Gospel Perseverance – Philippians 4 vv 1-9

24 03 2014

We had a great sermon this weekend – here’s the passage and my notes 🙂

“Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends!

I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

This passage gives us things to watch out for so we can stand firm in the Lord and persevere in our faith (v1)

  • Unity with other Christians – vv2-3
    Soldiers would stand shoulder to shoulder, and if they didn’t break rank they were virtually invincible.
    The enemy is looking for cracks and divisions in the church to exploit.
    One of the most common causes of church splits is personality clashes.
    In this example Paul doesn’t take sides.

    Disagreements, disunity and unforgiveness can weaken the church and destroy our faith.
    Warmth of close Christian friendship strengthens the church and builds our faith.

  • Relationship with the Lord
    Paul gives three ways to do this

    • Enjoy the Lord – v4
      Paul mentions rejoicing 16 times in Philippians, but not a certain style of joy.
      Joy may be expressed in silence, tears, delight or peace.

      The ground of our joy can never be in our circumstances.
      If our joy is based on our circumstances, then when they change we’ll be miserable.
      Our joy and delight must be in the Lord.

      When you get down in the dumps, read the promises of Christ.
      Try reading Ephesians 1 vv 3-14 and dare to still be miserable at the end!

    • Expect the Lord – v5
      Gentleness means moderation or graciousness. Being willing to forego retaliation.
      We should expect His return at any time.

      Crowds gather with excitement for royalty or celebrity.
      We should have expectancy and excitement for the arrival of the King of kings!

      The Lord is also near through the Holy Spirit in us.

    • Petition the Lord in prayer, with thanksgiving – v6
      “When I look back on all these worries I remember the story of the old man who said on his death bed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which never happened.” – Winston Churchill
      Worry can wreck out lives.
      Paul says that we must never be anxious.
      Rather than indulging in anxiety we are to pray about everything, no matter how small the issue.
      When we are anxious, it is because a situation seems out of control and we feel we can’t fix it. Either we continue like that, or we turn to prayer.
      God promises never to leave us of forsake us.

      It can be helpful to memorise verses that relate to personal issues for us, and then speak them to your spirit when you struggle.
      Some find it helpful to keep a prayer journal or prayer diary. It helps concentration, and helps look back and see how God has answered prayers. Then we can pray with thanksgiving and have greater confidence as we go on praying!

      As we bring worries and anxieties to God and leave them with Him, He gives us His peace in exchange.
      Peace means wholeness, soundness, well-being, oneness with God, every kind of blessing!

      Others can’t understand how we can be so peaceful amidst major worries.

  • Thoughts – vv8-9
    What we think about affects every area of our lives.
    If we want to become more like Jesus then we need to set our minds on the right things.

    The world we live in is quite different to this. We are bound to be tempted daily by wrong thoughts!
    “You can’t stop a bird flying overhead, but you can stop it nesting in your hair” – Martin Luther

    “Occupy your minds with good thoughts, or the enemy will fill them with bad ones; unoccupied they cannot be.” – Sir Thomas More
    The way to get wrong thoughts out is to get right thoughts in.
    Starting the day with this from the moment we wake up is a great way to start, to set the agenda for the day.

    Our unseen thought life is like the roots of a tree – our ability to withstand the storms of life depends on the strength of the unseen parts.

The hardest part of all of this is putting it into practice!
We must practice:

  • Avoiding quarrels and staying united with other Christians
  • Avoiding worry and anxiety by bringing it to the Lord in prayer
  • Thinking about good things