To all church planters,
“Therefore my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and my crown.”Philippians 4:1
I hope you are well and that you are willfully encouraging yourself and your people in the Lord. This is a unique time in history, but we are eased in knowing our God is in control. With that, the Lord placed the following Word on my heart for each of you and your church. Philippians 4, although likely not new to you, shares principles that may bring you refreshment and encouragement. If you feel called, I invite you to share these teachings with your church, use them in a sermon, or even create a sermon series based on each principle. Many blessings.
- Contend for the Gospel, not with one another. Do not let this be a time we stop “contending” for the sake of the gospel. People are fearful and need the Lord. There are many reasons we contend, but one is that the gospel of grace has added our names into “the Book of Life.” Let’s contend for the lost and add their names to the Book of Life. (4:3)
- Rejoice “in the Lord” always, not in the present situation, but in the Lord.
- Consider the Lord. The Lord is near. (4:5) The word “gentleness” is the word to consider. One of my favorite verses is Hebrews 12:3, “Consider Him, who endured such opposition from sinful men, so you will not grow weary and lose heart.” This is a sermon of its own. I looked up the word consider, and there are at least eleven ways that we are asked to consider; consider how we may spur one another on, consider the great love of the Lord, consider it all loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, etc.
- Pray. (4:6) The result is, “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your minds and hearts in Christ Jesus.” The word guard paints the picture of a soldier who guards the king and will not allow anything harmful to enter the presence of the King. Peace will guard the two places we carry anxiety: our minds and hearts.
- Think about that which is above. (4:8) “As a man thinks, so is the man.”
- Practice what you have learned. (4:9) If we practice what God has taught us, “the God of peace will be with us.” The peace of God, and the God of peace are with us.” What did Paul learn? What should we learn?
- Learn contentment. 4:10-12 How did he learn this? What was his secret? The secret of being content… (v.13)
- Strengthen yourself in Christ. (4:13) Paul learned that the secret to the Christian life is that Christ’s strength gives us the ability to do everything he asks.
- Share with others in trouble. (4:14) If you share, give, and care for others, you will be a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, and pleasing to God. (4:18)
- Meet others’ needs, and, “God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”