Philippians Chapter Four
The Philippians were therefore to stand fast in the Lord. This is difficult when the general tone is lowered; painful also, for one's walk becomes much more solitary, and the hearts of others are straitened. But the Spirit has very plainly given us the example, the principle, the character, and the strength of this walk. With the eye on Christ all is easy; and communion with Him gives light and certainty; and is worth all the rest which perhaps we lose.
The apostle nevertheless spoke gently of those persons. They were not like the false judaising teachers who corrupted the sources of life, and stopped up the path of communion with God in love. They had lost this life of communion, or had never had more than the appearance of it. He wept for them.
I think that the apostle sent his letter by Epaphroditus, who probably also wrote it from the apostle's dictation; as was done with regard to all the epistles, except that to the Galatians, which, as he tells us, he wrote with his own hand. When therefore he says (chap. 4:3), "true [or faithful] yokefellow," he speaks as I think, of Epaphroditus, and addresses him.
But he notices also two sisters even, who were not of one mind in resisting the enemy. In every way he desired unity of heart and mind. He entreats Epaphroditus (if indeed it be he) as the Lord's servant to help those faithful women who had laboured in concert with Paul to spread the gospel. Euodias and Syntyche were perhaps of the number-the connection of thought makes it probable. Their activity, having gone beyond the measure of their spiritual life, betrayed them into an exercise of self-will which set them at variance. Nevertheless they were not forgotten, together with Clement and others, who were fellow-labourers with the apostle himself, whose names were in the book of life. For love for the Lord remembers all that His grace does; and this grace has a place for each of His own.
The apostle returns to the practical exhortations addressed to the faithful, with regard to their ordinary life, that they might walk according to their heavenly calling. "Rejoice in the Lord." If he even weeps over many who call themselves Christians, he rejoices always in the Lord; in Him is that which nothing can alter. This is not an indifference to sorrow which hinders weeping, but it is a spring of joy which enlarges when there is distress, because of its immutability, and which becomes even more pure in the heart the more it becomes the only one; and it is in itself the only spring that is infinitely pure. When it is our only spring, we thereby love others. If we love them besides Him, we lose something of Him. When through exercise of heart we are weaned from all other springs, His joy remains in all its purity, and our concern for others partakes of this same purity. Nothing moreover troubles this joy, because Christ never changes. The better we know Him, the better are we able to enjoy that which is ever enlarging through knowing Him. But he exhorts Christians to rejoice: it is a testimony to the worth of Christ, it is their true portion. Four years in prison chained to a soldier had not hindered his doing it, nor being able to exhort others more at ease than he.
Now this same thing will make them moderate and meek; their passions will not be excited by other things if Christ is enjoyed. Moreover He is at hand. A little while, and all for which men strive will give place to Him whose presence bridles the will (or rather puts it aside) and fills the heart. We are not to be moved by things here below until He shall come. When He comes, we shall be fully occupied with other things.
Not only are the will and the passions to be bridled and silenced, but anxieties also. We are in relationship with God; in all things He is our refuge; and events do not disturb Him. He knows the end from the beginning. He knows everything, He knows it beforehand; events shake neither His throne, nor His heart; they always accomplish His purposes. But to us He is love; we are through grace the objects of His tender care. He listens to us and bows down His ear to hear us. In all things therefore, instead of disquieting ourselves and weighing everything in our own hearts, we ought to present our requests to God with prayer, with supplication, with a heart that makes itself known (for we are human beings) but with the knowledge of the heart of God (for He loves us perfectly); so that, even while making our petition to Him, we can already give thanks, because we are sure of the answer of His grace, be it what it may; and it is our requests that we are to present to Him. Nor is it a cold commandment to find out His will and then come: we are to go with our requests. Hence it does not say, you will have what you ask; but God's peace will keep your hearts. This is trust; and His peace, the peace of God Himself, shall keep our hearts. It does not say that our hearts shall keep the peace of God; but, having cast our burden on Him whose peace nothing can disturb, His peace keeps our hearts. Our trouble is before Him, and the constant peace of the God of love, who takes charge of everything and knows all beforehand, quiets our disburdened hearts, and imparts to us the peace which is in Himself and which is above all understanding (or at least keeps our hearts by it), even as He Himself is above all the circumstances that can disquiet us, and above the poor human heart that is troubled by them. Oh, what grace! that even our anxieties are a means of our being filled with this marvellous peace, if we know how to bring them to God, and true He is. May we learn indeed how to maintain this intercourse with God and its reality, in order that we may converse with Him and understand His ways with believers!
Moreover, the Christian, although walking (as we have seen) in the midst of evil and of trial, is to occupy himself with all that is good, and is able to do it when thus at peace, to live in this atmosphere, so that it shall pervade his heart, that he shall be habitually where God is to be found. This is an all-important command. We may be occupied with evil in order to condemn it; we may be right, but this is not communion with God in that which is good. But if occupied through His grace with that which is good, with that which comes from Himself, the God of peace is with us. In trouble we shall have the peace of God; in our ordinary life, if it be of this nature, we shall have the God of peace. Paul was the practical example of this; with regard to their walk, by following him in that which they had learnt and heard from him and seen in him, they should find that God was with them.
Nevertheless, although such was his experience, he rejoiced greatly that their loving care of him had flourished again. He could indeed take refuge in God; but it was sweet to him in the Lord to have this testimony on their part. It is evident that he had been in need; but it was the occasion of more entire trust in God. We can easily gather this from his language; but, he delicately adds, he would not, by saying that their care of him had now at last flourished again, imply that they had forgotten him. The care for him was in their hearts; but they had not had the opportunity of giving expression to their love. Neither did he speak in regard of want; he had learnt-for it is practical experience and its blessed result we find here-to be content under all circumstances, and thus to depend on no one. He knew how to be abased: he knew how to abound; in every way he was instructed both to be full and to be hungry, to be in abundance and to suffer want. He could do all things through Him who strengthened him. Sweet and precious experience! not only because it gives ability to meet all circumstances, which is of great price, but because the Lord is known, the constant, faithful, mighty friend of the heart. It is not 'I can do all things,' but "I can do all through him who strengtheneth me." It is a strength which continually flows from a relationship with Christ, a connection with Him maintained in the heart. Neither is it only 'One can do all things.' This is true; but Paul had learnt it practically. He knew what he could be assured of and reckon on-what ground he stood on. Christ had always been faithful to him, had brought him through so many difficulties and through so many seasons of prosperity, that he had learnt to trust in Him, and not in circumstances. And Christ was the same ever. Still the Philippians had done well, and it was not forgotten. From the first God had bestowed this grace upon them, and they had supplied the apostle's need, even when he was not with them. He remembered it with affection, not that he desired a gift, but fruit to their own account. "But," he says, "I have all," his heart turning back to the simple expression of his love He was in abundance, having received by Epaphroditus that which they had sent him, an acceptable sacrifice of sweet odour, well-pleasing to God.
His heart rested in God; his assurance with regard to the Philippians expresses it. My God, he says, shall richly supply all your need. He does not express a wish that God may do so. He had learnt what his God was by his own experience. My God, he says, He whom I have learnt to know in all the circumstances through which I have passed, shall fill you with all good things. And here he returns to His character as he had known Him. God would do it according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. There he had learnt to know Him at the beginning; and such he had known Him all along his varied path, so full of trials here and of joys from above. Accordingly he thus concludes: "Now unto our God and Father"-for such He was to the Philippians also-"be glory for ever and ever." He applies his own experience of that which God was to him, and his experience of the faithfulness of Christ, to the Philippians. This satisfied his love, and gave him rest with regard to them. It is a comfort when we think of the assembly of God.
