Sermon 3231. A New Year's Wish
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, JANUARY 5, 1911.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"But my God shall supply allyour need according to His riches in Glory by Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19.
THE Philippians had several times sent presents to Paul to supply his necessities. Though they were not themselves rich, yetthey made a contribution and sent Epaphroditus with it, "an odor of sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing toGod." Paul felt very grateful-he thanked God, but he did not forget to also thank the donors-he wished them every blessingand he did as good as say, "You have supplied my need, and my God shall supply yours. You have supplied my need of temporalfood and raiment out of your poverty. My God shall supply allyour need out of His riches in Glory." "As," he says, in the18th verse, "I have all and abound: I am full." "So," he adds, "'my God shall supply all your need.' You have sent what yougave me by the hand of a beloved Brother, but God will send a better Messenger to you, for He will supply all your need 'byChrist Jesus.'" Every single word sounds as if he had thought it over and the Spirit of God had guided him in his meditationso that he should, to the fullest extent, wish them back a blessing similar to that which they had sent to him-only of a richerand more enduring kind!
Now, on this New Year's Day I would desire, somewhat in the spirit of Paul, to bless those of you who have supplied, accordingto your abilities, the needs of God's work in my hands, and have given, even out of your poverty, to the cause of God accordingas there has been need. I count myself to be personally your debtor though your gifts have been for the students, the orphans,the book and track distributors and not for myself. In return for your kindness, after the manner of His gracious love, "myGod shall supply all your need according to His riches in Glory by Christ Jesus." This verse is particularly sweet to me,for when we were building the Orphanage, I foresaw that if we had no voting, and no collecting of annual subscriptions, butdepended upon the goodness of God and the voluntary offerings of His people, we would have times of trial and, therefore,I ordered the masons to place upon the first columns of the Orphanage entrance, these words, "My God shall supply all yourneed according to His riches in Glory by Christ Jesus." The text, therefore, is cut in stone upon the right hand and uponthe left of the great archway! There stands this declaration of our confidence in God-and as long as God lives, we shall neverneed to remove it, for He will certainly supply the needs of His own work! While we serve Him, He will furnish our tablesfor us!
I. The text might suggest to us a field of gloomy thought if we wished to indulge the melancholy vein, for it speaks of "allyour need." So, first, behold A GREAT NECESSITY-"allyour need." What a gulf! What an abyss! "All your need." I do not knowhow many Believers made up the church at Philippi, but the need of one saint is great enough- what must many need? It wouldnot be possible to tell the number of God's children on earth, but the text comprehends the need of the whole chosen family,"allyour need." We will not ask you to reckon up the wonderful draft upon the Divine bank account which must be made by allthe needs of all the saints who are yet on earth-but just think of your own need-that will be more within the compass of yourexperience and the range of your meditation! May the Lord supply your need and allyour need!
There is our temporal need and that is no little matter! If we have food and raiment, we should be content, but there aremany of God's people to whom the mere getting of food and raiment is a wearisome toil-and what with household cares, familytrials, sickness of body, losses in business and sometimes the impossibility of obtaining suitable labor, many of God's saintsare as hard up as Elijah was when he sat by the brook Cherith. If God did not send them their bread and meat in a remarkablemanner, they would surely starve-but their bread shall be given them and their water shall be
sure. "My God shall supply all your need." You have, perhaps, a large family and your needs are therefore greatly increased.The declaration of the text includes the whole of your needs-personal and relative!
