Philippians 4, Stand Fast In The Lord
1. Unite With Fellow Believers In The Lord (v2-7)
2. Help Fellow Believers Unite In The Lord (v3-7)
3. Choose To Immerse Yourself In Good Things (v8-9)
4. Learn To Be Content In Any State (v10-14)
5. Store Up Abundant Fruit For Eternity (v15-20)
Philippians 4, Stand Fast In The Lord
Philippians 4, Stand Fast In The Lord
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Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:00:00]:
Well, as we look at Philippians, chapter four this evening, I have titled the message Stand Fast in the Lord. And it comes from there. Verse one of chapter four, Paul says, therefore my beloved longed for brethren, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, beloved. He exhorts us to stand fast. But of course, he starts with the word therefore, which ties us back into that's why, we read the first few verses there of what just came before it in chapter three, verse 17 through 21, as Paul is talking, about and building up to this point to stand fast in the Lord. He is calling us to follow his example because there are other examples that are not good examples. He says that there are many who walk according to their own ways and turns out they are enemies of the cross of Christ. They actually look good from some perspectives, but the reality is they've taken a turn in their course and they're opposed to the things of God.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:01:11]:
He's not talking about people outside of the church. He's talking about even people within the church who have become enemies in the pursuit of their own heart and their own ways. But Paul says this is not the way that we are to be. We're not to set our mind on the things of this life because our citizenship is in heaven. And so he's calling us to have a deliberate mindset. Putting our citizenship in heaven helps us to have the eternal perspective, not setting our minds on this life, on this place, but having God's values at heart, having God's perspective on things and having eternity be the priority of what we are pursuing. And in eternity, Paul says, our bodies, our lowly bodies will be transformed, conformed to the image of Christ, will have glorified bodies, and Christ will rule over awe. And so he's tying all these things together in those closing verses of chapter three to lead us into chapter four, verse one.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:02:18]:
Therefore, stand fast in the Lord, because there are many who walk as enemies and make sure you're not one of them. Make sure you don't follow the wrong example. Stand fast in the Lord, because not everybody stands fast in the Lord. Set your eyes on eternity and remember your heavenly citizenship so that you stand fast in the Lord. Remember where you're going and what the Lord has planned for you. And Christ is going to rule over all. Everything will be subdued unto his authority. So stand fast in the Lord.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:02:55]:
Well, now, as we flow into chapter four, paul is continuing to encourage the church there at Philippi. And I would suggest to you continuing to encourage them in standing fast in the Lord. But there's a variety of topics that could be addressed here in chapter four. But tying them all back to this conclusion that he's brought us to this focus that he wants us to have and how to stand fast in the Lord in light of some of the challenges that we face in this life. And so we're going to look at five points this evening, standing fast in the Lord to help us to do that, to help us to maintain that path and that trajectory, to stay true to the Lord as we walk through this life. And so point number one, we're going to jump now to verses two through seven of chapter four. Point number one is unite with fellow believers in the Lord. Let's go ahead and read through these verses, and then we'll break down what it is that's happening here.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:03:57]:
Verse two. I implore Yodia and I implore Tintechi to be of the same mind in the Lord. And I urge you also, true companion, help these women who labored with me in the Gospel, with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow workers whose names are in the book of life. Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I will say rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:04:40]:
Let your request be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Here in Philippians, chapter four, we have some of the most beloved verses in the book of Philippians, and perhaps in the New Testament or even in the whole Bible, there's some verses that we refer to often here in this portion, right? But sometimes when we refer to them, and sometimes we would want to camp out in perhaps just verse six and seven, be anxious for nothing. And so we talk about anxiety, we talk about worry. Rejoice in the Lord always. And we could think about the joy that Paul is commanding and exhorting here throughout the book of Philippians. There's some really powerful things, and it's worth camping out on those things. At the same time, I want to encourage you this evening to not separate those from the verses around it and to consider the impact of what Paul is saying in regards to where he has come from.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:05:51]:
Stand fast in the Lord. For us to stand fast in the Lord, there is going to be a need for us to put some effort into unity with fellow believers in the Lord. And it may not be something that we think of first or often think about, but it is a reality that we need to understand and address and really come face to face with. Verse two is kind of shocking when you think about it. This is a verse in the Bible. This is a verse that God says, this is so important. I want this recorded in Scripture for all eternity. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my word will not pass away.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:06:39]:
And Paul here names two people. These are feminine names. So it seems that he's identifying two ladies, Eodia and Synthequi. Probably not at all how they pronounced it, but you get the idea these two ladies are having some kind of conflict. We don't know the background. We don't know the history. We don't know the details of what their conflict was and how bad it was. But evidently it was bad enough that Paul had to call them out in a letter to the church.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:07:11]:
