This morning I want to spend just a few moments with you in God’s Word at the end of Philippians, chapter 4. Many years ago, I preached through this book at First Presbyterian Church, and when I preached on this particular passage, I preached all the way from Philippians 4:10 to, I think, verse 19 or 20, and I didn’t concentrate on Philippians 4:19. What a great passage it is. And I want to draw your attention to it this morning.
Before I do so, I want to pray and then I want to read the Word together, but I do want to remind us, and even this passage itself reminds us that in this season, continue to be faithful in giving as the Lord supplies your need, continue to be faithful in giving to your church, First Presbyterian Church in Jackson. We’re not gathered here together and receiving offerings, but the needs of ministry and the support of our staff is just as great as before. So do remember as the Lord prospers you, to give and support your congregation. If you’re listening this morning and you’re not a part of this congregation, make sure you support your own congregation. These times have not abated but rather increased the needs of ministry, and we’re not together and so it’s easy to forget that it’s important for us to continue to supply the support for that ministry. So take the opportunity to do that.
Now this morning, let’s pray before we come to Philippians 4:19 and ask for God to help us and bless us and open our eyes to behold wonderful things in His Word. Let’s pray together.
Our Heavenly Father, we do not live by bread alone, but by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Some of us have perhaps been learning that more than ever before in these last weeks – that we need Your words more than we need food. On Your lips are the words of life. Speak them to us, O God. But we also know that we need the Holy Spirit to understand those words. Your Words are true. Your Words are clear. Your Words are powerful. Your Words are alive. But so often our hearts are cold and our desires are distracted and our eyes are blind and our ears are dull. We need Your Holy Spirit to draw our attention to Your truth, to give us understanding of Your Word, to realize that it applies to us; to not apply it to somebody else but to apply it to our own souls and to have it applied by Your Spirit to our own souls. So that’s what we ask this morning, O God. Speak to us in Your Word and grant that by Your Spirit Your servants would listen because all Scripture is given by inspiration and is profitable to us for our teaching, for our correction, for our reproof, for being trained in righteousness, that men and women saved by grace, made to be men and women of God, will be equipped for every good work. And we ask this prayer in Jesus’ name, amen.
Now this is the Word of God. Hear it in Philippians 4:19:
“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
Amen, and thus ends this reading of God’s holy, inspired, and inerrant Word. May He write its eternal truth upon all our hearts.
“My God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” My, that’s a word that we need to hear right now. That’s a word for our times. But the crisis that we’re in right now, this coronavirus, this COVID-19 that has the world in its grips – well over 2 million plus souls around this world have contracted it, hundreds of thousands have died – the crisis has reminded us of the extent of our weakness and our neediness. Hasn’t it?
I was reading Charles Spurgeon’s sermon – he actually preached two on this passage. One apparently earlier in life; one later in life. And in both of those sermons he reflects upon the needs of his orphans. You might imagine, if you remember reading Charles Dickens, the state, the plight of orphans in London in the 19th century. Well Charles Spurgeon didn’t just pray about that. He did something about it. And one of the things he did was he established an orphanage. But on the entranceway into that orphanage he put this Scripture verse, “My God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus,” and he did that because the support of that orphanage was based completely on the voluntary offerings of his congregation and other Christians. And so he was completely dependent for the supply of the needs of those orphans on the generosity of God’s people. And it kept him, he said, it kept him constantly aware of his need that if the money did not come in, those orphans would not eat. And it kept him constantly mindful of his dependence upon the Lord.
Well those kinds of awarenesses of need have been ubiquitous in our culture. Haven’t they? You don’t have to look far to see the financial and economic needs, from great to small, all over our community and culture. I’m thinking of all the kinds of things that have happened – workers have been laid off, all the way from people that work in restaurants to practice assistants in attorneys’ offices, even to doctors and nurses and healthcare workers. Some have lost their jobs; some have been sent home without pay. I’m told that something like 110,000 restaurants will close in the United States alone and never reopen again. There are massive economic needs that are around us.