After all, our temporal needs are very small compared with our spiritual needs. A man may, with the blessing of God, prettyreadily provide for the needs of the body, but who shall provide for the requirements of the soul? There is need of perpetualpardon, for we are always sinning. And Jesus Christ's blood is always pleading for us and cleansing us from sin! Every daythere is need of fresh strength to battle against inward sin and, blessed be God, it is daily supplied so that our youth isrenewed like the eagle's! As good soldiers of Jesus Christ, we need armor from head to foot-and even then we do not know howto wear the armor, or how to wield the sword unless He who gave us these sacred implements shall be always with us. Warringsaint, God will supply all your need by His Presence and Spirit. But we are not merely warriors, we are also workers. We arecalled, many of us, to important spheres of labor, (and, indeed, let no man think his sphere unimportant), but here, also,our hands shall be sufficient for us and we shall accomplish our life-work. You have need to be helped to do the right thing,at the right time, in the right spirit and in the right manner-your need, as a Sunday school teacher, as an open-air preacherand especially as a minister of the Gospel, will be very great, but the text meets all your requirements-"My God shall supplyall your need." Then comes our need in suffering, for many of us are called to take our turn in the Lord's prison camp. Herewe need patience under pain and hope under depression of spirit. Who is sufficient for furnace-work? Our God will supply uswith those choice Graces and consolations which shall strengthen us to glorify His name even in the fires! He will eithermake the burden lighter, or the back stronger-He will diminish the need, or increase the supply.
Beloved, it is impossible for me to mention all the forms of our spiritual need. We need to be daily converted from some sinor other, which, perhaps, we have scarcely known to be sin. We need to be instructed in the things of God, we need to be illuminatedas to the mind of Christ, we need to be comforted by the promises, we need to be quickened by the precepts, we need to bestrengthened by the Doctrines. We need, oh, what do we not need? We are just a bag of needs and a heap of infirmities! Ifany one of us were to keep a need book, as I have seen tradesmen do, what a huge folio it would need to be! And it might bewritten inside and out and crossed and re-crossed, for we are full of needs from the first of January to the end of December!But here is the mercy-"My God shall supply all your need." Are you put in high places? Have you many comforts? Do you enjoywealth? What need you have to be kept from loving the world, to be preserved from wantonness and pride and the follies andfashions of this present evil world! My God will supply your need in that respect. Are you very poor? Then the temptationis to envy, to bitterness of spirit, to rebellion against God. "My God shall supply all your need." Are you alone in the world?Then you need the Lord Jesus to be your Companion and your Companion He will be! Have you many around you? Then you have needof Grace to set them a good example, to bring up your children and manage your household in the fear of God. "My God shallsupply all your need." You have need, in times of joy, to be kept sober and steady. You have need, in times of sorrow, tobe strong and act like men. You have needs in living and you will have needs in dying-but your last need shall be suppliedas surely as your first! "My God shall supply allyour need."
Come, then, Brothers and Sisters, and look down into this great gulf of need and exultingly say, "O Lord, we thank You thatour needs are great, for there is then more room for Your love, Your tenderness, Your power, Your faithfulness to fill thechasm!"
That first thought, which I said might be a gloomy one, has all the dreariness taken out of it by four others equally true,but each of them full of good cheer! The text not only mentions a great necessity, but it also mentions a great Helper-"MyGod." Next, a great supply- ' 'My God shall supply all your need." Thirdly, an abundant store out of which to draw the gift-"accordingto His riches in Glory." And lastly, a glorious Channel through which the supply shall come-"by Christ Jesus."
II. So, for our enormous needs here is A GREAT HELPER. "My God s hall supply all your need." Whose God is that? Why, Paul'sGod! That is one of the matters in which the greatest saints are no better off than the very least, for though Paul calledthe Lord, "My God," He is my God, too! My dear old Friend who sits yonder and has nothing but a few pence in all the world,can also say, "and He is my God, too! He is my God and He is as much my God if I am the meanest, most obscure and weakestof His people, as He would be my God if I were able, like Paul, to evangelize the nations!" It is to me delightful to thinkthat my God is Paul's God, because, you see, Paul intended this-he meant to say,
"You see, dear Brothers and Sisters, my God has supplied all my needs and as He is your God, He will supply yours." I havebeen in the Roman dungeon in which Paul is said to have been confined-and a comfortless prison, indeed, it is! First of allyou descend into a vaulted chamber into which no light ever comes except through a little round hole in the roof. And then,in the middle of the floor of that den, there is another opening through which the prisoner was let down into a second andlower dungeon in which no fresh air or light could possibly come to him. Paul was probably confined there. The dungeon ofthe Praetorium in which he was certainly housed is not much better. Paul would have been left well-near to starve there, butfor those good people at Philippi! I should not wonder but what Lydia was at the bottom of this kind movement, or else thejailer. They said, "We must not let the good Apostle starve." And so they made up a contribution and sent him what he needed-andwhen Paul received it, he said, "My God has taken care of me. I cannot make tents here in this dark place so as to earn myown living, but my Master still supplies my need! And even so, when you are in straits, He will supply yours."