He's writing to the church at Philippi, and the issue is so public that Paul has to address them by name to the church and correct them and address them. Sometimes he writes personal letters. He writes to Timothy, he writes to Titus. He writes to Philemon. Right. He could have maybe just wrote a personal letter to Eodia or to Syntheke and try to help them to patch things up. But this is a real divisive difficult situation for the whole church because of whatever conflict is happening between these two ladies. Rest assured, if this would have been the same conflict but between two men, paul would have addressed it.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:08:08]:
This is not picking out on ladies and having conflicts. It's not that that's what Paul is addressing here. He's addressing sometimes there is issues within the church, within a gathering of believers that rises to the level of it being addressed and handled. Everybody knows about it already, right? It's one of those interesting things. I don't know. Do you remember the first time that you learned there were politics within the church? I mean, I don't have a specific memory. I can't tell you the first time, but I would guess there are some people who would have that memory because it can be quite shocking. Like, Whoa, I thought we were the church.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:08:54]:
And then all of a sudden there's this drama and there's this tension and there's this struggle, and sometimes there's those elephants in the room. And we all know these two people are fighting, but we just kind of shuffle around it, kind of hide behind the hedges and try to avoid when those two people are in the same place at the same time. Right. We're just like there's tension, and, well, we don't really address it because we don't want to offend all of their followers. And the other side doesn't address it because they don't want to offend all of their followers. And there's these relationships that play into it, and things can get weird because we're people and because we have sinful natures still, and there is still issues of sin. There are some issues within the church caused by just absolute, blatant sin. Sometimes there's issues within the church between people that are caused accidentally.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:09:51]:
Sometimes there's issues of unforgiveness. Sometimes there's issues of deliberate harm. Sometimes there's issues of accidental hurt, but the hurt still hurts, and so there's a recovery time, and there's healing. There's real issues. Whenever you put people together, even in the Lord and even in the church. One of the classic examples of these kinds of things is in Acts Chapter 15, where Paul and Barnabas, after one of their missionary journeys, they're about to go back out again, and Barnabas is determined, it tells us in Acts Chapter 15 to bring with them John Mark. Paul says, no way is that guy going to be on our missionary trip because he was on the previous missionary trip, but he bailed out on them partway through. Paul says, we relied on him before.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:10:50]:
It didn't work out so well. He left us stranded. It hurt. I don't like that idea. No way am I going on another missionary trip with that guy. And the conflict was so tense, so serious, that they parted ways. Barnabas took John Mark and went on his own missionary trip, and Paul took Silas and went on his own missionary trip. And ever since that battle, people have battled over whether or not they should have battled and whether or not the right team won or the right things prevailed.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:11:24]:
It's an interesting portion to consider, but it is one that we need to become familiar with so that we're not taken off guard and not living kind of in a romantic idea that inside the church, people are always going to get along, and there's never going to be hurt feelings, and there's never going to be anything that rubs you the wrong way. There's never going to be any tension between people. That's not practical. It's not reality. In eternity, things will be different when we get the glorified body. So set your mind on the things above. Your citizenship is at heaven. We're going to get there.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:12:01]:
But here in the present, there's going to be times where two people need to be implored. Can you two be of the same mind in the Lord? It can be quite challenging. Those who are married understand the merging of two people, two mindsets, two hearts, two cultures, two backgrounds, two radically different ideas about finances, two radically different ideas about raising children or approaching work or retirement or vacation or where to just have lunch, right? And it can be such a challenge. And so we often say, you'll hear everybody say marriage takes work, and we're all like, okay, yes, we understand it. Marriage takes work because it requires that effort in a similar way that's between two married believers, it takes work. Right? In a similar way, fellowship takes effort. It takes work. There's different mindsets and cultures and backgrounds and experiences and perspectives, but not only that.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:13:12]:
And this is where I know it's challenging, but I really would encourage you to consider many times our differences are not failures, but really they're differences because of how God has formed us and created us. And so I mentioned Acts chapter 15. I want to refer back to you for just a moment. I'm not going to reteach this message, but back a few years ago, I taught through this passage, acts, chapter 15. One of the messages that for me personally, I feel like impacted me the most. I don't know if that makes any sense to anybody else, but, you know, sometimes I teach a message, it's important on my heart as I teach it. And then next week, if you ask me, hey, what'd you teach last Wednesday? No idea. But this one comes to my mind a lot.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:14:03]:
This is one that the Lord spoke some things to me that were things that he would then remind me of frequently from there on out. Learning to appreciate our disagreements. This is a valuable thing to do in a marriage, and it's a valuable thing to do within the body of Christ and within fellowship. Understanding that disagreements reveal our strengths, I would suggest to you that Paul and Barnabas had different strengths and the disagreement that they had revealed that they had different things that God had designed them to do, and so it was inevitable. I would suggest that they were going to part because they needed to pursue the things that God had designed them for. Barnabas had the strength of encouraging those who needed to be raised up. And so that's why he was so instrumental in Paul, because when everybody else rejected Saul of Tarsus, barnabas reached out and said, no, let's come, let's introduce you to the apostles. And when Paul was living in Obscurity and the work was happening at Antioch, barnabas said, let me go get Saul of Tarsus, who will become the apostle Paul, and he's going to be effective in this ministry.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:15:18]:
