We’re going to pick up, I don’t know if you remember, was it Josh last time that finished off chapter 3 of Philippians, so we’re going to pick up chapter 4 verse 1; and I’m going to cover the first 9 verse of chapter 4 in Philippians. So first of all I’ll read those verses and then we’ll sort of just go verse by verse and you’ll see there’s little nuggets and big nuggets along the way and you’ll see one recurring, overall theme through these verses come out really, really clear, I’m sure you’ll see that.
Philippians 4:1-9 ESV
Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.2 I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord. 3 Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have laboured side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
So, right away, verse 1 we see the word therefore, and that’s always a word that signifies continuation from the previous chapter, right? Men, we put the Bible into chapters just sort of to make it easier for us to follow along and break it down into parts, right? So it says therefore, so we see there’s a connection from chapter 3 to chapter 4, pretty obvious, so I’m just going to do a quick summary of chapter 3 a little bit so it gives us some context of where we’re coming from.
In chapter 3 we see that Paul was speaking primarily about himself and his situation. A few things he mentioned in chapter 3 was that the things that once seemed important to Paul now are rubbish, he calls it, compared to the assurance of salvation that he has in this faith with Christ, right? And that’s found in verse 8 through 11.
We also find that Paul does not consider himself to have achieved the goal which he calls the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, but he is pressing toward that goal, he tells us. And he urges and calls the Philippian Christians to also think this way.
He also calls the Philippian Christians brothers several times and we can from that statement we can conclude that he means brothers as Christians because in chapter 4 we’ll see he addresses some women right away so we can say brothers and sisters, so to speak.
He also calls them, again, to imitate him; Keep your eyes on those who walk according to the examples you have in us. So he’s, you know, imploring the Philippians believers. He’s laying some sort of doctrinal, a foundation for them, right? He tells them to think, or he tells them those, or they’re enemies of the cross of Christ, those that avoid emulating what they’re doing. He says their end is destruction and their god is their belly and their glory is their shame. Because, why? Because they think about earthly things. And as Christians, we have our minds set somewhere else, and we’ll see that, we’ll see that later on.
Paul tells them that our citizenship is in Heaven from where we also wait for a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.
And also finally in chapter 3 he says that, he tells the Philippian believers to hold to this promise, that one day Jesus will transform our lowly bodies to be like His glorious body.
So, some good foundation, some promises, some encouragement for those Philippian believers there in Philippi.
So we jump in chapter 4 verse 1 says therefore my brothers whom I long, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord my beloved. So we can go back to Acts chapter 16 and we find out that the church of Philippi was primarily women it sounds like. When he first started his first convert was Lydia. And now he’s addressing these women and then he’s, Euodia and Syntyche, who he talks to right here.
Let’s look at the next phrase he says, he says, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown. When you think of these words, love and long for and calls them his joy and his crown. Those are, those are very tender words. So, obviously Paul had a heart for this church in Philippi. He loved these people, truly. A lot of scholars and commentaries say that possibly he has his deepest affection for the church at Philippi there, he really loved those people.
In that day, a crown was given to athletes who won events, rights? And that was a big public statement if you had that wreath on your head people knew that you won a big event and that was a huge thing. So, when Paul says the Philippian Christians were his crown he’s basically saying that their faith bears witness to the effectiveness of his ministry and he’s proud of that, right? They are the sign and symbol of his achievement at Philippi.
Let’s jump to the next part of that verse where it says stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved. We can jump back to chapter 1 verse 27 where Paul appealed to the Christians there, he said, only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ so that whether I come and see you, or I’m absent, I may hear of you, that you are standing firm, in one spirit, with one mind, striving side by side for what? For the faith of the gospel. So he tells them to stand firm in the Lord again here in chapter 4. And I couldn’t help but think of Matthew chapter 7 verse 24 where Jesus is talking about building your house on the Rock. That’s a firm foundation, right? So just makes me think of, you know, standing firm, and you look at verse 24 in chapter 7 it says everyone then who hears these words of Mine, this is Jesus speaking, and does them, will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. So standing fast required hearing Jesus’ Words and acting upon them. So, in the same way, listening to Paul’s words and acting on them could possibly result in the same result, right? So he wants them to stand firm and stand on the rock. What does that imply? That implies the promise of our salvation. We can stand on the principle of God’s Word. We can develop a Christian mindset and you will see this come out more and more as Paul is talking here in chapter 4.
