All Things Created

Colossians 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him 

‘By him were all things created’ – The person we now know as Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, existed as an equal member of the Godhead from all eternity (Isa. 7:14; 9:6-7; Mic. 5:2; John 1:1-2; Heb. 1:8; Rev. 1:8-11). Before He became God’s Son (sonship refers to humanity). He was a spirit being and carried out the divine plan of creation. He was the direct agent of God the Father who created all things by Him (Isa. 9:6; John 1:3; Eph. 3:9; Heb. 1:3)

‘That are in heaven, and that are in earth.’ This proves that the heavens and the things in them are just as material as those on earth (Gen. 1:1; Pro. 8:27).

‘Invisible’ – Invisible things are made up of material substance which is visible in their own realm. Created things – including spirit beings such as angels, cherubim, seraphim, etc. – are all of the material substance. Some substances are of a higher type than others. Though all are visible in their own realms, some may not be visible to others of lower realms. Spirit beings are of a higher substance than flesh and blood beings and ordinary material that we see. They are not limited to ordinary substances as we know them, for they can go through closed doors, walls, and other material objects, as proved by what is recorded in Scripture of angels and others. Even the material, spiritual, and immortal body of Christ, a real flesh-and-bone body (Luke 24:39), can go through material walls without an opening (John 20:19; Luke 24:31, 24:35-43). If this is true of angels and resurrected human bodies, it must be true of God and the Holy Spirit who are spirit beings.

‘All things were created by him, and for him.’ This is the chief end of all creation (1:16-18; Eph. 3:9-11; Rev. 4:11; 5:13-14). The sole purpose of creation and the ultimate purpose of God for creation in its fallen state now is to redeem it from all rebellion and sin and to restore it to original sinlessness and perfection (Rev. 21:3-7). This is the purpose of the reign of Christ (1Cor. 15:24-28; Eph. 1:10; Rev. 22:3).

Sweet Smell

Philippians 4:18-23 But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing to God. But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen. Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren which are with me greet you. All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar’s household. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. 

‘But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you.’ You have sent me so much by Epaphroditus that I have all I need. Your gift is a sweet aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, and well-pleasing to God. Paul claimed to have all that he needed and more, he was thankful in everything and his life was a great savour for Christ’s testimony!

‘Sweet smell’ [Greek: Euodia] sweet perfume. An aroma of a sweet smell to God. That is, God was well pleased with the offering and sacrifice of Christ because it made possible the redemption of His fallen creation (Rom. 8:18-24).

‘But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.’ A promise that is still true to those who are in Christ and who are faithful to God as the Philippians were (4:14-18).

‘Caesar’s household’ – Nero was emperor of Rome at this time. A more cruel and worthless man never ruled the empire, yet among his household, there were several true Christians. Who they were is not known. Josephus says that the empress Poppaea was a worshiper of the true God (Antiquities, 20:8:11).

‘The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.’ No greater greeting and blessing can be found in life! By God’s grace we are saved (Acts 14:22; Eph. 2:5, 8), healed (Ps. 30:2-7; 103:3, 8; Acts 4:12; 14:3; 1Pet. 2:24) and are we conquerors (Rom. 8:31-39).

Desire Fruit

Philippians 4:15 – 17 Now you Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but you only. For even in Thessalonica you sent once and again unto my necessity. Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account. 

‘Beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia.’ Philippi was the place of the decisive battle which ended the Roman republic, in 42 B.C. Amphipolis was the chief city when the Romans first took over the country, but after the battle at Philippi that ended the Roman republic, this city became more prominent.

Paul established the Philippian congregation here, hence the statement: “the beginning of the gospel” for the Philippians and it is also where the events of Acts 16:12-40 took place: Paul’s party met a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God and she was baptized with her household. Going up for prayers, Paul and Silas landed in prison when they rebuked the damsel possessed with a spirit of divination and when they worshipped at midnight, an earthquake loosened them. The jailkeeper wanted to kill himself for letting the prisoners flee, but Paul assured him nobody fled, and this led to his conversion as well as his household.

‘Thessalonica you sent once and again unto my necessity.’ Paul supported himself partly by working while starting the Thessalonian congregation and partly through help from Philippi (2Thess. 3:7-9).