He sends the greeting of the brethren who were with him, and of the saints in general, especially those of Caesar's household; for even there God had found some who through grace had listened to His voice of love.
He ends with the salutation which was a token in all his epistles that they were from himself.
The present state of the assembly, of the children of God, dispersed anew, and often as sheep without a shepherd, is a very different condition of ruin from that in which the apostle wrote; but this only adds more value to the experience of the apostle which God has been pleased to give us; the experience of a heart which trusted in God alone, and which applies this experience to the condition of those who are deprived of the natural resources that belonged to the organised body, to the body of Christ as God had formed it on earth. As a whole, the epistle shews proper christian experience, that is, superiority, as walking in the Spirit, to everything through which we have to pass. It is remarkable to see that sin is not mentioned in it, nor flesh, save to say he had no confidence in it.
He had at this time a thorn in the flesh himself, but the proper experience of the Christian is walking in the Spirit above and out of the reach of all that may bring the flesh into activity.
The reader will remark that chapter 3 sets the glory before the Christian and gives the energy of christian life; chapter 2, the self-emptying and abasement of Christ, and founds thereon the graciousness of the christian life, and thoughtfulness of others: while the last chapter gives a blessed superiority to all circumstances.
── John Darby《Synopsis of Philippians》
The apostle exhorts the Philippians to stand fast in the Lord. (1) Gives directions to some, and to all in general. (2-9) Expresses contentment in every condition of life. (10-19) He concludes with prayer to God the Father, and his usual blessing. (20-23)
Commentary on Philippians 4:1
(Read Philippians 4:1)
The believing hope and prospect of eternal life, should make us steady and constant in our Christian course. There is difference of gifts and graces, yet, being renewed by the same Spirit, we are brethren. To stand fast in the Lord, is to stand fast in his strength, and by his grace.
Commentary on Philippians 4:2-9
(Read Philippians 4:2-9)
Let believers be of one mind, and ready to help each other. As the apostle had found the benefit of their assistance, he knew how comfortable it would be to his fellow-labourers to have the help of others. Let us seek to give assurance that our names are written in the book of life. Joy in God is of great consequence in the Christian life; and Christians need to be again and again called to it. It more than outweighs all causes for sorrow. Let their enemies perceive how moderate they were as to outward things, and how composedly they suffered loss and hardships. The day of judgment will soon arrive, with full redemption to believers, and destruction to ungodly men. There is a care of diligence which is our duty, and agrees with a wise forecast and due concern; but there is a care of fear and distrust, which is sin and folly, and only perplexes and distracts the mind. As a remedy against perplexing care, constant prayer is recommended. Not only stated times for prayer, but in every thing by prayer. We must join thanksgivings with prayers and supplications; not only seek supplies of good, but own the mercies we have received. God needs not to be told our wants or desires; he knows them better than we do; but he will have us show that we value the mercy, and feel our dependence on him. The peace of God, the comfortable sense of being reconciled to God, and having a part in his favour, and the hope of the heavenly blessedness, are a greater good than can be fully expressed. This peace will keep our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus; it will keep us from sinning under troubles, and from sinking under them; keep us calm and with inward satisfaction. Believers are to get and to keep a good name; a name for good things with God and good men. We should walk in all the ways of virtue, and abide therein; then, whether our praise is of men or not, it will be of God. The apostle is for an example. His doctrine and life agreed together. The way to have the God of peace with us, is to keep close to our duty. All our privileges and salvation arise in the free mercy of God; yet the enjoyment of them depends on our sincere and holy conduct. These are works of God, pertaining to God, and to him only are they to be ascribed, and to no other, neither men, words, nor deeds.
Commentary on Philippians 4:10-19
(Read Philippians 4:10-19)
It is a good work to succour and help a good minister in trouble. The nature of true Christian sympathy, is not only to feel concern for our friends in their troubles, but to do what we can to help them. The apostle was often in bonds, imprisonments, and necessities; but in all, he learned to be content, to bring his mind to his condition, and make the best of it. Pride, unbelief, vain hankering after something we have not got, and fickle disrelish of present things, make men discontented even under favourable circumstances. Let us pray for patient submission and hope when we are abased; for humility and a heavenly mind when exalted. It is a special grace to have an equal temper of mind always. And in a low state not to lose our comfort in God, nor distrust his providence, nor take any wrong course for our own supply. In a prosperous condition not to be proud, or secure, or worldly. This is a harder lesson than the other; for the temptations of fulness and prosperity are more than those of affliction and want. The apostle had no design to urge them to give more, but to encourage such kindness as will meet a glorious reward hereafter. Through Christ we have grace to do what is good, and through him we must expect the reward; and as we have all things by him, let us do all things for him, and to his glory.
Commentary on Philippians 4:20-23
(Read Philippians 4:20-23)
The apostle ends with praises to God. We should look upon God, under all our weakness and fears, not as an enemy, but as a Father, disposed to pity us and help us. We must give glory to God as a Father. God's grace and favour, which reconciled souls enjoy, with the whole of the graces in us, which flow from it, are all purchased for us by Christ's merit, and applied by his pleading for us; and therefore are justly called the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
── Matthew Henry《Concise Commentary on Philippians》
 Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.
So stand — As ye have done hitherto.
 I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord.
I beseech — He repeats this twice, as if speaking to each face to face, and that with the utmost tenderness.
 And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.
And I entreat thee also, true yokefellow — St. Paul had many fellowlabourers, but not many yokefellows. In this number was Barnabas first, and then Silas, whom he probably addresses here; for Silas had been his yokefellow at the very place, Acts 16:19.
Help those women who laboured together with me — Literally, who wrestled. The Greek word doth not imply preaching, or anything of that kind; but danger and toil endured for the sake of the gospel, which was also endured at the same time, probably at Philippi, by Clement and my other fellowlabourers - This is a different word from the former, and does properly imply fellowpreachers. Whose names, although not set down here, are in the book of life - As are those of all believers. An allusion to the wrestlers in the Olympic games, whose names were all enrolled in a book. Reader, is thy name there? Then walk circumspectly, lest the Lord blot thee out of his book!
 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.
Let your gentleness — Yieldingness, sweetness of temper, the result of joy in the Lord.
Be known — By your whole behaviour.
To all men — Good and bad, gentle and froward. Those of the roughest tempers are good natured to some, from natural sympathy and various motives; a Christian, to all.
The Lord — The judge, the rewarder, the avenger.
Is at hand — Standeth at the door.
 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
Be anxiously careful for nothing - If men are not gentle towards you, yet neither on this, nor any other account, be careful, but pray. Carefulness and prayer cannot stand together.
In every thing — Great and small.
Let your requests be made known — They who by a preposterous shame or distrustful modesty, cover, stifle, or keep in their desires, as if they were either too small or too great, must be racked with care; from which they are entirely delivered, who pour them out with a free and filial confidence.
To God — It is not always proper to disclose them to men.
By supplication — Which is the enlarging upon and pressing our petition.
With thanksgiving — The surest mark of a soul free from care, and of prayer joined with true resignation. This is always followed by peace. Peace and thanksgiving are both coupled together, Colossians 3:15.
