40 Days in Philippians DAY THIRTY SEVEN

Read Philippians 4:21-23


One thing we see in this final section of Philippians is that it all comes back to the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.


We cannot even begin to fulfill our commitments without His grace. We desperately need His provision and sovereign grace in our lives to be faithful to obey in giving the next three years.


What is grace?


Herman Bavinck: “Ascribed to God, grace is His voluntary, unrestrained, unmerited favor toward guilty sinners, granting them justification and life instead of the penalty of sin, which they deserved.”


J.I. Packer “ The grace of God is love freely shown toward guilty sinners, contrary to their merit and indeed in defiance of their merit. It is God showing goodness to persons, who deserve only severity and had no reason to expect anything but severity.”


In order to understand grace, we need to have a good handle of four great Biblical truths.


  1. 1.     The sinfulness of sin

Read Psalm 32:1–2

David uses three specific Hebrew words for sin:

  1. Transgression–this means a breaking loose or tearing away from God, going astray, or rebellion—this is a description of sin as being against God Himself personally. We have personally offended and transgressed or rebelled against our Infinite Creator
  2. Sin—this word means a deviation or going wayward or falling short or missing the mark or turning from the right path—it was used to describe how archers would shoot arrows and totally miss the target—this is a description of sin against God’s law or holy standard
  3. Iniquity–this word means perversion, distortion, twisted, corrupt, or criminal with no respect for God—this describes sin as our condition—we are depraved. We sin because we are first sinners.


These three expressions of sin sum up the totality of what it means, as we stand condemned under God’s wrath. Not only have we offended Him personally, rebelled and disobeyed against His law, but also we are sinful to the core of our beings because of Adam’s transgression. This puts us in dire straits that require the LORD to do a major work in fixing this problem.

Read Romans 3:10–18

  1. 2.     God’s wrath

Read John 3:36 

Read Romans 2:5–6 

Read Ephesians 5:5–6

Grace does not think of us as merely undeserving as if we are neutral, but ill-deserving—it is not simply that we do not deserve grace; we deserve hell.


  1. 3.     Our spiritual inability

Read John 6:44

Read Ephesians 2:1–3

Grace ceases to be grace if God is compelled to bestow it in the presence of human merit.


  1. 4.     God’s sovereign freedom to grant grace


God in His fullness as the Trinity has done the wonderful, sovereign action of granting us grace as hell-deserving, rebellious sinners who deserve nothing but His wrath.


In Ephesians 1:3-13, we see the Father, the Son, and the Spirit working together to grant us grace in salvation.


Before the foundation of the world, the Father predestined us for salvation as His children.


Over 2000 years ago, Jesus the Son bought our eternal redemption through His shed blood on the cross.


And at a point in time, when you heard the word of the gospel, the Holy Spirit sovereignly opened your heart and through the new birth gave you the gift of faith so that you could believe in Jesus.


So why does God do all of this? It is repeated three times in this passage—to the praise of His glorious GRACE!!!


Meditate upon the song we sing in church, which focuses on God’s abounding grace:

Come praise and glorify our God
the Father of our Lord.
In Christ he has in heavenly realms
his blessings on us poured;
for pure and blameless in his sight
he destined us to be
and now we’ve been adopted through
his Son eternally

     To the praise of your glory,
     to the praise of your mercy and grace,
     to the praise of your glory,
     you are the God who saves.

Come praise and glorify our God
who gives his grace in Christ.
In him our sins are washed away,
redeemed through sacrifice.
In him God has made known to us
the myst’ry of his will
that Christ should be the head of all,
his purpose to fulfill.

Come praise and glorify our God
for we’ve believed the Word
and through our faith we have a seal:
the Spirit of the Lord.
The Spirit guarantees our hope
until redemption’s done,
until we join in endless praise
to God, the Three in One.





40 Days in Philippians DAY THIRTY SIX

Read 2 Corinthians 9:11-15


Today, we are deviating from Philippians as we think about the importance of what happened yesterday when we committed above and beyond our tithes and offering for the next 3 years through “Advancing the Gospel…Trusting His Provision” campaign.

I don’t know if you’ve thought about this before, but in our sacrificial giving, God creates opportunities for the recipients to thank Him for the generosity of those giving.

As we continue to give and fulfill our commitments, God promises to enrich us to be more generous which will produce thanksgiving.  Paul links our continued giving to opportunities to give thanks for God’s faithfulness.