And then of course there are health and life needs. Some of us have lost loved ones to COVID-19. We had an RTS student in New York City who contracted COVID-19. She’s in her late 20s and when she called, the first responders came to help her breathe, and yet they told her they could not admit her to the hospital because the needs were too great, especially among the elderly in New York, to be able to use the resources to treat her. And they said to her, “You’re just going to have to get well on your own.” And so alone in her apartment, quarantined, she went through this illness, praise God she is coming through on the other side, but she said to us as I met with our students via an online meeting just the other night, she said, “I’ll never take breathing for granted again.” Breathing is a pretty important need and people who’ve had this particular illness know how needful they are of the gift of the breath of life.
There are educational crises everywhere. Did you see this week that, for instance, the great university in Texas, Baylor, had announced that they will make 80 million dollars of cuts to their budget and they’re not even sure they’ll be able to go back to school in the fall. The needs around us are more apparent than ever, and our weakness is more apparent. When the W.E. Henleys of the world baldly pronounce their poem, “Invictus,” and say, “I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul,” God in the heavens laughs. And a microbe from a bat in Wuhan is all it takes to bring this world to its knees. If we don’t see our weakness and neediness now, maybe we’ll never see it.
But into that situation of weakness and neediness, God speaks a word of grace through the lips of the apostle Paul to needy Christians in Philippi. “My God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” And this morning I just want you to see four things very quickly. I want you to see who the supplier is. I want you to see that He supplies. I want you to see the supplies from which He supplies your needs. And then I want you to see the Savior. I want you to see the supplier, the supply, the supplies, and the Savior. Or, let me put it this way. I want you to see the One to whom we look for the provision or the supply of our needs – “My God.” I want you to see that He supplies our needs, that He provides for us – “He will supply all your needs.” Third, I want you to see from whence He supplies those needs. I want you to see the storehouse of His provision – “according to His riches in glory.” And fourth and finally, I want you to see the One who is the channel and means of that supply, the Savior. So those are the four things I want to see with you this morning.
And here’s what I want you to understand. If we are to trust God in our need, our faith needs to understand four things. If we are to trust God in our need, our faith needs to understand four things. It must be certain that He is ours and we are His. It must be certain that He cares for us and will provide for us. It must be certain that His ability to provide for us is incalculably great and indeed it is infinite, limitless! And it must know that every spiritual blessing is found in, comes through, and is enjoyed in Jesus Christ. Now if you are going to be able to trust God in time of need, you’re going to need to understand those four things. That God is yours and you are His. That He cares for you and will provide for you. That His ability to provide for you is incalculably great. It’s limitless; it’s infinite. And every spiritual blessing is found in and only in Jesus Christ. That’s the four things that I want to think about with you this morning.
And let’s just do it very simply. First, “My God.” That’s how Paul starts off – “My God.” What’s the context? In the context, Paul has been thanking the Philippians. Paul is imprisoned, and in a Roman prison, you were not guaranteed three squares a day. In fact, if people weren’t bringing you food, you were just as likely to starve to death as to face judicial punishment. And so Paul had been provided for in prison and the Philippians, par excellence, had been providers. He’s in ministry and even though the Philippian congregation is maybe the least well-off of the other churches that he had been ministering to in that region, the Philippians had continued to supply his need. And in the context of Philippians 4:10 and following, he’s thanking the Philippians for sticking with him. He’s thanking the Philippians for not forgetting him. He’s thanking the Philippians for continuing to supply his need. They are poor, and yet they have been supplying his needs. They’ve been sending him food; they’ve been sending him the things that he needs to supply.
And so now, he’s responding to them. He’s saying, “Thank you so much for the way you have taken care of me. Now, I want to tell you something. My God will supply your needs.” That’s how he starts off. “You’ve been so kind out of your poverty to supply my needs, now I want to tell you something. My God will supply your needs, poor Philippians. Philippians who face your own needs and weaknesses and challenges, my God will supply your needs.” And don’t you love how he says that? “My God” – he’s not denying God is the God of the Philippians too; he’s just saying “He’s my God. I want you to know I know this God. I know Him personally.” Martin Luther very famously said, “Religion consists in personal pronouns.” It’s not just some abstract God. He’s “My God will supply all your needs.” It’s just like Psalm 23, “The Lord is my shepherd.” It’s not just that the Lord is a shepherd or that He’s a good shepherd or that He’s a wise shepherd or that He’s a caring shepherd. He’s my shepherd.