 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
And the peace of God — That calm, heavenly repose, that tranquility of spirit, which God only can give.
Which surpasseth all understanding — Which none can comprehend, save he that receiveth it.
Shall keep — Shall guard, as a garrison does a city.
Your hearts — Your affections.
Your minds — Your understandings, and all the various workings of them; through the Spirit and power of Christ Jesus, in the knowledge and love of God. Without a guard set on these likewise, the purity and vigour of our affections cannot long be preserved.
 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Finally — To sum up all.
Whatsoever things are true — Here are eight particulars placed in two fourfold rows; the former containing their duty; the latter, the commendation of it. The first word in the former row answers the first in the latter; the second word, the second and so on.
True — In speech.
Honest — In action.
Just — With regard to others.
Pure — With regard to yourselves.
Lovely — And what more lovely than truth? Of good report - As is honesty, even where it is not practised.
If there be any virtue — And all virtues are contained in justice.
If there be any praise — In those things which relate rather to ourselves than to our neighbour.
Think on these things — That ye may both practise them yourselves, and recommend them to others.
 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
The things which ye have learned — As catechumens.
And received — By continual instructions.
And heard and seen — In my life and conversation.
These do, and the God of peace shall be with you — Not only the peace of God, but God himself, the fountain of peace.
 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.
I rejoiced greatly — St. Paul was no Stoic: he had strong passions, but all devoted to God.
That your care of me hath flourished again — As a tree blossoms after the winter.
Ye wanted opportunity — Either ye had not plenty yourselves, or you wanted a proper messenger.
 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
I have learned — From God. He only can teach this.
In everything, therewith to be content — Joyfully and thankfully patient. Nothing less is Christian content. We may observe a beautiful gradation in the expressions, I have learned; I know; I am instructed; I can.
 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
I know how to be abased — Having scarce what is needful for my body.
And to abound — Having wherewith to relieve others also. Presently after, the order of the words is inverted, to intimate his frequent transition from scarcity to plenty, and from plenty to scarcity.
I am instructed — Literally, I am initiated in that mystery, unknown to all but Christians.
Both to be full and to be hungry — For one day.
Both to abound and to want — For a longer season.
 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
I can do all things — Even fulfil all the will of God.
 Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only.
In the beginning of the gospel — When it was first preached at Philippi.
In respect of giving — On your part.
And receiving — On mine.
 Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.
Not that I desire — For my own sake, the very gift which I receive of you.
 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.
An odour of a sweet smell — More pleasing to God than the sweetest perfumes to men.
 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
All your need — As ye have mine.
According to his riches in glory — In his abundant, eternal glory.
── John Wesley《Explanatory Notes on Philippians》
A person whose cancer has been arrested may say, “I am so thankful to God.” That is praise. But a person who is dying of cancer and in pain may calmly say, “Everything is all right. The Lord doesn’t make mistakes. I have peace in my heart.” That is “the peace that passes all understanding.”
Chapter 4. The Strength of Believers
Do Not Be
Pray for Everything
I. Agreement in the Lord
II. The Secret to Prevail Surroundings
III. Thanks for Gifts
── Chih-Hsin Chang《An Outline of The New Testament》
Chapter Four General Review
OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS CHAPTER
1) To notice Paul's tactfulness in dealing with Euodia and Syntyche
2) To glean Paul's secrets for joy, peace, contentment, and strength
3) To consider how Paul viewed the Philippians' generosity towards him
This final chapter begins with a series of exhortations to unity, joy,
and peace. With great affection, Paul pleads with his beloved
Philippians to stand fast in the Lord (1). With great diplomacy and a
call for assistance from others, he implores Euodia and Syntyche to be
of one mind in the Lord (3-4). He then follows with a call for them
to rejoice always in the Lord, letting their gentleness be known to
all, and through prayer and supplication with thanksgiving to allow the
peace of God remove any anxiety (5-7). His final exhortations include
a call to meditate on things of virtue and worthy of praise, and to
imitate his example in order to ensure that God will be with them
At last he comes to the matter which occasioned this letter, expressing
joy and gratitude for the gift they had sent to him by way of
Epaphroditus. As they had done before on several occasions, so now
they had provided for his necessities. He is thankful, even though he
was quite content, for he knows that this gift really abounds to their
account, serving as a sweet-smelling sacrifice that is well pleasing to
His closing remarks include praise to God, and greetings from those
with him, especially members of Caesar's household. As was his custom,
he closes with a final prayer that the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ
be with them all (20-23).
I. EXHORTATIONS TO UNITY, JOY, AND PEACE (1-9)
A. AN APPEAL TO EUODIA AND SYNTYCHE (1-3)
1. Prefaced with an exhortation to stand fast in the Lord (1)
2. A plea for Euodia and Syntyche to be of the same mind in the
3. A request for assistance in helping these women (3)
B. EXHORTATIONS TO REJOICE AND TO BE AT PEACE (4-9)
1. Rejoice in the Lord always, letting your gentleness be known
to all (4-5)
2. Through prayer, allow the peace of God to guard your hearts
from anxiety (6-7)
3. Meditate upon things worthy of virtue and praise, and follow
Paul's example (8-9)
II. THANKSGIVING FOR THEIR GENEROSITY (10-23)
A. THEIR GIFT A SOURCE OF JOY TO PAUL (10-14)
1. Paul rejoiced when they were able to care for him again (10)
2. Not that he really had need (11-13)
a. For he had learned contentment (11-12)
b. For he had the strength of Christ (13)
3. But they have done well to share in his distress (14)
B. THEIR GIFT A SOURCE OF BLESSING FOR THEMSELVES (15-19)
1. A brief history of their giving to Paul (15-16)
2. Their giving abounds to their own account, viewed as an
acceptable sacrifice to God (17-18)
3. God will supply all their needs according to His riches (19)
C. CONCLUDING REMARKS (20-23)
1. Praise to God (20)
2. Greetings from those with Paul, especially those of Caesar's
3. Final benediction of grace from the Lord Jesus Christ (23)
REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE CHAPTER
1) What are the main points of this chapter?
- Exhortations to unity, joy, and peace (1-9)
- Thanksgiving for their generosity (10-23)
2) How does Paul describe his brethren as he exhorts them to stand fast
in the Lord? (1)
- My beloved and longed-for brethren
- My joy and crown
3) What two women does Paul implore to be of the same mind in the Lord?
- Euodia and Syntyche
4) What is said about these two women? (3)
- They labored with Paul in the gospel
- Their names were in the Book of Life
5) In what are we to rejoice always? (4)
- In the Lord
6) Why are we to let our gentleness (or moderation) be known to all
- The Lord is at hand
7) What is the antidote for anxiety? (6)
- Letting our requests be made known to God with an attitude of
8) What will the peace of God do in response to such thankful prayer?
- Guard our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus
9) Upon what should one meditate? (8)
- Whatever things are true
- Whatever things are noble
- Whatever things are just
- Whatever things are pure
- Whatever things are lovely
- Whatever things are of good report
- Anything of virtue, anything that is praiseworthy
10) How can one ensure that the God of peace will be them? (9)
- Do the things learned, received, heard, and seen in Paul
11) What had served as a source of great joy for Paul? (10)
- The Philippians' care for him flourishing again
12) What had Paul learned? (11-12)
- To be content in whatever state he found himself
13) How was Paul able to do all things? (13)
- Through Christ who strengthens him
14) When had the church at
Philippihelped Paul before? (15-16)
- When he departed from
- On at least two occasions when he was at Thessalonica
15) Why was Paul really pleased with their gift? (17)
- He knew that it added to their account
16) How did Paul view the gift they had sent by way of Epaphroditus?