‘Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.’ I do not say this to get a further gift from you, but to state facts, wanting you to bear fruit to be put to your account and rewarded in the day of Christ. This will be the fruit of the Spirit which is the sign of all true believers (Gal. 5:22-26). He never wanted their money, affection or praises, he just wanted them to serve God the Father through Jesus Christ – the only true indication of a true teacher of the gospel of Christ.

‘Your account’ – A clear reference to each man as having an account in heaven (Ps. 144:3; Heb. 13:17; 1Pet. 4:5). He is either storing up wrath by his deeds on record in heaven (Rom. 2:5) or he is storing up rewards (Rom. 14:1-12; 1Cor. 3:11-15; 2Cor. 5:10; Gal. 3:6). Even every idle (useless) word men will give an account of (Matt. 12:36). Every cup of cold water given or refused and the minutest details of life, as well as the major acts, will be judged (Matt. 6:1-18; 10:41-42; 16:27; Luke 6:23, 35; 1Cor. 3:8-15; 9:17).

Be Content

Philippians 4:10-14 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me has flourished again; wherein you were also careful, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengthen me. Notwithstanding you have well done, that you did communicate with my affliction. 

‘At the last your care of me has flourished again; wherein you were also careful, but you lacked opportunity.’ For a time, the Philippians ceased to help the apostle, but now their care for him had come to life again. He apologises for their lacking opportunity to help him. Paul was always thankful for the help but he never made any demands upon converts to support him. Here he does not speak of it to receive from them, but to praise them for their help (4:11-19).

‘For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.’ Ten great lessons to learn: Be content under all circumstances (4:11). How to be abased (4:12); how to abound; in all places; in all things; to be full; to be hungry; to abound; to suffer need; that nothing is impossible through Jesus Christ (4:13; Matt. 17:20; Mark 9:23; 11:22-24; John 14:12-15; 15:7, 16). We must be thankful and content in life not striving to live above our means or status (Rom. 12:3).

‘I can do all things through Christ which strengthen me.’ When we have God’s Word in us, through faith and obedience, (Rom. 11:6) we are in unity with Christ (John 15:1-7) and can only then claim to be able to do all things through His, and not our own, strength. All things: Do all things for God’s glory (1Cor. 10:31; Col. 3:17, 3:23). Do all things in love (1Cor. 13:4). To do all things without murmurings and disputings (Php. 2:14). Do all things in Jesus’ name (Col. 3:17).

‘Affliction’ [Greek: thlipsis] is not a disease, as usually understood, but tribulation. Not once is it used for physical sickness or illness.

Whatsoever Things

Philippians 4:8-9 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. 

‘Think on these things’ – Six things to meditate on – all opposite thinking poisons the spirit, soul and body: True things – all that is in harmony with eternal truth in creation and revelation (2Tim. 2:15; 3:16-17). Honest things – all that is grave, decent, honourable, and Christian [Greek: semnos] (1Tim. 3:8, 11; Tit. 2:2). Just things – all that is in harmony with justice and righteousness (Rom. 3:24-31; 8:4; 2Pet. 1:4-10). Pure things – all that is chaste and holy for body and soul (Rom. 12:1-2; 2Cor. 3:16-17; 7:1). Lovely things – all that is pleasing and tends to bless others (2Cor. 13:4-8; Gal. 5:22-23). Things of good report – all that is in harmony with the best public good, virtuous and praiseworthy (Rom. 13:1-10; 2Pet. 1:4-10). We cannot just think whatever we want without consequences because we will be entertaining the enemy (2Cor. 10:3-7) and through our thoughts, we begin the stages of sin (Jas. 1:12-15). We must set our affections (thoughts) on the things above, not on things on the earth (Col. 3:2).

‘Do’ – four things to practice and enjoy: Things learned – Christian practices; things received – Christian blessings; things heard – Christian doctrines; things were seen – Christian miracles.

Thus, not only are Christians supposed to meditate on certain things (4:8), but they are to do certain things. Christianity is very practical. It is not a dead, dry, formal, human religion of rituals, outward form, and show, but a divine, living, vital, dynamic, liberating relationship with God. One without power to deliver men from sin, sickness, poverty, and want, now and hereafter, is not of God (Matt. 7:7-11; 17:20; 21:22; Mark 9:23; 11:22-24; 16:17-18; John 14:12-15; 15:7, 16; 16:23-26; Heb. 11:1-40; Jas. 1:1-27).

