Think and put into practice

 

 

[Philippians 4:8-9]

 

 

Do you thank God?  Looking back at the last year, what do you thank God for?  I wrote these words yesterday morning: ‘Although we cannot give thanks when we look at the difficult situation with the human eye, but when we look at it with the eyes of faith in the Lord, we can find the conditions of gratitude even in the situation that we cannot appreciate.’  Perhaps you may be in the situation that you cannot appreciate when you look at it with the human eyes?  Even in such the difficult situation, would you look at the Lord in faith and try to look for conditions to give thanks to God at this time?

        

                Last Friday, I received the kakaotalk message from sister in Christ Jin Kyung An and quickly went to a hospital Intensive Care Unit, where Jin Kyung’s father was in.  And I praised God with Jin Kyung and her mother as we looked at her father.  And when two brother and sister in Christ came, they joined together with us and we worshipped God together.  After worship, since Jin Kyung’s father had to do the kidney dialysis, we went to the waiting room and had some conversation.  We thanked God together in the conversation that even though Jin Kyung’s father’s body was very weak, he was conscious and was able to open his eyes and looked at us and nodded us when we spoke.  Although we couldn’t understand what he was saying to us due to the oxygen mask, nevertheless, we gave thanks to God because he was able to open his eyes and understood what we said to him.  Above all, we couldn’t help ourselves but gave thanks to God and praised Him because of Jesus Christ.  When we think of the God’s grace of salvation that He has given us in Jesus Christ, we have eternal reason to give thanks to God in all circumstances and in our whole lives.

 

                Today as we came up to the house of God and worship Him, let us think about the reasons why we should give thanks to God.  And let us praise and worship God with thanksgiving in our hearts and glorify Him.

 

In Philippians 4:8-9, we can see that Paul is exhorting two things as he writes this letter to the Philippian church saints whom he loves with the affection of Jesus Christ.  I have summarized these two exhortations into the partial words in each verse.  First, in verse 8, Paul exhorted the Philippian church saints to “think about such things” (v.8).  Then, in verse 9, he exhorted them to “put into practice” (v. 9).  Based on these two exhortations, I would like to receive the lessons that God gives us as we think about what Paul exhorted the Philippian church saints to think and to put into practice.

 

First, what did Paul exhort the Philippian church saints to think about?

     

Look at Philippians 4:8 – “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.”  What are you thinking so much these days?  Do you have a lot of thoughts about your family?  Or do you have a lot of thoughts about your job or your company?  You can have a lot of thoughts about your health and about the future.

 

We have to think about our thoughts.  The reason is that if we think about what we are thinking now, we can know little bit what our own spiritual state is now.  If we are now thinking about anxious thoughts or worry about this and that, or are having anxious thoughts about the future, then our spiritual state is now in frailty (cf. Ps 77:7-10) .  Or if we are now thinking about evil things in our thoughts, and have kept it for a long time without abandoning them, our spiritual state is now in sin.  Here, the evil thoughts that come out of the heart (Mt. 15:19) think about what the sinful nature desires (Rom. 8:5).  And the things of the flesh are said in Galatians 5:19-21: “The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”  If we have these thoughts now, the Lord is saying to us, “How long will you harbor wicked thoughts?” (Jer. 4:14).

 

                Do you know what Paul was thinking about?  Look at Philippians 1:3-4: “I thank my God every time I remember you.  In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy.”  Paul was thinking about the Philippian church saints.  The reason was because he longed for them with the affection of Christ Jesus (v. 8).  And he thanked God whenever he thought about the beloved Philippian church saints (v. 3) because of their partnership in the gospel (v. 5).  Not only did they help Paul's evangelism ministry through Epaphroditus (2:25-30), but they also supported Paul materially (4:15-16).  Also, Paul thanked God whenever he thought about the Philippian church saints because he was confident that God who had begun the good work of salvation in them would surely complete it until the day of Christ (1:6).  Like Paul, isn’t it natural for us to think about whom we love?  The more we love, the more we think about the people whom we love.  Now the question is whenever we think about them, do we thank God for them or do we complain. 

