Philippians 013 – God ProvidesPhilippians 4:14-19 • Dr. Andy Woods • June 28, 2020 • Philippians
June 28, 2020
Dr. Andy Woods
Let’s take our Bibles and open them to the book of Philippians, Chapter four. Beginning at verse 14. Maybe we can finish the book today. What do you think? I wouldn’t hold your breath, though. Philippians chapter four, verse 14. The title of our message this morning is God Provides. In fact, come to think of it, that’s one of the Hebrew names of God. He is a provider. And I think one of the reasons that this issue of provision and here Paul is talking about financial provision, one of the reasons this occurs in a book about joy is because if we’re honest with ourselves, concerns about finances and money are really the things that deplete joy. Most people are very, very worried about money. You know, am I going to have money for next month’s rent or whatnot? Am I going to have enough money when I get old and retire and can’t work anymore? Jesus says in Matthew six, verse 25, for this reason, do not be worried about your life as to what you will eat or drink, nor for your body as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Verse 28, Why are you worried about clothing? Observe the lilies of the field. They grow. They do not toil, nor do they spin. Yet, your Heavenly Father clothes them. So Jesus and Matthew six were not in Matthew six, but he is tying worry constantly to concerns people have about money.
And when you’re worried about things like that, you can’t walk in joy. Because Proverbs 12 verse 25 says, Anxiety in man’s heart weighs it down. I mean, how do you walk in joy when you’re always worried about money or lack thereof, or am I going to have enough, etc.? And what we do hear in Philippians four is Paul says, Quit worrying about that. You don’t have to worry about that anymore because God, who owns the cattle on a thousand hills has got it all covered. Amen? Sometimes we forget that and we need a reminder. So Paul, as you know, is writing this book on Joy, the book of Philippians. Each chapter brings out a different facet of joy. Chapter one was all about how the glass is not empty, but the glass is half what? Full. No matter what you’re going through. God is doing something positive in it. Do you believe that? And so Paul had trained his mind to see the positive hand of God in his circumstances. So he was never a prisoner of his circumstances. Chapter two is basically about how you can’t walk in joy when your life revolves around you. The most selfish people in the world are the most unhappy. So we have to learn to live for things above ourselves and we call that the walk of servant hood. And Paul gives us four examples of that in chapter two, and then we move into Chapter three.
And he talks here about how the thing that will destroy joy in the life of the Christian faster than any other single thing is moving into legalism rules without power. And so Paul says you need to get away from legalism. He describes his own movement away from legalism in his personal life, and he begins to explain in Chapter three about how replace legalism with the better things God has for you. And then He moves into chapter four, where He teaches on the fact that the Christian life is not difficult, but it is impossible. Meaning that the Christian life can’t be lived through one’s own strength. If a person is trying to shoulder the burden of being a Christian through their own power, they’re going to be very, very frustrated, unhappy, and lacking in joy. And so here Paul explains the resources that we have that help us to live the Christian life. Number one, the peace of God, which transcends all understanding. Number two, contentment, which is what we talked about last week. And then here we look at the final thing that he has given us, the birthright of the child of God, which is provision. You know, I learned this lesson. Well, I don’t know if I’ve learned it, but the Lord was trying to teach me this lesson as a young Christian. And I remember going into my pastor’s office feeling called to go to seminary, and he was basically encouraging me to go to seminary.
And he said, Well, what’s holding you up? And I said, Well, money, I don’t have enough money. And he said something to me that I really never forgot. And he said, Well, that’s not much of an excuse for a Christian, because God is your provider. If God is guiding, God is also going to do what I provide. And that’s exactly what’s happened in my life. I stepped out in the direction I felt God had for me, and God has provided above and beyond what I ever thought possible every step of the way. Contrary to what a lot of television ministers communicate, God is not broke. You know, they’re always saying, send in your last buck. They give you the impression that, poor God, you know, ordered a lunch and doesn’t know how to pay for it. Poor God has insufficient funds and nothing could be further from the truth. We may be broke and feel like we’re broke, but God isn’t. And when we walk in that truth, boy, does it take a lot of anxiety out of life and we can walk in joy. So we’re talking here about divine provision and here’s our outline. The Sol revolves around the word generosity. Number one, Paul’s thankfulness for generosity verses 14 through 16. Number two, God rewards generosity. verse 17. Number three, sacrificial worship equals generosity, verse 18. And finally, number four, God provides for the generous. Verse 19. Well, there goes the preacher again, talking about money.
