Author: Ron Graham
This lesson is based on Philippians 4:1-9 Paul longed that his beloved brethren "stand fast in the Lord" (Philippians 4:1), and that "the peace of God" and "the God of peace" might be with them all (Philippians 1:2, 4:7,9). He tells them how they might achieve this blessed state...
Paul thinks of the Philippians (and wants them to think of each other) as "true comrades" who have something in common that trancends all petty differences. All their "names are written in the book of life" (Philippians 4:3). Therefore they should "be of the same mind" (Philippians 4:2), and "rejoice in the Lord always" (Philippians 4:4). Notice how Paul urges, implores, and emphasises these feelings in the family of God. If we don't have solidarity with each other, we cannot stand fast as peace fighters against our enemy. Nor can we individually have peace of mind unless we are at peace with one another.
Illustration. An orchestra is made up of very different people, playing very different instruments producing very different notes, yet working together they harmonise and keep in time, making beautiful music. Each musician enjoys the music, because the whole orchestra is in together in rythym and harmony.
"Be anxious for nothing" (Philippians 4:6). Anxiety creates tension, and tension creates agression, and agression creates conflict, and when people see conflict, they lose faith. Free of anxiety, we can let our "gentleness be known to all men" (Philippians 4:5). Anxiety vanishes when we trust that "The Lord is near" (Philippians 4:5), and we let our "requests be made known to God" (Philippians 4:6)
"Prayer and supplication with thanksgiving" (Philippians 4:6) is the secret of freedom from anxiety. "Oh what peace we often forfeit... all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer!" Both in casting our burden on the Lord through supplication, and through counting our blessings in thanksgiving, we find "the peace of God", which guards our hearts and minds from the anxiety that threatens our stand and our joy (Philippians 4:7).
It is not hard to find things true, noble, just, pure,lovely, reputable, virtuous, and praiseworthy to dwell upon (Philippians 4:8). The trick is to keep our minds on these uplifting things, and not to be distracted by the bawling of the world. Right thinking is realistic thinking, and the reality is that God is in control and evil doesn't have the upper hand. Thinking based on that fact breeds boldness in standing for the Lord, and cheerfulness on the pilgrimage through life.
These teachings have been "learned" by revelation from the Lord, "received" by the church because they were confirmed through miracles, "heard" in the ministry of those who labour among us, and "seen" in the fine example set by those who obey the voice of Jesus (Philippians 4:9).
However, there is more to it than that. "Do these things" as well (Philippians 4:9). In the doing, there is discipline, and in the discipline there is strengthening, and in the strengthening there is salvation. Don't let anyone tell you that we are saved without works (in the sense of not needing to do works). If we would stand fast in Jesus and have his peace, we must not only receive his words, but get busy obeying, and "these things do".
In the light of what we study in this lesson, let us promote harmony, confidence, constructive thinking, and good works among ourselves.
In this way and with God's help, we will be strong in our Lord, joyful in life, sure of salvation, and God's peace will be ours abundantly.
It's NOT too good to be true.