Steadfastness: Key to Success

 

 

Philippians 4:1-9

 

4:1, “So stand fast in the Lord, dearly beloved.”

 

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Becoming of heavenly citizen — When weak run, the strong stand

 

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Guilt and condemnation come at failure to stand (Keys to steadfastness)

I. REFUSE TO BE A PART OF DISUNITY: 4:2, “Be of the same mind in the Lord.”

 

 

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These two women in 4:2 were mature enough to have (4:3) “laboured with me in the gospel” — No record as to who is to blame among these faithful women — A deadly poison — destroys testimony regardless of who is right or wrong — Can have unity and not see eye to eye, through love

II. PERPETUAL JOY: 4:4, “Rejoice in the Lord alway.” Joy is within, not based upon any outside stimuli by circumstance or people

 

 

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Paul did not need anything beside Jesus to cause his soul to sing — If one does, that’s senses

 

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Not an emotional high but a settled principle that underlies all storms

 

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Joy operates in dark times, as well as good, because based upon Jesus, not outside evidences

 

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Grounded in unchanging Christ, not changing earthly conditions and people

 

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Antidote to influence of problems and grief caused

III. FORBEARANCE: 4:5, “Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand,” meaning: forbearing — yieldedness — consideration — pliability; but the opposite is hard-headedness and stubbornness

 

 

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A willingness to be satisfied with less than due

 

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A suspense of wrath — a holding back and bearing with

 

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Enduring properly things one dislikes in others

 

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Person who fears loss of prestige, position, or possessions has great difficulty here

IV. RESTFUL MIND: 4:6, “Be careful for nothing.”

 

 

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This is not an isolated teaching, but a basic Bible principle for Christian living. If we do not obey it we are in sin.

 

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Literally, not even one thing, under any situation

 

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Suggests the pondering man so easily falls into

 

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Forbids the continuance of this habitual action

 

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Worry comes from sense of inadequacy — feeling of incapability — Obligation appears too big to carry

 

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Pride, self-sufficiency, and independence is main cause, as one thinks he ought to be able to handle the situation

 

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Victory must come here, to be a stable Christian

V. COMMUNICATES WITH GOD: 4:6, “In every thing by prayer…with thanksgiving”

 

 

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Prayer of faith communicates, not just prayer

 

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Prayer demonstrates trust in God to lead and not ability of flesh

VI. PROTECTIVE PEACE: 4:7, “The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

 

 

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Peace is inward, from God, not based on outside situations but inside relation

 

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Peace comes from within, is not produced by outside stimuli of situations or people

 

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Peace is through knowledge that Jesus is with you regardless of outside world.

VII. CLEAN THOUGHT LIFE: 4:8. Admirable

 

 

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God has established an avenue of mind thinking to enable to live victoriously

— II Corinthians 10:4-5; Isaiah 26:3

 

VIII. WALKER, NOT JUST TALKER: 4:9, “Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard…DO.”

 

 

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All responsible for response to truth

 

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Truth is designed to invoke action

Hypocrisy: Is not based on ignorance, but refusing to let knowledge guide one’s conduct.

 

— Knowledge not translated into action is disobedience

— Maturity is not what one knows, but does.

 

 

Steadfastness

 

Key to Success

 

INTRODUCTION: Philippians 4:1, “So stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.” Paul loved his brothers and sisters in the Lord. He not only exhorted them, he encouraged them and rebuked them. Jesus loved, but He also exhorted, encouraged, and rebuked as well. You and I are now children of God, heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ; therefore it is the natural, becoming thing that we should stand fast. When the weak run, the strong stand. We’re not strong within our own strength, but we’re strong in the might of Jesus Christ. You and I can’t stand the storms of life, they are too big for us. However, Jesus inside of us endues us with ability and power to enable us to have victory in ALL the storms of life. This is why He says, “Not my might, nor by power, but by my Spirit” (Zechariah 4:6).

The only way you can stand is by knowing the Word of God. If you don’t know the Word of God when the storms come, you will have nothing to stand upon, nothing to hold to, and you will become weaker and weaker. When you become weak you come under condemnation and guilt because you don’t know the Word of God. The devil will bombard you and accuse you all the days of your life. Guilt and condemnation come at failure to stand. Any time a Christian fails to stand, guilt and condemnation come, because the enemy is going to bring it.