 

In Philippians 4: 8, Paul exhorted the beloved Philippian church saints “Finally, brothers” "think about such things”.  What are “such things”?  I have summed up three things:

 

(1)   Paul exhorted the Philippian church saints to think about ‘whatever is true and right’ (Phil. 4:8).

 

Why did Paul tell the Philippian church saints to think about whatever is true and right?  What is true and right?  According to Park Yun-sun, "Truth" refers to the truthfulness and the fruits of good conscience, and "right" refers to conformity with God's law (Park Yun-sun).  When we think about this meaning, I think that Paul exhorted the Philippian church saints to live a true life with a good conscience and to obey the Word of God by living a life consistent with the Word.  I think this is the worthy life of the gospel that Paul talked about in Philippians 1:27.  In a word, Paul exhorted them to conduct themselves in the manner worthy of the gospel (v. 27).  And in order to live like that, I think Paul told them to think about the true gospel of Jesus Christ and to think about preaching and spreading that gospel.  The reason I think this way is because in the Philippian church there were some who were involving in the gospel ministry (1:5) preached the gospel with wrong motives such as selfish ambition (v. 17).  Since Paul wanted them to preach Christ with “goodwill” (v. 15) and “in love” (v. 16), he exhorted them to think about the true gospel and how to preach that gospel correctly.  If this is true, then we should also engrave Paul's exhortation in our hearts and think about not only the true gospel of Jesus Christ, but also how to preach that gospel correctly.  Especially since there are many who proclaim false gospel as well as true gospel in Paul’s time and now, we must think about the true gospel and how to preach it correctly.  We also must think about how to preach the true gospel correctly because there are people who preach the true gospel incorrectly.  

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(2)   Paul exhorted the Philippian church saints to think about ‘whatever is noble and pure’ (4:8).

 

When I think about the word “noble” and “pure” two Bible verses come to my mind:

 

(a)     The first Bible verse is Acts 17:11 – “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”  According to this Bible verse, the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians.  This means that the Bereans had more noble spirit than those in Thessalonica (Park Yun-sun).  Here the noble spirit refers to attitude of searching the Bible daily with zeal (Park Yun-sun).  Therefore, “the Bereans were of more noble character” means that they searched the Bible daily with zeal.  These Bereans with more noble character received the message with great eagerness (v. 11).  Here, the phrase “received the message with great eagerness” means the Bereans received the words of God ‘with all zeal’ (Park Yun-sun) or ‘with all volunteer’ (Yoo Sang-sup).  When Paul preached the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Bereans, they accepted the gospel with voluntary will.  In other words, the Bereans received God's Word (cf. 8:14, 11:1) (Yoo Sang-sup).  Just as the roots of the trees planted in the streams receive the water from the stream, the Bereans with noble character had the receptive capacity to the Word of God.  It’s like as if we press the sponge tightly and put it in a bucket of water.  Then the sponge will suck the water.  The Bereans had very receptive hearts toward the Word of God.  And they read the word diligently, learn it, and plant it in their hearts.  I hope and pray that we also have this receptive capacity to the Word of God.  Every time we read, study, and hear the God's Word, I hope and pray that we can suck it in spontaneously our hearts.  Another characteristic of the noble character was that they not only received the word of God well, but also they examined the Scripture every day to see if what Paul said was true (17:11).  The Bereans who listened to the Word of God through Paul examined his preaching through the Scripture whether what he said was true or not instead of just accepting it.  I think this is not easy.  In other words, it is not easy to have balance in listening to the Paul’s message receptively and examining the message whether it is true or not.  For example, if we only have receptive capacity to listen to a sermon, we may receive all sermon messages that may have the unbiblical messages. That is why we need to examine the sermon messages with the Scripture.  We should be capable to do so.  Then, how can we apply Acts 11:17 to Philippians 4:8 that says to think about whatever is noble?  We should seek the Word of God eagerly and receive the messages through His servants.  Also, we must cultivate the habit of examining the messages through the Scripture whether the messages are consistent with the Word of God recorded in the Bible. 

