Philippiansby David Sanford
In these two verses, Paul continues blessing the Philippian believers. First, he confirms receipt of their generous gifts: ″I have received full payment and have more than enough; I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent″ (Philippians 4:18). The phrase ″have more than enough″ suggests that Epaphroditus added a personal donation atop the gifts that the church officially sent.
Second, Paul describes these gifts with beautiful words of worship: ″They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God″ (v. 18). Knowing the Old Testament very well and breathing its vocabulary, Paul refers to the sacred incense offered to the Lord in the tabernacle and temple. The burning incense created a very pleasant fragrance. The gifts from the Philippians are precious and beautiful, not just to Paul, but also to God.
As always, the Lord is our supreme example: ″And live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God″ (Ephesians 5:2).
Accordingly, Peter calls us ″a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ″ (1 Peter 2:5). Paul affirms that ″anyone who serves Christ in this way [of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit] is pleasing to God″ (Romans 14:17-18). Elsewhere, he adds: ″Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God-this is your true and proper worship″ (12:1).
Third, Paul offers a final promise to the generous Philippian church: ″And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus″ (Philippians 4:19). This promise is collective, yet personal. It echoes the words of the Lord Jesus in His Sermon on the Mount: ″So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?' or ‘What shall we drink?' or ‘What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well″ (Matthew 6:31-33).
Our generous giving blesses others and is a pleasing sacrifice to God. In turn, God promises to supply all of our needs, ″according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus″ (Philippians 4:19).
When receiving a generous gift, how do you prefer to thank the giver?
When you feel God leading you to offer a generous gift, what helps you to not worry? How does God feel about your sacrificial offerings?
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