- A sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to
17) Who would provide help for the Philippians? (19)
- God, according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus
18) Who in particular sent greetings to the Philippians by way of Paul?
- Those of Caesar's household
19) What was Paul's final prayer for his beloved Philippians? (23)
- The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all
The Art Of Making Peace (4:1-3)
1. Even in "good" churches you often find brethren who have differences
with each other; such was the case with the church at
2. As Paul continues with various exhortations to the Christian life, at
this point in his epistle he addresses his comments concerning a rift
that apparently existed among two members at
3. How Paul approaches the sensitive task of trying to make peace between
Euodia and Syntyche provides several lessons in the use of tact
a. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are to be known as "peacemakers"
b. From Paul, then, let us learn what we can about "The Art Of Making
[The first lesson, gleaned from verse one, is...]
I. THE PEACEMAKER MUST LOVE THOSE ON BOTH SIDES (1)
A. PAUL STARTS OUT BY EXPRESSING HIS LOVE...
1. Note the terms used by Paul...
a. "my brothers"
b. "beloved and longed for"
c. "my joy and crown"
2. Truly Paul loved the people at
B. PEACEMAKERS MUST DO THE SAME...
1. They must have sincere love for those on both sides of an issue
2. They must be able and willing to express their love, as did Paul
3. Otherwise, they cannot be useful arbitrators in making peace
a. Loving one side, and not the other, makes impartial judgments
b. The peacemaker's advice and counsel will be open to suspicion
[With mutual love for those on both sides, the peacemaker is in a
position to render a fair evaluation of the problem and the solution.
Next, we see that...]
II. THE PEACEMAKER SHOULD TREAT BOTH SIDES TENDERLY AND EQUALLY (2)
A. IN THE CASE OF PAUL...
1. Note the use of the verb "implore" (KJV, "beseech") - parakaleo
a. To call to one's side, call for, summon
b. To address, speak to, (call to, call upon), which may be done
in the way of exhortation, entreaty, comfort, instruction,
-- Rather than command, Paul chooses to plead with them
2. Note the repeated and equal use of the verb "implore"
a. "I implore Euodia and I implore Syntyche"
b. Rather than take sides, Paul treats them both tenderly and
B. THERE IS A NEED FOR SUCH PEACEMAKERS TODAY...
1. Individuals who will use tenderness and fairness in treating
those in a dispute
2. Again, remaining impartial, so the counsel will not tainted with
any accusation of bias
[The next insight we can glean from Paul in "The Art Of Making Peace"
III. THE PEACEMAKER MUST SEEK FOR ONENESS OF MIND (2)
A. NOTE PAUL'S OBJECTIVE...
1. That Euodia and Syntyche "be of the same mind in the Lord"
2. A concern of Paul already expressed in this epistle, that there
be - Ph 1:27; 2:2
3. But now applied especially to these two ladies
B. IN MAKING PEACE, THERE MUST BE ONENESS OF MIND...
1. In many "peace agreements", the participants have not truly
reached a oneness of mind, only a compromise
2. Such "agreements" are often only temporary, destroyed when the
remaining differences eventually resurface
3. For Christians, seeking to "be of the same mind in the Lord"
becomes easy if we all strive to have "the mind of Christ"
- Ph 2:2-5
[Not content with only a "cessation of hostilities", the peacemaker
seeks to go much further, dealing with the divisiveness of mind that is
the true cause of the problem.
Note also, that...]
IV. THE PEACEMAKER MUST USE ASSISTANCE WHEN AVAILABLE (3)
A. PAUL WAS NOT TOO PROUD TO CALL FOR HELP...
1. He sought out the assistance of "Syzygus"
a. Literally, "yoke-fellow, true companion"
b. Possibly his true name, which if so, he was being called upon
by Paul to live up to his name!
2. Paul wanted this individual to help these ladies out
B. PEACEMAKERS WILL GLADLY USE THE HELP OTHERS CAN GIVE...
1. Humble, they do not feel like they have to do it all
2. Aware of others who may be in a position to provide counsel or
other means of help, they will glad utilize them
3. Their goal is to make peace, not a reputation for themselves!
[Finally, we can glean from Paul that...]
V. THE PEACEMAKER MUST SEE THE GOOD AND GIVE CREDIT WHEN DUE (3)
A. PAUL DID NOT LOSE SIGHT OF WHOSE THESE WOMEN WERE...
1. They had labored with Paul in the gospel
2. They had labored with Clement
3. They had labored with Paul's other fellow-workers as well (who
though unmentioned by name, had their names in the "Book of
Life" - cf. Re 3:5; 13:8; 17:8; 20:12,15; 21:27; 22:19)
B. SO PEACEMAKERS MUST REMEMBER THE GOOD IN THOSE WITH WHOM THEY
1. It is so easy to forget that those having problems likely have
much good to their credit
2. Recognizing this and giving credit where it is due increases the
likelihood that one's advice will be heeded
1. In a world that is as divided as ours, there is a grave need for those
who can serve as faithful and effective "peacemakers"
2. Hopefully, by considering and applying "The Art Of Making Peace" as
exemplified by the apostle Paul in this passage, we may be useful to
the Lord when called upon to bring divided people together!
Rejoice In The Lord Always! (4:4)
1. In the final chapter of Philippians, we find Paul giving exhortations
that are both specific and general in nature...
a. We saw in verses 1-3 where Paul gave specific exhortations to
individuals there at
b. Now in verse 4, we find the first of several exhortations which
are certainly needful for all Christians:
"Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!"
2. You may recall that "joy" is the keynote of this epistle
a. No less than sixteen times in this epistle, Paul uses the word or
a derivation of it!
b. Cf. Ph 1:4,18(twice),25; 2:2,17(twice),18(twice),28,29; 3:1;
3. In this study, I will share a few observations about how we are to
"Rejoice In The Lord Always!"
[First, notice that...]
I. THIS JOY IS TO BE EXPERIENCED "ALWAYS"
A. NOT JUST AN OCCASIONAL EXPERIENCE, FOR EXCEPTIONAL PEOPLE...
1. But in darkness as well as in light; in trials as well as in
triumphs - cf. Ja 1:2-3; Ro 5:3-4
2. Not just for apostles, but for all Christians - cf. Ja 1:2-3;
1 Pe 4:12-13
B. CONSIDER THE EXAMPLE OF PAUL, WHO FOUND JOY "ALWAYS"...
1. In his prayers - Ph 1:4
2. In the proclamation of the gospel under adverse circumstances
- Ph 1:18
3. In the unity of the saints - Ph 2:2
4. In the prospect of being a martyr for Christ - Ph 2:17
5. In the love of the brethren - Ph 4:10
[Truly Paul rejoiced "always"! But what was his secret? What was the
source of this abiding joy?]
