Rich Application… (Philippians 4:1-7)
“Therefore…” (vs1). With everything that’s been written already in this letter in your minds, ‘therefore’ – do the following things, live in the following way.
Deep community & love (vs1)
‘My brothers & sisters’ (NLT) – the New Testament and this letter, in particular, is littered with the language of relationship, deep community, love, shared experiences – family. Paul said he ‘loved and longed for’ the Philippians, there is deep affection on display. May we be provoked by this language, to not settle for mere crowds in our churches, or isolated disconnected people in our meetings. Such deep community and relationship require sacrifice and intentional investment of time. But such depth of relationship is exactly what Jesus desires (John 13:35 & John 17:22-23).
My joy and my crown (vs1)
God has connected the health of the members of a local church to the life of the leadership in a remarkable way. Paul clearly loves these Philippian believers and is joined to them at a heart level. They are a joy to him.
Paul knows that as a leader their steadfastness in following Christ in the midst of opposition is in some way connected to not just their eternal rewards but to his!
They are his crown and his future reward. His eternal future is intrinsically intertwined with their present steadfastness. And so when he urges them to remain steadfast, to do so benefits both the Philippian believers and Paul himself. So he urges them to keep standing firm.
Be Reconciled (vs2-3)
This disagreement or disunity was quite possibly the reason for the letter. Two significant women, two women who have laboured alongside the apostle Paul in the ministry of the Gospel are not seeing eye to eye. So Paul entreats/pleads/appeals that they desist and choose rather to ‘agree in the Lord’. Their disagreement is not just a private matter but is impacting the church and so one named ‘true companion/Syzygus’ is urged to intervene, to help them by mediating in their disagreement.
Rejoice always (vs4)
These two unsettled believers (vs2-3) are charged (as are all the believers in Philippi) to; ‘Rejoice in the Lord always’ (vs4). Sometimes when we are in some disagreement, all we can see is the issue or what they did or did not do. Paul urges them to lift their eyes to Jesus again, doing so brings perspective and transforms our hearts. The challenge of this command is the breadth of its application. ‘Always’ is the problem for us here. We have no problem rejoicing when something goes well for us, ‘rejoice always’ is code for; ‘rejoice even when things are not going well or according to your plan.’ It is only possible to obey this command by repeatedly meditating on Jesus and what He has done for us on the cross.
Let your reasonableness be known (vs5)
True unity and reconciliation are only possible when people choose to be reasonable/gentle/considerate. Once again there is one word which makes this hard for us – ‘everyone’.
It is easy to be nice to people who are nice to you, to be gentle when people are being helpful to you, to be considerate when people reciprocate your consideration of them.
It is much harder to be these things when those God has placed in our lives are not like this to us. Yet the motivation for our living like this is that the LORD is at hand.
So do not be anxious about anything, rather pray
Because the LORD’s second coming is imminent, and because God is an ever-present help in trouble we don’t have to be worried or anxious about anything in life but rather ought to pray calling out in every situation (vs6) to the One who loves us.
May the peace of God guard you (vs7)
As believers, we can access peace from God that makes no sense in the natural. We can know a peace that surpasses our understanding that will guard our hearts and minds in Jesus. Pray for yourself to know this sort of peace, let it shape your thinking in al you do.