21 February 2021 AM – Philippians 4:10-19 – Missions – Scott Childs
Introduction: The Apostle Paul spent much of his life as a missionary preaching the Gospel and starting churches. While he often worked on the side as a tentmaker to provide for his personal needs (1Th 2:9; Ac 18:3), he also accepted financial support from mission-minded churches (2Co 11:8-9; Php 1:5). This is nowhere more clearly seen than in our text this morning. Keep this in mind and follow along as I read Philippians 4:10-19.
Transition: As we examine what God says about supporting missions, I want to point out three truths about supporting missions that ought to challenge our hearts.
The Need for Giving
As I dig into the Scriptures, I find at least three reasons that we ought to give.
a. We ought to give to support God’s work.
1) God ordained giving to support the OT tabernacle/temple, the priests, and the Levites. (Leviticus 27:30) “And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD’S: it is holy unto the LORD.” (Numbers 18:21) “And, behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, even the service of the tabernacle of the congregation.“
2) God said that giving a tithe was giving to Him. (Malachi 3:8) “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.” A tithe is 10% of one’s total income.
3) One of God’s last words in the OT was, (Malachi 3:10) “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.“
4) In the NT, Jesus commended tithing. (Luke 11:42) “But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.“
5) God clearly states that pastors ought to be paid for their ministry (1 Timothy 5:18) “For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.” (1 Corinthians 9:14) “Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.” (Galatians 6:6) “Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.“
6) God does not give NT Christian a new method to replace tithing for the support of God’s work.
7) Every Christian ought to give a tithe to his or her local church. The tithe belongs to God. It should not be used for other forms of giving.
b. We ought to give to aid struggling Christians.
1) Many of the NT references to giving relate to giving to aid struggling Christians (e.g., search “alms”; some sold lands to help others, Acts 4:34-37; Paul gathered collections to help the poor saints in Israel, 2Co 8-9).
2) God encourages us to help struggling believers. (Acts 20:35) “I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Romans 15:1) “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.” (Ephesians 4:28) “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.“
3) Giving to aid struggling Christians is a fine thing to do, but it is not right to use your tithe to do this.
c. We ought to give to support missions.
1) The Lord’s return has never been closer, yet many have not yet heard the Gospel. We must send missionaries. They cannot go without finances.
2) The Philippian believers genuinely cared for Paul, the missionary who had led them to Christ (v.10). They communicated with or shared his affliction (v.14). They were among Paul’s most faithful supporters (v.15-16). Because of their giving, he was full (v.18).
3) In his letter to the church at Corinth, Paul wrote, “And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied: and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself.” (2 Corinthians 11:9)
4) In 1 Corinthians 9:6-12, Paul defended his right as a missionary preacher to receive support for his ministry.
2. The Grace for Giving
a. Grace giving is giving above our tithe.
1) Paul was not asking Christians to give their tithes to support missions. He did not want any local church and their pastor to go without in order to give to his mission work. Tithes belong to God’s local church.
2) Grace giving is giving beyond the tithe to support missions.
Here is one man’s interesting observation, “Today Christians spend more money on dog food than missions.”—Leonard Ravenhill