The Bible says there is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. When you don’t stand, when you fail, you have sinned; but praise God for I John 1:9, “If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins…” If you fall, quickly repent. If you don’t, guilt and condemnation will come. It will steal your life, joy and peace.

Paul knew this, therefore his exhortation was to stand fast in the Lord. In this chapter we will observe some keys to steadfastness — keys that will help you to be steadfast. Saints, if you don’t know how to be steadfast and stable in Christ, then you’ll not be able to live joyfully.

I. REFUSE TO BE A PART OF DISUNITY. In Philippians 4:2, Paul said, “Be of the same mind in the Lord.” In the second verse you will see two women referred to. They were mature enough to have “laboured with me in the gospel” (4:3). They laboured with Paul; they walked with Paul in ministry. It is not just the immature who fall into disunity. You can be mature in the Lord and still come into disunity. No one is free from this attack of the enemy. Paul tells them to refuse to be a part of disunity — “Be of the same mind in the Lord.” There is no record as to who is to blame among these faithful women. Paul doesn’t say which one is to blame, but he tells them to be of the same mind.

Disunity is a deadly poison — it destroys the testimony, regardless of who is right or wrong. You can have unity, through love, and not see eye to eye. This is what love is all about. If every Christian is expected to dot every “i” and cross every “t” just alike, there will be disunity. This is why there is so much disunity in the body today. Different people see it different ways, however love can bridge the gap. Love will overcome and overlook the imperfections of each other; love covers a multitude of sins. It covers them and hides them, rather than always exposing them. This is one of the big problems Christianity is having today — disunity.

The Apostle Paul said, “I rejoice that Christ is preached.” Our responsibility is to lift up Jesus Christ, the Son of God. If we will preach “Jesus,” the Word of God will work in our lives to straighten out the other inconsistencies.

There is no record as to who is to blame among the Philippians. However, the testimony is destroyed regardless of right or wrong. Whenever God’s people get into disunity it causes damage, regardless of who is right or wrong. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Christian friend, refuse to be a part of disunity.

Here is how the devil operates. He brings division here and division there in different parts of the body of Christ. Next thing you know, because one demands that you either agree with him or not agree with him, if you don’t accept his way of teaching, then he marks you off. The Word will divide just how far you’re going to go with the Lord. If you go a little distance with the Lord, and you stop, the Word divides you.

When I got hold of the Word that said, “speak in tongues,” believe you me, it divided me, it separated me. When I started speaking in tongues, it caused division. When I started laying my hands on the sick, it caused division. When I began raising my hands and shouting and praising God, when I started obeying the Word, it divided me from some of my brothers and sisters. I’m not talking about lost people — it divided me from some of my brothers and sisters who are just as saved as I am, who are going to heaven just as much as I am — but it divided because we believed differently. The farther you go with the Lord Jesus Christ, saints, the narrower the way, the fewer the options, and the fewer people you’ll find who are willing to submit to the Word to that extent.

I boldly preach the Word of God, but I’m a lover, not a fighter. I don’t fight against flesh and blood — it’s a spiritual war. If you’re going to be steady and faithful you’ll have to refuse to be in disunity. If you don’t refuse to be in disunity, the devil will always keep things stirred up. Somebody is always going to be saying something about you.

Saints, when you start getting a knowledge of the Word of God, if you’re not careful you’ll start fighting about it. I have come to realize that the ministry I am a part of is just like one stroke in the painting of the whole ministry of Jesus today. The total ministry of God all around the world is like a painting. I am only one stroke. I believe we’re going to be reaching millions of people, but we’re still just one little stroke in the picture. I’m going to stroke my little stroke until Jesus comes — our ministry here at the Christian Teaching Center may be just one little stroke of the full picture of what Jesus is doing, but we’re just going to do what the Lord has called us to do. If everybody would just go ahead and do what the Lord has called them to do, and not be fighting and battling with each other, the picture would be completed much sooner. This doesn’t mean we are not to preach the truth; it doesn’t mean we are not to boldly bring forth the Word. But we have to realize that if we’re going to be steadfast we cannot be a part of disunity.

