Have you ever experienced miraculous provision?
When I first became a Christian, I had no idea about the practices of giving. Soon I learned the principle of tithing (giving 10% of income) and have used that as a base-line throughout my life. I’ve always prioritised my giving. I’d rather lose out on other niceties than stop giving. My experience has always been that God has always met my needs, He is faithful to His promises. God promises,
‘And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.’ (Philippians 4:19-20)
God meets our needs, principally, through providing work; however, He also provides through gifts as people are led by God, through unexpected cost-cutting opportunities, through the acquisition of new budgeting skills, through the self-control that cuts out wasteful spending… But He will provide all of our ‘needs’. I can’t promise a hot tub and private jet, but he will provide what’s needed.
To reinforce this promise, let’s looks at a couple of other texts:
‘Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.’ (2 Corinthians 9:6-9)
‘Honour the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.’ (Proverbs 3:9-10)
Will you give like our Heavenly Father is faithful?
COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY - PARTNERSHIP IN GIVING
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
Have you ever 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)