II. THIS ABIDING JOY IS FOUND "IN THE LORD"
A. THERE MAY BE "TEMPORARY" JOY...
1. In drugs (including alcohol and tobacco)
2. In sexual pleasures (whether lawful or unlawful)
3. In material acquisitions
-- But these are at best like riches, which "make themselves wings;
they fly away like an eagle toward heaven" (Pr 23:5); and at
worst, are "the passing pleasures of sin" (He 11:25)
B. BUT THE JOY THAT "ABIDES" IS ONLY "IN THE LORD"...
1. I.e., that which comes from a personal, living and fruitful
relationship with the Lord
2. For "in the Lord" we enjoy:
a. Peace with God - Ro 5:2
b. Help in temptations - 1 Co 10:13; Ph 4:13
c. Assurance of God's companionship in time of trial - He
3. These are the sort of things which provide a true and lasting
[Wouldn't it be wonderful to be able to experience this "abiding joy"?
Well, why don't we? Why do many of those who have a personal
relationship with the Lord often find themselves lacking joy in all
Perhaps it is because...]
III. THERE ARE OFTEN HINDRANCES TO "ABIDING JOY"
A. MEMORIES OF PAST FAILURES; AWARENESS OF PRESENT FAULTS...
1. Such often leaves people in a state of discouragement or
2. Paul, however, provides the solution in Ph 3:12-14
a. Realize your imperfection, yet press on to better things!
b. Forget your past failures, reach forward to future successes!
B. NATURAL TEMPERAMENT OR DISPOSITION...
1. Many people are naturally "melancholy"
a. Through genetic predisposition toward such an attitude
b. Or through environmental influences as we were growing up
2. Yet in Christ, we can be transformed (Ro 12:1-2) and produce
the "fruit of the Spirit" which includes "joy" - Ga 5:22
C. DEPRESSING CIRCUMSTANCES...
1. It is easy to be joyful when everything is going well, but when
things wrong, well...
2. However, we see from the Scriptures that even those times can
be a time for rejoicing if we have the right "perspective"
- Ja 1:2-4
D. SYMPATHY WITH OTHERS...
1. Certainly, a compassionate heart cannot be untouched by the
hardships of others - cf. Ro 12:15
2. And yet, properly spoken words of comfort and counsel can
provide a joyful reprieve from the hardships others bear - cf.
1. "Rejoice in the Lord always"...
a. Does not mean one is to be insensitive to the harsh realities of
b. But it does mean that one does not let the dark realities of life
blind him to the radiance of joy that is found in the Lord!
2. Have you found yourself going through life without the "abiding joy"
discussed in our text, that joy which Peter himself defines as
"inexpressible" (1 Pe 1:8)?
3. If so, then make your relationship with the Lord what it ought to
a. First by rendering complete obedience to His Will
b. And then by letting the counsel of His Spririt-given Word give you
the perspectives necessary to "Rejoice In The Lord Always!"
The Virtue Of Gentleness (4:5)
1. Among several general exhortations which Paul includes in this last
chapter of his epistle to the Philippians, we find the following
"Let your gentleness (moderation,KJV) be known be known to
all men. The Lord is at hand." - Ph 4:5
2. The virtue referred to in this verse is a very important one, and well
worth the time in this lesson taking a closer look at it.
[We begin by noticing...]
I. THE NATURE OF THIS VIRTUE
A. DEFINITION OF "GENTLENESS"... (from Barclay)
1. The word epi-ei-kei-a is one of the most untranslatable words in
2. The difficulty can be seen by the various translations given it:
a. Patience (Wycliffe)
b. Softness (Tyndale, Cranmer)
c. The patient mind (Geneva Bible)
d. Modesty (Rheims Bible)
e. Forbearance (Revised Version)
f. Moderation (King James Version)
g. Sweet Reasonableness (Matthew Arnold)
B. DESCRIPTION OF "GENTLENESS"... (from Erdmans)
1. It describes that courtesy and graciousness which should
characterize a Christian gentleman
2. The term indicates something of "the power of yielding"
a. The ability to give way to the wishes of others
b. The poise of soul which enables one to sacrifice his own
rights, not by necessity, but out of generosity and sympathy
3. It is the opposite of stubbornness and thoughtlessness
4. It was embodied in the man Jesus Christ - cf. 2 Co 10:1
C. "GENTLENESS", THEN... (as defined by Pulpit Commentary)
1. Is the opposite of contention, rigor and severity
2. Is the spirit that enables a man to bear injuries with patience,
and not demand all that is rightly his due, for the sake of
3. A good example of where this virtue is to be applied is seen in
1 Co 6:1-7 (note the willingness to be defrauded enjoined by
the apostle Paul)
[Perhaps with a better grasp of the nature of this virtue, let's now
II. THE DISPLAY OF THIS VIRTUE
A. IT IS TO BE A PERSONAL QUALITY OF ALL CHRISTIANS...
1. Notice that Paul says "Let YOUR gentleness..."
2. Elders especially must display this virtue - 1 Ti 3:3
3. So also should teachers - 2 Ti 2:24-26 (not the same word used
here, but the same idea)
4. Indeed, ALL Christians are to display this virtue - Ti 3:1-2
5. For good reason, for it is a part of that "heavenly wisdom"
which comes from above - Ja 3:17
B. IT IS TO BE KNOWN TO ALL MEN...
1. This is the difficult part of the exhortation
a. It is easy to be considerate, kind, and gentle toward some
b. There are others, however, toward whom it is difficult to
show a spirit of gentleness
2. The hard task, and the real test, is to display this
"gentleness" or "sweet reasonableness" toward...
a. The unkind
b. The thankless
c. The perverse
[But as we continue on with our text, there is good reason to do so...]
III. THE REASON AND MOTIVE FOR DISPLAYING THIS VIRTUE
A. "THE LORD IS AT HAND"...
1. This may possibly mean "the Lord is nearby"
2. Or it could refer to either meeting the Lord at death or at His
final coming, both events are always imminent!
3. He who is our Judge is ever watchful, ever aware of our conduct
and treatment of others
4. One day we will have to answer to this Judge!
B. THE DANGER OF NOT DISPLAYING "GENTLENESS"...
1. If we are not gentle in our treatment of others, do we expect
Him to be gentle in His treatment of us?
2. Remember the "Parable Of The Unforgiving Servant"? - Mt 18:21-35
3. Also, James warning in Ja 2:13
1. The display of this virtue has great advantages...
a. It can contribute much to the comfort of life and the peace of
society, by reducing friction between people - e.g., Pr 15:1
b. It can contribute to promoting the gospel of Christ (as we
demonstrate by our example the "gentleness" found throughout the
2. Are we a "gentle people"? May we ever be, for "the Lord is at hand"!
Speaking of the Lord being at hand, are you living a life pleasing to
How To Be Free From Anxiety (4:6-7)
1. If anyone had good reason to be anxious, it could have been the
a. His beloved friends at Philippi were disagreeing with one another
- Ph 4:1-3
b. There were preachers in Rome who were filled with envy and strife,
and out to "get" Paul - Ph 1:15
c. To top it off, Paul himself was under house arrest, awaiting trial
and his possible execution!
-- Yet we have seen that throughout this epistle the keynote repeated
again and again is "rejoice!"
2. Evidently Paul had found the secret of overcoming anxiety, and
fortunately for us, he shares that secret in Ph 4:6-7
[We shall examine what that secret is, but first, let's take a closer
look at "anxiety" itself...]
I. UNDERSTANDING THE NATURE OF ANXIETY
A. DEFINING THE WORD...
1. The word "anxious" (careful, KJV) is from "merimnao"
2. As defined by THAYER...
a. It means "to be pulled in different directions"
b. For example, our hopes pull us in one direction; our fears
pull us in the opposite direction
c. Thus, to be anxious is to be "pulled apart"!
3. The word "worry" (a synonym for anxiety) in its English origins
presents a different, yet enlightening picture
a. It comes from a word meaning "to strangle"
b. If you have ever really worried, you know how it does indeed
strangle a person!
1) In fact, worry (or anxiety) has definite physical side
effects: headaches, neck pains, ulcers, even back pains
2) Worry affects our thinking, our digestion, and even our
B. ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS ON ANXIETY...
1. From a spiritual perspective, anxiety is:
a. Wrong THINKING and wrong FEELING about circumstances, people
b. The greatest thief of joy
2. It is not enough for us to tell ourselves, "Quit being anxious",
in an effort to stop the thief from stealing our joy
a. Anxiety is "an inside job"
b. It takes more than good intentions to get the victory over
[The "antidote" to anxiety is revealed by Paul in our text, which we
will now look at closely...]
II. WINNING THE VICTORY OVER ANXIETY
A. THE "ANTIDOTE" IS THE RIGHT KIND OF "PRAYING"!
1. In which we pray about "everything"!
a. Like the hymn, Paul counsels us to "take everything to God
b. To put it another way, "Don't worry about ANYTHING, but pray
about EVERYTHING!" is Paul's admonition
c. We are prone to pray about the "big things", and forget to
pray about the "little things"
1) But "little things" left unattended grow up to become "big
2) Therefore, God would have us talk to Him about
2. In which we pray by "prayer and supplication"
a. "Prayer" is the general word for making requests known to God
1) It carries the idea of adoration, devotion, and worship
2) Whenever we find ourselves filled with anxiety, our first
action ought be to spend time alone with God in prayerful
adoration and worship
3) Adoration for God helps us to remember the greatness and
majesty of God
a) We must remember that He is big enough to solve
problems we cannot
b) Too often, we rush into His presence and hastily tell
Him our needs
c) But freedom from anxiety comes when we spend more time
on Who He is, rather than on what our problems are!
4) Having spent time in prayerful adoration, we are now ready
to move on...
b. "Supplication" is where we begin making our requests known to
1) It involves an earnest sharing of our problems and needs
2) Freedom from anxiety does not come from half-hearted,
a) While we know that we are not heard for our "much
speaking" - Mt 6:7-8
b) Still we should realize that our Father wants us to be
earnest and persistent in our asking - Mt 7:7-11
3) An example of this sort of praying is found in He 5:7
a) Jesus offered up "prayers and supplications"
b) He did so, "with vehement cries and tears", suggesting
true earnestness in making His requests
3. In which we pray "with thanksgiving"
a. This implies "appreciation" on our part
1) Certainly the Father delights in hearing His children say
2) Yet so many people are like the nine lepers healed by
Jesus - cf. Lk 17:11-19
3) Are we eager to ask, but slow to appreciate?
b. Note that this "thanksgiving" is to be offered at the same
time we make our requests!
1) Doing this serves to remind us of all the other things God
has done and is doing for us
2) Which in turn helps to keep our problems in perspective
B. SUCH "PRAYING" WILL RESULT IN A FORTRESS GUARDING OUR MINDS AND
1. God may not always remove the problems that were the initial
cause of our anxiety, but He promises a "peace which surpasses
2. It is a peace that the world cannot provide, but He can! - cf.
Jn 14:27; 16:33
3. It is a peace that "guards" (to guard, garrison like a fortress)
our "hearts" and "minds"
a) Guarding the HEART (which is susceptible to wrong feeling)
b) Guarding the MIND (which is susceptible to wrong thinking)
4. This does not mean the absence of trials on the outside, but it
a) A quiet confidence within
b) Regardless of circumstances, people, or things that would
otherwise steal our joy!
1. This wonderful peace, this freedom from anxiety, is the result of
letting our requests be known to God through the right kind of
a. Praying about everything
b. Praying with prayer and supplication
c. Praying with thanksgiving
2. But note well, all this is possible THROUGH Christ Jesus (Ph 4:7)!
a. He is the source of every spiritual blessing from God, including
the peace that surpasses understanding - cf. Ep 1:3
b. And we must be IN Christ if we desire this peace of which Paul
writes in our text
3. Do you desire the "peace of God"?
a. Then you must be IN Christ (to see how one gets INTO Christ,
consider Ga 3:26-27)
b. And then you must commune with God frequently in the kind of
praying taught by Paul
Are you in Christ? Do you commune with God as you should? If we can
assist you in either way...
Christian Meditation (4:8)
1. Our text for this lesson enjoins upon Christians that they engage in a
form of "meditation":
"Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are
noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever
things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is
any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these
things." (Ph 4:8)
2. The practice of "meditation" by Christians is not something you might
hear frequently discussed
a. It may be that some Christians are simply not aware that they are
commanded to "meditate"
b. It may be that some believe "meditation" belongs solely to the
Eastern religions like Hinduism or Buddhism
3. Yet Paul clearly teaches us to "meditate on these things", and
"meditation" is certainly a Biblical subject:
a. Isaac meditated in the field at eventide - Gen 24:63
b. Joshua was charged by God to mediate "day and night" - Josh 1:8
c. The "blessed man" in Psalms 1 is one who meditates - Ps 1:1-2
d. David became wiser than his teachers through meditation - Ps
e. Paul commanded Timothy to "meditate on these things" - 1 Ti 4:15
4. But some questions may come to mind:
a. WHAT does meditation mean for the Christian?
b. WHY should we be concerned about making time to meditate?
c. HOW should we meditate?
[This lesson will attempt to provide answers to these questions...]
I. WHAT MEDITATION IS IN THE BIBLE
A. WHAT MEDITATION IN THE BIBLE IS NOT...
1. The kind practiced by many Eastern religions
a. Like Hinduism, Buddhism, or Transcendental Meditation
b. Where the object is to experience truth, peace, or being,
that is "inexpressible"
2. The kind practiced by "Christian mystics"
a. Such as Quakers, and others often found among Catholics and
b. These meditate in order to "experience" God, or to receive
some revelation from God
3. Both Eastern and "Christian mystical" meditation usually
attempt to empty the mind so as to find or receive truth within
(i.e., a "subjective" form of meditation)
B. WHAT MEDITATION IN THE BIBLE IS...
1. To dwell or contemplate on some truth or reality already
revealed (i.e., an "objective" form of meditation)
2. To be more specific, the man "after God's Own heart" is one who
meditates on such things as:
a. The Lord Himself - Ps 63:6
b. His wonderful Works - Ps 77:12
c. His revealed Word - Ps 119:15,23,48,97-99,148
3. To put it in the words of the apostle Paul, we are to meditate
a. Things that are "true, noble, just pure, lovely, of good
b. Things that are of any "virtue", and are "praiseworthy"
4. The PURPOSE of such meditation is...
a. To nourish man with his understanding of God and His Revealed
Will (not to seek for some previously unrevealed truth)
b. To give man spiritual joy and strength through such
nourishment - cf. Ps 1:1-3; Is 40:28-31
[So there is a very real difference between "Biblical meditation" and
that commonly practiced by many religions!
1) Christian meditation dwells on that already revealed in creation or
2) Whereas other forms of meditation are seeking some new truth to be
Understanding the difference, why is Biblical meditation so important?]