II. PERPETUAL JOY. There has to be perpetual joy. This is a key to steadfastness. Philippians 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the Lord alway.” Joy is within; it’s not based upon any outside stimuli by circumstances or people. Jesus says, “My joy I give you.” The joy of the Lord is WITHIN you. Outside circumstances or situations can make you happy; they can tickle your flesh and they can appease your mind. In order to rejoice in the Lord always, realize God’s joy is WITHIN you; it has nothing to do with what is going on outside. If there are troubles and problems outside, I still have the joy of the Lord and I can still rejoice in the midst of the storm, because I’m not looking at the circumstance. I’m not looking at the situation to receive my joy — I’m looking to Jesus. My joy is the joy of the LORD.

Paul needed nothing other than Jesus to cause his soul to sing. Most Christians today don’t rejoice in the Lord always because they are wanting some circumstance or some situation or some person to do something, then they will be able to get excited and happy. Paul had an inward relationship with Jesus Christ that caused his soul to sing even when in prison. His soul sang when they were putting the stripes upon his back. The outward circumstances had nothing to do with the joy and the personal relationship with Jesus inside of him. He could still rejoice in the Lord — not in the stripes, not in the bars; but behind the bars and with a whip on his back he could still rejoice in the Lord. Bars and whips can’t change your personal relationship with Jesus Christ unless you LET them. Nothing can change it. What does Paul say in Romans chapter eight? He says, “Nothing shall separate us from the love of God.”

Romans 8:35, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”

Why can’t we be separated from the love of God? Saints, the love of God is inside, in our heart, in our spirit; therefore beatings and troubles and problems cannot separate us from God. Beatings and troubles and problems may hit upon the flesh, and disturb the flesh; but it won’t separate us from the love of God. Because the love of God is within. Remember, Christian, NOTHING can separate you from God’s joy.

When Paul says, “Rejoice in the Lord,” he’s not talking about an emotional high. People have emotional highs because of circumstances or situations. The joy of the Lord is a settled principle that underlies all the storms. Joy operates in dark times as well as in good times, because it is based upon Jesus, not on outside evidences. Do you understand now why you can rejoice in the Lord always? By concentrating on that personal relationship with Jesus within. There can be storms and troubles and problems, everything can be bombarding you, and you still have joy and peace. The whole purpose of all this stuff hitting you is to try to break your relationship with Jesus inside.

All the troubles and all the problems and everything outside can come against me, but if I keep my relationship right between Jesus and me on the inside, then right in the middle of that storm the joy is going to roll forth. The laughter will come forth — but if I let the trouble, the storm, the problem, the circumstance, or a person get to me inside, I enter into sin. Anger, resentment, bitterness, etc. will cleave and move between me and the Lord. Then my inward relationship is disturbed, and that blocks the joy from coming forth.

The key to steadfastness is PERPETUAL joy. How long is Jesus with you? Is He continually with you? or does He just come and go? He is with you always, therefore you can have His joy always. Troubles, problems, persecution, ridicule, mockery can come; but at the same time, always inside is the joy of the Lord. I see the storm, I see the trouble, I see the problem; but I know that Jesus is inside of me. So I just say, “Praise God, I know what the storm says, I know what the trouble says, and what the person says, but Jesus inside of me is GREATER.” Perpetual joy then reigns supreme. Paul didn’t need anything but Jesus. If Paul had needed anything beside Jesus, he couldn’t have sung in prison. If you need something today to cause you to rejoice, beside Jesus, you’re wanting something to feed your flesh. Does the Scripture say rejoice in the Lord, or rejoice in feelings, rejoice in the circumstances? It says, “Rejoice in the LORD.”

Why does the devil bring the outside problems, saints? He wants to bombard you and take away your joy. He wants to make you think you don’t have the joy of the Lord. My body could tell me all day long that I’m not saved, but I’m saved. Circumstances and situations can say, “Rev. Willis, you have nothing to be joyful about.” But I’d say, “Liar!” Because I still have Jesus, I don’t care what kind of storm is going on outside. This is a key to steadfastness: when you realize it doesn’t make any difference what circumstance or what situation you are in, Jesus is still inside you. Be grounded in the unchanging Christ, not changing earthly conditions and people. Joy is grounded in the unchanging Christ. If you’re basing your joy and rejoicing in the Lord upon changing earthly conditions and people, then sometimes you’ll rejoice and sometimes you won’t. If you will base your joy upon the unchanging Christ, you can rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS.