I will be excited to hear the many testimonies over the next three years about how God has been faithful in supplying our needs and how we can give thanks to Him.  I will also be excited to see how our financial giving will be used to advance the gospel so that our missionary partners can give thanks to God. And how many new children and youth will be exposed to the gospel and how many new people will be affected by the generosity of Emmanuel Baptist Church.

When we give to the Lord and support the ministries of the church, it enables the GOSPEL to be spread in a stronger way.  When we give to mission’s offerings, 100% goes to the mission field for the spreading of the gospel. By paying down the debt, we will be freed up as a church to do even more than what we are doing now!


Why do we give to the Lord anyway? Ultimately we want to be faithful as a church in doing ministries that will flow from our submission to advancing the gospel of Christ


I really want us as a church to be known for our generosity. The word Paul used for “sharing or contribution” in verse 13 is “koinonia” which means joint partnership. In other words, when we give to the Lord, we can partner with other ministries and come along side churches to aid them. With blessings, comes responsibility. Emmanuel is a strong church in our area and when need to be a model of giving to help strengthen and support missions, ministries, and struggling churches.


Read 2 Corinthians 8:11 and 9:5


If we are able to over the next three years, we need to be faithful to complete our pledges and finish what we started.


In 8:11 Paul tells them to finish means to complete successfully.


As you pray about tithing or giving above your tithes to the Lord, it is not a one-time decision, but a lifestyle decision. Some weeks or months it might be hard to give, and it will be easy to back off on commitments, but Paul encourages us to follow through with our commitments to give.


Read 2 Corinthians 8:1 along with 9:14-15.


Ultimately, giving is an act of worship for the inexpressible, incomprehensible, indescribable gift of God’s mercy and grace to undeserving sinners. We don’t give because God needs it. We don’t give to get back. We give out of gratitude, thankfulness, and obedience to the ultimate sacrifice in giving—the CROSS!!!


God’s grace was given to the Macedonian churches in severe trial and persecution (8:1) and God’s grace has been given to all of us who call Him Lord and Savior.


The only way we can give back to God is because He has given us the grace to earn the money.  Everything we have comes from His hands. We own nothing. Our breath, our life, our talents, our ability to make money, all flow from the amazing grace of God who gives us all good things.


When we take the perspective that the cross, forgiveness, the resurrection are all acts of grace and that we don’t deserve any of it, but it has been lavished on us freely, how could we not have the heartfelt, consecrated, joyful desire to give more than 10% to God.


Ten percent is the minimum. God desires for us to give out of the overflow of our hearts.
As you move forward in obedience to give you may need to start tithing for the very first time in your lives.  Jesus is Lord and demands ultimate allegiance to His authority. Your money is not your own. It is His.


Also, God shows amazing grace to sinners. While we can never repay the sacrifice that Christ’s accomplished for us on the cross, we can worship Him through our giving.


It’s not about giving to Emmanuel. It’s not about giving to a building fund. It’s not about begrudgingly, painfully, greedily handing God our leftovers. It’s about serving and loving the Awesome God of the Universe who is Lord and Savior and who showed us grace and that we are giving to HIM!!! It’s an awesome act of worship.


Dear Jesus,

Thank you for being my indescribable gift! You are wonderful and I am worship You today for giving of Yourself freely for me on the cross. Help me to give back to You from the overflow of the love you’ve shown me in Your grace.  May I be a cheerful giver!

In Your Name,



40 Days in Philippians DAY THIRTY FIVE

Read Philippians 4:20


Today is Celebration Sunday where we make our 3-year commitments to the Lord through “Advancing the Gospel…Trusting His Provision” campaign.
It’s not surprising that Paul ends this entire section and the entire letter to the Philippians with a doxology in praise to our great God.  Ultimately, He wants everything we do to be about His glory forever and ever.


That’s our heartbeat as a church. To display God’s glory. We want God’s glory to be our primary obsession as we advance His gospel through obedience and sacrifice.


Read Ephesians 3:14-21


This was the text I used on March 18th, 2005, when I came and preached in view of a call here at EBC. This was the weekend when you all voted on me as your pastor.


We see Paul’s heartbeat that they would have power through the Holy Spirit and experience the infinite love of Jesus and that God would do unimaginable wonders in their midst.

A.W. Tozer said, “The purpose of God in sending His Son to die and rise and live and be at the right hand of God the Father was that He might restore to us the missing jewel, the jewel of worship; that we might come back and learn to do again that which we were created to do in the first place – worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness, to spend our time in awesome wonder and adoration of God, feeling and expressing it, and letting it get into our labors and doing nothing except as an act of worship to Almighty God through His Son, Jesus Christ”.

