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Is Your Checkbook Converted?
Philippians 4:14-23
Skip Heitzig

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Philippians 4 (NKJV™)
14 Nevertheless you have done well that you shared in my distress.
15 Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only.
16 For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities.
17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account.
18 Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God.
19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
20 Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.
21 Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren who are with me greet you.
22 All the saints greet you, but especially those who are of Caesar's household.
23 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

New King James Version®, Copyright © 1982, Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Technicolor Joy: A Study through Philippians

It’s a strange title for a sermon, I know. Yet it seems many of us try to separate what we believe in our hearts from how we behave with our finances. In these closing verses of this letter to the Philippians, Paul thanks the church that supported his ministry for putting their money where their faith is. This paragraph is one of the clearest theological statements about how money can become a tool for God’s glory and a gauge of spiritual maturity.

In the series Technicolor Joy: A Study through Philippians, we learn how to find joy in the most unlikely places as we discover that God can add color to the most black and white moments in life.

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Outline

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  1. Generosity Is Commended (vv. 14-16, 18)

  2. Interest Is Compounded (v. 17)

  3. Giving Is Rewarded (v. 19)

  4. Family Is Extended (vv. 20-23)

Study Guide

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Connect Recap Notes: January 7, 2018
Speaker: Skip Heitzig
Teaching: "Is Your Checkbook Converted?"
Text: Philippians 4:14-23

Path

Martin Luther noted that three conversions are necessary for each person: heart, mind, and purse (wallet). It seems many of us try to separate what we believe in our hearts from how we behave with our finances. In the closing verses of Philippians, Paul thanked the church that supported his ministry for putting their money where their faith was. Pastor Skip unpacked one of the clearest theological statements about how money can become a tool for God’s glory and a gauge of spiritual maturity:

  1. Generosity Is Commended (vv. 14-16, 18)
  2. Interest Is Compounded (v. 17)
  3. Giving Is Rewarded (v. 19)
  4. Family Is Extended (vv. 20-23)

Points

Generosity Is Commended

  • The Bible has roughly 2,000 verses that deal with money. That’s more than the topics of prayer and faith combined.
  • Largely, one can tell a lot about a person’s spirituality by what he or she does with money.
  • The church at Philippi is a model for us: to them, giving was an act of worship.
  • Paul noted that the Philippians’ giving was good: “you have done well” (v. 14).
  • Paul understood that money is not evil; it’s neutral. It’s what we do with money that provides the barometer of our spiritual growth.
  • Note the word shared (see vv. 14-15). One reason generosity is good is because it turns people into partners.
  • Another reason generosity is good is because it pleases God (see v. 18). Paul used temple language in his letter by comparing giving to a temple sacrifice: an aroma (incense) that is pleasing to God.
  • Probe: As Pastor Skip noted, our highest motivation for giving shouldn’t be the church’s needs, but because God deserves it. How does giving to a church or ministry make you a partner in ministry? Why is giving not so much about a particular need but a powerful God?

Interest Is Compounded

  • In verse 17, we get insight into heavenly accounting. Paul preached the gospel and the Philippian supporters would get credit.
  • Paul’s end desire was for the fruit of the ministry, not the funds. Principle: God tallies the fruit from ministry and credits it to the supporters’ account. When we get to heaven, we may meet people that benefited from our provision.
  • We need to be careful how we invest our money. The important question is not, “Is there a proclaimed need?” but “Is the ministry producing fruit?”
  • Jesus said, “Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven” (Matthew 6:20). Always invest with heaven and God’s kingdom in mind.
  • Probe: How can giving to fruitful ministries transform your idea of giving? Would you support a business that was about to go bankrupt? Ask yourself: Is where you are currently giving money being fruitful? Are lives being changed? Are you making a heavenly impact?

