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Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for ( Philippians 4:1 ),
What a beautiful words by Paul to the church, expressing his heart, just bearing his heart to them, "Dearly beloved, I long for you. My brothers, who I dearly love and I long for,"
[You are] my joy and [you are] my crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved ( Philippians 4:1 ).
The heart of the apostle. He is bearing his heart now, his love for those who he ministered to and those who ministered to him. Now, there were a couple of women in Philippi who were having an argument, a fight. That's not becoming the church, so Paul said,
I beseech Euodia ( Philippians 4:2 ),
And the s isn't there, it is just, the s would make it a masculine name, but in the Greek, unfortunately, it is a feminine name, Euodia,
and I beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord ( Philippians 4:2 ).
Now, let's not argue, let's not fight, let's not create division within the body. Let's be of the same mind in the Lord.
And I entreat thee also, true yokefellow ( Philippians 4:3 ),
Now, we don't know who Paul is referring to here. There have been a lot of guesses. Probably all of them are wrong. But the yokefellow would be one who had labored together. Maybe he was writing to the Philippian jailer who had been converted. There are some, I think it was Tertullium, one of the early church fathers, said he was writing her to his wife. But that hardly seems possible.
help those women which labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other of my other fellow laborers, whose names are in the book of life ( Philippians 4:3 ).
When Paul went to Philippi, he first shared the gospel by the river where a group of ladies had gathered together for prayer. Among them, Lydia, you remember, the seller of purple. And having shared with the women, the following week they told their friends, and a big crowd of people gathered to hear Paul share the gospel of Jesus Christ. Because many of the women believed and were saved and baptized, and so the work of God really began with women, and they had a very important part in the ministry in the church in Philippi. And so, "Help those women who labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, my fellow laborers, whose names are in the Book of Life."
In Luke's gospel, chapter 10, there is the report of the disciples who had been sent out by Jesus, two by two, the seventy of them. And they came back and they said, "Lord, it was fantastic. A lot of people were healed; people who were blind, their eyes were opened. And Lord, even the devils were subject unto us." And Jesus said to them, "Don't rejoice in these things, but rejoice rather that your name is written in heaven." Hey, that is the most important thing. There is nothing more important to me that my name is written in heaven. Not in what God is done through my life, that is not so important is that my name be written in heaven. That's what is really important to me. God has a book of life. It is exciting to realize that my name is there in His Book of Life.
We read in Revelation 20:0 of the great white throne judgment of God, "And the books were open, and the people were judged out of the things that were written in the book, and death and hell gave up their dead, and they were judged, and whosoever name was not found written in the Book of Life was cast into Gehenna and this is the second death." But there again, the mention of the Book of Life. It is interesting to me that God has this book in heaven, the Book of Life, and the names of those who are heirs of the heavenly kingdom, ordained of God to share, and He has inscribed their names in the Book of Life.
Now, when did God write my name in the Book of Life? When did He write your name in the Book of Life? You say, "Well, I was saved on October 2, 1968, so I guess God wrote my name in the Book of Life October 2, l968." No! We read in the book of Revelation that our names were written in the Book of Life before the foundation of the world. How could He do that? Because He is God, and He is smarter than you are, because He is omniscient, He knows all things. And if God ever . . . well, because He knows all things, He can't learn anything. It is impossible for God to learn anything. So, if God ever is to know who is going to be saved, He has always known who is going to be saved, and having always known those that were going to be saved, He wrote their names in the Book of Life before the foundation of the earth. Aren't you glad? He knew you and wrote your name there before He ever laid the foundations of the earth. "Whose names were written in the Book of Life," from the foundations of the earth. And so those fellow laborers, Paul said, "Whose names are written in the Book of Life." Something that Jesus mentions, something that Paul mentions, something that John mentions in the book of Revelation. Now,
Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice ( Philippians 4:4 ).
Again, notice the rejoicing is in the Lord. There is always cause for rejoicing in the Lord. I can rejoice because He wrote my name in His Book of Life before the foundation of the world. Oh, thank you, Lord. I can rejoice in the Lord. Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice. A sad, sour Christian is no real witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand ( Philippians 4:5 ).
That is, live moderately, don't live extravagantly. There's no place in the Christian life for extravagant living. Live moderately. Why? Because the Lord is at hand. Don't get too involved in the things of the world, the Lord's coming.
Be careful [or anxious] for nothing [don't worry about anything]; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God ( Philippians 4:6 ).
