Philippians 4:5
Let your gentleness be apparent to all. The Lord is near.
Sermons
Christian ForbearanceR. Johnstone, LL. B.Philippians 4:5
Christian ModerationJ. Stoughton, D. D.Philippians 4:5
Christian ModerationH. C. G. Moule, M. A.Philippians 4:5
Deliverance At HandT. Guthrie, D. D.Philippians 4:5
Moderation: a FableDr. Johnson.Philippians 4:5
Near and Distant Relative TermsR. Johnstone, LL. B.Philippians 4:5
The Lord is At HandBishop Montagu Villiers.Philippians 4:5
The Lord is At HandCongregational RemembrancerPhilippians 4:5
The Lord is At HandJ. Stoughton, D. D.Philippians 4:5
The Lord is NearC. J. P. Eyre, M. A.Philippians 4:5
The Nearness of ChristD. Thomas, D. D.Philippians 4:5
The Omnipresence of GodW. Nicholson.Philippians 4:5
The Virtue of ForbearanceT. Croskery Philippians 4:5
Genuine ChurchismD. Thomas Philippians 4:1-6
Various ExhortationsR. Finlayson Philippians 4:1-7
The Life of Joy and PeaceR.M. Edgar Philippians 4:1-9
Rejoicing AlwaysV. Hutton Philippians 4:4, 5
Afraid of JoyH. W. Beecher.Philippians 4:4-8
Amusements in the Light of the GospelDr. Colborne.Philippians 4:4-8
Christian CheerfulnessJ. F. B. Tinling, B. A.Philippians 4:4-8
Christian JoyS. Martin.Philippians 4:4-8
Christian RejoicingC. Girdlestone, M. A.Philippians 4:4-8
Christian RejoicingDean Vaughan.Philippians 4:4-8
Christians Joyful in the LordCanon Chamneys.Philippians 4:4-8
Christ's NearnessMarcus Rainsford.Philippians 4:4-8
Constant Joy in God the Duty of ChristiansN. Emmons, D. D.Philippians 4:4-8
JoyWeekly PulpitPhilippians 4:4-8
Joy a DutyPhilippians 4:4-8
Means of Christian JoyH. W. Beecher.Philippians 4:4-8
No Joy in HeathenismH. J. W. Buxton, M. A.Philippians 4:4-8
No Joy in Infidelity or WorldlinessS. Martin.Philippians 4:4-8
Rejoicing in ChristR. J. McGhee, A. M.Philippians 4:4-8
Rejoicing in GodW. Nevins, D. D.Philippians 4:4-8
Spiritual MindednessC. J. Deems, D. D.Philippians 4:4-8
Sunshine: a Talk for Happy TimesMark Guy Pearse.Philippians 4:4-8
The Christian's JoyCanon Liddon.Philippians 4:4-8
The Duty of RejoicingH. Melvill, B. D.Philippians 4:4-8
The Happiness of ReligionPhilippians 4:4-8
The Motive for RejoicingJ. Hutchison, D. D.Philippians 4:4-8
The Oil of JoyT. L. Nye.Philippians 4:4-8
The Sphere of Christian JoyCanon Liddon.Philippians 4:4-8
Three Elements of Christian CharacterJ. J. Goadby.Philippians 4:4-8
Uninterrupted Christian JoyH. Melvill, B. D., C. H. Spurgeon.Philippians 4:4-8
Why Christians are not JoyfulH. W. Beecher.Philippians 4:4-8
Let your forbearance be known to all men. The Lord is at hand?

I. THE NATURE OF THIS VIRTUE.

1. It is the opposite of contention and aggrandizement, rigour and severity.

2. It is the spirit that enables a man to bear injuries with patience and not to demand all that is rightly his due, for the sake of peace. The apostle corrected the litigios spirit of the Corinthians by asking them, "Why do ye not rather take wrong?" (1 Corinthians 6:7.)

II. THE ADVANTAGES OF THIS VIRTUE.

1. It contributes greatly to the comfort life and the peace of society. There is always a tendency to friction in the relations of life where the spirit of forbearance does not govern them.

