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God's Pathway to Peace

Notes & Transcripts

 TEXT:  Philippians 4:5-9

TOPIC:  God’s Pathway to Peace

Pastor Bobby Earls, First Baptist Church, Center Point

January 28, 2007

          Please take your bible and open to the fourth chapter of the book of  Philippians. 

          We have spent these first Sundays of 2007 in this little NT epistle written by the Apostle Paul to the Christians in the region of Philippi, a first century city located in ancient Macedonia in the northern area of the Aegean Sea.  It is known as a Prison Epistle because it was one of the letters Paul wrote while he was imprisoned in Rome around 60 A.D.

          Paul begins this fourth and final chapter of Philippians by addressing some of the problems the church of their day may have been experiencing.

Problems such as DEFEATISM in verse 1,

1Therefore, my beloved and longed-for brethren, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, beloved.

 

DISUNITY in verse 2,

2I implore Euodia and I implore Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord.

DEPRESSION in verse 4,

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!

 

Beginning with verse 5, Paul turns his attention to God’s solution to their problems.

Philippians 4:5-9 address what I have chosen to call God’s Pathway to Peace.  Paul gives us a wealth of ways to discover peace in the midst of the problems of life.  Most of us understand what it is like to feel discouraged, defeated, and even depressed with life. 

So what do we need to know in order to discover the pathway of God’s peace?  Let’s look at the Scriptures and see.

5Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. 6Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

8Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. 9The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you. 

I.                  GOD’S PATHWAY TO PEACE COMMENCES WITH A FEW BASIC REQUIREMENTS, Philippians 4:5-6,

5Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. 6Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;

 

A.   The First Requirement for Peace is Gentleness, Philippians 4:5

5Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.

 

          Some of your bibles will read “moderation.”  Let your moderation be made known to all men.  Others use the word, forebearance.

 

          It is a gentleness of spirit, a consideration of others, a call to reasonableness and agreeableness, in other words, fairness. 

          For the sake of peace, as Christians, we are sometime called to give up that which we consider our rights, our position or our preference. 

          How do we do this?  Look at the last part of verse 5, the Lord is at hand.  The Lord is near.  He has promised to always be with us.  We can be encouraged knowing that anything we may give up for the cause of peace will be restored and rewarded by our ever present Lord.

         

B.   The Second Requirement for Peace is Contentment, Philippians 4:6

6Be anxious for nothing,

 

          The word anxious, (careful in the KJV) refers to worry.  This is a fretful anxiety the kind which robs God’s children of peaceful contentment.  This is especially true in our modern world of commercialism and materialism.  Today’s standards for success are determined by the kind of car you drive, or clothes you wear, or community in which you live.

          In the heart of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5-7, is His emphasis on worry-free living which leads to contentment.

25“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26“Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27“Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? 28“So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29“and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30“Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32“For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

 

          We need to remember that worry is a sin, a sin that robs the heart and mind of peace, God’s peace.  Faith ends where worry begins.  “Worry is the interest we pay on the debt of unbelief with which we have mortgaged life.”

C.   The Third Requirement for Peace is Prayerfulness,        Philippians 4:6, but in everything by prayer and supplication,

 

          The more positive requirement for peace is prayerfulness.  Instead of worrying over our problems, which is useless, pray.  Take your needs to God who understands everything you’re going through.  He alone is able to help you.  Peter said, Casting all your care on Him, for He cares for you,              1 Peter 5:7.

D.   The Fourth Requirement for Peace is Thankfulness,      Philippians 4:6, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;

          With an attitude of gratitude we bring all our needs to God trusting Him to meet our needs as He chooses.  “Turn your cares into prayers and your problems into praise!”

II.               GOD’S PATHWAY TO PEACE CONTINUES WITH THE RESULTS OF SUCH PEACE, Philippians 4:7

7and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

 

A.   We Experience the Peace of God, Philippians 4:7a

7and the peace of God

 

     The Bible says the Christian can know the peace of God because he has peace with God.  This is not so for the non-Christian.  Isaiah 48:22 says, there is no peace, says the Lord, for the wicked.

 

B.   We Enjoy the Protection of God, Philippians 4:7b

which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds

 

     First, we experience the peace of God, and then we enjoy the protection of God.  To say the peace of God surpasses all understanding means we cannot explain it, but we can experience it. 

     The word guard means to set up a sentinel or a watch over your heart and mind that leads to trouble-free living, and peaceful rest. 

     I believe if we as Christians would exchange our worry for a life of praying in faith, that we would not need many of the alternative psychotic medications that are so prevalent in society today.

2 Timothy 1:7, For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

 

Isaiah 26:3, You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you,

whose thoughts are fixed on you!

C.  We Enjoin the Presence of God, Philippians 4:7c

through Christ Jesus.

John 14:27 says, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Now, in verse 6 the Bible tells us of those things which we must rid our minds, namely anxiety and worry.  But any decent psychologist will tell you that you cannot get rid of a bad habit without exchanging it for a good habit.  So in verses 8-9, the Psychologist Paul gives us 10 things that must replace worry, in order to maintain a life filled with peace.  I call them the replacements of peace.

III.           GOD’S PATHWAY TO PEACE CONCLUDES WITH THE REPLACEMENTS OF PEACE, vv. 8-9

8Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. 9The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

 

A.   TRUTH, whatever things are true, the genuine, sincere, simple

B.   HONESTY, whatever things are noble, that which is honorable

C.   JUSTICE, whatever things are just, things that are right, good

D.   PURITY, whatever things are pure, pure thoughts, motives, acts

E.   BEAUTY, whatever things are lovely, beautiful character

F.    AFFIRMATION, whatever things are of good report, well-spoken of, a positive referral

G.  VIRTUE, if there is any virtue, excellence and courageous

H.  PRAISE, if there is anything praiseworthy, admirable, respectable

I.      DISCIPLESHIP, the things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, our Christian education and training

J.     OBEDIENCE, these do, not just believe these things but behave them also. 

Jesus said, You know these things—now do them! That is the path of blessing. John 13:17

 

     And this is the pathway to the Peace of God as well.

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