The answer for worry is prayer. Prayer and commitment, those things that concern me, those things that are prone to cause me to worry are the very things I need to be praying about. And once I pray about them, I need to just trust God to take care of them. I need to know that once I commit them to God, they are in His hands and He will work them out for His glory. Now, it may not be for my pleasure, it may not be like I want it to be, but I thank God I'm not in control. I thank God that He is in control of the circumstances that surround me. If I were in control of my life, I could make the worst mess of my life thinking that I was just doing what was good. But, you know, if you just let a kid go, they will just eat ice cream sundaes and nothing else. And so I would order my life, you know, make it sweet, make it delectable, put hot fudge and whipped cream on top and toasted almonds, you know. I want a bed of roses, Lord. I want to take it easy. But it doesn't always work out that way. Many times there are hardships, there are difficulties. There are things that I don't understand, but my faith is being tested, and my faith is being developed because I'm learning to trust in God even when I can't see the way. And though it doesn't fall the way I would like it to fall, I still trust the Lord and I learn that He has a better plan. Yes, it was tough, yes, I did hurt, yes, there was suffering. But ohhh the lessons that I learned that I wouldn't trade for anything, because I grew immensely and my walk and relationship with God has been enhanced by the whole thing. And I count that which I gained in my relationship with Him far more than the struggle that I went through.
We used to hear down in the south that song, "Farther along we'll know all about it. Farther along we'll understand why. Cheer up, my brother, live in the sunshine. We'll understand it all by and by." It was written during the depression years, I think. Hard times down in the south. Song of encouragement.
They that live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. It's not going to be easy, but the Lord is going to be there. And the Lord will give you strength, and the Lord will help you. So, the worries, the concerns, the anxieties, pray about them, give them over to the Lord, cast all of your cares on Him, because He cares for you.
And so, with prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, three aspects of prayer. Prayer itself is very broad term that describes communion with God. Prayer is not a monologue; it is a dialogue. And it is important that we wait for God to speak to us, as well as to speak to God. So many people consider prayer a monologue. I want to go in and talk to God, and I do all of the talking, and when I am finished talking, I get up and leave. I never wait for God to respond or to answer. Through the years, I have come to the conclusion that it is more important that God talk to me than I talk to God. I am convinced that what God has to say to me is far more important than what I have to say to God. And I have sought to develop that listening side of prayer. The communion, prayer is communion with God. Listening for Him to speak to my heart. Laying my heart out before Him, waiting upon Him, worshipping Him, loving Him, all a part of prayer. Another part of prayer is supplication: my requests, where I present to God those needs of my life, those needs in the lives of those around me. The supplications are personal, but they can also go into intercession. So, there is request, and in the narrow sense, for my own needs, and then in the broader sense, for the needs of those around me, the intercessory prayer. And then there is that thanksgiving aspect of prayer.
Now, as we look at the Lord's prayer as a model, "Our Father, which art in heaven, and hallowed be thou name," you see it begins with the acknowledgment of God and the greatness and the glory of God. The name of God, hallowed be that name, reverend be that name. Petitions in a broad sense, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, in earth even as it is in heaven." Petitions in a narrow sense, "Give us this day, our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. Lead us not into temptation, deliver us from evil." Praise, glory, thanksgiving, "For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever." So it begins with worship, it ends with worship, sandwiched in between, our petitions and intercession. And so, we find prayer, supplications, thanksgiving, let your request be made known unto God.
And the peace of God [the result of this will be the peace of God], which passeth all [human] understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus ( Philippians 4:7 ).
You will experience such peace. "Hey, what are you going to do?" "Well, I have prayed about it." "Yah, but what are you going to do about it?" "Well, I have already done it, I have prayed." "Yah, but you can't just pray; you have got to do more than that." "Now God is going to take care of it. I have peace. It is in God's hands; I have turned it over to Him. I am not struggling with it anymore. I am not wrestling with the issues anymore; I have turned them over to God, and now I am going to rest in Him. I am going to have an experience." That peace that passeth human understanding, passes your own understanding. You can't understand how that you can feel such peace in the midst of such turmoil.
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 ( Philippians 4:8 ).
That pretty well eliminates television, doesn't it? Of all of the mental pollution that is going out night after night over the major networks. Our whole nation is being polluted by the television industry and by the movie industry. I mean, it is leading the nation right down the tubes. Why? Because it is having people think on things that are impure, unholy, filthy, unrighteous, immoral, and there is other things we need to be thinking on. Sort of tragic, a lot of people watch television just before they go to sleep, because you plant that junk in your mind just before you drop off.
