Summary: Paul delivers some closing exhortations to the Philippian saints which will result in God-given peace. He tells them that if they engage in proper prayer, proper ways of thinking and follow his teaching and example, they will experience peace.
1. The first preparation for peace is looking to the right source (6-7)
2. The second preparation for peace is living with the right mind (8)
3. The third preparation for peace is learning from the right man (9)
Have you ever just had one of those days? Maybe you can relate to the kind of day this guy had. Here’s a letter he wrote to his insurance company that tells about his bad day. “I am writing in response to your request for additional information. In block number 3 of the accident reporting form, I put “Poor planning” as the cause of my accident. You said in your letter that I should explain more fully, and I trust that the following details will be sufficient. I am a bricklayer by trade. On the day of the accident, I was working alone on the roof of a ten-story building. When I completed my work, I discovered I had about 500 pounds of bricks left over. Rather than carry them down by hand, I decided to lower them to the ground in a barrel by using a pulley, which, fortunately, was attached to the side of the building at the tenth floor. Securing the rope at ground level, I went to the roof, loaded the 500 pounds of bricks, then went back down to the ground and untied the rope, holding it tightly to insure the slow descent of the 500 pounds of bricks. (You will note in block 11 of the accident reporting form that I weigh 165 pounds.) Due to my surprise at being jerked off the ground so suddenly, I lost my presence of mind and forgot to let go of the rope. Needless to say, I proceeded at a rapid rate up the side of the building. In the vicinity of the fifth floor, I met the barrel coming down. This explains the fractured skull and broken collarbone. I continued by rapid ascent, not stopping until the fingers of my right hand were two knuckles deep into the pulley. Fortunately, by this time I had regained my presence of mind and was able to hold tightly to the rope in spite of my pain. At approximately the same time, however, the barrel of bricks hit the ground, and the bottom fell out of the barrel. Devoid of the weight of the bricks, the barrel now weighed approximately 30 pounds. I refer you again to my weight in block number 11 of the accident reporting form. As you might imagine, I began a rapid descent down the side of the building. In the vicinity of the fifth floor, I met the barrel coming up again! This accounts for the two fractured ankles and lacerations to my legs and lower body. The second encounter with the barrel slowed me enough to lessen my injuries when I fell into the pile of bricks, and fortunately, only three vertebrae were cracked. I am sorry to report, however, that as I lay there on the bricks – in pain and unable to stand – watching the empty barrel ten stories above me – I again lost my presence of mind – I LET GO OF THE ROPE.” That’s a bad day. But we all have bad days sometimes, don’t we? Sometimes, just like that bricklayer, it seems like one thing hits us after another until all we can do is lay there and watch the next thing come. But is that all there is? Is that what life’s all about? When you look around the world, you see conflict and war and terrorism. When you look in our own community, you see drugs and crime and broken homes and abuse. Sometimes it can seem as if everything in our world is in turmoil. Sometimes that feeling of chaos even spills into our home lives, doesn’t it? Everything is rush, rush and busy, busy. The chaos of competing interests and schedules seems to have completely taken over. Especially at this time of year. And that’s in homes where things are fairly stable. What about when you add all of the other problems that plague our families today. Chaos and confusion in the world. Chaos and confusion in our country. Chaos and confusion in our community. Chaos and confusion in our homes. Chaos and confusion in our lives. Bricks and barrels and ropes and pulleys can seem like they’re coming at us from every direction at the same time. But is that the way it’s supposed to be? Is that the life that God desires for us? Of course not. While he was talking about orderliness in church, Paul reminded us about the nature of our God. In 1 Corinthians 14:33, he wrote, “For God is not the author of confusion but of peace.” One thing you can be certain of—if there’s confusion and chaos happening in your life—that’s not what God desires for you. His desire is for you to experience peace. Now, does that mean everything’s going to come up roses around you? No—what it means is that the Lord has made peace available to you despite all the chaos and confusion that’s going on around you. Are you interested? Well, it doesn’t come in a bottle. It doesn’t come in a box. It doesn’t even come for 3 easy payments when you call a 1-800 number. In our passage this morning, Paul is closing out his letter to the church at Philippi. And as he does so, he wants to leave them with some encouragement. Their lives weren’t that much different that ours are. Their lives were busy, chaotic and confusing. But Paul knew that wasn’t God’s desire for them. His desire was for their joy and peace. The entire letter pointed them to the joy of their salvation. Now, in these closing verses, Paul gives them encouraging ways to experience true God-given peace. That’s what I want for us here today. As we enter this week of Thanksgiving, I want us to overcome the chaos and busy-ness of the season and experience the true peace of God. But that isn’t something that will just happen on its own. Just like your Thanksgiving dinner won’t prepare itself, true peace in your life won’t prepare itself. So what do we have to do? We have to prepare for peace in three ways. The first preparation for peace is to look to the right source. Look at verses 6-7: