Rejoicing in Christ (Philippians 4:1-9)
Wouldn’t you know that in the providence of God, we would be studying Philippians 4:1-9 on Mother’s Day! What better way to celebrate Mother’s Day than to talk about two women who were in a “Cat-Fight!” — Happy Mother’s Day, Moms.
In this text, Paul will deal with six difficult areas of life. The Christians at Philippi were experiencing:
1. Wavering in their faith
2. Conflict in their church
3. Discouragement in their heart
4. Tension in their relationships
5. Anxiety in their hearts
6. Unhealthy thinking in their minds
LOOK at that list. Do you experience these things? For us to feel the weight of this passage and to understand what Paul hopes for us to do as a result, we need to come to grips with the fact that these things as more than just the human condition.
The Gospel EXPOSES each of them as SIN AGAINST GOD.
1. The gospel exposes our wavering faith as placing our confidence in our flesh rather than Christ.
2. The gospel exposes our conflicts as being self-centered instead of self-sacrificing.
3. The gospel exposes our discouragement as resulting from what happens to us rather than being fixed in the transcendent goodness of God.
4. The gospel exposes the tension in our relationships as being our unwillingness to give grace when we have been given so much grace by God.
5. The gospel exposes our anxiety as self-reliance rather than a total dependence in God over every circumstance of life.
6. The gospel exposes our thinking as the mind of the “old man,” affected by the curse rather than the excellencies of Christ.
This section of Paul’s letter contains six practical exhortations for the Christian.
1. EXHORTATION #1: Stand Firm in the Lord (4:1)
2. EXHORTATION #2: Agree in the Lord (4:2-3)
3. EXHORTATION #3: Rejoice in the Lord (4:4)
4. EXHORTATION #4: Be Gracious to Everyone (4:5)
5. EXHORTATION #5: Pray About Everything (4:6-7)
6. EXHORTATION #6: Think About Excellent Things (4:8-9)
Rejoicing in Christ
SIX Practical Exhortations for Christians:
EXHORTATION #1: STAND FIRM IN THE LORD (4:1)
What reasons has Paul given that should cause us to stand firm in the Lord?
a. Stand firm in the Lord because Christ is the highest prize
b. Stand firm in the Lord because of the destruction that awaits the enemies of the cross
c. Stand firm in the Lord because our citizenship is in heaven where we wait for Christ to transform us by His power
EXHORTATION #2: AGREE IN THE LORD (4:2-3)
From this we gain five encouragements for conflict resolution:
a. REALIZE that they personal conflict affects the unity of the corporate body.
b. CHANGE their thinking.
c. CONSIDER their common bond in Christ.
d. FOCUS (their energy) on advancing the gospel (rather than their own agenda).
e. SUBMIT to the mediation of a godly peacemaker.
EXHORTATION #3: REJOICE IN THE LORD (4:4)
Let’s break this simple exhortation to into FOUR pieces:
a. Rejoice: I don’t think we need to be told what it means to “rejoice.” But I think it is interesting that we need to be commanded to rejoice!
b. In the Lord: This is a joy that is rooted in the gospel and the glory of Christ.
c. Always: This is a joy that transcends our circumstances.
d. Again: This is a joy that is so essential that it needs to be repeated again and again.
EXHORTATION #4: BE GRACIOUS TO EVERYONE (4:5)
a. Paul exhorts these Christians to “let their reasonableness be known to everyone.”
“Reasonableness” = yielding, graciousness, unabrasive spirit even under provocation
b. I suggest that the exhortation itself assumes that there is some type of difficult.
c. Christians are called to be a PEOPLE OF GRACE, freely giving grace to others because we have received grace from God through Christ.
d. Are you known to be a person who is gracious to everyone? Or are you “Bob”?
EXHORTATION #5: PRAY ABOUT EVERYTHING (4:6-7)
Four lessons on prayer from this text:
a. Prayer is the response of faith when a Christian feels anxious. 1 Pet 5:7
b. Prayer places our dependence on our sovereign God. Matt 6
c. Prayer that truly believes in the sovereignty of God overall things will be saturated with thanksgiving.
d. Prayer brings (promises) the peace of God to protect the anxious soul.
EXHORTATION #6: THINK ABOUT EXCELLENT THINGS (4:8-9)
Two commands joined together because of their association with “these things.”
a. “THINK ABOUT” these things. Let your mind dwell on these things.
b. “PRACTICE” these things. Let your life reflect these things.