But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odor of a sweet smell…
I. THE INDIVIDUAL RECEIVING THE BENEFIT.
1. A Christian. The first duty of Christians is towards each other. Charity does not stay at home, but it begins there. The largest hearted charity towards the ends of the earth will not excuse parsimoniousness towards our fellow believers close at hand.
2. An aged Christian. Paul has borne the burden and heat of the day. Every Christian has a claim upon his brother Christian, but those who have the greatest claim are those who are worn out in the service of their Master.
3. A poor Christian. Although an apostle and richly endowed, Paul never employed his endowments on his own behalf. After having surrendered the brightest prospects he was now dependent on the charities of God's people. "Blessed is the man who considereth the poor."
4. A Christian minister, who having expended his spiritual gifts on his people, had a right to their temporal support.
II. THE BENEFIT BESTOWED. "A sacrifice."
1. In the truest sense there is now no real sacrifice. By one offering Christ hath perfected forever them who are sanctified.
2. But in an inferior sense sacrifices are still offered. There is "the sacrifice of praise" and the sacrifice of charity. To do good and to communicate forget not, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased."
3. The essence of sacrifice is self-denial. It is that which costs the offerer something.
III. THE VALUE OF THE BENEFIT.
1. In relation to God. It is acceptable and well-pleasing to Him —
(1) From the motive from which it springs.
(2) From the good it does.
2. In relation to the object of the benefit.
(1) It produces satisfaction and gratitude.
(2) It becomes a means of usefulness. "Fruit to your account."
(J. H. Evans, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.