Summary: What a great promise! The peace of God can surround us and stand guard over our hearts and minds.
IT PASSES MY UNDERSTANDING
“Peace that passes understanding”
Philippians 4:4-7 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
A. What a great promise! The peace of God can surround us and stand guard over our hearts and minds. We could stop here, rejoice, and claim the promise and all live in peace but I am afraid that real life is not as easy as that.
B. While sitting at a truck stop with a missionary that was working in the states, we discussed my thoughts about writing on the subject of peace. His response was very sobering. He said, “Why don’t you write on how to have peace when your 16 year old daughter, that had a traumatic experience in life and will never be able to grow past that point emotionally and the parents have to change their whole life to accommodate this.” I knew he was speaking of himself and I could tell by his emotion that this was a painful experience for him. As a pastor I am used to hearing sad stories and sometimes find myself giving the same pat answers that I have heard come from others. I wanted to help, I wanted to fix, but what I really wanted to do was go home. I wanted to leave because I became painfully aware of my inability to bring comfort. Instead, I just sat there with nothing to say. I think I mumbled something like, “I am sorry.” All my seminary training was not going to any resolution. Frankly, none was needed.
C. People need something deeper than clichés. They need real, genuine, authentic love. They need the love of our Heavenly Father and the loving arm of a community to demonstrate that love.
D. As humbling as this is, we have to finally face the fact that we do not have, and are not required to have, all of the answers for people to experience God’s peace.
E. You cannot break peace into a formula. There is no A+B/C= PEACE. You cannot put it in a bottle and sell it.
F. The peace of God is like trying to catch a wave of an ocean in my daughter’s sand bucket. I can however, stand in the sand and let the waves splash over me and feel the cool breeze in my face and hear the laughter of my children. I may not be able to get it all but I can experience it and know it is there and is there in abundance.
G. This must be why Solomon wrote, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.”
We Need Peace Today
A. The world cries out for peace.
The Israeli’s and the Palestinians are fighting again.
We are caught up in a war on terrorism and we don’t even know where the enemy is.
Colon Powell just returned from a peace mission that did not produce any results.
B. People look for peace in their personal lives and minds.
People all over the world today lack a sense of peace.
They are struggling and they are tormented in their minds.
C. Churches are looking for peace.
D. Families are looking for peace in their homes.
In this confused world, some people have peace while others go to pieces.
E. Some people just bury their head in the sand believing all is well.
Vance Havner writes, “My wife and I were taking a bus trip through the mountains, and the bus broke down right in front of a hillbilly grocery store. The woman there had never been anywhere else much. My wife said, "I don’t believe she knows what’s going on in the world outside." I said, "Well, don’t tell her. I wouldn’t want the poor soul to know. Let her die in peace."” (Vance Havner, from The Vance Havner Quote Book/On This Rock I Stand. Christianity Today, Vol. 30, no. 16.)
1. This is a song about the future when God establishes his kingdom. God reveals the future.
2. It is a psalm of trust, praise, and meditation.
3. Peace is not the absence of war or trouble, or strife. But with God we can know perfect peace even in turmoil.
B. When we talk about peace we tend to think about a temporary state of euphoria.
1. We are looking for peace of mind when God wants to give us a mind of peace.