Well, the nice thing about being a verse-by-verse teacher is I don’t pick the topics. We just deal with the topics as they come up, as we systematically move through books of the Bible, verse by verse. So if you don’t like a sermon on money, then you can blame God for it. Don’t shoot the messenger. Amen? So, number one, Paul’s thankfulness for generosity. Look at what he says there in verse 14. Nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my affliction. So what he’s going to be describing here is the generosity of the Philippians towards Paul’s ministry. Paul, of course, at this time being incarcerated in Rome. You know, you’ve heard the saying, out of sight, out of mind. If someone is not around, you kind of forget what their needs are. That’s, by the way, why we do the missions moments so you can see who our missionaries are. You can see what their needs would be. How to pray for them. Because out of sight, out of mind. And it’s interesting that Paul had been out of sight for 11 years, but they were he was never out of the minds of the Philippians. And he’s so thankful for them and the gifts that they sent to him. And he actually says, when you give to me, you’re not giving to me. You’re giving through me. You’re sharing in my affliction. That’s a concept that the Apostle Paul unpacked for us early in the book.
In Philippians one verse seven, he says, You are all partakers, sharers. koinóneó in other words. Partakers of grace with me and so that’s a different perspective on money when you give to a ministry, essentially what happens is God is allowing you to participate in that cause. And by the way, that’s why, according to Second John. That we should be discerning concerning who we give to. Because if giving to someone is actually giving through someone, then if I send money to someone whose doctrine is wrong. Then I’m a co-conspirator, so to speak, in their ministry also. So it’s really is a different way of looking at money. And Paul says, you know, you Philippians have done well verse 14 in sharing with me. And because he says, You’ve done well verse 14, I guess that means there are churches out there that weren’t doing well. Or Christians that weren’t doing well. They just looked at money as their own and they never really used it to support the work of God. Of course, the biggest error in thinking there is that the money is yours to begin with. It’s God’s money. I mean, everything that you have financially, everything that you have talent-wise, Everything that you have in terms of career connections. They’re all gifts from the Lord. They’re not yours. They’re not mine. And we are to be stewards of those things for God. In other words, God is going to hold us accountable one day concerning what we did with His money.
With his talent, etc. You’ll notice verse 15. Dropping down to Philippians, chapter four, verse 15, he says, You yourselves also know Philippians that 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, everybody else. When Paul planted a church and left out of sight, out of mind, they just forgot about Paul. But not the Philippians. They remembered him. They remembered who their spiritual father was. They probably remember they wouldn’t even have a church at Philippi had it not been for Paul’s activity on his missionary journeys, in this case, his second missionary journey. And so he always had a special place for them in his heart because of this generous spirit in the Philippians. He says they’re in verse 16 for even in Thessalonica, you sent a gift more than once for my needs. So here’s a little map that you can see, hopefully. And there is Paul in Philippi and he’s driven out of Philippi and he went to his next major place that he went to, according to the Book of Acts, was a place called Thessalonica. So Paul always went to where the population magnets, population centers were in his travels, and it was in Thessalonica that he received not one gift from the Philippians, but more than one. I would say this two or more, because he says there in verse 16, for even in Thessalonica, you sent a gift more than once for my needs.
That was unheard of in the Greco-Roman world. I mean, it’s just the church is just starting receiving finances for a ministry was something that really hadn’t been heard of, particularly there in Europe and Macedonia. And most churches really didn’t understand their responsibility in God to provide for God’s servants. And Paul says, Not you, Philippians. You sent a gift more than once, two or more. And that’s why I think that Paul was in Thessalonica for more than three weeks. You’ll hear preachers and teachers say that a lot. Paul was in Thessalonica for three weeks. I don’t think that’s possible because gifts were so unheard of. It’s hard for me to believe that he received two gifts in just a three-week period. What your Bible actually says is he was in the synagogue for three weeks. Acts 17, verse two. Paul would typically, in his missionary journeys, go to the synagogue where the Jews were gathered because his mindset was to the Jew first and then to the Gentile. He would go to where people had the most common ground with him. They had an Old Testament, and he would use that Old Testament to try to show them that Jesus is in their Old Testament and he would use messianic prophecy to argue for Jesus being the long-awaited Messiah. And Acts 17, verse two says, and according to Paul’s custom, he went to them and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures.
