Translations: Chinese GB Big5

Philippians 4 (web)

With Unity in Mind

4:1 Therefore, my brothers, beloved and longed for, my joy and crown,
so stand firm in the Lord, my beloved.

4:2 I exhort Euodia, and I exhort Syntyche, to think the same way in the Lord.
4:3 Yes, I beg you also, true yoke-fellow, help these women,
for they labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also,
and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.

Rejoice, Request, Reason, Reproduce

4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always! Again I will say, Rejoice!
4:5 Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.

4:6 In nothing be anxious, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving,
let your requests be made known to God.
4:7 The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.

4:9 The things which you learned, received, heard, and saw in me:
do these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

With Contentment and Generosity

4:10 But I rejoice in the Lord greatly, that now at length you have revived your thought for me; in which you did indeed take thought, but you lacked opportunity.
4:11 Not that I speak in respect to lack,
for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content in it.
4:12 I know how to be humbled, and I know also how to abound.
In everything and in all things I have learned the secret
both to be filled and to be hungry, both to abound and to be in need.
4:13 I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.
4:14 However you did well that you shared in my affliction.

4:15 You yourselves also know, you Philippians,
that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia,
no assembly shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you only.

4:16 For even in Thessalonica you sent once and again to my need.
4:17 Not that I seek for the gift, but I seek for the fruit that increases to your account.
4:18 But I have all things, and abound.
I am filled, having received from Epaphroditus the things that came from you,
a sweet-smelling fragrance, an acceptable and well-pleasing sacrifice to God.
4:19 My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

Final Greetings

4:20 Now to our God and Father be the glory forever and ever! Amen.
4:21 Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me greet you.
4:22 All the saints greet you, especially those who are of Caesar's household.
4:23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.


Discussion Questions

vs 2,3 How would you go about resolving conflicts between colaborers?
vs 6,7 What are you worried about?
Are you concerned that the things you worry about are too secular to present to God?
Do you consider yourself a person who worried too much or too little?
How has prayer given you peace from a past worry?
vs 8 What kinds of things should Christians think about?
Should they be limited to the Bible?
vs 9 What good habit have you developed copying someone else?
vs 11-13 How has becoming a Christian made you more content in your circumstances?
vs 15-19 What charities would you suggest others to invest in?


Comments


Stand Firm in the Lord

Php 4:1 Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends!

The whole letter to the Philippians is about standing firm. Note my outline:
 

Standing Firm in the Gospel
1:1-11 Fellowship in the Gospel
1:12-30 Fearlessly Contend for the Gospel
2:1-2 With an Attitude of  Unity 
2:3-11  With an Attitude of  Humility
2:12-18 With an Application Oriented Mindset
2:19-30 In Cooperation with Other Laborers
3:1-14 Against False Teachers of Legalistic Righteousness
3:15-21 With a Mature Attitude
4:1-3  With Unity in Mind
4:4-9 Rejoice, Request, Reason, Reproduce
4:10-19 With Contentment and Generosity
4:20-23 Final Greetings

And another thing to note in this verse is that Paul found it edifying to express his feelings for them. Effective Christian ministry isn't all about doctine. Among other things, it's also about interpersonal relationships. Therefore consider whether and to what extent you're developing an emotional attachment to fellow believers.



Cooperate

Php 4:2,3 I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellow, help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.

This is the first time in the Bible where we see the phrase "the book of life". In fact the only other place we learn of this book is in Revelation, which was written later by the apostle John. There we learn that "if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire." Rev 20:15 So to be saved from God's wrath is to have your name written in the book of life. It is interesting the Paul confidently affirmed these were saved, despite their imperfect behavior, in that, at least in the case of the two women, there was some kind of dispute going on. Paul himself was not above such things, having parted company with Barnabus in a sharp dispute over Mark. "They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus but Paul chose Silas and left" Acts 15:39 And likewise Paul and Barnabus together had to contend with Peter and the others in Jerusalem over the issue of Gentile Christians. But eventually al these got resolved. So while contentions may arise among Christians, see to it that they be eventually resolved. With regards to ministry matters it's often the case that either God is calling for compromise between the parties, or else for them to have separate ministries.

But again with regards to declaring these as having their names written in the book of life, it is apparent from his writings that this was not by special revelation, but simply that their behavior, their convictions as revealed by their lifestyle, indicated to all that this was the fact. And likewise does Paul write in many of his letters, confidently affirming, in many cases, the salvation status of many of his readers, despite the fact that is was clear their behavior was less than perfect and yet indicative of their salvation status. Here we notice that these women, and Clement and others were involved in laboring together with Paul. Such behavior is to be expected of those born of God. So put your faith into action and then something could be said of your salvation status.



Rejoice

Php 4:4,5  Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.

There is good reason to be glad, despite the difficulties of this life, in view of our destiny, having been saved from the wrath of God, our names being written in the book of life. "Gentleness" here is a peaceful humble attitude, one which is not quarrelsome or harsh. It is the kind of meek cooperative attitude which Paul hopes to invoke between Euodia and Syntyche, among others. Xrefs to "gentleness":  Titus 3:2; 1Peter 2:18 Rejoicing in the midst of tribulations is contingent upon such an attitude of gentleness. But even if one is discouraged, you can be encouraged by the fact that, "The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Ps 34:18  So "though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior." Hab 3:17,18



Don't Worry, Pray

Php 4:6,7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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.

Be a prayer worrier! If there's something you're worried about right now, then pray about it. Ask for for what you need, or put it in his hands to deal with it. "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." 1Peter 5:7 Even Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane prayed about his anxiety concerning his crucifixion. And God strengthened him to face it.