Giving Is Rewarded

  • Verse 19 is frequently misunderstood as “If you’re a Christian, no matter how you live, God will automatically give you what you need.” This is taking the text out of context and making it a pretext for incorrect interpretation. It should be understood as “To you who are generous, God will supply your need.” God blesses those that bless God and others.
  • Note some key words: full and supply (see vv. 18-19). Both words are the same in Greek. Paul was saying “You filled me up for God’s glory, so He will fill you up.”
  • God’s generosity extends to people who extend their generosity to others (see Proverbs 3:9; Proverbs 11:25; Proverbs 22:9; Luke 6:38).
  • Probe: Since we can’t out-give God, share about a time when your giving was rewarded by a person being served or saved. Without sharing the details, discuss the ministries you support that produce physical rewards (relief or aid) or spiritual rewards (church or ministry)? Why do you give to these ministries?

Family Is Extended

  • Verses 20-23 imply that Paul was able to reach the unreachable. “Caesar’s household” (v. 22) likely referred to members of the imperial home, including the Praetorian Guard, Caesar’s personal bodyguards.
  • The Praetorian Guards were chained to Paul twenty-four hours per day, over six shifts. Paul had ample time to share the gospel with a captive audience.
  • In Luke 16:1-13, Jesus taught a parable in which the lesson was to use possessions for eternal dividends.
  • This truth can be summarized as follows: money can buy a bed but not sleep; books but not brains; food but not an appetite; finery but not beauty; a house but not a home; medicine but not health; pleasures but not peace; a crucifix but not a Savior; a church building but not heaven.1
  • Probe: Have you ever been “chained” to someone (e.g. on an airplane or in a car) where you were able to have a conversation about Christ? If you haven’t, share about a time when your material giving (money, food, etc.) led to someone hearing the gospel.

Practice

Connect Up: Since God doesn’t need our money (He created and owns all good things), why do you think He commands Christians to give? Discuss these responses:2

  • Our giving changes us.
  • Our giving brings God glory.
  • Our giving blesses us and others

    Connect In: How does generous giving strengthen and support the family of God? Talk about this quote by J. Paul Getty: “Money is like manure. You have to spread it around or it smells.” How can the support of productive ministries be likened to the spread of manure, the fuel for things to grow?

    Connect Out: Why should the heart of giving be the salvation of people and the consummation of God’s kingdom (peace, justice, etc.)? Can you think of any other reasons to give?

  • 1 Charles R. Swindoll, The Tale of the Tardy Oxcart: And 1,501 Other Stories, Nashville, Word Publishing, Inc., 1998.
    2 Cortni Marrazzo, “Why Does God Want Me to Give?” November 15, 2013, https://www.crosswalk.com/family/finances/why-does-god-want-me-to-give.html, accessed 1/7/18.

