Summary: We often hold inaccurate perspectives on things. Paul reminds us today of a few things: the importance of real joy, the power of real peace, and the disciple's mentality that secures these two.
I. Intro: Perspective
A. Newsweek magazine recently made a side-by-side comparison of "threats" of which people have an inaccurate perspective:
1. Murders: 14,180 (2008)—Suicides: 33,289 (2006)
2. Children abducted by strangers: 115 (1999)—Children who drown in pools: 288 (2006)
3. Burglaries: 2.2 million (2007)—Identity thefts: 8.3 million (2005)
4. Shark attacks: 28 (2009)—Dog bites: 4.5 million (estimate)
5. Americans killed in terrorist attacks worldwide: 33 (2008)—Americans who die from seasonal flu: 36,171 (est.)
6. Deaths by allergic reaction to peanuts: 50-100 (est.)—Deaths by unintentional poisoning: 27,531 (2006)
7. Fatalities in airline accidents: 321 (2005)—Fatalities in car crashes: 34,017 (2008)
8. APPLICATION: We spend an inordinate amount of time fretting over the wrong things. The result is needless anxiety. This list illustrates our sometimes unfounded or misplaced fears and worries, and reveals just how far from reality our misconceptions sometimes take us. (from illustrationexchange.com)
B. Paul reminds us today of a few things: The importance of real joy, the power of real peace, and the disciple’s mentality that secures these two.
II. The Importance of Joy (vv.4-6)
A. Joy is a Constant State of Mind (v.4)
1. Paul has said this already, in 1:8, 2:17+18, and 3:1
2. He emphasizes it by bring it up again, even drawing more attention in the repetition
3. How to rejoice? In the Lord. Why “in the Lord”? Because other “joys” are counterfeit and temporary
B. Joy Always Shows (v.5)
1. Reasonableness (v.5)—or “gentleness”
2. Paul’s linking of joy and gentleness communicates that the one will inevitably produce the other
a. It produces a forgiving spirit
b. It produces an ability to stand firm under pressure (we studied this last week)
Philippians 4:1--"Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved."
c. It produces humility and graciousness (cf. 2:5-11)
Hebrews 12:2--"…looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter (finisher) of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross (humility), despising the shame (graciousness: our shame, not His), and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God."
C. Joy is Confidence in a God Who Listens (v.5b,6)
1. “The Lord is at hand”
a. “at hand” means “near” or “soon”; here, Paul means for both to apply: “near” by spirit, “soon” by coming
b. actually belongs with v.6, not v.5
2. Therefore, “do not be anxious…”
a. If we believe the Spirit of God is both with us and coming soon, what could we be worried about?
Matthew 6:26-33--"Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."
b. “in everything”—If God owns it all, even our “worries” are His property and hence part of His plan—to grow you out of them, or meet them at a later date for His glory
c. Prayer, Supplication, Thanksgiving: Acknowledge God as Lord, Ask God for what you need, Appreciate God’s provision
d. God knows what you need; “let your requests be made known” isn’t to inform Him, but to recognize your need of provision only He can meet
3. Faith is the conduit of joy; gratitude is its product
III. The Power of Peace (v.7)
A. Divine Peace Can’t be Comprehended
1. Peace is God’s nature and essence
Ephesians 2:14a--"For he himself is our peace…"
2. God’s peace is fully trustworthy
Isaiah 26:33--"You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you."
3. God’s peace is linked to His Word
John 16:33--"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world."
B. Divine Peace Protects the Eternal Parts of You
1. Guards—we’ve seen this term used by Paul to encourage the Philippians to “guard”
a. 2:16—“holding fast to the word of life”