"My God." It has often been sweet to me, when I have thought of my orphan children, and money has not come in, to rememberMr. Muller's God and how He always supplied the children at Bristol. His God is my God-and I rest upon Him. When you turnover the pages of Scripture and read of men who were in serious trouble and were helped, you may say, "Here is Abraham, hewas blessed in all this and Abraham's God will supply all my need, for He is my God. I read of Elijah, that the ravens fedhim. I have Elijah's God and He can command the ravens to feed me if He pleases. The God of the Prophets, the God of the Apostles,the God of all the saints that have gone before us-"this God is our God forever and ever." It seems to be thought by somethat God will not work, now, as He used to. "Oh, if we had lived in miraculous times," they say, "then we could have trustedHim! Then there was manifest evidence of God's existence, for He pushed aside the laws of Nature and worked for the fulfillmentof His promises to His people." Yet that was a rather coarser mode of working than the present one, for now the Lord producesthe same results without the violation of the laws of Nature! It is a great fact that without the disturbance of a singlelaw of Nature, prayerbecomes effectual with God! And God being enquired of by His people to do it for them, does fulfill Hispromise and supplies their needs. Using means of various kinds, He still gives His people all things necessary for this lifeand godliness! Without a miracle, He works great wonders of loving care-and He will continue to do so!
Beloved, is the God of Paul your God?Do you regard Him as such? It is not every man who worships Paul's God. It is not everyprofessing Christian who really knows the Lord at all, for some invent a deity such as they fancy God ought to be! The Godof Paul is the God of the Old and New Testament-such a God as we find there. Do you trust such a God? Can you rest upon Him?"There are such severe judgments mentioned in Scripture." Yes, do you quarrel with them? Then you cast Him off! But if, insteadthereof, you feel, "I cannot understand You, O my God, nor do I think I ever shall, but it is not for me, a child, to measurethe Infinite God, or to arraign You at my bar and say to You, 'Thus should You have done, and thus ought You not to have done.'You say, 'Such am I,' and I answer, 'Such as You are, I love You and I cast myself upon You, the God of Abraham, of Isaacand of Jacob-the God of Your servant Paul. You are my God and I will rest upon You.'" Very well, then, He will "supply allyour need, according to His riches in Glory by Christ Jesus." Just think of that for a minute!
If He will supply you, you will be supplied, indeed, for God is Infinite in capacity! He is Infinitely wise as to the mannerof His actions and Infinitely powerful as to the acts themselves! He never sleeps nor tires. He is never absent from any place,but is always ready to help. Your needs come, perhaps, at very unexpected times-they may occur in the midnight of despondencyor in the noonday of delight-but God is always near to supply the surprising need! He is everywhere present and everywhereOmnipotent and He can supply all your need, in every place, at every time, to the fullest degree!-
"Remember that Omnipotence has servants everywhere"-
and that whenever God wishes to send you aid, He can do it without pausing to ask, "How shall it be done?" He has but to willit and all the powers of Heaven and earth are subservient to your necessity! With such a Helper, what cause have you to doubt?
III. The next point in the text is, A GREAT SUPPLY. "My God shall supply all your need." Sometimes we lose a good deal ofthe meaning of Scripture through the translation. In fact, nothing ever gains by translation except a bishop. The presentpassage might be rendered thus, "My God will fill to the fullest all your need." The illustration which will
best explain the meaning is that of the woman whose children were to be sold by her creditor to pay the debts of her latehusband. She had nothing to call her own except some empty jars-and the Prophet bade her set these in order and bring thelittle oil which still remained in the cruse. She did so and he then said to her, "Go among your neighbors and borrow emptyvessels, not a few." She went from one to another till she had filled her room full of these empty vessels-and then the Prophetsaid, "Pour out." She began to pour out from her almost empty cruse and, to her surprise, it filled her largest jar! She wentto another and filled that, and then another and another! She kept on filling all the jars till, at last she said to the Prophet,"there is not a vessel more." Then the oil stopped, but not till then! So will it be with your needs. You were frightenedat having so many needs just now, were you not? But now be pleased to think you have them, for they are just so many emptyvessels to be filled! If the woman had borrowed only a few jars, she could not have received much oil-but the more empty vesselsshe had-the more oil she obtained! So the more wants and the more needs you have-if you bring them to God, so much the better-forHe will fill them all to the brim and you may be thankful that there are so many to be filled! When you have no more needs,(but oh, when will that be), then the supply will stop, but not till then!