2. It contributes to the usefullness of Christian people and promotes the glory of God. This true spirit of Christ will give a man great influence with his fellows and will redound to the credit of the gospel.

III. THE REASON TO ENFORCE THIS DUTY. "The Lord is at hand." Let us bear with others, seeing the time is near when we may expect the Lord to hear with us. All our rivalries and disputes ought to disappear in the light of the judgment morning. - T.C.







Let your moderation be known unto all men
Hamet and Raschid, two neighbouring shepherds of India, in a time of great drought, made a request each of the Genius of Distribution: Hamet for a little brook which would never dry in summer, and in winter never overflow. Immediately the genius caused the fountain to bubble at his feet, and scatter its rills over the meadows: the flowers renewed their fragrance, the trees spread a greener foliage, and the flocks and herds quenched their thirst. Raschid, not satisfied with Hamet's moderate request, desired the genius to turn the Ganges through his grounds, with all its waters and all their inhabitants. As Raschid was looking with contempt upon Hamet and his small request, he heard, on a sudden, the roar of torrents, and saw a mighty stream come rolling on, which was the Ganges broken loose from its bounds. The flood roiled forward into the lands of Raschid: his plantations were torn up, his flocks overwhelmed, he was swept away before it, and a crocodile devoured him.

(Dr. Johnson.)

I. THE PRINCIPLE.

1. As to moderation in certain habits.(1) An ancient moralist tells us that virtue is a medium between two extremes. The extreme opposite to a vice is not a virtue, though everything opposite to virtue must be vice. Virtue is a road which has a hedge and ditch on both sides. Frugality, e.g., is such a road. If you break through the hedge on one side, you fall into wastefulness; if on the other, into covetousness. Humility is another: pride on one side, servility on the other. Magnanimity is bordered by cowardice and rashness.(2) But while virtue is moderation between opposite vices, there is no place properly speaking for moderation in virtue. No man should think of being moderately magnanimous or humble. Neither can there be any moderation in vice — moderate avarice or extravagance.(3) Yet foolish as it looks, there is a great deal of this sort of moderation, and much of what the world calls respectability is nothing else. Many a tradesman would eschew a great fraud, and yet be guilty of minor acts of dishonesty. He would not refuse to pay his creditors, but he thinks nothing of wearing down the health of his servants by over labour. He would not lie, but he has no scruples in over or understating the truth.(4) The proper province of moderation is to regulate those powers, principles, and tendencies in man which have no evil in themselves, but which become evil by absence of restraint; e.g. —(a) The desire of knowledge; the cause and consequences of the first offence should teach us the need of putting a check upon it.(b) So also the desire of power. Acquisitiveness is a natural propensity. If there were no such desire, what would become of the interests of society and civilization? But there is nothing that becomes more destructive when not held in by Christian principles.

2. As to moderation in certain feelings. The other phase of meaning in the word is gentleness. It includes the control of anger. Indignation against evil is virtuous, but resentment, even against an evil doer, is the opposite.

II. THE MANIFESTATION. That our moderation may be known unto all men —

1. It must be decided. There must be no pressing towards the borders of excess, even though not touched. No hard driving at a bargain which would look like avarice. No such demands on servants as would look like oppression; no indulgence which would look like sensuality.

2. It must spring from principle. A man may be moderate in one thing, and not in another. An ascetic in eating and drinking, may be licentious. A man who has no ambition may be avaricious.

3. It must he habitually exercised. How many in their religious connections profess principles which are outraged in the home or in the shop.

III. THE MOTIVE. "The Lord is at hand." We tell men of the injuriousness of evil ways: as they make their bed they must lie upon it. But while forceful, it is an appeal to self-love in its lowest form, and habits formed upon it do not rise higher than mere prudence. Here is the Christian motive.

1. The judgment of the last day is approaching. This anticipation awakens an awful sense of responsibility.

2. But the Lord is an actual presence now. His judgment is passing on us at this moment; and we are now responsible. But is He not a Saviour as well as Judge? at hand to forgive the penitent and help the believer.

