Summary: Paul tells us in Philippians 4 we can have peace with Him and peace within
Peace with Him and Peace Within
Philippians 4 series – part 1
TCF Sermon Text
October 7, 2007
Illustrate my worry bag: ask a volunteer from the congregation – come, stand on a chair, and hold my worry bag. In a symbolic act of turning my worries, my anxieties, over to God in prayer, I’m putting my worries into this bag. I’ve written a handful of the things I get anxious about and I’m putting them here, following the scriptural admonition in Philippians 4 to not be anxious about anything, but instead to pray about everything.
So I write down my worries, and as a symbol of turning them over to the Lord in prayer, I’m putting them in my worry bag. Now, I can relax, right? I can have some peace.
But in reality, what often happens? We don’t leave these things there in the worry bag, do we? We don’t leave our worries, our cares, with God. We take them back. We start to, or continue to, worry about them all over again.
That’s why we need reminders like this scripture.
Let’s read the whole passage I referenced from Philippians:
Philippians 4:4-7 4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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.
Q. What lies at the bottom of the ocean and twitches?
A. A nervous wreck.
Many of us are nervous wrecks. We’re sitting at the bottom of the ocean of our cares, our concerns, our worries, our anxieties, and our lives are twitching.
But in this passage of scripture, the apostle Paul gives us the only genuine antidote to this problem, which we’re going to look at this morning, as the first of a three-part series on Philippians chapter 4.
I don’t think any of us truly enjoys worrying, or anxiety. But I also think there’s not a one of us here who doesn’t worry to some degree. Worry and anxiety is a universal part of the human condition. What’s not universal is how we deal with it, or the tools we human beings have to deal with it. The fact is, as followers of Christ, we have assets to tap, in the battle against worry, that those who don’t follow Him don’t have. As followers of Jesus, when it comes to our worries, our anxieties, we can have Peace with Him and peace within
How can you tell when it’s going to be a rotten day?
When you see a 60 Minutes news team waiting at your office.
Or how about when your birthday cake collapses from the weight of the candles?
Or, you wake up to the soothing sound of running water... and remember that you just bought a waterbed.
You call your wife, and tell her that you would like to eat out tonight, and when you get home there is a sandwich on the front porch.
When your car horn goes off accidentally, and remains stuck as you follow a group of Hell’s Angels on the highway.
When the bird singing outside your window is a buzzard.
When you call your answering service and they tell you it’s none of your business.
These are the kinds of things that signal it might be a day to worry. But here in Philippians 4, we have Paul, who’s a guy, we can all agree, had a lot to worry about. He was in prison then, and he had been imprisoned and beaten before. He was a smart guy, and he had to have known it was likely he’d be executed. He’d experienced persecution like none of us have ever really known. He not only had a lot to worry about, he didn’t have much to rejoice in at the moment. Yet, here we see the apostle telling us to rejoice. Not just to rejoice, but to rejoice always. And he repeats this admonition for extra emphasis.
So this isn’t some pie in the sky, positive thinking, denying reality, “gee, can’t we all just get along” and not worry kind of statement. This was a real-world, rubber-meets-the-road statement, forged in the reality of Paul’s difficult existence. Now, what Paul writes to us here would be true even if he didn’t face the circumstances he faced, even if things were going just peachy for him.
But somehow, it seems there’s more power in the reality of his circumstances, related to the fact that he still can tell us, despite his personal experience, or maybe even because of it, “rejoice in the Lord.” Don’t worry about anything.