Well, what scriptures? Not a New Testament. You don’t even have one yet. But Old Testament Hebrew Bible, sometimes called Tanakh- Torah, N- Nevi’im or prophets, K- Kethuvim writings; the three major divisions of Hebrew Bible. And he would basically try to show them that that Hebrew Bible points to Jesus Christ. And typically what he ran into is hard-heartedness and they would kick him out of the synagogue and he would take the identical message to the Gentiles. And the Gentiles started believing like crazy. They started believing in droves to the point where the Jews would become very jealous of Paul and they would hatch a plot against him. Sometimes it was a very plot on his life and it would force him out of that town into the next one. And so that’s how God kept Paul moving in these missionary journeys. But when he was in Thessalonica, he received not one gift, but two gifts from the Thessalonians. And so he is praising them, thanking the Lord for them, for their generosity. And then beginning in verse 17, he starts to talk about this idea that God rewards the generous. See, we think if we cling to things and hold on to things, I’m getting ahead. But that’s not how it works with God. In fact, with God, it’s the opposite.
Typically the more you give, the more God entrusts you with. I’m not promoting that as some kind of get-rich-quick scheme. But you’ll discover that people that use what God has given them in any area typically are granted more and more opportunities. It’s the stingy person, the tight-fisted person that never really reaches their potential. So Paul begins to talk here, verse 17, about God’s reward for generosity. Look at what he says there in verse 17. Not that I seek a gift, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account. Now, Paul says here, not that I seek a gift. Paul had a right to receive money for his ministry. That’s a principle that’s very, very old in the Bible. In fact, when Jesus sent out the 70 to preach the kingdom to Israel in Luke ten, Jesus said this: Carry no money belt, no bag, no shoes, and greet no one on the way. Well, if you’re sending us out without any provisions, who’s going to take care of us? Luke ten verse seven. Stay in that house, eating and drinking. What they give you; For the laborer is worthy of his wages. You’re going to go out and you’re going to have a ministry impact on people and it’s what naturally is going to happen is that people are going to want to support you financially. Well, Lord, I just don’t believe that’s going to happen. Well, you’re going to have to trust me, Jesus says.
Well, let me take my extra provisions with me just in case. Now, you can’t do that. I want you to trust what I said. The Book of Galatians chapter six, verse six says The one who is taught the word is to share all good things with the one who teaches them. First Corinthians nine verse 11 says, If we sowed spiritual things in you, Paul says, Is it too much if we reap material things from you? So it’s very clear that Paul had a right to receive money for his ministry and yet what you discover Paul doing is he is somewhat reluctant to exercise his right. Typically what Paul would do is he would set aside his right. He was a skilled man. He was a tent maker, and he would essentially work himself. I don’t know how his schedule worked. You talk about a workaholic, but he would set up a tent-making sort of business and he would work his fingers to the bone and whatever time was left over, he would use it for ministry. And so why did Paul do that when he had a right to receive money for his ministry? And the answer relates to the fact that Paul didn’t want people to think he was in the ministry for the money. First Corinthians nine verses 15 and 16, Paul says concerning his rights. I have used none of these. And I am not writing these things so that it will be done.
So in my case, for it would be better for me to die than have any man make my boast an empty one. For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; For woe is me if I do not preach the gospel. What was driving Paul was not money. It was an inner compulsion that God had put in his heart. I mean, whether Paul was getting paid or not paid, he was in the ministry because that’s the compulsion that God gave him. And Paul says, Look, I’ve got a right to receive money for my ministry, but I’m going to set it aside because what I really want people to see is what’s driving me, this inner compulsion of the Holy Spirit, whereby woe is me if I don’t preach the gospel. That’s how you recognize whether someone is called into the ministry or not, whether they do it for funds. But what is actually driving them because of some God is calling someone into the ministry. He puts into their heart a burning desire. You see that in the book of Jeremiah chapter 20, where Jeremiah was flogged? You think you’ve had a hard day? Jeremiah was flogged by the high priest pashhur and sort of, you know, left to his own devices after being flogged, after being thrown into a pit. And Jeremiah got into a little pity party about himself there in Chapter 20.
I’m not going to say anything else for God. Every time I open my mouth for God, I get into trouble. What good does it do? But then Jeremiah says this. But if I say I will not remember him or speak anymore in his name, then in my heart it becomes like a burning fire. Shut up in my bones and I am weary of holding it in. I cannot endure it. I mean, after being abused, Jeremiah says, You know, I got to open my mouth again and speak because there’s something inside of me that is propelling me to do it. In fact, it’s hard to withhold. Hold it in what he’s saying. And Paul had that same burning desire, and he wanted people to understand that it wasn’t finances that was motivating him. It was an inner compulsion. But he had every right, though. Although he set it aside to receive finances for his ministry. And what does he say there in verse 17? Not that I seek a gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to whose account? To your account. For your sake, I seek a gift. I don’t seek a gift individually. I seek a gift for you because as you give to me, you are not giving to me. You are giving through me. And God is actually using you for eternal purposes because we Philippians one, verse seven, become sharers when we give to ministries. And I understand all of the abuse related to money and finances and pastors acting like charlatans to get more and more money.
And you see so much abuse of that. There’s a part of you in ministry that says, well, let’s just forget money. I mean, let’s just take the donate button completely off our website. And this church, of course, kind of airs in that direction because we don’t even pass an offering plate at this church. Now, there are boxes in the back, of course, if the Lord leads. But we don’t sit there and put people under pressure, you know, to give money. I’m not against churches that do that in terms of passing an offering plate. It’s just not a practice, you know, that we follow here and, you know, let’s make the donate button just really hard to find. We’ve tried that where you’ve got to jump through seven or eight hoops to find the thing, to donate money. And so I understand that there’s a tendency amongst financial abuse to go the other way. And say, well, let’s just drop money out of the equation entirely. And I think Paul was sort of that mindset. But he says, if I do that. I’m depriving a benefit to your account. Because what he starts to explain here is how God rewards generosity. And if you tell people you can’t give at all, then you’re cheating them of the opportunity to, number one, be used as a collaborator in your ministry.
But you’re also cheating them out of the opportunity of being blessed because God blesses the giver. Proverbs 11 verses 24 and 25 says there is one who waters. There is one who scatters rather yet increases all the more. There is one who withholds what is justly due, yet it results only in want. The generous man will be prosperous and he who waters will himself be watered. Gee, Lord, I’m thirsty. Oh, well, water somebody else. Because the one who waters will himself be watered by God. Oh, that’s just Old Testament stuff that’s got nothing to do with the New Testament. Well, here’s Jesus’ and Luke’s gospel. Isn’t Jesus in the New Testament? Can I get an Amen on that? Luke six verse 38 Jesus says, Give and it will be given to you. Wow. They will pour into your lap a good measure, press down, shaking together, running over. For the standard of measure, it will be measured to you in return. Jesus is quoted in Acts 20 verse 35 as saying this, It is more blessed to what give than to receive. We know from Hebrews 11 verse six that God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him. And one of the ways to seek God is by giving him priority in one’s finances. You know, Paul could have just closed himself off to money because of all of the abuse. But what you see him doing is reasoning here that if I close myself off to money completely, then I’m depriving the Philippians of being blessed in God.
I’m depriving them of an opportunity to be co-laborers with me in my ministry. So why make the donate button so hard to find? When in reality if people use it, God is going to bless them. He moves on here. Part three going into verse 18, where he now talks about how giving sacrificially to the work of God is worship. Well, wait a minute. I thought worship was singing. Sometimes with my hands up here and getting the liver quiver of the day. I thought worship was an emotion. No, worship is a response to truth. Sometimes I think we’ve got it all backwards in modern Christianity where we do the sermon second and the so-called music or worship first when music or worship actually should probably go after the sermon because expressing verbal praise to the Lord is based on a response to truth that you just heard through the sermon. So I guess we’re okay here because we do a song at the end, don’t we? But there’s a mindset out there that says, well, worship is you’ve got to set the right tone and there’s no biblical support for that. The right tone. What is the right tone? The right liver quiver? The right feeling? Not that worship can’t do that. But when you really understand what worship is, it’s a response to truth. And so you hear something from God and you just want to get behind it.
