The Transmission of the Knowledge of Christ
Philippians 4:9
Those things, which you have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

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. This verse is supposed by some to close the letter. The remaining verses are considered to be the postscript in which the apostle gracefully acknowledges the generous contributions he had received from them through the hands of Epaphroditus. The text directs attention to the transmission of the knowledge of Christ. Observe -

I. This knowledge of Christ is to be transmitted FROM MAN TO MAN. "Those things, which ye have both learned, and received," etc. It is suggested that the transmission of this knowledge includes two things.

1. Teaching on the part of the minister. Paul had received the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:3; Galatians 1:12), and received it as a message, received it to communicate. This he did - did to the Philippians as well as to others. He did it in two ways.

(1) By words. "And heard." After his commission Paul used all his oratoric force for this purpose. He spoke to men rationally, devoutly, intelligently, earnestly, and with invincible persistence. The story of Christ is to be handed down from man to man by human lips. The pen can no more do the work of the tongue in this respect than the moon can do the work of the sun. Under the influence of the former the landscape will wither and the rivers will freeze.

(2) By example. "And seen in me. Paul embodied the gospel. His life confirmed the doctrine that his lips declared. In him, as in his Master, the word became flesh." Here, then, is the Divine way of transmitting from generation to generation the story of Christ. Men have tried other ways and have signally failed; hence the wretched moral condition of the world to-day. This way is, to a great extent, practically ignored.

2. Learning on the part of the hearer. "Ye have both learned, and received, and heard." A man may tell the story of Christ with the utmost accuracy and fullness. The spirit of the story he may breathe in his life and embody in his conduct, but it is only vitally transmitted so far as it is learnt by the auditors. We live in an age when people, through a vitiated moral taste, theological prejudices. and sectarian proclivities, turn away their ear from the true teachers of their time. They resort to places where they can be tickled, not taught, flattered, not corrected.

II. This knowledge of Christ is to be transmitted IN ORDER TO BE PRACTISED. "Those things which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do. A gospel sermon should never be regarded as a lecture on philosophy, literature, or art - a mere subject for speculative thought or a subject of discussion. The gospel is a law, it comes from the highest authority and with a binding force. What is said is to be done, not merely approved, criticised, thought on, or sighed about, but done. The ideas communicated are to be translated into actions, and such actions will ever be Christly in spirit and tendency. But into what actions are the conventional sermons of England translated? Turn to the columns of our daily journals and read of the mercantile swindlings, the courtly depravities, idlenesses, and sports, the political intrigues, senatorial slanderings and quarrellings, the barbaric executions, the bloody wars, and other nameless iniquities sanctioned and enacted by the hearers of what are called gospel sermons. Ah me! What boots preaching?

III. The practice of this knowledge of Christ ENSURES THE SUBLIMEST GOOD. The God of peace shall be with you." In ver. 7 we read of having the "peace of God," here of having the "God of peace." To have his peace is something glorious; but to have himself is something transcendently greater. "The God of peace." Elsewhere he is called the "God of salvation," the "God of consolation," the "God of hope," etc.; but this title seems to transcend all others.

1. He is at peace with himself. A moral intelligence to possess peace must be absolutely free from the following things - malice, remorse, forebodings. The mightiest revolutions through all the millenniums and the hostilities of all the hells of the universe awake no ripple upon the boundless sea of his ever-flowing love.

2. He is at peace with the universe. He has no unkind feeling to any sentient being; he contends with no one; he is at peace with all. He contend, forsooth! Does the immovable rock contend with the waves that break at its feet? Does the sun contend with the fleeting clouds? Now, they who translate the gospel into their life shall have the "God of peace" ever with them - with them as the sunny heavens are with the earth. - D.T.

Parallel Verses
KJV: 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.

WEB: The things which you learned, received, heard, and saw in me: do these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

The Force of Example
Top of Page
Top of Page