Joy is an antidote to the influence of problems and the grief they cause you. When troubles and problems, heartaches and fears come; when things are not working out the way you think they ought to, the joy of the Lord is still there and you can rejoice. He will never leave you nor forsake you. He that is in you is greater than he that is in the world; and because He’s with you, He’ll never leave you, He’ll never forsake you; rejoice in the Lord in the midst of the storm and it will be an antidote to what the storm is trying to do.

You have to rejoice in the Lord always in order to be obedient to the Word. You may say, “Brother Willis, I don’t have to if I don’t want to.” Then that makes you disobedient to the Word, and when you’re disobedient to the Word you’re a lame duck. You’re just sitting there waiting for the devil to snare you and involve you in things you have no business being involved in.

III. FORBEARANCE. Philippians 4:5, “Let your moderation be known unto all men. (Because) The Lord is at hand.” Jesus is within you and within me, therefore we need to let our moderation be known to all men. Let’s look at the word “moderation.” It means forbearing, yieldedness, consideration, pliability. The opposite is hard-headedness and stubbornness. One of the keys to steadfastness is to be forbearing; not obstinate, hard-headed, stubborn, or rebellious, but yielded to the Word of God — to have consideration for your brothers and sisters, have consideration for the Word of God. Be pliable and let God do a work in you.

The word “forbearing” means willing to be satisfied with less than your due. Most people want their “rights.” It’s a suspense of wrath, a holding back, a bearing with. It’s enduring properly things you dislike in others. Forbearance is so important, because all of us have different backgrounds; different educational backgrounds, we were raised in different environments, taught different things. We all have different mannerisms and ways — this is where forbearing comes in. Notice I said enduring things PROPERLY. You can just endure them and put up with them. That’s not proper endurance. A lot of people endure things, but they don’t endure them properly. If you’re not forbearing, saints, you’ll always be quick to jump and hit and snap and bite. You will always be hitting and knocking on people.

An individual who fears loss of prestige, position, or possessions has great difficulty here. Whenever you’re not forbearing with people, it signifies you have a fear of losing something. “Well, they’re not giving me the proper respect.”

The Scripture says, “Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.” Therefore, every Christian must learn to be forbearing with all people, in the Lord. When you can learn to be forbearing with your brothers and sisters in the Lord, you’ll not have nearly as much difficulty with the heathen. Many times the reason we have so many problems in contact with the world is because we have the same problems in our Christian lives and our family. We’re Christians; we’re in the family of God, part of the body of Christ. If you have problems with your brothers and sisters, and you get out in the world system, the devil is going to have somebody get your number. The place forbearance starts is in the family, at home. My wife and I were both from the same place, but we were raised a lot differently. Even though my wife and I were raised three miles apart and went to the same school, when we got married I found out she was a lot different from me. I rolled my toothpaste from the bottom and she squeezed hers from the top! That’s a petty thing, but it goes from there — we are forbearing with one another.

A key to steadfastness is perpetual joy. If you don’t move in perpetual joy you’re not going to be able to be forbearing, because there is always going to be somebody who will squeeze the toothpaste the wrong way and do something you don’t like. Forbearance is a necessary part of the Christian life.

IV. A RESTFUL MIND. Philippians 4:6 says, “Be careful for nothing.” Listen to me carefully: this is not an isolated teaching, but a basic Bible principle for Christian living. Refusing to worry is a basic Bible principle to enable you to be steadfast. If you don’t realize that not worrying is a basic Bible principle, you will think it’s all right for a Christian to worry. Worry is sin, and will hinder your relationship with Jesus. Your joy will not flow forth and you’ll not be able to be forbearing.

Let’s look at this a little closer. Philippians 4:6, “Be careful for nothing,” literally means not even one thing, under any situation. It says, “Don’t you worry about one thing under any situation.” “Why can’t I worry, Brother Willis?” Worry reveals distrust in God, exposing the fact you don’t believe God will work it out. That’s why you worry. The only reason worry comes is because you don’t believe God can work the situation out. As long as YOU are trying to work it out, you’re going to worry. Whenever you start trusting God to work it out, then you can rest in peace. Worry always comes when self is trying to work things out.

