Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Strong Finish #3: Life Guide Text: Philippians 4:4-9

Strong Finish #3: Life Guide
Text: Philippians 4:4-9

Here's a little song I wrote
You might want to sing it note for note
Don't worry, be happy
In every life we have some trouble
But when you worry you make it double
Don't worry, be happy

Ain't got no place to lay your head
Somebody came and took your bed
Don't worry, be happy
The landlord say your rent is late
He may have to litigate
Don't worry, be happy

I admit I like that song, in fact that song is my ring tone for people I don’t know. Doesn’t matter who or what unknown thing is on the other end of that call, first thing I hear is “Don’t Worry, be happy.”

Philippians 4 says, Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Be careful for nothing; In modern parlance you know how you could word that? That’s right, you’re already there. Don’t worry, be happy always and again I say be happy.  And though they might share the same sentiment, there is a major difference between what Bobby McFerrin was saying and what Paul was saying. The difference is how, Bobby McFerrin’s song tell me to be happy but other than tapping my feet to the tune give me no hope of how but Paul in his epistle to the Philippians tell me exactly how I can be happy and its not just a empty phrase, if you’re a child of God its real.

Directions for Daily Living Philippians 4:4-7

Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.  Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.  Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Paul give 4 Actions For Daily Living

1. Rejoice in the Lord
Chairo χαίρω:  was the common word for greeting and for farewell. It means to have joy, be happy.
Paul uses always after chairo to make the Philippines reflect upon what was really being stated. Rejoice, always.

He repeats it twice.  Perhaps because there was a need in the church, difficulty, troubles or even division that is referred to in verse 2, between two women in the church Euodia and Syntyche, (its always the women isn’t it?) He is telling them that rejoicing was not dependent on their circumstances but was possible in any circumstances because of their Lord. Rejoice In The Lord. It is not just an empty sentiment like a pop song it is the true happiness we find in knowing Jesus.

2. Let your Moderation be well known  (Reasonableness)
Readiness to listen to reason, a yieldedness that does not retaliate. This should be a major characteristic that everyone who know you, knows about you.

Paul gives a reason why this action was imperative. He says because the Lord is at hand. This phrase was the watchword of the early church, it came from an Aramaic word, Mar an atha. It was meant to be their overriding, overreaching motiveation for all they did. “Remember, they would tell each other, it going to be all right, the Lord is at hand.” Jesus is coming back. Maranatha!

So they should react and discuss and present the Gospel, not with strident, overbearing actions but a reasonable sweetness in order to reach all they can because Maranatha, Jesus is coming back.

3. Be Careful for nothing instead pray. (Don't be worried about anything.)
We would say don't be worried about anything.

George Muller, who literally prayed six orphanages into existence in England at a time when children were being abandoned on the streets of London to die or survive by becoming criminals and victims of criminals said, "To care is a virtue, but to foster cares is a sin."

Paul says, the cure to worry was prayer and he is very specific he gives 3 kinds.
1, Prayer, communication with God.
2, Supplication, asking of God
3, Thanksgiving, thanks being returned to God for what He has done.

When I come into the presence of God, asking of Him who supplies all my need and thanking Him for what He has already given and what he will give, then worry is driven out of my life by the power of God that I experience in prayer.

Result, The peace of God shall keep your heart and minds. This is the tranquility of spirit which only God can give. And we achieve this amazing result, peace will keep my heart.  This means peace will guard my heart like a sentinel. Peace will stand guard against those things which would have created worry, fear and turmoil, but the Peace of God stands outside my heart and refuses to let them have entrance. Isn’t that a powerful promise to a child of God?

Now we know how we can be happy and not be anxious, Paul has given us the directions for daily living that can bring us through any difficulty and we truly can find joy, happiness and hope no matter the circumstances of our life.

Illustration: Once when I was in Bible college, after a worship service in a nursing home. I went by and visited some of the folks in their rooms. I remember finding a very frail woman whose hands were tied to her bed, her body was just skin stretched over her bones and I remember thinking how terrible her life must be. I started to pass by because she was not really aware of anyone around her, but as I got passed the room I heard her saying or mumbling something, so I went in to ask if I could do anything. As I got closer and bent down to hear what she was saying I realized it was a song and I recognized it. “Jesus love me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”  In the middle of such a hard life, she clung to the one thing that could give her hope and happiness, the reality of her saviour’s love.

Next Paul goes even further and besides giving directions for daily living he tells them here are some….

Themes for Thinking Philippians 4:8

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.

Paul gives theme to govern our thought life.  (Whatsoever a man thinks so is he.)

1. Whatsoever things are true. (Real)
2. Whatsoever things are honest. (worthy of reverence & honor)
3. Whatsoever things are just. (right)
4. Whatsoever things are pure. (Unmixed with sin and worldliness)
5. Whatsoever things are lovely.(that which inspires love)
6. Whatsoever things are of good report. (Has the ring of goodness)
7. If there be any virtue. (conditional on excellence being found.)
8. If there be any praise.(Conditional on being praiseworthy)
9. Think on these things.  (Take account of, Fix your minds on these things. Same word used in Romans 6:11 logizamai, Reckon.)

The Gauge of My Mind.

If these 8 words could form a type of filter for my thought life, how much would my outward life change?

If we could just hold it as a sieve to the channels of influence and communication into my mind.
1. The channel of my eyes. (Printed and visual influences, books, magazines papers.)
2. The channel of my ears.(Audio influences,  music, preachers, teachers)
3. The channel of my relationships.(Personal influences,  Parents, Friends, & Enemies.)

Matthew 6:22-23 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!
When I filter my thought life according to Paul’s guidelines, when I focus my eye as Jesus said, on good, it has two effects.

It blocks and prevents influences that are evil and wrong, but then it also finds the good, concentrates and separates it from the influences that are mixed.
Is that possible?  Not only is it possible but it is imperative.

This world around us is just such a mixture, people, churches, Baptists, other denominations, music, art, careers and just about everything else is a mixture of good and bad.  Paul is telling us separate the good from the bad, turn away from what you can and then separate what you can’t by the filter he gives.

Illustration:  Jesus talks to the Seven churches of Asia. 
Of the seven only two were without criticism, Only one was without any praise and the rest were all a mixture of good and bad,  heavenly goals mixed with earthly one.  One of the purposes of the letter to the churches was to filter out the bad and retain the good.

Paul used his training in Greek language, history, and logic to be the best most productive apostle and missionary the world has ever seen yet it was a pagan culture he took it from.  Even on Mars Hill in the center of pagan Athens, he could find good in the idol to the unknown god separate it from the wrong and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. That is what we must do every day.

Transition:  As I think on these things, positively the way Paul exhorted, I take the next step, letting the things on the inside shape and mold my actions on the outside now for others to model and imitate.

Ideals for Imitating Philippines 4:9

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.

Paul Is Model and Mentor

Finally, Paul says look at the example that I have been and he gives 4 areas of imitation and modeling.

1. Those things which you have learned  (Things which Paul had taught them personally.)
2. Things which you have received . (Those things that Paul had written to them personally.)
3. Things which you have heard.  (Which others reliable sources had told about Paul.)
4. Things which you have seen.  (Things that were not formally taught but observed in the life of Paul.)

5. Then Do.  (Do those things. Make them a practice in your life.) No such thing as a good habit.  Bad habits are natural, but any habit that is good is really a discipline.

Four Areas to Follow and Then be an example

Learn and then teach others
Read and Then Write
Live A Life That Others Can Attest to
Live So That Your Life Itself Is a Lesson

Am I modeling myself after those who model themselves after Jesus? Am I doing what I have learned, been given, heard and seen in those men and women that God has place in my life to be an example in following Him?

We should all have personal heroes in the faith? Mine was first my Mother, and was my Grandfather. As I got older it was my pastors as I grew up. Then I had my uncles who were Baptist pastors and I had teachers at Bible College. Today it is my Christian friends and fellow pastors. Many of you in this congregation are people I look to as examples to follow.

The second application that need to be made is to ask, “Am I a model for others?” Who are you mentoring? Who is looking up to you?  Some that you are aware of others that you don't even know. Your children are certainly modeling you and learning from you if when you are not aware of it. We also have other relatives, other friends, other acquaintances that God has place in your life that you might be an example to. In this I don’t believe anybody you meet is outside the providence of God making that meeting happen so that you can influence them toward God.
Paul understands this was one of the great calling of the Christian life, one of our great duties that is always uppermost in our actions.  

2 Timothy 2:2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also

This is the pattern of Christianity, Jesus taught his disciples, they taught theirs and on it has gone until that same task has come down to us still today. We must live our life so that everything we do, our very life itself is a lesson to anyone who we teach or anyone who is just observing.

Conclusion: Review of An Apostles Advice to Christians.

In your daily life, 4 actions
Rejoice always 
Be reasonable, because Jesus is returning.
Don't worry but pray.
Remember, God's peace will guard your heart.

In your thought life 8 words to guide
True, honest, just, pure, lovely, good report, virtue, praise.
Let your mind be fixed on those things.

In your life as an example, 4 areas to follow and then be
Things learned then taught, Things received then given, Things heard about the life we live, Things seen in the life we live.

Learn the lessons from God's examples to us and then live those lessons for others to learn from us.

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