(J. Stoughton, D. D.)

The word here rendered moderation in our Bible is connected by derivation and usage with ideas not of control, but of yielding. It is rendered Lindigkeit, yieldingness, giving way, in Luther's German Bible; and I fully believe the interpretation to be right. "Forbearance," "gentleness," are the alternative renderings of our Revised Version, and both suggest the thought of giving way. "Let your yieldingness be known unto all men; the Lord is near." St. Paul is dealing throughout this passage with certain holy conditions necessary to an experience of "the peace of God keeping the heart and thoughts in Christ Jesus." Standing fast in the Lord, harmony and mutual helpfulness in the Lord, rejoicing in the Lord, and prayerful and thankful communion with the Lord, are among these conditions. And with them, in the midst of them, appears this also: "Let your yieldingness be known unto all men; the Lord is near." This connection with the deep peace of God throws a glory over the word and the precept. The yieldingness which is here enjoined is nothing akin to weakness, indolence, or indifference. It is a positive grace of the Spirit; it flows from the fulness of Jesus Christ. What is it? We shall find the answer partly by remembering how, from another point of view, the gospel enjoins, and knows how to impart, the most resolute unyieldingness. If anything can work the great miracle of making a weak character strong, it is the gospel. It can make the regenerate will say "no" to self on a hundred points where never anything but "yes" was heard before. Nothing in the moral world is so immovable as the will of a living Christian, sustained by the power of God the Holy Spirit, on some clear case of principle. I lately read of the uncompromising decision of a Christian man, in high military command in India, fifty years ago. He had accepted office, and £10,000 a year, being far from rich meanwhile in private means, on the condition that he should not be asked to give official countenance to idolatry. The condition was not observed. He was required to sign a grant of money to an idol temple. The East India Company would not give way, nor would their distinguished servant. He resigned his command promptly, and came home without a murmur, and without a compensation. Here, in a conspicuous case, was the unyieldingness of the gospel, a mighty grace which, thank God, is being daily exemplified in His sight in a thousand smaller instances. Yet this very case equally well illustrates from another side the yieldingness of the gospel. From the point of view of principle this admirable Christian was fixed as a rock, as a mountain; from the point of view of self-interest he was movable as air. That it was a sacrifice of self's gain and glory to resign was as nothing in his path. His interests were his Master's. Jesus Christ was in him where by nature self is. He was jealous and sensitive for the Lord; indifferent, oblivious for himself. Yieldingness, in our passage, is in fact SELFLESSNESS. It is meekness, not weakness; the attitude of a man out of whom the Lord has cast the evil spirit of self. It is a blessed thing to be a "moderate" in this sense. A living calm pervades that soul. A thousand anxieties, and a thousand regrets, incident to the life of self, are spared it. It is at leisure from itself, and therefore free for many a delightful energy and enterprise when God calls it in that direction, as well as ready for imprisonment and apparent inutility when that is His will. Nothing does the world's microscope discover more keenly than selflessness in a Christian man or woman. Nothing at once baffles its experience and explanation, and attracts its notice and respect, like the genuine selflessness, the yieldingness, of the grace of God. Let ours, then, "be known unto all men"; not paraded and thrown into an attitude, but kept in practice and use in real life, where it can be put to real tests. And would we read something, in this same verse, of its heavenly secret? It lies before us: "the Lord is near." He is near, not here in the sense of coming soon, but in that of standing by; in the sense of His presence, and "the secret" of it, around His servant. The very words used here by St. Paul occur in this connection in the Septuagint (Greek) translation of the Old Testament, a translation old even in St. Paul's time: "Thou art near (ἐγλύς), O Lord." The thought is of the calm and overshadowing of His recollected and realized Presence; that Divine atmosphere in which bitter things, and things narrow with the contractions and distortions of self, must die, and in which all that is sweet and loving lives. "From the provoking of all men, from the strife of tongues," there is Divine protection and concealment there. St. Paul himself beautifully exemplifies his own words, in this same Epistle, in the first chapter. The "brethren" at Rome who "preached Christ of envy and strife, supposing to add affliction to his bonds," certainly took a very irritating line of action. And their action tried St. Paul. But it did not irritate him.

(H. C. G. Moule, M. A.)

By "moderation" is meant, not temperance in the gratification of our desires generally, but specially temperance or self-restraint in our relations to others, abstinence from anger, harshness, vengeance. Elsewhere in the New Testament, where the original word occurs, the rendering is "gentleness," "clemency," "patience," any one of which is preferable to this ambiguous "moderation." The exact idea is "a considerate and forbearing spirit." The apostle would have us make allowances for the ignorance and weakness of others, knowing how much and constant need we stand in of having allowances made for ourselves, both by God and man. Taken generally, his precept here calls upon us, for example, in our business dealings, to remember that human laws, however carefully devised, may ever and anon, if rigidly enforced, act unjustly and cruelly; and to guide ourselves therefore, in every case, by the broad principles of equity in the sight of God. Similarly, in our judgment of the conduct of men, it enjoins upon us to take a kindly view, wherever this is possible, never believing evil of them until we cannot help it. In the case which seems to be at present specially before Paul's mind, that of a person who is "persecuted for righteousness' sake," he would have the sufferer to form the mildest judgment he can respecting the procedure and character of his enemy; to remember and pity the melancholy darkness of soul which prompts the persecution; and, even if he be in a position to avenge himself, to withhold his hand, and leave the matter with the Lord Jesus. When He comes, all wrongs will be righted (James 5:9).

(R. Johnstone, LL. B.)

I. PROVIDENTIALLY (Psalm 139).

II. SPIRITUALLY. "Christ in you the hope of glory." "Where two or three are gathered in My Name."

III. PERSONALLY. To punish evil and to glorify His own.

(Bishop Montagu Villiers.)

Although corporeally Christ has left this world and is far beyond our mortal ken, yet, spiritually and essentially, He is near at hand to every man. "I am with you always."

I. IN ALL THE OPERATIONS OF NATURE. "In Him all things consist." Nature is not merely His creation: it is His organ, His instrument. He is in it as the soul is in the body, animating and directing every part. He is in all seasons of the year. He flashes in the lightning. He speaks in the thunder. He is in every ray of light and every wave of air.

II. IN ALL THE EVENTS OF HISTORY. In the creations of literature, the progress of science, in all the advancing steps of civilization. Every event of life is an advent of Christ. He stands at the door of our nature and knocks. He originates the good and controls the evil.

III. IN ALL REDEMPTIVE INFLUENCES. In the words of the prophets and apostles; in the ministry of His gospel; in the agency of His Spirit. Conclusion: Let us realize this: eschew evil, pursue good; be heroic in duty and magnanimous in trial. "The Lord stood by me," said Paul.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

Therefore —

I.BE JOYFUL.

II.BE GENTLE.

III.BE TRUSTFUL.

IV.BE PRAYERFUL.

V.BE PEACEFUL.

(C. J. P. Eyre, M. A.)

I. THE DOCTRINE. The words are not applicable merely to some persons, nations, occasions, circumstances, but to all. The Lord is at hand to the pious and the profane; in places of devotion and places of commerce and pleasure. He fills all time and space (Psalm 139).

II. THE OCCASIONS WHICH ARE SPECIALLY CALCULATED TO REMIND US OF THIS.

1. God's visitations in the death of those around us.

2. Our own advancing years.

3. The vicissitudes of the seasons.

4. The march of time towards eternity.

III. THE GROUND AND SOURCE OF THE SINNER'S SAFETY.

1. Redemption in Christ.

2. Regeneration and holiness by the Spirit.

3. Divine friendship.

IV. PRACTICAL EFFECTS.

1. In view of Christ's present and future nearness, men should be ready for His manifestation.

2. Diligent in duty.

3. Dead to the world.

(W. Nicholson.)

Congregational Remembrancer.
I. TO INSPECT OUR CONDUCT. "All things are naked and open to Him," and with Him is no respect of persons (Jeremiah 17:10).

