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FIVE ‘P’s FOR PERPETUAL THANKS – Philippians 4:19

Posted by Pastor Greg Allen on November 20, 2016 under 2016 |

Message preached Thanksgiving Sunday,November 20, 2016 from Philippians 4:19

Theme: The apostle Paul affirms five reasons for perpetual thanksgiving in all circumstances.

(Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version; copyright 1982, Thomas Nelson, Inc.)

This morning—the Sunday before Thanksgiving—I’d like to share with you from an ancient “thank you” letter. It’s a letter that we know as the New Testament book of Philippians. And I would particularly like to draw your attention to just one verse in this ancient letter.

I believe, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, that what this one particular verse tells us (found near the end of Paul’s letter to the Philippians) is enough to give us a cause for continual, perpetual thanks to God in every circumstance of life.

* * * * * * * * * *

The apostle Paul was in prison at the time he wrote this ‘thank you’ letter. Ordinarily, that would seen like a rather unusual time to write a ‘thank you’ letter. But he wrote it because a group of Christians had just sent him some help while during his imprisonment.

Paul had first met this group of friends early in his ministry as a preacher and missionary. God had miraculously called Paul and his co-workers to go to the city of Philippi (which was a chief Roman colony in the region of Macedonia) in order to preach the gospel to them. But as often happened in Paul’s ministry, the life-transforming power of the gospel he preached completely turned the city on its head. It in fact, caused a significant public disturbance. He got thrown into prison for the unrest that his preaching caused; and it was by a great miracle that he was released. But as a result of it all, many came to faith in Jesus Christ and were transformed by His love.

Paul and his companions left Macedonia and went on to other towns. The first town he went to was Thessalonica. But again, in that city, his preaching brought about opposition and caused disruptions. Apparently, the Philippian believers heard about it and sent him some help—probably financial support to help bail him out of trouble with the authorities. Their help apparently had to be sent more than once. But they loved Paul, and stood with him in the gospel; and so, they were glad to give of themselves to help him. And the Thessalonicans were transformed by God’s grace too.

So; when we come to the letter that he wrote to the Philippians, we find that—once again—Paul is in prison. He wasn’t even entirely sure whether he would be released or executed. But it was alright with him. He was content to trust God either way. But what truly comforted his heart was that the Philippians sent a member of the church—a man named Epaphroditus—to once again bring a financial gift to support him. In fact, it appears that the gift they sent him was so sacrificial that they put themselves in a condition of need.

Paul was deeply moved by the fact that they would do something like this for him. It was evidence to him that Jesus had truly transformed their hearts; and he rejoiced in it. In fact, the whole letter is a letter about ‘rejoicing’. And near the end of the letter—in what we might call the ‘thank you’ section—he wrote these words:

But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Nevertheless you have done well that you shared in my distress. 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. For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account. 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 (Philippians 4:10-18).

Now; there was no way in the world that Paul could repay these Philippian believers for what they did for him. But in verses 19-20, Paul wrote this:

And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen (vv. 19-20).

And there, in verse 19, I believe you see one of the greatest verses in the Bible. In fact, one great Bible teacher called it the greatest promise contained in the Scriptures; because it includes all the other promises of the Bible in itself.1 Another Bible teacher was so impressed by what it says, in such few words, that he called it “a master stroke”.2

And may I give a personal testimony about this verse? Because it is a verse in which all of the other promises of the Bible are included, it has truly become an anchor to my soul in times of very deep trouble or trial. I have drawn more hope from it than I can say. Every word of it is precious medicine to my soul; and if each word is true—as I believe each word is true—then it becomes the basis of giving perpetual thanks to God in every trial we can ever encounter.

I believe it would do everyone here a great deal of good if we were all to commit it to memory: “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

* * * * * * * * * * *

There are five main points that we can draw from this verse—and they all begin with a “P”. (Easy to remember, eh?) In it, we find Paul expressing a constant reason for perpetual thanksgiving by telling us about our Provider, giving us His Promise, declaring the Provision He makes, affirming the Purse that He draws His endless provision from, and finally identifying the Person through whom it is all made to be ours.

