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Pastor Stephen Muncherian
November 21, 1999

I invite you to turn with me to Philippians 4:19. We’re going to read this verse together - out loud. This morning we’re focused on giving thanks to God. Its good for us to pause and consider together why we give thanks to God - to be reminded of His work in our lives and who He is - that He is worthy of our gratitude and praise. This verse from Philippians 4 is a tremendous summary statement of why we give thanks to God.

Read this verse with me. Philippians 4:19: “And my God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

The word supply has the idea of filling up to overflowing - taking an empty bucket and pouring water into it until it the water is flowing over the edge. God takes our needs and just pours out whatever it takes to fill us up.

Consider with me just three of our needs. First, God meets our need to know Him.

Today we have more things - more wealth - more toys - more abundance - more reasons to be optimistic - and yet more emptiness - more depression - more emotional pain than at any time in history. Many people go to bed exhausted and wake up tired. We’re hurried - harried - harassed - and helpless.

Do you remember Zaccheus? Zaccheus was a short man. I’ve kind of pictured him as being like Danny DeVito in Taxi. Not tall - despising himself - taking advantage of others - rude - obnoxious.

Zaccheus was a tax-collector - he took advantage of his own people by working for the Romans and he was getting rich. By the standards of our society Zaccheus was very successful. But Zaccheus’ wealth had failed him. He was without friends - without hope - insecure - with deep inner needs. When Jesus passed through Jericho - perhaps because of these deep inner needs - Zaccheus climbed up a Sycamore tree - just to see Jesus.

When Jesus passed under that tree where Zaccheus was seated, He stopped and said, “Zaccheus, hurry and come down out of that tree. Regardless of what everyone else may think of you - whatever you may think of yourself - I’m going to befriend you today. I’m going to stay at your house.” Then these words - powerful - life changing: "Today salvation has come to your house."

And Zaccheus had all his needs met. His life was changed. He gave ½ of his possessions to the poor. Instead of stealing from people he started giving back what he had stolen at 4 times the amount he had stolen. What he had - materially meant nothing - compared to how his life - his deepest inner need - had been filled by knowing Jesus. (Luke 19:1-10)

Its been said:

If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent us an educator,
If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent us a scientist,
If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent us an economist,
If our greatest need had been pleasure, God would have sent us an entertainer,
But our greatest need was forgiveness, so God sent us a Savior.

God meets our need to know Him through Jesus Christ. In Jesus we find God’s acceptance - forgiveness of our sins - freedom from guilt - a fulfilling life - fellowship in the Body of Christ - an eternal relationship with God.

Second, God meets our daily needs.

If we back up a few verses in Philippians to Philippians 4:12 - Paul writes, “I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.” His secret is revealed in verse 13. Paul writes, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”

Paul had everything going for him. He was a scholar - an educated man - a Pharisee - a student of Law - a man zealous and respected for his faith. He was born of the tribe of Benjamin - a Hebrew. He was also a citizen of Rome. He had the best of both the Jewish world and the Roman world.

He gave it all up to follow Jesus Christ. He traveled all over the known world sharing the Gospel. As a result Paul was whipped - imprisoned - beaten more times than he could remember - stoned - shipwrecked - constantly in danger - often in danger of dying - betrayed - hungry - thirsty - cold - exposed to the elements.

Paul says, “I’m content regardless of my circumstances because my strength for life is in Christ Jesus.”

The secret Paul had found was the sufficiency of Jesus Christ - that it all circumstances He was never alone. He was always cared for with his deepest needs met by God.

The point is that in whatever circumstance we’re in - God is with us. They may not be as extreme as Paul’s. But, in whatever circumstances we find ourselves God will take care of us.

Third, God meets our need for a purpose filled life.

One day I pulled into a gas station and the guy in the car in front of me had one of those bumper stickers that says, “The One With The Most Toys Wins.” So I asked him, “Wins what?”

And he said, “What?”

I said, “What do I win if I have the most toys?”

And he said, “Huh?”

“When I die, if and I have the most toys - what do I get - what happens next?”

He said, “Well, that’s just a way of life.”

We’re born. We grow up. We go to school - graduate - get a job - get married - have kids - they grow up - they have kids - we retire - we enjoy the grandkids - we die. What’s the point? What’s the purpose of life?

There’s a poem that used to hang on my grandmother’s front door. As a kid - as soon as I learned how to read - every time I went to her house - I read that poem. Its stuck with me. Do you remember this?

Only one life twill soon be past.
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

In Washington D.C. they’ve been renovating the Washington Monument. When workers were removing some paneling in the lobby they found some graffiti from the 1800’s. Its a lot different from the graffiti we see around here today. It says this, “Whoever is the human instrument under God in the conversion of one soul, erects a monument to his own memory more lofty and enduring than this.”

Serve God and we build a legacy that lasts for eternity. Follow after Christ and our lives have God given purpose and meaning.

Paul writes, “My God will supply every - not just a few - not just some - but, My God will supply every need of yours - no matter how deep or great - every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

The riches of God are unimaginable. How can we put a dollar amount on creation?

God - with all His wealth - doesn’t just write out a check for $50 and say, “Here, this ought to take care of it.”

God is not a tight wad. God makes available to us the key to His safe deposit box - His annuities - His CD’s - all His bank accounts - His real estate holdings - everything. And He says, “I will supply your needs out of My riches.”

“And, if you doubt My sincerity - My commitment to you - know that I have already given My Son as the example of just how far I’m willing to go to meet you needs.”

That’s what Paul means by “His glory in Christ Jesus.” The glory of a person is their reputation - their honor - their good name - their character. God will never let us down because it just isn’t in Him to do so and He has given Jesus Christ to demonstrate that.

This morning our focus is on giving thanks to God. In today’s politically correct world that’s unique. People may give thanks for a lot of things - but giving thanks to God is rare. I recently read about a 4th grader who wrote a politically correct paper on the origins of Thanksgiving. He wrote: “The pilgrims came here seeking freedom of you know what. When they landed, they gave thanks to you know who. Because of them, we can worship each Sunday, you know where.”

When we come to know God through His Son Jesus Christ - who God is, is not a mystery - and as we go through life and see how He meets our needs - it really does impress upon us that we must express our gratitude to Him.

How do we to give thanks to God? There are a lot of things we do to say thank you to people - notes - cards - flowers - gifts. The best way to say thank you is when we do what someone appreciates the most.

Consider the words of Jesus Christ - when He summed up all of what God expects of His people. Jesus said there are two great commandments. The greatest is that we are to “love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, and mind.” And the second commandment, we are to “love our neighbor as we love ourselves.” (Matthew 22:37-39)

God doesn’t meet our needs just so we can feel wonderful about ourselves. God meets our needs to that we can serve Him and testify of Him.

I’d like to suggest that this Thursday - before all the food and football - sit alone with God and consider His blessings. Make a list and thank Him for each one. Take time to rededicate yourself to obedience to Him - to loving Him with all your heart, soul, and mind.

Come together as families - and share His blessings. Share your lists with each other. Let your kids and grandkids - nieces and nephews - know what God has been doing in your life.

As a church let’s give thanks to God. What we come here for on Sundays is not to celebrate ourselves. We come here to praise Him - to testify of His goodness. Our Service of Worship is for His benefit. And, wherever God takes you this week - tell others about what God is doing in your life.



Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New American Standard Bible®, © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by the Lockman Foundation.  Used by permission.