    Additional Messages in this Series

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    5/7/2017
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    The Family Business
    Philippians 1:3-8
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    No matter what you may do for a living, there is a higher purpose for your life. No matter what you do for work, God is at work in you and through you. You may have a career in mind, but God has a calling in mind. These are not contradictory paths but complementary ones. The apostle Paul assured his audience of God's work collectively, personally, and practically. We are the objects as well as the instruments of God's work in the world.
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    5/14/2017
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    Pray for Love
    Philippians 1:9-11
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    Love is the subject of more songs than any other topic. It's a word that falls off countless lips effortlessly and often without thought. But as someone noted, "One of the great illusions of our time is that love is self-sustaining. It is not. Love must be fed and nurtured, constantly renewed." The great apostle Paul had a deep love for the Philippian believers, and they for him. But love must be understood and developed intelligently. On this Mother's Day, when we celebrate the unique love of a mom, let's also consider how our love can become mature and God-honoring.
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    5/21/2017
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    The Happy Prisoner
    Philippians 1:12-14
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    What does it take to steal your joy? To answer that question honestly, you would need to discover what you're passionate about--what drives you and what your expectations of life are. Why is this so important? Because things won't always go your way. Unfavorable winds will toss the ship of your life around on the ocean of circumstances and heartbreaks. What do you need then? The right perspective! Let's learn these truths from Paul's prison cell in Rome.
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    Pest Control
    Philippians 1:15-18
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    Every group—whether it’s a club, a corporation, a homeowner association, or a church—has its share of problem people and detractors. Such can be touchy, irritable, irrational, unreasonable, contentious, or legalistic. Their words may hurt us deeply. Their actions may confuse us greatly. So how do we handle these pesky folks? Most importantly, what should we do or not do with those who name the name of Christ but act like pests?
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    6/25/2017
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    Can You Predict Your Future?
    Philippians 1:18-21
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    If you were going to sit down and write a short description of what you wanted your future to look like, what words would you choose? Let me suggest four that come straight out of Paul's experience: joy, confidence, hope, and life. After musing over past events that brought him to prison, Paul looks ahead to his uncertain future. But these four words sum up what he expected his future to include--even if it meant his possible execution.
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    7/9/2017
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    Living on Earth; Longing for Heaven
    Philippians 1:22-26
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    Knowing what Paul knew about heaven made him think very differently about earth. As Thomas Watson said, "Spiritual things satisfy; the more of heaven is in us, the less earth will content us." It's like a kid eating his vegetables while eyeing the chocolate cake promised after the meal (the salad becomes a means to an end). Jesus taught us to pray, "Thy kingdom come," indicating we should be longing for heaven. So how do we effectively live on earth with heaven ahead?
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    7/16/2017
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    How to Stand When They Want You to Fall
    Philippians 1:27-30
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    The truth is, we’re surrounded and outnumbered! The vast majority of the people we encounter in life don’t share our values nor worship our God. The difficulty of the Christian life is that we’re called to stand up for Christ when the rest of the world wants us to sit down or fall flat. They would much rather that we keep our mouths shut and conform to their standards. Let’s consider four spiritual weapons that will help us in the fight to stand strong in our faith.
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    Philippians 2:1-4
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    Relationships are hard. They take a lot of work. If you think about it, every person in the world is incompatible with every other person. Enough time together would reveal this truth. Because of this, tensions rise, emotions flare, and bad responses ensue. Every friendship, every marriage, every family, and every organization (including every church) has its relational challenges. The church at Philippi did, too, and it was that disunity that tested Paul’s joy. Let’s consider the basics and the basis of successful relationships, and move from surviving them to thriving in them.
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    What Would Jesus Do?
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    The campaign What Would Jesus Do? has been around for years, challenging Christians to think about what Christ might actually do in any given situation so they might do likewise. Before us, we have an example of what Jesus actually did do. His example of humility and self-sacrifice is Paul’s illustration to fortify his exhortation of loving people through lowering ourselves.
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    Be Humble or You'll Stumble
    Philippians 2:8-11
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    Humility is that slippery quality that once you think you have it, you don't! Also, the pathway of humility is a hard one. For Jesus, it meant the cross. But humility will always be rewarded. Using Christ as our ultimate example, Paul demonstrates how Jesus' voluntary humiliation was compensated by the Father’s lavish exaltation. So even though humility doesn't come without a price, without it, there will be no harmony, no unity.
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    8/20/2017
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    How to Have a Great Workout
    Philippians 2:12-13
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    Every day in every city, people go to the gym to get in a workout. Running on a treadmill, spinning on a cycle, working the stair-climber, and lifting weights are becoming more and more frequent in our health-conscious culture. But money spent on a gym membership is pointless unless we take the right approach. In this message, I want to consider what it means to have a healthy spiritual life by showing you what it means to "work out your own salvation in fear and trembling." Let's be determined to stay in top spiritual shape.
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    Glow in the Dark!
    Philippians 2:14-18
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    To make an object glow in the dark, a phosphor that will energize by ambient light and have a very long persistence (like zinc sulfide and strontium aluminate) must be applied. For a Christian to glow (shine the light of truth and salvation) in a dark culture, there are four considerations that will energize us. Today let’s study how we can penetrate a murky world.