How gloriously God gives to His people! We needed pardon once-He washed us and He made us whiter than snow! We needed clothing,for we were naked. What did He do? Give us some rough dress or other? Oh, no! But He said, "Bring forth the best robe andput it on him." It was a fortunate thing for the prodigal that his clothes were all in rags, for then he needed raiment andthe best robe was brought forth! It is a grand thing to be sensible of spiritual needs, for they will all be supplied. A consciousneed in the sight of God-what is it but a prevalent request for a new mercy? We have sometimes asked Him to comfort us, forwe were very low. But when the Lord has comforted us, He has so filled us with delight that we have been inclined to cry withthe old Scotch Divine, "Hold, Lord, hold! It is enough! I cannot bear more joy. Remember I am only an earthen vessel." We,in relieving the poor, generally give no more than we can help, but our God does not stop to count His favors-He gives likea king! He pours water upon him that is thirsty and floods upon the dry ground!
IV. We must pass on to the next thought and consider for a minute or two THE GREAT RESOURCES out of which this supply is tocome. "My God shall supply all your need, according to His riches in Glory." The preacher may sit down, now, for He cannotcompass this part of the text. God's riches in Glory are beyond all thought!
Consider the riches of God in Nature-who shall count His treasures? Get away into the forests-travel on mile after mile amongthe trees which cast their ample shade for no man's pleasure, but only for the Lord. Mark on lone mountainside and far-reachingplain the myriads of flowers whose perfume is for God alone. What wealth each spring and summer is created in the boundlessestates of the great King! Observe the vast amount of animal and insect life which crowds the land with the riches of DivineWisdom, for "the earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof." Look towards the sea-think of those shoals of fish, so countlessthat when only the fringe of them is touched by our fishermen, they find enough food to supply a nation! Mark, too, the sunkentreasures of the ocean which no hand gathers but that of the Eternal. If you would see the wealth of the Creator, cast youreyes to the stars-count their numbers if you can! Astronomy has enlarged our vision and made us look upon this world as amere speck compared with innumerable other worlds that God has made and it tells us that probably all the myriads of worldsthat we can see with the telescope are a mere fraction of the countless orbs which are in infinite space! Vast are God's richesin Nature. It needs a Milton to sing, as he sang in Paradise Lost, the riches of the creating God!
The riches of God in Providence are equally without bound. He says to this creature, "Go," and he goes, and to another, "Dothis," and he does it, for all things do His bidding. Think of the wealth of God in Grace. There Nature and Providence standeclipsed, for we have the Fountain of Eternal Love, the gift of an Infinite Sacrifice, the pouring out of the blood of Hisown dear Son and the Covenant of Grace in which the smallest blessing is infinite in value! The riches of His Grace! "Godis rich in mercy"-rich in patience, love, power, kindness-rich beyond all conception!
Now your needs shall be supplied according to the riches of Nature, the riches of Providence and the riches of Grace! Butthis is not all-the Apostle chooses a higher style and writes "according to His riches in Glory." Ah, we have never seen Godin Glory! That were a sight our eyes could none at present behold! Christ in His Glory, when transfigured upon earth, wastoo resplendent a spectacle even for the tutored eyes of Peter, James, and John-
"At the too-transporting light"-
darkness rushed upon them and they were as men that slept! What God is in His Glory do you know, you angels? Does He not veilHis face even from you lest, in the excessive brightness of His Essence, even you should be consumed? Who among all His creaturescan tell the riches of His Glory when even the heavens are not pure in His sight and He charges His angels with folly?