 

(b)     The second bible verse is James 1:27 – “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.”   According to this word, pure and undefiled religion is two: First “to visit orphans and widows in their distress and second, “to keep oneself unstained by the world.”  How can we apply these words in our lives?  When we think of anything that is pure, we should try to take care of orphans and widows who are in a difficult situation.  Also, we should keep ourselves unstained by this world.  We must do this work diligently not only for ourselves but also for the Lord’s church.  The reason is that the church has now become too secularized.  We should not become secularized, but become more and more personified with the Word of God.  We must think and think about this.  And we must firmly believe that we have already been cleaned from all sin by the precious blood of Jesus that was shed on the cross for us.  This reminds me the hymn “When I Saw the Cleansing Fountain”: “When I saw the cleansing fountain Open wide for all my sin, I obeyed the Spirit's wooing, When He said, Wilt thou be clean?  I will praise Him! I will praise Him!  Praise the Lamb for sinners slain; Give Him glory, all ye people, For His blood can wash away each stain.”  We, who believe in Jesus who died on the cross and resurrected from the grave, have already been sanctified in all sins.  We need to think about this again and again by faith.  And we must pursue purity and live a pure life.  In order to do so, we must cleanse our souls by obeying the God’s words of the truth (1 Pet. 1:22).  We must live the life of the holy saints.  The sure hope we must have is that when the Day Jesus comes back to this world, we will be transformed into a glorious holy spiritual body.  Look at 1 Corinthians 15:51-52: “Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.”  Look at Philippians 3:20-21: “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.”

 

(3)   Paul exhorted the Philippian church saints to think about ‘whatever is admirable, excellent and praiseworthy’ (4:8).

 

Here, the word ‘whatever is admirable" in Greek means "pleasing" or "amiable" (MacArthur).  And the implication of this word is that we the believers should be kind or gracious (MacArthur).  The word ‘whatever is excellent’ and ‘whatever is praiseworthy’ are similar and what Paul said to the Philippian church saints was that they should become the praised saints by doing things that people praise them.  When I apply this to our church, we are taught that our church should be a praised church.  In order to become that kind of church, we must do kindly moral good things (Park Yun-sun, MacArthur).  Our church can be the praised church when we do things virtuously to be praised by our church neighbors (Park Yun-sun).  When I think of this, I remember the words of Acts 2:47: “praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”  This refers to the Early Church.  In other words, the Bible says that the Early Church was praised by all the people.  What should our church do to become such a church?  We must become the Christians who are praise by all the people.  A good example of this is Timothy, Paul's spiritual son in Acts 16:2 – “The brothers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him.”  Jesus’ disciple Timothy was praised by his brethren at Lystra and Iconium because “a sincere faith” (1 Tim. 1:5).  Furthermore, I think he was praised and well-spoken of because he showed his true discipleship through his life.  If all of us can demonstrate Jesus' true discipleship through our lives like Timothy, then our church will be praised by all the people.  Like the Antioch church, the Christian church is a praised church filled with the true disciples of Jesus Christ (Acts 11:26).  When Barnabas systematically taught and thoroughly did the discipleship training for the great multitudes gathered in Antioch church for one year with Paul (v. 26, Yoo Sang-sup), the result was that the disciples of Antioch Church reached qualitatively maturing maturity and got the nickname "Christian" from non-believers.  It means the "followers of Christ."  How could they be so well-trained in discipleship and follow Christ so well that the non-Christians around them called them “Christians”, the followers of Christ'?

 

I hope and pray that our church can become a ‘Christian church’ like the Antioch church.  I pray that all of us receive Jesus in our hearts, imitate Him and boast Him.  Richard Foster said: "Perhaps the greatest ill of the church today is those who are members of the church but are not the disciples of Christ.  It affects the overall church life and is the reason for the low spiritual level of the local congregation.’  We shall never have a low spiritual level.  Rather, as Paul said in 1 Corinthians 11:1, we must become "imitators of Christ."  In doing so, our church will become a praised church.

 

Second and last, what did Paul exhort the Philippian church saints to put into practice?

