Summary: Message 13 from Philippians continuing a discussion of Paul's exhortation to stand firm in the Lord.
"Stand Firm in the Lord” Part 2
Paul’s letter to the Philippians offers some key elements to “Maintaining the Joy of the Lord No Matter What”.
I. ADOPT THE RIGHT AXIS -- SUPERIOR PERSPECTIVE
The Exaltation of Christ in Everything
Passion to Praise Jesus
II. MAINTAIN THE RIGHT ATTITUDE -- SUPERIOR PATTERN OF LIVING
Humble Obedience modeled by Jesus
Passion to Please Jesus
III. PURSUE THE RIGHT AIM – SUPERIOR PURSUIT 3:1-21
Knowing and Living Christ
Passion to Pursue Christ above all else
IV. Practice the right actions – Superior Practice 4:1-8
Passion to live well
Last time we focused on the command in verse 1 to stand firm in the Lord. Because there are so many different areas related to standing firm we only briefly referenced the last time, I want to take a bit more time to dive a little deeper. There are over a hundred passages related to “standing firm” with many more referencing the same concept with different terms like persevere, endure, don’t grow weary etc.
A. Stand firm in the Lord 4:1
Therefore, my brothers, dearly loved and longed for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, dearly loved.
1. Paul’s passionate connection
Paul issued this instruction with a deeply relational tone. He used “dearly loved” twice, “brothers”, “longed for”, “my joy and crown”
2. Paul’s solemn instruction
a) The logical connection “therefore”
Paul used two connector terms “therefore” and “like this” to tie his instruction to details previously expressed and further details coming up. The motivation to stand firm lies in our privileged position as citizens of a heavenly kingdom awaiting a victorious Savior living in a hostile world including “enemies of the cross whose end is destruction, whose god is their stomach (fleshly passions), whose glory is their shame and who set their minds on earthly things.”
Paul encouraged them to stand firm in such an environment. He also told them to stand firm in the Lord “in this way” followed by some specific ways in which they should stand firm which we will expand upon later.
• Live in Harmony in the Lord 4:2-3
• Rejoice in the Lord 4:4
• Radiate the Gentleness of the Lord 4:5
• Pray to the Lord about everything instead or fretting. 4:6-7
• Meditate only on good things of the Lord 4:8
b) The solemn instruction to “stand firm”
Paul used a military term meaning to hold your ground. He already encouraged such perseverance several times in this short letter.
Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; Philippians 1:27
So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; Philippians 2:12
Only let us hold true to what we have attained. Philippians 3:16
He was confident that such perseverance was God’s will for them.
for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:13
For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6
He used verb tense indicating habitual action directed at the entire group (ya’all). He admonished the WHOLE church to keep on standing firm together. The opposite of standing firm could be to fall, stumble, defect, give up, lose heart, grow weary, doubt, run away, lose focus on knowing Christ, get distracted, be tossed to and fro.
c) The divine connection “in the Lord”
To be in the Lord has reference to our identity with Him; our connection to Him.
Stand firm due to your connection to the Lord.
Stand firm in the strength He provides.
Stand firm in the grace He gives.
Stand firm in His presence.
Stand firm in His truth.
Stand firm in the heritage He granted i.e. children of the Living God, citzens of a heavenly kingdom.
Stand firm in the future He promised.
APPLICATION OF STANDING FIRM IN THE LORD
Some of the specifics of standing firm in the Lord will be discussed as we address the rest of this passage.
Stand firm against persecution and false teaching
Our current passage has this specific application in mind. We are to stand firm against those who would pervert or oppose the gospel. Paul wrote of “enemies of the cross”. Paul declared his purpose to write concerning these things as a safe guard against the “dogs, evil workers, false circumcision.”
Peter wrote to those living in a culture of “untaught and unstable” “mockers following after their own lusts” who distort the Scriptures.