THE BOOK OF PHILIPPIANS
Chapter 4:4-19

"God will Supply - Paul as an Example"


J. Deering, AncientPath.net


Chapter 4:4-19 "God will Supply - Paul as an Example"

 

Chapter 4:4-9
The Peace of God Will Guard Your Heart, IF...

 

Other various groupings and titles
1 - The Answer to Worry 4:4-7
2 - Centering the Life in Christ 4:4-5

 

4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.

I look at these verses and I see the relationship of verses 4-7 as a package with no need to break them up into smaller packages, even if John Walvoord sees something different. That doesn't mean that either John Walvoord or I are right or wrong. For it isn't that one is wrong, only that different things are important to each of us at the time. Learn to see bible verses as stand-alone for some meanings, and as part of a larger context for others - at the same time, remembering that any interpretation must conform to the whole of scripture - No verse is of its own interpretation.

There is a factor that needs to be understood in all of this. The writers I have listed all subscribe to the same basic theology and hermeneutic (a set of principles concerning the interpretation of scripture). Because we have this in common we can find important truths independent of each other, without disagreement. I can find important principles A-B-C and John Walvoord can find principles D-E-F, but because of our common understanding of the method of interpretation used ... A-B-C can be true at the very same time D-E-F are true.

Verse 4 is a command. Literally it is, "You, rejoice in the Lord," or even better, "You, be rejoicing in the Lord." And the tense of the command requires that it has a continuing action - "And keep on rejoicing."

Paul's next revelation (verse 5) is that we should be people of gentle spirit. For how can we then share our gentle spirit with all that we have contact if we don't?

Walvoord tells us that the phrase translated as "sweet spirit" or "moderation" in some bibles, has the meaning of "sweet reasonableness," a condition that allows us to see things from more than one point of view - "Walking in another's moccasins."

Harold J. Berry says that we should try to see Paul writing these very words as he drags his wrist chains across his desk and remember, "Rejoice, and keep on rejoicing."

Having the Spirit of God within should be producing this sweet reasonableness as the fruit of the Spirit in every aspect of our lives.

When Paul tells us we should be people of moderation he's not saying that we should be moderate people. The sentence has another phrase attached to it. We are to be people who others see us as being moderate (and all the other meanings of the word). We are to be a witness and testimony to the world that we have a sweet reasonableness of spirit in all things. And don't forget the part about being a person who is "seen," or "known," by all men/women. Get out there, be seen, be known, be sweet and reasonable in their sight and experience with you. Too many Christians hide from the rest of the world. They bury themselves in church activity (probably all good things) but never engage their world around them. How sad! "Go into all the world...." Well, get up and go, and be sweet and reasonable while you go.

Why? That you may find your satisfaction in life - life in the Lord. The Philippians were beset with intruders who came, settled in, and began to promote and teach false doctrine. These false teachers attempted to tell believers that they should return to the Law of Moses in order to please the demands of God. They taught that you could find your life's satisfaction in the keeping of the law (or anything except Jesus).

Paul, once again, turns their hearts and minds back to Christ - Live in Christ! Find your satisfaction there - in the creator, not the creation.

Hebrews 12:2 says that for the "joy set before Him," Jesus was willing to suffer and die. We should remember this as we recall Paul's words, "Lay hold of the prize for which Christ laid hold of us." Jesus' joy came through obedience - not to the law, but to His heavenly Father. It is our calling to find our joy, not through the law, but through obedience in pleasing Him.

 

Galatians 5:22-23
5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit 41 is love, 42 joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 43 5:23 gentleness, and 44 self-control. Against such things there is no law.
 

A quick note concerning Galatians 5:22-23 is that the product of the Holy Spirit is revealed to be A Fruit, not many fruits. His presence, indwelling the believer, produces the single fruit of "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control." He does not produce love in some but not joy, peace but not patience. He produces one fruit, one product which is "the evidence of the Holy Spirit filled life." If you consider yourself to be a mature, Spirit filled believer, and you don't have evidence of all these things... perhaps you need to reevaluate your relationship with Him. The truly spiritual person has the evidence - Love, Joy, Peace, etc.

A separate study would be to place the demands of Paul's pastoral epistles, which deal with elders, deacons, and church disciplines, in light of Galatians 5:22-23.