 

Look at Philippians 4:9 – “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me--put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”  What did the Philippian church saints learn, hear, and see from Paul?  According to Dr. Park Yun-sun, after Paul exhorted the Philippian church saints to consider various virtues that he listed in Philippians 4:8 precious and evaluate them, and then in verse 9 he told them to put those virtues into practice (Park).  But when I thought about this question, I remembered the words from Acts 16:12.  The reason is that in Acts 16:12 and on, the story about the Philippians comes out when Paul visited there during his second mission journey.  So based on this Philippian story in Acts 16 and Philippians chapter 1 through 4:9, I thought about nine things that the Philippian church saints might learned, heard and saw from Paul:

 

(1)   What the Philippian church saints learned, heard, and saw from Paul was Paul’s life of prayer.

 

In Acts 16:13, Paul and his co-workers Silas and Timothy arrived at Philippi and went outside the city gate to the river to find a place of prayer.  They met Lydia among the women who were gathered there.  And God opened the Lydia’s heart to respond to Paul’s message and she believed in Jesus (v. 14).  Eventually, the members of her household came to believe in Jesus (v. 15).  Not only Lydia, but when we keep on looking at Acts 16, we see Paul and Silas were in prison.  And there was the jailer who probably heard them praying and singing (v. 25).  That jailer also believed in the Lord Jesus and his household as well (vv. 30-33).  Of course, this is a story before the Philippian church was found.  But what we can guess here is that when the Philippian church was later found, I think the Philippian church saints would have prayed as Paul did since they saw him praying to God.  One thing for sure was that the Philippian church saints knew that Paul was praying for them when they received this letter from Paul in prison (1:4, 9).  Paul also exhorted the Philippian church saints, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (4:6).  So I think we cannot deny that what the Philippian church saints learned, heard and saw from Paul was his life of prayer.

 

(2)     What the Philippian church saints learned, heard, and saw from Paul was Paul preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.

 

As we have already meditated through Acts 16, Lydia and the jailer, and their entire family, who lived in Philippi, were saved through Paul by hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ and by believing in Jesus.  I think this was how the Lord had built the Philippian church.  And the Philippian church saints had participated in the gospel “from the first day until now” (Phil. 1:5).  They defended and witnessed the gospel even when Paul was imprisoned (v. 7).  So Paul encouraged them to continue to do evangelistic witnesses, not only courageously (v. 14) but also with good will (v. 15) and pure motive (v. 17).

 

(3)     What the Philippian church saints learned, heard, and saw from Paul was Paul’s life of joy.

 

 I thought Paul’s life of joy in five ways:

 

(a)     The first one is Philippians 1:18 – “What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice.”  Paul rejoiced when he found out that there was the greater progress of the gospel even though he was in prison.  Paul, in such joy, exhorted the Philippian church saints, “Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord!” (3:1)  Therefore, he told them to rejoice because of the greater progress of the gospel (1:12).

 

(b)     The second one is Philippians 2:17-18: “But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all.  You too, I urge you, rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me.”  Paul encouraged the Philippian church saints to rejoice with him, as he said that he would rejoice even if he would martyr over the sacrifice and service of the faith of the Philippians.

 

(c)     The third one is Philippians 2:29 – “Receive him then in the Lord with all joy, and hold men like him in high regard.”  The reason why Paul told the Philippian church saints to receive Epaphroditus in the Lord with all joy and to hold men like him in high regard was “he came to death for the work of Christ” (v. 30).  We must also receive and admire such a person with all joy (v. 29, Scripture of the modern man).

 

(d)     The fourth one is Philippians 4:1 – “Therefore, my beloved brethren whom I long to see, my joy and crown, in this way stand firm in the Lord, my beloved.”  Paul told the Philippian church saints that they were "my joy".  I think Paul wanted them to learn, hear and see from him so that the Philippian church saints could also consider each other as “my joy”.

 

(e)     The fifth one is Philippians 4:10 – “But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity.”  Paul was greatly rejoiced in the Lord because he knew that the Philippian church saints were concerned for Paul and wanted to support him financially in Paul’s gospel preaching ministry.  So Paul wanted them to rejoice in the Lord like Paul since they learned, heard and saw Paul’s rejoicing in the Lord.

