Text: Philippians 4:5-9
Philippians 4:5 “Let your moderation be known unto all men.”
Moderation is: ‘Restraint of violent passions or indulgence of appetite. Eat and drink with moderation; indulge with moderation in pleasures and exercise. Calmness of mind…Evenness of mind; that calm temper or firmness of mind which is not easily elated or depressed, which sustains prosperity without excessive joy, and adversity without violent agitation of the passions or depression of spirits.’ (1828 Noah Webster)
Moderation is another word for “temperance,” which is a “fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-23). Therefore, a believer who is filled with the Spirit of God will exhibit moderation in a godly manner.
Moderation is the opposite of excess. Before salvation, most of us lived in some sort of excess. But now, after we have received the Holy Ghost, and God has begun to work in us, “both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13), we are commanded to separate ourselves from those who live in excess (1Peter 4:1-4).
Philippians 4:5 “…The Lord is at hand.”
Near in time — The first time the words “at hand” are found in the scripture is where “Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob” (Genesis 27:41). In this place, “at hand” refers to an event very near and soon to take place in time. The prophets wrote of the day of the LORD and said: “Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty” (Isaiah 13:6); and: “Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand” (Joel 2:1).
Near in space — “At hand” may also refer to something that is physically present and immediately available for help or use: “And the servant answered Saul again, and said, Behold, I have here at hand the fourth part of a shekel of silver: that will I give to the man of God, to tell us our way” (1 Samuel 9:8). Saul’s servant was in possession of some silver that he was willing to give to the man of God. The LORD also is at hand to help his people. He asked: “Am I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off?” (Jeremiah 23:23). The psalmist answers: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1); and: “The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth” (Psalm 145:18). At his first coming, Jesus said, “…Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17).
CAST AWAY ALL CARE
Philippians 4:6 “Be careful for nothing.”
Definition — Careful means, ‘Full of care; anxious’ (1828 Noah Webster), to worry.
The blessings of obedience — Believers who are “obedient to the faith” (Acts 6:7), who know what to do with their cares in “this present evil world” (Galatians 1:4), are greatly blessed and helped by the LORD. The LORD declared through his prophet Jeremiah: “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit” (Jeremiah 17:7-8).
Cast all care upon the LORD — To cast means: ‘To throw, fling or send; that is, to drive from, by force, as from the hand…’ (1828 Noah Webster). Believers are commanded: “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you” (1Peter 5:6-7).
Great response of faith — Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego demonstrated obedience to this command. When all the people were commanded to fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up, these three men would not obey the king’s command. After being threatened that they would be cast into a fiery furnace, they “answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up” (Daniel 3:13-18).
They did not fear “them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul, but rather [they feared God] …which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28).
May we as Christians be given such faith and resolve to bring glory to God in every situation and circumstance! According to reliable groups, such as Voice of the Martyrs, approximately seventy million “Christians” have faced torture and death in the past two thousand years since the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Forty-five million of these were martyred during the twentieth century. At the present time, approximately one hundred and seventy-one thousand believers are martyred each year, which amounts to about one death every five minutes! Many of these were not as resolved and assured and “not careful” as were the three Hebrew children. Nevertheless, God does give special grace for such situations.
The Lord Jesus taught his disciples, “…Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? ….Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought [be not careful] for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” (Matthew 6:24-34; Luke 21:34-36).
For the word of God to be fruitful in our lives, we must cast our cares upon the LORD because “…the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful” (Mark 4:19).
PRAYER REQUEST TO GOD
Philippians 4:6 “…but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”
Prayer and supplication — Our prayer is communication with God. All believers are commanded: “Pray without ceasing” (1Thessalonians 5:17). Noah Webster defines supplication as: ‘Entreaty; humble and earnest prayer in worship.’
With thanksgiving — When we let our requests be made known unto God, we are to pray “with thanksgiving.” Every born-again believer, who trusts in the word of God, has much for which to be thankful! He has passed from death unto life (John 5:24). He has everlasting life (John 6:47). The Lord has promised that he will never leave or forsake him (Hebrews 13:5). He has been delivered from the power of darkness and has been translated into the kingdom of God’s dear Son (Colossians 1:13). He has a place reserved in heaven for him (1Peter 1:3-5). He has escaped the damnation of hell (Matthew 23:33), and he is “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13)!
