Elder Vernon Johnson

   
 

Philippians 4:3-7 

:3 And I entreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life. 4 Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. 5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 

In this letter to the church at Philippi, Paul entreats the members to help others.  This certainly is an important principle, as we are to give our lives in service to our brethren.  The Lord said, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."  Also, we are created in Christ Jesus unto good works and we should walk in them.  We do this when we are busy helping others.   

Paul calls the brethren true yokefellows.  A yoke is used to join two oxen together so that they can jointly pull a load.  Likewise, we are to be joined together in the service of our Lord Jesus Christ.  We each are to help carry that load.  In the above passage, Paul asks the church members to help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers…  Each of the above were labouring in the service of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Not all were preachers, but they were busy labouring toward the furtherance of the gospel kingdom of God on earth.  Paul asks that each church member engage themselves in helping in this effort.  The same is true for us today.  We all should be laboring together for the furtherance of the church kingdom of God on earth.   

Paul stated that all in this verse have their names in the book of life.  We will first look at what the book of life is and then see why Paul was sure that all of the above were written in that book.  The following verses pertain to the Lamb's book of life: 

    1.  Luke 10:19 "Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. 20 Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven." 

    2.  Rev. 13:8 "And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him,whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world."

    3.  Rev. 17:8 "The beast that thou sawest was, and is not;...and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world..."

    4.  Rev. 20:15 "And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."

    5.  Rev. 21:27 "And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life."

We make the following observations from the above verses: 

    1.  Those whose names are in the book of life were written there before the foundation of the world.

    2.  Having one’s name in the Lamb's book of life is a cause of great rejoicing. 

    3.  Having one’s name in the Lamb's book of life exempts you from the lake of fire.

    4.  Having one’s name in the Lamb's book of life enables you to enter into the Holy City (the church) here in time. 

Now was Paul given an opportunity to look into the Lamb's book of life and see that those he mentioned were written in the book?  Of course not!  Paul knew their names were written therein because of the evidence.  He could see by the evidences of their labors that they were children of God and therefore had their names written in heaven.  When God grants us to see the evidence in our own labors that we are children of God then we can have the same assurance and confidence that our names are written in heaven.  

Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.  The Lord is the cause of our rejoicing.  It is by the grace of God that we were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world to be children of God.  It is by the grace of God that we are quickened by the still small voice of Jesus Christ and given spiritual life.  It is by the grace of God that Christ came and redeemed us from our sins.  It is by the grace of God that we have been given the word of God and we have been given the church.  It is by the grace of God that we have been given spiritual gifts.  It is by the grace of God that we have been given a throne of grace to which we may come boldly and make our petitions known to God.  All spiritual blessings are in Christ Jesus.  Yes, Christ is the cause of our rejoicing. 

Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.  The word, moderation, comes from the Greek word, epieikes, meaning gentle or patient.  It is translated moderation once, patient once, and gentle three times.  Our gently nature, given to us in the spiritual birth, and our patient waiting upon the Lord should be evident in the walk of our lives.  In this manner we let our moderation be known unto all men. 

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. The word, careful, comes from a Greek word meaning "anxious about."  What needless and harmful anxiety many of us have when we worry about things that we have no control over.  Anxiety is not good for us or becoming to us as children of God.   

The Lord said in Matt. 6:25 

"Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?  26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? 27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? 28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."

Rather than having anxiety over our problems or concerns, we should take those things to the Lord in prayer.  1 Pet. 5:7 says, "Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you."  In making our request, Paul teaches us that we are to make our prayers and supplications with thanksgiving to God.  Thus, our prayers will contain requests not only for ourselves, but for others also, and they will be seasoned with much thanksgiving unto God.   

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  The opposite of anxiety is peace.  When we cast our care upon the Lord and leave our burdens and concerns in His hand, he sendeth peace into our hearts and minds.  This peace passes all understanding.  How this is done, we do not have words or thoughts that can explain it, but we know God has brought peace unto our hearts.