1 Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.

Does this overflowing manifestation of affection seem to us extreme and overdone? Are we, like the Corinthians, afraid to open our hearts to one another? Are we cold, and reserved, and self-contained? Peter exhorts (1:4:8)—

"ABOVE ALL THINGS, have fervent love among yourselves."

That will solve most problems.

There is nothing ordinary or commonplace about the glorious Gospel of Christ. It means a complete and revolutionary transformation of the heart. It is all or nothing.

Bro Growcott - BYT 4.39

4 Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.

This is very important. See how he puts it first, and how he repeats it for emphasis. And note the "always." Not just when we naturally feel like rejoicing—it means nothing then—but always, as a regular, established, purposeful course of life.

...Can we rejoice in the Lord always?—when we are sick, or in trouble, or worried, or cast down, or discouraged, or under pressure of various kinds? These are the very times when it is most important to rejoice.

To rejoice in the Lord always is the first stepping-stone to the "peace of God which passeth all understanding." Nothing is ever so bad that a consideration of the overall eternal picture will not give grounds for rejoicing.

In fact, the worse things are, the more they intensify the basis of true rejoicing. Rejoice in the Lord; rejoice that the present is brief and passing, and all its evil is working to a wise, eternal end.

Rejoice, as Paul says (Rom. 5:3)—rejoice, glory, triumph in tribulation. Not just rejoice during tribulation—the meaning is deeper than that. But rejoice because of tribulation,

"…knowing that tribulation worketh stedfastness . . . because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts."

Surely if tribulation provide the avenue for God to pour love into our hearts, then tribulation gives abundant grounds for rejoicing! How strange and marvellous are the ways of God! How little we know about eternal realities!

How long was the power of the atom hidden within apparently "dead" matter! What infinitely vaster powers and purposes exist in spiritual realms of which natural man has never dreamed!

Bro Growcott - BYT 3.4.

5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.

—the word really means 'gentleness' and is so translated in other places—"Let your gentleness be known unto all men."

Christ's true brethren will be universally known for their unfailing gentleness in all relationships and circumstances. Gentleness is the manifestation of a calm and spiritual mind—

Bro Growcott - BYT 4.39

Moderation in all that pertains to the things of the present is the rule Paul gives, and it is well that he has given us that rule, for if blessed with abundance, we might think we were at liberty to please ourselves as to how we appropriated His bounty. The rich are responsible to the Master for the use of what they have. One of the Master's most continual instructions is that the rich are to share with the less favoured who may be in need, the abundance which they enjoy.

He will be their judge as to whether this is bountifully or sparingly done. The poor are exalted by the hope of the gospel, but still made stewards of their smaller things. The sense of duty performed, whether high or low, brings with it the highest satisfaction, and is about the truest pleasure we can enjoy now, apart from the contemplation of the truth in its height and depth and communion with the Deity, than which no higher enjoyment can be conceived.

Sis Jane Roberts - The Virtuous Woman

6 Be careful [anxious - RV] for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

—let nothing make you anxious or upset—take every problem to God in thanksgiving and prayer.

Bro Growcott - BYT 4.39

‬Experience will teach you patience and a degree of unconcern.‭ ‬Things are neither so wrong nor so well as we think at first.‭ ‬In the impetuosity of youth,‭ ‬we imagine that with a little of the management which we feel prepared to prescribe,‭ ‬they could all be kept in regimental order‭ "‬all along the line.‭" ‬Unless we are petrified mediocrities,‭ ‬we shall discover:‭ ‬1,‭ ‬that they are beyond all management‭; ‬and‭ ‬2,‭ ‬that in the midst of the incurable chaos,‭ ‬God's purpose is slowly advancing to victory.‭ ‬The only thing in which anxiety and diligence can be profitably exercised is in the regulation of our own individual ways.

The Christadelphian, Dec 1896

Be careful for nothing

Does he mean just to let things drift without any effort or concern for them? Hardly, for he says elsewhere we must always "abound in the work of the Lord," beside laboring for our own necessities and others.

What he is combatting is worry, for there can be no peace where there is worry. The most effective curefor worry is to force ourselves to the humbling but comforting realization that we are but an insignificant partner in a great and invincible partnership.

God is the major partner. The big problems and their solution are safely in His hands. We but need to calmly do our little part as it presents itself from day to day. That is what Paul is telling us here—turn the problems over to God, and get on with your part:

"Be careful for nothing, but in EVERYTHING, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving make your requests to God."

Bro Growcott - BYT 3.4.

Continual prayer on the part of the saints is a necessary condition of divine favour. So far as saints are concerned, God will be enquired of. Let them forsake prayer, and they will soon be forsaken by God. If in this life, and in the life to come, they would receive good from above, they must

"by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God".

Bro AT Jannaway - TC 06/1886

Prayer is speaking to God on behalf of men (one or more), in respect of what we need, and what He has promised and already bestowed.