That was his role. So to reach out to John Mark, that's exactly what you'd expect Barnabas to do here's a weak, fallen believer who failed previously. Barnabas heart is going to be, let's give him another chance. Not surprising that Barnabas would do that. It reveals the strength that was there, that was a gift of God and designed by God for that purpose. So disagreements can reveal our strengths and can reveal those strengths on both sides of those disagreements. Secondly, disagreements strengthen our weaknesses, that is that we let's say Paul is weak in that exhortation area. He needs that iron, sharpening iron.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:16:06]:
Barnabas saying, no, we need to give a second chance. We need to build up and lift up. We need to help people overcome and be restored. It's always beautiful to consider at the end of Paul's ministry, as he's writing to Timothy Two Timothy, he refers to John Mark, who is such a blessing to him in the ministry. There was a reconciliation that happened there. Disagreements strengthen us in those areas where we are weak. They reveal our strengths, but they also reveal our weaknesses and help us to develop and face those weaknesses that we have that are part of who we are. And then, thirdly, disagreements clarify our calling.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:16:51]:
Again, they had separate missions, separate ways, according to how God had designed them to be. And so I suggest to you it's not a failure that they departed. They did it the best way possible, not dividing the church. They went their separate ways and pursued the things that God had set before them according to the strengths that he had given to them and the calling that he had set before them. And so we ought not to be shocked and surprised when there is disagreements, tension, difficulty. Sometimes it's the result of sin, of course and sometimes it's the result of different callings and different strengths, different weaknesses, different stages of development in the work that God is doing. I implore Yodia, I implore synthequi to be of the same mind in the Lord. To be of the same mind.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:17:50]:
Now, he does say here at the end of the verse in the Lord and this is really the key. This is how we can unite with fellow believers who have hurt us, who we have failed perhaps, who have wronged us or we have wronged them or who just have different strengths and priorities and see things differently and have different callings. And so they're focused on different things and have different values and approach things differently, have different techniques and tactics in their approach to service or whatever it might be because there's a lot of things that we could wrestle with and discuss. But it comes down to in the Lord, you two ladies, you're in the Lord. This is all that really matters. This is all that really counts. In verse three, Paul refers to these women. He says, they labored with me in the Gospel.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:18:45]:
These are two women who were involved in serving the Lord alongside of the apostle Paul. They had worked together. They had worked with Paul. They had served together, fought side by side in spiritual war. But then they had some sort of fallout, some sort of issue later on. But Paul says, let's go back to remember what's important. You're in the Lord, your co laborers in the work of the Lord. And he says in verse three, your names are in the book of life.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:19:18]:
Both of your names. You're going to spend eternity with each other. So might as well face facts and get used to it now, make amends now because both of your names are in the book of life. And so what should they do? He says, Be of the same mind. Now, this really isn't some crazy command that Paul is giving here because it fits right in line with what Paul's already been teaching back in Philippians chapter two. You might remember this passage. Philippians, chapter two, verse one if there is any consolation in Christ of any comfort of love, of any fellowship of the spirit of any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like minded, having the same love, being of one accord and of one mind. Now, again, oftentimes we look at Philippians chapter two and it's isolated there.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:20:16]:
We talk about the Lord and his example for us, and we could dive deep into that. But it's interesting to consider Philippians chapter two in light of Philippians chapter four. Hey, you ladies, be of the same mind. I'm not just starting to talk to you right now. In Philippians chapter four, I've been talking to you since Philippians chapter two. If there is any good and any benefit and any blessing that you've received from the Lord, any fellowship of the Spirit, you're in the Lord. You need to respond to the goodness of God and be like minded. Learn how to be of one accord.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:21:01]:
There are times where we are not to be of one accord. Paul talks about that in Romans chapter 16, verse 17. Note those who cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which you learned and avoid them. Don't be in one accord with them when they're contrary to the doctrine which you learned. But we make the mistake sometimes of making doctrine things that are not doctrine, or just ignoring this altogether and not having any concern for being of the same mind and being of one accord with those who are in the Lord. There are times to break fellowship, sure, but in the Lord, there is no time to break fellowship in that way. There's no time to harbor resentment and to continue causing division within the body of Christ. Again, this isn't just that these two ladies had different ideas and they wanted to do children's ministry differently.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:22:05]:
And so one liked to teach this way and one liked to teach that way. This was something that was affecting the Church to the degree that Paul needed to address it in front of the Church. And so there was real division happening. We can understand that that was going on, that there was again this tension that, well, we can't invite her to this event because the other one's going to be there. And so now the body is having to make these decisions about which one they're going to side with, but not necessarily having to choose sides, but which one they're going to fellowship with. Well, I can't fellowship with that one because I fellowship with this one. And now there's division within the body of Christ, division over doctrine, sure. The essentials salvation by faith in Jesus Christ, it's by grace.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:22:56]:
