In Your Bible Read This
Philippians 4, 2-20
Here Is Your Memory Verse
And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4.19.
Afterwards Talk About This
Talk about the principles that you have discovered in the life of Jesus and Paul. Can’t you live that way as well?
Something To Do Before Next Time
Make a personal or family budget for each month of the year giving your income and expenses. List all your expected income on one side and your expected expenses on the other side. Do they balance? Income over expenses is blessed, expenses over income is stressed!
Written Diploma Work
List all Deuteronomy 28 has to say about prosperity and poverty and write on one page why each comes.
Meditate Word By Word On This Verse
Spend a Minute to Change the World
Pray For Djibouti – 473,000 Muslim Somalis and Arabs
Mere handful of Christians, hot, desert land in horn of Africa
Be sure to teach this lesson to others. Always pray and prepare well adding your own verses and stories to bring it to life.
God Had One Son, He Was A Missionary
How did Jesus live? How did he buy his food and pay his bills? Did he turn stones into bread as he surely could, or did he minister as a man empowered by the Holy Spirit? Philippians 2, 6-8, and Acts 1.2 tell us it was the latter.
We don’t know all the answers but the Bible offers lots of clues without giving any particular method. Let’s deal with one important question first.
Was Jesus A Poor Man?
Most people and pastors will answer, “Yes, he was.” People seem to think there is something holy or humble about poverty, although actually the Bible says it is a curse. Deut. 28.47.
Why Would A Poor Man Have A Treasurer?
Do the poor men you know have a man always with them to keep account of all the money that comes in and goes out? One thing is clear, Jesus had resources for himself, for a team of twelve young, hungry men, and for giving. A poor man would never have a treasurer, but Jesus did. So there was money, but where did it come from?
Jesus Chose Weakness
Today everyone looks for strength but Jesus chose to be weak, vulnerable and dependent upon his Father and upon his friends.
- He chose to be born in the lowest of circumstances.
- He decided to be in the family of an ordinary working man.
- He chose to be an ordinary worker in society, not removed from its pressures. He made himself vulnerable, subject to the local economy and dependent.
- He was anointed with joy but also familiar with the suffering of the peoples around him. Isaiah 53.3.
- Jesus chose to go without things people said were necessary. He said that he had nowhere to lay his head, presumably meaning property that he owned, because good homes were always open to him. He therefore kept expenses and debts to a minimum. We know that he chose to sleep outside for at least 40 nights.
- He worked making and repairing furniture until he was 30.
- He welcomed accommodation and hospitality. We find Jesus in the homes of Zaccheus, Matthew, Simon a Pharisee, Martha and Mary at Bethany, Peter’s mother-in-law, and others.
- He was not too proud to be a man supported by ladies. Luke 8.3.
- He allowed his disciples to break church rules to gain God’s provision. Matthew 12,1-8
- His disciples went shopping, John 4.8, and also caught fish to eat and sell.
- There were miracles of provision from time to time but they are the exception rather than the rule, and include a fish with a coin in its mouth; taking a little boys lunch to feed 5,000 men and a catch of fish for a resurrection meal.
Simple Not Spectacular!
The point that God is trying to make through the story of Jesus is that there are miraculous provisions when we need them but normally God’s provision for eleventh-hour workers will come through everyday events and from the ordinary people he brings across your path. Keep on going in holiness, meekness and in living for others and you will see how God builds a solid bridge under your feet as you step out upon the thin air of faith in him and in his word. See John 6.35
How Did Paul Live?
Now, what about Paul, the man who opened up Europe for the gospel, and who wrote most of the New Testament letters.
Who Supported Paul’s Ministry?
It wasn’t the church at Antioch, because in practice that would have been impossible in those days. In any event Paul was sent off by the Spirit rather than sent out. Churches supported him, and churches also withdrew. Once only one church supported his pioneering. See Phil. 4.16.
- Support from Antioch, could only ever have been from time to time. How could they know where Paul was? There were no credit cards, banks, registered letters, money by wire services or telephones.
- Like Jesus, Paul welcomed hospitality even from refugees like Priscilla and Aquila in a simple home, Acts 18.3
- In Cyprus, Barnabas’ family had homes. So where did they stay? With them!
- In prison people brought food and later the jailer made a meal. Acts 16.34.
- At Philippi, he stayed with Lydia, a new convert and business lady, Acts 16 15.
- Paul had his own workshops to make and sell goods in the market, to provide for himself and for the needs of others. Acts 18.3; 11.26; 20.24; 2 Thess. 3.8.
- The Levites, who were the Old Testament Christian workers depended on the Temple. But when the temple could not help they had a field of their own to grow food and sell it. Num. 3; Num. 18.21; 35.2, 6-7, Nehemiah 13.10.
Paul’s Theology Of Support
Paul, the greatest theologian of his time explained his way of living something like this, ” I do whatever is necessary, the best I can wherever I find myself. I have learned the secret of being content in all circumstances, in poverty and in prosperity. I work hard to get along and I am what I am by the grace of God. “1 Corinthians 15.10.
You have seen that you do not need to be a person of great faith to step out to answer the call of God. The two greatest people in the New Testament have shown us just how straightforward it is to live in the grace and provision of God.
To Close Pray for the World’s Most Unreached Peoples by Name
Taken from the Joshua Project Unreached Peoples List these people have no church and as yet no cell, church or mission has committed themselves to prayer, adoption or church planting among this people.
|Zuara (Zwara, Zuraa)||Zuara||33,000|