing for you all and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick. For indeed he was sick to the point of death, but God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, so that I would not have sorrow upon sorrow. Therefore I have sent him all the more eagerly so that when you see him again you may rejoice and I may be less concerned about you. Receive him then in the Lord with all joy, and hold men like him in high regard; because he came close to death for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was deficient in your service to me.

- that tells you a lot about Paul by the way – he wants to be sure that this co-worker’s reputation is protected…

- but he picks that theme up again at the end of the book…

- Philippians 4:18 - But I have received everything in full and have an abundance; I am amply supplied…

- those are all accounting terms and they would have brought great relief to the Philippians and a reason to praise the Lord…Paul and his team’s needs are being fully met during this time of trial and imprisonment…

- back in the olden days, we used to have one of those little signs in the foyer like you would see in many church auditoriums that listed the previous week’s attendance, and the previous week’s giving…

- and that had been brought over from our old building on South 18th Street and hung out in the foyer at FE when we moved to that location in 1986…

- and the folks who counted the offering would come out after the Sunday evening service and update that sign while they were thinking about it with the amount of the offering for that day…

- and it’s not like people were standing around waiting for that news, but sometimes if you and your family stayed around long enough talking to others, you would be there when then new information was displayed…

- I distinctly remember a Sunday evening when they reported that the offering for that day had surpassed $20,000.

- those of us who were there that night were stunned…we had never had a weekly offering of that amount before…and here’s the point…it’s not like everybody patted ourselves on the back…

- we spontaneously praised the Lord for His abundant provision…

- which is why Paul moves into a doxology…

B. Because God’s name is praised

- Philippians 4:18 - …having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God.

- you recognize those words as terminology from OT tabernacle and temple worship…

- as New Covenant believers, we are not required to bring offers of bulls and goats because our Savior shed His blood once and for all…

- but we certainly don’t stop worshipping…and one of the ways we do that is through sacrificial and faithful financial offerings to the Lord…just like the Philippians had done…

- the writer of Hebrews said it like this… Hebrews 13:15–16 - Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

- some of you may have grown up in churches where after the ushers received the offering, the congregation would stand and sign the doxology while the offering plates were brought back up and placed on the communion table…we’re a little less formal around here…but that practice would be very consistent with what we’re reading in this text…

- and I hope each Sunday as we see in our bulletin that our offering has met our financial needs, that we too will pause and worship God for the faithfulness of His people…

- in verse 20 Paul says…Philippians 4:20 - Now to our God and Father be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

- this is one of many doxologies in the Bible…where the response of God’s people is to praise and adore the God who makes this kind of sacrificial generosity possible…

- Paul also gives them and us a clear promise…

C. Because God’s promises are magnified

- Philippians 4:19 - And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

- that tells us that grace giving is fundamentally a matter of trust…we’re saying that we will do what we believe God wants us to do first – of the first fruits that Scripture says…and then we’ll trust God to supply our needs…not according to our riches, but to His…

- this is why Malachi told the people of His day - Malachi 3:10 - “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.

- that’s what our church family did during the pandemic…none of us had ever experienced anything like that before…it was completely uncharted waters…and the temptation during a time of uncertainty is to hoard…

- that’s not what your brothers and sisters did…I can’t tell you what a relief that was to our missionaries, and our staff, and even to me…

- and I’ll tell you something else…it was a rebuke to me…I try not to worry about things, but I do have to pay some level of attention to what’s happening…

- I guess I would say it like this…

- I would have never believed we would ever face a trial like that one…

- and I would have never believed that if a trial like that came, we would have responded like our church family did…

- and honestly, I’m a bit ashamed to tell you that…because at some level, and maybe several levels, it’s a lack of trust…God and His people passed the test…

- so grace giving results in blessing, grace giving results in worship, and lastly,…

III. Grace Giving Results in Fellowship

- The way this book ends is especially delightful because Paul says…

A. Greet every saint

- Philippians 4:21 - Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren who are with me greet you.

- you may remember – that’s the way it began… 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:

- and we saw at that time – the word saint isn’t some special designation for a reserved few in the church…no, it simply means “saved one”…a person who has had a definite time in his/her life where they have admitted their sin and trusted Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord…

- and by the way, if you have not yet made that decision, please don’t spend any time thinking about the issue of grace giving this am – focus first on the need and opportunity to become a child of God through faith in Jesus Christ

- but the point is – every person in the Philippian church was important – they had accomplished this act of grace giving together…then Paul gives a very cryptic statement…

B. Even those of Caesar’s household

- Philippians 4:22 - All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar’s household.

- what does that mean?...quite possibly that Paul’s prison ministry is seeing some level of spiritual fruit already…or somehow these in Caesar’s household had become followers of Christ…so their gifts had resulted in the possibility of having brothers and sisters even there…

C. Because of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ

- Philippians 4:23 - The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

- just as he had said at the beginning -- Philippians 1:2 - Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

- we all know that this kind of sacrificial generosity and faithfulness is only possible as the grace of God is working in and through us…

- you know, there is a kind of fellowship that comes from being used of God to accomplish things together…

- and we certainly don’t sit around talking about “what we’ve done” – but there is a sense of satisfaction, and joy, and fellowship that comes by being used of God to accomplish His work together.

Authors

Dr. Steve Viars

Roles

Senior Pastor - Faith Church

Director - Faith Legacy Foundation

Bio

B.S.: Pre-Seminary & Bible, Baptist Bible College (Now Clarks Summit University)
M.Div.: Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min.: Biblical Counseling, Westminster Theological Seminary

Dr. Steve Viars has served at Faith Church in Lafayette, IN since 1987. Pastor Viars leads and equips Faith Church as Senior Pastor with a focus on preaching and teaching God’s Word and using his organizational skills in guiding the implementation of the Faith Church mission and vision. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith Church ministries. Dr. Viars serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation. Steve is the author, co-author, or contributor to six books and numerous booklets. He and his wife, Kris, were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and four grandchildren.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video