This verse truly is a thanksgiving feast! Let’s savor these five points one by one. First, let’s consider …


We find this in the words, “my God”. “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

I think it’s very interesting that Paul said “my God”. He didn’t say to the Philippians, “our God”, or, “your God”. In the ancient city of Philippi, there were many false gods that people worshiped; and he wanted to make the one true God stand out from all the others. That’s something, by the way, that we may need to do even in our own city today. I remember being at a Christian rally once on the other side of Portland. A very antagonistic unbeliever walked by—mocking the group. Someone from the group tried to reach out to him and said, “God bless you.” But he scoffed and said, “Which one?” Sadly, that’s the way things have gotten to be today. And that’s the way things were back then in Paul’s day too. When you talked about God, you needed to explain who you meant. Well; Paul got specific. He spoke with apostolic authority; and said, “my God shall supply all your need”.

And that not only makes it specific; but it also makes it personal. The phrase “my God” meant that Paul spoke from experience. His hope was not in just any ‘god’ that people might have made up for themselves. His hope was in the God of the Bible. That was the God Paul trusted. His God was the same God as the God of great heroes of the faith in the past who also found Him to be faithful. Paul’s God was the God Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, the God of Joseph, the God of Moses, the God of Joshua, the God of Samuel, the God of King David, the God of Elijah and Elisha, the God of Isaiah, the God of Jeremiah, the God of Ezekiel, and the God of the prophets.

So then, when Paul says, “my God shall supply all your need,” he is authoritatively putting before us the only true God—the God who has proven reliability. And I’m glad for that. I want to put my trust in that God—the God of the apostle Paul; don’t you?

May I share with you what Paul said about his God? He declared that this God is revealed through His Son Jesus Christ. And in Colossians 1—just one letter ahead in the New Testament—Paul wrote;

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence (Colossians 1:15-18).

That’s a God that is worthy of our trust; isn’t He? Nothing is too hard for Him. Let’s make sure Paul’s God is our God. If He is, then we have constant reason for thanks!

Paul then goes on to give us …


Paul says that this God—his God—”shall supply”. “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

Again, consider the specific word that Paul used. He didn’t speak in the past tense; as if to say, “My God has supplied”. Nor did he speak in the present tense; as if to say, “My God is supplying”. Those things would certainly be true to say; and it’s wonderful to think back on how God has cared for us in the past, and on how He continues to take care of us today. But what about tomorrow? I have a sense of things yesterday, and of things today; but tomorrow is a great ‘unknown’ to me. What will happen to me tomorrow? How wonderful it is, then, that Paul spoke in the future tense; saying, “My God shall supply”. Because our God—Paul’s God; the God of the Bible—is the one who is promised will supply our every need, then we will never need to fear tomorrow.

Just think of what Paul says about Him in Romans 8:38-39. These are words that we can cling to securely whenever we face times of uncertainty about the future. He wrote;

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? (Romans 8:31-32).

The greatest need that we ever had was the need for the salvation of our souls. And God the Father willingly gave up that which was most precious to Him—His own beloved Son—in order to provide for the meeting of that great need. No matter what else might happen to us in life, we will never have a greater need that that. And if He willingly gave up the greatest that He had in order to meet our greatest possible need, then why should we ever fear that He will not give us any lessor thing in order to provide for any of our lesser needs?

Now; that wonderful promise—that God “shall supply”—is enough reason, all by itself, to give continual thanks to God our Father. But then, consider what Paul goes on to say about …


You’ll find that in the words, “all your need”. “And my God shall supply all your need …” That’s pretty universal, don’t you think?

You know; in the specific case that Paul was writing about, the need appeared to be material. It seems that they sent a financial gift to him. The Philippians gave so much financial support that it appears that they put themselves in need. And Paul—who could not himself pay them back—trusted that God would meet their need in return. But He didn’t say “And my God shall supply all your material needs …” He said far more than that. He said to them that He would provide “all your need”—making it universal, and not placing any limits on what that need might be.

