Summary: Although the world may be crashing in around us, we can still experience true peace.
Week One - Turn Obstacles into Opportunities / Put things in Perspective
Week Two - Have the attitude of Christ - Do everything without arguing or complaining
Week Three - Press on towards the goal that Christ has called us to
Paul writing from Roman prison.
The world desires peace.
[ILL. Artists sing for peace; Miss America all want world peace; wars for peace; Mary J “no more drama”]…but we see they have no real peace.
As teenagers/adults we desire peace.
[ILL. We don’t plan for a tough life, pregnant in 10th grade by football player who beats me, I really want to live on the streets, and barely scrape by in life, I would love to fight/argue with my family everyday, parents divorce]
Paul tells us how we can experience true peace…
Paul was in prison, bound with chains, the chains were heavy and restricting, the living conditions were far from ideal (no A/C, or heat) .
[ILL. My wimpiness, no camping (comfort level); nothing in pockets, no rings/watches (restricting)…so wimpy had to get a macho job to make up for it]
Even in this situation Paul was at peace.
I. Our peace is not determined by external factors.
We go through a lot of things in life, things we can’t control (relationships, parents divorce, death, tragedy, disaster, sickness). Times when it seems our world is crashing in around us. Yet, we can still have peace. We know that peace comes from the inside, relying on Jesus, taking on the mind of Christ, not whats going on around us.
[ILL. Horatio Spafford, prominent Christian lawyer lived in Chicago in 1800’s.
1871- only son died, Great Chicago Fire, lost all he owned, life savings
1873- sent family ahead on vacation, ship was struck (226 people killed) 4 daughters died, wife survived, “Saved alone. What shall I do?”.
Passing over spot where ship sank wrote, “It Is Well With My Soul”; “sorrows like sea billows roll“ , “Satan should buffet“]
II. Paul gives us practical steps to living lives of peace, v. 8-9.
True, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, moral excellence, dwell on these.
The world we live in (that talks about peace), is not conducive to creating peace.
[ILL. Music, movies, magazines, don’t meet the peace “criteria”]
These are the mind of Christ. Paul promises in v. 9 that if we think on these things, take on the mind of Christ, we will experience peace in our lives. All we do (watch, read, take part in) should be weighed on these things.
True -- in speech
Honorable -- in action
Just -- regard to others
Pure -- regard to self
Lovely -- display beauty/truth (characterize love)
Commendable -- build up (others/self)
[“Your life is not determined by one major decision, but by several small ones”]
By applying these questions to our life/thought/actions we can experience peace.
[ILL. 2 Iguanas, story,
Liberty and Justice, same age/size, same cage, same heat rock, same heat light, same water dish.
Difference was diet.
Liberty ate everything, fruit, veg, protein. Justice picky eater, meager appetite.
Liberty grew, strengthened. Justice wilted, weak, pale.
Liberty commandeered the hot rock, and ruled the cage.
Justice lack of nutrition, and strength, died.
(whats the difference in people growing up the same, but one serves Christ another doesn’t)]
Are we “feeding” on things that give us strength/peace, or things of this world that detract and bring distress/frustration/worry?
Our friends lives are falling apart, what are they feeding on?
True peace is found only when we take on the mind of Christ.
Everything we have talked about in this series centers around taking on the mind of Christ.
Week One - Turn Obstacles into Opportunities / Put things in Perspective -- we see the big picture when we try to see things throught the mind of Christ
Week Two - Have the attitude of Christ - Do everything without arguing or complaining -- as we take on the mind of Christ arguing/complaining can fall away.
Week Three - Press on towards the goal that Christ has called us to -- we take on the mind of Christ, we focus on the things of eternal value
Take on the mind of Christ we experience true peace, and we can say with Paul, that no matter the circumstance, what life brings, we are full of Joy.