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The God of Peace Will Be With You
Tony Chute, Interim Pastor
Introduction: Paul concludes his letter to the Philippians with a series of brief exhortations that provide a timeless pattern of Christian behavior and expectation. He encourages them to stand firm in the Lord, to agree in the Lord, and to rejoice in the Lord. And yet, theirs is not a one-way partnership. The Lord promises peace to those who pray to Him; to be near those who walk with Him; to strengthen those who depend upon Him; and to supply the needs of those who contribute to His kingdom. Taken as a whole, the book of Philippians offers helpful reminders about partnering together for the gospel.
01. Partnering together for the gospel involves having the same goal in mind. Pastors and their congregation should place the advancement of the gospel above all other matters.
02. Partnering together for the gospel requires looking out for the interests of others. Pastors and their congregation should follow the example of Christ in all circumstances.
03. Partnering together for the gospel includes both justification and sanctification. Pastors and their congregation should rest in the work of Christ and live for the glory of Christ.
04. Partnering together for the gospel necessitates sacrifice and trust. Pastors and their congregation should be content with what they have and generous with what they give.
Questions For Discussion & Discovery
1. What temptations do you face with regard to standing firm in the Lord? Are you challenged at home or work regarding your faith? What encouragements do you find to keep standing firm? For help in this area, consider the significance of Paul’s language for the church in 1:7 and 4:1, and compare it with his language for those apart from Christ in 1:28, 3:2, and 3:19.
2. Do you wait until you worry to pray, or do you pray before you worry? How does giving thanks in our prayers help us overcome our anxieties? What attributes of God assure us that prayer is effective? For more encouragement in prayer, see Matthew 6:6-8, 7:7; 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18; Hebrews 4:16; 1 Peter 4:7; James 5:16; and 1 John 5:14.
3. Philippians 4:13 is often used as a verse of triumph, although in this context it refers to being content whether in abundance or in need. In what does Christ strengthen us in our weakness? How does our contentment in Christ prevent us from placing undue emphasis on our success?
4. Paul commends the Philippians for their ongoing support of his mission work in 4:14-16. How important is it for believers to give financially for mission work beyond that of the local church? Do you pray regularly for missionaries and the advancement of the gospel?
5. Paul’s reference to the saints in Caesar’s household in 4:22 indicates that a number of guards assigned to Paul became believers in the process, and leaves open the possibility that others did so as well. Are you aware of people who came to faith in Christ under unusual or unexpected circumstances?
For Further Reading: J. C. Ryle, Practical Religion: Being Plain Papers on the Daily Duties, Experience, Dangers, and Privileges of Professing Christians. First Published, 1878; Reprinted by The Banner of Truth Trust, 2015.