He says that worship is what is missing in our churches today. Is that a radical statement?


We exist to bring glory and honor and majesty to God in everything! That’s why God created us.


Read Isaiah 42:8 and 43:6-7


The Old Testament Hebrew for “glory” is “kabod”. It literally means “weight”. To be heavy. To view God as weighty and worthy of honor.


The word in the New Testament Greek is “doxa”. We get our word “doxology” from it.

In respect to God’s glory, in everything we think, do, say, act, and respond, we are to demonstrate a lifestyle of worship that brings honor or weight to God’s name.


We’ve already looked at this verse, but we need to be reminded of it again.

Read 1 Corinthians 10:31


How much clearer can the Scriptures be? In everything we do, we are to give glory to God. In everything? In how you handle your checkbook. In how you talk to your spouse and children. In how you handle your business affairs. Here’s a hard one for me—in how you drive. In how you play sports. In how you do your school work. In how, you treat the person at the fast food counter when they get your order wrong. In what you watch, surf, click, and listen to.


Read Colossians 3:17


I am going to challenge you today:  It’s pretty easy to glorify God when we’re all gathered together and we’re singing and we’re studying God’s Word and we are experiencing fellowship. But what about in the way we give of our finances?  Do we see our giving and tithing as an act of worship that brings glory to God?


If we really want to obey these Scriptures above then we must glorify God in EVERYTHING—and that includes obedience in the area of giving.


As you make your 3-year pledge today to the Lord I don’t want us to think about it as a begrudging, painful, dutiful act of coercion where we feel guilted by Pastor Sean. Instead, I want us to give out of the overflow of our hearts because in the gospel Christ gave so freely to us. May we give as a wonderful way to bring glory to God! May we give out of JOY!  May we have the attitude of Christ and give because He first gave to us!


Let us come prepared today to glorify God and give Him the worship due His name!


Dear Merciful Father,

Today, is a day that I am trusting You completely for my financial future. It is going to take brave faith to make this 3-year commitment and I want to glorify You. Help me to be a cheerful giver and to do all things with joy.  I desperately want to grow in maturity and know you more deeply. Help me to see financial stewardship as a wonderful way to worship You through my obedience.  Grant me joy on this day as I worship You with my church family.

For Your Glory Alone,



40 Days in Philippians DAY THIRTY FOUR

Read 2 Corinthians 9:5-8


I want to show you SEVEN principles of giving:


  1. 1.     The principle of reaping and sowing:


The word for “sparingly” in the Greek is actually “grudgingly”


The word for “bountifully” in the Greek is a compound word, which means “over and above giving.”


Read Luke 6:38


There is a false gospel out there that is called the “prosperity gospel” that makes God your genie and you can “name it, claim it” or call things into being by the power of your words. That is not what this is talking about.  Many hucksters are out there appealing to greed and selfishness in people by telling them if they give more to their ministry by sowing a seed, God will give them more money in return.  In the context of helping the struggling Jerusalem church, Paul does not appeal to the Corinthians that if they give to Jerusalem they will get more. What Paul is teaching is that generosity to the poor would meet with overflowing blessings that make it possible for people to be even more generous.


  1. An individual choice to give from the heart (2 Corinthians 9:7, and 8:10)


Giving is between you and God and it must be a conscious and deliberate decision that is made and continues to be lived out—the verb tense is in the perfect tense, which means that a decision was made at one point in the past, but has continuing results into the present.   It is a deliberate decision.


It is a matter of the HEART—how do we respond to what God has given to us?


  1. Giving is to not be reluctant—(9:2, 9:7)


The word reluctantly means “out of sorrow, pain, or emotional suffering”. It should not distress you to give. It should be a natural outflow of the Christian life, not a source of pain, sorrow, or loss.


2 Corinthians 9:2 tells us about giving with enthusiasm—this word is the Greek word “zelos” where we get zealous


  1. Giving is to not be under compulsion (9:7, 8:12)


We are not to give under duress or out of duty or because someone is forcing us to give. Giving is the one thing that we must freely do out of love and obedience to God.


In 2 Corinthians 8:12—there must be willingness—the Greek word for willingness here means “readiness of mind or focus of mind”


Paul addresses the issue of equal sacrifice, not equal giving. We are responsible for giving out of what we have, not what we don’t have. When we commit to giving to the Lord for the next three years, we should not compare amounts or be concerned with the amount, but look at how sacrificial it is according to what we do have.


  1. God loves a cheerful giver


We must realize again that we are giving to the Lord, not to the building fund, or even to the church, but to the Lord to be used by stewards who will manage His money for ministry.  The word here means cheerful, joyous, and gracious.


Our attitude is what counts—not necessarily the dollar amount. We can tithe and give ten percent of our income and be upset and begrudging and greedy and hate doing it. God wants us to respond to Him the way He responds to us—did He have to give us Jesus?


Was God obligated to fulfill John 3:16? NO! He didn’t have to give His only son, but He chose to out of the sheer pleasure of His will.


  1. God will provide for all your needs in all things (9:8, 8:9—rich in Christ not necessarily materially)


God has the power to take care of our needs so that we can have CONTENTMENT in all of lives circumstances.  The word “contentment” means you have all you need or that which is sufficient.


Many times we have a warped view on what we think we need versus what we think we want. We are greedy to the core as humans and want to amass things for ourselves. In reality, God promises to meet our needs—not satisfy our insatiable, self-centered wants.


  1. God blesses so that we can be a blessing to others


As we think about “Advancing the Gospel…Trusting His Provision”, we are making eternal investments into people’s lives through the sharing of the gospel, missions, and church planting.  In committing to the Lord over the next three years, God will enable us to pay down the debt on our building.  As I’ve said over the past years, the building is not the END, but a MEANS to an end. The end is salvation of souls through the advancement of the gospel, but being debt free will enable us to do more ministry, serve as an outpost for the gospel, be a place that can be used for ministries, and enable us to grow. Not so we can hoard it to ourselves, but so that we can bless others.


Tomorrow is the BIG DAY!! Make every effort to be at church so that we can unite as Emmanuel Baptist Church and make our 3-year commitments to the Lord.


Dear Lord,

I want to worship You in spirit and truth tomorrow at the Celebration Service as I gather with my church family to honor You! Help me to finalize how You may be leading me to commit over the next 3 years above my tithes and offerings. I want to exercise brave faith. I want to advance the gospel. I want to practice financial stewardship. I want to glorify You. I desperately need Your grace and power. Financial stewardship is so crucial to my maturity as a Christian and I want to be obedient to Your Word! Grant me grace and lead and guide me in Your power.

In Jesus’ Name,


40 Days in Philippians DAY THIRTY THREE

Read Philippians 4:15-20


Paul reminds the Philippian church that they were the only church in Macedonia to support him financially. In those early days of his ministry there as we see in Acts 17, Paul suffered greatly in Macedonia. When he planted the church in Philippi, he and Silas were put in jail. In Thessalonica, he had to escape in the night down to Berea because a mob riot ransacked Jason’s house looking for Paul.


And in the midst of all this, probably what was most painful for Paul was that none of the other churches helped him financially. They failed in their gospel obligation in tithing and giving to the ministry of the Lord.


I want you to notice how carefully Paul words his rebuke to these other churches. They had not shared in both giving and receiving. They were very good at receiving, but not so good at giving.  It was a one-way relationship with Paul where they received his pastoral leadership and love, but they didn’t practice financial stewardship.


And yet the Philippian church understood the spiritual maturity of both giving and receiving and gave to Paul, which brought joy to his heart.


Paul was in no way asking them for money or looking for financial compensation. He tells us this in verse 17. He had learned to be content and knew that Christ would meet all his needs, but yet he knew the SPIRITUAL BLESSING that giving would bring to the Philippian church.


Their fruit of giving would add to their account. In other words, they were investing in eternity through their financial giving.


In verse 18, Paul tells them that they had been very generous and given above and beyond what he expected. And he uses this Old Testament imagery of a fragrant and acceptable sacrifice to show the blessing of their obedience.


The bottom line in their giving was that God was pleased. Financial stewardship pleases God. It brings glory to God.
Read Romans 12:1-2


When we practice financial stewardship through faithful giving, we are offering our bodies as a living sacrifice to God and doing His will.  I really can’t say it any more plainly than this:  Giving of tithes and offerings to God in obedience pleases and glorifies Him, while withholding our tithes and offerings to God in disobedience displeases and offends Him.


While it may seem that giving is painful and that we are sacrificing what we “worked hard to earn” in reality, giving brings spiritual blessings.   We don’t give in order to get blessings from God; we give out of obedience to God and His blessings are a byproduct of our faithfulness.
As a matter of fact in verse 19, Paul reminds us that our God is able to supply our every need in the riches of Christ.


Tomorrow, we will gather as a church family to make our 3-year commitment to the Lord in our “Advancing the Gospel…Trusting His Provision” debt reduction campaign.


The second part of our title encapsulates what I’ve been focusing on for the past few days. We desperately need to trust God for His provision. He has provided for our church family in the past, and I’m confident HE will provide for us in the future.


But this will require “TRUST”! It will require brave faith. It will require moving outside our comfort zone and sacrificially giving to the Lord.


Dear Heavenly Father,

I desperately need You right now as I am challenged to make this 3 year commitment. I want to exercise this brave faith and to trust You for Your provision.  I know that You will supply all my needs in Christ—not necessarily all my wants!  Help me to see the spiritual blessing of giving financially to Your kingdom. Help me to see that this 3-year commitment is more than just paying down the debt on our building, but a faithful way to advance Your gospel.

In Christ’s Name,



40 Days in Philippians DAY THIRTY TWO

Read Philippians 4:10-14


I want you to notice again Paul’s use of the word “joy” and especially how it relates to financial stewardship.


They were very concerned for Paul’s welfare and voluntarily decided as a church to give money to support him through Epaphroditus.  In reality, Paul didn’t really “need” the gift, but he accepted it with joy.


What made Paul so joyful even in prison?


In verse 11, he had learned to be content in any circumstance. Contentment is not something you can go buy at Wal-Mart off the shelf and put in your back pocket. True contentment is only learned through experience. Circumstances are ordained by God to truly develop us spiritually and teach us to be content.


One of the truths that we see in this passage, and which is so very hard to comprehend in our American consumeristic and materialistic society, is that “things” don’t really matter—relationships do!


Let me ask you a very simple question: Are you content? Content with where God has placed you? Content with your finances? Content with your job? Content with your relationships?


Does this come automatically? No, again, it comes through experience where we trust in the mercy of Christ to meet all of our needs.


In verse 13, we find probably the most famous passage of Scripture in the book of Philippians, but yet I want you to remember the context. What is Paul talking about here? Contentment –the secret of trusting Christ in all things and especially when it comes to finances.


Can we do ALL things through Christ who gives us strength? In a sense, we can because His divine power has given us all things for life and godliness, but in the context of this passage, the ability or the power comes in being content and in being mature in our financial giving.


When we think of our finances and in tithing and giving, many times we feel “weak” or overwhelmed or lacking. We have a hard time trusting in God’s provision. Yet, what does He promise us through Christ—strength to be content and to practice financial stewardship.


As we face this 3-year “Advancing the Gospel…Trusting His Provision” debt reduction campaign, there may be a strong level of fear, uncertainty, and doubt as to how you can make a commitment to the Lord. You may wonder how God could take care of your needs if you give sacrificially above and beyond your tithe.


Maybe you are not practicing tithing or proportional giving and this is the first time in your life where you have really sensed the Biblical challenge to be obedient to Jesus.


In order to be obedient, you and I need strength and that is exactly what God promises. God promises to give us the ability and power to remain faithful to Him through the grace of Christ.
Stepping up to the plate and practicing faithful Biblical stewardship requires brave faith. It requires keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus. And yet, if we ask Him, He will give us the power to obey!


In verse 14, Paul uses a rare Greek word to show how they “shared” in His troubles. This word means “a deep partnership of two going in the same direction”. They were going in the same direction with Paul. Even though he was in prison, the direction they were both going was in advancing the gospel.


And yet for Paul it was “tribulation”. His imprisonment was a very difficult ordeal for him to undergo, yet the Philippian church was a joint partner in this suffering through their partnership in the gospel and through their financial giving.


Giving is intrinsically tied to the gospel.  In the gospel, we see God freely giving of Jesus and we see Jesus freely dying our place. The gospel is all about generous giving so that sinners can be reconciled to the Father.


When we give back our tithes and offerings to the Lord, we are picturing the gospel. Our giving mirrors what Jesus did and we can rejoice in the ability to be able to be generous in our giving like He was.


In addition, our giving enables the gospel to advance.  This may sound very cold and business-like, but ministry costs money. In order to do missions, support missionaries, have quality children’s and youth ministries, and pay for ministry staff, and support the upkeep of our building, and all the other things we do as a church, it requires money.


But the ultimate goal in our giving is so that we can live up to our mission statement to display God’s glory, declare God’s gospel, and disciple for God’s Great Commission.


In two days, we will be making our pledges to the Lord for the next 3 years. Do you see our involvement in this as a way to model the gospel in your generosity and also to advance the gospel through your financial resources?