This is the peace that doesn't make sense - the peace of mind which is gained by faith in God. Pray until you attain such peace. It will guard your hearts from evil desires and your minds from evil thoughts."You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you." Is 26:3



Consider This

Php 4:8 Finally, brothers, 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.

The Christian life is not just about doing certain things and abstaining from other things. It's also about what we think, how we reason. In fact applications are largely derived by reasoning out and inferring the scripture's intended applications. "God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth." John 4:24 The Christian life is not lived in blind obedience as if under the oppression of the law, but in an enlightened obedience as a son learning to take on his father's perspective. Thus for example while God commanded Abraham to kill his son, it is written that, "Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death." Heb 11:19  So let us learn to reason about the things of God. What is true? What is noble? What is right? What is pure? With these kinds of questions we should approach the scriptures and we should approach life. For example in overcoming sin, reasoning is involved. The same greek word for "think" here is also "reckon" or "count" as in Rom 6:11 "Reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord."  And  unlike the faiths of many other religions which advocate blind faith, Christian faith is a faith that reasons.   "Come now, and let us reason together," Says the LORD Isa 1:18a



Put it into Practice

Php 4:9 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.

While Christian faith involves thinking and reasoning, a faith which is not applied is no faith. In fact our faith is revealed by what we do. So if you have faith you'll have works too. We derive applications either directly by what the scriptures command, or by inference, and also by observation. Consider the lifestyle of Jesus. For "whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did." 1John 2:6 And Jesus said, "I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you." John 13:15 Are you walking as Jesus did? And as Paul noted in the previous chapter, he says, "Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you." Php 3:17 And "my brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience." Jas 5:10  It's in the midst of applying our faith in accordance with the scriptures and with the examples therein that we experience peace with God. So today put your faith into action.



Look for Opportunities

Php 4:10 I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it.

Sometimes God allows needs to arise just in order to provide an opportunity for Christians to show their love. Paul worked to be self-sufficient and thus his comment here about them having had no opportunity to show their concern. "After all, children should not have to save up for their parents, but parents for their children." 2Cor 12:14b And elsewhere he says, "You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak" Acts 20:34,35b (Oh that minstering Christians today would follow his example. That would free up resources to help those who are truly needy.) But even so, as in the case of Paul, and indeed of the Lord Jesus himself, opportunities will arise to provide some kind of service.

If you want to show your love, then today look for opportunities to meet a genuine need.



Learn to be Content

Php 4:11-13  I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

Contentment is developed as a result of learning to have confidence in God's ability and desire to provide what is needed. This is the secret of contentment.

"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.'" Heb 13:5

"Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that." 1Tim 6:6-8

What are you content with? Are you content with what you have?



Take Initiative to Practice Generosity

Php 4:14-16 Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles.  Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid again and again when I was in need.

It was not Paul's habit to ask for money. In fact he worked to be self-supporting. To the Thessalonians he said, "We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you." 2Th 3:7,8 And to the Ephesians, "You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’" Acts 20:34,35 But he appreciated and commended those who took initiative to pratice generosity. For that was the example he himself set.

And this is how generosity is to be taught - namely by example rather than by command. For generosity is an act of graciousness. Thus Paul writes, "Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." 2Cor 9:6,7 (For more on Christian Generosity see http://www.bcbsr.com/topics/generosity.html)

It's hard to imagine that the churches which Paul established would have been reluctant to be charitable to him. But given that Paul likely didn't explicitly ask for money, it's understandable, given the level of spiritual maturity at the time. There are things that God wants us to do of which he is emphatic. But there are also things he wants us to do of which he is not emphatic, but wants us to infer His will and take initiative. That's where are hearts and our level of spiritual maturity is really revealed.

Now what is it you suppose God may want you to take initiative on?



Credited to your Account

Php 4:17-19 Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account. I have received full payment and even more; I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

The highest of motives, namely love, is to do the right thing simply because it's the right thing to do. It is to do good to others, not for one's own benefit, but simply for the benefit of others. Love rejoices in the truth and is not self-seeking (1Cor 13:5,6) It needs neither positive nor negative incentives to take action.

Yet throughout the Bible we are given both positive and negative incentives to comply with God's instructions. We are encouraged to develop an enlighted self-interest, coming to realize the personal benefits we are promised for good behavior. And elsewhere we are warned of the judgement we bring on ourselves for bad behavior. For much of the Bible is written to those yet to be perfected in love.

But if it's positive incentives you need, the Bible offers a great deal with regards to the topic of generosity. See "Investing in a Heavenly Retirement Account" http://www.bcbsr.com/topics/hra.html For example concerning the generous it is written, "He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion" 2Cor 9:10,11



Greet the Saints

Php 4:20-23  To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen. Greet all the saints in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me send greetings. All the saints send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

Over the centuries the term "saint" has fallen into disuse among Christians and misuse among Catholics and Orthodox as if "saints" refer to a special category of Christians - those who are somehow holier or spiritually superior. But in fact the Bible uses the word "saint" as simply what insiders call insiders. That is in the past the word "saint" was used synonomously with the modern usage of the word "Christian". In fact the word "Christian", which is only used three times in the Bible, is how outsiders referred to insiders. So all of you who believe in Jesus in the sense of which speaks of such belief, you are all "saints". I greet you all.

Notice that in just a short time there were saints even in Caesar's household. Paul himself may have had a hand in that. Saints should be free from prejudice and fellowship acknowledged on a global scale.


The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources


Jul 29,2015