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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible
Philippians 4

 

 

Other Authors
Verses 1-9

Philippians 4:1. Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.

It is a great joy to a minister, as it was to the apostle Paul, to have converts; but that joy is greatly diminished when they do not stand fast: then, indeed, every supposed joy becomes a sorrow, and instead of the roses which yield a sweet perfume to the Lord’s servant, thorns begin to prick and wound his heart.

Philippians 4:2. I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord.

Only two women, and we do not know who they were; yet Paul gives them a “beseech” each: “I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord.” If there are only two of the most obscure sisters in the church who are quarrelling, their differences ought to be brought to an end at once. There should be no disagreements amongst Christians, love should reign, peace should predominate. If there is anything contrary to such a state as that, God grant that it may soon be brought to an end!

Philippians 4:3. And I entreat thee also, true yoke fellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellow-labourers, whose names are in the book of life.

Brother, do all the good you can to help everybody else to do good. Help those whose names are in the book of life, even if they are not known anywhere else. Also help the “Clement” whose name is known; be sure to help him; indeed, help everybody. There is an office, in the Church of Christ, which we do not sufficiently recognize; but which ought to be abundantly filled. Paul mentions it in writing to the Corinthians. He says, “And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.” It is the office of certain Christians to be “helps.” May we always have many such “helps” amongst us! Did you ever notice that, almost every time that Bartholomew is mentioned in Scripture, we read, “and Bartholomew”? He is never spoken of alone; but it is written, “Philip, and Bartholomew,” or “Bartholomew, and Matthew.” It is good to have some Bartholomews who are always helping somebody else, so that, when there is any good work to be done, Bartholomew is always ready to share in it; for he shall also have a part in the reward at the last.

Philippians 4:4. Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.

The very word “rejoice,” seems to imply a reduplication; it is joy, and re-joy, joy over again; but here, you see, it is a fourfold rejoicing; joy, and re-joy; and again I say, joy, and re-joy; and this is to be the Christian’s continual experience, for the apostle says, “Rejoice in the Lord always.”

Philippians 4:5-6. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

Have no care, but much prayer. Prayer is the cure for care. If you are in trouble, “Let your requests be made known,” not to your neighbors, but “unto God.”

Philippians 4:7-8. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 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.

Be on the side of everything that is good and right, everything that helps on true human progress, everything that increases virtue and purity. As a Christian man, take an interest in everything that helps to make men true, honest, just, pure, and lovely.

Philippians 4:9. 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.

May the Lord fulfill that gracious word to all of us, “The God of peace shall be with you”! Amen.

This exposition consisted of readings from 1 John 4 and Philippians 4:1-9.


Verses 1-23

This Epistle was written by Paul when he was in prison, with iron fetters about his wrists; yet there is no iron in the Epistle. It is full of light, life,

love, and joy, blended with traces of sorrow, yet with a holy delight that rises above his grief.

Philippians 4:1. Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.

See how the heart of the apostle is at work; his emotions are not dried up by his personal griefs. He takes a delight in his friends at Philippi; he has a lively recollection of the time when he and Silas were shut up in prison there, and that same night baptized the jailor and his household, and formed the church at Philippi.

Philippians 4:2. I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord.

These two good women had fallen out with one another. Paul loves them so much that he would not have any strife in the church to mar its harmony; and he therefore beseeches both of these good women to end their quarrel, and to “be of the same mind in the Lord.” You cannot tell what hurt may come to a church through two members being at enmity against each other. They may be unknown persons, they may be Christian women, but they can work no end of mischief; and therefore it is a most desirable thing that they should speedily come together again in peace and unity.

Philippians 4:3. And I entreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellow-labourers, whose names are in the book of life.

He tenderly thinks of all those who had helped the work of the Lord, and, in return, he would have all of them helped, and kindly remembered, and affectionately cherished. May we always have this tender feeling towards one another, especially towards those who work for the Lord with us! May we ever delight in cheering those who serve our Lord!

Philippians 4:4-5. Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.

We have come to understand this word “moderation” in a sense not at all intended here. The best translation would probably be “forbearance.” Do not get angry with anybody; do not begin to get fiery and impetuous: be forbearing, for the Lord is at hand. You cannot tell how soon he may appear; there is no time to spare for the indulgence of anger; be quiet; be patient; and if there be anything very wrong, well, leave it. Our Lord Jesus will come very soon; therefore be not impatient.

