Calvary Road Baptist Church

“MY GOD”

Philippians 4.18-19

 

Is it not sad that there are very few people who live on the basis of principle and integrity these days? I’m not sure there were ever very many people who lived their lives on the basis of principle, or integrity, or “thus saith the LORD,” but there are very few of that kind of person alive in our day. I suppose it’s partly due to technology. I’ve oftentimes both teased and bragged on Doreen Chavez for the witnessing that she used to do when she went to the Laundromat. And I pointed out that it was a terrible thing for that woman to ever have her own washer and dryer, because she would have fewer people to witness to. This particular effect of technology isolating people is illustrated in a thousand different ways. If you didn’t have a car to ride alone to work in you would ride a bus or some other form of public transportation. After a time you would learn to talk to the other people traveling with you. Before people had telephones to talk to people with, they stood out on the front porch of the house and talked to the guy standing next door on his porch. Not any more. Now, we have to talk to the friend across town while sitting in the living room on the recliner chair.

I suppose the worst technological advance that contributes to people being isolated from each other would have to be the television set. Communication used to be much more a two way thing than it is today, with people simply talking back and forth. But with television it’s all one way, with everyone facing the television set being on the receiving end, isolated from everyone else on the planet who doesn’t live in the same house, or watch television in the same room. We even have people who watch so-called Christian television and think that they are worshipping God by listening to some joker spout nonsense on the tube, or by watching some woman with a ridiculous wig and grotesque fake eye lashes cry for everyone. That is a reference to Tammy Fay Bakker, who is no longer with us.

So, you take your average fake Christian, which are most evangelicals, who has little real integrity and principle anyway, and with television you have produced a caricature of a real Christian who, if he does go to church on Sunday, certainly has not much commitment of time, talent, and treasure to his church, because he is flattering himself that he is pleasing God by giving to this television ministry, and that televangelist, and the other radio ministry, or some pet project ministry that has no connection to his church. It has become so bad that some of the best Christians in the world have allowed this nonsense to affect them, so that they have this little pet mission project, and they have that favorite preacher to send money to, and they give money to this organization that momma always liked. There are presently so few Christians whose giving is actually governed by New Testament principles and directives that churches the world over are hindered from doing the job God wants them to do by poor resources.

In Philippians 4.18-19 we help to remedy that integrity problem that is so pervasive in these last days. It is the distinct lack of the principled giving, that gives what God wants given where God wants it to be given, is met with some practical results that are readily seen and easily comprehended. Read Philippians 4.18-19 with me, and notice what happens when an entire congregation of Christians decides to unite in their giving, and not try to play the role of some misguided falsely spiritual Lone Ranger benefactor, each member trying to do his own individual thing:

 

18    But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God.

19    But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

 

Allow me to suggest a letter for you to consider writing:

 

Dear Reverend Toogood and Sister Tearful,

 

I and my family will no longer be sending monthly offerings to you as we had promised. Recognizing that Christians should give through their church, we are committed from this point forward to banding together with other members of Calvary Road Baptist Church and doing our part to bring about a truly united congregation, in prayers, in evangelism, and even in our giving. Though we have given to your television ministry for many years, we know you will understand our commitment to being principled Christians, demonstrating integrity, by banding together with our fellow church members in this way. May God bless you by providing for you resources that come to you by more scriptural means.

 

Signed, Calvary Road Baptist Church member.

 

Should I resign this church tomorrow and go and start a church in West Los Angeles, you should not divert one penny of your offerings from this church to give to me directly. Why not? Not only is it contrary to the New Testament pattern of Christian giving, but we see in our text that it would rob this church of the benefit that results when every member of the congregation unites in their giving.

Let’s look at what happened in Philippi when that congregation banded together to act as one, to function in unison, in their giving. There is a threefold benefit that Calvary Road Baptist Church would receive should the day ever come when each member will abandon personal missions projects and join together in a spirit of unity to do all our giving through this church:

 

First, SUCH A UNITED GIVING EFFORT WOULD RESULT IN SATISFACTION FOR THE PREACHER

 

Paul writes, “But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you.”

