INTRO: If you have ever been a long way from home, from family and from friends ... and were really not in a position to alter that circumstance, you can understand something of Pauls thoughts in our text. The verses we have read indicate that there had been a lapse in communication between the Philippians and Paul. Because of the separation, that lapse had caused Paul some dismay ... no doubt all sorts of speculations about why had coursed through his mind. Now - perhaps rather unexpectedly - he hears from them again. And he is delighted. Their love and concern for him are reassuring and strengthening. The gift they sent was useful. In these verses we see the lessons of Pauls Appreciation.
I. THE REJOICING OF PAUL (4:10a)
A. Here is this word rejoice again
1. though a man without much material wealth, he had so many blessings to count
2. and in this letter he has counted them
B. The gift they sent is incidental in his mind to the communication
1. to know they cared for him to have this demonstration -- was important thing
2. Prov 25:25 this was the situation here!
II. THE TENDER GRATITUDE OF PAUL (4:10b)
A. He is so careful of their feelings here
1. does not want to load them with feelings of guilt because they had let their caring lapse
2. what would its about time you got another contribution to me have done to them?
3. and would you believe some people find it hard to be gracious about receiving something from others ... perhaps they see that gift as reflecting on their independence ... or a means of putting them in anothers debt oh, how we need to develop the graceful art of receiving!
B. They had lacked opportunity
1. yes, he knew they cared and it was so pleasant to hear it again
2. but some circumstance kept them from communication (no messenger, few resources, conflicts ???)
3. there is an important point here:
a. they never quit caring just lacked opportunity, resources
b. we often have opportunity, resources and dont seem to care!
c. Gal 6:10 and Heb 13:2
III. THE CONTENTMENT OF PAUL (4:11)
A. He had no complaints - 4:11a
1. was not complaining man just leaned on God (Ps 23:1)
2. three besetting sins of too many Christians: to whine, to pine, to recline
3. go back to Phil 4:4!
B. He had learned some things - 4:11b ... implies:
1. there was a changed situation had forsaken all to follow Christ ... thus, material poverty
2. there was a wisdom which could both learn and change (Ps 119:59) ... contrast Acts 7:51-53 (remember, Paul was there when these words were spoken)
3. there was a humility permitting learning as wise, as knowledgeable as he was, there were life lessons he could still learn (Acts 20:19a)
C. Contentment in any circumstances - 4:11c
1. situations, circumstances did not (and do not) make contentment
2. contentment - in fact - takes real relearning process we have been reared in a land of plenty, a land which has emphasized that more, not less, is required for contentment
3. Prov 15:16,17 contentment is in deciding what is really important (it is interesting to look at the better passages of Proverbs)
IV. THE ABUNDANCE OF PAUL (4:12)
A. Not necessarily in abundance of things
1. the number of things was not important
2. his being able to get the most out of what he had was in part his abundance
B. The secret of contentment may be to subtract from wants!
1. thus, by anothers standard one may seem needy ... but by his standard he is blessed with abundance
2. I have heard it said of some people, They arent even aware theyre poor ... theyve learned that abundance isnt found in big numbers
CLOSE: Perhaps, though, what is most important here is to see Paul as a gracious, grateful man ... and expressive of it. There are people who grace our lives ... do we really let them know how much they are appreciated?
Give without remembering .... Receive without forgetting
Cecil A. Hutson
19 November 2000
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)