Philippians 4:4-9

Philippians 4:4-9

  1. Start

    1. My first thought for this devotion was to continue into Ephesians 5, as my last devotion was on Ephesians 4 and I already did a mini-devo on Ephesians 5 this year at my brother’s wedding. But instead today’s devotion will be on Philippians 4:4-9.

    2. Of late sometimes my son Everett will be worried, anxious even, that he will have a bad dream. He’s not scared of any specific contents of the dream, just that when he goes to bed, that he might have a bad dream. So when that happens I read Philippians 4:4-9 to him and more recently have him read it to me.

    3. But at his young age he does not understand the meaning of some of the words, and speaking for myself I might of taking the meaning of some words for granted. So to better understand this passage to teach my son, I thought it would be appropriate to select this section of scripture for my devotion.

    4. Read Philippians 4:4-9

    5. Pray!!!

  2. Intro

    1. Like Ephesians, Philippians was written by Paul, while imprisoned, around 60-62 A.D.

      1. From Acts 16, we can read that Philippi was a Roman colony in Macedonia.

        1. It was a port city, a city of trade, and it’s population was predominately gentiles.

      2. It is here that where Lydia and her household were converted

      3. Paul’s casting out of the demon from the fortune-telling girl

      4. And the imprisonment of Paul and Silas, in which the earthquake happened that loosened their bonds and opened the prison doors and lead to the jailer’s salvation.

    2. In Philippians 4 we are reaching the end of the letter from Paul.

      1. The NIV pericopes verses 4-9 as Paul’s “Final Exhortations”

      2. We also know from chapter 4 that Paul was thankful for the church in Philippi, they were a church that not only supported him while he was there but also in his mission to other churches.

  3. [Phl 4:4 NIV] Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

    1. Joy is a continual theme in Philippians, joy or rejoice is stated thirteen times in eleven verses

    2. Paul here is plainly stating that we are to rejoice always, not sometimes, not only in good times but always.

    3. Rejoice in both cases are “Present Imperative Active”

      1. Our rejoicing in the Lord should be active and continual

      2. It is a command

      3. Our life as Christians should show a habitual, long-term commitment to rejoice in the Lord.

    4. Remember that Paul is writing this as a prisoner, he writes with first hand knowledge that our joy is not based on the happenings of the world around us. But it is in the Lord and we are to rejoice ALWAYS, without ceasing, in the Lord.

  4. [Phl 4:5 NIV] Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.

    1. NASB has “gentle spirit,” ESV “reasonableness” and CSB “graciousness”

      1. We should be all these things, to all people around us

      2. We should be reasonable, gracious and gentle with those we interact with

        1. Not just the people we like or get along with, we should not be one way with these people and another with others

        2. But this Christ like attribute should be “evident to all”

    2. For “The Lord is near.”

      1. This is to put things in perspective for us. That we shouldn’t be fixated on the petty things of this life, but again be reasonable, gracious and gentle with others looking forward to Jesus Christ’s return

      2. Earlier in verse 2, Paul is asking, pleading even, for Euodia and Syntyche to be united in the Lord. How much easier would it be for us to be united if we treated each other this way, in gentleness and with our minds cognitive of the Lord’s return?

  5. [Phl 4:6 NIV] Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

    1. “Do not be anxious about anything”

      1. Here again, we come to a command, we are commanded not to be anxious, not to be troubled with cares of this world.

      2. Being anxious is antithetical to the nature of being a Christian. It is a personal denial of God’s sovereignty in all things.

      3. When one is anxious, they are inadvertently claiming that the promises of God to take care of us are empty, hollow.

      4. We need to remember Matthew 10:28-31:

        1. [Mat 10:28-31 NIV] Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

      5. And Romans 8:28-30

        1. [Rom 8:28 NIV] And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

      6. If we know these promises are true, that we are cared for by God. That in all things God works for our good as those who love Him? How can we deny these promises by wrestling anxiousness in our own strength?

    2. “but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

      1. To quote the HCSB study notes for verse six:

        1. Worry is anxiety. Prayer is the antidote for worry. The three words here express different aspects of prayer: Prayer, a worshipful attitude; petition, a need; and requests, the specific concern. Thanksgiving shapes prayers with gratitude.

