1. The first word of Philippians 4 is the word, “______________.” This indicates that what follows is connected to what has been said before. Thus, after Paul affirms his close relationship with them by pointing out his love for them, his longing to be with them and the fact that they are his joy and crown, he charges them to “stand firm in the __________” (Philippians 4:1). They will do this if they “join in _________________” Paul (Philippians 3:17).
2. There is a problem in Philippi (Philippians 4:2-3). Two of the women were not getting along. Their names were Euodia and Syntyche. We do not know anything about these two ladies except that they were Christians who had “______________ side by side” with Paul and others who had preached the gospel in the city. We know nothing about Clement or any of the other people involved except that they were fellow workers with Paul and that their “names are in the book of ________” (Philippians 4:3; see also Revelation 20:12). The source of the disagreement between the two ladies is not revealed, but the source of how they could reach agreement is i.e., “agree in the ___________” (Philippians 4:2). As human beings we have opinions on all kinds of subjects. However, as Christians we are to have the same goal as Paul (Philippians 3:11). When attaining to the resurrection is our goal we will not do anything to cause ourselves or anyone else to miss the mark. Therefore, our agreement should be “in the Lord” and not based upon personal preferences, that is, having things our way. Paul enlists the assistance of a person identified to us only as a true “companion” or “yokefellow” to help solve the problem (Philippians 4:3). Perhaps there are some lessons we can learn about managing conflict:
* Conflict can happen to those who are Christians, even those who have diligently worked for the Lord.
* When conflicts arise, agreement should be found in the Lord Jesus Christ, not in forcing others to see and accept things our way.
* When there is conflict, it is the duty of other Christians to help solve the conflict.
3. In the next four verses, a charge is put before the Christians to, “___________ in the Lord ____________; again I will say, Rejoice” (Philippians 4:4). The power of this statement comes to life when one recognizes that Paul is writing this while sitting in prison though guilty of no crime (see Lesson One and Philippians 1:12-14), was being maligned by people claiming to be true preachers of the word (Philippians 1:15-17), not knowing whether he would live or die (Philippians 1:19-22). The reason that Paul (and we) can make such a statement is because “The _________ is at hand” (Philippians 4:5b). The point is that knowing that our citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20) nothing can negate the fact that our Lord, Master, King is going to come and that at that time all things will be subjected to him (I Corinthians 15:24-25). Knowing this also allows Christians to “not be ____________ about anything” (Philippians 4:6). After all, they know the outcome of the battle! Their success will come by putting everything into perspective and “by __________ and ________________ with thanksgiving let your ____________ be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6). The promise is that “the _____________ of God, which surpasses all __________________, will guard your ___________ and _____________ in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7; see also Isaiah 26:3, John 14:27, Ephesians 3:19 and Colossians 3:15). All of this is done while letting “your reasonableness be known to everyone” (Philippians 4:5a). The word translated by the English Standard Version as “reasonableness” is variously translated as “moderation” (King James Version), “gentleness” (New International Version) and “forbearing spirit” (New American Standard Version) is one that carries all of these thoughts and might be summarized by the word “gentlemanliness.”
4. As Paul brings this thought to an end he states, “Finally, brothers, whatever is __________, whatever is honorable, whatever is __________, whatever is __________, whatever is _______________, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, _____________ on these things” (Philippians 4:8). To “think on these things” means to give serious consideration to them and to use these virtues to shape their lives. While others have their “minds set on earthly things” (Philippians 3:19), followers of Christ are preparing for the time when Christ will return to transform their present bodies into something glorious (Philippians 3:20-21). This can best be done by thinking on things that will lead in the direction of Christian maturity (see also Hebrews 4:12-14, Matthew 5:1-12, II Peter 1:5-8 and Galatians 5:22-23).
5. This exhortation began in Philippians 3:17 where Paul urged them to “join in imitating me….” and comes to completion with Paul urging them that “what you have ____________ and ____________ and _____________ and _____________ in me – practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” It is important to know what is right. Knowing comes from receiving what we see and hear from the inspired writings and those who set a Christian example. However, knowing does little for us until we transfer that knowledge into practical actions in our lives. Paul understands this concept and urges those in Philippi to take what they know from listening to him and watching his behavior and translate it into common practices in their lives. Doing this comes with a promise that not only the peace of God that passes all understanding will be theirs (and ours) but that the God of peace will be with them (and us).
6. Having completed his major discourse, Paul turns to the situation that motivated his writing the letter, that is the gift that the Philippian church had sent him. He could ___________ in the fact that they had sent a contribution to him (Philippians 4:10). He is quick to say that there is more involved than just his need. After having been in a prison in Rome, Italy, for nearly two years (see Acts 28:30-31) plus having been incarcerated for a long period of time in the Holy Lands before that (see Acts 21:27ff.), there is certainly reason to believe that Paul would have severe needs beyond the meager amount that would be supplied a prisoner by the Roman government. However, Paul discounts the need by saying that he had “learned in whatever situation I am to be ___________” (Philippians 4:11). He continues the thought by assuring them that he knows how to be brought low and how to abound and that he has “learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need” (Philippians 4:12). His secret? He has already told them in Philippians 4:5b-7: The Lord is at hand, don’t be anxious about anything, pray to God so that he knows what your requests are and let the peace of God into your heart and mind. He summarizes, “I can do ________ ____________through him who _________________ me” (Philippians 4:13).
7. After assuring the Philippians that he could rejoice because of their gift even though he did not need it, he explains the reasons he rejoiced.
* It was to their credit that they shared the _________ (Philippians 4:17).
*It was “a fragrant offering, a ______________ acceptable and pleasing to God” (Philippians 4:18).
ü* It comes with a promise that “my God will ______________ every need of yours according to his riches in ___________ in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19, see also II Chronicles 16:9, Luke 12:29-31 and Hebrews 13:5).
* The glory is given to our _____ and _____________ (Philippians 4:20)
It was exciting and gratifying for Paul to remember how many times they had helped him (Philippians 4:15-16).
8. Paul ends his letter by encouraging the Philippians to “_____________ every saint in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:21) and assures them that the ones with him send their greetings also. This was a customary part of Paul’s charges to Christians (see Romans 16:16, I Corinthians 16:20, II Corinthians 13:12-13 and I Thessalonians 5:26). He specifically refers to those who were a part of ________ (Nero’s) household (Philippians 4:22). Even while in prison Paul was looking for opportunities to share the gospel (see Acts 28:31, Romans 1:11-17 and Colossians 1:28-29). This verse shows that he had been successful in sharing his faith even with those at the highest levels who would ultimately decide his fate. Those truly converted to Christ are willing to share their faith no matter who they are around. With this thought Paul ends his letter to the Philippians.
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