Sermons

Summary: How to pray and find peace (in a world of worries, war, politicians and propaganda)

Problems, peace and prayer WBC Sun 16 Feb 2003 am Phil

4:2-9

Problems

A world with superpowers and states causing wars

A hostile world, with crooked people after their own gain, not considering the needs of others… the rights of the human being

Christians in doubt and fear- and danger of persecution. Being locked up in parts of the world for trying to help people and set them free!

KEY Christian voices all but suppressed- don’t talk about Jesus

- some of the ‘star leaders in prison’ for just that

Squabbles and disagreeing: often outside the church, certainly in the workplace… people hard to work with.

- even squabbling within the church. People not agreeing, and some thinking they were better and ‘more spiritual’ than others

PAUSE

That was the world of the book of Philippians

Rome- the Superpower that did whatever it wanted

- Paul imprisoned there, and writing form there (we’re at the end of book of Acts)

In fact- lots of Paul’s contact with them was prison based

- Acts 16. Having converted Lydia, they help/deliver a sooth-saying slave girl and get chucked in prison

Philippians were being attacked, too (1:29)

- maybe persecution by the Powers that be,. Or Judaisers

2:15 describes the world & culture as crooked and depraved

And the troubles… pressures… problems had even found their way into church

- 4:2 2 ladies squabbling. Ch 2 their ‘spirituality’ was causing division

(still! Church is by far the best place to be!-

Don’t ride in an auto – they cause 20 percent of all fatal accidents.

Do not stay at home – 17 percent of all accidents happen there.

Do not walk in the street – 15 percent of all accidents happen to pedestrians.

Do not travel by air, rail or water – 16 percent of all accidents result from these activities.

But only .001 percent of all accidents happen in church!

days of fear, worry, uncertainty, anxiety

- sounds familiar? Your work, relationships, world… church (?X)

And here’s the question:

- how should we be GOD’s people, and how should we PRAY in days like these?

1) “rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all”

Now listen, I’m not trying to get you into ‘denial’ or some form of Christian psychosis

- or be ‘flippant’ about the gravity of your or the world’s situations

o they world’s circumstances are GRAVE. Yours may be

But we are to be different in the way we meet problems

- we are to rejoice!

o In the circumstances? In suffering/trouble?! You masochist!

 Maybe! Possibly

 Because God CAN work in all things

• They were Xians because of Paul’s 1st imprisonment!

o But mainly: IN the Lord

Yes- keep your chin up. Not just because it does you good (PMA)

- but because of Jesus. “rejoice IN THE LORD”

- “God is good to me, God is good to me…..”

- He loves you, has saved you… will save you (He will come and save you)

- 1 Thess 4:13 ‘don’t grieve like those who have no hope’

o not about life, work, worries, problems, politicians, propaganda or war

- 1 Cor 10: nothing has befallen us… will befall us… apart from that which is common to man (and JESUS went through)

And- see how people have faced the worst! Draw courage and hope from them:

Polycarp, the bishop of Smyrna was brought before the Roman authorities and told to curse Christ and he would be released. He replied, "Eighty-six years have I served him, and he has done me no wrong: how then can I blaspheme my king who saved me?" The Roman officer replied, "Unless you change your mind, I will have you burnt." But Polycarp said, "You threaten a fire that burns for an hour, and after a while is quenched; for you are ignorant of the judgment to come and of the everlasting punishment reserved for the ungodly. Do what you wish."

And be gentle. Let your gentleness be evident to all

- don’t let yourselves get wound up, reactive. Stressed

- act, think GENTLE. Act as fact. Fake it to make it.

Now- does this mean I should be a pacifist, wrt war?

- no. Not to me. Jesus didn’t tell the soldiers to quit. JTB just told them not to be corrupt (there’s something!)

- but as you march, write, protest (f you think that’s right)- be gentle and don’t be an agent provocateur! Wind up merchant

o it doesn’t glorify God

Why?

2) The Lord is near

Because Jesus is near. He is!

- to you. I f you are a believer He is nearer to you than your closest friend or lover. He is IN you (if you are in Him)

o learn to see with the eyes of spiritual sight.

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