It suggests the pondering which man so easily falls into. “Be careful for nothing; don’t worry.” Man’s mind easily falls into pondering his situations and circumstances. “What if this happens? What if that happens? So-and-so got in a car wreck and it killed him; So-and-so had that pain in her body and it turned out to be cancer,” etc., etc. — pondering, wondering. What if, what if, what if? Saints, be careful for NOTHING! Whenever you start pondering, you’re placing yourself in a dangerous position.

“Be careful for nothing” — the Greek tense forbids the continuance of this habitual action. People, by nature, are worriers. All at once you come to Jesus, and all you’ve done all your life is worry. Then you read the Bible and it says, “Don’t worry” (Matthew 6:25-33). Your mind says, “Aw, ridiculous, foolish, illogical.” But God forbids the continuance of this habitual action.

Worry comes from a sense of inadequacy, a feeling of incapability. The obligation appears to be too big to carry. Why do you worry? When do you worry? You worry when you face some situation and you feel inadequate. You feel you are incapable of handling it, amen? You feel like the obligation appears too big to carry. “I can’t carry that, I can’t do that” — so you worry. The Bible says, “Rejoice in the Lord always,” and do you know you can feel inadequate about that, and worry, and come under guilt and condemnation? You can’t obey the Word within yourself, unless you know your relationship with Jesus is right. Pride, self-sufficiency, and independence are the main causes, as one thinks he should be able to handle the situation. Victory must come here in order to be a stable Christian.

“Be careful for nothing,” literally not even one thing, under any situation. This is a Bible principle. You need to go through the Bible and get it settled in your heart — just as surely as the Bible is against murder, it’s against worry — because worry will kill a Christian. Worry will steal your joy, and anything that will take your joy is sin. Come to the place you realize that if you’re going to be a steadfast Christian, you must come against worry and fight the battle of faith against worry, and refuse to worry. There will always be many circumstances and many situations to get you worrying — those are some of the storms that try to take your joy away and keep you from having a perpetual relationship with Jesus.

Can every Christian conquer worry? “If thou canst believe, all things are possible.” “He that is in you is GREATER than he that is in the world — you are MORE than a conqueror through Christ Jesus — the love of God IS shed abroad in your heart — the joy of the Lord IS your strength — the peace that surpasseth understanding IS yours.” Look at what God says, then look to the circumstance or situation, and then realize you would rather believe God. Believing Him is always the best way.

You must have a restful mind, and the way to have a restful mind is to stop worrying. You can’t conquer the problems of life, not in the flesh. But Jesus inside of you can enable you to conquer them.

V. STEADFASTNESS COMMUNICATES WITH GOD. Philippians 4:6 says, “In every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving…” It’s the prayer of FAITH that communicates with God, not just prayer. Prayer demonstrates your trust in God to lead, and not your ability of the flesh. When you’re facing a circumstance, or situation, or a storm is brewing or coming your way, when you look at the circumstance, situation or problem, your mind computes; and it can’t figure a way out. That is when you start worrying — that’s sin. You just cut your joy, and you’re not forbearing any more. When you do that you’ve sinned, and you give the devil what he needs to operate.

Here’s what you should do: Look at the storm, see the problem, see the circumstance, see the people who are saying this and that about you; then turn and look at Jesus, and keep on rejoicing in the Lord always. Be forbearing toward the people coming against you, refuse to worry; then when you pray you can pray in faith. If you stop rejoicing and start worrying, and you’re not forbearing, don’t worry about praying in faith — you can’t. All you can do is pray; because the attitude you have is in disobedience to the Scriptures. You have blocked the prayer of faith. “Rejoice in the Lord always; let your moderation be known to all men.” Any time you disobey the Word of God — if you worry, if you’re not forbearing, if you don’t rejoice in the Lord always — what makes you think you can pray the prayer of faith?

Too many times Christians are trying to pray the prayer in faith, when they’re not in a spiritual condition or position in order to pray the prayer of faith. The first thing they must do is get their God-ward relationship right, then get their man-ward relationship right; then pray the prayer of faith. If you are in disobedience to the Scripture, then you can’t pray in faith. “Well, Brother Willis, what should I do?” Repent. Say, “Father God, forgive me for not rejoicing in the Lord, which is sin. Because Jesus never changes. Forgive me, Lord, for worrying about this thing — I moved in the flesh.” Any time you start worrying, you’re in the flesh; because you know how worry comes? When you see something you can’t handle, you worry, I guarantee it.

