A Sweet-Smelling Aroma, an Acceptable Sacrifice

Nevertheless you have done well that you have 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. And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:14-19

Praise the Lord! I love the fact that Paul was thanking them for their gift, what they sent, “not because I desire a gift. I desire that fruit might abound to your account.” Now God has a very interesting bookkeeping system, your investments that you are making into His kingdom will bring fruitful dividends to your account. Jesus tells us, “Don’t lay up for yourself treasures on earth where moth and rust can corrupt and decay and thieves can break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven where these things cannot happen, rust, corruption, etc. For where your treasure is there will be your heart also.”  (Matthew 6:19-21)  God accounts to the person who supports the missionary the fruit that comes from the missionary’s service. He wrote in Romans 10, How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:14-15)  And because a clear message of the gospel must precede true saving faith, and true faith always has content—the revealed Word of God. So that is why God says, those that send out these missionaries, share in whatever fruit there is from their ministries. Which ultimately is salvation. Salvation comes to those who hear and believe the facts of the gospel.

Concerning giving and receiving—Paul used 3 business terms. “Concerning” could be translated “account.” “Giving and receiving” refer to expenditures and receipts, Paul was a faithful minister/steward of God’s resources and kept careful records of what he received and spent. Though Paul had planted many churches, it was only the Philippians who sent Paul provisions to meet his needs. We can find from the studying of the maps recorded in the Bible for us, usually kept at the last pages of the Bible, how Paul traveled more than 5 thousand miles by sail or by land. That is like traveling from California to New York and about a third of the way back. So you can see why Paul was emphatic as to remind the Christians at Philippi, your giving to me did not go unnoticed by God. The fruit—The Greek word can be translated “profit.” Abounds to your account—The Philippians were in effect storing up for themselves treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:20). The gifts they were giving Paul were accruing eternal dividends to their spiritual account: There is one who scatters, yet increases more; and there is one who withholds more than is right, but it leads to poverty.  The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself.  (Proverbs 11:24-25) The one who gives unto the work of the Lord, receives far more than any other investment in this life.

A sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God—In the Old Testament sacrificial system, every sacrifice was to provide a fragrant aroma and be acceptable to God only if it was offered with the correct attitude toward God. In the New Testament, the Philippians gift was a spiritual sacrifice; Paul wrote an example of a spiritual sacrifice in Romans 12: I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service (v.1). For those in Christ, the only acceptable worship is to offer themselves completely to the Lord, and bring their whole body under God’s control, and offer themselves as an instrument of righteousness. Spiritual sacrifices mean God-honoring, and like Christ under the direction of the Holy Spirit and in guidance of the Word of God.

And my God shall supply all your need—According to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Now who can measure that kind of riches? 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). Would God do less for His children than He did for His enemies? Freely give—This word means “to bestow out of grace.” If the Lord is leading, if the Holy Spirit is prompting us, you will need faith to continue in the work of the Lord. When it is man leading, the flesh response is to focus on what it doesn’t have, usually money. And that onus is placed like a burden on the church. There is no biblical finding that whatever God has started, it never got completed because they ran out of money. God is our provision in yet so much more than just mere monetary assets. He gives to us the true spiritual riches of faith, hope, and love, the greatest of these being love (1 Corinthians 13:13), so that we will be fruitful men and women in the church, the body of Christ.

Beloved friend, Jesus is our sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God. The gospels record of a woman who breaks an alabaster jar of fragrant oil over the head of Jesus, some where indignant because they deemed it to be a waste of what was costly, Jesus rebuked their thoughts and actions by saying this was done to prepare for My burial. Jesus knew He would be going to the cross, to suffer and die for our sins. Jesus did say this: you have the poor with you always—meaning we will always have a chance to minister to those who have less than we do, but Jesus Himself we will not always have. This means that in our lifetime, Jesus will always make Himself available to us, to those of us who come to Him in faith. But if we continue believing that one day, some day I’ll come to Him, That day might not come to you. Do put off another day if you have not been reconciled to God yet. How foolish for anyone to assume we have tomorrow! Tomorrow might not come for some of us. But for those who are in Christ, continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and do not be moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard and was preached to every creature under heaven (Colossians 1:23), always know how much more God has in store for us, for those who are willing to give themselves over to Him. Praise God, for His work of salvation in us!

May the Lord bless your walk with Him!



Author: rontrujillo

Married 37 years We have six children. All of whom are adult. Three are married one of them blessed us with three beautiful grandchildren. Retired Firefighter @ Boeing Aircraft 37 years (Formally McDonnell Douglas) Born Again Summer of 1981

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