II. EITHER TO APPROVE OR DISAPPROVE OUR CONDUCT. At this moment God is weighing us in the balance of His sanctuary. To be the object of His approbation is the highest blessing. We can then be indifferent to the world's censures. But to be condemned of Him is our heaviest curse.

III. TO REGULATE THE AFFAIRS OF HIS CHURCH AND ACCOMPLISH THE PREDICTIONS OF HIS WORD.

1. To convict the sinner.

2. Edify the believer.

3. Extend His gospel.

IV. TO SUMMON US TO HIS TRIBUNAL. This He does practically at death.

(Congregational Remembrancer.)

I have heard one say, as he bent over a friend who was groaning under the surgeon's knife, It will soon be over! and so Jesus, with tender fellow feeling for their infirmities, consoles His suffering people. Amid your trials, think of that — they will soon be over; sooner, perhaps, than you fancy. Your salvation, not only nearer than when you believed, may be nearer than you suppose; even now the cry may be sounding in heaven — Room for another saint! a crown for another head! and the next turn of the road may bring you in front of the gates of glory.

(T. Guthrie, D. D.)

"Near" and "distant" are relative terms. For the little child, whose limbs soon grow weary, the friend's house is far away, which for his father is but a step from home. So to the child, reckoning by his life, an event seems long past, far away in a hoary antiquity, which to the man on whom have come the snows of many winters, and who reckons by his life, seems to have occurred but yesterday. Now faith, in the measure of its vigour, enables us to see things in the light of God, giving us oneness of view with Him. When, then, our apostle says, "The Lord is at hand," he speaks as one who has been taught to reckon according to the years of the lifetime of the Most High — unbeginning, unending. On the same principle, you remember, in another place, he estimates the Christian's affliction — affliction extending perhaps over threescore years and ten — as "but for a moment," because the standard by which he computes is the "eternal" duration of the weight of glory" which is to follow,

(R. Johnstone, LL. B.)

As an illustration of that, let the gay young man think of Belshazzar's feast. There is the gorgeous oriental palace, with its massive architecture, its huge columns, its gigantic figures, its pictured halls; and there are the thousand lords in their rich robes, and the king, in the pomp of an eastern despot, drinking wine before the thousand. And in the same hour there came forth the fingers of a man's hand, and they wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall of the king's palace; the mysterious hand moves and writes — moves and writes — and there are letters, words burnt into the wall, as with a pen of flame. The king knows not what they mean till the prophet comes to tell; and then their import is found to be, that the miserable man who wears the crown is "weighed in the balances and found wanting," and his kingdom is torn from him. So, though not visibly, yet really, there is over against the intemperate young man, the sensual young man, an omniscient Eye beholding his deeds, and an unerring Hand recording his doom, opposite him in the casino, and in other haunts of dissipation and vice. Here it is: conscience at times makes you tremble, and the minister of the gospel interprets the Divine revelation, and tells you of the wrath to come. "The Lord is at hand;" and as an illustration of that let every man of business read the parable of the rich fool, in the twelfth chapter of St. Luke, and the sixteenth verse. There you have epitomized the history of many a London tradesman: the goods are laid up, not that the soul may take its ease, but that there may be a grand funeral, and much excitement at the reading of the will, and perhaps quarrelling over the property, and a gorgeous tomb in one of the suburban cemeteries, and a scattering of the huge gold heap by some profligate son; and the poor, careful soul who toiled and saved, and made others toil and save, who was at his books till midnight, and grudged the hours of sleep and rest to his poor shopman, where is he? — where is he? To think that men can go on as they do, digging, and delving, and scraping together money, money, money, while death is at the door, and the judgment is at hand, and hell is opening its mouth to swallow up the worldly! "The Lord is at hand." Read as an illustration of that in another way — "And being in the house of Simon the leper, as He sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard, very precious, and she brake the box, and poured it on His head. And Jesus said, She hath wrought a good work on Me; she hath done what she could." And so, whatever you do from love to Jesus in the way of helping men, in the way of checking sin, in the way of saving souls, in the way of lightening misery, He is at hand to notice, to record, to approve, to bless.

(J. Stoughton, D. D.)

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