It is the supplication of thanksgiving souls, the yearning of sons and daughters after the benefaction of an all-wise and loving Father; the prostration of our spirits as in the presence of God and the Lord Jesus; the sincere outpouring of our inmost minds as unto our best friend; the Abba Father of childlike simplicity and undoubting confidence; the peaceful breathing of chastened affection; the grateful attitude of rebels conquered by love; the holy oblation of a spiritual priesthood presenting their own bodies as a living sacrifice.

Bro Shuttleworth

The Christadelphian, Dec 1873

In everything with thanksgiving

Every approach to God must be with thanksgiving. That is the essential incense that must accompany every acceptable sacrifice. And surely that is most reasonable! If we are so spiritually numb that we are not consciously and constantly thankful for the priceless blessings already so freely received—of being called out of death and darkness to the life and light of sonship of God—why should God give us any more?

Present problems and troubles must never be allowed to obscure this basic, overflowing thankfulness, which is one of the essential ingredients of the perfect peace we are seeking.

Brother Growcott - BYT 3.4.

If we recognise our needs and the needs of others,‭ ‬words by which to express ourselves will soon follow.‭ ‬God neither requires set forms of speech,‭ ‬a multitude of words,‭ ‬nor high-sounding flowery phrases.‭ ‬Christ condemned the worship of certain ones who thought they would have been heard for their much speaking and vain repetitions.‭ ‬Be not as these,‭ ‬said Christ.‭ ‬If we would learn how to address God we cannot do better than study a few examples of prayers which have received a response.‭ ‬We shall find them brief,‭ ‬reverential statements of requirements‭-‬Gen.‭ xxiv. ‬12‭-‬14‭; ‬1‭ ‬Kings‭ ‬xviii. 36‭-‬37‭; ‬2‭ ‬Kings‭ vi. ‬17.

It is important to note that God will not be pleased with prayer,‭ ‬neither will He hear it unless we are walking humbly and faithfully before Him.‭ ‬It is in the prayer of the upright that God delights.‭ ‬Fail we doubtless shall many times and in many ways,‭ ‬but God will not on this account refuse to hear,‭ ‬provided we are doing our utmost to fulfil His pleasure.

‭ "‬A just man falleth seven times and riseth up again‭" (‬Prov.‭ ‬xxiv. 16‭)‬.‭

God knows that we are weak and imperfect,‭ ‬and because of this He has given us a High Priest who can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities.‭ ‬Therefore let us do as the apostle has enjoined.‭ ‬Come boldly unto the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace in time of need.‭

We must be careful that we do not make God's mercy a pretext for a settled indifference to His commands.‭ ‬Bitterly shall we rue it if we presume upon His mercy.‭ "‬He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law,‭ ‬even his prayer shall be abomination.‭" ‬God will only forgive those who turn from their sins-there must be fruits meet for repentance.‭ ‬In vain shall we ask God's forgiveness if we refuse forgiveness to those who have wronged us‭-

‭"‬Neither will my heavenly Father forgive you unless ye from your hearts forgive everyone his debtors.‭"

‭TC 07/1887

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

The commands of God are all designed to purify and beautify our characters and make our lives fuller and richer. They are the loving instructions of infinite wisdom for controlling and curing mankind's worse disease-sin-in-the-flesh.

All natural mankind are deathly sick of this disease. It has filled the world with sorrow and suffering and inequality and oppression and hatred and confusion.

Let us have the wisdom to carefully follow the instructions of the Great Physician, and enjoy the glorious spiritual health and joy that these fruits of the Spirit portray.

Paul says that Christ is our peace, and in all his salutations to his brethren he speaks of peace as a blessing from God, and prays that his brethren may receive it abundantly.

Are we sincerely concerned with the spiritual peace of our brethren? If we are, we will be very careful to do everything that will contribute to their peace, and avoid everything that will disturb it. Then we can with Paul, sincerely pray to God that His peace may be on them. It is hypocrisy to pray for their peace while willfully disturbing them.

Bro Growcott - Mortify the Deeds of the Body

8 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.

The practical wisdom of this counsel, even from a natural point of view, is surely obvious. The folly of the opposite course is surely manifest. To keep the mind occupied with thoughts of things that are lovely and pure is not only beneficial and spiritually upbuilding—it is also self-evidently the course of peace and happiness.

Bro Growcott - BYT 4.39

9 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.

Neutrality, in regard to a definitely revealed and important Bible truth, is an attitude which a faithful brother will not countenance for a single moment. How could he, resting as he does under the sacred obligation of earnestly contending, as did Paul, for the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27; 2 Tim. 2:2; Phil. 3:17: 4:9; Jude 3)?

