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.
Be Prayerful (v.5-7). (v.5) Paul is telling us to live, showing the grace we know we have received. The reason we are to rejoice always is because we have been saved from grace through faith. Paul is recommending that we ought to extend this grace to all men just as we have received it from Christ. He says, “Let your gracious spirit be known to all men.” Not to just family and friends and people in our church. This sounds a lot like the “Great Commission” to me. We do this to “all men.” Why would he say this? It is God’s will that all men see Christ in us so that all should come to repentance. Peter tells us in 2Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is long suffering towards us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (v.6) This verse is probably a very familiar verse to all of you. Paul is telling us to be anxious for nothing. Now, I’m the kind of person who thinks I can figure it all out. If everybody would just back up, I can do it. You’ll just mess everything up. If I can get my hands around this thing, I’ll figure it out. Paul is telling us here to “be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” We are to put it in God’s hands. With God all things are possible. We are to take all of our needs to God in prayer. Paul is telling us that God wants to know our needs. I want you to see three words here in this verse.