 

God's Antidote for Worry, Peace In The Heart 4:6-7
 

6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

So, for me, the topic of this paragraph would include verses 4-7. Paul requests of us that we rejoice - rejoice in the Lord always (always, in all things, all the time, regardless of the circumstances of life). He does not say that we should rejoice in the circumstance, but in the Lord. It is the Lord who is keeping you safe from destruction, keeping you in the palm of His hand, keeping you from evil, keeping you from the evil one. The Lord is the one who will deliver you blameless before His heavenly Father - Therefore rejoice in the Lord.

Paul commands, "You, stop being anxious - it is for no reason." "You therefore, have no cares, under any circumstance, you, stop worrying." For worry is sin, because you consider that God is NOT ABLE.

1 Peter 5:7 - Casting your cares upon Him
Matthew 6:25-34 - Don't worry about your life
Luke 12:22 - Don't worry about your life
Psalm 37:3-5 - Trust Him
Psalm 55:22 - Casting your burdens upon the Lord

How do I stop being anxious? Through submission/obedience to Him in prayer.

Paul adds the "appeal to authority" (a literary and verbal technique whereby we make our own position seem larger because we mention the name of an authoritative person who holds the same position) of "The Lord is near!" to the end of his phrase. He is saying that these things ought to be a real part of your life and that you are to be diligent in making them part of your life, because the Lord is NEAR. Not unlike "you better be good because your father will be home any minute."

But there's really two meanings here. First, as we just mentioned, there is an urgency to our work for Christ. His coming is soon. It is always just ahead and fulfillment is imminent. Secondly, the power to do His will and work is available to us because He is near - spiritually. His Holy Spirit indwells us and can enable us through our submission and obedience to His will. We can do it - because He is near. Therefore, rejoice in everything! (cp., 1 John 3:3).

Paul moves on to prayer and how talking directly to God can free you from anxiety. God alone can guard your heart and mind.

Galatians 6:2 says that we are to bear one another's burdens. When we all take all of each others burdens and come obediently in submission through prayer we will find that God is potent, powerful, loving, kind, longsuffering, and able to mend even the most broken parts.

Like a great scale with anxiety and fears on one side and Rejoicing in the Lord on the other. Our scale tips toward anxiety when we find God to be not relevant in our lives and they tip toward rejoicing when we find Him sovereign, powerful and reliant.

Look at Paul's progression

1. Rejoice in the Lord always;
2. Let your gentle spirit be known to all men.
3. The Lord is near.
4. Be anxious for nothing, but (in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving)
5. let your requests be made known to God.

Resulting in:

6. And the peace of God, (which surpasses all comprehension,)
7. will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

He is able to KEEP and GUARD over your hearts and minds when you submit to Him and agree that He is able, and remember to keep the lines of communications open "with Thanksgiving!"
Keeping to our book context - the anxiety felt would come from the lack of unity and disharmony caused by "enemies" in the camp (this is a different context than dealing with "sin" in the camp).

Paul's emphasis is that we submit ourselves (obedience) in thankful prayer - letting God know our concerns - the concerns being our enemies.

It seems that the key issue is submission. We proclaim that "I'll fix this, we can do it, etc." Instead we should say, "You alone are God," we should know and say, "not me." "I'll leave it with You, I'll give it to You, I'll look to You for your answer."

Paul says, in effect..., "I submit myself to You, oh God, and Your will, in all things. Then I will rejoice!" As you grow in maturity you learn to rejoice in submission, in His will, and in all things as you come to Him.



The Believer's Thought Life, Peace With God, Keeping Peace of Mind 4:8-9
The Battle for Your Mind 4:8


8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

It is the "WHATEVER's" we need to consider. Learn to be discerning and dwell on the good things.

Doing the Truth
 

9 The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you - which results in peace.

Chapter 4:10-19
God Will Supply - as seen through The Example of Paul


Various groupings and titles of others
1 - Godís Provisions - 4:10-20
2 - Appreciation for Support
3 - The Secret of Paul's Contentment
4 - Contentment in All Circumstance, Peace in Regard to Things 4:10-13
5 - The Communicated with Paul 4:10-14

One of the most beneficial ways to study the scriptures is to look behind the text and see WHY the writer is bringing these subjects up in the first place.

For Instance: Chapter 4:1 Paul states, and we'll study this in depth a little later, that the Philippians are his "jewel and crown," and that they are to "in this way" stand firm. The inference is that the Philippians had been doing something and Paul wants them to keep doing it, or "stand firm" in it.