 

It is likely that Epaphroditus was the pastor of the Philippian church. It would be hard to imagine the preacher letting someone else manage such an important task as this was. Not that some other church member couldn’t do what Epaphroditus did, but that few preachers are willing to let anyone else perform such an important task as this one. So, when Paul writes about having all and abounding, about being full and having received the things which they had sent with Epaphroditus, he isn’t the only preacher who is satisfied with their offering. We can be quite sure Epaphroditus was satisfied, as well.

Think, for a moment. Most churches have limited resources. Because most churches have limited resources, most church’s ministries are adversely affected (to say the least) when any member of the church diverts any of his or her giving to something other than the church’s ministry. When some Lone Ranger decides he will undertake his own project it dilutes the church’s ability, not just to take care of the pastor’s material needs (to be very honest with you), but it also dilutes the church’s impact in reaching our Jerusalem for Christ, and dilutes our church missions efforts.

When the entire congregation bands together and gives in a spirit of sacrifice, however, no matter how poor the church is, I promise you that both the church’s pastor and the outside recipients of the church’s giving are satisfied, are delighted with God’s bounty, no matter the actual amount. Second Corinthians 8.1-5:

 

1      Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia;

2      How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.

3      For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves;

4      Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.

5      And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.

 

Paul was not writing here about a group of freelance Christians, a group of wildcatters who decided as individuals who they were going to support and commit to. Oh, no. This was written about congregations that acted in unity, putting their individual offerings into the church treasury to multiply their impact for the cause of Christ. Philippi, by the way, is in Macedonia.

 

Next, SUCH A UNITED GIVING EFFORT WOULD RESULT IN SACRIFICE FOR GOD

 

Listen to Paul’s description of that church’s combined offering to him. Remember, this is not a description of your private gifts to some missionary. This is not a description of your private donation to some crusade that you have a heart for. No matter how you cut it, consideration of the context will not allow you to devolve this description on any solitary decision by some Christian or church member. This is and can only rightly be understood to be Paul’s description of the combined efforts of an entire church’s gift.

And what is an entire church’s gift given to some project, to meet some gospel need? When it comes from the church it is described by Paul as “an odor of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing to God.” My, what a marvelous sacrifice for God is the result of every member combining what is given with every other member and that church working as a body to do something for God. For this reason alone church members ought to concentrate their giving so that it is all done through their own church.

Using the language of the Old Testament sacrifices and offerings of worship and praise to God, Paul shows us just exactly how we can do something that we know will be acceptable to God, that we know will be pleasing to God. It happened when the Philippians banded together to advance the cause of Christ by ministering to Paul’s physical needs while he was imprisoned in Rome. And it will happen when we here at Calvary Road Baptist Church, when you and I, come together to finance the gospel ministry together, in unison, combining our efforts, when we make such a combined sacrifice it is acceptable to God and it is well-pleasing to God. That’s exciting.

 

Third, SUCH A UNITED GIVING EFFORT WILL RESULT IN SUPPLY FROM GOD

 

Who will supply the need? Paul, the apostle of Jesus Christ, the personal envoy of the Son of God, writes, “But my God shall supply. . . .” You see, the one who would provide the supply was Paul’s God. Not some distant deity unknown and unknowable, but one who had made Paul His child, and who had made Himself Paul’s Father. This one, the Creator, the Sustainer, the omnipotent One; He would supply the need.

But whose need would Paul’s God supply? Whose need would the One who had always sustained and enabled Paul meet? Surely not the freelance giver. Surely not the independent Christian, who neither relied upon or was reliable to anyone else. Oh, no. Paul writes, “But my God shall supply . . . your need.” Folks, that word “your” just so happens to be the second person plural pronoun. In other words, Paul is not speaking to individuals here. There is no comfort to the individual giver here. There is no promise here to you as a single entity, though that is usually how this passage is preached. What Paul is actually promising is that the church whose members band together and give in united fashion, that church’s need would be supplied by God. Not your need, my friend. Our needs, together, as a church.

And finally, on what basis will God supply to meet our church’s needs when we give up our private piracy and start giving to the cause of Christ together? “. . . according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Astounding. What are God’s riches in glory? His riches in glory are infinite, immeasurable, beyond comprehension. And they are delivered to us through the mediation of Christ Jesus.