The Peace of God

Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

‘The peace of God’ – John 14:27 states that Christ left us with His peace and that He gave it unto us, not as the world gives peace, which is always temporary and fleeting. Then He warned us not to let our hearts be troubled or afraid. Both fear and troubles cancel our peace and let us focus on the storms and not on Christ who can command the storms to be still.  In John 16:33 we also see that Christ comforted His disciples the evening before His crucifixion with this peace when He said that He had the Father with Him and therefore they must have their peace in Him; He warned that in this world we shall have tribulation, but we must be of good cheer for He has overcome the world. From these scriptures and many others where Christ always ended most communication with “go in peace” (Mark 5:34; Luke 7:50; 8:48); “Peace be unto you” (Luke 34:36; John 20:19, 21, 26). Because peace is part of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22) we cannot afford to lose it to any degree or for any cause, that is why this peace passes all understanding, because it is not something everyone can have or can maintain without being of the right mindset (4:8; 2Cor. 10:3-7) and not allowing any form of fear or upset (Job 3:25; John 14:1, 27; 2Tim. 1:7; 1Pet. 3:14).

‘Shall keep’ [Greek: phroureo] garrison; keep watch or guard.  There are ten secrets for the cure of worry: Permit the peace of God to garrison or keep your heart and mind through Jesus Christ (4:7). Renounce all worry; then by prayer, supplication, and thanksgiving, make all requests known to God (4:6; Jas. 4:7). Think about the right things (4:8). Keep your mind stayed on God (Isa. 26:3; Col. 3:2). Use the weapons of spiritual warfare (2Cor. 10:4-6). Put on the whole armour of God (Eph. 6:10-18). Have faith in God (Matt. 6:25-34; 7:7-11; 17:20; 21:22; Mark 11:22-24). Live and walk in the Spirit (Gal. 5:16-26; Rom. 6:14-23; 8:1-13). Do not cast away confidence (Heb. 3:6, 12-14; 6:11-12; 10:19-23, 35-39). Cast all your cares upon God (1Pet. 5:7).

Prayer and Supplication Part 4

Philippians 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

1John 3:22 explains that whatsoever we ask of God, we will receive because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. Here we have some of the conditions mentioned throughout Scripture for answered prayer which always includes obedience. Five secrets are noted here: Freedom from condemnation (Rom. 8:1). Confidence in God (Heb. 3:6; 10:35; 1Jn. 2:28; 3:21; 5:14). Asking (Matt. 7:7-11; Luke 11:9-13). Keeping commandments (1Jn. 3:23-24). Pleasing God (Heb. 11:6; Jas. 1:5-8).

Looking at some more reasons for unanswered prayer we can discern the following: Lusts (Jas. 4:1-3, 5; John 8:44); murders (Jas. 4:2); covetousness (Jas. 4:2); fighting and war (Jas. 4:2); asking amiss to satisfy lusts (Jas. 4:3); adulteries (Jas. 4:4); friendship; pride (Jas. 4:6); rebellion against God (Jas. 4:7); backsliding and sin (Jas. 4:8); double-mindedness or doubt (Jas. 4:8); the misuse of the tongue (Jas. 4:11-12).

This passage should never be taken by the Christian as an excuse for unanswered prayer. By so doing he automatically classes himself as lustful, murderous, covetous, adulterous, worldly, proud, sinful, and blasphemous. Is it any wonder that God does not answer the prayers of such people? Would you? No man can ask amiss if he is in Christ and asks according to the promises (John 15:7; Mark 11:22-24; Heb. 11:6; Jas. 1:5-8). The reason Christian prayers are not answered is unbelief.

Prayer and Supplication Part 3

Philippians 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 

Scriptures are full of ‘secrets for answered prayers’ which does not mean that it is hidden or hard to understand. A study on any topic must be done by prayerfully reading and meditating on God’s Word while using all Scripture on the specific subject to explain the Scripture (Deut. 19:15; Matt. 18:16; 2Cor. 13:1), not coming up with one’s own interpretation (2Pet. 1:20-21).