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    9/17/2017
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    A Little Help from My Friends
    Philippians 2:19-24
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    Life without friendship is like the sky without the sun. Paul knew the value of having true friends who stuck with him during difficult times. And right in the middle of this letter, he mentioned two of them—Timothy and Epaphroditus. These two guys helped shoulder the burdens for the apostle and brought him great joy. As we consider Timothy's friendship profile, see how many of these qualities are present in your own life.
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    10/1/2017
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    How to Treat Good (but Imperfect) People
    Philippians 2:25-30
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    Some of the greatest people I have ever met have been relatively unknown individuals. They serve diligently behind the scenes with no desire for the limelight. Their names are not known to men, yet they are known to God. But even the choicest servants of God are not perfect. We all have our blemishes, shortfalls, quirks, idiosyncrasies, and oddities. Paul gave us an excellent way to treat such people in his words about his friend Epaphroditus.
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    10/8/2017
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    Has Your Joy Sprung a Leak?
    Philippians 3:1-3
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    I have a bicycle pump in my garage that stands constant guard to reinflate my tires. It seems that I have a slow leak in one of them. Perhaps from a very small thorn or a defect in the tube, the air slowly leaks out, leaving the ride spongy. Spiritual thorns that deflate joy can also threaten our Christian experience. Let’s consider some simple principles that firm up our life journey and keep "the joy of the Lord" intact.
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    10/15/2017
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    Get a Real Testimony!
    Philippians 3:4-8
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    I have heard various people give their testimony over the years. A testimony is the story of how you came to believe in Christ personally. What is your story? Could you tell it to someone? You should be able to trace the steps you took in your life’s journey from aimless wandering to purposeful living as a Christian. These verses are Paul’s personal testimony. Let’s consider three essential ingredients to building a real testimony.
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    10/29/2017
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    Benefits of Being Believers
    Philippians 3:8-11
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    Being a Christian believer cost Paul a lot. He lost his status, he lost his prestige among former peers, and he landed in a foreign prison cell, facing possible execution. So what did he gain from his choice? What are the rewards and benefits of believing in Christ if the world hates you and most people misunderstand you? Today, we look at five of the benefits that offset any loss we might incur. These gains (or profits) make up for any momentary afflictions.
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    11/5/2017
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    Put On Your Running Shoes
    Philippians 3:12-16
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    Though I prefer cycling to running, I appreciate the disciplined runner who has trained long hours and has conditioned his/her body to reach its maximum potential. One of Paul’s favorite metaphors for Christian living was the race. In this passage, he pictured the believer as an athlete competing in a footrace pushing towards the finish line. To become winning champions in this race towards Christlikeness, there are five essentials:
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    11/19/2017
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    Show Me Your Passport, Please!
    Philippians 3:17-21
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    Anytime you travel overseas, a passport is required. Your passport is a document of citizenship, denoting your country of origin and permanent residence. Your name is written on that document along with your place and date of birth. Jesus said that our names are written in heaven (see Luke 10:20) because we have been born again. That makes us tourists and foreigners here on earth. In this section of Philippians, Paul gave us four distinguishing characteristics of heavenly citizens.
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    12/3/2017
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    The Anatomy of a Healthy Church
    Philippians 4:1-5
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    In the New Testament, the church is often called “the body of Christ.” Like a human body, it has many parts and functions. The church at Philippi was growing and with growth comes growing pains. In this section, Paul addressed some of them and applied the right prescription for what was threatening this group. Let’s consider five necessary components of a healthy church.
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    12/10/2017
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    Overcoming an Anxious Mind
    Philippians 4:6-7
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    One author noted that we could write on countless American gravestones this epitaph: Hurried, Worried, Buried. Fear, stress, worry, and anxiety ravage modern culture. These two verses of Philippians 4 are among the most treasured by Christians worldwide because of their power to overcome this tendency to be overwhelmed by anxiety. Let’s give our souls a rest by learning and practicing the truths presented here.
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    12/17/2017
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    Think What to Do; Do What You Think
    Philippians 4:8-9
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    Our minds are ever being confronted with ideas, temptations, principles, and values. The battlefield is found in mainstream and social media, universities, and professional journals. Because it's impossible to make it through any given day without bumping into these thoughts and ideas, we must carefully, righteously, and actively manage them. To plant an idea is to produce an action. What we ponder we eventually practice. Consider these three ways to think.
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    12/31/2017
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    How to Have Greener Grass NOW
    Philippians 4:10-13
    Skip Heitzig
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    Message Summary
    The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. That saying embodies the philosophy that other people's circumstances are more desirable than our own. This attitude can be extended to where you live, the place you work, the one you're married to, the body type you have, and the income you require. Surely, others have it better than we do! Well, let's uncover three basic principles to debunk that theory and, in so doing, add water and fertilizer to our own grass.
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    There are 25 additional messages in this series.