 

Folks, our church doesn’t need a bunch of rich folks in order for us to serve God. No church has ever needed rich folks in order to serve God and get the gospel out effectively. And, when you really think about it, a church doesn’t really need money to get the gospel out. Not much money anyway. All we need is unity in our actions, unity in our giving. When we give up on the individual programs and personal projects and give to the cause of Christ through this church, then three things will happen, according to this passage we are looking at:

First, there is satisfaction for the preacher. And why would a preacher not be satisfied to serve in a church serving Christ in unity, regardless how much or how little money there was? Second, it would be a sacrifice to God, acceptable and well-pleasing to Him. And why not? God is delighted when we dwell together in unity. Amen? Finally, there is supply from God. Of course. God blesses obedience and will encourage a church whose people are combining their giving properly. But why should He supply to meet the needs of a church whose members have their own private agendas? Is God in the habit of rewarding disobedience? No.

I call upon you, therefore, to summarily end your practice of giving to any ministry but this church ministry, if you engage in such a practice. Even if it’s a good man or a good project, it’s still not through this church. And this text is clearly understood to speak only to the giving, the combined giving, of a local New Testament church. Therefore, give what you ought to give. Give what you are supposed to give. And give where you are supposed to give. And if you don’t, three benefits will be lost to all. No satisfaction for the preacher, either me or the missionaries we should be giving more money to. No sacrifice for God, because we are not all together in this. No supply from God, since He will not reward disobedience.

Let’s do right, folks, and we will see what God will do with our obedience.

 

SERMON:

 

There is a phrase in today’s text that grabs my attention. Writing to his beloved Philippians about the benefits of their combined and unified giving, Paul made reference to “my God.” Think about that phrase, “my God.” I checked and found that the phrase “my God” is used more than 180 times in the Bible. Several times the phrase is used by the Lord Jesus Christ, to distinguish and differentiate between the relationship He has with God the Father and the relationship His apostles had with God the Father. On one or two occasions wicked men made use of the phrase, perhaps to convince themselves of something they wished was true. However, the overwhelming number of times the phrase is used it was used by such individuals as Moses and Joshua, Caleb and Ruth, David and Solomon, Isaiah and Jeremiah, Daniel and Hosea, Ezra and Nehemiah, Micah and Amos and others, and, most frequently in the New Testament, by the Apostle Paul. When the Lord Jesus Christ was tempted in the wilderness by Satan, He was offered all the kingdoms of the world by Satan if He would but bow down before the prince of darkness one time. Of course, the Son of God did not and could not have, because to do so would have been to commit sin. But that event in the Lord’s ministry does serve to illustrate the truthfulness of something Paul points out in Second Corinthians 4.4, where he refers to Satan as “the god of this world.”

There are two gods, you know. There is the real God and there is the false god. The great tragedy that has overtaken so many people is their unfounded belief that God, the real God, God, the true God, God, the God of the Bible, is the one about which they can say “my God.” But they are wrong. Almost certainly, because of man’s desperately wicked heart and horribly distorted perception of reality, your god is not the God of the Bible. Oh, you may wish that God is and might hope that God would be your god. But it is not likely. You see, there are so very few, even among those who are very religious and who think themselves to be spiritual, who can actually claim God to be their God and say to Him, “You are my God.” Quite the contrary, it is almost a certainty that Satan, the god of this world, is your god. Let me show you why this is so.

 

ARE YOU RELIGIOUS?

 

You may think Satan is not your god because you are a materialist. You don’t believe in God at all. Rather, you think that what can be seen and felt and experienced is all there is. And because of that belief, and your value system that is based on the rule that he who dies with the most toys wins, you think Satan is not your god.

Or you may think Satan is not your god because you don’t even believe in Satan. You don’t think he exists. You used to be interested in spiritual things. You even used to take the Bible seriously. Perhaps you will even call yourself a Christian. But in reality you have become what is called an apostate. You don’t boil little children and eat them or anything, but you have departed from the belief system you once adhered to. You are no longer anything remotely similar to a practicing Christian, like you used to be. So, how can you be sure Satan is not your god when you aren’t even sure there is a god, much less a devil?

Or you may be a Muslim. Maybe you follow the Sunni branch of Islam. Perhaps you adhere to the Shia branch of Islam. And because of your devotion to Allah and observance of Islam you think Satan is not your God.

