The Peace Of God

SCRIPTURE

Philippians 4:6-7, NLT

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

NIV

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

INTRODUCTION

Our subject tonight is the PEACE OF GOD which is to be distinguished from PEACE WITH GOD. Paul says in Romans 5:1, Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. We have peace with God the moment we trust Christ as our Savior. The Peace of God is impossible without first having peace with God. Everything I say tonight about the Peace of God is predicated on you having peace with God through the blood of Christ.

But although we have peace with God through the blood and this will never change, we can lose our Peace of God or God’s peace that garrisons our heart and mind. There are many things that can disturb our peace and Paul deals with them in Philippians four. We will not get to all of them tonight but we will mention them in passing.

  1. Circumstances can disturb our peace.
  2. Prayerlessness can disturb our peace.
  3. Believing a lie can disturb our peace.
  4. Worry and anxiety can disturb our peace.
  5. Disobedience can disturb our peace.
  6. Bitterness can disturb our peace.
  7. Unbelief can disturb our peace.

We are not going to deal with all of these tonight, we will get into the battle for truth next week but tonight we are going to focus on verses 6-7 and from them take the keys to PEACE.

THE FIRST KEY IS TO –“Pray about everything.”

Prayer is a grand privilege. I don’t have an open line to the President, nor any of my congressmen. I could not speak with any of them today if my life depended. They will not return a call and it will be a staffer that responds by email if they respond at all. The writer of Hebrews says in chapter 4, So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testing we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

Joseph Scriven states this truth clearly in the hymn, What a Friend We Have In Jesus….What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and grief’s to bear! What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer! Oh, what peace we often forfeit, Oh, what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry Everything to God in prayer!

Not only are we to pray but we are to pray about everything. Anything that is big enough to create anxiety is big enough for prayer. Pray about everything. I am praying right now over my expense report, how much mileage to claim. I am praying about our gifts to the church and to missions. I don’t want to make those decisions without the LORD’s help. I pray about trading cars and trucks. I have a very intimate relationship with Jesus: I tell Him everything. I don’t talk to Him about some things, I talk to Him about everything.

THE SECOND KEY IS…”Don’t worry about anything…be anxious for nothing.” Anxiety is a Peace killer and it worked indirectly to destroy your quiet time {prayer}. Sometimes I meditate on scripture or listen to good music before I pray. Practically all my praying comes after bible reading. I know YouTube has some bad stuff but it also has some very good. I can click on Michael W. Smith’s Agnus Dei {Worthy Is The Lamb} and somehow be transformed into a state of worship. Our peace will come out of our prayerful worship but anxiety hinders our worship and our prayer.

M.R. Vincent said, “Peace is the fruit of believing prayer.” William Barclay said, “There is nothing too great for His power and there is nothing too small for His concern…pray about everything.”

THE THIRD KEY IS TO BE THANKFUL “Thank him for all he has done.”

Sometimes it is good to make a list of things that God has already done for you. Always, we can begin with our Salvation in Christ. Thank God that He loved you so much that He sent His only begotten Son into the broken sin-cursed world to become the curse of sin in our behalf. Thank Him for His mercy and grace. He has shown us mercy by not giving us what we deserve and He shows us grace by giving us what we have not earned. Then start with His attributes. Thank Him for who He is…

  1. Thank God for being holy, for hating sin and loving good. The entire creation is sustained by God’s integrity. Our God is a holy God: He cannot be tempted with sin. He is incorruptible. He cannot lie. He cannot deny Himself. When Caiaphas asks Jesus if He was the Christ, Jesus did not lie to save his physical life. He confessed the truth because He was God and could do no other. We are governed here on earth by men who cannot tell the truth but God cannot tell a lie. Have you thanked Him lately for being perfectly honest, for being Holy, pure from sin, untouched by sin. God is holy, high and lifted up, He transcends all sin and moral decay. Holy, holy, holy is the LORD God almighty, all of creation is filled with His glory.
  2. Thank Him for His personal love for you.
  3. Thank Him for His wisdom. He has a master plan that is a mystery to man. His thoughts are infinite, His ways are infinite, beyond our finding out. He has the ability to make all things work together for good to them who love Him and are called to fulfill His purpose. Joseph got into a bad situation: he lost his family and freedom in just a days time but He trusted God and did not become bitter. God made all the bad things work together for good; Joseph’s good, Egypt’s good and the Israelites good. The world and its problems are not on your shoulders or mine. God created it all and He can manage. At some point, if we are to have the peace of God, we have to surrender to His will. Rebellion is an enemy of peace. Remember, Paul was in prison, in chains, when he wrote this letter. He had peace because he trusted God’s wisdom.
  4. Thank Him for His power, His omnipotence. We can always admire and appreciated his handy work. We can stand in awe of his majestic creation.
  5.  Thank Him for His benevolent goodness. God said through Malachi, “I am the Lord, and I do not change. That is why you descendants of Jacob are not already destroyed.” It is only by His mercy that we are alive.

CONCLUSION

Gratitude in the ground for prayer. No unthankful person can pray with passion and power. The key to the garden of prayer is thanksgiving. The two keys to prayer are a grateful heart and a surrendered will. Of course everything depends on our relationship to Christ. There is no peace a part from Christ. No peace with God and no peace of God within. Everything hinges on our relationship to Christ.

When we have give thanks for all that God has done and asked for what we need, He promises to guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. The word ‘guard’ is a military word. Some translate it ‘garrison’. Paul was under Roman guard when he wrote this letter and they rotated shifts. He always had a guard. His message to us is that God will put a garrison of angels around our heart and mind to protect us from doubt and fear and thus enable us to maintain peace. The circumstances around us may not be good but between us and the unpleasant circumstances is God’s garrison to stand between us and the circumstances, keeping them from invading our peace. It is the same word used in 2 Corinthians 11:32 when the king of Damascus had Paul under guard in the city. There were guards posted everywhere to keep him for getting out.

STORY

While Jack Taylor was serving as pastor he had a female member to be diagnosed with terminal cancer. The woman was a widow of a few years but not that old. She did not take the bad news well. She became so embittered that no one could stand to be around her. Finally, her friends came to Dr. Taylor and told him the problem; he agreed to pay her a visit. He knocked on her door and she invited him in; for the next hour or so he listened as she poured out her complaints. When she ran out of steam, Dr. Taylor asked: “Have you given thanks to God?” She erupted with second diatribe….“Give thanks to God, are you crazy. Do you actually expect me to give thanks for cancer?” Dr. Taylor responded, “I did not ask you to thank Him for the cancer; the question is, have you thanked Him for all He has done in the midst of all you are suffering? The bible says, ‘In all things, give thanks’…it does not say, ‘for‘ all things give thanks. Don’t thank Him for the cancer but thank Him for what he has done for you.”

Suddenly she saw the truth that is expressed in today’s scripture…Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He has done. Paul said, once a believer has done these two things, the peace of God that passes all understanding will become a reality. Don’t expect to receive His peace until you are willing to thank Him for what he has done. By the way, the woman in the above story died with cancer a few months later but she died in peace. She became an avid witness for Christ during the remainder of her life.

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