Philippians 4* The apostle exhorts the Philippians to stand fast in the Lord.(1) Gives directions to some, and to all in general. (2-9)Expresses contentment in every condition of life. (10-19) Heconcludes with prayer to God the Father, and his usual blessing.(20-23)1 The believing hope and prospect of eternal life, should makeus steady and constant in our Christian course. There isdifference of gifts and graces, yet, being renewed by the sameSpirit, we are brethren. To stand fast in the Lord, is to standfast in his strength, and by his grace. 2-9 Let believers be of one mind, and ready to help each other.As the apostle had found the benefit of their assistance, heknew how comfortable it would be to his fellow-labourers to havethe help of others. Let us seek to give assurance that our namesare written in the book of life. Joy in God is of greatconsequence in the Christian life; and Christians need to beagain and again called to it. It more than outweighs all causesfor sorrow. Let their enemies perceive how moderate they were asto outward things, and how composedly they suffered loss andhardships. The day of judgment will soon arrive, with fullredemption to believers, and destruction to ungodly men. Thereis a care of diligence which is our duty, and agrees with a wiseforecast and due concern; but there is a care of fear anddistrust, which is sin and folly, and only perplexes anddistracts the mind. As a remedy against perplexing care,constant prayer is recommended. Not only stated times forprayer, but in every thing by prayer. We must join thanksgivingswith prayers and supplications; not only seek supplies of good,but own the mercies we have received. God needs not to be toldour wants or desires; he knows them better than we do; but hewill have us show that we value the mercy, and feel ourdependence on him. The peace of God, the comfortable sense ofbeing reconciled to God, and having a part in his favour, andthe hope of the heavenly blessedness, are a greater good thancan be fully expressed. This peace will keep our hearts andminds through Christ Jesus; it will keep us from sinning undertroubles, and from sinking under them; keep us calm and withinward satisfaction. Believers are to get and to keep a goodname; a name for good things with God and good men. We shouldwalk in all the ways of virtue, and abide therein; then, whetherour praise is of men or not, it will be of God. The apostle isfor an example. His doctrine and life agreed together. The wayto have the God of peace with us, is to keep close to our duty.All our privileges and salvation arise in the free mercy of God;yet the enjoyment of them depends on our sincere and holyconduct. These are works of God, pertaining to God, and to himonly are they to be ascribed, and to no other, neither men,words, nor deeds. 10-19 It is a good work to succour and help a good minister introuble. The nature of true Christian sympathy, is not only tofeel concern for our friends in their troubles, but to do whatwe can to help them. The apostle was often in bonds,imprisonments, and necessities; but in all, he learned to becontent, to bring his mind to his condition, and make the bestof it. Pride, unbelief, vain hankering after something we havenot got, and fickle disrelish of present things, make mendiscontented even under favourable circumstances. Let us prayfor patient submission and hope when we are abased; for humilityand a heavenly mind when exalted. It is a special grace to havean equal temper of mind always. And in a low state not to loseour comfort in God, nor distrust his providence, nor take anywrong course for our own supply. In a prosperous condition notto be proud, or secure, or worldly. This is a harder lesson thanthe other; for the temptations of fulness and prosperity aremore than those of affliction and want. The apostle had nodesign to urge them to give more, but to encourage such kindnessas will meet a glorious reward hereafter. Through Christ we havegrace to do what is good, and through him we must expect thereward; and as we have all things by him, let us do all thingsfor him, and to his glory. 20-23 The apostle ends with praises to God. We should look uponGod, under all our weakness and fears, not as an enemy, but as aFather, disposed to pity us and help us. We must give glory toGod as a Father. God's grace and favour, which reconciled soulsenjoy, with the whole of the graces in us, which flow from it,are all purchased for us by Christ's merit, and applied by hispleading for us; and therefore are justly called the grace ofour Lord Jesus Christ.
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