Summary: A consideration of Philippians 4:2-9, with special emphasis upon v.5-7
Islington Baptist Church October 21, 2001
For many people the events of the past 6 weeks have been very troubling and anxiety filled: Life for us as North Americans has changed, 6000 people in New York City are dead, a war has been declared and is being waged, the ongoing threat of terrorism hangs over our heads and in fact terrorist actions continue -- for who hasn’t heard the term Anthrax in the past weeks, the stock markets have dropped, 1000’s of people have been laid off from their jobs, some of the laws of our country –for better or worse- have been changed, travel plans for many have been changed, etc etc
What does the Bible say about what our response as Christians should be to these potential anxiety causing things? What should our attitude be?
Today we are going to consider this question from the perspective of Philippians 4:2-9 with special emphasis upon v.5-7. (READ)
The words “Do not be anxious about anything” are words we need to hear and hear again, for we are creatures prone to obsessing, worrying and giving ourselves over to anxiety (generally about things over which we have no control.
For example: ……….
When Paul first wrote these words they were delivered unto the Philippians. They were words they need to hear: food and the necessities of life for them were in short supply, persecutions and prison was a ongoing part of their lives for their commitment to Christ. In addition to this they had the same daily concerns that have: our children, our marriages, our relationships, safety, employment concerns, school concerns, health concerns, etc, etc.
The command of the scriptures is to not let worry run our lives. The command of the scriptures here is to not let fear, worry, and anxiety be the umbrella that we live under.
Matthew 6:25-34 is a passage which expands upon this command…. (READ)
HOW ARE WE TO RESPOND TO THIS COMMAND? HOW ARE WE TO DEAL WITH THOSE THINGS WHICH WOULD LEAD US TO ANXIETY, FEAR, WORRY, AND ULTIMATELY PARALYSIS?
a. Remember that the Lord is near
b. Pray: take our concerns to the One who has power over all things
a. Remember that the Lord is near
Sometimes in the way we live our lives it is evident that we have forgotten that God-being all powerful- is with us.
We need to remember afresh that His strength is available, His grace is sufficient, and that nothing is impossible for Him.
We have not been abandoned to this world by our Lord. He is near. Jesus’ promise to us is that he will never leave us who have called upon his name. As the followers of Jesus Christ we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ. We must always remember that we are not alone. Jesus is with us and will never abandon us
b. Constant prayer
PRAYER IS THE ANSWER!
Trusting, faith filled, dependant, thankful prayer is the answer.
We have one who cares about our every problem and concern for I Peter 5:7 says “Cast all of your cares upon Him, for He cares for you” --- Thank God for this!
God’s intention for us is that we show a continual dependence upon Him for strength and supply. The act of prayer is in itself is a demonstration of dependence and trust on our parts—when we don’t give ourselves to prayer and decide to barge on ahead we alas are guilty of attempting to do things in our strength.
We must not lose sight of the fact that those things which lead us to anxiety serve God’s purpose of leading us to depend upon Him.
A constant prayer life on our parts is essential. Our prayer lives are also to be patterned after the design given to us in the scriptures. Confession, repentance, thankfulness, intercession, petitions, joy: these are all aspects of the kind of prayer life that is to be ours.
One thing often noted is this: trouble in our lives tends to spur us on in our prayer lives. We often do more praying and seeking the face of God during the storms of our lives.
HOW ARE WE TO DEAL WITH THOSE THINGS WHICH WOULD LEAD US TO ANXIETY, FEAR, WORRY, AND ULTIMATELY PARALYSIS? PRAYER IS THE ANSWER!
Trusting, faith filled, dependant, thankful prayer is the answer as is this: our remembering that the Lord is near.
The next time your friend comes to you with anxieties and worries what is it you should do? Lead them to pray.
THE RESULT OF TRUSTING, DEPENDENT, FAITH FILLED, THANKFUL PRAYERS IS THIS: PEACE OF HEART WHICH TRANSCENDS ALL UNDERSTANDING.
In Isaiah 26:3 it says “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusts in you”