"His riches in Glory." It means not only the riches of what He has done, but the riches of what He could do, for if He hasmade hosts of worlds, He could make as many myriads more-and then have but begun! The possibilities of Omnipotent God, whoshall reckon? But the Lord shall supply all your need according to such glorious possibilities. When a great king gives accordingto his, riches, then he does not measure out stinted alms to beggars, but he gives like a king, as we say. And if it is somegrand festival day, and the king is in his state array, his largesse is on a noble scale. Now, when God is in His Glory, think,if you can, what must be the largesse that He distributes-what the treasures that He brings forth for His own beloved! Now,"according to His riches in Glory," He will supply all your needs. After that, dare you despond? O Soul, what insanity isunbelief? What flagrant blasphemy is doubt of the love of God! He must bless us; and, blessed by Him, we must be blest, indeed!If He is to supply our needs "according to His riches in Glory"-they will be supplied to the fullest!
V. Now let us close our meditation by considering THE GLORIOUS CHANNEL by which these needs are to be supplied-"Accordingto His riches in Glory by Christ Jesus." You shall have all your soul's needs satisfied, but you must go to Christ for everything."By Christ Jesus." That is the Fountainhead where the Living Waters well up! You will not supply your needs by your own careand fretfulness. "Consider the lilies, how they grow." You are to be enriched "by Christ Jesus." You will not have your spiritualneeds supplied by going to Moses and working and toiling as if you were your own savior, but by faith in Christ Jesus! Thosewho will not go to Christ Jesus must go without Divine Grace, for God will give them nothing in the way of Grace except throughHis Son! Those who go to Jesus the most, shall taste of His abundance more often, for through Him all blessings come! My adviceto myself and to you is that we abide in Him for since that is the way by which the blessing comes, we had better abide init! We read of Ishmael that he was sent into the wilderness with a bottle, but Isaac dwelt by the well Lahai-Roi. And it iswise for us to dwell by the Well, Christ Jesus, and never trust to the bottles of our own strength. If you wander from ChristJesus, Brothers and Sisters, you depart from the center of bliss!
All this year I pray that you may abide by the well of this text. Draw from it. Are you very thirsty? Draw from it, for itis full! And when you plead this promise, the Lord will supply all your need! Do not cease receiving from God for a minute.Let not your unbelief hinder the Lord's bounty, but cling to this promise, "My God shall supply all your need according toHis riches in Glory by Christ Jesus." I know not how to wish you a greater blessing. If you are enabled by the Holy Spiritto realize it, you will enjoy what I earnestly wish for you, namely- A HAPPY NEW YEAR!
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: 2 KINGS 4:1-7; PHILIPPIANS 4.
2 Kings 4:1. Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the Prophets unto Elisha, saying, Your servant, my husband,is dead and you know that your servant did fear the LORD: and the creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bondmen.It is sad for anyone to be in debt and yet there may be circumstances under which even a man who fears the Lord may die indebt and leave no provision for his wife and children except a large portion of sorrow. In the case of this poor widow, itwas not long before she cried to Elisha, "The creditor is come." He generally does come pretty quickly and he had come toher to take away her two sons whom she needed to support her-to make them bondmen-slaves, to serve him for a certain numberof years till their father's debt was worked out. And this hurt the poor woman's heart, so she came to see what the Lord'sservant could do for her. She could not bear to see her sons taken away to serve as bondmen to a stranger through no faultof their own and, possibly, through no fault on their father's part.
2. And Elisha said unto her, What shall I do foryou?Elisha was probably about as poor as she was, so what could he do forher?
2. Tell me, what have you in the house?"Whatever there is in the house must go towards this debt, so 'tell me what have youin the house?'"
2. And she said, Your handmaid has not anything in the house, save a pot of oil Her husband had been a Godfearing man, a trueservant of Jehovah, yet he had died in such dire poverty that his widow had to say to Elisha, "Your handmaid has not anythingin the house, save a pot of oil." Those were indeed bad times for the sons of the Prophets for, in those days men cared morefor false prophets and for the priests of Baal than for the servants of the Most High God!
