Summary: Let's explore the "therefore" of Philippians 4:1 (Material adapted from Jerry Starling at: https://committedtotruth.wordpress.com/2010/03/12/sermon-how-to-stand-firm/)
Especially for children (Pass out pictures of cement trucks to children)- I like concrete trucks and mixers from Patrick in Thomas and Dizzy in Bob the builder. They are so big and noisy and they have that large container in the back that turns and churns as it mixes the concrete. Exciting to watch as concrete was poured from a big truck to form a sidewalk or a driveway. Sometimes concrete is made by mixing cement, sand, and water, by hand, in a wheelbarrow. That is for a small amount to set a fence post, a flag pole, or a mailbox in place.
Once concrete has dried, it becomes solid and lasts for years so we can walk on a sidewalk without damaging it. It forms a solid block around a fence post or mailbox and holds those objects firmly in place.
In the Bible the apostle, Paul tells us to "…stand firm in the Lord…" (4:1). Perhaps we've all had times when we have wanted to do something that we know we shouldn't do and we must remember to "stand firm in the Lord."
From Lectionary.org at: http://www.lectionary.org/ChildSermons/NT/11-Phil/Phil.3.17_4.1-StandingFirm-Edstrom.htm
As long as I can remember, I have heard sermons exhorting the church to be steadfast – or as the New International Version renders it, “Stand Firm.” Read Philippians 4:1
And yet, we waver – and many fall asleep (and fall away) from the Lord. We cry out, almost in despair, “Lord, HOW CAN I Stand Firm when there are so many pressures on me day after day and night after night?” Philippians 4:1 gives us the answer.
When we boil this verse down by taking out Paul’s loving description of the Philippians Christians, what we have left is “Therefore… that is how you should stand firm in the Lord….”
Someone said, “When you see ‘Therefore’ in the text, you need to ask yourself, ‘What is it there for?'” To understand this therefore we have to go to what has come before in Philippians. This verse unquestionably belongs to the preceding chapter.
Thesis: Let’s explore this “therefore” of Philippians 4:1
We cannot stand firm without a firm foundation. This world is perishing – it is not firm! But our citizenship is in heaven – not here. As the great old song says, “This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through….”
We are different from those who live as enemies of the cross. They are headed for destruction. They serve their own stomachs. They boast of their shame! They mind the present, not the hereafter. “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food--but God will destroy them both” 1 Corinthians 6:13. Take little thought of the future. But we are different now – and will be even more different. This is because Christ Will Transform Us at his second coming.
But even now, he is changing us. Do we think that is an empty promise? Many Christians do not down-deep-believe that Jesus changes us very much – but the text is clear:
And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. – 2 Corinthians 3:18.
One Sunday on their way home from church, a little girl turned to her mother and said, "Mommy, the preacher’s sermon this morning confused me." The mother said, "Oh? Why is that?" The little girl replied, "Well, he said that God is bigger than we are. Is that true?" The mother replied, "Yes, that’s true honey." "And he also said that God lives in us? Is that true, Mommy?" Again the mother replied, "Yes." "Well," said the little girl, "if God is bigger than us and He lives in us, wouldn’t He show through?"
Verse 17 said we are to join with others in following Paul’s example. What was his example? For the answer, let us look at 3:12-16.
We Do Not Stand Firm by Standing Still.
Christ does not call us to be idle. When Israel was at the Red Sea with Pharaoh coming behind, when Moses said, “Stand firm,” God said “Move on!” God is always calling us to move up, to advance as He calls us heavenward.
When He first called us by the gospel as our hearts were touched by the love that reached down to us in our sin, He was calling us heavenward. When we left the fold and finally like the prodigal son we came home, the father rushed out to greet us and restored us and helped us to get back on the heaven’s road. While we are growing in grace, He continues to call us onward and upward to better things ahead – as we moved heavenward. When we are mature in Him, He still spoke warmly to us and urges us to come even closer to Him as we move heavenward. Then, when it comes time for us to cross over to the other side, He will still be there to greet us and welcome us home – as we move heavenward again.