Let’s jump into verses 2 and 3. It says, I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord. Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.
Interesting here he says I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche. The word entreat is sometimes translated I beseech you, I urge you, I implore you, I exhort you, in other translations. So we get the idea here he’s asking these two women, he’s begging these two women to agree in the Lord and solve their conflict, right? But it’s very, this is important, it’s very interesting to note, that he entreats each of them individually, so he’s not taking sides here, he’s asking each of them to solve their conflict and agree in the Lord. Sometimes we may have different opinions, but the ultimate goal is that we agree in the Lord, right? People are people and often have different opinions about things, right?
I studied this a little bit deeper too. It’s hard to say if this conflict was doctrinal in nature or if it was important at all, really. Some commentaries say it must’ve been important because Paul mentions it. Others say that it probably wasn’t important because he barely expands on it, right? He just asks them to agree in the Lord and solve this little conflict. So it could be either or but either way he addresses it, so, and basically we see the problem that they’re not in the same mind at this point. And that’s his goal, that he wants this church to be unified and the same mind. The reason, the proclamation of the gospel. And really, in the New Testament that’s all we know about Euodia and Syntyche and Clement for that matter, that they’re only mentioned here in Philippians so we don’t know a whole lot about them. Just a little sidenote there.
An important thing to remember from these two verses, too, is that we’ve got to remember that the church is at war. We’re at war with the secular world, right? The secular world is always trying to impose things, and sort of almost forcing the church to adopt them, right? They’re trying to subvert the gospel and make us adopt worldly standards otherwise we’re behind; We’re the ones that are the hate-mongers and we’re out of date; we’re not loving; we don’t, you know, all those things that we hear today. So, that’s why he tells them, to stand firm in the Lord, right? Agree in the Lord. We can stand on the promises of God this morning, Nick and Kevin, the Word of God doesn’t change. People change, but the Word of God never changes, and that’s, we can, we can count on that.
It’s not the first time Paul addresses conflict or division in the church as we can go back to Corinthians, Thessalonians; there’s lots of areas but Paul always addresses these things and wants them to resolve the conflict in a Godly way, right? And always for the proclamation of the gospel, so they can be unified and stronger in one spirit, like that song One Voice, One Heart, right? That’s key.
So, ya, he says to agree in the Lord. And this is the fourth time in Philippians that he uses that sort of terminology where he says he wants them to have one mind or think the same way. That sort of terminology. It’s the fourth time he does that. You can go back to chapter 2 verse 2; chapter 2 verse 5; chapter 3 verse 15; all of these verses he wants them to have, to be likeminded, having the same love, k?
So this may suggest that the Philippian church, that was maybe one of their biggest struggles that they, conflict and they’re, you know going separate ways, not of the same mind the same unity, right?
Then I wrote here, it isn’t sufficient to resolve conflict by insisting that one or the other person give in. And Paul was very careful, like when I mentioned when he asked each of them, right, to agree in the Lord. It’s not sufficient to take a vote that one person wins and one loses. He calls them to think the same way. And the reason is that if the Lord is at the forefront of their minds they will find themselves facing the same direction. They’ll be advocating for the same things.
And my sermon wouldn’t be complete without a sports analogy so I think back when I did Philippians chapter 2 I used the analogy you know that a football team on offense you’ve got eleven men working together; one guys misses an assignment, that whole play is wrecked. So, you know, they’re striving for one goal, a touchdown in this case. One guys misses a key block, that play is ruined so-to-speak, right? So, in the same way, the church is the same way. If you’ve got one person constantly going in another direction, it’s, you’re not unified, not as powerful, not as effective, right?
Let’s jump to verse 3, when he says I ask you also true companion, to help these women. He doesn’t mention his true companion here, but if you studied a little bit, it’s probably Luke based on other portions of Scripture. You’ll find in Philemon that Luke was with Paul in Philippi so it could possibly be him. We also see in Acts, which, we believe Luke wrote, or Luke does tell us that he writes Acts, so, he says, when he says, we sailed away, we went here, we went there, he was with Paul at Philippi. So, probably a good assumption that it was Luke that he was talking about here, so he asks Luke to help these women to solve their conflict, right?
