Philippians Chapter 4

June 27, 2013

This Preaching in Shorts Bible study is on Philippians. Each chapter is read verse by verse with the major points highlighted and discussed.

You can listen to the study by clicking here

We are going to finish up our study on Philippians today. Chapter four contains some great advice about staying joyful in our Christian lives. There are two of these verses that I want to focus on today, verse 5 about gentleness, and verse 6 about not being anxious. Let’s read the chapter to get a feel for what is going on.

Philippians 4:1-23 (NIV)
1 Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends! 2 I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord. 3 Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellow, help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life. 4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers, 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. 9 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. 10 I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength. 14 Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. 15 Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; 16 for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid again and again when I was in need. 17 Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account. 18 I have received full payment and even more; I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. 19 And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. 20 To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen. 21 Greet all the saints in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me send greetings. 22 All the saints send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household. 23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

We talked about being full of joy in the Lord last week, and Paul connects that idea with being gentle in Philippians 4:5

Philippians 4:5 (NIV)
5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.

When we are truly rejoicing in the Lord, we will be gentle. When we are connected, experiencing His presence in our lives, gentleness will be a result. It is hard to be selfish and rude when you are experiencing His new and living way. Both rejoicing and gentleness demonstrate a focus on the eternal over the temporal. Gentleness means, at times, losing arguments, giving up so-called rights, foregoing last words, letting others get their way.

Gentleness has gotten a bad rap on our culture. In this verse the word means to be gentle, patient, and moderate. In our culture, however, people often think that gentleness is a sign of weakness.
Gentleness is rarely considered a virtue in a society today that has lost its general civility. We tend to see being right as giving us the right to behave badly–to manipulate, to be rude, to be offensive.

Our culture is wrong about gentleness being weakness. Take for instance this encounter that Elijah has with God.

1 Kings 19:11-13 (NIV)
11 The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

And that was God. God is gentle. With all His power, power that has made all the universe and holds all things in being, there is nothing in all the world so gentle as God is.
We see the gentleness of God modeled in the life and ministry of Jesus. He cares for the lost, the down and outers, the broken, the sick…He sees them, and brings the Kingdom to them and shows them how they may enter. He is the picture of gentleness in a broken world.

Then Paul gives us one of the most amazing verses in Philippians 4:6:

Philippians 4:6 (NIV)
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

In my time in the morning priming the pump of my disciple’s heart, one of the thing that I pray every day is for God to help me to see the traps, tests, temptations, that come my way and also to see the way out He provides.

One of those traps, tests, temptations is anxiety and worry. The Apostle Paul’s encouragement to us in this area is pretty all inclusive when it comes to be anxiety and worry. He says:
Don’t be anxious about anything, but in everything

So if what you are worried or anxious over is anything or everything, it is a trap, and God has provided a way out.
Prayer and petition with thanksgiving

When you are anxious or worried, and you realize that it is a trap, because what you are worried about is anything or everything, then what you need to do is pray and change your focus to what you are thankful for.

We go through hard things sometimes because we live in a fallen world on a broken planet. That is why we are supposed to pray for His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. God’s will for us is that we will always trust in Him, no matter what the circumstances, knowing that He is good, always good, only good and that He is for us! Life can be extremely hard, but God is good. That is why we need to pray with thanksgiving and present our requests to God.

Always keep God in the equation

Sometimes, we have a tendency to limit our thoughts to our way of fixing bad situations. Our limited abilities to fix broken things, causes us to become anxious and worried if we don’t see things moving along the only way we can see them working out. But God is not limited, and we need to know that He is able to do things we could never think of.

Ephesians 3:20 (NIV)
20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,

God can do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine. That is why you always need to keep Him in the equation. So, don’t be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, keep God in the equation by presenting your requests to Him, because He is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine.

Knowing that God is bigger than your problems and that you can trust Him will help you to keep your focus and priorities where they should be. Don’t be consumed by the temporary, keep your eyes on Jesus, seek first His kingdom, and He will take care of the rest.

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