Prayer demonstrates your trust in God to lead, and not the ability of the flesh. Whenever you realize you can’t, make sure your relationship is right between you and the Lord, and then pray the prayer of faith. Don’t pray and ask God to help you until you’re willing to repent and make your life right. There is too much praying going on today by Christians who are not willing to obey the Word of God, and yet they want God to manifest the answers and give them so many things.

VI. A PROTECTIVE PEACE. From the Word of God you will see the same principle is with love, joy, peace, and even with faith. Take the faith principle and apply it to all of them. Philippians 4:7 says, “The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep (that means guard) your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” It is God’s peace. Jesus said, “My peace I give to you.” God has given me HIS peace.

Peace is inward, it’s from God; it’s not based on outside situations but inside relationship. Peace comes from within; it is not produced by outside stimuli of situations or people. Peace comes through a knowledge that Jesus is with you regardless of the outside circumstance or situation. If you feel peaceful because the outside situation is right, that’s feeling, that’s flesh. But regardless of the outside situation, you can have peace within because you know that God’s Word is true and Jesus is Lord. Peace comes from within, it is not produced by outside stimuli. If you have to have outside stimuli, or outside situations to appease your mind and your feelings in order to feel peaceful, Satan can control that and change your peace. But the peace within, saints, is due to your proper relationship with Jesus Christ; and nothing outside can touch that if you keep your relationship right with Jesus. Peace comes through the knowledge that Jesus is with you regardless of the outside world.

Now let’s consider joy. If you have to have some outside stimuli (and by outside stimuli I mean some circumstance that looks good to you) in order to make you happy, that’s flesh. If you get joyful because all of the circumstances are good, you are deceived. It’s all right to be happy because everything is going good. But remember, you can have your joy even when they aren’t, because you know Jesus will never leave you nor forsake you.

If you don’t get hold of this principle you’ll never be steadfast. I have the peace of God. My peace with God is not based upon anything that goes on in the flesh; it’s based on my inward relationship with Jesus Christ, the Son of God. When my relationship with Jesus is right, fifty thousand people could be hollering at me, everything could be going wrong; and right in the midst of it I have peace. Jesus does not change. He said, “I’m the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Situations come and go, but Jesus doesn’t come and go — He’s there, period! Praise God for that! Saints, you can begin to be steadfast by knowing that peace is inward. If you’re looking without to decide if you have peace or not, then you’re not looking in the right place. All the devil has to do is change the circumstance and your peace goes. If you have peace as long as people are treating you right, then all the devil has to do is get in there and stir up a storm and cause people to come against you, and your peace goes. Therefore, your peace comes and goes according to the situations. But when your peace is according to your relationship with Jesus, then the situations can come and go, the people can come and go, the problems can come and go, but your peace with Jesus Christ will remain, because you’re keeping yourself in a right relationship with the Son of the living God. And your faith will work.

“The peace of God, which passeth all understanding.” Saints, the Bible tells you it passes understanding. When you see somebody having troubles and problems, yet they are peaceful, doesn’t that pass understanding? What does the mind say? “They’re phoney, they’re fake, they’re just putting on, they can’t really be peaceful.” Yet, praise God, the peace is there.

VII. CLEAN THOUGHT LIFE. Philippians 4:8 says, “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.” If you are going to be steadfast, you must have a clean thought life. If your thought life is clean your faith will work. The devil is going to put evil thoughts in your mind, but you destroy them. If you let a thought stay in there and become pregnant, it will be birthed, out of your mouth, by your face and by your actions. The thought will take over your body, and be born.

God has established an avenue of mind thinking to enable you to live victoriously. God, in His Word, has established the way your mind is to function. If you don’t function that way, then don’t expect to get the results.