And we also notice Paul is very good with words, he shows respect for both these women. He doesn’t just leave it there, he says they labored side by side with him in the gospel, k, so he offers them some encouragement; these women are important, he wants them to solve this conflict. He goes on to say together with Clement, the rest of the fellow workers. We don’t know all the other workers’ names, but then he also says whose names are in the Book of Life. That’s a nice touch there because what is the Book of Life? The Book of Life, Revelation talks a lot about the Book of Life and that’s where the names of the redeemed are. They’re recorded there and only those in the Book of Life will enjoy Heaven or eternity in Heaven, right?
Revelation 21 verse 27 says nothing unclean will ever enter nor anyone who does what is detestable or false but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. So we can thank God for His Son Jesus who can make us clean. We can have our names written in the Book of Life. Jesus is only able to present, He’s the only One able to present us holy and blameless and above reproach before God and that’s found in Colossians 1:22.
So Paul’s co-workers Clement, Euodia, Syntyche, they were all believers. He tells us that cause he includes that comment, whose names are in the Book of Life, right? So it’s nice that he lets us know they were believers, they were indeed believers.
We’ll jump to verse 4 through 7 and kind of break those down now. It says, rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
We know that short little song, right, rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice. We sing that sometimes in a round song. Obviously you’ve heard that Philippians is the joy book of the Bible. Definitely some truth to that because there’s 5 or 6 references to the word joy. Paul uses the word rejoice twice here in the same verse. So I asked my self what does it truly mean to rejoice? What is real joy?
Let’s go to Luke 15 verse 7. Jesus’ words, He says, Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
Should be fairly obvious from that verse that true joy is rooted in the faithfulness of God and His love for us. And Paul models this kind of joy when he’s taking, when he’s calling these Philippian Christians to rejoice in the Lord always, and again he says rejoice, right?
He’s writing from a prison cell. And he tells them that he’s rejoicing and that continues to rejoice. Why? In the proclamation of the gospel again. That’s his source of true joy that the gospel is proclaimed as far as it can be proclaimed.
Philippians 1:18, if we jump back there, he says, Paul writes, What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.
Simple goal, right? Paul had a simple, clear mind and he knew what he was doing, right? He tells, he asks the Philippians to rejoice with him in this.
We can go to 1 Thessalonians chapter 5, what does Paul tell the church at Thessalonica there? He tells them in verse 16, some of the shortest verses in the Bible, right? Rejoice always. Verse 17 pray without ceasing. Verse 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. And I like that verse 18, give thanks in all circumstances. Paul certainly modeled this. And the Bible doesn’t say gives thanks for circumstances, I mean, most of us when tough circumstances come around we’re not thankful for the circumstance itself but we can rejoice that God will help us through all circumstances, right? He’s present with us and He is the One able to deliver us through these circumstances, so.
Ok, we’ll jump to verse 5. Verse 5 says, Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. Reasonable. What does that word reasonable mean? It’s neat when you study. I don’t usually go to the Greek and Hebrew too much, it gets pretty deep for me, but reasonableness can also mean gentleness, and mildness, and moderation. It all denotes that same kind of idea. So it seems to indicate that their Christian living should be reasonable, right? Without excess. And from other passages we derive that maybe they were, some of them were indulging in eating and dress and passion and drinking and things of that nature. We can go to Ephesians and places like that so, he just saying be reasonable. Don’t be excessive, be moderate. And then why? He concludes there he says in the view, in view of the expectation that the Lord would soon appear. Because he says the Lord is at hand.
Two things about that, the Lord is at hand. I think he maybe meant present with them now. He’s able to help them in their lives, like, presently, right there. But it’s also true that Paul expected that Jesus would probably come again very soon. So, he certainly considered that a possibility and he talks about that in 1 Thessalonians 5 a lot right, the coming of the Lord. So, either way the Lord is at hand. He’s with us and He’s coming back.
He goes on to say, do not be anxious about anything. And I don’t want to skip this part because who better than to tell us about anxiety and worry than Jesus Himself. If we go to the sermon on the mount in Matthew chapter 6 Jesus goes in great length to talk about worry here. Matthew chapter 6 verse 25, and I want to read that, you can turn there too because I want to read to verse 34.
Matthew 6:25 Jesus says, Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ for the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefor do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Jesus speaking, I mean, speaks itself, right? I mean, He talks about life, basically longevity of life, right? People worried about their short lives, and talks about food and clothing and drink. Daily necessities that we need, but, so they’re not unimportant things, but he says that our Heavenly Father knows them and He’ll provide for us those things, right?
