Warm Up before the Hike
Share within your small group or if not in a group, share with a trusted friend the thing that causes you the most worry or stress. Then share how you usually deal with anxiety.
In last week’s lesson, Edna reminded us that we, like Paul, must strive to become like Christ in our journey of faith. Paul has encouraged the believers to stand firm in their faith through unity and perseverance. Now Paul takes those two themes and gives us practical steps to live out this journey of faith individually and in community. I have often said that it would be easy to be Christ-like if I lived alone on a deserted island. But Christ-likeness is only lived out in community. Let’s dig deep into this passage to glean insight and guidance in living this faith walk with greater joy and unexplainable peace!
Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.2 I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord. 3 Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life. 4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, 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 understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus
Observation- What does the passage say?
“Therefore” signals the conclusion to his letter and his final encouragement of standing firm with unity. (V.1)
Paul describes the believers he is addressing as “my brothers,” “my joy and crown,” and “my beloved.”
“Brothers” come from the Greek word literally meaning “from the same womb.”
“Crown” refers to an honor in which one may glory. (See 1 Thessalonians 2:19)
Paul’s glory was found in the people he poured love and life into.
“In the Lord” is repeated several times in this passage (v.1,2,4,7) emphasizing the importance that all be done out of a common faith in, and commitment to Christ.
“Plead with” (NIV) or “entreat” (ESV) (used two times) means to come to the aid of, help, comfort, encourage. (V.2)
Paul encouraged each woman to do her part to reconcile with the other.
“Agree in the Lord” (ESV) “be of the same mind . . . in the Lord” (NIV) is to have the same mind-set as the Lord Jesus Christ. (Philippians 2:2)
Paul asked fellow workers to help with the reconciliation of these women who had ministered with him. (v.3) (Galatians 6:1)
“Book of life” refers to God’s record of those who belong to Him.
“Rejoice” is repeated in this one verse and is found throughout Paul’s letter. Paul focuses their attention on the common blessings of walking with and serving Christ rather than on their petty differences. (V.4)
Let others see gentleness in your speech and actions. (v.5) (Philippians 2:15)
Gentleness is the attitude of spirit by which we accept God’s dealings with us as good and do not dispute or resist. It is balance born in strength of character.
The Lord is near. How comforting to know that the Lord is near enough to see and hear us when conflict arises.
Prayer with thanksgiving controls anxiety and brings the peace of God. (V.6)
Do not worry about anything, but pray about everything.
Pray about everything with all kinds of prayers (general) and petitions (specific requests). (Ephesians 6:18)
Let your needs be known to the Lord. (1 Peter 5:7)
“Peace” means a state of untroubled, undisturbed well being. (V7)
“Peace of God” – not the same as “peace with God.” When we are reconciled to God through faith in Christ we have “peace with God” that we shall never lose. The “peace of God” is granted to us as we give over our anxiety to Him and it guards are heart and mind. (Isaiah 26:3)
Understanding – is the Greek word for mind, understanding, discernment and intellect. The peace of God is beyond our understanding. Man is not to lean or rely on his own understanding which produces worry and anxiety, but to trust God with every detail of his life. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Guard is a military term and indicates God is defending us and shielding us from the disability that worry and anxiety can bring.
Interpretation – What does the passage mean?
Sonic Light sums up this last chapter in this way: “The final chapter of the epistle to the Philippians is one of the great discourses on the doctrine of peace, such as Psalm 23 in the Old Testament and John 14 in the New Testament.”
This is the beginning of Paul’s long conclusion to his letter with his final instructions before sending the letter to them. He once again communicates to the beloved believers and fellow servants of Christ that because of his love and commitment to them his greatest desire is for their steadfastness in faith and their unity within the community of faith. He leaves them with specific ways they are to apply what he has instructed them in the first three chapters.
Application- How does the meaning of the passage apply to me?
The church in Philippi needed to restore unity and be encouraged to persevere in their faith. Sonic Light includes Howard Hendricks’ “five part recipe for conflict resolution” taken from verses 2-6 which provides practical ways for us to apply these truths to our own relationships:
(1) ‘Rejoice in the Lord,’ that is, get beyond yourselves and look to the Lord. (2) ‘Let your gentleness be evident to all.’ In other words speak with kindness to each other. (3) ‘Do not be anxious.’ Relax, and give it all to God. (4) ‘Be thankful.’ The simple act of expressing gratitude for our blessings takes the heat out of infection. (5) Present your requests to God. Prayer realigns us and restores peace …”
My challenge to you is to begin applying each of these ingredients to a relationship or to a stressful situation today, tomorrow, and the next and the next . . . until you experience God’s unexplainable peace. He is near!
HOMEWORK: Read through and engage daily with Philippians 4:8 – 13 using the inductive Bible study method of observation, interpretation and application in preparation for next week.
SCRIPTURE MEMORY: Continue reviewing Philippians 2:1-10 and begin memorizing Philippians 2:11. If you haven’t been as consistent as you like, remember not to take on the “all or nothing” attitude that can derail your scripture memory journey. Taking one verse a week with the goal of not only quoting the verse from memory, but also asking God to show you how to prove it true in your life. When I started memorizing scripture 20 years ago, Philippians 2 was one of the first passages I tackled. I still am able to recall and recite it simply because I not only memorized it, but I prayed it, shared it, and applied it to my life circumstances. I am praying as you hide His Word deep in your mind and heart it will bring you great joy and delight! (Jeremiah 15:16)
Sacred Story is honored to have Nancy Taylor as a guest contributor. Nancy loves the Word of God and has been hiding it in her heart for over 15 years. In her book, “Taking the Word to Heart,” Nancy shares her journey of scripture memory and practical ways to get a firm grip on God’s Word. She loves to encourage women in their walk with Christ through writing, teaching and mentoring. She and her husband William live in Houston, TX and enjoy spending time with their two adult children, their spouses and their grandchildren.