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) He

concludes with prayer to God the Father, and his usual blessing.

(20-23)

1 The believing hope and prospect of eternal life, should make

us steady and constant in our Christian course. There is

difference of gifts and graces, yet, being renewed by the same

Spirit, we are brethren. To stand fast in the Lord, is to stand

fast 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, he

knew how comfortable it would be to his fellow-labourers to have

the help of others. Let us seek to give assurance that our names

are written in the book of life. Joy in God is of great

consequence in the Christian life; and Christians need to be

again and again called to it. It more than outweighs all causes

for sorrow. Let their enemies perceive how moderate they were as

to outward things, and how composedly they suffered loss and

hardships. The day of judgment will soon arrive, with full

redemption to believers, and destruction to ungodly men. There

is a care of diligence which is our duty, and agrees with a wise

forecast and due concern; but there is a care of fear and

distrust, which is sin and folly, and only perplexes and

distracts the mind. As a remedy against perplexing care,

constant prayer is recommended. Not only stated times for

prayer, but in every thing by prayer. We must join thanksgivings

with prayers and supplications; not only seek supplies of good,

but own the mercies we have received. God needs not to be told

our wants or desires; he knows them better than we do; but he

will have us show that we value the mercy, and feel our

dependence on him. The peace of God, the comfortable sense of

being reconciled to God, and having a part in his favour, and

the hope of the heavenly blessedness, are a greater good than

can be fully expressed. This peace will keep our hearts and

minds through Christ Jesus; it will keep us from sinning under

troubles, and from sinking under them; keep us calm and with

inward satisfaction. Believers are to get and to keep a good

name; a name for good things with God and good men. We should

walk in all the ways of virtue, and abide therein; then, whether

our praise is of men or not, it will be of God. The apostle is

for an example. His doctrine and life agreed together. The way

to 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 holy

conduct. These are works of God, pertaining to God, and to him

only 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 in

trouble. The nature of true Christian sympathy, is not only to

feel concern for our friends in their troubles, but to do what

we can to help them. The apostle was often in bonds,

imprisonments, and necessities; but in all, he learned to be

content, to bring his mind to his condition, and make the best

of it. Pride, unbelief, vain hankering after something we have

not got, and fickle disrelish of present things, make men

discontented even under favourable circumstances. Let us pray

for patient submission and hope when we are abased; for humility

and a heavenly mind when exalted. It is a special grace to have

an equal temper of mind always. And in a low state not to lose

our comfort in God, nor distrust his providence, nor take any

wrong course for our own supply. In a prosperous condition not

to be proud, or secure, or worldly. This is a harder lesson than

the other; for the temptations of fulness and prosperity are

more than those of affliction and want. The apostle had no

design to urge them to give more, but to encourage such kindness

as will meet a glorious reward hereafter. Through Christ we have

grace to do what is good, and through him we must expect the

reward; and as we have all things by him, let us do all things

for him, and to his glory.
20-23 The apostle ends with praises to God. We should look upon

God, under all our weakness and fears, not as an enemy, but as a

Father, disposed to pity us and help us. We must give glory to

God as a Father. God's grace and favour, which reconciled souls

enjoy, with the whole of the graces in us, which flow from it,

are all purchased for us by Christ's merit, and applied by his

pleading for us; and therefore are justly called the grace of

our Lord Jesus Christ.

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