So Paul’s counsel here is not to, Paul’s counsel not to worry is not a, not telling the Christians there at Philippi to just be, you know, just, he in Thessalonians again he calls it idleness, right? Some of the Christians there were becoming idle and they were just, they were literally anxious about nothing, including working, daily things, they were just lazy and were quitting on life almost, kind of thing.
So he’s not, he’s not telling them that but he’s just basically again reasonableness factors in here, right? We still have to work, we have to provide for our family. Paul has some pretty strong words in Thessalonians about those who weren’t providing for their family there, right? He basically told them to shun those people. They were worse than all unbelievers and things of that nature, right? So, ya, he’s just telling us to you know, lay our worries and our anxieties at Jesus’ feet, right? He’ll take care of us that way.
Goes on to say in our passage that he says, it says but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. So the alternative to worry is, tells us right here, it’s prayer and supplication which means petition, right? With thanksgiving. So in other words do not be anxious about anything, but, instead, in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. So there’s our answer for worry. If you struggle with worry, there’s your answer.
Let’s just think about the word thanksgiving for a minute. We can include genuine thanksgiving in our prayers regardless of our circumstances knowing that God loves us and provides for our needs, now and in eternity, right?
Tomorrow, we’ve set aside a day in our calendar year, Thanksgiving, a national holiday. I know it primarily circles around food and harvest and things and we’re thankful that God’s richly blessed us in this country. Nothing wrong with that, these things are important. But when I think of true thanksgiving you’ve got to think, you’ve got to be thankful for what Jesus did for us, right? This is where it all begins. It starts with Jesus and ends with Jesus. He’s given us life, we’re all alive here. He’s given us, He’s paid the price for our sins. He’s the One that we should truly be thankful for. And everything stems out of that. If you have that focus, that clarity of mind, again I’ll use that term, it’s much easier to be, have a very thankful spirit.
Paul says to let our requests be made known to God. In other words, we’re not, we shouldn’t be bashful or shy in asking God anything. He’s our Creator, right? He knows our frame, the Bible tells us. He desires to communicate with us and He knows what we already want and need anyway. I think he cherishes the fact that we communicate with Him and pray. The Bible obviously has much to say about prayer, right? We have an avenue to God through Jesus. We can ask Him, let our requests be made known to Him. That’s almost unthinkable, really. But yet how often do Christians take that for granted or we neglect it, right? I hear, you hear that all the time, oh my prayer life, my prayer life, if I could just get my prayer life better, right? And I want to read this quote, I have it in one of my Bibles, like in the footnotes where there’s commentary and stuff. It’s by Ben Jennings who I didn’t look, I don’t know who that is but he said, “Realistically, the way you regard prayer is the way you regard God. For prayer is communicating with Him. No other way exists in which to relate with Him. Put simply, low levels of prayer signal a demotion of God in our attitude. High levels of prayer indicate and expectation for a fullness of His presence and power.” I thought that quote was really, really good, regarding prayer, right?
Ok, and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding. So I looked up the word peace; it actually occurs over a hundred times, or almost a hundred times in the New Testament and many more times in the Old Testament. But there’s two different Greek words that they use for peace; they were eiréné and shalom. But both those words used in the bible, they carry more of a mean… like, I think you kind of know what peace means but they carry, more, more, more, more heavy definition than that I think, they, I mean peace can mean the absence of violence, right, obviously. But, but here I’ve found through reading and stuff that these words basically denote the kind of well being that is derived from a deep relationship with God. The kind of wholeness that comes from having the image of God, once shattered by sin, restored in us as a believer. That’s , that’s like a whole turn around of peace. We were enemies with God, and then through Jesus Christ, and what He did for us we’re restored and peace is restored again. So that’s, I found a neat way to explain peace too. Better than just you know the absence of violence, right?
