Phil 4:6-9 The Peace of God 26Feb12 2081
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.
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me-put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
When Jesus comforts His disciples prior to His arrest, this is what He said:
• John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
• John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Peace is something we all need. Whether you are educated or not, rich or poor, young or old, a believer or not, we have moments of stress and anxiety.
• If you are poor, you are concerned about having nothing to eat. If you are rich, you are afraid of being robbed.
• The healthy is worried about getting sick; the sick worries about dying too early.
• If peace is a universal need and God has an answer for it.
The Word of God tells us these 3 things:
(1) Peace is a GIFT from God; it comes from God.
• From the words of Jesus and Phil 4, peace comes from God. Two times when peace is mentioned - verse 7 and verse 9 – both made reference to the God who gives it.
(2) Peace is God’s will for us; God does not want us to live in fear or worry.
• Do not be anxious about anything.
• Jesus said in Matt 6:25ff. - DO NOT WORRY about what we eat or drink, or wear. Look at the birds of the air – your heavenly Father feeds them.
(3) God gives us peace in the midst of troubles.
• Can there be peace in a calm, safe and stable environment, where every need is met? Of course.
• If you are lying by the beach in Mauritius, sipping a cup of ice-cool orange juice watching seagulls flying above the crystal sea, in an oasis of peace and tranquillity – surely you have a sense of peace. This we understand, you don’t need to explain. It’s natural.
But the peace that God gives goes beyond this - it “transcends all understanding”. We don’t understand because it does not come from the surrounding.
• It is not the result of the environment we are in or the people we are with. It comes from God; it is a peace that we experience even in the midst of all the problems.
• Only God can give us such a peace. It comes from Him.
• Jesus says “Peace I leave with you; MY PEACE I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)
• It is our portion today. We can claim it. It’s meant for us. We want HIS PEACE!
How can we experience it? Paul highlighted TWO practical things we can do:
(1) PRAY AND ENTRUST TO GOD – don’t carry your burdens ALONE
Jesus says in Matt 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
• It is not God’s intention for us to handle life on our own.
• Paul says do not be anxious about ANYTHING - not even ONE. And then he adds, BUT in EVERYTHING – present your requests to God.
• No distinction about BIG or SMALL, IMPORTANT or TRIVIAL. Everything needs to be present to God. As long as you are disturbed by it, tell it to God. Off-load it to God.
• Don’t carry it alone. That will be the surest way of losing your peace.
The description is not even a division of labour - God does a little, and I do a little. He will take care of this, and I’ll take care of that.
• It is ALL to Him and nothing upon me. All to Jesus I surrender. He is LORD, I’m just a steward.
• This is actually giving God His due honour. He is the boss. I magnify the Lord when I entrust my life issues to Him.
It is a CHOICE we make. We CAST our cares on Him when we PRAY.
• Psa 55:22 “Cast your cares on the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall.”
• 1 Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.”
• It is this deep sense that God is in charge of my life, and He is working out the best for me.
A divine EXCHANGE takes place when we pray and tell the Lord our problems.
• We give something to Him, and He gives something back – His peace.
• The Lord did not promise that the problems will go away, but He did say we will have His peace!
He did not promise that the difficulties will be removed, because in James 1 it did say trials are good – we grow because of them - stronger, wiser, and more dependent on God.
• Paul says there was given to him a “thorn in my flesh” (2 Cor 12:7); he pleaded with God to take it away 3 times, but God’s answer is, “My grace is sufficient for you…”
• God did not remove his thorn but gave Him grace. There is always a divine EXCHANGE – you tell the Lord your problems, He will give you something back.
Only God can give you His peace. You can have peace even with the thorns in life.
• It is a gift of God. If it is a gift from God, then no one and nothing can rob us of this peace - not the people around you, not the circumstances you are in.
• This peace originates from the throne room of God! It also means that in this world, we cannot find true peace – whether through yoga meditation, medicine, music, entertainment, alcohol or whatever.
• So come to God with your burdens. The choice is yours. Present your problems to Him. That’s the only way you can experience peace that “transcends all understanding”.
I have in my hands two boxes which God gave me to hold. He said, "Put all your sorrows in the black, and all your joys in the white." I heeded His words, and in the two box both my joys and sorrows I stored.
But though the white became heavier each day, the black was as light as before. With curiosity, I opened the black box. I wanted to find out why, and I saw, in the base of the box, a hole which my sorrows had fallen out by.
I showed the hole to God, and mused aloud, "I wonder where my sorrows could be."
He smiled a gentle smile at me. "My child, they're all here with me…"
I looked into the white box and my joys were all there. I asked, "God, why give me the boxes, why the white, and the black with the hole?"
"My child, the white is for you to count your blessings, the black is for you to let go."
(2) MEDITATE ON WHAT IS TRUE AND GOOD – don’t focus on your problems
What are you thinking about? What is in your mind?
7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me-put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Rev Lo’s younger brother preached (1 Jan 12) and shared that there are many “souvenirs” in our heart – the words and things we remember about people.
• But they are grievances, hurts, criticisms, accusations, etc. After many years, we still remember them. They are souvenirs. We cannot let go of them.
• We have this tendency not to remember good experiences, but allow the bad experiences to linger for years in our mind. “I will remember it to the grave.”
Why? Why do we want to remember them? We did not allow the peace of God to GUARD our hearts and minds…
• These thoughts are not “true [false], noble [despicable], right [false], pure [filthy], lovely [ugly], admirable [disdain], excellent or praiseworthy [shameful]…” but we allow them to stay in our minds.
• What are the results of these? Anger, envy, worries, hurt, sorrows. No wonder we have no peace.
• That’s what worrying is – thinking about the problem all the time. Jesus says in Luke 12:25 “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” – it is useless, does not achieve anything and a waste of time.
Instead, we should be thinking about that which is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy! Think about such things!
• What is that? God and His Word. It is true, right, pure and lovely. His Word gives us faith, hope, joy and peace.
• Don’t think too much about what men says; think more of what God says. Whatever men say will go away, but not what God says.
Psalm 1:1-3 “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.”
• Meditate on God’s Word, not men’s words.
Grand pianist Liu Chi Kung placed second to Van Cliburn in the 1958 Tchaikovsky competition. A year later, he was imprisoned during the Cultural Revolution in China. During his 7-year captivity, he didn't have access to a piano of any kind.
Very soon after his release, he was back on tour. Critics were amazed at his playing, stating that it was better than ever.
"How did you do this?" one critic asked. "You had no chance to practice for seven years."
"I did practice," Liu replied, "every day I rehearsed every piece I had ever played, note by note, in my mind."
What do you meditates on day and night? Think for a moment. What cause you to lose sleep?
We cannot control the circumstances, but you can control is in our mind.
• You have a choice on what you want to think about.
• It's in the mind that the battles of life are won or lost.
David: "Your Word I have hid in my heart, that I might not sin against you." (Ps 119:11)
• When he faced Goliath, he wasn’t afraid because His mind was on God. In his mind, God is bigger than Goliath.
Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.”
PRAY and MEDITATE on God’s Word. [You can read the PSALMS if you heart is troubled.]
• A divine exchange takes place - God will give you peace – it is His gift; it is His will for you.
Dear friends, God wants to give you true peace. You cannot experience that if you are not at peace with God. Receive Jesus as your Saviour and your sin will be forgiven. You’ll be reconciled with God, and experience His love, joy and peace in life.
Let us pray. Is there something that you are worrying about? Pray and give it to the Lord in prayer. Tell it to Him, silently. I’ll give you a minute.