(4)     What the Philippian church saints learned, heard, and saw from Paul was Paul’s suffering because of those who opposed the gospel.

 

Look at Philippians 1:28-30: “without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved--and that by God.  For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.”  Since the Philippian church saints learned, heard and saw Paul suffering because of the gospel by those who opposed the gospel, they also went through the same struggle because of those who opposed them.  Paul encouraged them to continue to do so, exhorting them to consider the suffering they were receiving for Jesus and His gospel as the grace of God.

 

(5)     What the Philippian church saints learned, heard, and saw from Paul was Paul’s humility.

 

Look at Philippians 2:5 – “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.”  Paul was a humble man.  He served the Lord's church with humility.  A good example of this is the Ephesus church.  How can we know this?  We can know this by looking at Acts 20:19 when Paul sent out a man from Miletus for the elders of Ephesian church and preached to them the farewell sermon.  He said to them, “I served the Lord with great humility and with tears, although I was severely tested by the plots of the Jews.”  He told the Ephesian church elders that he served the Lord with great humility.  Not only Paul served the Ephesian church with great humility, I think he served all other churches, including the Philippian church, with great humility because he was the humble servant of the Lord.  And I think the Philippian church saints learned, heard and saw Paul’s great humility.  So Paul exhorted them to have the Jesus’ humility and served the church with great humility like him.

 

(6)     What the Philippian church saints learned, heard, and saw from Paul was him pressing on toward the goal to win the prize for which God had called him heavenward in Christ Jesus.

 

Look at Philippians 3:13-14: “Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.  But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”  Paul said to the Philippian church saints “one thing I do” and that one thing was “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (vv. 13-14).  One thing that Paul was clearly doing was running towards the goal.  Paul was running toward the goal, as if a runner was running and doing his best to finish the race while looking at the goal line.  Then what was the goal Paul was running toward?  It was "which Christ Jesus took home of me (him)” (v. 12), that was, “which God has called me (him) heavenward in Christ Jesus” (v. 14).  It is the Paul’s mission, his calling from the Lord.  The mission was externally witnessing the gospel of Jesus Christ (Acts 20:24), and internally it was living the worthy life of the gospel as he imitate Jesus Christ (Phil. 1:27).  Paul was laid hold of this by Christ Jesus.  So Paul wrote to the Philippian church saints and said that he was pressing on to fulfill his upward call of God in Christ Jesus (vv. 12, 14).  Since Paul wanted the Philippian church saints to learn, hear and see from him, he exhorted them to be laid hold of by Christ Jesus and to live a life of pressing toward the goal in fulfilling their mission.  

 

(7)     What the Philippian church saints learned, heard, and saw from Paul was living as those who have citizenship in heaven, waiting for the Lord’s return.

 

Look at Philippians 3:20 – “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.”  After Paul told the Philippian church saints to “join in following my (his) example” (v. 17), the example of Timothy and Epaphroditus and to observe those mature saints in the Philippian church, he told them about those who “are enemies of the cross of Christ’ (v. 18).  Paul then said that the citizenship of himself, and of Timothy, and of Epaphroditus and of the Philippian church saints, were in heaven (v.20).  The reason for this was that Paul was contrasting between those “enemies of the cross of Christ” (v. 18) “who set their minds on earthly things” (v. 19) with his co-workers and the Philippian church saints who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ and were saved by God’s grace.  I think the purpose of the Paul's contrast was to make the immature saints of the Philippian church not to imitate those enemies of the cross of Christ and not to set their minds on earthly things but to wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ to return because their citizenship was in heaven.  And then he explained to them why they were waiting for the Lord Jesus Christ to return like this: The Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, “who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.”  We are waiting for the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ because the Lord will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory (v. 21).  So Paul encouraged the Philippian church saints to live like the citizens of heaven, waiting for Jesus' return.

 

(8)   What the Philippian church saints learned, heard, and saw from Paul was Paul standing firm in the Lord.

