But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
I. MAN'S NEEDS AND GOD'S WEALTH.
1. Man's needs are —
(1) Physical. There is no creature with so many wants.
(a) The creatures far beneath him have not so long and so helpless an infancy, and acquire much sooner the means of self support.
(b) There are successive births in the same life. Man passes from one stage to another, higher and still higher; but he never reaches the platform where he finds perfection.
(c) We may learn the greatness of his nature from the character of his wants. He must have a world made for him and all things in it must serve him.
(d) His needs are constantly recurring. He has marvellous powers of receptivity. The world may empty its treasures at his feet, and yet leave crying needs.
(2) Social. Life can only develope itself by clinging to other forms of life. The affections require some object round which to twine, and thus give beauty to life. The words father, mother, brother, etc., represent the needs of his social nature. Let him be deprived of any of these and he ever after feels that he is poor.
(3) Mental. The mind in its best state is like the garden of Eden; but it may be like a wilderness which brings forth only thorns. It needs teachers, books, culture; the libraries of the world represent its needs.
(a) Man is a sinner, and that is enough to express his utter poverty. He needs nothing short of God's great salvation. He has left his Father's house and gone into a far country, and having spent all, he begins to be in want.
(b) With the new life there are new capacities. He wants light — the conditions of life — and God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness must shine in our heart. He wants love — God. Nothing short of the Infinite can satisfy him.
(c) There are great changes in this life which give birth to great needs.
(d) There are needs which stretch into the future. Man has time, he wants eternity; he has earth, he wants heaven; he has houses and lands, he needs "an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not away." He wants the perfect life, without suffering, without sin, without sorrow.
2. God's wealth. How poor all words are in describing the riches of God, the boundless wealth of His nature.
(1) There are some figures that help us; there is the sun. God is our Sun. The sun pours light not only on the tops of the mountains, but into the depths of the valleys; gives colourings to the countless leaves that quiver in mighty forests, and kindles the incense of the world. There are the pulsations of the ocean. In its fulness it pours its tide on our shores, and its waters flow on till they have filled every bay and creek and inlet. The pulsations of God's goodness are felt through the universe: "The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works."(2) There are some titles that help us, such as the "God of hope," the "God of peace," the "God of all comfort," the "God of all grace," the "Father of mercies," the "Father of lights." But what a revelation of God's wealth we have when we are told "God is love." His promises represent His wealth, and are convertible into realities any day and any hour. His gospel reveals His purposes, His thoughts, His grace. Do you want mercy? "He keepeth mercy;" it is treasured in His nature as in a storehouse. Strength? "He giveth power to the faint." Truth for your understanding? There are revelations as you are able to bear them, visions regulated by the soul's capacities to see them. Love for your heart? Build a sanctuary, let its dimensions be vast, for in proportion to the greatness of the temple will be the manifestations of the Divinity. Get up into one of the world's highest mountains and look around, and then claim all.
II. THE EXPERIENCE OF THE HIGHEST LIFE SHOWS THE CONNECTION BETWEEN THE NEEDS OF MAN AND THE WEALTH OF GOD.
1. The life of the apostle illustrates our text. One class of needs creates another, and if the highest are supplied the others can be endured. The man who wrote the text had suffered every kind of need, and had therefore large conceptions of human want; but his need had been supplied, and therefore he had large conceptions of God's wealth.
2. We have the best illustrations of this in his prayers. We may learn from the prayers of men how great the wealth of God must be. "God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think." if our needs took outward form, what endless processions we should see going up to the throne of God, all asking. What prayers have gone up from tabernacle, temple, venerable sanctuaries, the pavements of which are worn by generations of kneeling worshippers. What prayers have gone up from men in the depths, from men in the height! What prayers we have heard prayed from our fathers and mothers! What prayers we have prayed. The answers to these reveal the connection between man's needs and God's wealth.
III. WITH WHAT CERTAINTY THE APOSTLE SPEAKS. This certainty must have come from his faith in God.
1. In the affluence of the Divine life. The universe is but the outward clothing of the thought of God. The gospel with its provision for the need of man is the revelation of the heart of God, and the outpouring of its love.
2. In the benevolence of the Divine nature, wherever God proclaims His name, He makes His goodness to pass before men. If our relationship to our children is the proof of our willingness to give them good gifts, how much more so in regard to God.
3. In the inexhaustibleness of the Divine resources. God is a fountain always overflowing: if the streams should fail there would be a universal bankruptcy of life.
IV. WITH WHAT INTENSE SATISFACTION THE APOSTLE SPEAKS. He had a large mind and heart, and fitly represented the genius of Christianity. There are some who think only of themselves, and appear to value the gospel all the more because they limit it to a few. If they have bread, they care not if the whole race starves; if they are saved, they care not if the whole world is lost. But this treasure was placed in the apostle's hands and in ours that man may be enriched. Our need supplied is an assurance that God will supply the need of every man.
V. GOD SUPPLIES OUR NEEDS THROUGH JESUS CHRIST. How much more precious gifts are when they come through the hands of those who love us.
(H. J. Bevis.)
Parallel VersesKJV: But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.