Christ Gives Cause to Rejoice

MEMORY SELECTION: “My God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” —Philippians 4:19

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Philippians 4:4-13

IN THE fourth verse of our selected scripture the apostle states, “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.” The thought is that the Christian has reason to be continually happy. And this happiness is spiritual and can be found only in the Lord. The apostle repeats the exhortation to show not only his earnestness but also that it was God’s will that it should be so. It would seem that this attitude, stemming from a proper condition of heart, would reflect a desirable relationship between the Heavenly Father and his spirit-begotten sons.

Verse 5 reads: “Let your moderation be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.” The word moderation means, in this instance, patience, which in turn carries the thought of meekness under provocation, readiness to forgive injuries. The thought of being meek under provocation implies a complete and unreserved consecration to the Lord. It also implies the willingness on the part of the individual to trust in the overruling providences of the Lord. The Apostle Peter said of our Lord, “Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to Him that judgeth righteously.” (I Pet. 2:23) This seems to be the thought that the apostle is making. In the latter part of Philippians 4:5 the text reads, “The Lord is at hand.” This is similar to the phrase used in I Corinthians 16:22, Maranatha, which means “the Lord is judge.” In harmony with the thoughts expressed above, then, the complete thought of the text is that the Christian should be meek under provocation, realizing that the Lord is the judge.

In verse 6 the apostle states, “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” The expression “be careful for nothing” has the thought, “be not anxiously solicitous.” To be anxious would indicate a lack of confidence in the overruling providences of the Lord. In communicating with the Lord by prayer and supplication, we are making a solemn application to God, appealing to him from a sense of want. The thought of supplication is that of continuance in earnest prayer. Our prayers to the Heavenly Father, however, must be prefaced with an earnest heart desire to ask only those things that are in harmony with his will. If the petition being made is not in harmony, we must earnestly desire that it not be acted upon.

With a full awareness that we as Christians have been blessed above all people and that we have been the recipients of countless past blessings and favors, surely our disposition in all our communication with the Heavenly Father should be one of thankfulness.

Verse 7 of our selected scripture reads, “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” The real peace of God comes to the Christian because of his relationship to the Heavenly Father—a relationship that we have described previously in this lesson. Thos peace gives reason and direction to all the conflicting thoughts and appetites that come into our minds because of the flesh. It has as its foundation a sense of pardon and forgiveness, but more than anything else, a realization of favor with God.

This peace, our text states, will keep our hearts and minds. Our hearts are pictured in the Bible as the seat of affections, motives, and our minds are symbols of understanding, judgment, and conscience. These two symbols together represent the new creature, or creation, that is the subject of all of God’s dealing with true Christians.

What our text is really saying is that if we, as new creatures, maintain our relationship with God and maintain the peace that results from this relationship, then God, through the power of the Holy Spirit operating through our Lord Jesus, will keep us from falling.

Truly we do have cause to rejoice greatly.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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