PHILIPPIANS-SERIES NR 13
Philippians 4 : 2 – 9
Theme : Six great attributes
Of all the members of the church in Philippi, the Apostle mentions only 4 by name in his letter, namely Epaphroditus, Euodia, Syntyche and Clement.
Euodia and Clement were two ladies. They were Paul’s spiritual fellow workers. Together they contended for the cause of the Kingdom. And he admonishes them very seriously to be like-minded. This does not mean to be in agreement about everything (that is not humanly possible, nor is it necessary) but to be like-minded concerning the Gospel-message – AS the APOSTLES preached and explained it – with no deviation from it.
Visible unity is important because God the Father included all believers in Christ, and is therefore part of ONE body.
That is why believers – even though they differ about many issues – must think ALIKE when it is concerned with the Lord Jesus Christ and the basic truth of the Gospel.
Their PRIORITIES must be the same. It must be Christ’s priority! Believers’ priorities must be Christ’s. That is what preserves unity. The one will then regard the other as higher than himself, and everything loss for the sake of the Gospel-message.
And the Apostle is very earnest about this. The manner in which he admonishes them is very serious. It is not a trifling matter. He is severe with them.
He does not doubt the fact that they are truly children of the Lord. That they are true believers. Look at the wonderful thing he is saying: Their names ARE in the book of life! He is absolutely sure that their names are written in the Book of Life!
There is so much one can say about that.
Firstly, Scripture says in Rev 13:8/17:8 that the believer’s name is written in the Book of Life since the creation of the world. The Lord does not wait to see who comes to faith in 2018 and then quickly records that person’s name in the Book! No, the name is written in there since before the creation and that is why the person comes to faith! We come to faith and repentance BECAUSE our names are written in the Book! How exactly that works we will not understand in this life. But it shows us that the new life of the sinner is from A-Z the work of GOD! His grace, His decision, His choice, His election, His initiative, His work. Luke 18 says: “What is impossible with man is possible with God”.
Secondly: Look at the confidence with which the Apostle is speaking: Their names are in the Book! Not a grain of doubt. Yes, one CAN know with certainty that you are absolutely saved and redeemed! And you can be sure of it about someone else too! Not only can you be sure that your name is in the Book of Life, you can know that someone else’s name is in the Book also! Paul was absolutely sure that these two women’s names are in the Book!
It is only the true Christian Faith that offers this security to hell-deserving sinners! The very best news there is! Now/today already 100% sure of my eternal future! And it is not wishful thinking. It is certain! That is the good news of Christmas!
In closing the Apostle mentions SIX definite attributes that is true of all true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ! He states it as instructions/commands. Every believer MUST have it, because it is already deposited into every believer’s spiritual bank account! It is not something we must strive for still to attain! It is something which the Lord has already given us. That is why we must live out of that! We must do it in practice! Can you hear the difference?
Imagine the following: A mother pays R2000 into her child’s bank account, sms the deposit slip to her with the following words: Go and buy yourself some shoes.
When the child sees the deposit slip, the buying of the shoes is really very simple. She does it out of the amount that has already been deposited! The following 6 attributes are already deposited into every true believer’s spiritual bank account, therefore the believer must live out of it.
FIRST: JOY: Paul is sitting in prison, but he is overflowing with joy. It is a supernatural, inner joy caused by the Holy Spirit and which is not dependent on circumstances or emotions.
SECOND: COMPLIANCE: To not always think of yourself first, but to put others ahead of yourself. Compliant. The first impulse of the fallen sinful nature is always to put the SELF first. But our inclusion in Christ and the Holy Spirit who now is controlling our life, turns it around! Compliance is fruit of the Spirit.
THIRD: An awareness that the Lord is always near : His invisible presence. It is an awareness we must consciously develop. It is not something that comes by itself, because mostly we cannot feel or experience His nearness. It is a FAITH-reality. That means: He promises His presence to us and we must trust Him for that even if we feel/see nothing.
FOURTH: SURRENDER ANXIETY: Anxiety is not the Lord’s will for His children. And as we all know, it is exactly the thing which causes the most concern. Anxiety. Worry.
According to 1 Pet 5, He takes care of us in any case, even if we do NOT cast all our cares upon Him! It is exactly the reason why we MUST cast our cares upon Him. Peter’s words agrees with what Paul is saying. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God”.
He does not care for us when we hand over our anxiety. He cares for us in any case, therefore we may/must surrender it to Him.
And as we surrender our cares to Him, His peace takes possession of our heart. His peace as it were takes guard over our inner person as a referee keeps guard over a game.
When the peace is absent, it is almost like a referee who blows his whistle to call the teams to order. The absence of peace is like a red light that brings us to a standstill and say: “You have too many cares in your heart. Come, make it known to the Lord”. And then peace will reign once more! Wonderful!
FIFTH: Take note of what is in your thoughts: What you think, is what you are. The things that are in our thoughts, make or break us. It is essential to continuously monitor what is in your mind.
The things which come from the Spirit, and that He produces are: Whatever is true, honourable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, praiseworthy. One can write these words down on a piece of paper and monitor yourself. IS WHAT I AM THINKING ….. true… honourable… etc. And where it is not : STOP! Clean up, repent, walk away from it…
SIX: Obey the Apostolic Word and example: “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from ME…”
The word and example of the APOSTLES is what is written in the NT (prophets = OT). We will find it nowhere else. We do not live according to what we think/feel/inner impressions. We live by reading and studying the Bible. That is how the Spirit leads us, that and nothing else.
These are really SIX attributes that one can write down and keep in a place where you can read it regularly. Not to strive for, but to live out of.
Translated by Marthie Wilson