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Summary: Message 12 from Philippians study focusing on Paul's exhortation to stand firm in the Lord.

"Stand Firm in the Lord”

Paul’s letter to the Philippians offers some key elements to “Maintaining the Joy of the Lord No Matter What”.

The true secret is Deeping relationship with and commitment to Jesus Christ.

Truly knowing Jesus bring true joy and enables us to experience inner joy even when our outer world seems in chaos.

The first ingredient is found in the first chapter where Paul calls us to adopt the

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

A. Paul warned against false Christianity 3:1-2

B. Paul affirmed genuine Christianity 3:3

C. Paul shared his own passionate pursuit of Jesus 3:7-14

D. Paul invited the Philippians to join his pursuit of Christ 15-17,20

1. The invitation to imitate Paul 3:15-17

a) Think right 3:15

b) Live Right 3:16-17

2. The Incentive to imitate Paul 3:20-21

a) We are Citizens of heaven 3:20a

b) We are eagerly awaiting Jesus’ return 3:20b

c) We are eagerly awaiting final transformation 3:21

E. Paul lamented those not pursuing Christ 3:18-19

IV. Practice the right actions – Superior Practice 4:1-8

Passion to live well

To adopt the right axis, maintain the right attitude, pursue the right aim brings a level of joy no matter what.

It is another thing to practice the right actions.

Joy comes from practicing the right behavior.

There is joy in living well before God.

Pleasing God brings joy.

Of course there are numerous joy producing behaviors but Paul identifies six followed by a summary exhortation to practice what he taught and lived.

• Stand Firm in the Lord 4:1

• Live in Harmony in the Lord 4:2-3

• Rejoice in the Lord 4:4

• Radiate Gentleness 4:5

• Pray about everything 4:6-7

• Meditate on good things 4:8

What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:9

Today I want to explore Paul’s first behavioral exhortation.

EXPOSITION

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

Notice the multiplication of relational references.

My brothers – Not servants but brothers, equals under Christ.

Dearly loved (beloved) Plural. I love you all.

Longed for – Passion to reunite

My joy and crown victory wreath

“crown”

The particular Greek word for “crown” here refers to the victor’s garland or wreath placed upon the head of the victor in the athletic games. It was given for military valor. It was used at festal occasions as an expression of gladness. This garland was woven of oak leaves, ivy, myrtle, olive, or of flowers, violets or roses. Paul’s garland of victory in his Christian service was composed of the Philippian saints whom he had won to the Lord Jesus. Wuest, K.S., 1997.

He finishes again with “Dearly loved” (beloved)

There seemed be an emotional connection with this congregation more than any other.

Paul’s tone even amidst solemn instruction was deeply relational and family.

2. Paul’s solemn instruction

a) The logical connection “therefore”

Not too many pay attention to the little things in Scripture.

These letters were written through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

We should then exercise diligence to discover what it actually says not what we think it says without due diligence to the text.

Only after careful exploration of the text can we attempt any application to our life.

Paul told Timothy to demonstrate himself as a servant without shame.

We demonstrate that by accurately handling the word of truth.

It has been my lifelong ambition to work hard to discover what God said through the Holy Spirit to the original readers and by extension to today’s church family.

I may not be flamboyant or entertaining but I work hard at being faithful to the word of God.

One helpful tool has to do with discovering the logical flow of any given passage.

Much of that logic is triggered by what could be called “connectors”.

They are those little words that connect phrases.

Words like because, therefore, for, that, so that, wherefore etc.

Paul’s solemn instruction begins with a “therefore”.

This connector signals some sort of logical connection to a previous discussion.

John MacArthur links the context the whole context of chapter 3.

The passage opens with the transitional word therefore, which indicates that what Paul is about to write builds on what he has just written. The preceding passage (3:12-21) described the believer's pursuit of Christlikeness, which is both the goal in this life and the prize in the next life. MacArthur New Testament Commentary

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