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Summary: Our world is a place which causes much anxiety but Paul equips us with a response – it is a call to learn to pray properly. As we pray we will know a peace which is superior to anxiety and our hearts will be guarded and prepared.

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You can listen to the full message here:-

http://www.nec.org.au/index.php/listen-to-a-sermon-series/in-christ-you-can/

Message

Philippians 4:6-7

You Can Be Calm

(this sermon uses some Greek and Hebrew - for those who don't know these languages I have put the way to pronounce in brackets)

The wonderful truth about being a Christian is that the transformation which comes to us in Christ is not just about us getting to have a place in heaven for eternity.

Jesus also walks with us to bring practical life changes.

To move from the old self to the new self.

To grow and mature and live … really live.

In Christ you can be a different person … a Spirit transformed person.

That is the motive which Paul has in mind when he writes Philippians 4.

This isn’t about setting out a new set of commands to cause you guilt when you fail.

It is about knowing that Christ loves us enough to want to help us in the journey as we make our way to eternity.

So, out of love, Jesus wants you to know that you can be calm.

Let’s read the verses.

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7

Now, because we are not reading the original we do see it so easily.

But in Greek there is a verbal form called an “imperative”

For want of a better description the “imperative” is basically a call to change, or a command like instruction.

In the verse on the screen here is one of the imperatives (do not be anxious is underlined)

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7

Do not be anxious … it isn’t offered as a useful suggestion.

In fact the way the Greek reads … if we want to go for a very literal translation … says

No more, and keep having no more, anxiousness about anything.

It is a command. Which is an interesting way to get people to stop being anxious.

One of our members, Kylie, is an air hostess. Imagine her giving the talk about wearing your seatbelt and how to put on a life jacket and all those safety things which won’t make a scrap of difference if the plane falls out of the sky.

Afterwards one of the cabin members comes to Kylie an says, “the passenger in 15C is a little anxious and wants to talk to you”.

So Kylie goes to old lady in row 15C and says, “Are you anxious dear?”.

“Yes, yes I am anxious”.

“WELL STOP IT. STOP RIGHT NOW!

Pull yourself together. You’re just being ridiculous”.

Is that what is going on here. Paul is acting like some air-hostess Nazi who couldn’t care less about how you feel?

Obviously it’s not.

There is a command - but the command is in a context.

The context is another imperative (present your requests is underlined)

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7

Keep on coming back to God and let Him know what is going on … again it isn’t offered as a useful suggestion.

Similarly the literal translation says

Make known, and keep making known, your requests.

So what is the message coming through here from these verses?

You can be calm, but to be calm, you need to learn to pray properly.

Now you are thinking … but I do pray.

I do pray about the things that are on my mind and seek to hand them over to God.

I do regularly ask the Lord to give me peace I come to God and cast my cares on Him.

I’ve been asking Him to give me rest.

We do pray. But to remove anxiety God is looking for here is a specific type of prayer. We see what type of prayer is required by having a closer look at the “prayer words” Paul uses.

To help us to understand the meaning we will look at a Bible example of each.

p??se??? (pros-you-kay) = prayer

The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray.

1 Peter 4:7

The prayer being spoken of here is an “end of days” type prayer.

When everything has completely fallen apart.

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