Summary: Paul is informing the church how to live as a Christian, not only as individuals, but as a group.
Christian Living: Phil. 4:1-9
Intro – There’s not much context here besides to know that Paul is writing to the church at Philippi. He’s writing from prison and Paul loves this church. He really looooves this church! We know that in ch.3 Paul was urging the church to know their secure by grace through faith and not works. He warns them of the “grace killers”, which were the Jewish leaders teaching that righteousness comes from specific religious practices; circumcision, the law and so forth. Paul assures the people that these things are good, but it’s not what makes you right with God. He explains that these good practices will automatically come out of knowing you are saved through grace. So, you don’t practice good works to become right with God. You practice good works out of knowing your right with God. He also talks about always reaching forward to the goal of knowing Christ more. Paul speaks of the people’s citizenship not being of this world, but of Heaven and for the people not to adapt to those of the world, but to stand out. Now in ch.4, Paul is informing the church how to live as a Christian, not only as individuals, but as a group.
Be United (v.1-3). (v.1-2) There is obviously a disagreement between two women in the church. You know, in the size of most congregations, it is almost impossible to bring that many people together and not have any disagreements. From experience I will tell you that it is okay to disagree, but when we become disagreeable is when we are letting little things that don’t matter start problems. Sometimes if the disagreement is not doctrinal or about “truth”, we just have to let it go…let it slide. I visited a church about a year ago up in Tennessee and there were two pastors wives arguing over the color of the new carpet they were going to have put in. These women are obviously being disagreeable. They were letting something so insignificant to get in the way of what is truly important. This disagreement that Paul is addressing is not doctrinal because if you know Paul at all, if it was about “truth”, he would have addressed the problem specifically right then and there. He didn’t even tell us what it was about which tells us it was something minor. (v.3) We can see here Paul is pretty much telling these ladies, “Look! Stop worrying about the small stuff that doesn’t even matter. Your names are in the book of life!” This also tells us that these ladies were not trouble makers, they were just being disagreeable.
Be Joyful (v.4). Paul is telling them to rejoice. He’s basically saying, “You are looking at the unimportant. Your names are in the book of life, rejoice!” Let me tell you all something. If you are a believer, you should not be some toad! You should not be a toad! This verse does not say, “Rejoice when you’re feeling good”. The verse says, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!” Now I’m not telling you to walk around here with a fake smile on your face because that gets on my nerves, but realize that even through our struggles God gives us the freedom to live “…more abundantly.” What Jesus did on the cross did not only secure our future, it did much more. It effected our past, present, and future. Our past is forgiven, it gave our present purpose, and secures our future. Live more abundantly.