And one of the natural ways you want to do to get behind it is you start to give money to support it. And when that happens, God receives that into heaven as a sacrificial offering of worship to Him. You say, Well, where are you getting this from? Well, it’s all right there in verse 18. But I have received everything in full and have an abundance. I am supplied having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent. Watch this now. A fragrant aroma, verse 18, and acceptable what? Sacrifice, pleasing to God. Sacrifice? I thought we were done with animal sacrifices in the New Testament. I thought the death of Jesus Christ, according to the Book of Hebrews, made the round-the-clock sacrificial system that you see in the Old Testament. I thought Jesus rendered all of that null and void, and that he did. No animal sacrifices today. But there are sacrifices that God does receive. We offer him sacrifices, not to add to the finished work of Christ. Oh, Jesus. You did about 90%. Let me kick in the final 1%, because Jesus on the cross, his final words where it is, what? Finished. Well, I’m going to give money then to pay Jesus back for what He did for me. You can’t pay Jesus back because He’s given you an infinite gift. How do you pay back infinity? So then why should we give offerings to the Lord? Because that’s what’s logical.
That’s what’s reasonable. Paul in Romans 12 and verse one says, Therefore, I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God to present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice. Acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship when somebody hears the love of God for them. And what Jesus Christ did for them. I mean, isn’t the logical thing to do? The reasonable thing to do would be to say, Well, Lord, take my body. I’m not trying to pay you back or add to what you did, but just take my body and do what you want with it. I mean, a person that doesn’t do that or doesn’t have any inclination for that, you wonder if they’ve really understood the message of the gospel. What Jesus has done for them. And so what you’ll find in the Bible is a lot of sacrifice language. You offer your body to God. God receives that as a sacrifice. Same with praise. I’ve got all the verses there on the screen. Same with good works. Financial giving. So these are aroma aromas that rise up to God’s throne that he receives as a sacrifice. Not to pay him back. Not to add to. But it’s just a logical thing that one would do with their life. It’s what’s reasonable, given what Jesus has done for them. And that is the kind of language that Paul is speaking of here.
And so if I shut myself off for money because of abuses. Then I’m depriving all of these people of the opportunity to send up to the Lord sacrifices. And they are we are, Are we not? A priesthood of believers. Aren’t we a priesthood? Revelation five, verse ten. What do priests do? They offer sacrifices. Well, Pastor, I don’t know how to do that. We don’t offer animal sacrifices anymore. Well, here’s how you do it. You’re touched by the Lord and you get behind somebody financially. You’re touched by the gospel and you give your body to the Lord. And God receives that as a living sacrifice. I mean, if that’s true, why make the donate buttons so hard to find on the website? It’s almost like we’ve become sort of puritanical about the whole thing. Going to the other extreme. And what does he say there at the beginning of verse 18? He says, But I have received. Everything in full and have an abundance, he says. I am amply supplied, having received from a paradise what you have sent. Now we have traced the connection between Philippi and Rome with a paradise as sort of the go-between between Paul in Rome in prison and the Philippine church. And in these circumstances, apart from Titus brought to Paul in prison a major financial gift. And what does Paul say? Give me more. Because we’re under budget. What he says, I’m just overwhelmed with it. I’m amply supplied.
In other words, I’m supplied. And then some. One of the things to understand about God is for God guides, God provides. If you learn nothing else in this sermon, let it at least be that. Where God guides, God provides. Has God called you to do X ministry? Well, God will provide for that. Has God called you to start X Church and God will provide for that. The problem is, in the flesh, we jump out without waiting on God. Not taking the time to correctly discern the will of God and we go out on some project on our own that wasn’t God at all. It was ego or something else. And God says, Well, that’s your project. You fund it. And so we have all of these ministries begging and pleading for money all of the time. And every time I hear this routine pleading for money, I wonder if somewhere down the road that somebody didn’t step outside of the will of God and tried to build something that God never authorized. Because Paul, when he went out, was amply supplied. In fact, in Acts 28, verse ten, Same thing happened to him there on Malta. It says they honored us with many marks of respect when we were setting sail. They supplied us with all we needed. The work of God done God’s way, it has been said, never lacks supply. God pays for what he orders. That’s who God is. He’s a he’s a provider.
And Paul here says he was amply supplied. He continues on in verse 19, and this is the verse of Scripture that most people are familiar with. Number four, he begins to talk more about God’s provision for the generous. And what does he say here in verse 19? Most Christians probably know this one by heart. Yet very few know the context of it I’ve discovered. Verse 19, Paul says, And my God might– doesn’t say might, does it? And my God– So he doesn’t say that God. It’s my God because he was in a personal relationship with God. And my God will supply 95% of your needs– Doesn’t say that. And my God will supply all your needs according to our God and Father. Excuse me. According to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Now, the way I used to understand this is, Okay, God is obligated to provide my needs. That’s not what the verse says. What the verse says is if you’re a generous Christian, God will supply your needs. I don’t think you can take this as some sort of ironclad promise to every single believer. A stingy believer and a non-stingy believer is God is going to supply all of our needs. I think what it’s saying is that God looks out for the generous God takes care of the generous. Now, are there other verses that may say God provides for everybody’s needs in the body of Christ? Arguably, there’s other verses.