Neutrality is not consistent with dutiful stewardship. It savours of supineness, laxity, cowardice. God's witnesses must show themselves fearless and outspoken advocates of whatever He has been pleased to reveal-yes, and fighters, too, when the truth is in jeopardy.

But why this talk of neutrality? Is it because some cannot make up their minds in regard to a particular item of the faith? This is not a justifiable reason for brethren who are enlightened to gag their own mouths. Is it because a certain few think that the doctrine preached has not been distinctly revealed?

That is not a sufficient reason for silence on the part of brethren who know to the contrary. The class of doubter who advances the cry of "Be neutral" has ever existed, and been the cause of worry to the brethren, and clog to the dissemination of the truth.

"Not revealed" is a cry that must be passed by unheeded by those who have eyes to see, and are determined that so far as they are concerned, the truth shall flourish, and not die. But there is oft times much that is fallacious about the plea for neutrality.

It is often raised as a treacherous white flag to deceive the side that is making headway. It comes frequently from those who have very pronounced views on the side of error-from men who cannot bear to hear the truth without a vigorous protest against it, and who cannot refrain from sowing the seeds of heresy when the opportunity occurs.

No, neutrality is neither scriptural nor practicable. God asks men to write and labour on the basis of belief and conviction, not unenlightenment and doubt. Let us keep to the divine arrangement, and we shall earn the approval of our Master.

Bro AT Jannaway

The Christadelphian, Jan 1905

10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.

He finds occasion, in conclusion, to rejoice in them again —that their care of him in his affliction had flourished. In the intimacy of his special affection for them, he reminds them  that when he was establishing the ecclesias, they alone of all the ecclesias had been concerned to contribute to his daily needs. Philippi was in Macedonia. To the rich Corinthians he said—

"The deep poverty of the ecclesias of Macedonia abounded unto the riches of their liberality . . . beyond their power they were willing . . . praying us with much entreaty that we would receive the gift."

And later, in ch. 11, he tells the Corinthians that he had accepted nothing from them, relying rather on the hard-earned assistance of the Macedonian brethren. He refused the help of the rich, and accepted that of the struggling poor. He refused the help of the Corinthians, he said (2 Cor. 11:12), that he might cut off occasion from them that desired occasion—that he might not give them cause to glory that they had supported him.

How much this tells us of the confidence of his intimacy with the brethren and sisters of Philippi—that he did not hesitate to share the meager resources of their poverty with them! There were no puffing-up, pride-gratifying riches here—no danger that the well-to-do would glory over him that of their abundance they had patronizingly supported this indigent wanderer, among their various charitable hobbies. Rich Philippians—powerful in their poverty! Poor Corinthians—impotent in their opulence!

Bro Growcott - BYT 4.39

12 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.

It was a state of mind that had to come by a process of learning. Jesus said: "Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart." And of the Son of God himself it is recorded, "He learned obedience by the things that he suffered."

This word "instructed" means to be initiated into divine mysteries. It is the only place it occurs in the Scriptures.

Bro Growcott - BYT 4.39

13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

That was the glorious secret into which he had been initiated, and it must be ours.

"When I am weak, then am I strong."

When I most fully realize and am impressed with my utter helplessness, then am I most strong through the transforming power of Christ.

Bro Growcott - BYT 4.39

Paul did not plead weakness as an excuse for failure. He knew he was weak, and could of himself do nothing, but he knew too that adequate strength had been promised if his faith would reach out and take hold of it.

That was his secret, and that has always been the secret. The faithful men whom Paul lists in his epistle to the Hebrews were not supermen, but they knew the secret of POWER THROUGH FAITH. And so--

"Out of weakness they were made strong" (Heb. 11:34).

Isaiah records (40:29)--

"He giveth power to the faint; to them that have no might he increaseth strength."

David says (Ps. 105:4)--

"Seek the Lord, and HIS strength."

"Blessed is the man whose strength is in Thee" (Psa. 84:5).

"The God of Israel is He that giveth strength unto His people" (Psa. 68:35).

"In the day when I cried Thou answeredst me, and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul" (Psa. 138:3).

This task of subduing the flesh by the power of God is the principal task of life.

Bro Growcott - BYT 4.10.

20 Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

This dare not be just a form of words, or an occasional remembrance.

"Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are, and were created" (Rev. 4:11).

Let us keep that before us as a continual perspective of the purpose of our life and walk in the world. Our part in the glorious, unbounded future depends upon whether our lives and characters contribute to the glory and pleasure of God.

Bro Growcott - BYT 4.39

21 Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren which are with me greet you.

Not just "all saints," but "every saint"—each one separately and individually. A beautiful concluding thought—"Salute every saint in Christ." Consider them all, over and over, one by one, in loving and prayerful remembrance, after the wonderful example of the aged apostle, that the whole body, fitly joined together according to the effectual working of every part, may grow up in Christ unto the edifying of itself in love.

Bro Growcott - BYT 4.39