More and more, there are people whose religion falls into the category of polytheism. You could be a Hindu or you could be a Mormon, a member of the Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints. Perhaps you could be a devotee of some Native American version of religion and you believe in a multiplicity of gods, believing also that everything is, in its final analysis, God. God is everything and everything is God.

Some here today may be Roman Catholics. Because you were raised Roman Catholic, christened, catechized, and confirmed, you think that the notion that Satan is your God is ludicrous.

Jewish people, of course, strenuously object to the idea that they worship Satan instead of God. After all, they say, “We are God’s people, to whom God has made promises.” To that I say, “I agree, but Satan is still your god as much as he is the others’ god.”

Are you an evangelical, or a Charismatic, or a Pentecostal? Satan is your god. You say Jesus, Jesus, Jesus over and over again, invoking it like some voodoo incantation, thinking that by your frequent repetitions that God must be your God and that you must be spiritual, but you are wrong. Satan is your god.

Hey, you may even be a fighting fundamentalist, but I say that Satan is your god. I am almost certain that my God, the God of the Bible, the God of Israel, is not your god. Perhaps you have turned your back on the Christian faith and you rather proudly declare yourself to be a non-participant in spiritual and religious affairs, insisting that you should not be included in this consideration. You, too, need to listen closely.

 

ARE YOU INTERESTED IN REALITY?

 

Then read on carefully.

You claim to be a materialist, someone who doesn’t believe in the supernatural, who doesn’t believe in God? Satan is your god, my friend. Because you believe only in the material, your motives in life are all centered on the acquisition of things. That makes you covetous. Listen to Ephesians 5.5:

 

“For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.”

 

You who are an atheistic materialist? You are identified in the Bible as an idolater. Hang on to that thought for a few minutes.

You deny that Satan is your god because you have walked away from Christianity; you have turned your back on the god of your father and mother. You think that exempts you. Think again. First Timothy 4.1:

 

“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.”

 

See the phrase “depart from the faith?” That’s you. Why did you depart from the faith, despite your so-called “personal reasons”? You don’t think every one of us has such “personal reasons”? The fact is you were seduced by spirits, demons, who are the soldiers of Satan. Satan is your god, all right, whether you admit it or not.

Muslim? You think you are immune from the charge that Satan is your god, because you worship Allah, who you think is the one true and living God. Not true. Look at the flags on all Islamic nations. What do you always see? The crescent moon. Why is that, do you know? I know. It’s because before Mohammed came along the Arab world worshipped many gods. One of the many gods of the Arabs was the moon god. His name? Allah. Allah, then, is nothing more than the name of an idol, the moon god.[1] If you are a Muslim you are an idolater.[2] Hang on to that thought for a moment longer.

You polytheists who believe in many gods, whether you be Hindus or Mormons or animists from some primitive culture. You are all idolaters and you know it. Perhaps you don’t bow before statues, but you still worship idols.

“But I am a Roman Catholic.” Remember your catechism, and the Ten Commandments you were taught as a child? Why didn’t the Roman Catholic Church’s catechism teach you the Ten Commandments as they are found in the Bible? Why did they leave out the second commandment, found in Exodus 20.4-6?

 

4      Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:

5      Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

6      And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

 

I’ll tell you why. Because that commandment would show that Roman Catholics are idolaters, that’s why.

Jewish? Is your religion Judaism? The strictest practitioners of Judaism in the first century were the sect of the Pharisees. But Jesus told the Pharisees, “You are of your father, the devil.”[3] They obviously had Satan for their god without even knowing it, so complete was their deception.

And then there are you evangelicals, Charismatics, and Pentecostals. How can your god be Satan, since you claim to worship the God of the Bible? It’s really very simple. Your doctrine is corrupt. Your doctrine, even by your own admission, is of secondary importance to you. You ignore doctrinal divisions between you. One group believes in salvation by works. You don’t care. Another group believes in salvation by baptism. You don’t care. Still another group denies the existence of Hell. You don’t care. Yet another group of you are anti-Trinitarian, but no one cares so long as you supposedly speak in tongues. Want to know why you don’t care? Why there is so much confusion in your beliefs? It’s because God is not the author of confusion, First Corinthians 14.33. Satan is. And you have succumbed to the doctrines of devils, First Timothy 4.1, who are the legions of Satan. You, too, worship Satan in a very subtle way without even knowing it.

