Philippians 4

1. Stay strong in the Lord my dear ones – I cannot wait to see you!

The reason Paul cannot wait to see them is because they are a joy and a crown to him. When we walk with somebody through the troubles of life, the Bible says we will receive a crown. Of course, we will throw these crowns at the feet of Jesus (Revelation 4:10). As you study God's word you will find more crowns that we can receive as we live for the Lord.

2. I beg Euodias and Syntyche to remember how hard they worked together with me in the ministry and to use that same kind of thinking towards each other.

Arguing usually shows that we think we have a right to have our own way. Anger leads to more anger and becomes a way of life. We are told to overcome anger before it gets out of control. (Ephesians 4:26) See also Proverbs 22:24, Ecclesiastes 7:9.

3. I am asking Syzygos to help these two women to return to the way they used to work together. Let Clement and my other friends keep working the same way, remembering their names are written in the Book of Life.

The words “faithful companion” can be translated as a person's name - Syzygos. Syzygos was asked to help settle an argument between these two women.

Syzygos lived up to his name –have you? Euodias (sweet fragrance) and Syntyche (fortunate) did not live up to their names.

Here we can see what kind of people have their names written in the Book of Life. This reminds us of how pure and clean the life in heaven is.

Revelation 21:27 says that nothing evil will be allowed to enter, nor anyone who practices shameful idolatry and dishonesty but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life.

4. I feel like saying it over and over! Do not worry about how I was arrested! Be full of joy in the Lord!

Paul uses the word "joy" or rejoice seventeen times in this letter. Even when we are confused, there is a secret joy inside that causes us to trust the Lord. Many experts think that joy is the main idea in the letter to the Philippians.

5. Let everybody see what big hearts you have! The Lord is coming back soon!

Let everybody see how patient and fair-minded you are and how careful you are when you speak.

Pick your battles. There are things worth dying for, but there are also things that are not as important. We need to give our brother the freedom to think about some things differently than we do.

The letter to the Romans shows us that as long as a brother is not doing something against God's word, then there are times when we need to mind our own business. If we cannot respond in love then we should be quiet and leave the issue in God's hands.

One person judges one day to be more important than another day. Someone else judges every day to be the same. Let each one be fully convinced in his own mind. Romans 14:5

“... seek to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business...” 1 Thessalonians 4:11

"In things essential, unity; in doubtful, liberty; in all things, charity." Thomas a Kempis

6. Do not allow your imagination to make you worry about anything! If there is a temptation to imagine fearful things -just tell Jesus about it! Ask Him to hear your prayer and to help you overcome these imaginations.

The words here mean that we should not be double-minded. When we worry we keep going back and forth in our minds, which leads to foolish imaginations. These same words are found in several other places in the Bible. For example, Jesus said that we should not spend time listening to imaginations about what will happen tomorrow (Matthew 6:34). Foolish imaginations come from thoughts which the devil tries to plant in our minds.

Foolish imaginations are the opposite of peace. These imaginations choke out (Jesus called them the worries of this world in Mark 4:19) the good words which God has given to us. When the hard times come, let us not listen to imaginations of things that might never happen, but let us thank God that in every situation that He will see us as worthy to suffer for His name. Acts 5:41

A wise Christian will take control of his thoughts. He will ask, “Is this really true? Or is it just an imagination?” 2 Corinthians 10:5

7. If you pray this way then God's peace will be as a guard over your hearts and your thoughts because of Jesus.

The Romans conquered most of the known world at that time. They called this the “peace of Rome” or “pax romana” which was a temporary pause in between wars. Jesus said He has given us the kind of peace that would never leave us. John 14:27

8. Here is how to get rid of worry and imaginations, ask yourself about the thoughts you are thinking:

Is this thought an imagination or a lie or is this REALLY true?

Is this something I would be ashamed for anybody to know that I am thinking?

Does this thought show Godly living?

Is this thought a mixture of the world's thoughts with God's thoughts?

Is this the kind of thought which attracts my heart to Jesus and which brings others closer to His heart?

Is this gossip? Is it building up or tearing down other people?

Does this thought show the character of Jesus Christ?

Does this thought bring praise, honor and glory to Jesus?

Stop every thought that comes into your mind (2 Corinthians 10:5) and ask:

Is this really true?

Is it honest?

Does it need to be said when I am asked for a report?