Spend some time right now asking God to grant you strength in Christ so that you can learn contentment. Ask Him to give you the power to practice financial stewardship for His glory and for the advancement of His gospel.


Dear Lord,

Help me to learn contentment. So many times I am impatient, worrisome, and jealous of others. I am not at peace with how You have blessed me. Please grant me by the power of the Spirit this contentment that Paul experienced. Lord, please give me the power to practice financial stewardship. I am so thankful for the strength You give me in all things. May I glorify You this day with my entire life.

In Jesus’ Name,


40 Days in Philippians DAY THIRTY ONE

Yesterday, we spent some extended time thinking about the excellencies and beauty of Christ in His gospel.


Read Philippians 4:10-20


This final section addresses finances and stewardship. 


Over the past few weeks, we’ve been hearing a lot about tithing, giving, and praying about sacrificially committing to God with our “Advancing the Gospel…Trusting His Provision” debt reduction campaign.


Over the past 8 years as your pastor, I haven’t spoken much about giving and tithing with the exception of maybe 4 or 5 targeted messages or when the issue comes up in whatever passage we I may be preaching through.


Yet when we look at the Scriptures and especially the teachings of Jesus, we find that almost 1/3 of what He spoke about concerned money, finances, and stewardship.


What is stewardship?

Here’s the ultimate reality: God owns everything!

Read James 1:16-18


God owns everything we have and is in control of everything. The great myth in this world is that we own anything, that we deserve anything, and that we can do anything good apart from God.


Read Haggai 2:8  (You may need to look this one up since Haggai is one of those huge books we tend to always studyJ)


Read Psalm 50:10


Read Deuteronomy 8:17-18


Our ability to get wealth or make money comes directly from God’s blessing on our lives in which He alone gives us the talents, opportunities, and intelligence to do so. Everything we have (even our jobs) comes as a gift from God.

In the Old Testament, God’s people were to give a tithe, or the first tenth, of their income to God (Leviticus 27:30-32)

In the New Testament, giving to support the work of the church remained an expectation of believers.

The Issue of Tithing:


I saw a bumper sticker once that said this: “Tithe if you love Jesus, any idiot can honk!”


Read Malachi 3:8-10


Many will argue that the concept of tithing is an Old Testament practice that has no bearing on us as New Testament people. Jesus didn’t explicitly mention it nor did Paul.


Why is the Old Testament command to tithe not used by Paul in the New Testament to enforce his efforts to raise money from the churches?


A few things that are not the answer:


  1. It is not because Jesus abolished the tithe.


Read Luke 11:42


Jesus doesn’t come right out and say we are required to tithe, but He doesn’t abolish it either saying that is no longer binding upon us as New Testament believers.


  1. The reason Paul doesn’t use the command to tithe is NOT because proportionate giving has ceased to be the rule.


Read 1 Corinthians 16:2


If you prosper more, give more. If you prosper less, give less. And this is exactly what tithing is—it is proportionate giving. Is tithing Scripturally binding on us? I will not be dogmatic on this, but I personally believe that it is. Tithing should be the bare minimum of how much we give to God through the church. The issue is how to unleash the maximum generosity.


Read Proverbs 3:9


This passage really is the bottom line.


Over the next few days and in preparation for making our 3-year commitments this Sunday, we will be exploring from these closing passages in Philippians the spiritual importance of financial stewardship.


This is probably that last thing you wanted to hear today, but we cannot compartmentalize our Christian life. We need to obey the totality of Scripture and even those passages that “hurt” especially when it comes to giving.
Spend some time today asking the Lord to prepare your heart to receive the Scripture’s truth about financial stewardship. Also, continue to ask Him for direction in how you will personally commit to Him through the “Advancing the Gospel…Trusting His Provision” campaign over the next three years.

Dear Lord,

It has been a little difficult reading these Scriptures about finances and tithing. And yet, You call me to honor you with my wealth.  Please work deeply in my heart to show me the importance of obedience in the area of financial stewardship. Please lead me to how You would have me commit over the next 3 years to paying down the debt on our building.  I want to please You in everything—especially including my finances. Please show me the joy of giving!

For Your Glory,

40 Days in Philippians DAY THIRTY

Read Philippians 4:8-9


In verse 8-9 we are given two verbs:

  1. Think
  2. Put into practice

In verse 8—“think about these things” in the Greek means, “to consider, to reckon, to think deeply”. Also it is a present imperative, which means that it is a command to be obeyed on a continuous basis. In other words, Paul is saying this: “have a lifestyle of continually thinking about these things”


Ultimately what things are honorable and lovely and excellent? Thoughts about Jesus and the gospel and the glory of God.