Come to the throne of grace — Believers are commanded: “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:14-16).
We, who have been “born of the Spirit” (John 3:8), are commanded: “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (1Peter 2:2). And as we “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2Peter 3:18), we learn to walk “after the Spirit” (Romans 8:1-4). And when we sin – “For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not” (Ecclesiastes 7:20), we have God’s gracious promise: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1John 1:9).
The apostle John commanded: “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins [the acceptable offering that brought peace between God and men]: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1John 2:1-2).
The Son of God — God commands his saints, “…that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate [one who pleads the cause of another in a court] with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1John 2:1). “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost [to the most extreme degree: fully] that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25). “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us” (Romans 8:34).
The Spirit of God — “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:26-27).
The saints of God — Believers are commanded to intercede: “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men” (1Timothy 2:1).
Great expectation — My soul waits “…only upon God; for my expectation is from him” (Psalm 62:5). Therefore my “…expectation shall not be cut off” (Proverbs 23:18; 24:14). I look forward to the day when I will be delivered from the very presence of sin! Therefore, I pray, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20)! In the meantime, we are commanded: “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds” (Hebrews 12:1-3).
Every believer is engaged in warfare, “…not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12). Paul commanded Timothy: “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier” (2Timothy 2:3-4). We should continue to fight “the good fight of faith” (1Timothy 6:12) until our death or until we are changed (1Corinthians 15:51-53) at “the resurrection of the just” (Luke 14:14). Only when we are delivered from “the body of this death” (Romans 7:24) will we be delivered from the very presence of sin!
PEACE OF GOD
Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
The peace of Jesus — Before he ascended back into heaven, the Lord Jesus told his apostles, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).
Let his peace rule in your heart — Born-again believers are commanded, “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful” (Colossians 3:14-15).
God’s words are spirit — Jesus said, “…the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63). Therefore, when Colossians 3:16 is compared with Ephesians 5:18-21, we understand that letting “the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom” (Colossians 3:16) and being “filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18) both produce believers who will speak to themselves, “teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs” (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16). They will also sing with grace and make melody in their hearts to the Lord.
Live after the Spirit — The Lord Jesus told his three disciples in the garden of Gethsemane: “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41). Paul wrote to the Galatians: “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would” (Galatians 5:16-17).
The righteousness of the law will only “be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit” (Romans 8:1-5, 9). “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live” (Romans 8:13). Peter admonishes the believers: “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently” (1Peter 1:22-23).
Believers “are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh” (Philippians 3:3). “For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting” (Galatians 6:8). “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2Corinthians 7:1).
PEACE WITH GOD
Christ Jesus is our peace — All Gentiles “were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
For he is our peace, who hath made both [Jews and Gentiles] one [in his “body, the church” (Colossians 1:18)], and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity [that which caused them to be enemies of God], even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain [Jews and Gentiles] one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body [the church] by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off [Gentiles], and to them that were nigh [Jews]. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father” (Ephesians 2:11-18).
Delivered from wrath — All men, Jews and Gentiles alike, began as unbelieving and condemned men: “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God…. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:18, 36).
Only born-again believers, who have been justified by faith, “…have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:1-2). While we remain in these vile bodies (Philippians 3:21), “all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26) are commanded to “…wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come” (1Thessalonians 1:10).
Great and perfect peace—The word of God declares: “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them” (Psalm 119:165); and promises: “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee” (Isaiah 26:3). All believers have “peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1)” who “by himself purged our sins…” (Hebrews 1:3). Nevertheless, when a believer is walking after the flesh in sin, he will not enjoy God’s great peace. We believers will only experience and enjoy the “peace of God” when we ourselves are walking in the light of God’s word in fellowship with him (Psalm 119:130; 1John 1:6-7).
By the word of God, we understand that all believers have “peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1), but the “peace of God” (Colossians 3:15) is only given to those believers who walk in obedience to God’s commands. Therefore “…be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves” (James 1:22; 1John 5:2).
THINK ON THESE THINGS
Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true…”
The word of God — “Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever” (Psalm 119:160). Therefore, Jesus said “to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32). It is the truth of God’s word that makes men free! There is nothing better in the world to think on! According to the word of God, I look forward to living for ever with the Lord in my new body (Revelation 21:5; 1Thessalonians 4:16-17).
