Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: In a world like ours with everything that is going on in world events and the Christmas season, peace is a major concern, isn’t it? The problem is everyone wants peace but no one has a clear answer on how to get it.

Finding Peace in a Season of Stress

Philippians 4:1-9

Lucinda Norman writes of her experience Christmas shopping at the mall. People had been pushing, elbowing and cutting in front of her all day. During a 10 minute extra 10% off special, one woman grabbed a lace table cloth from her hands, looked her in the eye and said, “Mine!” She yanked it back and won. By 4 pm her mood was belligerent. She met some friends at a mall restaurant and flagged down a server. She barked, “I need a hot tea now!” The waitress snapped back, “I’m not your server. Wait your turn.” Lucinda responded, “Lady, I’ve been waiting my turn all day. Bring me some tea!” But the waitress ignored her. A few moments later, a friend young man came to their tables and said, “I’m Rob, your waiter.” After he took their order, Lucinda watched Rob as he helped the rude waitress with her tray. He greeted the other customers and staff with a smile on his face. In the midst of all of the hurried customers and chaos of the season, he had a polite and unhurried atmosphere of calm. When he refilled her tea, Lucinda noticed a siver ring on his hand made of connected letters spelling Jesus. And then she writes, “From that moment, my attitude changed. This young man’s example had reminded me of the peace that Christ came to bring.” And for the rest of the day, Lucinda enjoyed shopping, opened doors for other and let others in front of her in the checkout line, all in an atmosphere of peace.

In a world like ours with everything that is going on in world events and the Christmas season, peace is a major concern, isn’t it? The problem is everyone wants peace but no one has a clear answer on how to get it. We live in the midst of crowded streets and malls and last minute Christmas shopping and cards that still need to be addressed, parties to attend, homes to decorate, cooking to be done and presents to wrap and the pressure just continues to build on us. This time of year, we need peace more than anything else so what does God say about peace? Look at almost any of the prophecies or announcements of the angels of the birth of Christ and you’ll find the words, “Peace.” Isaiah prophesied, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Zechariah says, “He will proclaim peace to the nations.” Zec. 9:10b Micah add, “He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord,…And he will be our peace” Micah 5:4-5 The promise of God is that we have at our fingertips a “peace that passes all understanding” through Jesus Christ. But when we look at the reality of our lives, they are instead filled with worries, stresses and strains.

So how do we find peace and what is it really? There’s the story of a young art student who was asked by the professor to paint a picture of peace. When he was almost done, the professor approached the young man’s paints and was surprised. On the canvass was painted storm clouds, war, sickness and death. But in the middle of it was painted a tree and on one of its branches was a little bird with its wings spread wide and the bird was singing. The was perplexed and said, this as an assignment about peace. And the young man responded, “I did. You see the little bird is at peace in his surroundings because he believed in God’s promise that he would never be given more that he could bare.”

That’s the type of peace God assures us but how do we attain it? There are three aspects of peace. The first is peace with God. That comes first through accepting his forgiveness in your life. We who are sinners have been offered forgiveness through the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. It’s a free gift. You can’t buy it or earn it but you must accept it. That’s what receiving Holy Communion is all about. When we have received and accepted God’s forgiveness, then we can rejoice and know that we are once again united with God. The second aspect of peace with God comes in knowing God’s will and then pursuing it and living it out. Peace comes when you know you are living as God intended. Do you know God’s will and are you living it out? Mark Christian writes, “One of the keys to understanding our relationship to God is in understanding that God wants us to obey Him not for His sake but for ours. God loves us so much that he wants us to avoid the pitfalls and disappointments in life. He knows that when we take on the attitude of Christ, we be happy and satisfied. Our obedience to Him is to our great benefit in our lives and forever. Our God is a God of peace and wants us to enjoy peace, but that peace comes out of obedience to His will for our life.”

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