Joy Has A Name / 03. Joy Has A Name // 9 Riches In Christ - Stephen Dawson // Philippians 4:10-20

03. Joy Has A Name // 9 Riches In Christ - Stephen Dawson // Philippians 4:10-20

Recap
This Sunday we skipped forward to the end of Phillipians where Paul thanks the church for their gifts and for sending him Epaphroditus. This is more meaningful and heartfelt than the formality of a thank you note. Paul is grateful for the things that he was given, but more than this he feels joy for the characteristic of generosity that God has birthed in the hearts of the people. We can learn from this passage when it comes to our own giving.
When we give to the church, we are rejoiced over by our own city and by other cities that we have been able to reach out to through church plants and donations. People thank God for the work of the church and the difference that we can make in our communities. Above all though, we are rejoiced over by Jesus. In Matthew 25:40, Jesus says ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
Giving to the poor is a fragrant offering to God and it pleases Him. In the book of Amos we see that God hates the worship of the Israelites, though they give Him offerings and partake in religious festivals, because they do not care for the poor. He even says it is a ‘stench’ to Him. A real relationship with God transforms a person’s view of others. The way that we treat people is not disconnected from our relationship with God and so it is an important part of our worship.
So how do we give? We give cheerfully because it is a privilege to be able to play a part in supporting others and growing God's kingdom. We give continuously without becoming weary because we trust that God is good and His mercies are new every morning. We give when opportunities arise; when we see someone in need. A great opportunity is to give into the gift day to support the vulnerable in our city.
God is omnipotent, He controls everything and everything belongs to Him. He doesn’t need our help but He loves to involve us so that we can share in the joy of being a blessing. Acts 20:35 says ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ A study at Harvard university in 2014 showed this to be true, that people experience more joy when they are generous.
In this season many people already feel like they are lacking and so it can be difficult to give. Paul knew lack, yet he also knew the secret to contentment. He says, ‘I can do all things through him who strengthens me.’ Christ is with us in every situation, giving us all that we need and when we lean on Him, we can trust that He will bring us through. Like Paul, Jesus also knows what it is like to go from abundance and wealth to having nothing. He came down to earth and was born as a helpless baby so that He can now empathise with our struggles and give us the comfort that we need. We find comfort in Him.

Application
Give to the poor and take care of those less fortunate than yourself as an act of worship to God, even if this means making sacrifices.
Give cheerfully, acknowledging the privilege of getting to be involved in God’s work and blessing others.
Find comfort in the love of Christ, not the love of money. Money and possessions will never satisfy you or bring you joy like Jesus will.

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