Paul goes on to say which surpasses all understanding, this peace he’s talking about, which surpasses all understanding will guard you hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Let’s just think about our minds for a moment. Think of how powerful our minds are, right? They allow us to reason, solve problems, create things, create beautiful things. Our minds are very powerful things. One of the best things is they make it possible for us to know God. But, in our natural state, what does the Bible tell us about our minds? They’re corrupt. They’re debased. Things like that. Romans chapter 8 tells us that the mind set on flesh is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law. Indeed it cannot. Things like that, so our minds need to be transformed as the Bibles says in Romans 12, right? They need to be transformed and renewed by God Himself. So that’s why I think it’s very important at the end of this verse He says He will guard our hearts, your hearts and your minds, what? In Christ Jesus. Huge, huge little end there. In Christ Jesus. Cause, you think of the difference between a mind set on flesh and a mind set in Christ Jesus, night and day. It’s a huge difference, right?
In chapter two Paul also says having this mind among yourselves which is yours in Christ Jesus. So he says it again there and back in chapter 4 here, so, very important.
The word surpass is a neat word to consider as well. He says which surpasses all understanding, right? Surpasses basically speaks of something higher or better, better than we expected, right?
I’ll throw in one more sports illustration, here. My favourite team the Minnesota Vikings are 4 wins and 0 losses this year. They have surpassed, all the, you know, the top-notch critics and analysts that said, you know, they’ll be lucky to be two and two losses at this point in the season but they’re 4 in 0. So they’ve surpassed expectations, right?
So Paul’s talking here, he says, as wonderful as our minds can be, when aligned with God, Paul says that the peace of God is even more wonderful, it surpasses all understanding. Ok? That’s a huge statement to make. The peace of God has the capacity to stand guard or protect if you will, our hearts and minds, which the Bible correlates as our core, like our being, who we really are, right?
Ok, we’ll jump into our final two verses here Philippians 4 verse 8 and 9. I won’t read it again, it’s finally brothers whatever is true, honourable, just and so on. Basically Paul is asking the Philippian to take a look a their culture and to adapt these into their Christian lives. Cause, these are things that non-believers desire too, right? They want to be honest and true and things like that, but the whole point is that as a Christian you’re using these values kingdom purposes, for the proclamation of the gospel like Paul continues to say, right? He wants those values that he mentions here to shape their conduct. It’s not just a list. He says think on these things and practice these things, right? In other words, practice what you preach.
The first one, whatever is true, well what is truth? We talked a little bit about that in Sunday School, right? The Bible, absolute Truth. The Bible tells us God is Truth, He cannot lie, His Word is absolute Truth, fully trustworthy. What is false? Man is false, right? Man can lie. Man is not trustworthy. Man changes all the time. So, you know, he’s telling them think on these things that are true, big difference there. Whatever is honourable. I think of wisdom and integrity when I think of honourable. Whatever is just, I think of the word righteous and just sort of interchangeably. The righteous person will try to live his or her life according to God’s Will. And the person who is just will deal with other people, you know, co-workers and people fairly and honestly. Whatever is pure, I think of morally pure, without corruption, holy, sinless. Whatever is lovely, speaking of things that are pleasing or lovely. Whatever’s commendable, speaks of it speaks of something of which people think and speak well, right? Something or someone with a good reputation, right? If there is any excellence, and excellence can be translated moral virtue, and we always hear that saying, our Bible is our moral compass, right? So, that’s where we can find moral virtue, the principles of the Word of God, right? And then he ends off, he says if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. And I think he’s saying, think, not just like a fleeting thought, but really deep reflection on these, this list of things, right? Analyze it and make judgments with it and according to it. Ya, he says think about these things.
Has anyone every heard of the name Samuel Langhorn Clemens? I’d be surprised if someone did, has. You’ll better know him as Mark Twain. You’ve heard of Mark twain? Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer, books like that, right? His real name, I found out, was Samuel Langhorn Clemens. But he wrote a neat quote, he says, “What a wee little part of a person’s life are his acts and his words.” Ok. “His real life is lead in his head, and is known to none but himself. All the day long, the mill of his brain is grinding, and his thoughts, not those other things, are his history.” K? so just to bring it out that’s like our Christian walk really begins in our minds. Our thought-life is so important as a Christian, right? We cannot have a pure thought life without first ridding ourselves of things that defile us, right? It’d be like laying in a mud hole trying to clean yourself while still in the mud hole, right? You need to get out of the mud hole, find some soap and water, and clean ourselves, right? That’s the only way that we can promote this list of things, right? If we allow, if we stay in the mud hole and allow things in our lives which, which promote sensuality, greed, sexual impurity, crude language, violence, hatred, love of self, anything else that’s not pleasing to God. I mean the list is a mile long, right? We cannot grow in holiness, right? It’s like we’re staying in the mud hole, we’re staying dirty. And in fact if you stay in the mud hole you’re probably get dirtier and dirtier, right? It just cakes on and dries and another layer and another layer. We’ve got to realize that Jesus has provided us with what we need to get out of that mud hole, right? And it starts in our minds. And our minds have to be in Christ Jesus. So important.