Philippians 4:8 “…whatsoever things are honest…”
To be honest is to be upright and just. An honest man will walk in good works, which are taught in God’s word: “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation” (1Peter 2:11-12).
Philippians 4:8 “…whatsoever things are just…”
Things that are just are defined in the word of God: “The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17); and “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). The Lord Jesus Christ, who is the “Just One” (Acts 7:52; 22:14), is our perfect example. All things that he does are just: “He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he” (Deuteronomy 32:4). The redeemed saints in heaven will “…sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints” (Revelation 15:3).
Philippians 4:8 “…whatsoever things are pure…”
Pure words — The word of God defines the things that are pure, for “The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever” (Psalm 12:6-7). Solomon proclaimed: “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him” (Proverbs 30:5). The psalmist David declared: “Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it” (Psalm 119:140; Proverbs 15:26).
Philippians 4:8 “…whatsoever things are lovely…”
Speaking of her “beloved,” a reference to Jesus Christ, the woman, who represents the church, proclaimed: “yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem” (Song 5:16). The Lord Jesus is “without blemish and without spot” (1Peter 1:19). He is “without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). To us who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, “he is precious…” (1Peter 2:7). The Lord Jesus told the Jews: “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me” (John 5:39).
Our glorious expectation — The apostle John declared to “all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26): “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (1John 3:2).
Things of GOOD REPORT:
Philippians 4:8 “…whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
By far, the greatest “good report” of the scriptures for sinners is “the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24; Isaiah 53; Romans 10:9-16), “how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (1Corinthians 15:3-4). This gospel of Christ “is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16). The “word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you” (1Peter 1:25).
Virtue is exhibited by one who is walking in righteousness because of a sincere love for God, which results in an obedience to God’s word. You will become and do whatever you are allowing to saturate into your mind: whatever you are making your example. The proverbs says: “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:6-7). What you put into your mind through your eyes and ears will affect your heart! “Wisdom [found in the scriptures] is before him that hath understanding; but the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth [through advanced technology]” (Proverbs 17:24).
While many have used the technology of radio, television, movies, and the internet to proclaim the truth of the gospel, Satan has used these devices to absolutely ruin the minds of many. Speaking of the nation of Israel, the LORD exclaimed: “O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!” (Deuteronomy 5:29).
Are you a son of God? Then you would do well to take the following words of God personally: “My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee. Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil” (Proverbs 4:20-27).
DO these things:
Philippians 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.”
Continue in the word — Moses commanded the children of Israel, “Therefore thou shalt love the LORD thy God, and keep his charge, and his statutes, and his judgments, and his commandments, alway” (Deuteronomy 11:1; 5:29). Jesus commanded his eleven apostles, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). Jesus also told the “Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed” (John 8:31).
The apostle Paul told the brethren in Christ at Colosse, the Lord will “present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven…” (Colossians 1:21-23; Acts 14:22; 1Timothy 4:16). The apostle John wrote: “Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father” (1John 2:24). James commanded: “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves” (James 1:22).
Walk in his easy yoke — The Lord Jesus says, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). When “we walk in the light” (1John 1:7) of the LORD’S words (Psalm 119:130), we will walk in agreement and enjoy fellowship with the Lord (Amos 3:3; 1John 1:7) “as seeing him who is invisible” (Hebrews 11:27). Then we can declare with Paul: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13). Then we will be “more than conquerors through him that loved us” (Romans 8:37). Being “born of God,” we can overcome the world (1John 5:1-4), “for we walk by faith, not by sight” (2Corinthians 5:7).
Yokes to avoid — Believers are commanded: “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” (2Corinthians 6:14; Ephesians 5:11; 1John 1:5; 1Corinthians 10:20). The so-called iron yoke of all worldly enemies is a grievous yoke of destruction (Deuteronomy 28:48; 1Kings 12:4).
The yoke of Moses’ law — In the early days of the church, certain men said, “That it was needful to circumcise them [the believing Gentiles], and to command them to keep the law of Moses” (Acts 15:5). But Peter rose up and said that God put no difference between the Jews and the Gentiles, “purifying their hearts by faith. Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they” (Acts 15:1-11). In perfect agreement, Paul wrote: “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage [the law of Moses]” (Galatians 5:1).
FINAL WORD TO UNBELIEVERS
The Lord promises every unbeliever, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Romans 10:9).
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).