1 ¶ Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.
This is a soul winner’s crown given out at the judgment seat of Christ.
1Thessalonians 2:19 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? 20 For ye are our glory and joy.
Stand fast, he says.
Ephesians 6: 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
2 I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord. 3 And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.
Euodias and Syntyche are both women’s names. Perhaps they are having a problem with each other in the church. Note here that women play a very important part in the spreading of the gospel.
Acts 18:18 And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow.
Romans 16: 1 ¶ I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea: 2 That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also.3 Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus:
Luke 2:36 And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; 37 And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. 38 And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.
We know how the first people who were witnesses of Christ’s resurrection were women. The apostles didn’t even believe them. Light is given to the women. There are no women who, if given an honest choice, would choose any religion over Biblical Christianity for lifting them up and honoring them, in spite of the misogyny that is endemic in IFB denomination. Women don’t hold offices in the church but are called upon to preach as in to testify and to give witness.
There is a book that God has written already that you don’t want your name taken out of, which will happen if you reject Christ.
Moses was aware of it.
Exodus 32:32 Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin––; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written. 33 And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.
In Revelation a promise is made.
Revelation 3:5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
(By the way, we know what it means to overcome by 1 John 5:4,5)
There’s several verses about being damned if your name isn’t written in that book. Did you ever think that there’s a lot of names written in this Bible? Did you ever consider that maybe your name is written in here somewhere? Maybe the Bible correctors have been taking their own names out when they take out a verse.
Psalm 119:89 LAMED. For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.
Luke 10:19 Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. 20 Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.
Now to the Book of Life.
Revelation 13:8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
Revelation 17:8 The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.
Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
Revelation 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
Compare to this writing for those people;
Jeremiah 17:13 O LORD, the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living waters.
Back to the Book of Life
Revelation 21:27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
Revelation 22:19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
Malachi 3:16 Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.
Job 19:23 ¶ Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book! 24 That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever!
Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
This Book is more long lasting than the universe itself. I believe this Book, the Bible IS the Book of Life.
4 Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.
Remember what I said about the emphasis on joy in this letter.
5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.
Our moderation, the temperate and careful way in which we eat, exercise, sleep, dress, work, speak, and behave should be a testimony before others. Now, I’m speaking only to those who aren’t sick here. We non-drinkers often wear our pet sins on your bodies; our gluttony on our bellies, our worry on our faces, and our sloth in our inability to move from one place to the next without breathing heavy.
Our credibility to non-believers often depends on things they see in our appearance, dress, and behavior long before we open our mouths. Let your moderation be known. You can overdo your service for Christ if you deny the needs of your family, the FIRST mission field you have for the Lord. If you are neglecting your family’s needs for Christ you are serving NEITHER.
The Lord is what? At hand.
Deuteronomy 32:35 To me belongeth vengeance, and recompence; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste.
Something that happens in due time, when its ready, and fast when it does is “at hand”.
Isaiah 13:6 Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty.
Nothing is in the way of Christ’s coming for us but His own will.
6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
Do not be full of care about anything. Don’t worry. Don’t be anxious. For NOTHING. In EVERY thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving. We are supposed to let our requests be made known to God. We find ourselves in certain situations where we simply can’t seem not to worry or be anxious and even terrified. But, this is what we are called to do after being told to rejoice in the Lord and to let our moderation be known to all.
1Thessalonians 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Isaiah 26: 3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. 4 Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength:
God’s peace in time of testing and trial goes beyond anything that humans can even begin to understand.
8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
There are a lot of positive things here and this advice will keep you out of a lot of trouble if you don’t try to twist these to justify your favorite sins. This is advice only to a Christian and it’s not a statement on what to believe in the word of God. But when you have to think, think on these things.
9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
He is telling them to do the things he, Paul, has done. He claims to have been their example. They saw Paul go to jail in Philippi as well as teach them. He witnessed to his jailer. See Acts 16 when you get the chance.
1Corinthians 11:1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
See verse 17 of chapter 3.
10 ¶ But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.
They had dropped off in their support of him. Notice back in verse 30 of chapter 2. Then, he lets them off the hook saying they didn’t have the opportunity to help him.
11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. 12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
Verse 13 is a key memory verse. Paul is content to have nothing material because he has Christ, who instructs him. Can you imagine being content in every state considering what Paul went through?
2 Corinthians 11:23 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. 24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. 25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. 28 Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.
How’d you like to have that stuff added to your problems now?
Romans 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
Paul’s a tough Christian to follow. Can you be content in those conditions? Let’s make it more simple.
1 Timothy 6: 6 ¶ But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
The American consumer mentality is wickedness for Christians. We need to buy less, eat less, and want less of THAT and more of Christ. I’m not talking about you buying into what I think I’ve been called to and giving up your own potential ministry to be a supporting player in mine. I’m talking simply about being content with what you have and seeking to know Christ more through prayer and Bible reading and yielding to obey as in Romans 6:13, 16, 19, letting the Holy Spirit guide you in teaching and direction, remembering that yielding does not carry with it the thought of tearing off in one direction without the Holy Spirit’s instruction.
