Gentleness Without Anxiety

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Gentleness Without Anxiety

Sermon by  Thomas Thornhill Jr

Passage: Philippians 4:5-7



Sunday, January 19, 2020 pm            


We are noting some of Paul’s final instructions to these brethren before he begins to conclude with gratitude.   These are very practical admonitions.   He has addressed the need for unity and peace, and in our last lesson we talked about rejoicing in the Lord always.   Today we notice 2 more admonitions – a gentleness known to all, and instructions concerning anxiety.

Let your Gentleness be known to all men

  1. The word gentleness is a word that means to be forbearing or gracious.   It is associated with the idea of reasonableness or understanding. The KJV says, “moderation”, ASV, “forbearance”.   The NASB says, “gentle spirit”.     The variety of translation shows the challenge of defining it.   But, considering all of these together give us an idea of this word.
    It is the idea of being kind and controlled as you deal with others and with difficult situations (such as trying to get brethren to get along – cf. 4:2-3).
    it is a quality that can disarm others who are stressed or upset about something.
    it is using smooth and calming speech as you engage in dialogue.
  2. It is a word that is descriptive of Christ Jesus – 2 Corinthians 10:1, where he speaks of the meekness and gentleness of Christ.
    It is found in 1 Timothy 3:3 as a qualification for elders
    Titus 3:2, as part of reminding us of general demeanor – including speaking evil of no one, being peaceable, gentle and showing all humility to all men.
    James 3:17 as part of the description of the wisdom that is from above – first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, etc.
    YOU can see the idea of what this word involves by putting all these things together.
    This is a MUCH needed quality among mankind, and a disposition that can make an environment better.
    One source noted that the concept of gentleness involved at least 3 things:
    1) A sweet disposition – someone pleasant to be around
    2) A cooperative spirit that does not insist on having its way – a willingness to yield (See 1 Cor. 13:4-7)
    3) An ability to reason – that is to not be unreasonable.   How many, even among brethren, are simply unwilling to consider the thoughts and motives of others, especially when they disagree with them?
  3. Concerning this gentleness–
    1. Let it be known among all men – let this quality be something that others see in you.   Let it be a part of your character and something that defines you.   It is part of conduct that is honorable among the Gentiles   (1 Peter 2:12).
      1 Thessalonians 2:7, NKJV says, “But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children.”   Different word, but similar idea.
    2. Let it be known among all men – this is not just about brethren (though they are certainly included).   This is about “all men”.
      NOTE: When is it easiest to be gentle?   When you are around your loved ones and in pleasant circumstances. But what when you are dealing with enemies, those angry or bitter?   We STILL need to take this verse and quality to heart.
    3. The Lord is at hand – this is an expression that could mean:
      1) He is nearby (which He always is – you can’t hide from Him); Cf. Matthew 28:20, Hebrews 13:5, 1 Peter 3:12 – the eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, etc.
      2) The time of His return is near.
      Some have used this to speak of the coming destruction of Jerusalem – but not much is said about that in this text except Paul’s warning about Judaizing teachers who will be judged (Philippians 3:2-4)
      BUT, it can also simply mean, we must always be ready because He could return at any time.
      BOTH are plausible and true.
    4. Let us not forget the importance of mercy as we deal with others.   Gentleness is merciful.   Consider James 2:13 – judgment is without mercy to the one who shows no mercy.

Be anxious for nothing –

  1. The word anxious is a word that is described as to be pulled in different directions (Thayer); to have apprehension or concern. There are certainly things and times when concern is appropriate.
    Anxiety and worry are here associated with someone consumed with these concerns, possibly to the point of adversely affection one’s life and interaction with others.   It is one who lets their worries rob them of the joy they ought to have as Christians (Philippians 4:4)
  2. Anxiety is something many, if not most of us, struggle with from time to time, at least to some degree.
  3. We have addressed the problem of anxiety and worry on numerous occasions.   It was a part the sermon on the mount where Jesus dealt with worrying and the solution – trust in God (Matthew 6:25-34). This is a key verse we frequent as we deal with this subject.
    We simply need to be reminded that worrying (not temporary concern) – dwelling on things to the point of worry is NOT good, and can very easily become sinful if not addressed.
  4. Notice our text in dealing with this:
    1. Be anxious for NOTHING. Don’t let anything in this life CONSUME you.   Don’t let anxiety and worries rob you of faith – trusting in God as you ought to.
      Proverbs 3:5, Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;
      Recall Matthew 28:20, Hebrews 13:5, etc.     Again Jesus elaborated on this in the sermon on the mount.
      It is easy to say “I’m not going to worry”, but much more difficult to FROM WITHIN put your trust in God as you ought to.
    2. But in EVERYTHING by prayer and supplication… – Here is part of the solution.
      Paul mentions at least 4 different words about prayer here.
      Prayer – the typical word for praying.
      Supplications – these would be more intense prayers, a begging if you will. This shows the seriousness of our prayers to God.   We are genuine with our concerns and needs.   Philippians 1:4 – in every prayer of mine making request…   BOTH prayer and request are derivatives of the word for supplication. NOTHING superficial here.
      Thanksgiving – being thankful.   Our prayers need to ALWAYS be offered with gratitude toward God and our Lord. If we cannot express our gratitude for what He has already provided, how can we properly ask anything else of Him?
      Ephesians 5:4, rather than the misuse of our tongues, let us give thanks to God.
      Colossians 4:2 calls for us to continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving.
      1 Timothy 4:3-4 – everything we receive and eat should be received with thanksgiving.
      Let your requests be made known to God – a word meaning a formal request. We can go to God.
      QUESTION: For what can we pray?   While there may be things that we are flippant about, this text tells us in EVERYTHING we pray.   Whatever our concerns, take it to the Lord in prayer.   See also James 5:13 – is anyone suffering?   Let him pray. 1 Peter 5:7
    3. And the peace of God, which passes understanding – what is the end result of proper prayers?   The peace of God will give us what we need.   Consider our text – the joy we are to always have, the gentleness we need to deal with others AND relief from our anxieties.
      Do we fully understand this? Not at all! The ways of God are past finding out – Romans 11:33, Ephesians 3:19, etc.
      But when we trust God as we ought to and are serving Him, we can have a peace within, that maybe we don’t even understand, but its there!   Consider John 16:33, while speaking to His apostles, it is an assurance even to us, These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
    4. Will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  The final observation Paul makes, the peace of God guards us within.   We know that God has not promised us a life of ease with no material or physical troubles.     We see all kinds of examples of outward tribulations in scripture, and likely, we deal with some ourselves.
      God didn’t promise to take those away!     Again John 16:33, “In this world you will have tribulations…”;   Matthew 5:10-11 – blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake; 2 Timothy 3:12, Paul even said it WOULD happen (that’s another lesson).
      BUT what we do have is an internal comfort and peace.   Notice Paul mentioned our hearts (that is our emotions and such) and our minds (our will and thoughts), through Christ Jesus.     1 John 5:4 – our faith is the victory that overcomes the world.   Why? 1 John 4:4, You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

And thus we can see Paul’s encouragement to these brethren who were dealing with troubles in Philippi. He encourages them to keep an upbeat attitude and put your trust where it need to be – in God.     That will give us what we need as we continue on our journey toward our eternity. What about you? Is the peace of God within you? Do you have a need we can help you with? If so, let it be known right now.   The Lord IS at hand!