II Corinthians 10:45 says, “(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” What does that mean? Any thought that exalts itself against the Word, any thought that contradicts the Word of God — cast it down. If you don’t cast the thought down, it’s going to void the Word of God in your mind. Cast down imaginations and thoughts that exalt themselves (that challenge) the Word of God. The Word of God says in Philippians 4:8 to think only on those things that are just, holy, lovely, honest, and of good report. II Corinthians 10:5 says, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God.” If a thought is not true, just, lovely, honest, pure, or of good report, cast it down, because it is exalting itself against that which God has told you to think upon. The Christian now has a pattern for thinking. God in His Word has established for you the pattern you must think, the pattern you must talk, the pattern you must walk, if you’re going to receive the proper results from Him. If you follow the blueprint, you get the results.

Isaiah 26:3 says he whose mind is stayed on Jesus shall have perfect peace. Jesus is the living Word. If your mind is not stayed on the Word, then you’re not going to have peace. It’s just that simple.

VIII. WALKER, NOT JUST A TALKER. Philippians 4:9 says, “Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard…do.” All Christians are responsible for response to truth. Truth is designed to invoke action. Paul says, “The things you have learned, received and heard — do them.” This is why you go to a faith-filled service, to hear the Word of God, not just to learn it in your mind. That’s the first step. You simply want to learn it so you can do it. You come to hear and learn so you can practice; but if you come and hear and learn, and don’t practice, then James says you’re deceiving yourselves (James 1:22). So if you go week after week and hear the Word of God taught and you don’t practice it, then you’re deceiving yourself.

Once you become a hearer and doer of the Word, you become a threat to the devil, because you now have the knowledge to practice what you’ve heard. If you are continually just a hearer, the devil snatches away the Word of truth.

Hypocrisy — what really is hypocrisy? Hypocrisy is not based on ignorance, but refusing to let knowledge guide one’s conduct. Knowledge not translated into action is disobedience — that’s hypocrisy. Maturity is not what one knows, but what one does. Being a hypocrite is not based on ignorance. If a person doesn’t know what to do, that’s not being hypocritical. Hypocrisy is when you have heard but you don’t do, refusing to let knowledge guide your conduct. Whenever you have heard the Word of God, you have learned the Word of God, and received the Word of God, and then refuse to let that Word guide your life, you are in hypocrisy.

I’m going to use a simple example. Philippians 4:4 is the number one quoted Scripture in charismatic circles. “Rejoice in the Lord alway.” You KNOW it. Do you know what hypocrisy is? Not doing what you know. That means you have heard that, you’ve received it, you believe it — but if you don’t practice it, you are a hypocrite in that particular area. Whenever you’re a hypocrite in any area, it will void your faith. It will destroy your love, your joy and your peace, and keep you from walking with Jesus. “Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard…do.” Whenever you don’t do them, in that area you are a hypocrite. Hypocrisy is to know what God says and not do it. You can justify it, but it’s still hypocrisy. And whenever you’re a hypocrite, don’t expect your faith to be working very well.

I know what the key to victory is. You don’t have to know much. Just start doing the little you know. That is why God blesses me. I don’t know much, really. I’m a Bible teacher, but what I know, believe you me, I’ve got it. You may say, “Brother Willis, why don’t you preach a lot more?” I don’t know a lot more. I don’t know a lot more about these other areas. But I’ll tell you what I do know — I know that whatever I do know, I’m responsible for, and I’m increasing in it. When my knowledge increases, my walk increases.

What you’ve learned, and received and heard — Do! It’s not your talk — it’s your walk. You can talk from now on out, but if you don’t walk, you don’t receive. It’s time Christians quit talking and start walking. This is the key to steadfastness.

Are you going to be steadfast with Jesus? Make this good confession: “Father, I thank You that Your Word is true. You said it, and that settles it. Whether I believe it or not doesn’t change it — it’s true, just because YOU said it. Father, I want the benefits, so that means I’ll have to be a doer, I’ll have to be a walker, and not just a talker. Father God, in Jesus’ name I ask You to help me to walk it. The flesh fights, the flesh kicks, and gets mad; but the spirit wants me to obey the Word of God. And in my heart, Father God, I want to obey Your Word. This IS the desire of my heart, the honest desire of my heart — to obey the Word of God. But I know I can’t do it within myself, with fleshly efforts. I must have Your help. So Father, in Jesus’ name, I claim YOUR help to be a doer of the Word. I refuse to remain a hypocrite. I refuse to keep on having the knowledge I have and not obey it. Amen.”

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