Be content with the state you find yourself in. Don’t get me wrong, working hard to try to improve your family’s lot in life is a good thing as long as that does not take you further and further away from God. Ambition, seasoned with contentment, is far better for a Christian than this uneasy and unsettled hunger for things over a better relationship with Christ. There are many sermons in these passages.
Paul is a pattern for us.
1 Timothy 1:15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. 16 Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.
That’s you and me.
Don’t claim verse 13 if you’re not willing to submit yourself to the preceding verses. I can be full, I can be hungry, I can abound, I can be in need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Do you see the proper context and application?
A couple of years ago a family member took this verse out of the context in questioning why God allowed someone to be hurt in Iraq.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
Totally yanking the verse out of context with the verse preceding it.
Jeremiah 29:10 For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.
We Christians are a funny bunch, I tell you.
14 Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction.
Communicate can mean to minister to or to provide or to heal.
Galatians 6:6 Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.
1Timothy 6:18 That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;
15 Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. 16 For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity. 17 Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.
Paul’s not wanting more money or things from these people. His motive is that fruit will abound to their account. It’s for their benefit.
18 But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God.
This is what he thinks of the things that they sent, that they are a sacrifice to God.
19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
God promises to give you what you need, singular, and not your greed, your need. Read it again. What do you need? One, you must be born again. Nothing is more important than that. Two, is assurance of salvation. Without that it’s hard to witness for Christ and you will probably slip back into your old lifestyle. What does someone who doesn’t have assurance of salvation have to offer you that a Muslim or a Buddhist doesn’t? Three, you need to be sanctified through and by His words in this Book. The Waldensians of the Alps used to say, “The Holy Scriptures alone are sufficient to sanctify the believer”. I don’t know of anything else that has a more sure way of making you fit for Christ’s purpose. The next is suffering. I suppose if you won’t let Him do it through His word He’ll have to do it through your suffering.
Four, you need to learn how to yield to obey the Holy Spirit’s instruction.
Romans 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
You better listen to Him. I’m warning you. Learn to yield. It’s not about your will but His.
Five, you need to learn to wait on Christ and not run off half loaded in your own fantasy of what God’s will for your life is. God might not have called you to that ministry for circus midgets you’ve been dreaming of. Just because you say it’s for Him doesn’t mean He has to buy into it.
Galatians 5:5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.
Six, we need to be happy in the Lord in whatever circumstance we find ourselves. That’s been one of the themes we’ve already discussed. When God says I don’t want you to be a fighter pilot , next week I’m taking your sight from you, then you need to be thankful. When God says I didn’t call you to be a preacher of a huge church, here’s a mission field I’ve prepared for you, now get going, you need to be happy in His will. When God takes all of YOUR dreams and hopes and tosses them like a ball into the pit and says, “Now, this is what I’ve prepared for YOU” you need to be thankful.
Yeah, there’s a lot of other things you need; food, comfort, health, family, love, approval, appreciation, kind words, etc. but don’t you see how if we are saved, have assurance of that salvation, are set apart and prepared, sanctified for His purpose, always yield to obey the Holy Spirit’s commands to witness when He says to witness, to whom He sends to you, always presenting yourself as an example to others, always having a prayerful attitude, always in the word, waiting on God to lead you rather than making up what you think He should approve of you doing for Him acting like you’re some kind of consultant He’s hired on to show Him what He’s missing, and then being happy and satisfied in His will for YOUR life, we’ll have all we need?
God wants to give us what we need. We usually don’t want it. We want the other stuff first. Make me comfortable and give me money and health and then I’ll see what I’ll do for you, Lord. We’ve got it backwards and our faith is damaged because we think, “God isn’t providing my needs” but I’ve got to have faith He will. How about understanding that God doesn’t need your advice and God knows what you need and YOU don’t.
Let’s see, I wanted to be an Air Force officer. I worked hard. I got a congressional nomination, but I was told to wait a year. I was only 16. The academy thought I’d have a better chance of success if I waited until I was more mature. I was bitter, angry, and disappointed. I never reapplied the next year. I didn’t even accept the offer The Citadel made me immediately to go there instead. I was bitter. It affected the whole direction of my life.
God will supply all your NEED according to His riches in glory and it will be by the means of Jesus Christ. When you get to a place where you don’t feel as if that’s true then you’ve gone somewhere on your own without consulting Him. That’s YOUR problem, not His. My behavior only proved that the Air Force Academy was 100% correct. Your whiny, crybaby act is only proving that God couldn’t have trusted you with that anyway. He’ll supply your need and He’ll tell you what you need to equip you for what He’s going to do with you.
If any of you were in the military you didn’t go up to the clothing room to get your clothing issue and hand back your fatigue shirt and say, “I don’t need this. What I need is a Hawaiian shirt. You know, with the flowers. This is boring.” They’d laugh at you. Who do you think you are?
20 ¶ Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen. 21 Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren which are with me greet you. 22 All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar’s household.
Paul has had some success through Christ in converting the guards that keep him.
23 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. To the Philippians written from Rome, by Epaphroditus.