Sometimes, we need material provision. And God is abundantly able to provide that—and will do so whenever needed. But He may not provide it through money. He may provide it through someone else meeting the need in some other way; perhaps by serving us. Or He may provide a change of the circumstances; so that the need becomes a need no longer. Sometimes, what we need is courage; and God will provide that. Sometimes, what is needed is patience; and God will provide that too. Sometimes what we need is peace, or maturity, or steadfastness, or the ability to love someone who is difficult, or endurance—and God will provide for all of these needs too.

In fact, have you ever thought about how God—in His great love for us, and in His infinite wisdom in how best to form us into the image of His Son—knows that we might need is a period of ‘lack’ of some kind? Sometimes, what we truly need is a time of need—so that we grow in Christ-like character through the trial. And whenever that’s the case, God will meet that need too. He will graciously meet our need for ‘a time of need’! He knows when we need a time of testing in order for our faith to grow; and He knows what kind of a need it should be; and He knows how long that time of need should last. He wants to bless us richly; and He sometimes allows us to have a time of need in order to enlarge our capacity for His greater supply of grace later on. He even supplies whatever we might need in order to go through that season of need in a spiritually fruitful way.

The point is that in all our need—whatever that need may be—our God will supply! Consider what the apostle Peter wrote at the beginning of his second letter. He said;

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust (2 Peter 1:2-4).

“… His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness …” What a provision! We ought to just go ahead and thank Him now! And always!

And in all our need, God’s supply will never be exhausted. Consider what Paul then went on to say about …


Now; I confess that I chose to call it “the Purse” in order to make it begin with a “P”. But it’s a good word to use for this point; because it speaks of the resource from which our great God is able to provide a supply to our every need. Paul said that it is “according to His riches in glory”.

Once again, notice the word that Paul uses. He doesn’t say, “And my God shall supply all your need from out of His riches in glory”. Suppose I have an uncle who happens to be a multi-millionaire. (And believe me—we can only suppose that.) Suppose he tells me that, if I ever run into trouble, I can call him up and he will send me whatever I need from out of rich treasure. He has multiple-millions; but he can only draw from out of the limited resources of his riches to help me.
But God does not promise merely to meet our need ‘from out of’ His riches. Rather, He promises to better than that. He promises to meet our need according to His riches in glory! As great as His riches are, that’s how great His ability is to meet our need. And how great are His riches in glory? They are as limitless as heavenly glory itself! And that means that there could not possibly be a need we can have on earth that our Father in heaven cannot abundantly meet.

As Paul puts it in Ephesians 3:20;

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us … (Ephesians 3:20).

It may not be that what we think of as a need really is the true need. Our heavenly Father knows the difference. But when there is a true need, He is abundantly able to meet it—even if it is as great as His riches in heavenly glory. What a cause this gives us for thanks in every need!

And that leads us to one more reason that we have for thanks. It’s the most important “P” in this whole list; because it’s the one that makes all of these things to be ours. And that’s …


Paul says; “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

When we place our faith in Jesus Christ, our relationship with the Father becomes very personal to Him. We become His own redeemed children by adoption. And it is through this personal relationship with God by faith in Jesus Christ that we can now be assured of all the rest of what this verse tells us. Paul put it this way in Romans 5;

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God (Romans 5:1-2).

By having a relationship with Jesus Christ, we truly have everything we need. Jesus Himself is all we need. As Paul put it in Colossians 2;

For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power (Colossians 2:9-10).

* * * * * * * * * *

So; here in this one verse we have God as our Provider, we have His Promise to supply, we have the Provision for all our need, we have the Purse of all the riches of heavenly glory as our resource, and we have the Person of Jesus Christ by which it is all secured to us. This one wonderful verse gives us a five-fold basis for perpetual thanksgiving in all circumstances.

And in closing, may I read what our Lord Jesus says about all this? They are familiar words; and I believe what our Lord say is the perfect way to apply what we have learned from Paul:

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble (Matthew 6:25-34).

Dear brothers and sisters; what abundant reason we have to give thanks! “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

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