I’ll show you some in a minute, but I don’t think this is what this is saying. The context here is God’s provision for the giver, because the big question, whenever you’re generous, the big question in all of our minds is, well, who’s going to look out for me? I mean, if I give X amount of money, am I going to have enough money for these other things that I need? That’s what verse nine is talking about. And it says very clearly here that my God will supply all your needs. Now notice this. It doesn’t say, my God will supply all your greeds. It says needs because there’s a doctrine that’s very dominant in so-called Christian television, where it’s called the 100-fold blessing. You give $1. God is obligated to give you $100 back. And this is how you can get rich. Prosperity theology. And yet that’s not what this is talking about. I mean, praise God if God makes you rich. I hope he does. But to sort of use that as a direct promise from God, the 100-fold blessing based on verse 19. That’s not what the verse is speaking of. Were the apostles trying to get rich? Paul And first Timothy, chapter six, verse eight says, If we have food and covering. With these, we will be content. He must not have been an American saying something like that. And notice he doesn’t say 95% of your needs or some of your needs.
It says he’s going to supply all your needs because God is a tremendous provider. Now, here’s some verses and you may be asleep at this point, but I guarantee you this, you’re going to need these verses one day. You’re going to need something to stand on because one of these days you’re going to run into a financial problem, whether it be a layoff or an economic downturn, a COVID-19 situation. And you need to understand that God provides. The first of the four verses is Exodus 16, where the nation of Israel came out of Egypt, and as they were making their way to Sinai and complaining every step of the way. We want to go back because at least we got three hots and a cot. We got our square meals in Egypt. I mean, being a slave wasn’t that bad here. We’re out in the wilderness. Who’s going to take care of us? And what started up here on the ground? Some strange food. And they went outside to look at it and they said, What is it? And that’s where you get the name Manna in Hebrew. What is it? Well, that’s the provision of God for today. That’s the food you need. And by the way, don’t hoard it because you can’t. It’s going to be there every day. So there’s no need for you to hoard for tomorrow. Now, the only exception would be which day of the week? Sabbath.
Because they’re supposed to work on the Sabbath so they could collect a day in advance for the Sabbath. But other than that, they were to wait on the Lord. This is what Jesus meant in the Lord’s Prayer when he said, Give us this day, our monthly bread. No, give us this day, our daily bread. And a lot of them, as you study the story in Exodus 16, disobeyed the instructions of God. They started to hoard it for several days in advance. They went out on the Sabbath when they weren’t supposed to, and it wasn’t there. And why were they doing that? Well, they just didn’t believe that God would provide. I mean, yeah, he provided today, but I don’t think he’s going to provide tomorrow. As if God is some kind of deceiver. You know, you know what Allah means, right? For the Islamic faith, if I can call it that, the false teaching of Islam, they believe God is a deceiver. And so that’s why they’re all nervous at the final judgment. Will my good works outweigh my bad works? Well, you have no assurance of salvation because Allah himself can lie to you. See the growth of Islam rather than being angry about it, these are really people to be pitied because they don’t understand what you understand as a Christian, the assurance of salvation. And so they would go out and they would hoard it and God would let the manna rot because God was teaching them,
You have to depend upon me every day. Every day it’ll be there. Now you can believe me or not believe me, but every day the manna or “what is it” will be there. And you know how long that manna fell in the Bible? 40 years. According to Joshua, chapter five, verse 12, it lasted all the way into the second generation until they made their way into Canaan, where the land flowed with milk and honey and it was capable of sustaining its inhabitants. And the day they made it into Canaan, the manna stopped. Joshua Chapter five and verse 12 says The manna ceased on the day after they had eaten some of the produce of the land so that the Sons of Israel no longer had manna. But they ate some of the field of the land of Canaan during that year. The manna lasted as long as they needed it. And these people were not happy campers. They weren’t very grateful. I mean, this is the crowd that wouldn’t go in and occupy the land because they’re afraid of the Giants. And God says, all right, you all just wander around out here for 40 years. I’ll put you in timeout for 40 years and then eventually you’re going to have kids and I’ll start working with your kids. And this goes on for 40 years, grumbling and complaining against God and like clockwork, Every single morning, the manna was there.
