Philippians 4 – The Series Part II

Last week, we learned, from Paul, a pretty rudimentary Biblical principle. Well, maybe
learn is not the best word, perhaps more of a reminder. Nonetheless, for me, I learned
the real meaning of a particular scripture that I have memorized decades ago.
As we move forward in this series we are staying in two verses. JUST two. This week
we focus on one of the greatest commissions (in my opinion) of the entire Bible.

8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right,
whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or
praiseworthy—think about such things.

9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into
practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
I was talking with a colleague this week and he pointed at the fact that I enjoy learning
the original meanings of the words in the Bible. He said “you are such a nerd”. I
laughed, because it is truth. As a writer, I am always searching for the perfect word to
describe. Here goes, I cannot apologize for this, I MUST dig into verse eight with my
utmost nerdiness.

Brothers and sisters = worship in the same body, near or remote.
Whatever = exactly this, do not deviate
True = non concealing, worthy of credit
Noble = honorable, worthy of reverence because you should be viewed as
Right = innocent
Pure = modest, clean
Lovely = pleasing, grateful
Admirable = well reported, spoken in a kindly spirit, good reputation
Anything = anyone, any one thing
Excellent = graciously acting, virtuous, uprightness
Praiseworthy = approving
These things = all of this

The breakdown is a very strong read. Here it is:

ALAS, those who worship in the same body of Christ, near or remote, do exactly this
and do not deviate. Be non concealing, worthy of credit. Be honorable, worthy of
reverence because you should be viewed as majestic. Be innocent,
modest, clean. Be pleasing and grateful. Be well reported, spoken in a kindly spirit,
maintain a good reputation. And if you can find these things, any one of these in anyone
else, remember you are graciously acting, virtuous, upright and/or approving of others.
So, without hesitation, DECIDE, THINK ON PURPOSE, all of this.
Pause please, woah! This was not a suggestion from Paul, he was speaking with
authority and telling them how to represent Christ. In verses 4-7 we saw him sort of nod
at the fact there was some drama and the proper way the church should behave. Key
point here is that behavior and action are two different things. Behaving is a sort of
being. Action means to do it on purpose. Paul accentuated this point when he said
“decide, think on purpose” to do these things.
Conviction moment for me- To be joyful or gentle or thankful, those are states of mind.
(Last week’s devotional) Really, a nudge to remember, ourselves, from what attitude we
should operate.
However, “do exactly this” is sort of a plain sight directive. The directive is pointing to the
way we ACT as Christians. Paul said “Do not conceal, act worthy of credit. Live
honorably. Live your life innocently and modestly. Show gratitude. Maintain a good
reputation. Look for these attributes in others as well. When you find those who act this
way, show them your approval, it is virtuous.” He made this crystal clear.
But wait! Just in case you did not take him seriously, Paul goes on to reiterate:
9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into
practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Meaning, If we comprehend or have seen Paul do these things, we are required to
(Greek word-prassete) “put into practice” these very things.
Now, I have to tell you, of all the words that hit me in these two verses, WITH hit me
hardest. It translates = behind, beyond, after.
Read like this: And the God of peace (again prosperity) will be behind you, beyond you,
after you.

Paul never said that we have to be perfect every day. Paul knew that is impossible!
After all, he is the same guy who told the Ephesians “It is by grace that we are
saved….not by works, lest any man should boast”. God has never been a God of works.
Rather, the living word of God breathes life into us by showing us in verses 4-7 how to
be and in verses 8 and 9 how to act.
Do not miss this; Father, God never intended for us to do it alone. He wills that we
prosper, so He goes behind us and cleans the slate. He goes beyond us and paves the
way. He goes after us to watch what His children do in love. As a parent, I can only
imagine, that HIs heart is full as He sees His children behave and act the way they