The Secret of Facing Need Part 1
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
January 26, 2003
Title: The Secret of Facing Need
Text: My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:19)
Scripture Reading: Philippians 4:4-20
When you are confronted with special needs for yourself, your family, your job, or your church, what do you do?
When Paul wrote his letter to the Philippians he had some great needs himself.
The great servant of Christ was a prisoner in Rome.
He acknowledged in the letter that he was having trouble (4:12) and that he was feeling some stress (4:14); and he referred to his needs and to their needs also (4:13-19).
Paul has learned the secret to facing need.
This is the key to Christian living.
Today we are going to look at some specific ways to deal with our needs.
Our Scripture reading this morning is Philippians 4:4-20. Let me read this passage to you.
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.
5 Let all men know your forbearance. The Lord is at hand.
6 Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
7 And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, do; and the God of peace will be with you.
10 I rejoice in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me; you were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity.
11 Not that I complain of want; for I have learned, in whatever state I am, to be content.
12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound; in any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and want.
13 I can do all things in him who strengthens me.
14 Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble.
15 And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving except you only;
16 for even in Thessalonica you sent me help once and again.
17 Not that I seek the gift; but I seek the fruit which increases to your credit.
18 I have received full payment, and more; I am filled, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God.
19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
20 To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
We are going to be given nine things to do when we face need.
It’s amazing that each is a positive reaction; the very opposite of how we usually react.
There is no complaining, no feeling sorry for ourselves, no panic, no depression, no anger, and no negativism.
The apostle Paul knew how to face need because he had to face a lot of difficult problems as he served Christ.
So let’s see what he says that we should do when we face needs in our life.
First, he says we are to be enthusiastic, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice” (4:4).
When we have a need, we are not to hide it, or disregard it; we are to rejoice in the Lord.
This is a command to a Christian, a believer.
That means regardless of the day, whether it is dark or bright, whether it is difficult or easy, whether it brings problems and temptations or clear sailing on cloud nine, we are commanded to rejoice.
He repeated it, in case we missed it the first time; “again I say rejoice.”
Joy is something we cannot produce ourselves.
It is a product of the Holy Spirit.
There is no power in a Christian’s life if he has no joy.
One who does not experience the joy of the Lord has no power at all.
God has given to us all things to enjoy, and to enjoy means to rejoice.
That’s your strength, that’s your power.
You can’t be a Christian with power and be without joy.
Joy is the source of power.
There is a little song that used to be sung in Bible schools with these words:
Down in the dumps I’ll never go;
That’s where the devil keeps me low.
That song has a sound theological message because this is exactly what the devil tries to do.
He attempts to take away our joy because it is the source of power.
Our focus is to be on the Lord, not on our need.
It was one of those never-should-have-got-out-of-bed days for a certain preacher.
He cut his face while shaving.
Then he burned the toast for breakfast.
After he rushed out the door so he wouldn’t be late for an appointment, one of his tires blew out a few miles down the road.
He finally got his car back on the road and was going a few miles over the speed limit when a police officer stopped him and gave him a ticket for speeding.
By that time he was extremely upset, and he made a rather sorry picture as he complained bitterly to the policeman about the kind of day he was experiencing.
“I know what you mean,” said the officer. “It used to happen to me that way-before I became a Christian.”
Next, Paul says that when we are facing needs, we are to be gentle.
He said in verse 5, “Let all men know your forbearance. The Lord is at hand.”
Christian enthusiasm is not without reason.
The word “forbearance” means a readiness to listen to reason.
It’s an attitude of yielding one’s rights, thereby showing consideration and gentleness to others.
The tendency of the world is to become hard and tough, to demand one’s rights, but this is not the Christian response.
We are to be gentle toward all people.
We need to be reasonable believers, not bigots in our faith.
Of course, we ought to have deep convictions, but we should not appear like bigots, riding a hobbyhorse, always emphasizing some little point.
What we need to do is emphasize the big point-we do have one-the big point is the person of Christ.
If we are going to ride a hobbyhorse, let Him be the hobbyhorse.
“Let your sweet reasonableness be known to all men.”
Paul’s third point is found in verses 6 and 7.
We are to remain peaceful when we have needs.
He said, “Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
The natural tendency in the time of need is to worry.
Every night Americans take millions of sleeping pills.
Worry is not the answer!
We can either worry or pray.
We have been given a new commandment in these verses.
This is how I would state the command in my own words, “Worry about nothing, pray about everything.”
Does this mean we are to look at life through rose-colored glasses, that we are not to face reality?
Are we to believe that sin is not real, that sickness is not real, and that problems are not real?
Are we to ignore these things?
No, Paul says we are to worry about nothing because we are to pray about everything.
When we worry, we are sinning by showing a lack of trust in God.
Instead, we are instructed to commit our requests to God in prayer and allow Him to be Lord in our lives.
That means we are to talk to the Lord about everything in our lives.
Then Paul says that we will have peace.
Peace comes through prayer.
Paul called it a special kind of peace; a peace that is beyond our ability to understand.
One way I can perhaps come close to describing the kind of peace that Paul is talking about is to relate an experience I had in high school.
I attended a Fellowship of Christian Athletes camp in Estes Park Colorado between my junior and senior years.
A friend of mine accompanied me one day and we climbed to the top of Longs Peak.