3. Then he said, Go, borrow vessels abroad of all your neighbors, even empty vessels; borrow not a few. [See Sermon
#2063, Volume 35-THE FILLING OF EMPTY VESSELS.] "Get as many empty
oil jars as you can, it does not matter how great nor how many they are, but they must be empty."
4-6. And when you are come in, you shall shut the door upon you and upon your sons, and shall pour out into all those vessels,and you shall set aside that which is full So she went from him and shut the door upon her and upon her sons, who broughtthe vessels to her; and she poured out And it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said unto her son, Bringme yet a vessel. And he said unto her, There is not another vessel. And the oil stopped [See Sermon #1467-
A, Volume 25-THE OIL AND THE VESSELS.] There was no reason why
"the oil stopped" except that there was "not another vessel" to receive the flowing stream!
7. Then she came and told the man of God. She must have understood that the oil was to be used for the payment of her debt,but she was a woman of delicate sensitiveness, with a tender conscience-as honest people usually are-so she wanted full permissionfrom Elisha before she would dispose of the oil. She regarded it, in some sense, as his oil-as it was through using the meansthat he had directed that her little store of oil had been so miraculously multiplied. So "she came and told the man of God."
7. And he said, Go, sell the oil, and pay your debt, and live, you and the children off the rest What a merciful deliverancethat was for the poor widow and her sons! And there have been many other deliverances in the experiences of God's people which,if they have not been quite as miraculous as this one, have, nevertheless, been very remarkable- although God has appearedto work them the common way in which He is constantly working. Yet they have been uncommon mercies all the while.
Now let us read Paul's letter to the Christians at Philippi who had been the means of supplying his necessities, though notin the miraculous manner in which the Prophet Elisha had supplied the needs of that poor widow.
Philippians 4:1. Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so standfast in the lord,
my dearly beloved. [See Sermon #1959, Volume 33-THE WATCHWORD FOR TODAY-STAND FAST.] Paul had a very warm affection for theChurch at Philippi. You remember how that Church was established-first with the baptized household of Lydia and afterwardswith the baptized household of the jailer. These saints at Philippi were, in a special sense, Paul's spiritual children. Theywere very generous and kind to him, and his heart was very warm with love to them, so he called them, "my brethren dearlybeloved," and then again, "my dearly beloved."
2. I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord.These two women had fallen out withone another. They evidently differed upon some question or other so that they were not "of the same mind in the Lord," andPaul thought it so important that there should be perfect unity and love in the Church at Philippi, as well as everywhereelse, that he beseeched these two women, of whom we know nothing else, that they would be "of the same mind in the Lord."Notice that he beseeches each of them in exactly the same way-"I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syn-tyche." He has a, "beseech,"for each of them! Perhaps, if he had written, "I beseech Euodias and Syntyche," the latter lady might have fancied that hewas not quite so earnest about her as he was about Euodias, so he puts it, "I beseech Euo-dias, and beseech Syntyche, thatthey be of the same mind in the Lord." Have any of you fallen out, my dear Friends? I do not know of any of you who have doneso, but if you have, I say to all of you, men or women, "I beseech you, that you be of the same mind in the Lord." There isnothing like perfect unity in a Christian Church! If there is even a little division, it will grow to something much worse,by-and-by, so I beseech you, "be of the same mind in the Lord."
3. And I entreat you, also, true yokefellow-Their minister-
3. Help those women which labored with me in the Gospel, with Clement, also, and with other of my fellow laborers, whose namesare in the Book of Life. They helped me, and they have helped you, so help them with encouraging words and in every otherway that you can.
4. Rejoice in the Lord always. Not only now and then, on high days and holiday, have a time of joy, but, "rejoice in the Lordalways."
4. And again I say, Rejoice. [See Sermon #2405, Volume 41-JOY, A DUTY.] He had said this before, as you will see in the firstverse of the third Chapter, which begins, "Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord." Now he writes it again and repeatsit in the same verse-"Rejoice. Rejoice." It is so important that Believers should be full of joy that Paul writes three timesover in a short space, "Rejoice in the Lord." "Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice."