I often think of the story we tell at RTS all the time about Sam Patterson coming to Erskine Wells, an elder of this congregation, and saying, “Erskine, we need to start a seminary.” And Erskine said, “Sam, we don’t have money, we don’t have professors, we don’t have buildings, we don’t have students, and furthermore, we don’t know how to run a seminary!” And Sam Patterson said to Erskine, “How big is your God?” And Erskine of course responded by saying, “When do we start?!”
Now one of the things I love about that story is, I think that many of the elders – and it was elders that responded to Sam Patterson’s call to start Reformed Seminary – one of the reasons they responded the way they did is not just that Sam pointed them to God and to a big God who is able to do big things far beyond anything we can ask and think; it’s because they knew that Sam Patterson knew that God. Have you ever had that experience – to be around somebody that you know that person knows God? And you want to be near somebody who can say, “My God will supply all your needs.”
Well that’s the experience that the Philippians are having here. Paul is saying, “My God, the God that I know, the God that knows me, the God that is more precious to me than anything else in the world, I have counted all things rubbish in comparison to knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I know Christ Jesus my Lord. I know my God and I know that my God will supply all your needs.” That’s what’s going on here. “My God will supply all your needs.”
Some of you have heard – and they usually pop up around Easter time – the wonderful sermonic poems of Baptist pastor, S.M. Lockridge who died in the year 2000. S.M. Lockridge was an African-American Baptist pastor in San Diego at the Calvary Baptist Church and he preached a number of famous sermons all over the country and world, but two of them have come down to us. One is called, “That’s My King,” and one of them is called, “It’s Friday…But Sunday’s A Coming!” And by the way, if you just want to be blessed today, just Google that. Google that on your phone or search it on your computer sometime this afternoon and just listen to those poem-sermons – “That’s My King” and “It’s Friday…But Sunday’s A Coming!” And they are wonderful, wonderful declarations of who our God is and where our hope is and what the Gospel is. But among all the wonderful lines in those two poems from S.M. Lockridge, I love how in his poem, “That’s My King,” that phrase keeps coming up – “That’s my King!” You can tell S.M. Lockridge has a relationship with God the King. God is his King! That’s his King! He knows Him. He’s “My God!” And then in the poem, “It’s Friday…But Sunday’s A Coming,” when he talks about Jesus being beaten he says these words, “They beat my Jesus.” They didn’t just beat Jesus; “They beat my Jesus. He’s mine!”
Paul knows Jesus that way. Paul knows God that way and he can say, “My God will supply all your needs.” And I can say that to you, Christian. “My God will supply all your needs.”
Secondly, I want you to see this – that’s the supplier. Who’s the supplier? My God. He’s the One who supplies. He’s the One who supplies all your needs. You’re never going to get a sense of trust in provision of your needs unless you know the God who provides and supplies – My God. That’s the first thing I want you to see.
The second thing is this – He will supply. He will care for you. He will provide for you. “My God will supply all your needs.” Now how do you know that? You know that because He has already supplied for your greatest need at the greatest cost. What’s your greatest need? Your greatest need is reconciliation with the God against whom you rebelled and from whom you deserve nothing but condemnation. That is your greatest need in this world. And what did God do in order to address that great need? He gave the most precious thing in the universe – His only begotten Son. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes on Him will not perish, but have everlasting life.” That’s what Paul is talking about in Romans chapter 8 verse 32. “He who spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?”