Something interesting about life, whether you’re a believer or non-believer, basically all sins start in the mind. And the bible tells us that. The Bible calls it our heart, right? In Mark chapter 7 he says what comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts: sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All of these evil things come from within and they defile a person. Ya, so important and we see that in our culture it’s rampant today, right? Everybody’s doing what seems right in their own eyes and it’s a, it’s a mess. But basically no one commits these outward sins without first having committed them in his mind. So we must win the battle over sin in our minds and hearts, it starts there.
Think of it, we could be such effective witnesses for Christ if we embrace this, this, these things Paul is telling us here, and seriously apply them practically in our everyday lives, it’s such a good list I think it’s a checklist we should almost have in our wallet or handy with us or memorize those things, right?
You remember back 15 years ago when the WWJD bracelets and license plates and all that were pretty popular? WWJD. What Would Jesus Do? Sort of along the same line here. As Christians we know the attributes of God. We know what pleases God. But if we keep this in our minds – What Would Jesus Do – or have that list of, you know, is it honourable, is it true, is it just, is it lovely, is it commendable, is there any excellence in it? If we had that at the forefront of our minds before we do anything; little decisions, big decisions, before you turn on that next TV program, radio station, say that joke, any, you know, every little thing. If that comes to mind right away, oh, wait a minute, What Would Jesus Do? Or this list, is it commendable? Is it just? Is it lovely? You know, that seriously will change the way you live out your life, I think, like, practically speaking. I’ve been trying to practice it all week. Every little thing, Oh, wait a minute, is that lovely? No. Not going to do that then, or whatever, right?
So I encourage you to try and put that into practice this week , this month, this year. You’ve heard this saying before, an old indian Christian was explaining to a missionary once the battle inside him was like a black dog fighting with a white dog. And the missionary asked him, well which dog wins? And what did the old Indian say? He said, the one I feed the most. So in other words, you put garbage in, you’re going to get garbage out, right? So whichever dog he fed the most is the one that won.
Paul is imploring these people in Philippians throughout the book, it’s the overriding theme – feed our minds on the purity of God’s Word. Unity of mind. Minds in Christ Jesus. And ultimately for the goal of the proclamation of the gospel.
And finally he says and what you have learned and received and heard in me, I like this part, practice these things. Before he says think on these things, now he says practice these things. And what? The God of peace will be with you. So I like that Paul acknowledges that the Philippian Christians have learned from his ministry cause he says what you have learned already and received, now he’s telling them go out and practice these things, right? Follow his lead, because in chapter 3, he warns, he tells them to look out for the dogs, right? Look out for being led astray. He continues to teach them in the ways that he was taught and he wants them to emulate him. Have that same mind. And that mind, also ya in chapter 2 verse 5 he says having this mind among yourselves which is yours in Christ Jesus and it talks about what Jesus did, right? Making Himself nothing. The most humble thing to come down to humanity’s level and die for us. Born, being born in the likeness of men, being found in human form, humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death even death on a cross. I mean, how can you emulate a mindset for Christ without that, like that’s an example for us, like the ultimate example, right?
Ya, so in conclusion, like I said before, I want to challenge each of you to think on these things, and most importantly as Paul says, practice these things. Put it into action, right? That’s what the Bible is for. It’s not a book of suggestions, it’s, if it truly is our sole rule for faith and practice, we’ve got a list like this in chapter 4 is like golden, right? It’s got so many principles to live by. And I love the encouragement he leaves with the Philippians at the end of verse 9, and the God of peace will be with you, right? That is the promise, the reward of faithful discipleship, that the God of peace will be with them, present with them. Peace with your fellow man. Peace with, within your own hearts, and you know you can start to have a mind that is set in Christ Jesus this way, right? We can experience that peace too. So I just say lets strive together to be of one mind, one goal, for the advancement of the gospel. I think that’s ultimately what Paul was trying to get across here, in the entire book of Philippians, so…
Thank you for your time.