5. Let your moderation be known unto all men.Be men who are God-governed, because God governs those who run to excess in nothing.Some go to excess in one way and some in another, but all excess is to be avoided! "Let your moderation be known unto allmen."
5, 6. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing. This is not a good translation of the original-it does not convey the senseof the Greek. It should to, "Be anxious for nothing." Of course you ought to be careful about everything. You cannot be toocareful, but you never ought to be care-full, you must care to be right with God, yet you must not be filled with care aboutanything. "Be anxious for nothing." Do not fret, do not worry, do not make other people miserable by your fretting and fumingand fueling.
6, But in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God [See
Sermon #2351, Volume 40-PRAYER, THE CURE FOR CARE.] Ah, this is the
way to find the cure for all your anxieties! Take all your trouble to God with a prayer and with a song. Do not go withouteither the thanksgiving or the prayer, but bear your burden at once to God and ask Him to bear it for you.
7, 8. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally,brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whateverthings are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue and if there is any praise, think on these things.If anything is true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report-be on that side. A Christian is on the side of everythingthat makes for purity, chastity, honesty or that is for the good of men and the Glory of God! Whenever anyone is making outa list of those who will fight for everything that is right and good, every Christian should say to the man writing the list,"Set down my name, Sir."
9, 10. Those things which you have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of Peace shall bewith you. But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me has flourished again; wherein you werealso careful, but you lacked opportunity You see that Paul did not really mean, "Be careful for nothing," for he says herethat these Philippians had cared for him and he praises them for being careful of him. They had lovingly thought of him whowas their spiritual father-and when they knew that he was shut up as a prisoner in Rome, and suffering need, they took careto send something to relieve and cheer him.
11. Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned, in whatever state I am, therewith to be content [See Sermon
#320, Volume 6-CONTENTMENT.] "I have been initiated-for that is
the word-"among those who are content with such things as they have."
12, 13. Iknow both how to be abased, andIknowhow to abound: everywhere andin all things Iam instructed both
to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.
[See Sermons #345 and #346, Volume 6-SELF-SUFFICIENCY SLAIN and ALL-SUFFICIENCY MAGNIFIED.] "I can be poor, or I can haveabundance, if you send it to me, but these things make no real difference to me. I have been made invulnerable either to sufferingor to abundance." Blessed is the man who has got as far as that! It is a wonderful work of Divine Grace when a man can trulysay this!
14, 15. Nevertheless you have done well, thatyou shared with my affliction. Nowyou Philippians also know that in
the beginning of the Gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no Church shared with me as concerning giving and receiving,but you only.I should not wonder if it was Lydia who was at the bottom of that giving and receiving and, per-
haps, the jailer. They were evidently thoughtful and grateful people. They remembered the Apostle's sufferings and needs anddid all they could to help and cheer him.
16, 17. For even in Thessalonica you sent once and again unto my necessity. Not because I desired a gift, but I desire fruitthat may abound to your account.He did not look at it as merely something that would ease him, but he looked at it as a tokenof gratitude for the spiritual blessings they had received through him! It showed that they loved the Gospel which he preachedand that they also loved him for having been blessed by God to their souls-and this cheered and delighted him. But, to showthat he was not asking for more, he says-
18. But I have all, and abound: I am full I do not suppose that it amounted to much, but it was all that the Apostle needed-andso he says to them, "I have all, and abound: I am full."
18, 19. Having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odor of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable,well-pleasing to God. But my God shall supply allyour need according to His riches in Glory by Christ Jesus. I am sure thatwhen they read this verse, they all felt glad that they had had a share in the subscription to relieve the Apostle's needs.
20, 21. Now unto God and our Father be Glory forever and ever. Amen. Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. "Give them all mylove and tell them how grateful I am to them."
21, 22. The brethren which are with me greet you. All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesars house-hold.Exposedto the greatest perils and yet brave to confess Christ! They may have been nothing but poor kitchen maids, or they may havebeen among the Praetorian guards who watched and guarded the palace and the prisoners, but they must have their title setdown in the letter, "chiefly they that are of Caesar's household."
23. The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.