II. WHY WE SHOULD MEDITATE
A. IT IS A SOURCE OF JOY AND STRENGTH...
1. This we have already seen from such passages like Ps 1:1-2;
2. This alone should motivate us to meditate more often
B. IT IS AN IMPORTANT PART OF OUR "TRANSFORMATION"...
1. The goal of the Christian is to become more like Christ - cf.
2. This requires a "transformation" - Ro 12:1-2
3. But notice that this is possible only by "renewing the mind"
- Ro 12:2
4. This "renewing" is possible only when we "set our minds" on
a. On things above
b. Not on things on the earth - Co 3:1-2
5. Only then, when our minds are "set on things above", will we be
successful in completing the "transformation" which includes
"putting off the old man" and "putting on the new man" - cf.
Co 3:1-2 with Co 3:5-14
C. MANY CHRISTIANS FALL BECAUSE THEY MEDITATE ON THE WRONG THINGS!
1. They "mind the things of the flesh", which leads to "death" and
"enmity with God" - cf. Ro 8:5-8
2. Yet even those in the world understand that you cannot be a
spiritual person if you "dwell" on carnal things
a. "Recent studies conducted by a Stanford University research
team have revealed that 'what we watch' does have an effect
on our imaginations, our learning patterns, and our
behaviors. First we are exposed to new behaviors and
characters. Next, we learn or acquire these new behaviors.
The last and most crucial step is that we adopt these
behaviors as our own. One of the most critical aspects of
human development that we need to understand is the influence
of 'repeated viewing' and 'repeated verbalizing' in shaping
our future. The information goes in, 'harmlessly, almost
unnoticed,' on a daily basis, but we don't react to it until
later, when we aren't able to realize the basis for our
reactions. In other words, our value system is being formed
without any conscious awareness on our part of what is
happening!" (Seeds Of Greatness, Denis Waitley, p. 47-48)
b. "You are what you watch and think." (ibid., p. 45)
c. "If a sixty second commercial, by repeated viewing, can sell
us a product, then isn't it possible for a sixty minute soap
opera or 'smut-com', by repeated viewing, to sell us a
life-style?" (ibid., p. 47)
[If Christians are going to succeed, they must set their minds (or
meditate) on "the things of the Spirit", or on "things above, where
Christ is"! Only then can they with God's help "put off the old man"
and "put on the new man".
Finally, a few thoughts on...]
III. HOW TO MEDITATE
A. REMEMBER, YOUR MIND IS AFFECTED BY EVEN CASUAL CONTEMPLATION!
1. Cf. the Stanford studies (quoted above)
2. The first step to proper meditation is to be selective in what
you watch and read
3. Fill your mind with positive and spiritual thoughts if you
really want to:
a. "renew the mind"
b. "be transformed"
4. It doesn't have to be restricted to the Bible, as Paul said:
a. There are novels, movies, television shows, etc., that fall
into the category of possessing "virtue" and being
b. Seek the advice and counsel of other Christians as to what
is "of good report"
5. So first let your "casual" contemplation be discriminatory!
B. TO REACH THE HEIGHTS OF SPIRITUAL MEDITATION, HEED THE COUNSEL OF
1. Make the Bible your primary focus for meditation - Ps 1:2
2. Read it contemplatively every day - Ps 1:2; 119:15
3. Read it with a prayer in your heart - cf. Ps 119:18
4. As you read, occasionally read it aloud to yourself
a. The Hebrew word in Ps 1:2 means "to mutter"
b. Reading slowly and audibly helps to focus one's mind on the
5. As you read, you might ask yourself the following questions:
a. Is there some truth I should know from this verse?
b. How does this passage affect a previously held conviction?
c. Is there something I should stop doing in light of this
d. Is there a practice I should change?
e. Is there a habit I ought to begin?
6. To put it another way: "Hold the Word of God in your heart
until it has affected every phase of your life...this is
1. In Ps 19:14, we find David praying:
"Let the words of mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
"O Lord, my strength and my redeemer."
2. What Paul commands us to do in our text ("meditate on these things")
is the means by which we can assure that our meditations will be
acceptable in the sight of our Lord!
3. If you are not a Christian, or an erring one, then there are some
things in particular upon which you ought to meditate:
a. What is your standing in God's sight?
b. What would happen if you were to die today?
c. What do you need to do to be found in the grace of God?
d. Why delay any longer?
Things Seen In Paul (4:9)
1. A description of our Heavenly Father frequently used by Paul is "the
God of Peace"...
a. "Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen" - Ro 15:33
b. "And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly..."
- Ro 16:20
c. "...and the God of love and peace will be with you." - 2 Co 13:11
d. "Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely..."
- 1 Th 5:23
e. "Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the
dead..." - He 13:20
-- In similar fashion does Paul refer to God in Ph 4:9 which serves
as the text of our lesson
2. In our text, we learn from Paul the key to having the "God of peace"
blessing us in our lives
3. It involves doing the "things"...
a. Learned from Paul
b. Received from Paul
c. Heard about Paul
d. Seen in Paul
4. What are some of "The Things Seen In Paul", which if we do, will
assure that the "God of peace" will be with us?
[The answer can be found both in his epistle to the Philippians and in
his other letters. For example, we see...]
I. HIS CONCERN FOR HIS BRETHREN
A. AS EXPRESSED IN PHILIPPIANS...
1. With the case of Eudoia and Syntyche - Ph 4:1-3
2. Indeed, with all the brethren there at Philippi - Ph 1:8-11
B. ELSEWHERE, PAUL REVEALS HIS CONCERN...
1. For all the churches - 2 Co 11:28-29
2. For brethren who are weak in faith - cf. 1 Co 8:8-13; Ro 14:
[As seen in Ro 15:3, this concern for his brethren is simply a
reflection of Christ's concern for us, and therefore certainly worthy
of our imitation.
Another thing seen in Paul that is worthy of imitation is...]
II. HIS STRIVING FOR PERFECTION
A. TO THE PHILIPPIANS, PAUL WROTE...
1. Of his admission that he was not perfect - Ph 3:
2. Of his desire to press on, to reach forward, to press toward the
goal - Ph 3:12b-14
B. TO THE CHURCH AT CORINTH, PAUL REVEALS...
1. That he viewed his Christian life as a "race", a "boxing match"
- 1 Co 9:24-26
2. Where there is always room for improvement, lest he become
"disqualified" - 1 Co 9:27
[Why this desire for perfection? As revealed in Ph 3:8-11, it was part
of his "magnificent obsession" to "gain Christ and be found in Him." If
we want the same for us, then we need to have the same desire!
Another thing seen in Paul that relates closely to this desire for
III. HIS EFFORTS TO SAVE THE LOST
A. AS EXPRESSED IN HIS EPISTLE TO THE PHILIPPIANS...
1. His efforts continued despite being under "house arrest" -
2. He would willingly offer himself as a martyr if it would help
- Ph 2:17
B. THE DEGREE TO WHICH HE WOULD GO IS SEEN IN HIS EPISTLES TO THE
1. He made himself a servant to all - 1 Co 9:19-23
2. He endured much suffering as a minister of Christ and His gospel
- 2 Co 11:23-27
[Even with so much suffering in his efforts to save others, we see yet
another thing in Paul that is worthy of emulation...]
