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The Lord Is At Hand

It’s with a mixture of joy and sadness that we begin Phillipians, chapter 4.  Joy in seeing a project nearing completion and sadness similar to seeing a child leave your home.

Paul begins wrapping things up as chapter 4 begins.  One of the things that is noticeable is Paul writes like he is having a conversation with his readers.  He continues to get personal with the Philippian church.  He knows them and they know him.

Paul begins the chapter with an exhortation.  Therefore, my brothers, who I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.  Paul builds up the Philipians.  He considers them family.  They bring him joy and they also stand out among churches he has founded.  He loves them and wants them to stand firm in the Lord regardless of what they face.

Unity is truly important to Paul.  He mentions it in several of his writings to churches.  I entreat Euodoia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord.  It appears that a couple of people are struggling with this.  Word has gotten back to Paul about this and he almost begs for them to “agree in the Lord.”  He’s not asking for simple agreement.  He’s asking them to do this in the Lord.  He not’s seeking unanimity.  He’s looking for unity.

Paul doesn’t simply leave this to his words to carry this out.  Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are int he book of life.  He seeks help in bringing these women together.  Evidently, they have worked together with Paul and others, but something has come between them.  Regardless, they are in the family of God and their names are written in the book of life.

Paul returns to a common theme throughout his letter.  Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.  Joy and rejoicing in the Lord is important to Paul.  Given the circumstances Paul is facing, and that of any believer at this time, remaining  joyful is a necessity.

Paul continues his exhortations.  Let your reasonableness be known to everyone.  A better way of saying this might be to say graciousness.  How people react to situations is an indicator of their relationship with the Lord.  Graciousness should be flow from the Holy Spirit to situations encountered.

Paul discloses his view of the Lord’s involvement in his, and the Philippians, lives.  The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  If the Lord is control of all situations, then there is no reason to be anxious.  Instead, life should be bathed in prayer, turning to the Lord.

What are the results of not being anxious?  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  The peace of God, with often doesn’t make sense, helps guard your hearts and minds.

The heart of this passage is that the Lord is at hand.  Ultimately, He is in control.  If that is so, then we should be unified without any anxiety and seek Him in prayer.

Categories: Christianity, Faith
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