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Philippians #9 - How to Stand Firm in the Lord

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Philippians #9:

How to Stand Firm in the Lord

Text: Phil. 4:1-9

Thesis: To note what it takes to stand firm in the Lord.

Introduction:

(1)   After emphasizing the Philippians’ heavenly citizenship and eager anticipation for the Lord’s return, Paul stresses the need to be ready so that all can share in the joy of that day.

(2)   From verses 4-9, Paul suggests four necessities in order to stand firm.

Discussion:

I.       First, one must have the right attitude (vv. 4-5).

A.    Joy

1.      The Christian “is not immune to sorrow nor should he be insensitive to the troubles of others; yet he should count the will of God his highest joy and so be capable of knowing inner peace and joy in every circumstance” (EBC).

2.      ‘In the Lord’ is the basis for our joy.

B.     Gentleness

1.      “The term epieikes (‘gentleness’) is difficult to translate with its full connotation. Such words as gentle, yielding, kind, forbearing, and lenient are among the best English attempts, but no single word is adequate. Involved is the willingness to yield one's personal rights and to show consideration and gentleness to others. It is easy to display this quality toward some persons, but Paul commands that it be shown toward all. That would seem to include Christian friends, unsaved persecutors, false teachers--anyone at all. Of course, truth is not to be sacrificed, but a gentle spirit will do much to disarm the adversary” (EBC).

2.      “The word properly means that which is fit or suitable, and then propriety, gentleness, mildness-They were to indulge in no excess of passion, or dress, or eating, or drinking. They were to govern their appetites, restrain their temper, and to be examples of what was proper for people in view of the expectation that the Lord would soon appear” (from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft).

II.    Second, one must have the right habit (vv. 6-7).

A.    Don’t worry

1.      “The verb merimnate can mean "to be concerned about" in a proper Christian sense (and is so used by Paul in 2:20), but here the meaning is clearly that of anxiety, fretfulness, or undue concern” (EBC).

2.      Cf. Matt. 6:25-34

B.     Pray

1.      Cf. 1 Pet. 5:7 – The answer to anxiety = prayer

2.      No wonder we are to pray without ceasing (cf. 1 Thess. 5:17).

III. Third, one must have the right thinking (v.8).

A.    True

-          “‘True’ (alethe) has the sense of valid, reliable, and honest--the opposite of false. It characterizes God (Rom 3:4) and should also characterize believers” (EBC).

B.     Noble

-          “‘Noble’ (semna) is used in the NT only by Paul--here and in 1Tim 3:8, 11; Tit 2:2--and in the latter passages refers to church officers--i.e., a quality that makes them worthy of respect” (EBC).

C.     Right

-          “‘Right’ (dikaia) refers to what is upright or just, conformable to God's standards and thus worthy of his approval” (EBC).

D.    Pure

-          “‘Pure’ (hagna) emphasizes moral purity and includes in some contexts the more restricted sense of ‘chaste’” (EBC).

E.     Lovely

-          “‘Lovely’ (prosphile) occurs only here in the NT. It appears in LXX (Esther 5:1) and Josephus (Antiq. I.18. 12; XVII.6.22) and relates to what is pleasing, agreeable, or amiable” (EBC).

F.      Admirable

-          “‘Admirable’ (euphema) occurs only here, though Paul uses the cognate euphemia in 2 Corinthians 6:8. It denotes what is praiseworthy, attractive, and what rings true to the highest standards” (EBC).

G.    Excellent

H.    Praiseworthy

IV. Fourth, one must have the right living (v. 9).

A.    As taught by Paul in his writing and teaching

B.     As taught by Paul in his manner of life

Conclusion:

(1)   Are you standing firm in the Lord?

(2)   If not, what changes do you need to make and are you willing to make those changes today?

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