You've been saved through faith, not of yourselves. The clear statements of the Scripture, absolutely, we divide over those things. But there's so many other things that are just our preferences, our traditions, our denominations, our political parties, our normal life experience, our normal church experience. And we've developed things many times into things that are we count them as doctrine, but they're not doctrine. Their preferences, their freedoms, their convictions, their personal callings, their strengths, but they're not doctrine. Paul tells us in one Corinthians chapter twelve, the eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of you, nor again, the head to the feet. I have no need of you. No.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:23:53]:
Much rather those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. It's something we kind of want to do sometimes rather than work. Again, what did we say? Marriage takes work. There's that effort to work, to be united. So does fellowship. It takes work. But so many times we'd rather not do the work. It's hard work.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:24:16]:
We don't like to work. We don't want to do the work. And so rather just say, I'm just not going to talk to you no more. But the I can't say to the hand, I don't need you in the Lord that's a member of the body of Christ unite with fellow believers in the Lord. It's for your good. You need to learn how to prioritize the core essentials of the Lord. And in the Lord, embrace those that you disagree with. That's good for you.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:24:46]:
In the Lord, we can unite with fellow believers who do things differently, who approach things differently, who pray differently, who read different versions of the Bible, who vote differently, who have different perspectives on all kinds of walks of life. We can't just say, I don't need you. Get out of here. I'm the eye, you're the hand, and we don't get along in the Lord. We are the body. And we need, paul says, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. Think about that for a minute. The person that you perhaps have in your mind that you're thinking, yeah, you know, living water could really do without that person.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:25:34]:
That's the person that you need the most. That person is necessary. God wants to do a work in you through that person and through you learning to focus on the Lord and be united with fellow believers in the Lord in that relationship. Well, spent a lot of time on verse two, right? But building this foundation, if you want to stand fast in the Lord, you're going to need to learn how to unite with fellow believers, how to focus and prioritize on the Lord. And that's what I think the next verses are about. The next few verses here go along with that. And again, we want to separate them out and just deal with them separately and talk about those individual things in our lives as a bucket not attached to anything else. But what if it's attached to that disagreement, that tension, that hard relationship that you're dealing with, how to overcome challenging unity? I would suggest verses four through seven, give us some pointers that may not be immediately obvious for us, but are exactly what we need to help in those situations.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:26:46]:
Number one, to rejoice in the Lord always. Paul says in verse four, rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I will say rejoice now. Again, we can take that and we can just think, okay, Paul has completely concluded the other subject. He's done with that. He's never going back to that subject again. It's out of his mind. He's starting fresh now.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:27:05]:
Okay, new thought. What was I talking about before? I don't remember. Here's the new thought rejoice in the Lord always. Or I suggest more likely, how do we resolve this issue between these two people? Set your mind on things above. Our citizenship is in heaven. Rejoice in the Lord always. And if that doesn't convey enough strength or encouragement for you to do it again, I will say he says rejoice. I like what Pastor Charles Spurgeon says about this.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:27:47]:
His people who are very happy, especially those who are very happy in the Lord, are not apt either to give offense or to take offense. Their minds are so sweetly occupied with higher things that they are not easily distracted by the little troubles which naturally arise among such imperfect creatures as we are. Joy in the Lord is the cure for all discord. Joy in the Lord is the cure for all discord. Yes, you can dwell on the problem, the issue, but there's also the option. There is the opportunity for you to choose to take joy, to rejoice in the Lord always, always, perpetually, continually setting our eyes on the Lord and choosing to enjoy who he is and what he has provided. And so that will help us overcome those disagreements, those challenging areas of unity. Secondly, express gentleness to all, and he says, the Lord is at hand.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:29:08]:
The Lord's right there with you. You ever behave in a situation differently than you would if there was some authority present? You come around the corner, maybe doing 1015 over the speed limit, but then there's the authority, and so then, boom, you immediately adjust your conduct, right? Or perhaps you fly off the handle. You lose your temper, you're throwing things around. But you don't do that when your boss is watching. You do it when inferiors are watching. Or maybe no one's watching, but you modify your behavior because of the authority that's present. Paul says, the Lord's at hand, so let your gentleness be known to all men. The way that you're talking about that person, that's the Lord's, child.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:30:07]:
He's right there with you. So be gentle. Be gentle. This word gentleness, it implies allowing the Lord to deal with battles. I don't have to fight battles. I don't have to inflict pain. I don't have to hurt and wound and conquer. I can be gentle.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:30:36]:
I can allow the Lord to deal with the situation. My part is not to make everything right. My part is to relate to others as God's children, knowing he's right here with me. And then, thirdly, thank God and pray about everything. Verse six and seven says, be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Don't be anxious, Paul says, but in everything by prayer and supplication, make your request known to God and you're going to have peace. Now again, we could pull these verses out.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:31:20]:
Paul just changed subjects throughout all the old stuff. He's just talking about something brand new now. Or perhaps people are anxious because of the tension and the conflict. Yodia is anxious. Synthequis anxious. The word anxious. Pastor Warren wearsby talks about it. He says it means to be pulled in different directions.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:31:46]:
I think that's a good description of disagreements that happen within the body of Christ, divisions that happen in the body of Christ. There's this pulling of different directions. Our minds are being pulled and there's this tug of war taking place. There is this back and forth and this battle that is going on. Paul says, don't let that be happening in your mind. Be anxious for nothing. Attack that with prayer. Prayer supplication.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:32:19]:
Make sure you include thanksgiving and present your request to God. Be thankful, be expressive, and pray about the situation at hand. And the peace of God will guard your heart. I think there's a couple takeaways that we could consider for this. If I'm unhealthy spiritually, it's going to detract from the unity of the body of Christ. If I'm anxious, worried and pulled in different directions, stressed out, it's going to detract. It's going to impact the relationships, the fellowship within the body. If I'm specifically anxious over those relationships with others that I have in the body, it's going to have a mark, it's going to make a dent, it's going to have an effect on the body of Christ.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:33:28]:
The peace of God will guard your hearts. I think about it another way. That is when I'm personally stressed how easy it is for that to spill over onto others. Right. We're all familiar with the word hangry. My personal hunger spills over on you, and I'm treating you terribly. Not because of anything that you've done, not because you've been in sin or had some attack, but it's all my perception because I'm hangry, I am hungry and I'm grumpy and I'm upset, and so I'm lashing out. When we allow anxiety to pervade our hearts and our minds, we don't have peace with God.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:34:23]:
And you know what happens? It attacks the unity of our fellowship. When I don't have peace, it's going to be much easier for there to be conflict between us, maybe having nothing to do with us, but simply having to do with the fact that I'm unhealthy spiritually. It's causing division within the body of Christ. The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts. I like the way Pastor David Guzick describes this. He says, the peace of God is the kind of peace that God has. Do you have the kind of peace that God has? God isn't moved. He's not being torn, pulled from all sides.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:35:15]:
Tug of war. He's not stressed and worried and anxious about things. He's not all pouring out, lashing out at all of us because there's so many things for Him to handle and so many things for him to worry about. He knows exactly what is needed. He's completely calm and settled. That kind of peace, the kind of peace that God has, will guard your heart when you can set aside your anxieties, your worries, all those things that are pulling at your mind, and come to the Lord to present your request with thanksgiving, reflecting on what he has done, remembering who he is. Again, this is all about recentering your mind and your heart on the things of the Lord. Don't set your mind on the things of this earth.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:36:08]:
Your citizenship is in heaven. He's going to transform your lowly body into a glorious body. He's going to subdue all things to Himself. So come and present your requests and he will give you the kind of peace that he has. Isaiah tells us isaiah 26 three, you will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever. For in Yah, the Lord is everlasting strength. Keep our eyes fixed on Him, our hearts fixed on Him, our mind fixed on Him, and he will keep us in perfect peace.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:36:47]:
When we're anxious and worried, it's causing conflict and issues between us. Our eyes are not on the Lord, our mind is not fixed on the Lord. Unite with fellow believers in the Lord. Well, continuing on in this same couple of verses here, we're going to get point number two here from the same portion. Help fellow believers unite with the Lord. Really focusing on verse three. So we've talked about Yodia and Siddiki and how this impacts them. They need to rejoice in the Lord.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:37:19]:
They need to let their gentleness be made known to all. They need to stop being anxious and present their request before the Lord. But in a similar way, Paul is calling on the people around them. Verse three. And I urge you also, true companion, help these women who labored with me in the Gospel, with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow workers whose names are in the Book of Life. I urge you also, true companion, help these ladies. These ladies need help resolving this situation, overcoming this. Sometimes there are issues and situations between people that it's going to be really hard for the two of them to work it out.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:38:06]:
This happens all the time in the church. I see it in the workplace, I see it in families. We get to a point where there's been so much hurt, there's so much history, we can't hear each other, and someone helping from the outside can help us work through that and not just react according to the pain that we're feeling and the pain that we're remembering and dealing with. All of the history of hurt that has gone on. So Paul says, help, help these ladies who labored with me. Remember they labored with me. They're in the body of Christ. Don't just write them off, don't just leave them to struggle in their battle with their own selves and their own weaknesses, but come alongside and help them to resolve this.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:38:58]:
Again, we need to understand this. We cannot be surprised when there's fights and divisions within the body of Christ. And yes, there are times where we need to divide sometimes. There are times where maybe the best thing is just let's go our separate ways. But we also need to know, we also need to understand there's going to be those times where we need to get in the mix, help people work things out. There's some interpretation that's needed, some translation that's needed. There's some cooler heads, prevail that is needed in the tense situation that has developed. I urge you also, true companion, help these women.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:39:46]:
Now, it's interesting to consider here because who is the true companion? Some would suggest that Paul is writing to someone and everybody knows who Paul is talking about. Hey true companion, I'm not going to say your name, I'm not going to call you out like I did the other people, but you know who you are. Everybody else knows who you are. You need to get involved and you need to work this out. That's definitely possible. Here's another possibility. Everybody else in the body of Christ be a true companion. They're your members, your members of one another in the body of Christ.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:40:27]:
Perhaps it's a call not to some unknown specific person, but perhaps it's to any person, like the request or the question about who is my neighbor? Who is the true companion? The true companion is the one who sees the situation, seeks the Lord, and seeks to help these two resolve their conflict and come back to unity. Help fellow believers unite in the Lord. And I would suggest all three of these same things apply. Rejoice in the Lord always. If you're going to help somebody else, you're not going to get caught up, you're not going to be choosing side. You're going to be rejoicing in the Lord. Your focus is going to be on the Lord and your help is going to be to help them to focus on the Lord and rejoice in the Lord. And you're going to be gentle.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:41:25]:
Your gentleness is going to be to all. This isn't about winning and losing, choosing aside, okay, I'm going to help this person win. No, your gentleness will be to both sides because the Lord's at hand and he's watching and you're going to be praying so that you can have the peace of God, the kind of peace that God has. This is what we need in order to help each other be united in the Lord. I want to spend a lot of time on this, but we need to keep moving. So moving on to point number three, verses eight and nine. Choose to immerse yourself in good things. Here's what verse eight and nine says.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:42:07]:
Finally, brethren whatever things are true, whatever things are noble whatever things are just whatever things are pure whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy, meditate on these things the things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me these do. And the peace of God I'm sorry. And the God of peace will be with you. Again, two verses we often refer to, we quote, but don't pull them completely out of what Paul is talking about here. Our citizenship is in heaven. There's going to be conflict and tensions and battles, some things that will be between us or others around us and there's going to be some effort, some work that needs to be put in to work through that. There's also going to be the temptation. Many walk as enemies of the Christ and so we need to stand fast in the Lord and immerse ourselves in the things that benefit us in the Lord.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:43:20]:
Paul here is really calling us to have some serious discipline in our thought life. The things that we meditate on, things that are true and noble, just pure and lovely, good reports, anything virtuous, anything praiseworthy, these are the things to consume your mind with. These are the things to meditate on. Now, in the midst of interpersonal drama and tension, it is very easy to meditate on that. I don't know if you're like me, but I'm imagining all the possible routes a conversation could go and how that would happen and then not just doing that, but I'm also revisiting all past conversations and then how would that conversation have gone if it went this way? And then remember that other time. And we can meditate and immerse ourselves in issues and problems and tension and drama and then wonder, why am I stressed out and why am I all upset and why do I hate this person so much? Fill your mind with good things, set your mind on things above. And the result of this combining eight and nine is then the God of Peace will be with you. You'll have again the peace of God and the God of peace will be with you when you set your mind on things that are true.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:45:04]:
And you can use this as a little bit of a filter as you find yourself caught up in thinking through things. Is this true? If it's not true, then I don't need to spend time meditating on it, thinking about it, turning it over and over and over in my head. I don't know if it's true. Well, there are things that you do know are true. Better to spend your time chewing on those things again, things that are noble and just and pure. We can go on through this a bunch of times, of course, but what Paul is suggesting here is that you need to discipline yourself and not let your mind just wander, not let your mind camp out. You can't I forget exactly how the saying goes, but you'll get the drift and you'll remember maybe someone who said it better. But you can't prevent a bird from landing on your head, but you can prevent it from building a nest, right? You can't prevent a bird from pooping on your head, but you can prevent it from camping out.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:46:05]:
Shoe it away. But sometimes we immerse ourselves in the things that are detrimental to us, which are then detrimental to the body of Christ. Choose to immerse yourself in good things. Set your mind on things above. Pastor Tony Evans says, one of the reasons we don't keep our peace is because we tend to dwell on the things that are set in opposition to the peace that we're asking for. We mole over a lie or bad things that could happen. And if we continue to attain messages that work against our peace, anxiety will soon return. We get peace for a little bit, but then we allow our minds to camp out on the things that are not true, not lovely, not noble, not of good report.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:46:58]:
And we'll find ourselves back, anxious, worried, stressed down. Paul says, look at me as an example the things you learned and received and heard and saw in me. Notice that four things there. Paul says in verse nine, I taught you them, you heard them from me, you received them, and you saw me live it out. I said it, you heard it, you accepted it, and you saw it. Those things do. Those are tried and true. Follow that pattern.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:47:38]:
The author of Hebrews tells us in Hebrews, chapter 13 remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow considering the outcome of their conduct. If Paul's outcome of the things that they heard and learned and received and saw, if the outcome was not so great, well, they shouldn't follow it. But when you're being taught and you're hearing it, you're accepting it, you're seeing it lived out. Paul says, that's a good example. Seek out those good examples and make a deliberate effort to follow those good examples that God has placed in your life. So meditate on the things that are good. Find those examples to follow. There's a lot of bad examples you can follow, and sometimes we do that.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:48:33]:
We kind of look at some bad examples to excuse ourselves, well, that person's doing that and that person lives that way, and they have that kind of career and they chase those things and they spend that kind of time in this and that, and so it's okay. No, find some good examples from whom you can learn and hear and receive from, but also watch and see the outcome of the conduct and the teaching that they provide. Point number four. Moving on to verses ten through 14. Learn to be content in any state, to stand fast in the Lord. You're going to need to learn to be content. If you can't learn to be content, you're not going to stand fast in the Lord, because you're going to be chasing, you're going to be pursuing, you're going to be idolizing contentment. It's a tough one, but we need to learn it.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:49:29]:
Paul says, I had to learn it. Verse ten I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last your care for me has flourished again, though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am to be content. I know how to be abased, I know how to abound everywhere and in all things. I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Nevertheless, you have done well that you shared in my distress. Verse 13, of course, stands out.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:50:05]:
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Great verse. We refer to it, we quote it, we go back to it. All good stuff. But also let's force it back into the context of what Paul is saying here and let that settle in our hearts a little bit. Paul says, thanks for the gift you sent your messenger. He had the gift. I was so blessed to receive it.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:50:32]:
Your care flourished again. I'm not saying you didn't care, Paul says, but there was an opportunity before. You didn't have anybody coming this way. You weren't able to help minister to the financial needs of my situation. Not a problem, not an issue. This is not calling attention to it for that reason. This is just to say thanks. And so he's saying, I'm not speaking in regard to need.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:51:00]:
I'm just blessed for you to be able to give. And he's rejoicing in them and what the giving means for them. The generosity on their part is good for them and meaningful for them. We'll get to that in a second. But in regards to myself, Paul says, I've learned in whatever state I am to be content. I know how to be a beast and I know how to abound. Here Paul is in prison, which was a great luxury, but also had some expenses. But he also couldn't work.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:51:36]:
So he knew how to be a bass, because there were seasons of his life, several years in prison, and even before that, of course, that well, he went hungry and he was cold and there were difficult situations. He was abased, he was low. He didn't have resources and provision. He went without and suffered. And we need to learn how to be content. In that kind of situation, we can be very uncomfortable with any kind of lack or suffering, any kind of hurt or heartache. And we can make our comfort, our God, and try to do all that we can, anything we can, whatever it takes, whatever is necessary to make ourselves comfortable. But if I need to learn to be content and be hungry, I need to learn that.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:52:37]:
To be cold and content, I need to learn that. But not just abased. He says, also, I know how to abound. I think it's interesting sometimes it's easy for us to trust in the Lord and walk with the Lord when we're abased, when we have to rely upon Him for every meal, for every sweater, for every moment. And we're trusting in the Lord and things are desperate, and so we're calling out to Him over and over regularly because things are so hard, and that's good, that's good for us, we need that. And then things get good, we get through that hard season. And Israel had a pattern of this. They would go through that difficult season, call out to the Lord, recenter themselves, come back to right, fellowship with the Lord and worship of the Lord, and the Lord would deliver them and bless them, and then what would they do? They would forget.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:53:32]:
They didn't know how to be content in abundance. And there's something that happens, you get a little bit and it's like, OOH, give me an inch, I want to take a mile, right? I want more. That's not enough. And we can experience abundance and have it be more detrimental to us than being a beast. Now, when you're suffering and struggling, you can't think about it that way. Like, it just seems like impossible. I mean, if it would just be so much better if I just had all the resources that I needed. Sometimes when we have all the resources that we need, our hearts go astray.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:54:14]:
The Lord told the Church of Leodicea in Revelation, chapter three, he says because you say I am rich, have become wealthy and need nothing, and you do not know that you're wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire that you may be rich. You've become satisfied with yourself and you've become blind to the reality. Sometimes in our abased state, we're the best spiritual condition of our life and our state of abundance. We can be in the worst spiritual condition of our life, but it feels so much better. It looks so much better. To learn how to be content, to learn how to walk with the Lord through both seasons is really what God's after that, we wouldn't allow money to be our god or resources or comfort or any of that, but that we would be content and then use those things that God has provided for his purposes and for his glory and not our own. And it's in that context.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:55:30]:
Paul says, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. If he gives me more than I know what to do with, who, that's going to be a challenging temptation and my heart's going to be longing to stray. But I need you to strengthen me so I can handle times of abundance and when times of lacking and I'm suffering and I'm questioning God and where is God, but I can do all things. I can make it through this. I can be hungry, I can be cold, I can be thirsty, I can be lonely. Learn to be content in any state, because you can do anything that God has set before you through Christ who gives you strength. Well, finally, verses 15 through 20 gives us point number five. Store up abundant fruit for eternity.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:56:21]:
Verse 15. Now you, Philippians, know also that in the beginning of the Gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving, but you only. For even in Thessalonica, you sent aid once and again for my necessities. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account. Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from apaphroditis the things sent from you. A sweet smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God. And my God shall supply all your need according to his riches, in glory by Christ Jesus.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:56:55]:
Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen. Paul says you guys know, when I was ministering the Gospel, I went through Philippians, I went on from there. No other church was supporting me, just you guys. I was there in thessalonica and they weren't supporting me or providing for me. I had to work and make tents. But you sent a few times aid and covered my necessities. Thank you so much.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:57:24]:
That was great. And again, he wants to point out, though, I'm not saying, okay, so send me more. I'm not trying to do that. Verse 17, not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account. It's good for you. There's a benefit for you, because as you give, there is reward. Remember Jesus said, even a cup of cold water given in the name of the Lord, you won't lose your reward for that. In Matthew chapter six, jesus tells us to lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven and not on earth.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:58:01]:
In heaven they last. You'll be rewarded. And so Paul is saying, I seek the fruit that abounds to your account. And so thank you for giving. I'm blessed by it. I'm also excited though, that you are going to be rewarded for it. It's good for you, it's good for your heart. It works toward contentment to be able to give.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:58:23]:
And don't think that it wasn't a sacrifice. It wasn't just they had extra in two corinthians chapter eight. Paul talks about the giving of the Church of Philippi and talks about how they gave out of their deep poverty. They didn't have extra to give, they were lacking. And yet the Lord moved their hearts to give, and they were storing up abundant fruit for all eternity. And so we can do the same, storing up treasures in heaven. Philippians, chapter six. Here there's fruit that abounds to our account when we give to the work of the Lord, give to the things that God is doing, give as the Lord prompts our hearts.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:59:10]:
There's fruit that's produced in the ministry as a result. There's the fruit of obedience to the Lord, and responding to that stores up treasure in heaven. But it's not the only way to give Paul or to store up abundant fruit. Paul talks about in Romans chapter 15, calling the church there to pray with him. Strive together with me in the ministry. You can join with me in the ministry by praying to God for me. It's another way that we get the opportunity to store up abundant fruit for eternity. Jesus tells us in Matthew chapter ten, serving again here's the idea of a cup of water.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [00:59:55]:
You receive a prophet, you show hospitality, serving practical areas of help to those who are doing the work of the Lord. There's fruit that is born from that that is stored up for all eternity. And then Paul talks about in two, Timothy chapter one encouragement, how anisaforest sought him out and encouraged him. It wasn't like a practical need that he met, it was just he showed up, talked to him, prayed over him, encouraged him, and how the Lord would bless, there would be abundant fruit from that fellowship, from that relationship. And so lots of ways for us to store up abundant fruit for eternity. Praying, giving, serving, encouraging, whichever way the Lord leads, however he puts it upon your heart, store up fruit for eternity. Because our citizenship is in heaven and we're going to be with the Lord, our bodies are going to be transformed according to his glorious body. All things will be subdued unto Him.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [01:01:03]:
So therefore stand fast in the Lord recenter your mind, your heart, and focus on the reality, the truth. We're going to be with the Lord for all eternity. So unite with fellow believers in the Lord, overcome those disagreements and those differences. Help fellow believers unite in the Lord, work through those situations. Don't write anybody off in the body of Christ. We need one another. Choose to immerse yourself in good things, because you're going to be with the Lord. We're going to be with the Lord for all eternity.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [01:01:37]:
Learn to be content in any state, because the Lord is with you. You can do all things through Him. He has good plans for you. He's going to work all things out together for good. So suffer when the Lord allows you to suffer. Rejoice when the Lord allows you to rejoice, but don't let your eyes and your heart be turned away. Be content with the Lord and his plan and his will, and that's all that matters to you. And store up abundant fruit for eternity.
Pastor Jerry Simmons [01:02:01]:
Serve the Lord. Honor him. Use what he provides to further his work and his kingdom. And that's how we stand fast in the Lord. Lord, we thank you for Your encouragement this evening, for Your word. I pray, Lord, that you would help us to put it into practice, to stand fast and to bring our hearts and our minds back to that place where we are consumed with you, passionate for you and in pursuit of you. We pray this in Jesus name. Amen.