Philippians 4:6. Be careful —

That is, be anxious —

Philippians 4:6. For nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

See how the apostle would bid us throw anxiety to the winds; let us try to do so. You cannot turn one hair white or black, fret as you may. You cannot add a cubit to your stature, be you as anxious as you please. It will be for your own advantage, and it will be for God’s glory, for you to shake off the anxieties which else might overshadow your spirit. Be anxious about nothing, but prayerful about everything, and be thankful about everything as well. Is not that a beautiful trait in Paul’s character? He is a prisoner at Rome, and likely soon to die; yet he mingles thanksgiving with his supplication, and asks others to do the same. We have always something for which to thank God, therefore let us also obey the apostolic injunction.

Philippians 4:7-8. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 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.

If there is any really good movement in the world, help it, you Christian people. If it is not purely and absolutely religious, yet if it tends to the benefit of your fellow-men, if it promotes honesty, justice, purity, take care that you are on that side, and do all you can to help it forward.

Philippians 4:9. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do:

Paul was a grand preacher to be able to say that; to hold up his own example, as well as his own teaching, as a thing which the people might safely follow.

Philippians 4:9. And the God of peace shall be with you.

In the seventh verse, we had the expression, “the peace of God.” In this ninth verse, we have the mention of “the God of peace.” May we first enjoy the peace of God, and then be helped by the Spirit of God to get into a still higher region, where we shall be more fully acquainted with the God of peace!

Philippians 4:10. But · 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.” So Paul was himself in a happy mood; these saints in Philippi had sent to him in prison a gift by the hand of one of their pastors, and Paul, in his deep poverty, had been much comforted by their kind thoughtfulness about him.

Philippians 4:11. Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

That was not an easy lesson to learn, especially when one of those states meant being in prison at Rome. If he was ever in the Mamertine, those of us who have been in that dungeon would confess that it would take a deal of grace to make us content to be there; and if he was shut up in the prison of the Palatine hill, in the barracks near the morass, it was, to say the least, not a desirable place to be in. A soldier chained to your hand day and night, however good a fellow he may be, does not always make the most delightful company for you, nor you for him; and it takes some time to learn to be content with such a companion; but, says Paul, “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”

Philippians 4:12. I know both how to be abused, 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.

These are both hard lessons to learn; I do not know which is the more difficult of the two. Probably it is easier to know how to go down than to know how to go up. How many Christians have I seen grandly glorifying God in sickness and poverty when they have come down in the world; and ah! how often have I seen other Christians dishonouring God when they have grown rich, or when they have risen to a position of influence among their fellow-men! These two lessons grace alone can fully teach us.

Philippians 4:13. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

What a gracious attainment! There is no boasting in this declaration; Paul only spoke what was literally the truth.

Philippians 4:14-15. Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction. 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.

The Philippians were the only Christians who had sent any help to this great sufferer for Christ’s sake in the time of his need.

Philippians 4:16-18. For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity. Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account. But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odor of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God.

I do not suppose that they sent him very much; but he knew the love that prompted the gift, he understood what they meant by it. I always had a fancy that Lydia was the first to suggest that kind deed. She, the first convert of the Philippian church, thought of Paul, I doubt not, and said to the other believers, “Let us take care of him as far as we can. See how he spends his whole life in the Master’s service, and now he may at last die in prison for want of even common necessaries; let us send him a present to Rome.” How grateful is the apostle for that gift of love! What gladness they had put into his heart! Now he says: —

Philippians 4:19. But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

“You have supplied my need out of your poverty; my God shall supply all your need out of his riches. Your greatest need shall not exceed the liberality of his supplies.”

Philippians 4:20-21. Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen. Salute every saint in Christ Jesus.

The religion of Christ is full of courtesy, and it is full of generous thoughtfulness. I do not think that he can be a Christian who has no knowledge nor care about his fellow church-members.

Philippians 4:21. The brethren which are with me greet you.

They saw that he was writing a letter, and they therefore said, “Send our love to the Philippians.”

Philippians 4:22. All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar’s household.

Only think of saints in the household of Nero, saints in the service of such a demon as he was, and saints who were first in every good thing: “Chiefly they that are of Caesar’s household.”

Philippians 4:23. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

 


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Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Philippians 4:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/philippians-4.html. 2011.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, December 15th, 2019
the Third Week of Advent
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