Is it fair?

Is it clean or mixed with something else?

Is it of the highest and most excellent that could be said?

9. Keep working at doing what you saw and heard and understood when I was teaching you. God will give you peace that passes understanding while you do this.

Those who follow the things that Paul taught will have a peaceful life.

“Great peace have they who love Your law...” Psalm 119:165

10. I was so happy when I got the gift you sent. I knew you were trying to find ways to help me and that there was no way for us to get in touch at first.

Paul knew that the Philippians were trying to find a way to help him ever since they heard he had been arrested. He is saying that now we can see how your plan has bloomed after you planted it!

11. I am not saying that I am feeling sorry for myself about being arrested, because I have learned not to rely on myself but on God.

Paul is saying that he is free from being controlled by circumstances. Being happy with what God has given you is your choice.

12. I have learned the secret of how to live when things are going well and what to do when things are not going well. I have lived in this way when I have plenty to eat as well as when I am hungry.

It seems like a mystery to us but this is a secret of how to live the Christian life.

This is what the book of Hebrews is talking about when it says there is a rest for the people of God (Hebrews 4:9).

This rest means that you have come to the place where whatever God wants to do with your life is fine with you. There were three young men who were about to be thrown into a fiery furnace they said, “It does not matter to us, because no matter what happens we will never bow down to the things of the world.” (Daniel 3:1718)

When we live this way, people will say, “I think I am seeing the Son of God walking in the fire with you!”

See John 3:30, Zechariah 4:6.

13. I am ready for anything when I face it in the strength of the One who gives me His power.

The Spirit of Christ inside us will enable us to do things (such as forgiving and blessing our enemies) that we think we can never do.

Corrie Ten Boom was captured by the Nazis and her sister died in the death camp. She became full of hate. She was not able to forgive them. After the war she was speaking in a church. One of her German guards came up to her and put out his hand. She could not bring herself to shake his hand. She asked God to help her and she watched her arm move by itself as it reached forward to shake his hand. God did for her what she could not do.

14. But even though God takes care of me – this time He used you to do it!

The word used here to describe their giving is related to the word for close fellowship with God in the Holy of Holies.

15. Do you know that you were the only church who helped me when I was in Macedonia?

We see the same word here used for close fellowship in their giving. We can find no record of other churches sending gifts to Paul. In 2 Thessalonians 3:8, we see that Paul got a job so that he would not have to accept money from the Thessalonians. We see the same idea in 1 Corinthians 9:15.

16. You sent help twice during the three weeks I was in Thessalonica.

The Philippians must have heard that things were not going so well in Thessalonica.

17. I am not saying this so that you will send me more gifts but because I am excited about how God is adding this to your account in heaven!

The words here could be said this way, “Your gift will be added to your testimony.”

18. So, in the same way the Greeks send a notice of “receipt-paid-in-full” I am now full because of your gift and this letter is my receipt.

Paul is using some Greek humor here as if his letter to them is a receipt in return for their gift.

Paul knows that their gift was a real sacrifice. This shows us the real meaning of a sacrifice. It has to come from the heart to have any meaning. See Hebrews 10:4.

19. I know that many of you put your money together to do this and it is a sweet sacrifice accepted by God.

If we seek His kingdom ways first, then God promises to give us everything we need but not everything we want. We can be confident, because if He did not do this then He would be a liar. See Matthew 6:32-33.

20. God is going to supply everything you need by using His supply of treasures that are in Jesus.

Our praise for specific things He has done adds to His glory. Praising God is not a constant repeating of, “Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.” True praise comes from thanking God for all that He has done for us and for all the things He means to us. Let there be glory to God forever for the things He has done!

21. Give our greeting to everybody in Philippi! All the brothers who are here with me wanted me to say, “Hello!” to you also.

Paul does not add a list of names as he does in other letters. He sends his greeting to every brother and sister, even the weak ones.

22. All the Christians in Rome send their greeting to you –especially the ones who live and work in Nero's palace!

In Romans 16 we see a list of names, many of which were connected to Caesar's Palace. It seems that Nero did not know that his demonic way of life was turning people away. The salt of the earth flavors everything that it touches.

23. May the Lord Jesus give you His grace and power in your spirit!

We sense things in our spirit more than we do in our minds. Our spirit speaks to our minds warning us and guiding us into all truth. Psalm 19:11