“I Can Do All Things through Christ”

Lesson 40 – Philippians, Colossians, Philemon

Introduction

True, honest, virtuous, and praiseworthy… Which article of faith contains these words?  The thirteenth article of faith. Read it and then look closely again at the first half of the article of faith, at the phrase “the admonition of Paul.”  What is “the admonition of Paul” and where is it found?  Turn to Philippians 4:8 and compare it to the thirteenth article of faith. When Joseph Smith mentioned the admonition of Paul in the thirteenth article of faith, he was referring to Philippians 4:8, which is part of a letter that Paul wrote to the Saints in Philippi. Today’s lesson will cover this letter and Paul’s letters to the Colossians and to Philemon, all of which were written during Paul’s imprisonment in Rome. These letters discuss attributes we should seek to develop as faithful followers of Jesus Christ.

 

Paul encouraged the Philippian Saints to follow Jesus Christ.

Philip. 1:12-18 Paul was imprisoned in Rome when he wrote to the Philippians. Other members of the Church reacted to Paul’s imprisonment by taking up the opportunity to proclaim Christ.  Some members today are helped by seeing or hearing about others who are courageous in serving the Lord.

Philip. 2:2-3 Paul exhorted the Church members to be united and avoid pride and division.

Philip. 1:27; Philip. 2:14-15 Paul taught that Church members should be “of one mind” in striving to spread the gospel of Christ and he counseled them to “shine as lights in the world.”  Sometimes individuals do things for “vainglory”, but Paul counseled against this because it is not a Christlike motivation.

D&C 38:24-26 It is important that we not think we are better than other people because we are all the children of our Heavenly Father and are equal in our potential to become like him.

Philip. 2:5-8 Paul taught about Jesus’ humility.

John 8:29 Jesus set the perfect example of being humble and submissive to the will of his Father, saying that all he did was to please his Father. Ponder how you can become more humble and submissive to Heavenly Father’s will in your personal life.

Philip. 2:12 Paul told the Philippians, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling”. His meaning is explained by Pres. McKay…

President David O. McKay explained: “ ‘Work out your own salvation’ is an exhortation to demonstrate by activity, by thoughtful, obedient effort the reality of faith. But this must be done with a consciousness that absolute dependence upon self may produce pride and weakness that will bring failure. With ‘fear and trembling’ we should seek the strength and grace of God for inspiration to obtain the final victory” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1957, 7).

Philip. 3:1; Philip. 4:4 Paul repeatedly counseled the Philippians to “rejoice in the Lord”. Think about how that counsel applies to you today—do you rejoice in the Lord?

Philip. 3:7-8 Paul told the Philippians that he had sacrificed all things for Christ. Paul had sacrificed his own concerns and worldly desires to be a servant of Christ.

Philip. 3:9-12 It is important that we make sacrifices for Christ so that we can know him better and understand the power of his atonement.

The Prophet Joseph Smith taught: “A religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation; for, from the first existence of man, the faith necessary unto the enjoyment of life and salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of all earthly things” (Lectures on Faith [1985], 69).

Philip. 4:6-7 We can obtain the “peace of God” mentioned in Philip. 4:7. To do so, we must devote our lives to serving the Lord as Paul did.

Philip. 4:8 (See also Articles of Faith 1:13) We apply Paul’s counsel in this verse as we turn our attention from worldly things to that which benefits us spiritually. 

Philip. 4:13 Paul testified, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me”. Of course, Paul gained this testimony of Christ by following the Master and serving him with full intent. Consider how you have seen that you can “do all things through Christ” as you have served in your calling, rendered compassionate service, or participated in missionary service. Weren’t your abilities increased and your talents magnified as you served?

 

Paul reminded the Colossians that redemption comes only through Christ.

Col. 1:23; see also Col. 2:5-7 The Saints in Colosse, a small city east of Ephesus, were being influenced by teachings that minimized the importance of the Savior and focused on attaining perfection by observing ordinances and worshiping angels. In his letter to the Colossians, Paul warned against these teachings, exhorting the Saints to continue to be “grounded and settled” in the knowledge that redemption comes only through Jesus Christ.

Col. 2:12-22 Paul taught the Colossians truths about Jesus Christ including their part in his resurrection and the forgiveness he extends. It was important for the Colossians to understand these truths to have a testimony of Jesus Christ that would affect the way they lived.

Col. 1:12; 2 Nephi 9:18; D&C 50:5 The “inheritance of the saints” that we may receive from our Father in Heaven is eternal life with him.

Col. 1:12-14 Christ makes this inheritance possible through his atonement.

Col. 1:10-12; 2 Nephi 9:18; Alma 5:51; D&C 50:5 To receive this inheritance, we must walk in worthiness, be faithful in good works, increase in our knowledge of God, believe in Christ, endure the crosses of the world, repent, and endure to the end.

Col. 1:23 Paul exhorted the Colossians to be “grounded and settled” in the gospel, meaning that they should be faithful to all of the basic principles of the gospel and have their faith founded in Christ.

Col. 1:23 Various reasons or excuses cause some people to be “moved away from the hope of the gospel”.  To avoid that we need to strengthen our testimonies through study, pondering, prayer, and active service in the gospel.

 

Paul taught the Colossians what they should do as the elect of God.

Col. 2:2-3 Paul wanted the Saints to have their hearts “knit together in love” and in the knowledge of God the Father and Jesus Christ. One way that we can accomplish this in our own ward or branch is to bear our testimony—verbally and through loving service.

Col. 2:7 To be “rooted and built up” in Christ is to have a strong testimony of his divine nature and to follow his example of righteousness and devotion to Heavenly Father. Being “rooted and built up” in Christ helps us in times of trial because we have something to hang on to that can truly support us during even the most difficult times.

Col. 3:12-15 Attributes of “the elect of God” listed include mercy, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering, forbearance, forgiveness, charity, peacefulness, and gratitude. 

Col. 3:16-17; see also D&C 1:37; D&C 18:34-36 We let the word of Christ dwell in us, as Paul admonished, when we strengthen each other in testimony and through Christlike service. 

Hymns also strengthen our understanding and testimony of the word of Christ.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks said: “We need to make more use of our hymns to put us in tune with the Spirit of the Lord, to unify us, and to help us teach and learn our doctrine. We need to make better use of our hymns in missionary teaching, in gospel classes, in quorum meetings, in home evenings, and in home teaching visits. Music is an effective way to worship our Heavenly Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. We should use hymns when we need spiritual strength and inspiration” (Ensign, Nov. 1994, 12).

Col. 2:7; Col. 3:15, 17 Paul repeatedly emphasized the importance of being thankful. We need to show gratitude to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ in all circumstances.

 

Paul encouraged Philemon to be forgiving toward Onesimus.

Paul wrote a personal letter to Philemon, a member of the Church in Colosse, regarding Philemon’s slave Onesimus, who had robbed Philemon and run away to Rome, where he met Paul and was converted to the Church. Paul asked Philemon to forgive Onesimus and accept him as a brother in the gospel.

Philem. 1:16 We learn from this epistle about the gospel’s power to transform human relationships.

 

Conclusion

Consider the importance of developing attributes that help us become more like Jesus Christ, such as those mentioned in Paul’s letters to the Philippians, the Colossians, and Philemon.  Read Philip. 4:8 and Col. 3:12-15 and choose one attribute from those verses to work on developing this week.Bottom of Form 1