Summary: Message 26 from Philippians. This message is the first of four exploring Paul's admonition to pray about everything rather than worry.
Chico Alliance Church
March 12, 2017
“Living in Peace” Pt 1
Paul specified some specific joy related actions throughout chapter four.
• Stand firm in the Lord 4:1
• Harmonize in the Lord 4:2-3
• Rejoice in the Lord always 4:4
• Calmly pray to the Lord about everything 4:5-7
Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. Phil 4:5-9
This is an oft quoted passage that sums up Paul’s desire for them. Joy often gets swallowed up by contention, anxiety and negative thinking. Although the realization of God’s presence appears in closer proximity to the command to demonstrate gentleness, I think it stands foundational to this whole passage. His nearness causes us to rejoice; his nearness generates gentleness; his nearness alleviates anxiety; His nearness keeps our thinking healthy and positive.
There are three basic instructions in this passage leading toward a life of peace.
Cultivate a life of engaging gentleness over unsettled contention.
Cultivate a life of consistent prayer over persistent worry.
Cultivate a life of positive thinking over negative thinking.
Specifically, Paul called the Philippian believers to…
Cultivate gentleness by recognizing the Lord’s presence.
Eliminate worry and anxiety by requesting God’s help (prayer).
Avoid negative thinking by concentrating on the positive.
The result of following his instructions is God’s supernatural peace guarding our hearts and minds and enabling us to recognize the presence of the God of peace. The goal is a life of peace and joy amid a tumultuous world.
(Pray always) And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7
(Think and live godly) and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:9
Cultivate a life of engaging gentleness over unsettling contention.
Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is near
Let us first explore the mandate and then the motivation.
Mandate for observable gentleness
This is a command to live in such way that your gentleness is obvious (known) to those around you.
It should be obvious not just to a few but “to ALL men.” This instruction assumes you have it to display it.
The first place to go to understand a term is observe its usage in the Bible.
Jesus Himself demonstrated this character trait.
Now I, Paul, myself urge you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ… 2 Corinthians 10:1
"Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. Mat 11:29
Paul listed this as a required trait for church leaders.
not addicted to wine, not a bully but gentle, not quarrelsome, not greedy— 1 Timothy 3:3
Paul instructed a young pastor Titus to remind everyone…
…to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to slander no one, to avoid fighting, and to be kind, always showing gentleness to all people. Titus 3:1-3
James included this trait as a byproduct of Divine wisdom.
But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without favoritism and hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who cultivate peace. James 3:17-18
A different Greek term but the same sentiment provides further understanding.
It is listed as evidence of the Holy Spirit’s control in our life.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
It is a key component when dealing with difficult people.
But reject foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they breed quarrels. The Lord’s slave must not quarrel, but must be gentle to everyone, able to teach, and longsuffering, instructing his opponents with gentleness. Perhaps God will grant them repentance leading them to the knowledge of the truth. Then they may come to their senses and escape the Devil’s trap, having been captured by him to do his will. 2 Timothy 2:23-26
It is a key component in restoring fallen fellow Christians.
Brethren, even if anyone is trapped in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. Galatians 6:1