Monday, October 29, 2007

Philippians 4:1-5


1Therefore, my beloved brethren whom I long to see, my joy and crown, in this way stand firm in the Lord, my beloved. 2I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to live in harmony in the Lord. 3Indeed, true companion, I ask you also to help these women who have shared my struggle in the cause of the gospel, together with Clement also and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life. 4Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 5Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.

Apparently there is a little tension between two of the women in the fellowship-Euodia and Syntyche. He is urging those in the fellowship to come alongside them, these two women in particular, and with all the fellowship. He is saying, "Calm it all down." Jesus left us here on the planet to work out our differences in love. This is the primary way of demonstrating the His love in real life.

Three times in the next few verses the words "in the Lord" occur. Each one is connected to a command. All three are applicable to us today in the fellowship: FIRST-Stand firm in the Lord. Stay steady in the things of the Lord-with the things that please Him. Stand firm from engaging in disputes or needless arguments against one another. You see, you can stand firm on your own OR you can stand firm IN THE LORD. When you stand firm in the Lord, you will stand with grace and truth. You will say and do what Jesus would do in that situation.

SECOND-Live in harmony in the Lord. There is little harmony without being IN THE LORD. The "brotherhood" of man is impossible without the lordship of Jesus. When each one of us is IN THE LORD, there will be harmony in our fellowship with one another.

THIRD-Rejoice in the Lord always. Joy has nothing to do with what you have, where you are or whom you are with. Joy is the ability to enjoy the scenery while on a detour. He is not saying "be happy" in the Lord, because being happy has to do with circumstantial happenings. Happenings are temporary; joy is ongoing no matter what. So, the command is REJOICE or BE JOYFUL, not in your surroundings or anything else, but IN THE LORD.

You see, when you are IN THE LORD, you CAN stand firm. You CAN live in harmony and you CAN rejoice no matter the circumstances! When you are IN THE LORD, you are empowered in every way. So why would you ever want to be anywhere else than IN THE LORD? Yeah, why?

There's one more thing here of note. After giving these three commands, there is one more statement: "Let your gentle spirit be known to all men." In everything you do, let your demeanor be a gentle spirit of moderation, not antagonistic or powering yourself over another. This was an unusual spirit to posses in the Greek and Roman cultures. So, why would those in the fellowship be motivated to take on such an attitude? NOTE, because THE LORD IS NEAR! Again, IN THE LORD is the operable phrase. Being in the Lord is being IN THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD. When you realize you are in His presence, your actions and attitude will be different. Now, that's a great way to live-IN THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD!