When was the last time that God spoke to you about your finances and what difference did it make?
At the beginning of this series, we saw that ‘partnership (Koinonia) in the gospel’ (1:3-6) is about loving the gospel message, sharing the gospel message and giving financially to the work of gospel propagation. When God works in a person or a community, generosity will always be a fruit because our God is generous.
As this letter closes, Paul thanks them for their financial partnership with him, he writes,
‘I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it…Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only…’
The Macedonian church are a model of loving generosity. However, this text also points out that churches can also fail to partner through generosity. The bible teaches that it is God who provides, however, let’s not fail to notice that it’s through your and my generosity that He often provides.
Let’s never fail to remember that we are stewards of God’s resources; as Christians, we recognise that all that we have comes from God, belongs to God and is to be used as He leads us. When the Spirit came powerfully on the early church we see that their ‘fellowship’ (Koinonia/Partnership) overflowed in loving generosity. We read,
‘…God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.’ (Acts 4:33-35)
How does the Father want you to be generous? Who can you cause to, in the word of Paul, ‘rejoice greatly in the Lord’; whose ‘troubles’ can you share in? How are you partnering with your local church in the ‘matter of giving’?
The word ‘renewed’ in the phrase ‘renewed your concern for me’ means ‘to blossom again’. May the Holy Spirit cause our lives, and our church community, to be like a blossoming showering many with the fragrance and beauty of generosity.
COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY - PARTNERSHIP IN GIVING
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
Have you bought something in the past that turned out to be a complete waste of money?
Introduction - please share in your group
This week we finish our time in the book of Philippians by looking at Paul’s thankfulness to the Philippian Church for their generous gift to him in prison.
The secret to contentment
Paul shares a very important principle -‘secret’ in regard to contentment. He writes,
‘I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.’ (Philippians 4:11-13)
Following Jesus involves ups and downs in regard to income and what we would envisage as the ideal life. In a world that medicates on shopping and is constantly striving to get more, we must learn the secret of being content through trust and the strength that the Spirit provides.
Partnership in giving
‘Partnership’ (Koinonia) translated ‘share’ in our text today is a major theme in this book. Paul writes,
‘Yet it was good of you to share (partner) in my troubles. Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared (partner) with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only.’ (Philippians 4:14-15)
Christian ‘fellowship’ (a word often used for koinonia) involves generosity to our local church and brothers and sisters whom we know to be in need. For us at CCP, this also involves giving to New Ground the family of church that we are a part of.
In the context of Philippians 4:10-23, giving is described as worship with the attendant promise of provision. We read,
‘…the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.’ (Philippians 4:18-19)