      2. Paul’s answer to anxiousness is prayer. Prayer in all things, in every situation

      3. That when we are anxious we are to pray to God

      4. We are to petition, some versions use supplication, we are to ask God in prayer

      5. In thankfulness, we are to make known or present our request to God

        1. This ties into rejoicing always.

          • If we are tied up in the cares of this world it becomes difficulty to rejoice and be thankful.

          • But if our trust is in the Lord, if we are rejoicing in the Lord, we can be thankful, because of Him. No matter the circumstances we are facing.

          • We can be thankful that we have a Lord that loves us, that cares for us. A Lord that saved us.

  6. [Phl 4:7 NIV] And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

    1. The peace of God, is given by God through our faithfulness to him through prayer in thankfulness. God gives us a tranquility in Him, enabling us to not be anxious.

    2. This peace is not of ourselves, it is not in ourselves or in this world. It is not something to be found. But it surpasses all understanding, it cannot be comprehended except only that it is given by God.

    3. “will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

      1. “will guard” is a military term, and Philippi being a Roman colony, the residence would of been acquainted with Roman garrisons.

      2. To quote David Guzik, who in part is quoting Clarke:

        1. “The word guard speaks of a military action. This is something that the peace of God does for us; it is a peace that is on guard over our heart and mind. ‘Shall keep them as in a strong place or a castle.’ (Clarke)”

      3. Quoting John MacArthur:

        1. When realized in believers’ lives, God’s peace will guard them from anxiety, doubt, and worry. Phroureo (will guard) is a military term used of soldiers on guard duty. The picture would have been familiar to the Philippians, since the Romans stationed troops in Philippi to protect their interests in that part of the world. Just as soldiers guard and protect a city, so God’s peace guards and protects believers who confidently trust in Him. Paul’s use of the phrase hearts and minds was not intended to imply a distinction between the two; he was merely making a comprehensive reference to the believer’s inner person. Once again, Paul reminds his readers that true peace is not available through any human source, but only in Christ Jesus.

  7. [Phl 4:8 NIV] Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.

    1. Paul here is appealing to his mainly Greek audience and is using language that would be familiar to those in Grecian culture. They echo of Hellenistic philosophy, but Paul is framing them in the context of what a believer should dwell on in contrast to worrying anxiously about the things of the world.

    2. Whatever is true

      1. We are to think on what is true. We know that God is a God of truth.

      2. [Psa 86:15 NASB] But You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, Slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness and truth.

      3. [Jhn 1:14 NIV] The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

      4. [Jhn 14:6 NIV] Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

      5. God is abundant in truth, full of truth and “the truth”

    3. What ever is noble

      1. ESV and NASB have “honorable”

      2. Paul also uses σεμνός (semnos) to describe deacons and older men, that they are or should be dignified (NASB) or worthy of respect.

      3. [1Ti 3:8 NIV] In the same way, deacons are to be worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain.

      4. [Tit 2:2 NIV] Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.

      5. The noble here that Paul is talking about isn’t the inherited nobility of a king. But the honorable actions of a mature Godly man.

    4. Whatever is right

      1. ESV and NKJV use “just”

      2. [Deu 32:4 NIV] He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.

      3. Jesus said in [Jhn 5:30 NIV] By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.

      4. [1Jo 1:9 NIV] If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

      5. Our God is a just God, there is no wrong in Him. He judges justly and thankfully He has provided a way to fulfill His requirement for righteousness through the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ.

    5. Whatever is pure

      1. Strong’s: (figuratively) innocent, modest, perfect

      2. Thayer’s says “pure from every fault, immaculate”

      3. From Vine’s: “pure from defilement, not contaminated” (from the same root as hagios, “holy”)

      4. Hughes writes: “… the readers were to focus on ‘whatever is pure.’ This is not limited to sexual purity, but extends to all areas of moral purity in thought and speech and actions. They were to focus on that which is not tainted by evil.”

    6. Whatever is lovely

      1. Phl 4:8 is the only place that prosphilēs (G4375) is found.

      2. Thayer’s defines it as “acceptable, pleasing”

      3. The readers were to dwell on what was lovely, acceptable, this pertained not only to the moral. But also God’s creation and even things created by man.

      4. We as Christian’s can and should enjoy a colorful sunset, and is acceptable for us to enjoy beautiful art and music. As long as these things conform to the afore mentioned attributes of being pure, right and true.

