Date: 
Sunday, February 12, 2012 - 10:45am
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Philippians 4:15-19

THE GOD WHO PROVIDES

PHILIPPIANS 4:15-19

 

15  And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only.

16  Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again.

17  Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit.

18  I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God.

19  And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

         

As you know, the letter to the church at Philippi was written from a Roman jail.  It was written by a man awaiting execution.  How many of you would like to be sitting in jail right now awaiting execution?  The Apostle Paul is sitting in a Roman cell, staring death in the face and he makes one of the boldest statements in scripture:

“My God shall take care of all your needs through Christ Jesus.” 

 

        That is a bold statement because it doesn’t leave wiggle room for God.  There is no exception clause.  There is no fine print.  God’s reputation is on the line. 

        It is a bold statement because it is addressed to a group of people about to go through some of the worst religious persecution in all of human history.  Hard to believe your needs are being met when you are being fed to the lions, carved up by gladiators and burned at the stake.

        It is also a bold statement because, once again, I can’t stress this enough, it is coming from a man sitting in prison, awaiting execution. 

        In verse 18 Paul says he has received full payment and then some.  He says he is well supplied.  In other words he has all he needs. 

        Now think about this.  Paul is sitting in prison simply for making the wrong people mad.  He owns nothing but the cloths on his back.  He has no freedom, no privileges, and no rights.  He is totally dependent upon the generosity of others.  His back is scarred from multiple beatings.  His body is broken.  His eye site is gone.  His death is eminent and he claims he has all he needs.  Not the kinds of retirement plan I am looking for. 

I read that and I think to myself, “Paul, you and I have very different needs.”   And if you are honest and don’t try to act super spiritual, you would agree that you also have different needs.  Well, actually, we don’t have different needs, we have different wants, different expectations.  The reason Paul had all he needed was because Paul knew all he needed was Jesus.  We may all want a lot of different things, but all we really need is Jesus. 

Where we get into trouble is we expect God to meet our wants when our wants have been heavily influenced by the American materialistic culture that tells us that life is about accumulation and recognition.  God doesn’t promise to give us everything we want.  He doesn’t promise us health and wealth, fame and fortune, success and power, popularity and prestige.  He promises to make us like Jesus.  God is not concerned with making you happy.  God is concerned with making you holy. 

If you and I can ever reach the point that we know that the only thing that will really make our lives better is Jesus, we will be so much better off.

 

One of the Old Testament names for God is Jehovah Jireh.  It means, “I am the God who sees your need and will provide.”  We read this name in Genesis 22 where Abraham has gone to sacrifice Isaac. 

 

Gen. 22:14  So Abraham called the name of that place, "The LORD will provide"; as it is said to this day, "On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided."

 

He is the God who meets our needs.  When we reach the point that we truly know that God really will meet the needs in our lives, we can experience the relationally rich and spiritually abundant life He designed us to have. 

Let’s look at three things this morning.

 

1.  LEARN TO WAIT ON GOD

        First, we must learn to wait on God to meet our needs, because ultimately, He is the only one who can.  Our problem is, we get in a hurry, run out in front of God, and get ourselves in trouble and then wonder why God let this happen.  We are guilty of wanting instantaneous answers from God.  We want the microwave version.  We want an email while God wants to send us a care package. 

        Now some things can be done in a hurry.  There are some things that are just as good done quick as slow.  Instant oatmeal comes to mind.  You may disagree and I respect your right to be wrong, but instant oatmeal tastes as good as slowly simmered oatmeal.  But cake on the other hand.  Microwave cake doesn’t come close to the cake that comes out of the oven smelling so wonderful it makes your mouth water and so moist it drips.   

        Sometimes we have to wait to get God’s best.  We have to resist the temptation to get in a hurry.  Human nature likes to get in a hurry and take over.  We get tired of waiting on God and we come up with our own plan.  We short circuit God’s will by going for the quick fix, the cheap thrill, the instant hit and the quick relief. 

 

        Think about the story of Abraham.  God promised Abraham and Sarah a child.  They waited and they waited.  They waited 15 years. They built a nursery.  They made baby clothes.  They shopped at “Toys R Us”.  And they waited and as they waited they wondered if maybe God wasn’t up to the task.  Maybe God needed some help.  Maybe God was expecting them to figure this out on their own. 