You see the logic? Paul is saying if God has given His Son to relieve our greatest needs – the need to be reconciled with God, the need to be forgiven for our sin, the need to be spared from just punishment and condemnation, the need for our guilt to be assuaged – if God has given His Son to meet our greatest need, how can we possibly question that He will supply all of our other needs which are infinitely lesser. And that’s what Paul is saying. Because God has already supplied our greatest need at the greatest cost, we can trust Him to supply all our lesser needs. “My God will supply all your needs.” And how do you know that? Because He was willing that His Son should die that our greatest need would be met. His pledge that He will care for you in every circumstance is there in the person and life and death of His Son. “My God will supply all your needs,” and you know that because He’s already supplied your greatest need.
The third thing I want you to see is this – from whence does that supply of our need come? What is the storehouse of that supply? Where are the supplies coming from that are going to supply us? That’s a relevant question. Our government is trying to supply some of our needs right now. For instance, a provision was made for businesses, that they could apply for a special Small Business Administration loan. Within days, all the money was gone! The supply was gone! So how do you know the supply is not going to run out? Folks around here are looking for toilet paper and paper towels and the supplies run out! They’re looking for chicken, and sometimes the chicken runs out. How do you know the supply is not going to run out?
Well here’s what Paul says. The supply that comes to you in your time of need comes from a storehouse that is “according to His riches in glory.” Did you hear that? This is something that’s never going to run out because the supplies come from the storehouse of His riches in glory! Because the earth and the world are His and all that they contain, because His supplies are as infinite as His glory, we may count on His provision. It will never run out! Paul is saying that the riches from which God supplies us are as great as His glory. Now let me ask you a question. How great is God’s glory? It is so glorious that we will in eternity never ever be able to say enough about it. Though we spend the rest of eternity giving Him the glory due His name, we will never fill up that glory, so great is His glory. And that is the storehouse of His supply to us. The supplies that God can give us are from an infinite storehouse. They will never ever run out.
And I want to say that in this passage Paul’s not just thinking about spiritual blessings. He’s also thinking about temporal blessings. These Philippians – praise God for the Philippian Christians! They were poor and they had given to Paul out of their poverty. Has that ever happened to you? You know, you’re raising money to go on a mission trip. You’re going to serve the Lord; you’re not going on a vacation. You’re going to work hard. You’re going on a mission trip. And somebody who you know who makes less money than you do, comes to you and they give you a $20 bill. And you know that for you, $20 is a lot of money, but for them, $20 is a whole lot of money, and you’re humbled that a person, a Christian with less than you, would give you that so that you can go serve the Lord. That’s what Paul’s thanking the Philippians for here. He’s saying, “Out of your poverty – you don’t have much – you’ve supplied my need while I’m in prison.” But then he turns around. He says, “Let me tell you something about God. My God is going to supply your need, and even the material needs that you have, out of the storehouse of the riches of His glory.” We have a God that cares for us in all our needs and He has the ability to care for us in all our needs.
One last thing I want you to see. I want you to see the One in whom these needs are supplied – our Savior because Jesus is the channel and the goal and the means and the end, and if we are in Him we are assured of the supply of God. Listen to what Paul says. “My God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Does that remind you of anything? Doesn't that remind you of Ephesians chapter 1 in verse 3 where Paul says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesu Christ who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.'' Did you hear that? He has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. All the blessings of God for all the needs of the saints are found in and only in Jesus Christ.
That means that, friend, if you’re listening today and you don’t know Jesus or you don’t love Jesus or you don’t trust Jesus, He is the source and the conduit of all spiritual blessings. Outside of Him, there are no lasting blessings. Inside of Him is every spiritual blessing. And in union with Him is every spiritual blessing. My friends, as you trust in Christ, the Holy Spirit by grace works faith in you that you might be united to Jesus Christ and share with Him and in Him every spiritual blessing which has been appointed by God. And that’s why we need to trust in Jesus Christ. If you want to get through a time of crisis and trust God in time of need, you need to know that your God is your God and you are His. You need to know that He cares for you and that He provides for you. You need to know that He has the ability to provide for you, the infinite ability to provide for you. You need to know Jesus through whom that provision is made. May God grant that we would know all of those things, both now and forevermore. Let’s pray.
Heavenly Father, we bow before You this morning and we ask that You would work Your Word in our hearts to believe that our God will supply all our needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. We ask this in Jesus’ name, amen.
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