And you know what? As they walked around for 40 years, did you know that their clothes didn’t even wear out? Nor did their sandals? Deuteronomy 29, verse five. I have fed you for 40 years in the wilderness. Your clothes have not worn out and your sandals have not worn out on your foot. Well, what are you driving that old clunker around for? Upgrade, man! What’s the matter with you? Why do I need a new car? This one is running fine. What do you? What are you doing with that old washing machine? Upgrade. This is the United States. Why do I need a new one? This one’s been running fine. Yeah, but it’s so old. Why does that matter? That’s the hand of God. That’s what God will do for people. He will keep things running longer then they’re supposed to run. I’m telling you, the day is going to come where you’re going to have to go back to this chapter, Exodus 16, and build your life on it. Second chapter is First Kings, 17 verses two through six. It says the word of the Lord came to him saying, go away from there and return eastward and hide yourself. By the book of Shareef, which is east of the Jordan. It shall be that you will drink of the brook. And I have commanded the Ravens to provide for you there. That’s what God said to Elijah. So he went and did according to the Word of the Lord, which is always smart.
And he went and lived by the brook. The Brook Sharif, which was east of the Jordan and the Ravens, brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening. And he would drink from the brook. Go. Go. Just. Just forget it, Elijah. Go out by the brook. Well, wait a minute, Lord. I need provision. I got that covered. Well, there’s no jobs or career out there. Don’t worry about it. I got it covered. And like clockwork, God would feed him through the birds. Where God guides, God what–? God provides. Well, you say to yourself, Gosh, I really like my job and I really like how God is providing for me through this job. Wonderful. What if you lose your job? Does that stop the promises of God? See, it’s interesting in God. He tells us that he will provide for us. He doesn’t tell us how he’s providing for you today, may not be the same tomorrow. And when you go through enough economic cycles, you start to say, well, gee, God is pretty creative at this. God is providing for me in ways I couldn’t even thought of a week ago. A year ago. A month ago. And I’m not arguing here that we should just go out by the brook and wait for the Lord to feed us. Because the Bible says you’re supposed to earn your bread by the sweat of your brow.
Genesis three, verse 19, and it says, if any man is not willing to work. Second Thessalonians three verse ten Neither let him what? Eat, work, or labor is part of the way God provides for you. God provides for us through employment. But you know what? If you go through a downturn and employment is not available, do the promises of God stop? They didn’t stop for Elijah. The third verse you’re going to need one day is Psalm 37, verse 25, where David writes this. Now, who is David? David is the second king of the United Kingdom. Most of the Psalms in the Psalter. The majority author was David, and in Psalm 37, verse 25. Arguably, towards the end of his life, he says, I have been young and now I am old. I’ve seen it all. And yet here’s something I have never seen. I have been young and now I am old. Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or their descendants or seed begging for bread. David is looking back on his whole life, thinking about all of the things that he had seen in his life: the fortune, the misfortune, the ups, and the downs. And he goes, Well, here’s something I’ve never seen. I’ve never seen a situation where a righteous person goes without their needs being met. I’ve never seen this. I’ve never seen the righteous person’s children– Are you worried about your children? Are you worried about the financial prospects of your children? You know how to fix that? Get them saved.
If they get saved there under the promises of God. I’ve never seen even a righteous man’s children begging for bread. And the last set of verses that one day you’re going to need and I wish we had time to read them all is in the Sermon on the Mount. We’ve already referenced that in Matthew six verses 25 through 34 where Jesus uses an a fortiori argument. What? I paid a lot of tuition money to learn these fancy words, so I got to use them on somebody. An a fortiori argument, Latin, is an argument from the lesser to the greater. Why are you worried about what you’re going to wear or what you’re going to drink or what you’re going to put on? Does God not take care of the birds? By the way, I’ve never seen a lazy bird. Have you? I mean, they look pretty industrious, so God provides through industry. But if God takes care of the birds. Matthew six, verse 26 How in the world did you ever get this idea in your mind that God is not going to take care of you? And if God closed the lilies of the field in an arrangement that not even Solomon could think of. Won’t he give you the basics of life? And then he says this. Oh, ye of little faith. There’s a problem. That’s why the Jews are hoarding the manna, because I just don’t think it’s going to fall tomorrow.
