This week we finished our series on Philippians. We saw last week in Philippians 4:4 Paul tells the church to rejoice in the Lord. Again Paul emphasises the theme of joy and rejoicing that we see throughout this book. Paul wants the church to realise that joy doesn’t depend on circumstances. Even in the midst of trials we are called to be joyful because we know Jesus.
In Philippians 4:6 we see that the solution to anxiety is seeking God. Being anxious is not just having a concern or a care about a person or a problem, it’s when we continually dwell on that. Paul calls the church to bring everything to God, to seek God.
The prayer Paul is talking of is a heart communion with a loving Father who desires what is best for us. That is the type of prayer that will keep us from anxiety and we will experience the peace of God which is beyond our understanding because it is not dependent on circumstances, it is peace in the midst of chaos and confusion. It’s peace that comes from knowing God is in control.
Paul continues by telling the church how to direct their thoughts. He tells them that in everything they are to look for the good. If you have a dispute with someone focus not on the dispute but look for the common ground, look for what is right. If you are suffering look for God’s perspective and what is changing in you that is of value. In each and everything you face, let what you think about be shaped by God. It can be easy to be consumed by negative thoughts, to see the bad, it takes effort to see what is good.
Paul points out that he is content whatever the circumstances. It’s an important principle for us to learn. Paul is content because of Christ in him. We look at what it means to be content, it’s not complacency, it’s not from having or achieving everything we think we want. It’s not something that comes naturally, we like Paul, have to learn it. Real contentment is working to glorify God, serve others, and further the kingdom of God in everything we do. Contentment comes from living in the light of eternity.
Paul thanks the Philippian church for their gifts to him. Paul knows that part of God’s sufficiency for him comes through other people. God has called us into relationship not just with Him but also with other people. We are part of a community. It is important to acknowledge and appreciate what others do to help us.He also points out an important principle which is that giving blesses the giver.
Paul closes with praying what we all need. Philippians 4:23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
I hope you have been enjoying this series as we have been working through the book of Philippians – this is Week 7 – and we have another week to go in the series.
Today I want to pick up from where we left off last week– so if you turn with me in your Bibles to Philippians 3:17. If you were away last week I’d encourage you to listen along to the message below.
17 Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example. 18 For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 They are headed for destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth. 20 But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. 21 He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control.
Today as we are start the message, we are looking at Paul’s concluding remarks from Chapter 3. In his closing remarks, Paul’s letter takes a more serious tone. This is clearly of importance to Paul – he describes the tears that are in his eyes as he writes this warning – he feels this so deeply – This is not exaggeration or hyperbole on Paul’s part but rather he wants the Philippians who hear this to understand the gravity of his words.
He warns those listening about the enemies of the cross of Christ. You get the impression that Paul speaks from experience here – this is a veteran Christian who was journeyed the ups and downs of the Christian life – he has experienced the highs and certainly many of the lows – but in all of those he has remained faithful to the message of the cross of Christ.
Paul provides practical advice here – he doesn’t just pose the problem, but he gives practical advice on how we can avoid this danger!
Listen along as we explore some practical tips and the first few verses in Philippians 4.
We continued looking at Paul’s burning desire to know Jesus, focusing on Philippians 3:12-16. In Philippians 3:12 Paul states that he is not perfect. Not being perfect can be an excuse for our shortcomings or can be a motivating factor. In many ways we are defined and our life is limited by how we deal with our imperfections and flaws.For Paul and hopefully for us also, it should be a motivating force driving us to know Jesus better and to become ever more aware and reliant on His grace and mercy.
We saw that Paul has not yet obtained the level of relationship he wants with Jesus! We can always get to know someone better and if we love them this is a great joy. Paul knows that in knowing Jesus better there is great benefit. Paul wanted to gain the very thing for which Jesus had made him His own. He is straining and striving to gain the prize which is the “upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”This is to:
Paul is single minded and focussed on his goal and is pressing on to achieve it. A key part of leading this Christ cantered life focussed on achieving the prize is not looking back! Satan and our human nature continually tries to take our eyes off the prize and trip us up by getting us to look at the errors and hurts of the past. The past is covered by Christ and His sacrifice. As we look to the future and move on we are liberated to lead a life of freedom and possibilities.