Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Philippians 4:4 – 9
The Power of Peace

(Ill.) A little girl heard the story of Snow White at school. Excited, she told the story to her Mom. At the end she asked, “Do you know what happened next?” Her Mom answered, “Yes, they lived happily ever after.” “No silly,” said the girl, “they got married.”

Some of us are in desperate need for peace, even in our own homes. Let’s look at a the power of peace.

I. There is peace beyond circumstances and understanding.

A. How do we define peace?

1. There are confused ideas:

a. We confuse peace with being nice or civil.

1.) We think if people are nice to each other then we have peace.

2.) The problem with this is, its only on the surface.

b. We confuse war with peace.

1.) When we fight a common enemy we don’t fight each other (George Orwell in his book 1984).

2.) The problem with this is, its only a distraction.

2. Peace is freedom from internal fear.

B. Anxiety is a problem.

1. It comes from adversity.

a. We struggle with the events and circumstances of life.

b. We struggle with the external pressures.

c. We struggle spiritually

2. It comes from fear.

a. We are uncertain about our health, finances, children, etc...

b. This sets the conditions for terrorism.

1.) “Scientific terrorism” where scientists are discovering “alarming” things all the time.

2.) There is “bird flu,” ultra restrictions on air travel, indexing of passages, etc...

II. Peace is tested in the storm.

***** Peace is NOT the absence of a storm! We are all heading into a storm, in a storm, or just coming out of a storm. *****

A What do you do when anxiety/worry are stirred in your heart.

1. Paul suggests two things.

a. [v 6] “by prayer”

1.) If you have a problem, you go to the person who can solve the problem.

2.) You have a problem. You go to God “Almighty.” (The one you believe created by just speaking. The one who conquered death and sin’s claim on you through the death and resurrection of Jesus.)

b. [v 6] “with thanksgiving”

1.) Scary things strengthen us. (Ill. Winter scares people, unless you live here... Then you don’t understand others fear of winter.)

2.) Anxious things make us MORE dependent on God.

2. These things happen SO THAT the peace of God will be effective. (Like a muscle it must be exercised.)

a. Anxiety/worry/fear are the result of an undisciplined spiritual life.

b. Anxiety becomes a “self-fulfilling prophecy.” We get what we expect.

B. Other biblical explanations for peace:

1. Romans 5:1 “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Peace through salvation.)

2. Psalm 4:8 “I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.” (Peace through safety given by God.)

3. Psalm 119:165 “Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.” (Peace through spiritual stability.)

4. Isaiah 26:3 [KJV] “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in thee.” (Peace through a mind fixed on God. When our eyes are on Jesus we will not sink in the storm.)

III. Peace is made sure in spiritual life.

A. It is the peace of God, no our peace.

1. Jesus said, “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]

2. “For he himself is our peace...” [Ephesians 2:14a]

3. The saying “No Jesus, no peace. Know Jesus, know peace.”

B. The peace of God surpasses anything the human mind can understand.

1. Paul in Philipi [Acts 16]

2. Acts 16:25 says they were “praying and singing hymns.”

a. God tore open the prison doors, ripped off every chain on every prisoner.

b. WHEN GOD’S PEACE IS IN YOUR LIFE, NOTHING CAN CHAIN YOU DOWN, NO PRISON OF ANXIETY, WORRY, FEAR, OR DESPAIR CAN HOLD YOU.

(Ill.) We were flying on a plane at sunset. On one side is beautiful sunset while on the other side it is dark. It doesn’t matter which side you look out, the plane is going to the same place. You have a choice...

IV. Bottom line: peace is a condition of the heart put into practice.

You are given a choice: peace or anxiety?

1. It begins with your relationship with Jesus.

2. Do you practice prayer and thanksgiving?

3. Do you allow God’s peace to guard your heart and mind?

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