Hebrews 11:6 explain that when we come to God we must believe that He is [in all things God as described in Scripture: true, holy, righteous, etc.) and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him – here we have four secrets of answered prayer: To please God (1Jn. 3:21-22; 5:14-15). To come to God with the right attitude and with the right motives (Matt. 6:5-15; 7:7-11; Php. 4:5-6). To believe that He is (John 16:23). To believe that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. If one can believe this as much as he believes in the existence of God, prayer will be granted. If one believes firmly in His existence and doubts His word, he makes Him a liar and God is under no obligation to answer prayer (Jas. 1:4-8). The Greek for diligently is ekzeteo, translated diligently seek (Heb. 11:6); seek after (Acts 15:17; Rom. 3:11); seek carefully (Heb. 12:17); require (Luke 11:50-51), and enquire (1Pet. 1:10).

James 1:5 states that if we lack wisdom we must ask it of God who will give it to us liberally, without reprimand and it shall be given to us.  Here we have six secrets of answered prayer: Lack of consciousness of needs (Jas. 1:5). Let him ask of God (4:6; Jas. 1:5). That gives to all men liberally (Jas. 1:5; Matt. 7:7-11; 21:22; Mark 11:22-24). It shall be given him (Jas. 1:5; Matt. 7:7-11; 17:20; 21:22; John 14:12-15; 15:7, 16; 16:23-26; 1Jn. 3:21-22; 5:13-14). But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering (Jas. 1:6; Heb. 11:6).

To be continued…

Prayer and Supplication Part 2

Philippians 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 

To get answers to our prayers, we have to obey that which is clearly stated in the Word in this regard: Pray to the Father (John 16:23), in the name of Jesus (John 14:12-15), by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:26). With a full understanding of your rights and privileges (1Cor. 14:14-15) and in harmony with the Word (John 15:7). In faith, nothing doubting (Jas. 1:6), with praise for the answer (Php. 4:6). Diverting in any way from this will lead to frustrating unanswered prayer. Eighteen reasons are given from Scripture for unanswered prayer: Refusing to listen to the truth (Prov. 28:9). Refusing to humble self (2Chron. 7:14). Forsaking God (2Chron. 15:2). Provoking God (Deut. 3:26). Hardheartedness (Zech. 7:12-13). Lack of charity (Prov. 21:13). Regarding iniquity in the heart (Ps. 66:18). Wrong motives (Jas. 4:3). Dishonour of companion (1Pet. 3:7). Unbelief (Matt. 17:20-21; 21:22). Sin (Jas. 4:1-5; John 9:31; Isa. 59:2). Parading prayer life (Matt. 6:5). Vain repetitions (Matt. 6:7). Unforgiveness (Matt. 6:14-15; Mark 11:25-26). Hypocrisy (Luke 18:9-14). Being discouraged (Luke 18:1-8). Worry and anxiety (Php. 4:6). Doubting – double-mindedness – not making up your mind on what you want (Jas. 1:5-8). 

To be continued…

Prayer and Supplication Part 1

Philippians 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 

‘Careful for nothing’ [Greek: meden and merimnate] be anxious about nothing. Translated “be careful” (4:6; Luke 10:41); “have care” (2:20; 1Cor. 7:32-34; 12:25); and “take thought” (Matt. 6:25-34; 10:19; Luke 12:11, 22-26). Do not tolerate anxiety or worry, for it will injure your own souls. God alone can help you. And He will do it if you will pray about everything that happens and give thanks for everything (4:6; 1Thess. 5:18).

‘Requests be made known unto God.’ We are commanded here to let all requests be made known to God – requests for material, physical, and spiritual needs and wants – everything that concerns us in life along any line. It is the same as ask and receive, for we will not receive if we don’t ask (Matt. 7:7-8).

In Hebrews 3:6 we are reminded to hold fast the confidence [Greek: parrhesia] which means to have freedom of speech or liberty of access to God. Here it refers to absolute confidence in access to God because all sins which separate us from God are removed (Isa. 59:1-2). In Old Testament days men were not permitted to approach God. Even the mountain on which God gave the law was not to be touched by man or beast. Only the high priest was permitted in the holy of holies once a year, and even then he could not approach God without proper atonement. Now we all have free and daily access to God by the blood of Jesus (Heb. 10:19-23; Eph. 2:18). We are invited to come boldly to the throne of grace to obtain help in time of need (Heb. 4:14-16). As long as we hold fast to his liberty of access to God we are His house (Heb. 3:6). If we are living in sin however we do not and cannot have this liberty of access. God will not hear our prayers (1Jn. 3:20-23; 5:14-15)!!

To be continued…