        So Abraham sleeps with Hagar, Sarah’s maid, and she gives birth to Ishmael.  Abraham got tired of waiting on God and took matters into his own hands.   

 

2.  LEARN TO RELY ON GOD

        So you have to learn to wait on God.  You also have to learn to rely on God. 

        Life is often disappointing.  Thing’s don’t turn out the way we planned.  Careers, marriages, children – they don’t turn out the way we intended.  And we find ourselves in moments of disappointment. 

        People…the people in our lives are so important.  We need people in our lives. We were created to live in community.  But, people will disappoint us if we expect them to meet the deepest needs in our life,  because only God Himself can meet those needs. 

        When you turn to a spouse, to your children, to a boyfriend or girlfriend, to co-worker or friend and expect them to meet the deepest needs in your life – needs like value, purpose, direction, security, contentment – you are setting yourself up for a huge disappointment because they can’t possibly meet those core needs.

        I deal with people who think if they could just change their husband or their wife, they could fulfill their deepest needs.  Others who are living vicariously through their children, driving their kids to attain perfection in an attempt to meet some need in their own lives and it doesn’t work.  For years I dealt with teenagers who really believed if they had a different set of parents, they would have every need met and every problem solved. 

        Now listen carefully – hear me well.  The people in your life may be a problem, but your problem is not the people in your life.  Your problem is the brokenness of your own humanity.  You are a broken person living in a sin plagued world. 

 

The answer to your insecurity and inferiority is not a person, it is Jesus.

The answer to your worries and your fears is not a person, it is Jesus.

The answer to your discouragement and depression is not a person, it is Jesus.

The answer to your frustrations and failures is not a person, it is Jesus. 

        When you expect people to be your savior, you are going to be very disappointed. 

 

Jeremiah 17:7-8 "Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD.  He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit."

       

3.  LEARN TO PURSUE GOD

        So you have to learn to wait on God, you have to learn to rely on God and you also have to learn to pursue God.  See, what you chose to pursue will shape your life.  What you pursue will cultivate your character. 

        Truth is, you become whatever you pursue.  If you are going to grow spiritually, if you are going to learn to wait on God and rely on God, you are going to have to pursue Jesus with a relentless tenacity. 

        Let’s say you want to learn to new skill, most of the time that is not automatic.  It takes time, effort, practice and to be really good at it requires relentless tenacity.  You have to set a goal and work at it, consistently, doggedly, relentlessly. 

        Your relationship with God is the same way.  You must work at it. You need to grow in it.   You are best when challenged by it.  And you are blessed by it when you pursue God with all you have.

 

Jeremiah 29:12-13  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.  13You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.

 

        We seek so many things in life thinking that these things will give our life meaning, purpose, contentment and fulfillment.  Truth is, the only thing that will do that for us is our relentless pursuit of the Lord Jesus Christ. 

        Take this test with me.  Be honest with yourself.  Ask yourself three questions.

1.  What do I think about the most?  What occupies my thoughts?

2.  What do I spend my money on first?

3.  How do I spend the majority of my free time?

       

Show me your thoughts, your check book and your calendar and I will show you the priorities of your life.  It is that simple.  And when Jesus is not the top priority of your life, He can’t meet the needs of your life.  If He is not the focus of your life, He cannot be the foundation of your life. And when He is not the foundation, He doesn’t have enough access to your heart to meet the needs of your life. 

 

        This morning, let me encourage you.  Wait on Him.  Rely on Him.  Pursue Him.  He is Jehovah Jireh.  He is the God who sees your life and meets your needs.  He will provide for you.

 

THE GOD WHO PROVIDES

PHILIPPIANS 4:15-19

  

Jehovah Jireh   “I am the God who sees your need and will provide.” 

 

Gen. 22:14

 

1.  LEARN TO WAIT ON GOD

 

2.  LEARN TO RELY ON GOD

 

Jeremiah 17:7-8

 

3.  LEARN TO PURSUE GOD

 

Jeremiah 29:12-13 

 

He is Jehovah Jireh.  He is the God who sees your life and meets your needs.