      5. If anything does not conforms to those things, or distracts us from our Lord then they should be put aside. As Hebrews 12:1 says, “… let us throw off everything that hinders…”

    7. Whatever is admirable

      1. Again we come across a word only found in this verse euphēmos (G2163)

      2. ESV has “commendable,” NASB “good repute,” and NKJV is similar with “good report”

      3. Thayer’s describes this as “… things spoken in a kindly spirit, with good-will to others,”

    8. If anything is excellent or praiseworthy

      1. Excellent here is denoting a moral excellence, reinforcing thinking on what is modest and pure.

      2. Praiseworthy, is just as it sounds, things that are worthy of praise

        1. We know that the LORD is worthy of praise, reading from Psalms:

        2. [Psa 18:3 NIV] I called to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and I have been saved from my enemies.

        3. [Psa 48:1 NIV] A song. A psalm of the Sons of Korah. Great is the LORD, and most worthy of praise, in the city of our God, his holy mountain.

        4. [Psa 96:4 NIV] For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods.

        5. [Psa 145:3 NIV] Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.

    9. Think about such things

      1. We are to dwell, take account, and meditate on these things.

      2. If we find things to be true, noble, just, pure. If they are lovely, admirable, morally excellent, and worthy of praise. These are things we should spend our mental bandwidth on, as opposed to being anxious, worrying about what ever may come our way.

  8. [Phl 4:9 NIV] Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me–put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

    1. Paul again tells the Philippians to follow his example as he did in 3:15-17

    2. [Phl 3:15-17 NIV] All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained. Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do.

    3. Paul pastored this church, and in so he is responsible as a living example to the Philippians.

    4. In chapter three Paul speaks to his confidence being in Christ and not his flesh. Where by the world’s standards he should be confident in his own works. But it not by works of the flesh, but by the work of Christ on the cross that we as Christians have confidence.

    5. Then in chapter four, he again tells the Philippians to follow his example of not having an anxious mind, but having a God given peace through submitting to God in prayer.

    6. If anyone had a worldly reason to be anxious it was Paul. He had the “thorn in his flesh” that would not be taken away from him. He has be ship wrecked, beaten multiple times, imprisoned many times, and I remind you is currently in prison while writing this letter.

  1. Closing

    1. I started writing this devotion, with the intention of understanding what Paul was saying in verses 8 and 9. So that I would be better equipped to teach my son Everett what Paul was communicating to the Philippians, and thankfully we have the totality of Scripture to guide us and help us understand what is true, noble, honorable, right, just, pure, lovely, admirable, commendable, what is morally excellent and praiseworthy. That our thoughts, the things we enjoy and do, should be weighed against the Scripture to see if they are found fitting in these categories.

    2. Romans 12:2 says [Rom 12:2 NIV] Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.

    3. With the holy spirit, with God’s Word, by the renewing of our mind we are able to discern, and in all things we are to make our requests made know to God in thankfulness.

    4. But then this devotion changed from being for my son, to being for me. You see, right after I finished typing up my notes on verse 6, on anxiousness. I went to refill my cup of water, my family was asleep, and I saw this card. I thought it was a late birthday card from Hayley, she loves to do cards. But I wasn’t supposed to read till after I was fished with my devotion.

    5. It says… Congrats

      1. Jordon, Congrats on finishing your devo… and on becoming a Dad for the 4th time! Happy belated birthday. Love, Hayley.

    6. You see, wanted to combat my son’s anxiety of having bad dreams by having him submit them to God in prayer, and instead of dwelling on the possibility of a bad dream and think on what is true and right and honorable. And I will walk him through that.

    7. But now I am anxious, I am worried. I am thankful and praising God. My joy is in the Lord and that will not change. But there is a one in four chance that our child will have Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrom. There is a greater than a 25% chance that my family will have to bury another child, and that is beyond difficult.

    8. So this devotion is for me, I am not afraid, I am going to rest in God’s sovereignty. This child is a precious life that God has given us, no matter the child’s health. I am going to need to continually take my fears, anxieties, worries and give them to God. Knowing that I am thankful, that I am joyful for all Christ has done, all that God has given me, and that includes peace that surpasses understanding.

    9. Pray!!!

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