INTRO: In almost every letter written by the apostle Paul there will be a section of short, plain, practical admonitions for his readers. As we near the end of this letter to the saints and friends in Philippi, the tempo begins to move more quickly. Words are at a premium, and he uses them sparingly and carefully now. Each admonition is a self-contained lesson ... and gives rise to a variety of directions of thought. In a way, though, each of these admonitions could look back to the trouble between Euodias and Syntyche and could be saying something to them about the resolution of their trouble and to the church about its prevailing spirit in the face of this problem.
I. BE JOYFUL (4:4)
A. Joy has been the theme of Philippians
1. word is sprinkled as seasoning throughout this letter
2. so pronounced is this theme that commentaries on the book of Philippians have used you, joyful, rejoice in titles
B. Christians have much about which to rejoice
1. their forgiveness of sins Acts 8:39
2. their heavenly hope which keeps them looking beyond this life and world - Rom 12:12
3. it is rejoicing in the Lord
C. A secular life is subject to wide swings of emotion
1. in the Christian life there should be an evenness of emotion an even keel despite secular difficulties
2. but because secular life puts all its trust in temporal things, experiences, relationships, the loss of these creates a disposition of hopelessness and despair
3. Ps 146:5
D. Why the recurring theme? Why say it over and over?
1. obviously, Christians should rejoice
2. but these Christians have a dear friend in prison; they have gotten word that Epaphroditus is gravely ill; they have a quarrel in the church which could erupt into serious problems ... rejoice?
3. but Paul is joyful ... somehow that joy overrides everything - if I can find joy, so must you
II. BE GENTLE (4:5)
A. Here is the manner of treatment toward all - gentle
1. this word must have been difficult to translate
2. in original word are ideas of graciousness, kindness, courtesy, forbearance, selflessness
3. it does not insist on its own way and can yield quietly to others it can overlook so much
4. however, matters of faith are certainly not in view in yielding and overlooking
B. What can we say about a gentle person?
1. the macho image versus gentleness? our image of he man or of feminine beauty need to change as we see that gentleness is the real beauty
2. gentleness is strength under control it is so sensitive to others that it considers them, their needs and desires
3. a gentle person knows who he is ... and because he does, he does not need to prove anything to self or others he does not need to be raucous, argumentative, brassy, flashy!
4. gentleness is a must to ministering (1 Thes 2:7)
C. Jesus: meek and gentle - 2 Cor 10:1
1. could have called fire from heaven to devour a crude, rejecting village gently touched the lame, poor, ill, grieving wept with those weeping ... yet, He made the worlds!
2. Mt 5:2 is expression for opening his heart and this Jesus did ... He opened His heart to people and was so gentle
3. I wonder if 1 Pet 2:23 is describing the gentle spirit of Jesus?
4. my dad was a gentle man he knew his business with the best, was highly respected by all ... but he was gentle with everyone with his parents, his wife, his children, his customers, his friends ... he was so conscious of their feelings I thought at times that people took advantage of dad .. but I realize now that he was supremely gentle ( how gentle was his touch as he removed those thorns, etc.)
CLOSE: In all of this study of Philippians I think the thing which has most arrested my attention is this word gentle. How I pray for that gentle spirit ... which, by the way, is the fruit of the Spirit.
Cecil A. Hutson
24 September 2000
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)