INTRO: From his admonitions about joyfulness and gentleness Paul continues with some practical dos and donts for his Philippian friends. In the verses we have read are some of the richest thoughts in Scripture. How can justice be done to these thoughts in just one brief study? Certainly, it cannot. All I hope to do is touch the hem of the garment here. But I can say that I hope you will let vv. 6 and 7 of this fourth chapter of Philippians be the basis for frequent meditation ... that you will search and discover from these verses at least some of the richness I know the Lord intends in them.
I. BE ANTICIPANT (4:5b)
A. The return of Christ meant everything to them
1. Rev 22:20 even so, come, Lord Jesus
2. there are indications that earliest Christians greeted each other with an expression which means the Lord comes or come quickly, Lord Jesus ... 1 Cor 16:22
3. return of Christ flavors all New Testament letters (Heb 10:37)
B. This anticipation - strongly held - determined ones life
1. its this simple ... if Christ isnt coming, or if you do not believe He is, it really does not matter how you live
2. but, on the other hand, there is 2 Pet 3:10-12 ... what manner of persons ought ye to be
3. the anticipation makes all the difference
C. So many years have past does 2 Pet 3:3,4 describe us?
1. we say we believe He will come but in back of our minds do we really believe it?
2. everything about us really hinges on this single point
3. do we let the little carelessnesses, indifferences creep into our lives and take root simply because we are not anticipant?
II. BE CALM (4:6a)
A. Anxiety devastates a Christian life
1. word for anxiety means to divide
2. anxiety puts our minds into such a divided state that we can well and truly cease to function effectively ... no focus, no concentration
3. there were some anxious points for those Philippians
B. This in nothing be anxious is a hard commandment
1. world in crisis - economy in crisis - family in crisis - church in crisis ... crises everywhere one looks!
2. and so many of them touch us directly ... hard not to notice them
3. Jno 14:1a thats a tall order, Lord ... so,
III. BE PRAYERFUL (4:6b)
A. In our prayers there must be thanksgiving
1. anxiety may focus on what we do not have
2. but Christians are far from being the have nots of this world!
3. if we can begin to accentuate our blessings, we will find a corresponding diminishing of discontent and anxiety - Jas 1:17
B. In our prayers there must be confidence, trust
1. in everything - anxiety may also focus on that which seems well beyond our control
2. then, we need to truly commit matter to God - 1 Jno 5:14,15
3. I believe, however, that one of the most difficult aspects of prayer is to accept the answer ... for, indeed, we may find at times those answers are very hard especially when they differ from our requests!
IV. BE PEACEFUL (4:7)
A. Everything he has thus written climaxes in peace!
1. joy, gentleness, anticipation, calmness, prayerfulness .. peace
2. in all of this we deal with our relationship to others to self and to God .. and put each into correct attitudes
3. having done so, peace must ensue!! what is left to shatter ones peace?
B. I think we need to dwell more on this peace
1. what good is ones faith if he is constantly irritable, ornery, anxious? like everyone else caught up in this frenzied life?
2. how contented are you? when have you last really felt that peace reigned in your heart? Col 3:15
3. Christ can help us take the strains, stresses out of our circumstances - I wonder, though, how many of us would really want to be relieved of them?
CLOSE: I am convinced that in these few verses are the greatest keys weve been given to make our lives really what they can be. But as with any lock and key, it is up to us to use that key!
Cecil A. Hutson
01 October 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)