Since the verse begins with "Therefore," we need to go back to the preceding chapters to discern those things they need to keep doing in order to "stand firm."



I Have Learned To Be Content 4:10-12


10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.

Summarized as:
PAUL'S EXAMPLE - THE PHILIPPIAN NEED

BUT
:10
Rejoicing in the Lord, greatly

10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity.

Paul tell the Philippians that their return to caring for him has been a source of rejoicing - and that his rejoicing is "in the Lord" and not so much rejoicing that they are caring for him. It is a matter of seeing that "the Lord" is the object of Paul's rejoicing, even though it has been brought about by the Philippians.

Continue your concern for those who minister
Here is Paul's lesson - don't be just concerned, but be continuing in your concern - especially for those who minister for the Lord.

Be diligent in your concern
Remembering as well that concern is not just a feeling, it is action taken. It is good to be concerned for the hungry, but it is far better to take them food, and if you take them food - don't just intend to, but take them food.

Look for opportunity in your concern
Most would probably miss this part of the message, but it is important that you KNOW that it is your RESPONSIBILITY to LOOK for opportunities to be concerned and take action.

:11
Be Full

11 Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.
If you are in the Lord your life is full - realize it, understand it, and rejoice in it. Don't look for things to fill it up, it is already full, things will just clutter up the available space.

Learn to be content in all circumstances
Are you content? You should be. The only justifiable lack of contentment should be the hole where more of Him should be. Paul is content, with or without stuff. That's the lesson he wants you to know. It's not just things, it's circumstances that are brought to the forefront here. Are you content in your circumstances? The answer is the same... your contentment comes from being in Him.

:12

Know How to Survive

12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.


Know how to survive in humility (humble circumstances)
Know how to survive in excess
Know how to survive in ALL circumstances
Learn "the Secret"
Know how to live being filled and being hungry, in abundance and in suffering

:13

I Can Do All Things (through Christ)

13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

Learn to do ALL things.
Learn to do ALL things THROUGH CHRIST.
Learn that it is HE that STRENGTHENS.

I hate doing! Just the thought of "one more responsibility" makes me want to withdraw into my shell. But the Word of God says that I can do all things... So there are things that are coming my way that I need to discern that they need doing, and know that I CAN DO IT.

All things worth doing (discernment) need doing (discernment), and can be done through Christ, for these are the things that He provides the strength to do them.

Paul's meaning is not that everything has to be done and done by you. He is saying that those things that SHOULD BE DONE BY YOU, you should do them, and it will be Christ Jesus who provides the motivation and power to do them.

1 - An Acceptable Sacrifice, Thanksgiving For Their Gift 4:14-18
2 - Peace in Regard to Care for Others 4:14-19

14 Nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my affliction.

Paul is letting the Philippians know that caring about him and sending him gifts in his time of need, is appropriate and good. Keep this in mind when you know of others (especially foreign missionaries) who suffer, are persecuted, and are in need, are the very ones this verse applies to. You will do WELL to know of their need and help them with prayer and material goods.



4:15-19 Worshipful Giving
15 You yourselves also know, Philippians, that at the first preaching of the gospel, after I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone; 16 for even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs. 17 Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account. 18 But I have received everything in full and have an abundance; I am amply supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God.


NEVER THE LESS
:14 (sets the stage for the following)
 

:15-17
You do well in sharing with ministering ones:
In your fullness and emptyness
In Their fullness and emptyness


Your Timely Gifts - Benefit YOU

See to it that you KNOW (Practice)
as a giver of a gift
that the gift given benefits the giver

See to it that you KNOW (Practice)
as a receiver of a gift
have joy in what the gift means to the giver

A PRINCIPLE
4:18

What ever is given - receive in fullness
What ever is given - receive in abundance
Not phony - "It's what I've always wanted," but sincere thanks and joy at the gift - for the giver

Seek the "giver's profit" in the receiving of a gift
It is a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing go God - not to you.

19 And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
You will, of course, notice that this is a question of your "needs" not your desires or wants. God is the definer who defines your "needs." He will provide out of His abundance everything you "need" according to His will, not yours. He will not provide anything that is not in keeping with His will, His glory, and each and every moment will be only according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.


Recapping:
4:10-18 is a summary of God's Riches being Supplied - in your times of MORE or your times of LESS - Always Rejoycing!


All Your Need, Assurance Of Divine Supply 4:19-20
 


New American Standard Bible (NASB)

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2012-11-23