How could a fundamentalist’s god not be the God of the Bible? Ask yourself how many fundamentalists you know actually worship the Bible instead of the God of the Bible? That’s idolatry, my friend. And how many fundamentalists believe sinners are saved the same way Catholicism does, by asking Jesus into your heart, which denies the doctrine of imputed righteousness by faith? What a horrible perversion of Bible doctrine. It’s a doctrine of demons.

The reality is, it is very likely that you are one who worships and gives allegiance to Satan, without even knowing it. Half of you obviously follow after spirits and demons who teach error, First Timothy 4.1, and you idolaters worship devils without knowing it, First Corinthians 10.19-20:

 

19    What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing?

20    But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.

 

You see, back of every idol, even the idol of material possessions, of money and stuff, are demons who owe their allegiance to the god of this world, Satan.

 

Now, WHAT ABOUT RETRIBUTION?

 

Consider the first and great commandment of God:

 

“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment,”

 

Matthew 22.37-38. If you actually worship Satan, whether you do so knowingly or not, you commit great sin. If you do not worship God, not agreeing with what I’ve shown you from the Bible, you still commit great sin. For that sin you will be punished.

Consider First Samuel 15.22-23:

 

22    And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.

23    For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.

 

You engage in all the religious activity, but do you love God? Do you do what He commanded you to do? No. And because you do not love God, you are just as a witch or an idolater. Which gets back to you being a Satan worshiper in fact, if not in perception.

Will you flee your sins and come to Christ? If not, then look forward to what Hebrews 10.26-31 decrees for you:

 

26    For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,

27    But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

28    He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:

29    Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

30    For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.

31    It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

 

My friend, don’t walk out of here without seeking the Savior of sinful men’s souls. Hebrews 12.2-3:

 

2      Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

3      For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

 

Consider what He did for you; His suffering, His bleeding, His dying on the cross. Don’t despise Him and what He did for you. And don’t think that some pretense at conversion will fool God, like Esau, Hebrews 12.17:

 

“For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.”

 

Recognize that you don’t want to face God by yourself, Hebrews 12.29:

 

“For our God is a consuming fire.”

 

Satan is the master deceiver. He has transformed himself into an angel of light to so many people. I urge you to consider the state of your soul before God. Make my God your God by coming to His Son Jesus Christ.



[1] James Hastings, editor, The Encyclopedia of Religion, (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1908, I:326), Houtsma, Arnold, Basset, Hartman, editors, Encyclopedia of Islam, (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1913, I:302, Anthony Mercatante, editor, Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend, “The Facts on File”, (New York, 1983, I:41), Henry Preserved Smith, The Bible and Islam: or, the Influence of the Old and New Testament on the Religion of Mohammed, (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1897), page 102, E. M. Wherry, A Comprehensive Commentary on the Quran, (Osnabrück: Otto Zeller Verlag, 1973), page 36.

[2] It is a well known fact archaeologically speaking that the crescent moon was the symbol of worship of the Moon god both in Arabia and throughout the Middle East in pre-Islamic times. Archaeologists have excavated numerous statues and hieroglyphic inscriptions in which a crescent moon was seated on the top of the head of the deity to symbolise the worship of the moon-god. Interestingly, whilst the moon was generally worshipped as a female deity in the Ancient Near East, the Arabs viewed it as a male deity. 

 In Mesopotamia the Sumerian god Nanna, named Sin by the Akkadians, was worshipped in particular in Ur, where he was the chief god of the city, and also in the city of Harran in Syria, which had close religious links with Ur. The Ugaritic texts have shown that there a moon deity was worshipped under the name yrh. On the monuments the god is represented by the symbol of the crescent moon. At Hazor in Palestine a small Canaanite shrine of the late Bronze Age was discovered which contained a basalt stele depicting two hands lifted as if in prayer to a crescent moon, indicating that the shrine was dedicated to the Moon god.

 http://www.biblebelievers.org.au/moongod.htm 11/9/14

[3] John 8.44


Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org