Dean Niferatos reports that it was a routine morning on the Number 22 CTA bus
in Chicago. Office workers, restless punkers, and affluent shoppers filled
the seats and crowded the aisles. At the Clark and Webster stop, two men and
a woman climbed in. The driver, a seasoned veteran, immediately bellowed, “Everybody
watch your valuables. There are pickpockets on board.”
Women clutched their purses tightly. Men put their hands on their wallets.
All eyes fixed on the trio, who looking insulted and harassed didn’t break stride
as they promptly exited through the middle doors.
We are warned in the Bible of an eternal enemy and that we face the danger of
succumbing to this foe. This is a time to be unquestionably decisive in our
ARE EXHORTED TO STAND FAST – v. 4:1
Standing fast is the idea of remaining strong. Know the truth and remain firm
in your convictions. Don’t waver. Stay on track.
believers do not like conflict, but being a Christian puts us right in the middle
of it! The apostle had reminded the Philippian believers that the adversaries
would be seeking to “terrify” them (1:27). The opposition will always be looming
in the shadows if not aggressively opposing us as we live out our faith. It
is in the face of this hostility that we must keep our eyes on our Lord and
be steadfast. We are not to take lightly our enemy. We are warned in I Corinthians
10:12 that the one who thinks he stands should take heed lest he fall. We must
not underestimate the tactics and power of the enemy. History gives us examples
of believers who have fallen: David, Samson, Peter, Demas, and many of our
contemporaries. And then, let us not forget our own battles! Our focus must
remain on the Lord. “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might”
ARE ENCOURAGED TO STAND FAST – v. 1
Philippians 4 begins with the word “therefore.” It is a transition word that
means the following statements are built on the previous foundational statements.
And what foundational truths Paul reminds us of!
Paul’s own testimony is one of “pressing toward the goal for the prize of the
upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Then, he writes, “follow my example and
the examples of others who so walk.” He then reminds us that “our citizenship
is in heaven,” that Jesus is coming again, and that we are going to have new
bodies conformed to His glorious body. It follows in the theme of the Apostle
John. “Now are we the children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what
we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him!”
What more can we say, but “Amen! Hallelujah!” What an encouragement to stand
fast in the Lord!
ARE EXPLAINED THE PRACTICALITY OF STANDING FAST – vv. 3-9
does “standing fast” look like? That is the question. It is not merely a theoretical
position, for our Christian faith must always be fleshed out in the attitudes
and relationships of life in a practical way.
The apostle immediately addresses a conflict in the Philippian church and tells
two women to work out their differences and make up. These were not peripheral
participants in ministry, for they had labored with the apostle in propagating
the gospel. But Christian service is no substitute for Christian unity. To
stand fast, we must be united in heart and purpose.
Serving one another is involved in standing fast. The imperative to “help”
suggests continuous repeated action. Therefore, the idea of guarding against
conflict and doing what is necessary to assist one another is to become a lifestyle.
Joy and cheerfulness is to be a way of life because it is rooted in an abiding
relationship with Jesus Christ.
of the Lord’s return results in a witness of gentleness and moderation
continues to address practical applications of standing fast in the Lord. Don’t
worry. Be prayerful. Dwell on the right thoughts. One’s thought life will
determine whether one stands or falls. “Sow a thought, reap an deed. Sow a
deed, reap a habit. Sow a habit, reap a lifestyle. Sow a lifestyle, reap a
In Florence, Italy, a young artist labored long and hard over a marble statue
of an angel. When finished, he asked Michelangelo to examine it. The young
artist concealed himself. No Master looked over the work more carefully – it
was perfect in every way. The young artist waited. But his heart nearly broke
when he heard, “It lacks only one thing.”
For days the artist could not eat or sleep, until a friend called on Michelangelo
at his studio and asked him what he thought. “It lacks only life.”
We have been placed on earth with all that’s needed for a wonderful life of
service to God, others, and a life of fulfillment. It is the breath of God,
provided through Jesus Christ our Lord, that is the essence of the life that
stands fast. (Larry Gilmore)
brief provided by: Larry Gilmore, Group Leader of the Evangelism
Strategies Group for the Tennessee Baptist Convention in Brentwood, TN