We just don’t have faith. I think it was. Spurgeon Or one of the greats that said, look. If you can trust God to save your soul, but you can’t trust Him for the minor matters of this life, then you might as well find a new God because he’s worthless. Why would God go to the lengths to save your soul and not give you manna for today? It just doesn’t make any sense. And that’s why Jesus says here, are you not worth much more than they? You’re made in God’s image. The birds aren’t. You’re a child of God. The grass isn’t. If God takes care of them lesser to the greater; a fortiori argument. Wouldn’t he take care of you? Boy, that sure takes a lot of the sweat out of life, doesn’t it? Because I have a ledger that I use. I made it in paper many times. I’ve divided a sheet of paper in half. And I put in one column God’s responsibility. I put in the other column my responsibility. And I’ve found from personal experience that when I’m walking in anxiety. I’ve taken something from the left side of the column and transferred it to the right. In other words, I put on my shoulders a burden that God himself says he’ll take care of. Why do I put burdens on my shoulders? Because I trust myself more than I trust God.
Oh, ye of little faith. And you start to live like this with this area provision and finances being generous and you start to say, Wow, the Christian life is joyful. I mean, there’s some spring in my step. I don’t have to be a Gloomy Gus. 24 seven. I don’t have to be a sad face saint with my mind, preoccupied with all of these things that are weighing me down. I understand the provision of God. I understand how God blesses the generous. And he’s a provider. I don’t have to be swept into fear by the latest news cycle that talks about inflation is up. Employment is down. Everything is falling apart. This is why Jesus says the pagans run after these things. It’s the pagans that are worried about it. Why are they worried about it? Because they don’t know God. But not so the Christian. Christian has something completely different than the unbelievers have. They have a walk with God and a relationship to God. Well, you know, is God really big enough to pull the whole thing off? Look at the second half there. A verse 19, and my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus. He’s got a big bank account. In fact, my Bible says Psalm 50 verse ten, that he owns the cattle on a thousand hills. That’s a lot of hills and that’s a lot of cattle. And then God says, every beast of the forest is mine, as if God is somehow broke.
God is down to his last buck? How am I going to make it through? You’re going to make it through because Jesus is your provider and He owns everything. I mean, you’ve got a pretty big benefactor when you think about it. A pretty big donor behind you. And that brings us into joy, doesn’t it? Just relief from financial insecurity and perpetual concern. Verses 14 through 19. Paul’s thankfulness for their generosity. 14 through 16 God’s reward to the generous verse 17. How God sees generosity coming from the believer as worship, verse 18, and how God provides for all of our needs. And I was going to race through and try to finish the book, but I’ve kept you guys after so frequently, I thought I would try to get on your good side for a change. Just briefly, in closing, to say, look, there’s a lot of benefits to being a Christian. Not the least of which is going to heaven when you die. That’s great. But there’s other benefits too. There’s the provision of God in daily life and there’s the walk of joy that he’s provided for us. If you don’t know Christ, you’re not tied in anything. You’re on your own. Is that how you want to live? You can. You can live on your own. You can die that way, too. But Jesus has such a better offer.
And the offer is made through the gospel, which is how God stepped out of eternity into time to pay a price for us that we could never pay. Through his death, burial, resurrection, and ascension. And he asks us just to trust in what he has done. That’s it. You trust or rest or rely upon, which is what the Bible calls believe in what Jesus has done. And if people are out there and they’ve never done this. Our exhortation to them here at Sugar Land Bible Church is to do that and do that now, because the Bible says, don’t boast about tomorrow. You don’t know what a day will bring. I mean, we’re not even guaranteed tomorrow, are we? So why would you wait and not get this fixed now? The Bible says today is the day of salvation. You can trust Christ right now where you’re seated or anybody listening in the quietness and the privacy of their own heart and minds. And if it’s something that you need more explanation on, I’m available after the service to talk.
Shall we pray? Lord, we’re grateful for your word. How it deals with us, not just in spiritual realities, but also physical needs. We’re grateful for the awesome package, grace package that we have in you. Help us to believe these things and to walk these things out this week as we walk in joy. We’ll be careful to give you all the praise and the glory. We ask these things in Jesus’ name and God’s people said.