Summary: Paul deals with the subjects of peace with one another, peace within, & peace with God.
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
CENTRAL CHRISTIAN, BROWNSVILLE, TX
ILL. Have you heard about Tracy Lyperd? Tracy was a beauty queen in VA a few years ago. Shortly after crowning her successor, she drove 250 miles to seek revenge on her ex-boyfriend for jilting her & marrying another. She took along a pistol, a hammer, lighter fluid & matches.
When she arrived at his house & rang the doorbell, it was answered by his new father-in-law. Tracy faked having car trouble, & asked if she could use the telephone. Once inside the house, she took out her hammer & hit the father-in-law on the head. She stunned him, but didn’t knock him out.
What she didn’t realize was that he was an ex-secret service agent. He grabbed her & as they struggled, she pulled the pistol from her purse & tried to shoot him. That’s when the mother-in-law joined the fray & the two of them wrestled her to the floor, holding her until the police arrived.
I have a suspicion that Tracy, with that kind of disposition, was probably never in the running for the Miss Congeniality award. When questioned, she said that she was driven to seek revenge because she needed "inner peace."
PROP. Now, the subject of my sermon this morning is "the peace...which transcends all understanding." That phrase is found in Philippians 4:7. And in the verses surrounding it, Paul deals with the subjects of peace with one another, peace within, & peace with God.
Now, I think you need to realize that peace means "being in a right relationship." So peace with one another means being in a right relationship with one another. Peace within means being alright within, & peace with God means being alright with God.
I. PEACE WITH ONE ANOTHER
A. First of all, Paul tells us that we need to be considerate about & at peace with one another.
But that’s not the attitude of a lot of people today. They’re convinced that if you don’t gripe & complain & argue & fight for everything you want in life, you’ll never get it. So you’ll hear them saying such things as "Me first, & everybody else last," & "It’s my way, or no way!"
But in the church it’s different, isn’t it? I mean, after all, we’re all Christians saved by the grace of God. And since we all have that in common, we always get along with each other, never disagreeing. Right?
Wrong! We do disagree at times. Even though we’re all Christians, wanting to serve our Lord, there are still times that we disagree.
ILL. A couple of years ago a rapidly growing congregation I know very well sent out a questionnaire & asked its members to fill it out & send it back because they were trying to find out what the people felt about certain things. More than 200 members did so, & they compiled the results.
The one thing that the survey revealed most dramatically was that they were a very diverse congregation.
For instance, some thought they ought to go to the bank & borrow all the money they could borrow, buy more land & build all the buildings they needed immediately. But others felt that they shouldn’t borrow at all. Instead, they ought to wait & not build anything until they could pay cash for it.
Some felt they were giving way too much to missions. They wanted to keep the money for themselves, & use it to help pay for their new buildings. But others said, "We’re not giving enough to missions. We need to give more!"
One person responded that the preacher didn’t preach enough on stewardship, & he ought to be encouraging the people to give more. But someone else wrote, "It doesn’t make any difference what the subject is, the preacher always talks about money."
Now that wide a diversity should not surprise us because almost everybody has opinions on almost everything - even in the church. But the question is, what do we do with the diversity?
Do you allow it to cripple you? Do you say, "We’re so diverse we’ll never agree, so therefore we won’t do anything?" Or do you move forward prayerfully, realizing that some will disagree with whatever course you take?
Now the Bible gives us some guidance on this. It teaches that the way for the church to solve the problem of diverse opinions is to select elders who are in tune with God & also in tune with the needs of the congregation. And as they seek God’s guidance in the decisions that have to be made, pray for them, get behind them, & support them.
B. Now let’s look at our text & read what Paul says in Philippians 4:2-3, "I plead with Euodia & I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord. Yes, & I ask you, loyal yokefellow, help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement & the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life."