Read Colossians 3:1-3


Let’s do an exercise today and take each of these things that Paul wants us to think about and then mediate upon an aspect of God and His glory.


What things are:


  • True— Romans 3:4, Ephesians 4:25, Colossians 1:5


  • Honorable—1 Timothy 2:2, Titus 2:2, 3:8


  • Just—Revelation 15:3


  • Pure—2 Corinthians 11:2, 1 Timothy 5:22, James 3:17, 1 John 3:3


  • Lovely—Psalm 84:1-2


  • Commendable—2 Corinthians 6:8


  • Excellent—Psalm 150:2, 1 Peter 2:9, 2 Peter 1:3


  • Praiseworthy—Psalm 18:3


As you’ve read and thought about these, which one in particular has struck a chord in your soul today? Spend some time praising God for that and thinking deeply upon Him!


40 Days in Philippians DAY TWENTY NINE

Read Philippians 4:2-9


Paul introduces us to two women, Euodia and Syntyche, and we don’t really know who these two women were and what the actual issue was.


Paul entreats (literally begs) them to “agree”—this is really the word “to have the same mind” we saw in 2:2 and 2:5


It has gotten so bad that Paul asks for a mediator— a loyal “yokefellow”—again we don’t know who it is but some scholars suggest his name is Syzygus.


This probably wasn’t an issue of heresy or immorality. If that were the case it would require total church discipline. It was probably a petty thing that got out of control.


We need to always be on guard against gossip, slander, backbiting, and divisions.  How would you like your name to show up in the Bible and all that was known about you was that you were a troublemaker who was causing problems in the church?


You may not always agree with me as Pastor, or some of the decisions of elders, or some of the things that we do here at Emmanuel, and that is totally fine. We are called to unified, not always unanimous. We will always have differences of opinions on secondary issues and matters of preference.


As we move forward as a church, it is imperative that we grow in Christian maturity to handle conflict Biblically. Too many times I have seen believers gossip, and spread rumors and wreak havoc instead of going directly to the other person and gently confronting them in Christ.


If someone comes to you and begins to gossip about another person, I challenge you to silence them and tell them that you will have no part in the conversation.
Read Ephesians 4:25-32


Do you know what grieves the Holy Spirit of God? When Christians gossip, lie, spread rumors, do not forgive, backbite, and devour one another instead of showing kindness, compassion, patience, and humility.


Don’t be a Euodia or Syntyche!


Read Philippians 4:4-9


These verses naturally divide into two sections. 4-7 and 8-9 and they unite around the theme of peace.


Paul repeats the command to “rejoice” twice.


In verse 5 the ESV translates it “reasonableness”—it’s a very hard word in the Greek. It means gentleness or graciousness.


In light of the Second Coming, why is being gracious and gentle a good testimony to a watching world?  Go back to 2:14-15


Paul tells us not to be anxious about anything.


Read Matthew 6:25-34 and count how many times Jesus tells us not to be anxious.


This is the beauty of prayer. We can go to our heavenly Father and make our requests known to Him. We can approach His throne of grace with help in time of need.


Read Matthew 6:7-13


In this model prayer, Jesus tells us first and foremost to being our prayers addressing and worshipping a holy God who is in heaven. We come to the Father pleading for His will and kingdom to be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Our prayers start with worship and adoration and humility.
But they also move to requests.  We can ask God for daily bread. We can ask God to forgive us. We can ask God to give us help in our times of temptation. We can ask God for anything that would be within His will and bring Him glory.


So in our anxiety, we must plead and ask and beg and go to God as a needy child who is loved by a generous Father.


One thing we don’t see in this passage is HOW and WHEN God answers prayer. All it says is that we will experience peace. God may not answer our prayers in the way that we think He should have. He may not answer our prayers in the timing that we think He should have. Our Father knows best.
But yet regardless of our circumstances, He does promise to grant us this unusual peace, which will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.


The word “guard” is a military term implying that peace stands on duty to keep out anything that brings care or anxiety.


What are you anxious about today? What is lying heavy on your heart? What burden consumes your thoughts?


Read 1 Peter 5:6-7


Go to your heavenly Father through the merits of Christ alone in the power of the Spirit and ask Him to calm your anxiety. Cast all your cares upon Him. Throw all of your burdens at God—He can handle it! He cares for You and deeply loves you!