You know, I have found that what I plant in my mind the last thing at night before I go to sleep is something that sticks with me. I learned as a child that I can memorize any poem by reading it over three times before I went to sleep. In the morning I could get up and recite it. Poems of several pages, all I do is read them over three times before I went to sleep, and in the morning I could recite them. Because it seems like during the night, what you plant just before you go to sleep has a way of your mind continuing to work on it.
And many areas across the United States we have begun our Word for Today broadcast on many stations now Act 10:00 o'clock at night. And a lot of people have gotten in the habit of setting their clocks on the radios to, you know, from Phi 10:00 to Phi 10:30 ,then, you know, and I put them to sleep every night. What a wonderful thing. The last thing in the night to be planting in your mind: that which is pure, that which is true, that which is honest, that which is just, that which is lovely, that which is of virtue and good report, think on these things. Interesting how we like to think on other things, isn't it? The hurts, the disappointments, the nasty thing that he said to me. Here is a good model to follow, I think that somewhere around the house we ought to put up, "True, Honest, Just, Pure," that our minds, we gear them toward these things.
Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me ( Philippians 4:9 ),
Paul the apostle, when he was talking with the elders at Ephesus, he said, "I was daily with you teaching you and showing you." It was show and tell with Paul. His life was the example of that which he was preaching, and so should it always be. It isn't just the proclaiming of the truth, it is the demonstration of the truth. And so Paul tells them, "Those things which ye have learned, and received, and heard, and you have seen in me, I set the example before you."
do [them]: and the God of peace shall be with you. 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 ( Philippians 4:9-10 ).
In other words, "You were anxious to send me some help, but you lacked opportunity. " Epaphroditus, you remember, had come to Rome, with a offering from the church in Philippi for Paul. And so, the care of him has flourished again. They sent him a very generous offering. They desired to do it before now, but, of course, he had been on his way from a Caesarea to Rome. He had been on that ship that was wrecked and spent a lot of time; they weren't able to catch up with him. But now, finally, that he is sitting there in prison in Rome, they are able to get to him again, and they send this offering. And so he thanks them that this care for him is flourished again.
Not that I speak in respect of want ( Philippians 4:11 ):
It is not that I really am, you know, desperately in need. It isn't that I have tremendous needs while I am here.
for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content ( Philippians 4:11 ).
Oh, what a tremendous lesson we need to learn. Because always the state that we are in might not be the most pleasant state to be in. Paul was in prison when he wrote this, chained twenty-four hours a day to a different Roman guard, as they would make their changes. And yet, content. "For I have learned whatever state I am in to be content."
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 ( Philippians 4:12 ).
It doesn't matter to me; I can live with it, I can live without it. I have learned to be content with it. I have learned to be content without it. Whatever state God sees to put me, I am content, because my life is in God's hands; He is in control of those things that surround me. He wrote, "Godliness with contentment is great riches." I have learned how to be content.
[For] I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me ( Philippians 4:13 ).
And there is the secret: I can abound, I can be poor, I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.
In the fifteenth chapter of the gospel of John, as Jesus is talking about His relationship to His disciples, He said unto them, "I am the vine, ye the branches, my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in Me that bears fruit, He washes it that it might bring forth more fruit. Now you are clean through the word which I've spoken unto you. Abide in Me, and let My words abide in you, as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, neither more can ye except you abide in Me, for without Me you can do nothing."
Do you believe that? I didn't for a long time. The Lord had to prove that to me. I thought there was something I could do worthwhile in my flesh. And I tried too long to offer to God the sacrifices of my flesh. But one day, after years of struggle, I came to the truth of the statement of Christ and realized the truth of it, apart from Him I could do nothing. But thank God, in the same day I also learned the truth that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. And so, rather than being all wiped out because I can't do anything in myself, I rejoice because of what I can do in Him. I can do all things through Christ. There are two verses I count extremely important in my own experience. Vitally important. To learn those two verses is vital to Christian growth. "Apart from me you can do nothing," Jesus said. But Paul said, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
Notwithstanding, ye have done well, that ye did communicate with my affliction [to my needs]. Now ye Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia [Philippi was in the area of Macedonia], no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only ( Philippians 4:14-15 ).
When I left you, you were the only church. Now, there was a church at Thessalonica, Paul established the church of Berea. They didn't do anything for him. The only church that really sought to help Paul and support that ministry was the church of Philippi.