               

Look at Philippians 4:1 – “Therefore, my beloved brethren whom I long to see, my joy and crown, in this way stand firm in the Lord, my beloved.”  I think there were two reasons why Paul exhorted so strongly to the Philippian church saints to stand firm in the Lord:

 

(a)     The first reason was the external one in which there were the Judaizers whom Paul referred to them as “the dogs  …  evil workers  …  the false circumcision” (3:2) who put their confidence in the flesh (v. 3).  Also, there were “enemies of the cross of Christ” (v. 18) “who set their minds on earthly things” and “whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame” (v. 19).

 

(b)     The second reason was the internal one in which there were “envy and strife” (1:15) within the Philippian church and some proclaimed Christ out of selfish ambition, “thinking to cause me (Paul) distress in my (his) imprisonment” (v. 17).  Also, there were people who did things “from selfishness or empty conceit” (2:3).  In other words, the Philippian church didn’t stand firm in the same mind and the same love (v. 2).  So Paul exhorted them “to live in harmony in the Lord” [“to agree with each other in the Lord’ (NIV)] as he specifically mentioned two women’s names Euodia and Syntyche (4;2).  And Paul exhorted all the Philippian church saints to stand firm in the Lord (v. 1).

 

Then what would the Philippian church saints have to do in order to stand firm in the Lord?

 

(a)     They should live in harmony in the Lord in order to stand firm in the Lord (4:2).

 

Look at Mark 3:25 – “If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.”  The church is same.  If the brothers and sisters in Christ in the church don’t agree with each other and don’t live in harmony in the Lord, then the church cannot stand firm.  Pastor John MacArthur said, ‘The sense of stability in spiritual life depends on the believers' love, harmony, and peace.’  In the Philippian church, there were two women, Euodia and Syntyche, who didn’t get alone well.  They didn’t get along well because they had different minds.  That was why Paul told them to live in harmony in the Lord (4:2).  And in order for them to live in harmony in the Lord, they needed the Lord Jesus’ heart (2:5).  

 

(b)     They should help each other in order to stand firm in the Lord (4:3).

 

Paul asked his “loyal yokefellow” to help Euodia and Syntyche who had contended at Paul’s side in the cause of the gospel (v. 3).  He asked his loyal yokefellow to help those two women to agree with each other in the Lord so that they could do the Lord’s work together in harmony.  In order for the Lord's church to stand firm in the Lord, we must help those who don’t agree with each other to work together in harmony in the Lord.

 

(9)     What the Philippian church saints learned, heard, and saw from Paul was his gentleness that was evident to all.

 

Look at Philippians 4:5 – “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.”  Here the word “gentleness” in Greek means ‘not claiming all rights of law or custom’ (BDAG) or ‘consideration’.  In the church, brothers and sisters must treat each other generously in order to stand firm in the Lord.  In particular, the church leaders shouldn’t argue with each other but be tolerant and treat each other gently.  But in the Philippian church two women, Euodia and Syntyche didn’t do it.  That was why Paul strongly exhorted those two women to live in harmony in the Lord.  What is needed is “the gentleness of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:1).  This gentleness of Christ is the wisdom that comes from heaven (Jam. 3:17).  The reason why Paul exhorted the Philippian church saints to “Let your gentleness be evident to all” was because “The Lord is near” (Phil. 4:5).  We must be gentle to each other so that our church can stand firm in the Lord.  We must treat each other generously with the perspective that the Lord’s return is near.  Furthermore, we should be generous to all people, not just our church members.

 

We must think.  What must we think?  First, we must think about whatever is true and right.  Second, we must think about whatever is noble and pure.  Third, we must think about whatever is admirable, excellent and praiseworthy.  Also, we must put what we learned, heard and saw into practice.  What should we put into practice?  First, we must pray to God.  Second, we must preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Third, we must rejoice in the Lord.  Fourth, we must suffer for Christ’s sake.  Fifth, we must humble ourselves.  Sixth, we must be loyal to our mission.  Seventh, we must live in waiting for Jesus' return.  Eighth, we must stand firm in the Lord.  Ninth, we must let our gentleness to be evident to all.