Philippians | Grace Reformed Church
Turn with me again to the book of Philippians, chapter 4, and we’re going to be looking at verses 10-20. I’d originally chosen just 10-13, but changed it just a little late for the bulletin, so we will be looking all the way through verse 20. Last week in the previous passage, we heard about the path to peace that God wants us to walk. Paul relayed to the Philippians and to us a long list of related things to fill our hearts and minds with. Seek out the good, and fill yourself with it all the time. And the reward for that is that the “God of Peace” will be with you.
Our text this morning comes from Philippians 4, verses 8 and 9. We’re getting close to the end here, and like I said last week, we are in the closing material here. One thing that is so wonderful about this little book is how carefully crafted it really is. Even here in the closing material, there are such clear reflections back to the primary teaching of the book, the material we saw mainly in chapters 2 and 3. Paul “stays on point,” you could say, even when he has shifted to some of the more practical matters here.
This morning we are going to bring chapter 3 in Philippians to a close, and actually also include the first verse of chapter 4 as well. Remember that while verse and chapter divisions aren’t simply arbitrary, they are something that was added to the text later. In case you’re curious, the chapter divisions were fairly standardized since about the 13th century, and the verse divisions that we have became fairly standardized in 1551, so we’re getting to almost 500 years now of those divisions being what they are.
We continue this morning in our study of Philippians. For those of you wondering, it’s the plan for us to remain in this book until the end of it, which right now is planned for the second week in March, that would be the final sermon in this series.
We continue on now to Philippians chapter 3, having spent a wonderful two months in chapter 2. I hope you enjoyed the journey as much as I did! We have this great and healthy practice in the Reformed tradition of what we call lectio continua, in case you didn’t know that is what we’re doing. It’s the Latin term we use for the act of preaching straight through books of the Bible from beginning to end.
Today we’re going to finish up chapter 2 of Philippians, actually so far this will be the longest text that we’ve attempted to cover in a single sermon, and if you’ve read ahead (which I of course encourage you to do) you probably noticed that this next section, the close of chapter 2 may seem a bit perfunctory, or at the very least not brimming with theological truths as some of the previous passages have been.
We return today again to the book of Philippians, chapter 2, and the passage for today, verses 14-18, represents the close of what we would call the meat of the letter, the primary instruction, this section that began back at verse 27 of chapter 1. We saw last week how verses 12 and 13, just before, point all the way back to that original instruction. Paul has taken a few diversions, and then he returns to his primary imperative. And as we read it in a second here, you’ll see how what follows is an extension of that idea, Paul works it out a bit into a few more specifics.