For even in Thessalonica [when I was there] ye sent once and again unto my necessity [to take care of my needs]. Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account ( Philippians 4:16-17 ).
I love that. Paul was thanking them for 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. And in God's bookkeeping system, your investments that you make in the kingdom of God bring fruit to your account. Jesus said, "Don't lay up for yourself treasures on earth where moth and rust can corrupt and decay and thieves can break through and steal. But lay up for yourself treasures in heaven where these things cannot happen, for where your treasure is there will your heart be also."
God accounts to the person who supports the missionary the fruit that comes from the missionary's service. How can they hear without a preacher? How can they preach except they be sent? So, those that send share equally in the fruit of the ministry of those who go. That is why in supporting a ministry, I want to be very careful what ministry I support. I want to make sure that it is an effective ministry, doing a good work for God. Because there is a lot of charlatans out there that are padding their own pockets and not really doing a real service for God.
We were in Goroka, New Guinea, a beautiful place, sort of an ideal place to live. Weather is perfect year around. And just up in the highlands in New Guinea just beautiful, beautiful streams, beautiful forest, beautiful place to live. And as they were taking us through there, they said there is just a lot of paper missionaries here. And I said, "Paper missionaries, what do you mean?" And he said there are a lot of people who have retired here in Goroka who get their support by writing letters to people in the United States and Australia and England, sharing with them the ministry here among the New Guinea people. And what they do is, they get in their Land Rovers and they go out to the villages and they pass out candy to the children. And they will take pictures of the children reaching out for candy. And then they will send these pictures and letters back to the people and say, you know, "The children are reaching out for the New Testaments that we are passing out in the villages and all, and look at how, you know, all of the children, and all, had a tremendous response and God is doing a glorious work and all." And people are supporting them. Yet, they are just retired; they don't do anything but go out to the village once a month to take pictures of kids getting candy. Unfortunately, those people do exist. Frauds, charlatans, they'll have to answer to God.
The World Counsel of Churches uses a portion of their funds to support terrorist groups in Africa, supporting the P.L.O. their terrorism programs. A lot of missionaries were killed in Zabway by the terrorists, missionary children, by the dollars given in the churches that have a part in the National Counsel of Churches and the World Counsel of Churches.
I wouldn't give a dime to any church that's affiliated with the World Counsel of Churches, knowing that a portion of that dime would be going to support the World Counsel of Churches. I don't want to be giving money to terrorists in Africa who are murdering missionaries and their families. Nor would I want to be supporting Angelia Davis's defense, which received a generous contribution from the National Counsel of Churches. Careful where you invest. Paul said, "That fruit might abound to your account." Well, there is some kind of fruit that I really don't want to my account. And thus, I don't want to invest in that. I want to know that there is a valid and legitimate work being done, and that it is a fruit-bearing work, that fruit might abound. I want to support that kind of work.
And so Paul said, "Not that I desire a gift. I desire that fruit might abound to your account."
But [I have everything] I have all, I abound ( Philippians 4:18 ):
Got plenty. What a beautiful thing to say even though you're broke. I have all, I abound. Why? Because I have Jesus. That's enough.
I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odor of a sweet smell [Probably some cologne, I guess], a sacrifice acceptable, [and] well-pleasing to God. But my God shall supply all of your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus ( Philippians 4:18-19 ).
Isn't that a glorious promise? Take hold of it tonight. My God shall supply all of your need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Now who can measure that kind of riches? If God spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how much more then shall He not freely give us all things?
Now unto God and our Father be glory forever and ever. Amen. Salute [greet] every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren which are with me greet you. All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar's household ( Philippians 4:20-22 ).
As Paul was chained to the Roman guard, those were Caesar's guards, and so many of Caesar's household send their greetings through Paul, who had received Christ because Paul's imprisonment there.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen ( Philippians 4:23 ).
Beautiful, beautiful epistle to the Philippians, and now the glorious epistle to the Colossians; next week, the first two chapters. The preeminence of Jesus Christ. Aw, this one just lifts you into glory as we behold Jesus Christ our Lord, and we see the preeminence that God has given unto Him. The preeminence of Christ. The book of Colossians, one that will enrich us so completely as we study it together.
And now may God cause you to abound in love and in your walk in the Spirit. And may indeed you find the promise to be true as God supplies all of your needs: spiritual, financial, physical, according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus our Lord. God bless and keep you and give you a beautiful week. In Jesus' name. "
Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Philippians 4". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany