Exhortation to Stand Fast, and Things Required to Stand Fast (4:1-9)
- Truth. We are to think on “whatsoever things are true” as opposed to false or fiction. This goes beyond simply not lying. We live in a world that is addicted to fiction. Many novels, movies, and TV shows provide a way to escape from reality. We are to have our thoughts occupied with what is true. The first great filter for our thoughts is that we must think about things that are true.
- Honor. We are to think on “whatsoever things are noble” or honorable as opposed to what is base or shameful. How easy it is to get carried away with foolish talking and joking, or with behavior that is unbecoming to a Christian.
- Uprightness. We are to think on “whatsoever things are just” or upright as opposed to what is unrighteous or crooked. If we always think uprightly then we will always act uprightly. Romans 16:19 says that we should be “wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.”
- Moral Purity. We are to think on “whatsoever things are pure” as opposed to what is unclean or debauched. The entertainment system of the West is full of immorality, and it is becoming more rampant, daring, and accessible than ever. It is imperative that we guard our thoughts against all of this immorality. One way we can do this is be in the scriptures, thinking on Christ.
- Pleasing or Lovely. We are to think on “whatsoever things are amiable” or lovely, as opposed to things that are unsettling or disturbing. We can do this by thinking about Christ – the fairest among ten-thousand – and also the Christlike qualities we see in our brethren. It is not helpful to discuss problems among brethren or character flaws in others.7
- Commendable. We are to think on “whatsoever things are of good report” as opposed to what has a bad reputation. Do we think of the latest gossip, others’ failures, problems, and scandals? These are not commendable things. Instead think of what is of good report. We can think on the Christ-like qualities of our brethren.
- Being of one mind with our brethren (v.2)
- Helping others in service (v.3)
- Rejoicing in the Lord (v.4).
- Not insisting on our rights, and having that testimony before the world (v.5)
- Instead of being anxious, to pray, and have the peace of God (vv.6-7)
- Guarding our thoughts, to only think about good things (v.8)
- Following good examples of faith (v.9)
Thanksgiving: Paul’s Content Without, yet Appreciation for the Gift (4:10-20)
Wherever he traveled, Paul worked with his own hands as a tent maker for his personal needs (Acts 20:33-34). On occasion, when he was in need, Paul would receive support from individuals and assemblies, such as the Philippians, who "sent once and again unto my necessity" (Phil. 4:16). Paul had never taken money from the Corinthians (2 Cor. 12:13-14), who were relatively wealthy. He speaks of "robbing other churches" (2 Cor. 11:8-9). In 1 Cor. 9 we have a little light on why Paul chose not to receive financial support from the Corinthians: because it left him free to preach and teach whatever the Lord asked him, without any possibility of an accusation of corruption. There was a worldly spirit among the Corinthians, and Paul felt it might compromise his ministry to take what was rightfully his from the Corinthians. Paul also wouldn't receive from the Thessalonians because there was a problem with laziness there, and he wanted to set a good example (1 Thess. 2:9; 2 Thess. 3:6-12). Nevertheless, scripture is clear that it is right and proper for believers to financially support those that serve them (1 Cor. 9:9; 1 Tim. 5:18; Gal. 6:6), and it is a tremendous privilege to do so, and an opportunity to further the cause of Christ (Phil. 4:17).Read more… In receiving the gift from Philippi, Paul was more happy for what the saints gained than for what he gained.
Final Greetings and Closing (4:21-23)
- Galatians 6:18. When we have been carrying on in a legal way, and when we have been corrected.
- Philippians 4:23. When there are disagreements between brethren.
- Philemon 25. When we are called on to forgive someone who has offended us.
- 2 Timothy 4:22. When we look around and see failure in a day of public ruin.
- This chapter takes up the entire superiority to circumstances which characterises the Christian. – Darby, J.N. Brief Thoughts on Philippians.
- Darby’s translational note: “gentleness or, ‘moderation,’ ‘mildness,’ not insisting on one’s rights. As ‘gentle,’ Jas. 3.17.”
- By moderation the Apostle means that spirit of meekness which can only be where the will is not allowed to work actively for that which we may desire. – Kelly, William. The Epistle to the Philippians.
- If conscious that my portion is in Christ, the looking for the Lord, who is my portion, makes me to sit loose to everything here. If our expectation, if the feeling of our hearts, is that the Lord is at hand (I do not mean prophecy, but the personal expectation of the saint himself), it must be so. What event is there between you and heaven? The only one is our going up there. If I am looking for Christ to come straight down from heaven and take me up, what event is there between? – Darby, J.N. Brief Thoughts on Philippians.
- We are in relationship with God; in all things He is our refuge; and events do not disturb Him. He knows the end from the beginning. He knows everything, He knows it beforehand; events shake neither His throne, nor His heart; they always accomplish His purposes. But to us He is love; we are through grace the objects of His tender care. He listens to us and bows down His ear to hear us. In all things therefore, instead of disquieting ourselves and weighing everything in our own hearts, we ought to present our requests to God with prayer, with supplication, with a heart that makes itself known (for we are human beings) but with the knowledge of the heart of God (for He loves us perfectly); so that, even while making our petition to Him, we can already give thanks, because we are sure of the answer of His grace, be it what it may; and it is our requests that we are to present to Him. – Darby, J.N. Synopsis of the Books of the Bible.
- Lloyd, William. Our times are in Thy hand. Little Flock Hymnbook #209.
- This is not to say that there isn’t a time to discuss assembly problems or to be concerned about someone who is going on in sin. But it is not healthy for our spiritual life to be continually occupied with what is negative.
- … he delicately adds, he would not, by saying that their care of him had now at last flourished again, imply that they had forgotten him. The care for him was in their hearts; but they had not had the opportunity of giving expression to their love. – Darby, J.N. Synopsis of the Books of the Bible.