Dear Good and Gracious Father,

I come to You today and cast all my cares upon You, because You deeply care about me. I come to You through the merits of Christ alone! I deeply desire Your peace that passes understanding. Thank you for listening to me and for being my great Heavenly Father.  I may have many things today that are making me anxious, but I focus on You and Your provision. Please calm my heart and give me the assurance of both Your power and Your presence.

In Jesus’ Name,










40 Days in Philippians DAY TWENTY EIGHT

Read Philippians 3:18-4:1


In verse 19, Paul gives four very specific statements that explain the theology and practices of these false teachers who are enemies of the gospel.


First of all, their eternal end is destruction. This does not mean that they will cease to exist in hell, but that they would bear the consequences of their sin in eternal conscious torment.


Read 2 Peter 2:17 and Jude12-13, which describe the future of those who are false teachers.


Secondly, their god is their belly.


In essence, they worship food. They are gluttons!


Thirdly, they glory in their shame.


This is pretty difficult to understand at first glance. In consulting commentaries, Paul is addressing the Jewish legalists who were glorying in their circumcision. “Their shame” referred to their “private parts”. In other words, these Jewish false teachers were making a big deal about circumcision as the “be all, end all” of their spirituality.


Read Galatians 6:13-14


Fourthly, their minds are set on earthly things. They were so preoccupied with status, their circumcision, their legalistic regulations, and trying to look good to others, that they had no mind for eternal and heavenly things.


Read Colossians 3:2


Legalism is such a killer to true spiritual maturity and growth because it takes our focus off of Christ and the gospel and puts it on outward behavior modification that doesn’t impact the heart.


In verses 20-21, Paul again makes a striking contrast between these false teachers and true believers.


He says “BUT our citizenship is in heaven”.  This issue of citizenship would have been a big deal to the Philippians who were very proud of their Roman citizenship.


St. Augustine was one of the first theologians to promote this idea of the “City of Man” and the “City of God”. As Americans, we are in the city of man. We are under the federal laws and Constitution of the United States and we are citizens of a government that God has ordained. Yet, while we have one foot in this city of Man, our real citizenship is the city of God. We are strangers and aliens here on earth awaiting our true home in heaven.


In light of what is going on in our nation right now it has made many people think about how they relate to the president and our government. Christians are wondering how we can live under a government or with a president with whom we may disagree strongly.


Read the following Scriptures that remind us how we are to act in the city of Man.


Romans 13:1-7


1 Timothy 2:1-2


1 Peter 2:13-17


As we live in the city of man, we are in the world, but not of the world and we await the return of Jesus our Savior.


The wonderful thing about the Second Coming of Christ is that he will transform our bodies and we will receive our resurrected, glorified bodies to be able to live with Him forever in our true home of citizenship—the new heavens and new earth.


The second half of verse 21 speaks of the power and authority of Christ.


Read Ephesians 1:21-22 and Colossians 1:15-20


Read 1 Corinthians 15:51-58


Philippians 4:1 is actually included as the end of that section in the Greek New Testament and concludes Paul’s thought process in chapter 3.


Paul uses the term “stand firm” in the Lord. Philippi was a military city with many military families.  Again, Paul uses military imagery to connect to his audience. Earlier they were to march in step as they walked in a manner worthy of the gospel (1:27 and 3:16). The Roman armies were known for standing unmoved against an enemy. The church was to stand in the same way in the face of those who were enemies of the cross and false teachers.


It’s amazing how everything goes back to 1:27 in Philippians. In 1:27and 4:1 Paul calls us to stand firm.


Read Ephesians 6:11-13

Hebrews 12:4

James 4:7

1 Peter 5:8-9

It is more crucial now than ever to be a united family at Emmanuel who stands together as one side by side unmoved against the enemy as we advance the gospel. We are in this together. As the onslaughts of the word, the flesh, and the devil try to ravish our souls, we will need the encouragement and mutual care that comes from being together as body of believers.


Let us stand firm Emmanuel!!!


Dear Lord,

I want to stand firm in the gospel as I labor side by side with my brothers and sisters in Christ.  The world, my flesh, and the devil are sometimes so powerful that I cannot do this alone. I need the other believers you’ve blessed me with here at Emmanuel. Help me to be an encouragement to others. Help me to exhort us to stand firm for the glory of Christ and the advancement of His gospel! Help me to remember that my citizenship is not here on this earth, but ultimately is in heaven!

For His Glory,