Summary: This message is part two and focuses on Paul's ability to have peace in the midst of his circumstances.
“Hurdles And The Peace Of God”
This is part two of my message “Hurdles and the Peace of God.” Last week I used the example of someone running hurdles during a track meet. I used this example because a person must train specifically to run the hurdles. The hurdles are the same height for the men and the women and with that understanding we know that a short person must apply more of themselves to jump each hurdle versus their taller competitor. Spiritually this is important because an average Christian must work a lot harder to maintain and/or accept God’s peace in their lives when they are dealing with troubles (jumping their hurdles) versus someone who is walking closely with God and remembers how God has brought them through. Believe me when I tell you that I have had many sleepless nights when all I could do was remind myself of where God has brought me from to secure in my mind that He would continue to see me through. During those sleepless night I cannot tell you that I was allowing the peace of God to operate within me in those situations. So what I am telling you in this message is something that I have lived through and will probably go through again as I continue in my own personal faith walk.
I want to start this morning where I closed on last week, Isaiah 26:3. It reads “The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace because he trusts in You.” (NAS) The Amplified Bible reads “You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind (both its inclination and its character) is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You.” I shared with you last week the definitions of the words perfect and constant. Perfect is defined as “complete in all respect, flawless.” Constant is defined as “not changing, continual, persistent.” The peace that has been promised to us is one that is complete in all respect; not changing, but continual and persistent. This morning we will look at this perfect and constant peace in action.
I. Paul’s Imprisonment
When you read the book of Philippians, you find a letter that Paul wrote to the Church at Philippi. When this letter was written, Paul was in a Roman prison. The Church at Philippi was founded by Paul and was one of the first Churches established by him. It would seem that they held a special place in his heart as you read the letter he wrote to them. This Church had helped him financially previously and once they heard he was imprisoned in Rome, they sent Epaphroditus with another gift. What we read in Philippians is a thank you letter from Paul to them for the gift that they had sent him and is the most personal letter Paul wrote to a Church. Epaphroditus had become almost fatally ill while he was with Paul and upon his recovery Paul sent this letter back with him. We will focus on what Paul wrote in the fourth chapter, but I want to read a few versus before we get there.