IV. HIS JOY IN SUFFERING
A. THIS "JOY" IS ESPECIALLY SEEN IN THE EPISTLE TO THE PHILIPPIANS...
1. Which we have seen time and again is an "epistle of joy"
2. For example, his joy in Christ being preached, despite his
imprisonment and the efforts of false preachers - Ph 1:12-18
(note especially verse 18)
3. Even if it meant martyrdom, he viewed it as a reason to rejoice,
and wanted them to rejoice with him! - Ph 2:17-18
B. IN ROMANS, HE EXPLAINED WHY HE WOULD "REJOICE IN TRIBULATIONS"...
1. Such trials and sufferings would produce "perseverance"
- Ro 5:3
2. Which in turn would produce "character" and "hope" - Ro 5:4
1. Such were some of the qualities seen in Paul, that we also learn from
him if we take his epistles seriously
2. And we should, if we desire the "God of peace" to be with us and He
clearly was with Paul throughout his life and service as a disciple
of Jesus Christ!
3. Are the things seen in Paul, also seen in us? Are we living in such
a way that we could say to others:
"The things which you learned and received and heard and saw
in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you"?
4. In view of such passages as 1 Ti 4:12 and Ti 2:6-7, where we are
called to be an example to others, we should!
May the "God of peace" help us to live in such a way that we can be an
example like Paul!
Paul's Thank-You Note (4:10-23)
1. In our study of Philippians, we come to point where Paul mentions the
occasion which prompted the writing of this epistle
2. In these verses we find an expression of Paul's gratitude, a
"Thank-You Note", if you will - Ph 4:10-23
3. In these concluding verses, there are a number of notable things I
would like to emphasize
[The first being...]
I. THE PHILIPPIANS' GENEROSITY
A. AS DESCRIBED BY PAUL...
1. Notice especially verses 10,14-18
2. Clearly they demonstrated an "on-going" support and concern for
a. When Paul first departed from Macedonia, they shared with him
b. Even before leaving Macedonia, while still in Thessalonica,
they sent aid on several occasions
c. Now at last, while in Rome, they sent a gift by the hands of
B. WHAT A WONDERFUL PICTURE OF FELLOWSHIP BETWEEN A CHURCH AND A
1. The kind that ought to exist today!
2. Where churches and preachers continue to maintain their
fellowship in the gospel of Christ as the need calls for it,
long after the preacher has gone on to other works
3. How sad, that in many cases preachers leave a congregation in
such a way that there is no desire on the part of the
congregation to maintain such fellowship!
[Another notable thing in this passage is...]
II. PAUL'S CONTENTMENT
A. AS EXPRESSED BY PAUL...
1. His expression of thanks was not to hint that he was in great
need - Ph 4:
2. For he was quite content with the "state" or condition he found
himself in - Ph 4:11b
3. This "contentment" was something he had learned - Ph 4:11b-12
B. WHAT WAS THE "KEY" TO PAUL'S CONTENTMENT?
1. As expressed in Ph 4:13, it involved strength given by the
a. Who enabled him to be content whether full or hungry
b. Who enabled him to be content whether abounding or in need
2. Part of this strength from the Lord may have been the proper
perspective which Paul likely received from the Lord
a. The proper perspective about life and death - cf. Ph 1:21-24
b. The proper perspective about the true necessities in life
- cf. 1 Ti 6:6-8
[Having mentioned the strength given by the Lord, let's look a little
III. CHRIST'S POWER
A. THERE IS INDEED WONDERFUL POWER AVAILABLE FOR THE CHRISTIAN!
1. As Paul indicates, this power enables one to do all things
necessary in serving the Lord- Ph 4:13
2. We learn more about this wonderful power in Paul's epistle to
a. It is power about which Paul wanted them to know - Ep 1:
b. It is power that is in accordance with the power used to
raise Jesus from the dead, and to seat Him at the right hand
of God! - Ep 1:19-21
c. Paul attributes such power to the Holy Spirit, dwelling in
the Christian - cf. Ro 8:11-14
d. He prayed that God would strengthen the Ephesians with such
power, which is described as being able to accomplish great
things - Ep 3:16,20-21
3. In other words, with the Spirit as the instrumental agent, God
and Christ enables the Christian to do all that he or she is
required to do!
B. THE RAMIFICATION OF THIS POWER...
1. We are not alone in our efforts to "work out our own salvation"
- cf. Ph 2:12-13
2. There is no excuse for not doing what God desires!
3. When we fall, it is usually a problem of the will, not the
ability! (unlike those outside of Christ, where it is a problem
of ability - cf. Ro 7:18,22-25)
4. For Christians who sin knowingly, it is not that they CAN'T do
the will of God, but they WON'T!
a. Of course, because we have imperfect knowledge, we may
sometimes sin ignorantly, and therefore are always in need of
the cleansing blood of Jesus
b. But when we know the will of God, there are no excuses for
not doing it!
[What a wonderful blessing for those who are in Christ, to have that
power! But there is even a hint of more blessings in our text, as we
notice what is said about...]
IV. GOD'S RICHES
A. AS DEFINED BY PAUL...
1. These are "riches in glory" which God supplies by Jesus Christ
- Ph 4:19
a. I.e., one must be "in Christ" to enjoy these "riches"
b. Indeed, "in Christ" is the realm in which God provides every
spiritual blessing - cf. Ep 1:3-13 (note the use of the
phrase "in Christ", or "in Him")
2. But God provides not only spiritual needs, but "all your needs"
a. Which includes the necessities of life, like food and
b. As Jesus Himself taught in Mt 6:30-33
B. WITH "RICHES" LIKE THESE...
1. How can we not be content?
2. We have an abundance of "spiritual" blessings, and an assurance
of "physical" needs, how could we ever be less than satisfied?
[May God forgive us when we take these "riches" lightly and begin to
feel discontented with what we have!
Finally, we note...]
V. THE SAINT'S GREETINGS
A. AS READ HERE IN PHILIPPIANS...
1. Paul first sends his greetings - Ph 4:
2. The brethren with him (Luke? Timothy?) send their greetings
- Ph 4:21b
3. Then "all the saints...especially those who are of Caesar's
household" send their greetings - Ph 4:22
B. THE SIMPLE ACT OF GREETING CAN SERVE AN IMPORTANT FUNCTION...
1. Clearly, Paul thought so - cf. Ro 16:3-16,21-23
2. Some possible benefits of greeting one another:
a. Greeting one another expresses our love and appreciation for
b. Greeting one another frequently (in letter or in person)
nourishes the relationship we have as brethren in Christ
3. Note that Paul desired to greet "every" saint in Christ Jesus;
no room for favoritism here! - Ph 4:21
4. How we greet (or fail to greet) other Christians in our
assemblies reveals a lot about ourselves
a. Either that we are caring and loving without partiality
b. Or cold and insensitive, except to those in our "clique"!
1. Such are some the things we can glean from a simple "thank-you
a. The Philippians' generosity
b. Paul's contentment
c. Christ's power
d. God's riches
e. The saints' greetings
2. What this reveals is the high quality of life experienced by those in
a. Who despite the sort of circumstances faced by Paul...
b. Could still feel and write such a letter as the epistle to the
3. As we close this study on this wonderful epistle, I leave with you two
words: "glory" and "grace"
a. "Now to our God and Father be GLORY forever and ever. Amen."
- Ph 4:20
b. "The GRACE of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen."
- Ph 4:23
Have you received the wonderful GRACE of our Lord in your life, by
obeying His gospel? Are you living so as to offer GLORY to God, both
in word and deed?
May such portions of God's Word like the Epistle to the Philippians
inspire you to do both!