Summary: It’s not enough to hear or read the Word of God, or even to know it well. We must also put it into practice.
Anxious For Nothing Part 2
Pray, Think, and Do 04/29/07 AM
Text and Reading: Philippians 4:4-9
[Many of the main thoughts for this series and this sermon are drawn from the writings of John MacArthur in his book: Anxious for Nothing.]
In a previous lesson we explored Jesus’ great instruction on worry found in Matthew 6; learning that for us as Christians, there is no place for worry in our lives because of who our Father is; because of our Faith in His promises; and because of our Future as His children. In Philippians 4 we are going to look at Paul’s charter on how to avoid anxiety.
Paul makes it clear that we are not to worry but he does not leave us adrift without direction. He provides us positive steps to fill the void; through thankful praying, right thinking, and positive actions. The best (and perhaps only way) to break a bad habit is to replace it with a better one and worrying is a habit we must be without. The foremost way to avoid worrying is through prayer. Rightful thinking and positive actions logically follow but it all begins with prayer.
Handle Everything With Thankful Prayer
A.Do Not Be Anxious
1.4:4-7 Joy and contentment (gentleness) (vv. 4-5), accompanied with an awareness of Christ’s imminent return, should dispel anxiety.
a. Paul’s appeal to the Philippians is do not be anxious about anything. But this was not a call to a carefree life.
b.We do have cares in this world, cares common to life. Paul often expressed his care for the brethren. We care about our loved ones, our careers, many different things in our lives.
c.To care and be genuinely concerned is one thing. To worry is another. When we worry we take God out of the equation.
d.Jesus warned against worry which obviously eliminates trust in God (Matthew 6:25-33).
C.Pray With Gratitude
1.Paul prompts the Philippians to worship instead of worry. Praying with thanksgiving involves trusting God.
a.Prayer (proseuchē) describes a believer’s approach to God, a general term meaning worshipful conversation with God.
b.Supplication (deēsei) emphasizes requesting an answer to a specific need, refers to a prayer with a sense of need.
c.Thanksgiving (eucharistias) is an attitude of heart which should always accompany one’s prayers, focuses on the attitude of one’s heart in approaching God.
2.We can approach God with thanksgiving with all sincerity by remembering the promises given in the scriptures:
a.1 Corinthians 10:13 God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able.
b.1 Peter 5:10 In our suffering, God will “perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish” us.
c.James 1:12 Persevere under trial and receive the crown of life.
d.Romans 8:28 God causes all things to work together for good.
3.Consider Jonah: Jonah 1:13-17
a.How often are we confronted by storms in our lives and consumed by them as Jonah was consumed by the fish?
b.What is our reaction to God in those cases? Do we rail against Him? Do we cry out in accusation or anger? (“Oh God where are you, why is this happening to me?”)
4.Jonah had his faults and weaknesses but reflected profound spiritual stability in his prayer.
5.In the midst of great difficulty he was at peace, confident in God’s ability to deliver him if He chose.
6.In the same way, the peace of God will help us be stable if we react to our circumstances, however unusual or ordinary, with thankful prayer instead of anxiety.
7.That is the promise of Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
D.The Peace Of God
1.As believers, the Lord Jesus Christ is our peace (Ephesians 2:14), and every child of God has peace with God through justification by faith in Him (Rom. 5:1). But the peace of (or from) God relates to the inner tranquility of a believer’s close walk with God.
2.This peace of God surpasses all comprehension.
a.It transcends human intellect, insight, or analysis. It is beyond man’s ability to comprehend.
b.No human counselor can give it to you because it is a gift from God in response to gratitude and trust.
3.This peace guards the believers.
a.Guard (phrourēsei) translates a military term which means “to protect or garrison by guarding.”
b.Like soldiers assigned to watch over a certain area, God’s peace garrisons the hearts and minds, that is, the emotions and thoughts, of His children.
4.We need to know that we live in an imperfect world and we will have troubles but our trust rests in the Lord.
a.John 16:33 Jesus said to his followers “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”